Monday, September 29, 2008

No title, no resolution.

I. An employee was sitting in my office today, asking me to look over a grant application. I couldn't really do it, since I will be involved in deciding whether she gets the grant later, but I told her I would be happy to just listen to her describe her project to me and ask questions.

She started and I listened. It was fascinating, so naturally I jumped in every now and then and inserted a little comment or inquiry. She would cock her head and her eyes would get big and then she would tear into the answer. It was a great conversation.

She stayed a long time, and when she got up to leave she said she knew I couldn't be her mentor, given our relationship, but that the talk had made her think of me that way.

I just said "Oh, E, all I did was prime the pump. All that stuff was in there, dying to come out. It's a miracle I didn't get washed away once you opened up and let it go!"

II. I don't prime the pump in other people's lives enough. It's hard to get things going just enough and then to shut up. To let them come to their own conclusions in my presence. To bear witness to their shivering into an answer without wrapping them up in my ready-made cloak of authority.

III. I walk around a lot and I've begun to mark my walks by what I find in, on, or near chain-link fences. They're like see-through memorials, these fences. Sometimes I stand at a fence and wonder who left all the stuff there, the litter, the remnants, the discarded. I wonder if they were sauntering parallel to the fence and just dropped something distractedly, or if they walked right up to the fence, perpendicular-wise, acknowledged the barrier, and just said "well, I can't continue. I'll leave this here as a sign of where I gave up." I wonder where they all are now; whether they made it to the other side.

This is one of those blogs without resolution.

For you musicians, I'm sorry to leave you hanging on a 7th. ; )

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm parked outside a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on 4th Avenue and my parents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family are in a caravan on the street. I need to run back to help my dad with something, and when I return, my car has been stolen. I panic and call the police to report it. Only the police department has adopted one of those "press 1 to report a rape; press 2 to report a break-in; press 3 to report a committed murder; press 4 to report an impending murder..." systems. I'm pressing ZERO ZERO ZERO, since that usually goes to a live person. Which is what I get. Only my live person is an outsourced police switchboard person in India somewhere and he can't understand me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

South Beach Diet™, you owe me.

I busted up my knee about a month ago, and have not been able to get around on it until now. That, combined with the fact that I tend to go out for just about every single meal with my Fellow Gourmands and Varsity Enablers, aka my friends, has led to me feeling sluggish and icky.

So today was the day. Kick Start City! Wrestle those cravings to the ground! Phase I, hear I come!

I got all ready this weekend, buying the requisite groceries, lining up my cheese sticks and whatnot, trying to convince myself that Splenda™-sweetened fudgesicles were going to be JUUUUUUUST like a glass of Tempranillo in the evening...

I made my lunch for today, and got the greens and cherry tomatoes in their little bags, the tuna mixed up with a couple of capers, some Dijon, and some inky black olives, made sure I had some parceled out almonds for a snack...oh, I was feeling so organized and motivated! I had my Last Supper, only I substituted pasta for Body and Chianti for Blood, and then it was off to bed.

Fast forward to this morning. Overslept. By a lot. Leapt out of bed, cleared the bathtub edge like a doped up hurdler, wet my hair and reached for the...D'OH. Empty shower bottle. I had meant to replace it yesterday. OK, no problem, out of the shower, new bottle, back in without slipping in the pool of water on the floor, showered without further incident, back out, dried the pool and myself and my hair in record time (of course by now I was in a lather again, but no time to remedy that), wrestled with clothes in the closet, leaving a pile of empty hangers twisted in the dark recesses of the closet floor, threw on my day's raiment and then hobbled down the stairs.

Oh, right. South Beach. No grabbing a cheddar-dill scone at the coffeehouse on my way to work. Um, OK. Now imagine this next part speeded up, with The William Tell Overture playing: a little tin of tomato juice is retrieved from the fridge and set down next to the computer. I break an egg into a bowl and beat it quickly and dump it into a skillet with some Smart Balance™ and diced Canadian-style bacon and a trace of low-fat cheddar cheese. Easy peasy! Onto a plate it goes, and I sit down to log into LL quickly as I'm eating.

I grab my tomato juice can and shake vigorously, and...

NOOOOOOOO. I had already opened it!

Tomato juice all over me, the keyboard, the pens in my pen holder, the wall, the rug under my desk chair.

I wish I could say that the scene got reeled back in, rewind-style, and that it was just as gripping* as the first part of my tale, but truth be told: it was more like a newsreel of a defeated WWII soldier trudging along in a rain-gutted road, vacant-eyed and resigned to whatever was over the horizon, as I cleaned up the mess and changed clothes.

Anyway, I finally got to work, half an hour late, and announced my entrance with a loud, dramatic "DON'T ANYONE CROSS ME TODAY, I MEAN IT" as I brandished my bag of almonds.

Tomorrow is another day.

*Editorial license