Reaction Time


The summer is winding down. It has been unusually cool for August so last night I was making some pasta.

I haven't made pasta in a while. There is a delicate balance between liquid (eggs, water, olive oil) and dry (flour, semolina, a dash of salt) that needs to be reached. There is a bit of a back and forth in reaching the right consistency. I had made the dough and let it rest for a while (that lets the dry properly absorb the liquid) in anticipation of a quick roll out so I could be mostly on time for the 5-7 pm (EST) FDL Book Salon. But the dough was too moist. I had to work it and re-work it for a while to get it right. Not wanting to miss too much of the salon, I brought my laptop into the kitchen—silly me, it only got sprinkled with flour and I couldn't really do both at once.

So I finally got the pasta rolled out and cut and hung on the drying rack and got back to my laptop for a great "conversation" with Glen Greenwald and the FDL family. Then I had to get back to cooking the pasta. The water was boiled and I slowly dropped the fresh moist pasta in the pot and swirled it around. Fresh pasta only takes a couple of minutes to cook. It was about ready and I was trying to capture some to test but managed instead to accidentally flip some out of the pot and the boiling pasta wrapped itself around my left thumb.



I got out the ice pack from the freezer and wrapped the thumb awkwardly and finished cooking. We sat down to dinner and ate with my thumb still on ice. Which it was. Through the evening. Rotating ice packs along with a triple antibiotic which claims to have a topical anesthetic in it, but you could have fooled me. Went to bed with thumb wrapped in a band-aid and in another ice pack. Woke up this morning and it is OK, more or less.

That got me thinking about reaction time. I reacted very quickly to being burned and did the appropriate things to mitigate the damage. A year ago on Sunday night I was on the Cape at my brother's house and we were watching the Weather Channel. I was also reading the blogs (what else?) and flashing on DailyKos and some other blogs was the warning if the catastrophic hurricane making its way to and through New Orleans. Any fool watching the Weather Channel and paying attention to the news knew this was going to be a bad one.

Any fool, except the people running the government, that is.

Reaction time. What did the president do? He was on vacation and then went to AZ to have birthday cake with John McCain. He also went to CA and played with a guitar. The rest of the government? They seemed to take their cues from W. Most times, taking direction from the chief is supposed to lead you somewhere constructive. Not with this one.

Reaction time. I also thought of the "deer in the headlights" look on W's face when his classroom lesson on the Pet Goat was interrupted by two airplanes flying into tall buildings. Seven minutes of paralysis. Have you ever watched the whole seven minutes of him staring into space? Seven minutes is an excruciatingly long time!

Please, let there not be another disaster on the watch of this administration.