Are you saying I’m fat?

I just finished Alexander McCall Smith’s most recent episode of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built,” and it was as charming as all the others, and possibly the funniest.  There were parts I couldn’t resist reading aloud to Dean or my mom and siblings, and I’d love to share one of these with you.  It’s from near the beginning of the book, and doesn’t contain spoilers.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the series, Mma. Ramotswe is the “traditionally built” Botswanian lady detective who runs the agency, and her mechanic husband is Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni (who is always referred to by that name.)

The tiny white van . . . had intermittently been making a strange noise . . . It happened as she made her way into Zebra Drive; turning a corner always put a strain on the tiny white van, which was something to do with the suspension and what Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni referred to politely as the “distribution of load.”  Mma Ramotswe had pondered this expression and then asked, perhaps rather bluntly, “And the load, I take it, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, is me?”

He had looked away to cover his embarrassment.  “You could say that, Mma Ramotswe.  But then all of us are loads when it comes to vehicles.  Even one of these very thin model ladies will be a load . . .” He trailed off.  He was not making it any better, he thought, and Mma Ramotswe was looking at him in an expectant way.

When it became apparent that he had nothing further to add, Mma Ramotswe had continued, “Yes, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, there are such ladies.  And unfortunately they are becoming more common.  There are now many of them.” She paused.  “But perhaps they will begin to disappear.  They will get thinner and thinner, and more and more fashionable, and then . . . pouf . . . they will be blown away by the wind.”

This remark reduced the tension that had built, and they both laughed.

“That will teach them,” he said.  “they will be blown away while the other ladies will still be here because the wind will not be strong enough to lift . . .”  He stopped once more; Mma Ramotswe was again looking at him expectantly.

TinyVantiny white van

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6 Responses to Are you saying I’m fat?

  1. Sarah Nielsen says:

    I’ll have to try reading those books. I’m always looking for something new to read. I’m hopefully getter closer to being thin enough to blow away. It’s sort of nice to be in between nursing and pregnant. Who knows how long that will last though.

  2. Jennette says:

    This is reminding me of the time that Adam told me that it was good that I had thick ankles because then I wouldn’t roll them as often as those with thin. And I believe that I looked at him expectantly….

  3. zstitches says:

    Dean is better about avoiding those minefields altogether, which is mostly good, except for that he’s so tight-lipped that sometimes I’m able to imagine he’s keeping all kinds of negative observations to himself. But at least I don’t have any evidence. I do have a story like yours, though: My brother Andy came home from his mission in upstate New York and, looking at his siblings, said that people in New York were so much more substantial than his family that his siblings looked frail and scrawny by comparison, “Except for Zina.”

    The amazing thing to me is that a few years later I’m actually mostly at peace with his observation. But it did take a few years.

  4. Hannah says:

    I’m glad there is another book out in this series. I’ll have to get me one, when I’m not too busy eating cookies.

  5. OhSusanna says:

    That whole passage is awesome. I need to read that book. What number is it?, I might need to catch up. Patrick is not so tight-lipped. I could tell you some spots he has gotten himself in, I think on purpose. He likes to tease. The upside is that he is also more likely to share positive comments.

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