Cora restaurants are hiring, be part of the team!
June 2, 2023

Ode to my 10 fingers

Time flies while we count on our fingers the mornings we have left. I have beetles in my living room. They zigzag along the window sills and it makes me wonder if they’ve spent winter inside my house. Each time I try to touch a pretty shell with my finger, the creature flutters and lands a little distance away, often changing direction. Do I have enough fingers to count them? Do I care enough to stop myself from sucking them up with the vacuum?

7:58 a.m. at the coffee shop
Behind the counter, I recognize the young girl who told me the other morning that she felt like she was in a thousand pieces. I had to look up expression on my iPad to understand what she meant. The second day after Easter Sunday, the poor girl had to take apart each unsold chocolate rabbit, hen, frog, monkey and egg. She had to destroy the chocolate figurines, rip off the bunnies’ ears and pull out the frogs’ oversized eyes and put their broken carcasses into the chocolate recycling bin. Such carnage would easily traumatize a young teenager just barely out of childhood.

Guylaine G. from Sept-Îles (a city located on the north shore of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, in the northern region of Quebec) tells me that meeting me in person is on her bucket list. I dream of seeing these islands, which I can count on my 10 fingers. Google introduces me to the local venues and events: the Fortier & Frères fish shop; G.W.D. cruises that offers brunch at sea; the St. Lawrence Gulf Society; the “Festi-GrÎles de la Côte-Nord” (an annual BBQ competitions, with local beer tastings and concerts); the Gallix botanical gardens; and the Book Fair, which recently happened in April. I got a glimpse of Sept-Îles with just a few clicks of my keyboard. Now my fingers are counting the days until I can visit.

Last Sunday, a curious patron at the coffee shop asked me what is the most precious thing I have. I quickly replied: my fingers! My 10 fingers, the ones constantly typing away on the keyboard that transmit to the world almost all of my thoughts.

My two thumbs are the strongest and most helpful. They know how to grip, unscrew, turn and squeeze anything I want.

My two index fingers look like arrows. They are very helpful to point someone in the right direction. I remember when I was very small, Mom would slap my left index finger whenever she saw me scratching my nose with it…

The biggest one in the middle of both my hands is called the middle finger. Like so many men, it believes it’s the most important because it’s taller than the others. I mostly use it to prepare the soil for spring planting and to spread the washable gouache as I attempt to rival Picasso.

The one that comes before the smallest of them all is called the ring finger. For the longest time, I wondered why it had such a strange name, until someone slipped a gold ring on it. My ex-husband wore his wedding band for about 45 minutes; just long enough for our wedding ceremony to be over. When we walked out of church, he took it off his finger and handed it to me. He told me I was the only one who was married. I kept the ring. I still have it, attached with mine in an old jewellry box. The gold makes them worth something, I suppose. Come to think of it, I should sell them and buy myself a new pair of glasses the first chance I get. Hurrah!

In French, the smallest finger has the longest name: auriculaire. A proper-sounding name composed of 11 letters. Because its French name is a bit difficult to remember, we affectionately call it le petit doigt (“the little finger”), just like in English. It’s the only one capable of relieving an itch in the ear canal. It happens to me a lot, especially when I’m completely absorbed in a TV show.

Imagine for a moment that a savage monster chops off our 10 fingers. What would we do? Our hands would become fingerless mittens. Small shovels that are only good enough to push a load or collect a few raindrops. A major handicap for all those who write instead of speak.

Let’s give thanks for our fingers, for they are as precious as the apple of our eyes.

❤ 👐 ❤