Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nighty Night

Home late after cramming five days of work into a four day work week. (In other news: FOUR DAY WORK WEEK and TEAM TRIVIA!!!!!) So very ready for sleepy time...

Z is for Zzzzzz

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Proofreading The World

While driving through town this afternoon, I noticed that the scrolling marquee at the bank on Main Street was advertising a local performance of that beloved children's classic: "Charlottes's Web."

Now, I understand that not everyone has the same (rabid) interest in proper punctuation, spelling and grammar that I do. And I understand that many people lack the aptitude for such things. What I don't understand is why so many of those people are the ones in charge of posting signs and notices.

Y is for You've Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!

Monday, April 28, 2014

And Two To Go...

You know that feeling that combines both "I thought I'd never get here" and "How the heck did I get here so fast?" Well, that's how I'm feeling about A-Z tonight.

X is for X-ing Off The Days

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Random Quote Saturday

"Writing is the way I ground myself, and it's what keeps me sane. Writing is the way I try to make sense of my life, try to find meaning in accident, reasons why what happens happens--even though I know that why is a distraction, and meaning you have to cobble together yourself. Sometimes just holding a pen in my hand and writing milk butter eggs sugar calms me. Truth is what I'm ultimately after, truth or clarity. I think that's what we're all after..."

Abigail Thomas, "How To Write Your Own Memoir" in O, The Oprah Magazine, August 2008

Friday, April 25, 2014

Random Quote Friday

"They would talk and I would listen. The sound of their voices was a lullaby to me, an assurance that life percolated on through the long night--that I was safe. I would fall asleep with those voices still murmuring in my dreams. To this day, it troubles me to fall asleep in a silent house.

Those long eavesdropping nights made me a storyteller. They communicated to me, without anyone's needing to tell me, that the true apprehension of life's puzzles and pains is not in the living but in the recounting."
~~Jacquelyn Mitchard, "All Through The Night" in The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship
V is for Voices

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I'm Lovin' It

[Blurt alert: This post uses some foul slang for female body parts. And also the F-word. But only as much as absolutely necessary. If I could figure out an effective way to tell this story without using them, I would surely do so. But I can't, so consider yourself warned.]

Today, Daughter-Only had to be to work at noon. We left the house at 11:45 and because she'd overslept and hadn't eaten, she wanted to sneak through the drive-thru at McDonald's to grab a cheeseburger to scarf down (I know, I know: the breakfast of champions, right?).

The McDonald's in our town is in the corner of a busy and poorly planned parking lot. Because of this, there is no clearly marked line for the drive-thru cars to wait in. Some people form a line straight off the sign and going far back into the parts of the parking lot intended for other stores. Some people (including me) come in to the line from part of the lot that is set aside for McDonald's customers. (Not only does this feel logical to me, but there is actually an arrow painted on the blacktop to indicate that that is the way to go. However, said arrow is so faded you can only see it if you already know it's there and it can't be seen at all when coming from the other part of the lot.)

Naturally, with all this multi-directional traffic there are issues. For instance, a year or so ago, I was waiting in (what I consider) the correct line for the drive-thru when a woman came out of the restaurant and saw my van sitting behind her vehicle. While she had room to pull out, it would have required some maneuvering. I would have gladly backed up or inched forward for her, but before I could put my van into gear, she started gesticulating in an extremely rude manner and blowing her horn.

I am not normally an inconsiderate person, much less confrontational, especially in public. I feel sure I could muster legions of people, many of whom do not even know my name, who could attest to my random acts of kindness and consideration in retail settings all around town.

But! If someone is blatantly nasty or disrespectful to me, some sort of chemical change occurs within my brain and I become a person I barely recognize and of whom I am not always proud. Which is how and why I refused to move for the woman whose car I was behind until, forty-five seconds and numerous F-words (from her) later, the drive-thru line moved of its own volition.

During our exchange, in which I calmly told the woman that I would not be moving out of her way that very second, this woman called me a "fucking twat."

My first thought was, "I didn't know anyone even used that word anymore." I hadn't heard it since the school bus in seventh grade, when it was the height of hilarity to say "Twat did you say? I cunt hear you."

My second thought was, "What the hell is your fucking problem?!" Which thought came out mouth before I could stop it. Oops. Daughter-Only was with me that day as well and was equal parts appalled and impressed.

Today, as you have probably guessed by now, there was also a multi-directional traffic issue in the McDonald's drive thru. As Daughter-Only and I pulled up to the drive-thru, we immediately scoped out the line to assess her chances of getting to the window in time to make it to work before noon. There were four cars in line, including the one at the sign. I inched forward to position myself to get into the line while she was trying to decide whether we should just drive off and skip the cheeseburger.

