Monday, February 23, 2009

You there. Look sharp.

I haven't been able to ascertain whether it's an issue of fashion, comfort, or profit--but lately, clothing manufacturers are shaving the t-shirts just a little too thin for my taste. They're all thin enough to read through, but the white ones are the worst. Sometimes I have to wear two t-shirts layered together, just to ensure that my office mates aren't compairing notes on my freckles.

On Friday, I stepped into the Ladies' Room on the way to class to check my lipstick and realized that my freckles weren't the only things subject to display. Despite all the clothes I was wearing, anyone who cared to look could see my nipples clearly enough to count them.

"So what?" you say, "Everybody has them."

And to this I say, "Indeed."

However, my two nipples are actually quite unique. They are even--it would appear--unique from one another. My nipples on that day were so unique as to be of separate minds. My nipples were intent on taking two separate trips. That is, one gazed slightly South, while the other had Easterly aspirations.

And thus I was forced to completely forgo my daily lipstick check so I could sort and sift things out. I headed to class knowing that nothing I could do--short of a bulky cardigan--could ease the trauma I was about to inflict upon the 22 people who, prior to that day, would have sworn upon a stack of bibles that I didn't even have nipples.

All for the want of a decent white t-shirt.

Image, Square America.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I was. Then I wasn't. Now I am again.

I am micro-blogging on Twitter.

Because I'm not nearly far enough behind with my macro-blogging already.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Saturday night. Whaddaya say we get out of the house, for a change.

From A time-lapse video of snails getting the lead out:

"Every evening, after my automatic water system stops, all the snails who where hidden behind flowers go out and go on the grass to make parties, eating and drinking!"

Better shake a leg. The weekend is only two days' long.

Via Boing Boing, via Unique Daily.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yes, I did say that I wanted to feel younger. No, I did not mean 7th grade.

You want to know a key difference between 1975 and 2009?

The field is smaller.

So much smaller that I estimate these days, I know less than half a dozen single men. Yesterday, one of them excused himself from the conversation we were having so that he could cross the room and start a conversation with the other single woman who was there. He did, in fact say, "Oh, I gotta go catch [the name of the other woman who was not me]."

I suppose I'll have some chili-cheese fries and listen to David Gates while I figure out how I feel about that.

Image, Maude and Mozart.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Excuses, excuses.

A woman from 2nd floor just managed to catch the elevator yesterday as the doors were sliding closed. I would have waited, had she yelled. Instead, she poked her hand and arm through the magic doors and caught herself a ride to the next floor. I was happy to have friendly company.

It's a short ride from the first floor to the third and an even shorter one to second floor. No call for small talk, really. But she talked the small anyway. People usually do.

"I really should be taking the stairs, I know--" she began.

In this situation, I usually offer up my own excuse--I'm old, it's been raining and the stairs are slippery, my bra's too tight and I can't breathe properly. Because that's the way this works. If one person rationalizes, everybody has to, so no one is obliged to feel self-reproach. Let one person fail to explain, though, and you've got a tiny room full of unaccounted-for compunction. That kind of guilt can rub off on another person, and I've already got all I can handle. I don't need to be carrying around extra, I'm-too-lazy-to-walk stranger guilt.

Even so, in that split second when I ordinarily would have responded in kind, I just couldn't come up with an excuse that didn't feel like--well, an excuse.

"I'm tired of feeling guilty for not taking the stairs," I said. "I have stairs in my house and I'm up and down them all day and all night long. And right now, I wanna take this elevator."

She looked at me with love and said, "Well I do, too."

Empowerment on the elevator. It was beautiful.

Image, sign at Cornwallis Inn, Kentville, NS, Canada by Bill Davenport.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

(Too) close to you.

Have you ever fallen in love? If you're like most of us, when you fall in love, you want to spend every possible moment with the object of your affection.

It's heavenly, that feeling. I like being in love.

Eventually, though, you're going to want to go home--at least for a little while. There are things that need to be taken care of. The cat may be about to run out of food. Perhaps you can't poop any place but in your own bathroom.

Nothing personal. That's just the way it is.

Or suppose a fairly good friend just won cruise tickets and invited you to go along--her treat. You're pretty stoked. She's fun to hang out with, and the two of you get along fine. But if it turns out you're sharing the same cabin and very, very tiny bathroom for 7 days and 6 nights, that friendship might start to wear a little thin. Maybe by the time you're back on dry land, you're feeling as though you've just spent a very long week lost at sea with Tallulah Bankhead and Hume Cronyn, listening to everyone arguing about the Germans when what you most want to hear are the chimes of the Popsicle truck.

My point? Togetherness is a good thing. Until it's not.

Image, Alfred Hitchcock's 1944 film, Lifeboat.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some things require absolute perfection. Some, not so much.

I don't believe in writer's block. I do believe in having other things I'd rather be doing. Some days I believe in being too tired or just too bored to write anything down. But anyone who tells you that he or she isn't writing because they can't? Bah. Writing is easy.

It's the stuff you have to do to the writing next--that's the hard part.

I spend the majority of my days, these days, trying to convince the young folks that it's all in the revision. They just want to sit down at the computer, type it all out, and be on their way--maybe go to a kegger and listen to that loud rock and roll music. That's not their fault; lots of people think it works that way.

Even the worst of these blog posts have been through a lot of revision.

In publishing, revision is king. Everybody has a go at it--usually more than once. But the deadline looms, and eventually, you have to put down the blue pencil and send the writing (and photography and layout) on its way. Somebody has to say, "it's good enough." No one ever says, "It's perfect," because it never is.

But that's exactly where I've been on those days you weren't able to find me. I was trying to get it perfect.

And I'm sorry to have to report to you now that just isn't going to happen.

I'm going to assume that you're okay with that. You've had 434 opportunities to let me know otherwise. Unless I hear from you, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing.

Whether I think it's perfect enough, or not.

Image, Library of Congress Collection of Lithographs by Calvert Litho. Co., Trapeze Artists, 1890.
Reproduction number: LC-USZC4-2091

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I thought it needed a little spiffing up.

I made a few minor changes to the look of the place. Hope you like it.

Image, Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum, via WebUrbanist.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fancy meeting you here.

I was standing outside my building on campus yesterday, enjoying the wintry sunshine and a couple minutes' solitude before my 10:00 class. Things were quiet. A young woman arrived on a bicycle. Two students shared a cigarette. On the sidewalk, twenty-or-so feet away, stood a young man, just waiting. fa-la-la.

After a few minutes, 9:00 classes were dismissed. People exited one building and tromped right into another. One of the smokers dropped the cigarette into the butt can. The bicycle rack filled up. Impatient students took off over the wet grass, cutting snail trails across the quad.

The guy on the sidewalk, though, was still waiting. Maybe his girlfriend was held up in class, or his study partner was sleeping through the alarm.

After a couple more minutes, the crowd began to thin out again. Only a few stragglers, the guy on the sidewalk, and I remained. A young woman exited my building and made her way down the sidewalk--either to her next class, or to breakfast, or back to the dorm for more sleep. She strode with purpose past the young man who had been waiting on the sidewalk.

"Hey!" he said. "How you doin'?"

"Oh, hi!" she said.

And then she was gone--down the sidewalk, well on her way to one more day closer to Spring Break.

The young man stood and watched her walk away. Then he turned and walked off in the other direction--to his next class, or to breakfast, or back to the dorm for more sleep.

Whatever. He'd done what he came to do.

image, LIFE Picture Collection Photo Archive, Photographer: Cornell Capa, 1951.
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