What Would Mma Ramotswe do?


Sitting in the ER two nights ago, holding The Son’s plastic bucket, I had a literary moment.  I’m assuming it was a survival thing; it was either that, or I was going to need my own bucket.  The Son had been brought in via ambulance with what looked like a severe concussion.  Taking infield before a game, he was jogging to the right place at the wrong time and a line drive found the side of his head.  He buckled like a rag doll, passed out briefly and woke up regurgitating Skittles.  “Tell the girls it’s blood,” his neurologist told him later.

And we were lucky he was able to have that conversation later.  So.  Very.  Lucky.  He is on the mend now, cranky and hungry, a tad spacey and a bit slow-moving, but much better than the slur-and-hurl fest that was Friday night.  We are not out of the woods; there is more information about concussion now and one big factor is the damage that can happen if there is not immediate and ample rest.  And for the generation that has been plugged in since birth, well, welcome to Behavior Modification 101.

However, I have no problem swiping away that computer.  It’s as if I was born to rip stuff out of kids’ hands!  Don’t spread that around.

Back to Mma Ramotswe: nothing keeps me calmer than imagining myself sipping tea with her on Zebra Drive.  So I was very happy to have Alexander McCall Smith’s latest detective adventure crammed under the back car seat.  The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, like its many predecessors, fleshes out a few more minor characters and adds to its “traditionally built” protagonist a few layers and a surprise associate.  I won’t say more because these books are formulaic and quick-reads.  But there’s a cadence in the language and a generous spirit about them.  I once met a bookseller who did not stock them because she considered them predictable and “stupid.”  She was really judgmental about it.  Too bad, I remember thinking, you are missing the point entirely.  And in that ER, alone with The Son and feeling panicked and helpless,  I got a whirlwind of texts from the now-de-planed Mr. Halfstory, some incredible friends and family and it was suddenly a lot easier to breathe, to be clear-headed.  I think that’s what Mma Ramotswe would have recommended, too.

Probably can't use this excuse, though.

I just purchased God’s Hotel, by Victoria Sweet, about Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco.  I have a good feeling about this book.  It could be because I volunteered there as a teenager 1,000 years ago.  The hospital sits on a hill in a remote part of southern SF.  I recall the wards looking very old-fashioned and strange, a cross between Hogwarts and the barest field hospital.  I wasn’t allowed to do much (although this was before the incident at another hospital where, as a candy-striper, I threw pie at someone in the Visitor’s Cafe and was transferred to Kidney Dialysis the next day), but I felt it was a comforting place for its inhabitants.  I could also feel the history of the place.  I was an oblivious teen, and hyper-sensitive only when it pertained to, 1) my hair, 2) my lack of phone calls from boys, and 3) the fact that I had few friends,  so for me to suddenly not be thinking about myself and absorbing the energy of sick old people and their surroundings was momentous.  So, I’ll let you know how that goes.