Where: Standing in line at the mega-market....
Who: Two mature ladies, one apparently the other's mother. We'll call one Meany and the other Old Meany.
When: Earth day, 2009
Act I, Scene 1
Old Meany: [voice loud but quivery] What's going on with all this stuff? Is it some kind of holiday or something going on?
Meany: [distractedly looking around] It's Earth Day.
Old Meany: [interested] Really? What's that? I don't keep up with all that stuff...
Meany: [barely paying attention] It's a day when we're supposed to do something nice or be aware of the environment.
Old Meany: [voice louder and less quivery] I TELL YOU WHAT, I am SICK to DEATH of some DUMBASS somewhere telling me what to do!
Meany: [a little less distracted, nodding enthusiastically] I know.
Old Meany: [getting louder] I mean, who the HELL are they? Just some overeducated ASSHOLES, that's what they are.
Meany: [sanctimoniously] Overeducated isn't what they are. STUPID. Stupid, is what they are!
Old Meany: [starting to trail off from her rant] I mean. The Earth. Good Gawd. [Incoherent babbling]
Cashier at grocery store: [perkily] Would you like a free fluorescent light bulb?
Old Meany: Now why the HELL would I want THAT?
Meany: [I didn't get all the words on this exchange but it ended with the cashier looking utterly speechless and dumbstruck and Meany pumping her arm with a....] Drill, Baby, Drill!
Happy Earth Day.
Some things will be forever burned into my wee brain, this being one of them. It's about 1:10 into the video....
It is impossible for me to see a police car and not think of this one tiny little phrase of that song. I do not remember the rest of the song unless I hear it, I haven't seen that movie an inordinate number of times, I definitely do not have the uncanny ability that some people have to remember quotes from movies. As a matter of fact, my memory pretty much sucks for the most part. Why this particular one continues to haunt me decades later is beyond me.
It just so happens that we are friends with a couple of coppers, and on a recent camping trip with one of these friends we were trading Ticket Stories. I recalled a particularly disheartening ticket experience a few years back and without getting into the gory details of how I was unfairly entrapped I began describing how the "cop" was hiding out of view.....
An edgy silence swept the campsite.
What? I was mortified. Is "cop" derogatory? The equivalent of the...the...."p" word and I didn't even know it? After all these years of singing my little Dragnet goat skin pants song, how could I stop using "cop"?? I professed apologies profusely and was reassured that it was not necessarily a bad word but that I might want to use "police officer" if I were to be conversing with one who did not happen to be a friend. AND I learned the HOW of WHY police officers are sometimes called "cops" by people who don't know any better. Did you know that way, way back our law enforcement officers' badges were made of.....
You got it. Copper.
Who'da guessed? Now you know. You're welcome.
The brilliance of David Sedaris is not his sardonic wit as many people may have you believe. True, at first reading, it IS his biting humor and sense of irony that jumps out, grabs you and won't let you go. He is one of the few authors that will illicit an out loud laugh (not a snicker...a REAL laugh), whether I'm listening to him read his work through my little white earphones as I push my oversized cart through Costco or as I read into the wee hours unable to put down one of his books as I try to muffle the laugh so as not to wake BB. Oh, he's definitely funny. A riotous hoot.
But what I love about him is more than just his rollicking hilarity. It is his ability to take the mundane, the ordinary, the colorless and make it exceptional and memorable. How he uses just strings of words to so precisely convey the flavor of any given situation and elevate it to an almost tactile experience. Sometimes those situations are funny. Sometimes they're profound. He has a knack for hiding a scoop of profound underneath the funny with an occasional topping of sweet melancholy.
He didn't remember his boozy friend, which wasn't overly surprising, I guess. The only thing there would have been to remember is a ridiculously ridiculous woman who couldn't stop giggling. I did manage a sentence or two this time that I believe was semi-coherent if you listened carefully. My heart was racing and pounding so hard I couldn't hear my voice over the thumping. And I shook Sarah Bird's hand. This was nothing compared to TRACEY JACKSON, who scored a hug and subsequent email exchanges. SHE does not let a pounding heart, sweating armpits and an uncontrollable case of nervous giggles verging on full-blown panic ruin her opportunities to speak to famous people like some people.
David's (may I call him David?) popularity continues to grow and I'm happy for him. I really am. But it was strange to have the book signing table set up beneath a 15 foot tall cross made out of crayons. Apparently, his genius has outgrown the Paramount and he was booked at Riverbend, a big-box, mega-church. Perhaps this was for the sake of irony. Yeah, I'm going to go with that.
