L'esprit de l'escalier

It's all about the timing.

Location: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

I'd rather be somewhere else most of the time and I'm a huge practitioner of staircase wit.


The problem with kids today

People who say things like, "Kids today," with their fingers pointed and their brows furrowed, "they don't have the work ethic we did." Or, "they don't care about anything (like we did)." Or with frustration in their crackity old voices, "they're just worthless!"

Those people make me sad. What they don't understand, is their frustration should be directed at themselves. If our "kids today" don't care (or are perceived not to care), it's our own fault.

What these people don't understand is that it's our responsibility to figure out what it is that turns these "kids today" on to caring or learning or working, as the case may be. It's our problem, not theirs. Their problem begins when they have children and they turn into the "kids today".

If "kids today" aren't into what we were into, it's up to us to find out what it is they ARE into. That's hard.

I guess that's the problem. It's easier to blame them than ourselves. It's easier to scoff at their cloths and their hair than to understand why they like those things.

That's the saddest thing.


Thanks, Dad

My David and I celebrated our one-year being-married anniversary on August 8th. I know two months have passed since then, but I'm a bit behind as far as this blog goes. The traditional gift is paper. I like the idea of finding the perfect gift with a restriction like that. It makes you think more about the person than the item. It was David's idea to give me a Moleskine journal and when we saw the selection at the best bookstore in Memphis (Davis-Kidd for those of you planning your next vacation) found a perfect one for him, too. We also bought some magazines; The Oxford American (we were ridiculously happy to be back in the South), BOMB, 2600 and Nuts&Volts. Perfect paper gifts for sure. Can you guess who picked out what?

We went straight home to his mothers house (temporary home, anyway) and immediately set for an evening of reading and writing. We're so intellectual. We both think having such nice notebooks will encourage us to be, that is. We really should use them more regularly while at the same time -for me, anyway- keep our standards high as far as the content. I'm not planning to fill my pages with trite ramblings. Although sometimes trite ramblings turn into something significant after much time has passed. My intention is to document the noteworthy moments in our second year of marriage and ideas and goals and and and.

We ate at a Thai restaurant (I think Pho Ho Bin would be Thai?) for lunch. I had curry tofu and David had Kung Pao tofu with rice and spring rolls and peanut sauce. It was amazing and thankfully open. This particular restaurant has an Open/Closed sign with hours posted for no apparent reason. Or they think it's a funny joke to say they're open when the door is locked and the lights are off inside. Whatever. We took what we couldn't eat to a friend in the neighborhood who didn't know she liked tofu until she thoroughly enjoyed our leftovers.

I watched David flip through Nuts&Volts, thinking about what he wanted to do with his life. He had been struggling with that for as long as I've known him, but it was particularly pressing when we moved back from Phoenix. He had the chance, for the first time in a long time, to really find something to compel him. He'd always gone back and forth or from one thing to another, never satisfied with what he was doing at the moment. Usually, that was because whatever he was doing was something he had fallen into, so to speak, or something he was forced into for desperation and lack of funds. When we came back to Memphis from Phoenix, we lived with David's grandparents, primarily, but also stayed at my parents when they were out of town, a friends house when they were out of town and at David's mother's house. All of this was so that we could relax while David found his dream job. The problem being he still wasn't sure what that was or if there was such a thing. For once, there was a chance for him to find compelling work rather than fall into another crap way of making money.

So, the goal was simple. Get through the inconvenience of living amongst everyone else's things until we could find our own way again. David finally found the dream job he was looking for as a cabinet maker, we bought a 2nd vehicle (a Saturn station wagon that I LOVE) and now we're just saving money until we can purchase our first home. OUR FIRST HOME. Do you hear me, internet? I'm actually getting ready to buy a house. Holy shit I don't know how to explain how excited I am about the getting-on-ness of our lives but I couldn't be more. The only thing that will make this life more perfect is finding my own dream job.

I think I'll find it once I'm able to go back to school for a Master's Degree in Education and start teaching English classes somewhere. I think that's where I'll find the most satisfaction. And maybe someday along the way, maybe after I retire, I'll find the motivation and the discipline and content to write a book. It's not so much that I think I have something to offer the world. I just feel this need to get things outside of my head. There's so much in there that I can't speak, or even write properly, now. But it's there, I feel it. Normally, it's numbed by my life and the world, but when it's quiet long enough for me to listen, I can feel something like desire but not exactly and it's stifled. Certainly it's not something that can be forced out. I'll have to wait and learn how to pay attention.

