Of dazed minds and house fires

I accidently almost set my house on fire. I’m still waiting for the smoke to disappear; it can really make your throat itch. Am I freaking out? A little. My eyes are burning and all of the windows are frozen shut, so yes, I am not at my best. My dog, though, is used to me setting almost-fires. Even after the alarm started blaring and the smoke had filled the entire house, he didn’t bark. Instead, he looked up at me with his big, sighing eyes. His eyes told me everything: “Really, Tasha? Did you really have to try cooking those potstickers?”


“Well, I’m sorry I was hungry, and don’t look at me like that — I know you wanted some of my potstickers,” was my own mental response. Had I not been coughing so much, I probably would have said it out loud.

This, of course, was the worst time for me to think of the short story I had read on the road from late night to early morning. Truman Capote was a fan of creepy ghost girls and in that moment, I could almost hear one of his characters, Miriam, asking for almond cakes in the smoke. I was also thinking about the supposed “communist” pigs from “Animal Farm,” so my daze was probably prompted by my most recent homework assignments and obvious exhaustion.

These moments, when my mind swims in its own confusion, are what inspire my writing. Ideas, factoids, images and more wake up together. Virginia Woolf and her husband opened up a printing press called Hogarth Press. Hogarth sounds like Hogwarts, the wizarding school from the Harry Potter series. The Beauxbatons were the French wizards from the series. The words avocado and attorney are the same in French (“un avocat”). There is a case up against the U.S. government claiming not working against climate change is unconstitutional. Climate change goes hand-in-hand with ocean acidification, and acidifying oceans would mean more jellyfish. This year, Holi is on my birthday, and next year, I will be in India. President Taft might’ve gotten stuck in a bathtub once and Annie Dillard once scared away a herd of cows by screaming: “Swedish meatballs!” What if, directly before killing them, we called animals by their predetermined product name?

It’s getting cold in the house now. The frigid winter air has replaced most of the smoke, with help from a boot propping open our front door. As the atmosphere clears I spy my homework pile sitting expectedly on the dining table. Instantly, my thoughts crawl back into their brain crevices, and my mind returns to one thing: graduating. I have a science project to finish, a comparison essay to write, math homework to cry over and a French poem to memorize. If I have time, I’ll start filling out a scholarship form or two. I need to go clean the pan I just burnt first but, afterward, I’ll brew a cup of caffeinated tea, plan my schedule and get back to work.



• Tasha Elizarde is a high school senior living in Juneau. Her column comes out twice a month. She also writes “This Day in Juneau History” for the Juneau Empire. Read more at tashaelizarde.wixsite.com/thestorysharer.




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