This growth phenomenon is a result of another reason why he's one of my favorite authors. He reaches me. A thirty-something, liberal, stay-at-home mom. Not a fiction writer creating a character from the ether with whom I can identify. But making me identify with him. Seeing my own feelings and reactions or observations through his words. And it's not just me. Based on who I saw in the audience, he reaches young people, old people, in-the-middle people. Men, women, gay, not gay. Maybe even a few conservatives?
A little research has turned up that he will be in San Antonio in June...not doing a lecture series this time but an appearance at a Hastings. San Antonio isn't that far....anybody up for a road trip?
This crazy weekend started with a bang on Friday morning with me as Kindergarten teacher for an hour, straight into planning session for Spring Carnival to be held the next day, rain or shine (amidst a downpour), a Girl Scout meeting packed from start to finish with activities, wrapping up with a 10 year old girl sleepover. The poor pizza guy will probably never be the same after having been greeted by rabid, screeghing girls (screeghing = screeching + laughing). I know I won't.
I am thankful for a gorgeous Saturday which brought dozens and hundreds (dare I say, thousands?) of the community out for the school festival. So many people put countless hours of hard work into making the day a triumphant smash it would have been a shame to have it turn out less than wildly successful for any reason. Despite a few minor (and not-so-minor) glitches, it was. To say I was worn plum out by the time I got home at 9:15 would be an understatement of tremendous magnitude. BB blessed me with a scrumptious hot foot bath and The Office. Everyone needs one of him at home. Get your own. This one is MINE.
A few hours later we awoke for the Team Toprope ladies tri. I can't imagine the amount of work that went into mapping the course, setting it all up, getting shirts, snacks, etc...SJ and PJ are great race directors and I see a potential future for them. Sadly, I had to bow out of competition due to whatever the hell I did to my foot last weekend. There had been glimmers of healing by Thursday and Friday, but any progress made was reversed by 12 hours of festival work yesterday where the pedometer I wasn't wearing would have read something like 84 miles had I been wearing it. Big E decided the water at the 1/8 mile Barton Springs was too cold for her and after a mild panic attack we decided it wouldn't be right to push her in. So, she skipped that part of the tri. Ironic, since we all assumed this would be her strongest event given that she swims 1500m+, 3 or 4 days a week. Guess a heated pool makes a big difference. But who am I to judge? You didn't see ME jumping in.
The bike was next and we embarked on what proved to be a "challenging" ride, as described by our esteemed Race Director, PJ. How many race directors will chalk motivational words on the road as you're grunting up a hill that never ends? "Ride, DON'T walk!", "Granny Gear is GOOD!", and "Feel the burn!". Big E and I walked that particular hill. But she only needed to walk a couple of more times, and I happily joined her. My map-reading skills (or lack there-of) caused us to miss one of the turns and we took a little detour. Being along Ladybird Lake, it was very scenic and can't say that I was all that upset about it. Big E was more so but we managed to move past it and headed back to Transition 2 and out on the run.
As mentioned before, map-reading isn't a strong suit of mine and we once again ended up missing a turn and therefore missing part of the run. Instead of a 3.4 mile loop it probably ended up being about 2. I rode beside her (my foot) as she loped along. That girl can run.
Little A escorted Big E over the finish. It won't be long until he's in the thick of it.
Thinking back to my own 10 year old self, the thought of tackling a triathlon would have never even entered my mind. If someone HAD brought it up I would have thought they were certifiable idiots. Deranged lunatics. Triathlons are for ATHLETES and I was just a kid. The thought wouldn't have been much different when I was 20. Or 30. I think of the 25 year headstart Big E has on realizing that such things are not only possible, but attainable without much more than a little effort and hard work, and imagine what she'll accomplish. Whatever it is, I think it will be truly great.
Not a word that would usually describe me. It's not like it never happens, just that most of the time I feel most comfortable with a schedule and a plan. What we're doing, what we're going to do, when we're going to do it, how it will be accomplished, when we'll be finished and what time we need to move on to the NEXT thing. See how I make it what "WE'RE" doing and not just what "I'M" doing? There's been word that I overburden myself with these rigors and since they are the ones sharing with me I assume I must be overburdening the tellers as well.
Last weekend's plan was a camping trip to Enchanted Rock. I've only been there one other time in lo these many years we've been in Central Texas. It was hot. That's the only real memory that has stuck with me from that visit. So Easter camping at E Rock it was to be. And then the forecast came.
