037: Tsinelas for Breakfast

img_20160206_221756-01.jpegThe thing with me and bars is that I fall asleep quite easily in them. Emily and I joined a few friends at Business Class to check out a singer for an upcoming wedding. It was only half past nine but I was already dropping off. Good thing Emily understands this propensity of mine. I don’t know, it must be the dim lights or the white noise of the hubbub. Even loud music just washes over me and instead of jolting me awake lulls me to sleep.

We had friends over for breakfast. A— and L— are getting married in April and have been busy with preparations, so much so we had not seen them for a couple of months. Emily arranged that they come over so we could catch up. Emily prepared bacon, corned beef, and fried rice. I made coffee.

Ah, about the eponymous tsinelas for breakfast. After we had finished our own breakfast, I went about doing the house chores. I was in and out of the house: at the back to do the laundry, at the front to water the plants. As is usually the case, doggie follows me around. Since we had guests, I would also stop to join in a snippet of conversation. I was feeling especially distracted today.

Unbeknownst to me, I had left doggie out front. That’s usually not a problem, because she just stares out the fence. There was a time when she would dig up the garden but she’d grown out of that. When I finally discovered her, she had been out an hour. I let her in and went about my business.

As I was about to return to the house, I noticed something amiss on the welcome mat. It took a moment to realize, doggie had chewed through our house guest’s slippers! Again, doggie is not usually a problem when left out front as she’s very well behaved. She leaves my shoes and slippers well enough alone. But she had chewed through L—‘s slippers!

Bad doggie, we scolded her. L— laughed it off. “Don’t worry, it’s a cheap pair, I only bought it to replace the other pair which had broken.” Still, Emily was mortified.

We tried to figure out why doggie did a number on L—‘s slippers. L— guessed she must have carried the smell of the dogs from A—‘s house, and that’s what attracted doggie so much. Oh, well.

I read Life Flight, a short story by Brad Torgersen. It was published in the March 2014 issue of Analog magazine. Told in epistolary form as a series of journal entries, it tells the story of a crewman who is part of a colony expedition to Delta Pavonis. At the start of the story, the crewman is just a young boy, kept awake with a few others to learn the tasks of managing the ship. After ten years, they’re supposed to return to suspended animation and another crew woken for rotation. However, they learn the boy has stasis sickness — his body won’t take being sent to stasis! So he has to remain awake the entire eighty year voyage.

It’s a poignant story and quite well told, one of those concepts that can only take place in science fiction. What I especially like is how Torgersen elicits moral responses from his character. The situations aren’t particularly earth-shattering, but the character still has to grapple with right and wrong. It adds dimension and humanity to the protagonist.

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Dom Cimafranca

Teacher, writer, project manager, and all-around nice guy.