This summer Virtute insisted that we plant a garden. While Jenny is a relatively experienced gardner, both Virtute and I are novices in the ways of cultivation. We grew tomatoes, basil, kale, cucumbers, and other herbs – but most excitingly we had a whole mix of hot peppers. Red dragon chilis, Thai green chilis, and habaneros.
Virtute’s job tended to be more managerial and supervisory than laborious, but I asked him what he thought about my habaneros. He sat thoughtfully for a long while, as he is apt to do and then finally said, “I’m not an expert on the Scoville scale that measures the pungency of chili peppers, but I do know that the habaneros rank highly on it. However, I prefer to measure things the old fashioned way, with my senses and with my memory”. And so he sniffed and then licked one of the peppers and turned away quickly looking for a source of water.
I watched him at first with concern and then with respect as he composed himself and said, “There will be many instances in our lifetime in which we will need to test our ability to withstand the heat and so I’m glad for this experience, but can you please stop staring and grab me some milk and tuna, I like the flakey kind”.