I believe David had the idea to buy me the Moleskine journal because he doesn't want to let me forget that I have to remember. It's so easy to forget. My father did until writing, for him, was little more than a hobby from years ago. His desire was drowned out until it was completely replaced by need. I love him for that. I wouldn't have been able to sit with my husband, on our first anniversary, listening to him snore softly while the fan blew, the rain fell outside and the dog slept in the doorway, if my father hadn't forgotten his desire.


An ode to my husband by Billy Collins

The Best Cigarette

There are many that I miss
having sent my last one out a car window
sparking along the road one night, years ago.

The heralded one, of course:
after sex, the two glowing tips
now the lights of a single ship;
at the end of a long dinner
with more wine to come
and a smoke ring coasting into the chandelier;
or on a white beach,
holding one with fingers still wet from a swim.

How bittersweet these punctuations
of flame and gesture;
but the best were on those mornings
when I would have a little something going
in the typewriter,
the sun bright in the windows,
maybe some Berlioz on in the background.
I would go into the kitchen for coffee
and on the way back to the page,
curled in its roller,
I would light one up and feel
its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee.

Then I would be my own locomotive,
trailing behind me as I returned to work
little puffs of smoke,
indicators of progress,
signs of industry and thought,
the signal that told the nineteenth century
it was moving forward.
That was the best cigarette,
when I would steam into the study
full of vaporous hope
and stand there,
the big headlamp of my face
pointed down at all the words in parallel lines.


I, on the other hand, think meme's are neat.

So, courtesy of OneGoodThing, I will copy her post here. I have to say, I'm not sure if it's okay to do this. I'm not trying to fool anyone into to thinking I wrote this, but still, it feels a little sketchy. The reason I'm copying her word for word is because I thought it would be a little obvious and cheesy and over-done to start a meme about a missing, pregnant black woman on a relatively happy, lucky white woman's blog. But that changed after I read what "flea" had to say, so that's why I want you to read it, too. What she's saying is important and we need to hear it...

I hate memes, mostly. I don't participate in them and very rarely read them when other people do them. I want to make an exception with this post, and I hope that everybody who reads me and has a blog or a LiveJournal or posts on bulletin boards or has actual physical human contact with other people passes this meme on.

This is Latoyia Figueroa.

She is a 24 year old Philadelphian, 5'2" tall, 5 months pregnant, the mother of a 7-year-old daughter, and has been missing since July 18th. Blogger Richard Blair of the
All Spin Zone is covering the story of her disappearance. He has also set up, with the assistance of the Philadelphia Citizens Crime Commission, a reward fund for any information on Ms. Figueroa.

I read about her at Shakespeare's Sister, who began her post with "Have you heard of Latoyia Figueroa?" I haven't, actually. Not a word. CNN has picked up the story, and I understand MSNBC has reported on it as well, but after reading that it was a blogger that called CNN to ask why a story about a missing pregnant woman with a young child had not been covered, I felt an emotion that I hadn't expected to feel: embarrassment. I am embarrassed that the media, and white people in general, it must be said, aren't doing more to find this young woman.

Look: I am uncomfortable with the bloggers who have been sneering about "missing white women" lately, mostly because it doesn't have the effect I think they're going for. It's very trendy with liberal bloggers to make comments like "Oh, ho hum, look at the media go crazy over another missing white woman." or "CNN isn't covering the war in Iraq because, hold the presses, there's another missing white woman!" I understand the intent behind this is to point out the racism behind the manufactured press hysteria, but what actually happens is this: black, asian, and hispanic women still get ignored, and white women are held in contempt and blamed for media coverage over which they have no control. That's it. Eventually, you get people calling Natalee Holloway a whore that probably left with three guys to let them run a train on her, so who cares whether she's found or not?

I still care about Natalee Holloway. What I would like to do is care equally about Latoyia Figueroa, her daughter, her family, and her unborn baby. I hope you all do the same.

Richard Blair has made a wonderful effort toward getting the nation focused on Figueroa's recovery. It is my hope that we all can do our part to bring her back home.

Here is more information about Figueroa's disappearance:

CBS News

Philly Future
Posted by: flea / 7/27/2005 06:54:00 PM


Maltitol makes you fart!