Just as she decided that we should leave the line, a big red truck came from the other direction and tried to block me from getting into the line. I no longer even wanted to get in the line, but the set up of the lot meant that I needed to get between the red truck and the black car to pull away from the drive-thru line. As I pulled forward to do that, the young man (or as Daughter-Only referred to him, "the teenage redneck") began gesticulating rudely and pulled alongside of us, thereby blocking us from leaving the line.

I rolled down the passenger window, and he started yelling that he had been in line before us (which I knew was not the case) and that we needed to get to the back of the line. And...uh oh...there went that brain chemistry thing again. I calmly stated that I was in the line and things escalated from there.

I can draw diagrams, and provide additional details to interested parties, but the key highlights are that Daughter-Only was a little late for work, but she did get her cheeseburger. For what it's worth, she got her cheeseburger before the boys in the red truck got whatever it was they were so urgently trying to get.

Oh! And the fine upstanding young man at the wheel of the red truck called me a "fucking cunt" to which I calmly replied, "Do you really think that sort of language is going to get you the results you're looking for?" At that point, he realized the futility of his quest and got into line behind us. There was something disturbingly satisfying about watching the disappointment cross the boy's face when he realized his ultimate verbal weapon was utterly ineffective.

As we pulled away from the window a couple minutes later, both the boys in the truck could be heard screaming unimaginative obscenities at us.

As she got out of the car to go to work, I told Daughter-Only, "Well, now I've been called a fucking twat and a fucking cunt in the McDonald's parking lot. I figure if I can just get someone to call me a fucking pussy, I'll have achieved the lady parts insult trifecta!"

U is for Uncivilized*

*At one point during today's verbal scuffle, after he had flung numerous F-words but before he resorted to the C-word, the boy driving the truck said, "I have to be to class at 12:30!" To which I (calmly) said, "Oh? Is it a class in how to be a civilized human being? Because it seems like you could use a little instruction in that."

Random Quote Wednesday: A Twofer, in Honor of the Letter "T"

"Writing is the first anti-depressant. It came before Prozac or Effexor. And it was cheaper."

T is for Therapeutic
"Memories screwed up perspective, and the most vivid ones could annihilate time completely while they held sway."
~~Stephen King, Lisey's Story
T is for Time


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ho Ho How Many Times Are You Going To Tell That Story?

[Apparently at least one more time...This is a recycled post, originally appearing on the blog on December 25, 2009.]

The Christmas I was nine, I had pretty much given up on the idea of Santa. It's strange to me that I had not given up on it sooner--I was, after all, the kid who couldn't sit through the Wizard of Oz without harping on the fact that it would've been impossible for all those "people" who'd never met--Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion--to know all the words to the song "We're Off To See The Wizard." On the other hand, I did not seem to have much trouble accepting a talking Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion or, for that matter, a green-faced Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys so perhaps it's not so odd after all.

In any case, I didn't quite NOT believe in Santa but mostly that was the same kind of bet-hedging I imagine many on-the-fence agnostics indulge in--better not to say out loud, "There is no Santa" just in case there is one and he might be offended and vengeful at my disbelief.

So Little Sister and I were in the bedroom we shared, awake late, too excited to sleep, wondering aloud about the surprises there might be under the tree, just generally being kids on Christmas Eve. At some point--and I'm not sure if she was still awake or not--there came the sound of tinkling bells.

They were sleigh bells, of course. No other logical explanation could be found in my wanting-to-believe brain. And that sealed the deal on at least six more months of being right around 85% certain that Santa Claus not only existed but did in fact fly around the world in a sleigh pulled by bell-bedecked reindeer.

By the following Christmas, I no longer believed and I can't remember exactly what compelling evidence pushed me to non-believer status, but there was always this weird nagging doubt in the back of my mind--"What about those sleigh bells?"

Three years or so after I heard those sleigh bells, I was digging for dimes in the desk drawer where my father sometimes threw his pocket change and came across a photo of him with the box of the pinball machine we had found under the tree the Christmas morning I was nine and suddenly those sleigh bells made a lot more sense. It hadn't been a sleigh landing on the roof, it had been my father test-driving the pinball machine.

Thirty-two years later, the fact that I didn't recognize the bells of the sleigh the night before Christmas as the bells of the pinball machine Christmas morning remains one of my most enduring lessons in the power of our wishes and moods to influence our perceptions of the world around us. Though I've not always put it to good use*, the awareness that what I see is often influenced by what I "want" to see was a much longer-lasting gift than the pinball machine or anything else I found under the tree that morning.

*In that way, it's like the gift of exercise equipment--you have every intention of using it and you know it would do you good to use it, but all too often it ends up abandoned in some corner--a treadmill turned clothes rack.

S is for Santa Claus