A few months ago, Bloomfield House was an all-bachelor domain (including me, Geoffrey, Gerry and Keith).
Given the nature of the household, there was a certain type of conversation that would occasionally take place. Such as this one, when I gathered everyone around the kitchen table:
“Fellas,” I said, “we’ve got to come to a consensus about the dryer lint. Either we’ve all got to put it on top of the dryer, or we’ve all got to throw it away, or something. Right now we’ve just got lint going all over the place.”
And at that moment, the idea was hatched for the “Burning Of The Lint.”
We opened up the calendar to a random date (March 4, 2003, as it turned out) and declared that this date would be set aside for the Burning of the Lint.
Until this time, each member of the household would dutifully add his lint to the pile on top of the dryer.
Months went by. Changes took place within the house. Soon there were only three of us: me, Geoffrey and newcomer Annette (and Vickers the cat, of course).
But through all the changes, one thing remained constant, and that was the piling of the lint on top of the dryer in anticipation of the Burning of the Lint.
Last night, Geoffrey said, “Hey, isn’t it almost time for the Burning of the Lint?”
“It’s tonight,” I said. “It’s right now. I’m going to burn the lint right now.”
“Well, hold on a minute,” said Geoffrey. “Shouldn’t Annette be here for this?”
“She definitely should,” I said. “Annette!”
“Annette!” shouted Geoffrey.
Annette appeared around the corner. “What’s going on?”
“You’re just in time for the Burning of the Lint,” I said. I walked over to the back door, where the dryer is. “Mmm mmm. Look at all that lint.”
The dryer had a pile of lint on it that represented several months worth of hard-core lint-collecting. The pile of lint was starting to resemble one of those mountain sculptures from “Close Encounters Of the Third Kind.”
I took a piece of lint down off the dryer and looked at it. Then I held it up for everyone to see.
“The Burning of the Lint!” I said, in my most dramatic voice.
“You’re going to burn the lint right now?” said Geoffrey.
“Yes! Right now!”
“Hmm,” said Geoffrey. “Where are you going to do it?”
“Right there in the backyard.”
“But it’s minus fifteen out there.”
“I don’t care. I’m going to burn the lint. You can watch through the window.”
“I don’t think you should burn the lint today,” said Geoffrey.
“What! But today is the Burning of the Lint!”
“I think you should wait,” said Geoffrey. “Why don’t you wait. Wait until the summer to burn the lint.”
“But we have this huge pile of lint,” I said. “The whole point of it was that today was the Burning of the Lint.”
“There will be a whole lot more lint by summer,” Annette pointed out.
“Yeah… that’s true,” I said. I stroked my chin and looked down at the ball of lint in my hand.
“Here,” said Geoffrey. “Look.” He started flipping pages on the kitchen calendar. “June the 24th. We could burn the lint then. It’s a Tuesday.”
“A Tuesday,” I said.
“It’s my birthday,” he said.
“Ah!” I said. “A Burning of the Lint Birthday Party!”
“Exactly,” said Geoffrey. “And it will even be nice out, hopefully.”
“Well…” I said. “But technically, today is still the Burning of the Lint. Maybe I should just burn this little piece of lint, so we’ve actually observed the Burning of the Lint.”
“There’s an idea,” said Annette.
“I could do it indoors,” I said. “Why don’t I just burn this little piece of lint in the kitchen sink, and we’ll call it the Burning of the Lint. It is pretty cold out there.”
“Here,” said Geoffrey and gave me his lighter.
So we all gathered around the kitchen sink for the Burning of the Lint.
I perched the piece of lint on the divider between the two kitchen sinks and sparked it up with Geoffrey’s lighter.
“The Burning of the Lint!” I said.
I don’t know how, but sometime over the past few months I’d gotten the idea that lint was highly inflammable. I’d always pictured a flame touching a pile of lint–foosh!–and the whole thing going up in one beautiful glorious instant.
This wasn’t really the case. Instead, the outside of the lint struggled to catch fire. An orange flame took hold and crawled around the outside of the lint ball for a while. Then it went out.
“Ugh!” said Annette. “It stinks!”
“Peee-yooo,” said Geoffrey.
“I guess a lint ball probably has a lot of hair in it,” I said. “That’s probably why it smells like burning hair.”
I turned on the tap and doused the blackened lint ball with water. Shook it off and threw it in the garbage.
“Gross,” said Annette.
I think we may have come up with a new Bloomfield House holiday. “The Throwing Out of the Lint!”