Why can I not find a vegetarian buffet? My husband and I adore buffet's. So much so it hurts. Really, the fat around our middles is heavy. It's become a main player in our lives. We talk about it constantly. We point to it adoringly during sex, walks on the beach, at the theater. We haven't named it, yet, but perhaps we will soon. So, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could go to a buffet that didn't consist mainly of moo goo gai pan and general tao's chicken? And instead consisted mainly of beans and lentils and nuts? Mmmmm, my mouth waters for yummy foliage. But I live in the south, where a person could get shot for stealing someon's fried okra and breakfast of champions was shrimp 'n grits instead of Wheaties.

What I'm about to complain about next is trivial, petty, frivilous even, but I'm disgusted and I need the world to know. I look so stupid today in this get-up I have on. I'm not kidding. I need to start picking out my clothes at night or something instead of sleepily grabbing something and not looking at myself until I'm already gone and it's much too late. This is not the first time I've had this problem. I put on a pair of jeans that make my hips look huge, I don't know how they do this, but seriously, there's material at the hips where it's just air inside. I have curvy places, they just don't happen to be in the hips. So, these jeans make me look hippy and then I put on this shirt that like accentuates my butt, thus accentuating the hippy area. And it's not a fitted top, so I look large already but when you get to the bottom area, I just really pop. And the jeans are low-riding sort of, and the shirt's a mid-waist type thing, so all day I'm tugging at the bottom to make it cover my pooch while trying not to expose my top. I'm a grown woman with elementary dressing issues. Retarded.

I'll close today with an exerpt from an email I received yesterday from a friend. I think it's rather self explanatory:

Yes, and there's more. First, Regina took a big bite of a capuchin power bar and felt something moving in her
mouth...she spat the contents into the pail and told kp...km then noticed a severed millipede squirming between her
teeth...much screaming and hopping up and down ensued ...lois dumped the basket of power bars into the trash only to
find more squirming and squiggling at the bottom of the basket. needless to say, power bars are off limits back here.

In hindsight, I think Regina planted the bugs to bring attention to herself since she was overlooked for the job.
How else could the bugs have gotten there? I mean, did they eat their way through the foil or what?

And yes, I'm still a eatin' them bad fellas. I prefer the "splurge" bar these days as it's NOT sweetened w/ maltitol
and is therefore flatulence-free!


I should explain that this man would go to a place called "The Dented Can" store and buy, literally, 100 power bars for a dollar. Or some such nonsense. It was an insane amount of power bars and our office was flooded with them even though no one actually admitted to eating them save for a select few. I imagine even those few will be quitting with the power bars after this little incident. One can only hope.


Online drama and Miss Manners

So, there's this, the essay in the NY Times Style section by a woman spitefully, jealously, pathetically attacking her former nanny. And then there's this, the nanny's defense.

It's been a slow day at the office.

But this is copy-worthy, and not too long to put right up (found on One Good Thing). If you haven't read the Miss Manners column, yet:

Dear Miss Manners:

Please help my friend see how rude and wrong she has been.

Jean's husband went blind from an illness. She was wonderful in the situation. She always wore perfume since he couldn't see her. Arranged the house for his convenience. She read the paper to him every day and they did the puzzle together.

When he died, I knew she would be perfect for a male friend of mine who is also blind. She overreacted and said she would never go through that again. She had let her appearance go since he couldn't see her, and she liked to read the paper to herself.

But taking care of her husband brought out the best in her, and that is when people are really happy. So I invited my blind friend over to try Jean's home cooking. She is really a spectacular cook. I brought all the ingredients and then invited Jean over. When she arrived and found Zachary here, she said, "Oh, no" and walked out.

How do you think that made him feel? My husband and myself had made plans to go out so they could be alone, so we had to ask Zachary to leave.

When I scolded Jean the next day, she jumped on me for making him go home alone and without any dinner. She claims Zachary was our guest, not hers. But we invited him for her because they would be good for each other. Now she won't talk to me at all.

Why is it that those who try to make the world a better place end up unappreciated?

Miss Manners replies:

Could it be because they have no compunction about grossly insulting and humiliating their guests under the guise of doing them explicitly unwelcome favors?

Miss Manners can hardly count the etiquette atrocities you committed. She tries to remind herself that you meant well, but frankly she can't manage it. If you had given your friends' feelings any thought at all, you would never have done this.

You attempted to trap a guest into a blind date she wished to avoid and into cooking dinner when you had invited her.

You led another guest to believe his company would be welcome when you knew it was not, and you threw him out of the house hungry.

Worst of all, you made it clear to supposed friends that the outstanding characteristic of one was his blindness, and of the other her sacrifices -- discounting that they were done for love of her husband rather than a love of sacrifice -- so it didn't matter whether they really had anything in common.

And you call them unappreciative?

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