This is surely the most significant of the elements that Tolkien brought to fantasy... his arranged marriage between the Elder Edda and "The Wind in the Willows"-big Icelandic romance and small-scale, cozy English children's book. The story told by "The Lord of the Rings" is essentially what would happen if Mole and Ratty got drafted into the Nibelungenlied.
But it's not just the ratty part of town. The upper class in San Francisco is that way. The Bohemian Grove, which I attend from time to time . . . It is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine with that San Francisco crowd. I can't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco.
Richard M. Nixon
His mind's always on something else. He'd live in a ratty cardigan, and he's always worrying holes in the pockets of his pants. He can never seem to find his wallet or anything in the refrigerator. And just when you think he's not paying any attention to what you're saying or doing, he comes up with exactly the right answer or solution."", [J.D. Robb, Celebrity In Death""People""who expect perfection in a mate miss a lot of fun""and sweetness.", [J.D. Robb, Celebrity In Death]
Runaways are romantic. The girls are waiflike with dyed ratty hair and baggy pants. They usually own a stray dog of the mutt variety and drag it along by a rope, plopping down in front of storefronts to beg for money from passersby. They're a mess. It is likely they'll charm you, make you think you're their best friend and savior only to end up using you and then they'll disappear. That's why they're romantic. They're there and then they're gone. Romance is always about people appearing in a flash out of nothing or people who are there and then suddenly are not. A magic trick.
And Mrs. Treaclebunny has promised to speak English from now on as well. In fact, she said when she goes to England, that's all she speaks anyway because the animals speak English there. She says anyone who has read children's books with animals in them set in England would know that. Is The Wind in the Willows written in Mole with a little Ratty thrown in? Is Winnie-the-Pooh written in Bear? No, it's English, because that's what the animals there speak. I didn't know that before. Travel is so broadening.
I lay down and started to feel a little depressed about prom. I refused to feel any kind of sadness over the fact that I wasn't going to prom, but I had - stupidly, embarrassingly - thought of finding Margo, and getting her to come home with me just in time for prom, like late on Saturday night, and we'd walk into the Hilton ballroom wearing jeans and ratty T-shirts, and we'd be just in time for the last dance, and we'd dance while everyone pointed at us and marveled at the return of Margo, and then we'd fox-trot the hell out of there and go get ice cream at Friendly's. So yes, like Ben, I harbored ridiculous prom fantasies. But at least I didn't say mine out loud.
Perhpas if I call out to Rat he might hear, " said the Mole to himself, but without much hope. Rat! Ratty! O Rat, please hear me!" he called out as loudly as he could, holding up his lantern as he did so, waving it about/ But the wind rushed and roared around him even more, and snatched his weak words away the moment they were they were uttered, and scattered them wildly and uselessly as if they were flakes of snow, Even worse, the light of the lantern began to gutter, and then, quiet suddenly, an extra strong gust of wind blew it out. Well then, " said the daunted but resolute Mole, putting the spent lantern on the ground, "there's nothing else for it! Frozen rivers are dangerous thinngs, no doubt, but I must try to cross, despite the dangers." -The Willows in the Winter
Hey. Know what happened to me today?" He sits back and crosses his arms, smiles. "No. What happened to you today?" "Well, I decided to take the bus to work instead of driving? And I got on and I sat behind this woman who started crying. She was very quiet about it, just every now and then she would reach up and wipe away a tear. She had this kerchief on her head, this ratty old flowered kerchief, but it was clean and it was tied very neatly, you know. And she had her purse on her lap and she was holding on to it like it was hands. At first nobody else seemed to notice she was crying, but then everybody around her did. And it got very quiet. And then finally this man got up from the back of the bus, and he came up and sat next to her and put his arm around her, and he didn't say a word, but just stared straight ahead with his arm around her and she kept crying, but it was better now, you could tell, she kind of had a little smile even though she was still crying. And I don't know if he even knew her! I think everybody was wondering the same thing: Does he even know her? I guess he must have known her; otherwise she probably would have leaped up and started screaming or something, but you never know! You just never know, it might have been someone whose heart went out to her because she was crying. And he decided he would comfort her. And she let him. And I think it was a kind of miracle. A living parable or something.
A bout of nerves crept up my spine and I tilted my head at him, hoping I was imagining the heat spreading over my cheeks to spare myself the embarrassment of blushing merely because he was piercing me with those chocolate eyes that I had never noticed were so amazing. 'What are you staring at?' 'Can I take you to prom?' He asked me. Just like that, no hesitation or insecurity to be found in his tone or facial expression. His confidence caught me completely off guard and I gaped at him in a stunned silence for almost twenty full seconds. His expression never faltered, though. He just watched my mouth work to make some sort of intelligible sound, waiting for my answer as he oozes at least the illusion of complete calm. 'Huh?' I blurted in an embarrassingly high-pitched squeak. I sounded like a chipmunk and his smirk made me turn a deep shade of red. 'Um... Uh... Prom?' I managed, eloquent as ever. He laughed at me fondly, nodding his head. 'Yeah, prom.' Shock was not a deep enough word to describe what I was feeling over this proposal. This was Jim, the kid who swore up and down he would rather gouge out his eyes with a grapefruit spoon than put on dress clothes and he was offering to take me to a place where flannel shirts and ratty jeans were unacceptable and dance me around a room in uncomfortable shoes all night long? This couldn't be real life. But it was real life. I was sitting in the car with him with my mouth hanging open like a fish waiting for him to laugh and tell me he was kidding, that there was no way he was going to put on a tie for my benefit, and he was sitting right there, a slightly nervous look crossing his features over my dumbstruck expression. Breathe, Lizzie, I scolded myself. Answer him! Say yes! You could have knocked me over with a feather and I was very relieved to be sitting down in a car so I could prevent anything humiliating from happening. Having already proved I could not trust my voice to answer him I jerkily nodded my head as my mouth grew into a Cheshire cat sized smile. I turned my face away and hid behind my hair as if I could hide my excitement from the world. Jim was visibly euphoric and that only made me want to squeal even more. He was excited to take me out. How cool was that?