Thursday, December 13, 2007


But in fact there was honey in the house: a half-inch in the bottom of a plastic bottle with a blue outline of Maine on the label. A gift to my daughter for looking after an African hedgehog for a college classmate. It had sat there a long time. The honey, I mean. The hedgehog had, too, but the hedgehog isn't part of my narrative.

The honey was quite solid. For honey is thixotropic: when cold and still it becomes more solid, but when warm and worked it becomes more fluid. It shares this property with various paints and, according to wikipedia, certain non-Newtonian pseudo-plastics. It also shares it with the connective tissue that accounts for some 20% of the human body, which is why (literally) warming up makes you less prone to injury during exercise.

And so the thixotropic nature of honey reinforces my vague homeopathic belief that it must be good for me, when I have a cold, and another thixotropic substance is make a nuisance of itself in my upper respiratory tract. I would believe this anyway, because Frizzy Rachel said so.

I ran the bottle under hot water and squeezed it. Then I poked a slender spoon in and got a dollop and stirred it into steaming hot water. And now I am drinking it, at 3:00 AM, and presently I may feel restored enough to go back to bed. And I think that "the Non-Newtonian Pseudo-Plastics" would be a good name for a band.

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