Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Flotsam and Jetsam

I have very little capacity for small talk. I listen politely and smile, answer direct questions when asked, and then usually blurt something vaguely appalling that stops conversation dead and then abruptly walk away after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence. Yet people still talk to me.

I have a deep and abiding love of the U.S. Postal Service. I mail things as often as possible and see the postage increases as an opportunity for new stamps. One of my dreams is to be on the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.

I used to drive a green 1973 Chevy Impala. I was on a first name, hugging basis with the tow truck driver. Sometimes I really miss that car.

I was thinking about Heraclitus the other day. When he said "you cannot step twice in the same river; for other waters are ever-flowing on to you," I'm not sure he was talking about being a mom. He could have been, though.

I dated a guy once who complained about my vocabulary. "Why can't you just talk normal [sic] like everybody else?" He asked me to marry him. I said no.

My Jaybird was all excited after school yesterday because as part of their Social Studies unit on communities, they are building a city and writing laws. The mayor of Seattle sent their class a proclamation recognizing their fictitious community. "Mama! I was so excited I cried a little!"

I really want to learn how to rap. I think that would help with awkward social silences.

I cried a little during an episode of Curious George this morning. George's friend Betsy has chicken pox and misses a performance of her favorite opera, Hansel and Gretel. George re-enacts the opera for her using finger puppets and makes a finger puppet that looks just like Betsy to play the Dew Fairy. It was just such a thoughtful gesture for a cartoon monkey to make.

The Hooligan explained to me how his "brain was acting funny" on the way home from soccer practice yesterday. He said he kept seeing flashes "like at school picture day" coming out of the traffic lights. I assured him he was probably hungry and tired and we'd take care of it. I spent the rest of the evening worrying that he had a brain tumor.

I am much more comfortable delivering a soliloquy on stage in front of hundreds of strangers than I am mingling at a party. A complete stranger that I met in a park when I was 16 told me that was because I am a coward. For a long time I believed him.

Sometimes when I'm doing housework, I make up poems in my head to keep it interesting. My favorite is "Piles to Fold Before I Sleep".

I religiously read instructional signs and follow them - stay off the grass, do not touch, no food or beverages allowed, take one. The one firm exception to this rule is any sign indicating where I can or cannot park and for how long. For some reason those are completely invisible to me.

I have a recurring nightmare that we find out my daughter's verbal acumen and bright personality are the result of a brain tumor that's pressing on her temporal lobe. We are given the choice of operating to save her life but sacrificing her personality and speech or letting her go on as she is, knowing she will die young.

One time when I was nine, I fit 227 candy corns in my mouth at once.

When my husband and I got engaged, I read somewhere that the top three reasons for divorce are fights about money, in-laws, and children. We agreed to never fight about those things. So far, so good.

I write extremely silly cover letters for job interviews. I figure they should know up front what they are getting into. Sometimes I even get hired.

I had lived in 6 states and 3 countries by the time I turned 18. I never feel quite at home anywhere, but I feel quite at home everywhere.

First semester of my freshman year in college, a close friend of mine died from a brain tumor that had been quietly growing for years. A few hours before she died, she and I had a spectacular collision on the softball field. A lot of people blamed me for her death. It wasn't my fault.

I dated a guy once who asked me to tell him all about the strangest place I'd ever lived. I took the next hour and told him about Tampa, Florida. I don't think that was what he was going for. He also asked me to marry him. I said no.

Whenever I log into Twitter, it reminds me of a semester in college when I told the advisor I was interested in "Urban Planning" and she signed me up for mechanical engineering courses. I wanted to plant flowers and stage theatrical performances starring homeless people. I found myself in classes surrounded by people who spoke a language of symbols and numbers that were incomprehensible to me.

I don't mind appearing vulnerable, but sometimes I mind appearing strong.

Ten words I hear almost every day that just make me fall in love with my husband all over again: "I'm on my way home. Can I pick anything up?"

My daughter likes to play "The Stranger Game". She invented it when she was 3. She pretends she is an orphan who has turned up on our doorstep and creates a whole back story for herself as she "meets" us. I think she is practicing for the day she will disown us all.

My mom sent my son a potted plant for his 5th birthday. He tore open the box, looked at it for a second and then said "Oh. That's not what I was expecting."

I have a recurring nightmare of being trapped in an endless public restroom. It's one of those up and down sort of nightmares because sometimes I bump into old friends.

I dated a guy once who told me he "had a vested interest" in my taking my lunch break at work because his was next. He asked me to marry him. I said yes.


  1. This is delightful. I hope if you ever meet me in that endless public restroom, I'm clothed, in my right mind, and polite.


  2. Thank you, Sarah! I hope if I ever should meet you in that endless public restroom, you know the way OUT!

  3. Oh I thoroughly enjoyed this!

    I think my favorite was this one:

    "I never feel quite at home anywhere, but I feel quite at home everywhere."

  4. Loved this, all of it:) especially the but about lunch break.


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