Oh, we do NEED the rain. Desperately. I didn't necessarily want it all over my camping stuff though. A wet dog. A wet tent. Mud in my car. I was still fresh on the tails of another camping trip and not necessarily falling over myself with anticipation of all the prep and clean-up involved amidst all the other Spring Business happening. Plus, the King Tut exhibit at the Dallas MoA only has a few more weeks in its run and this was the only weekend we'd be able to make it. Etc...etc...etc...Then an idea! Wouldn't it be great if my family (from Oklahoma) could meet us halfway and we could ALL go to King Tut? The cousins could play and swim. No cooking. No dishes. Hours of Rummikub. Two quick phone calls and a visit to hotels.com and badabing badaboom! We're all set. I couldn't believe how easily it worked out.
Then the guilty phone call to inform half our camping partners they'd be sans the Bubbles.
Traffic was less cooperative than the arrangements had been and after five hours we finally made it to Big D. We were staying right downtown and Little A's first comment while driving in through the tall buildings was "Skyscrapers. Whooooooooaaaaw". Imagine how Cheech would say it. Not excitedly or with thrilled amazement. Just true wonderment and reverence.
The weekend was fun...we relaxed. Shopped. Visited Heaven on Earth for young girls. Ice skated. Played Rummikub where my 2009 losing streak was maintained and I somehow tweaked my foot. (Seriously. I suffered a Rummikub injury. It's inexplicable but I've been hobbling around since the Friday night game marathon). We viewed ancient Egyptian relics. The sense of disappointment was only due to my previously set high expectations. Shouldn't I know better by now? Why would one possibly expect to see one of Tut's many masks or sarcophagus' (or sarcophagi?) when visiting a Tut exhibit?
When we got home and I read the recap of the camping weekend I was a little wistful and felt the guilt seeping back in. Then I saw CCC scaling a wall of rock and decided that all things happen for a reason and if I was overcome by a sudden wave of Spontaneity to bail on my friends it was probably my sixth sense telling me that I or one of my family would have fallen to certain death had we gone. This makes me feel a smidge less guilty.
Bubble Girl who?
Yeah, yeah...it's been a while. I know. No excuses. Spring break got me all off kilter and out of my near-debilitating habit of checking Facebook or sitting at my computer doing any number of Lord Only Knows What for hours on end. Can't say that's all bad, but it has put a serious cramp in allowing me to keep everyone informed and current with what's going on in BubbleLand.
So, let's rewind to where we left off...a brief retrospective to get everyone up-to-date.
It was spring break. We'd gone to Oklahoma for niece #2's birthday. Fun was had by all.
Return to Austin and prep for camping at our favorite state park. No Curtis the Deer this time, but Ranger J brought his pet rattler by for a visit and everyone had fun, despite the lack of a campfire and the inconsiderate @$$ who decided to start up his diesel pick-up at 5am and let it idle for an hour or so with intermittent engine revving while he rummaged around his campsite looking for something (anything) to do that might possibly be even louder than a gigantomega-horsepower diesel engine running at 5 o'clock in the morning.
Regardless of the incivility of some campers, we have really grown to love camping and I just don't think it would be remotely as fun if not for our great camping group. Kids played in the river, bikes were ridden, trails were hiked, geocaches were located. Home by Sunday, unpacked and everything cleaned by Monday. Then came Tuesday. Absent-mindedly I scratched an itch. I mean, we all itch, right? So I scratched. "Hmm?", thought I. "Don't recall having a mole under my arm in that particular spot...that itchy spot right...there..." "Could it be?"; "Not possibly"; "But maybe??"; "But I've already done a tick check"; "Could have missed it...they WERE teeny".
Hyperventilating and weakened by the Lyme disease racing through my veins, I asked BB to take a closer look and all fears were instantly confirmed. After much ado, the tick was out or off, or whatever they are when they no longer have their heads embedded in your flesh, growing fat and distended from your blood.
On a substantially happier note, the next weekend Little A and I were at his first Math Pentathlon tournament. He hesitated as we walked into the big gymnasium where the tournament was being held but managed to hold it together long enough to get through his games and even won a couple along the way.
In other Little A news, the kindergarten culminated their study of Texas with Rodeo Day, complete with cow-milking, bull-riding, trail-riding, animal-petting, chicken-dancing and beans-and-cornbread eating. Dressed in the cowhide vest my grandfather made for me when I was a wee cowgirl, he looked and acted like a true cowboy. And if all that wasn't enough, the kids loved the beans I made! I felt so validated.
Things have been hopping for Big E too. The choir teacher held auditions for the fourth grade play and Lo and Behold! Big E landed the female lead. She seemed more shocked and surprised than anyone despite our near constant droning about her (over) dramatic tendencies since the day she was old enough to utter a syllable. The play is a take-off from Moonlighting, where Bruce Willis got set on his way to action movie superstardom and Cybil Shepherd wore kleenex box shoulder pads and glowed under soft lighting.
Stay tuned for more as our suburban drama unfolds.....