lubricate the aristocracy
Overheard recently, on the El, in an elevator, and on the street, respectively and in that order:
“I can see how entrails would be fun to play in…all hot and slippery. I mean, except that they're entrails.”
“Sticky, sticky nectar. Really sticky nectar.”
[one little kid to another] “Would you rather be a garbageman or…a garbagelady?”
BLIGHT IN AUGUST!
I may have mentioned that my upstairs neighbor is some kind of label rep for heavy metal bands—to be honest I have never been entirely sure of his exact job but he works from home, ends up backstage at Ozzfest and on the tour bus with Pantera, and has bands stay in his home a lot. Although it can be unnerving to meet four or five tattoo-sleeved young men carrying pillows down your back stairs at six in the morning, it sure makes the building a lot more interesting. Recently I was chatting with this neighbor and he mentioned that another band would be crashing in his condo that night, and that they were called As I Lay Dying. I excitedly, and out loud, imagined a whiskey-soaked, Southern-fried, incest-obsessed heavy metal band, paying tribute to William Faulkner with every postmodern run-on lyric and natural-world allusion, but sadly this band apparently is nothing like that. It's too bad, really, because although heavy metal's Nordic roots are a world away from Faulkner-dom, I really think he would appreciate the overwroughtness of the music.
There simply has to be a way to modify the Eclipse Mints tin into a one-hitter box. It's almost there already. I leave the challenge for craftier minds than my own.
Do you ever have incredibly vivid eating dreams? Last night I went to bed hungry—wait, that sounds sad, doesn't it? Oh I went to bed hungry and Da was drunk again and he thrashed me and Sissy but good. And there were holes in me gloves. In reality, my hunger was more a slight peckishness that never became serious enough to do anything effortful like obtaining actual food. Then there was a listless feeling (because I lacked calories), so I went to bed, only to get even hungrier in my sleep, and then: the eating dreams. Unfortunately my eating dreams were not of the sumptuous-banquet variety, and I merely dreamed of eating the bag of croutons in my kitchen cupboard. Yes! LT and Mimi have croutons in the house! Croutons were two-for-one at the grocery store, and we were getting salad stuff anyway, and LT grabbed (two!) crouton bags and said, “Let us purchase these croutons, for then we will be fancy people!” Fancy people with fancy salads!
Speaking of salads, I have been testing the limits of Nora's omnivorousness by handing her all kinds of weird food, and salad has gotten the best reaction so far. She put the scrap of romaine lettuce in her mouth, held it there for a second, and then handed it back to me while shaking her head solemnly, as if to say, “Excuse me, this appears to be a leaf. Leaves are not for eating.”
IN OTHER NORA NEWS, IF YOU CARE
My girl has a chore now: she feeds the cat. Since Nora is so obsessed with feeding her stuffed animals and putting them to bed and whatnot, I thought I might as well get some work out of her. The upside of this is that it is hilarious to watch. Our cat food is kept in a big Rubbermaid thing in the bottom cabinet of our bar, which is really just a liquor-storage sideboard/buffet table type thing that fits into the weird niche where the built-in china cabinet would be, if it had not been ripped out in the rehab. Whew. Do you follow me? I sure don't. And I should get an award for stringing together all these crazy Real Simple/Martha Stewart/Pottery Barn words, like “sideboard” and “Rubbermaid” and “niche” and “china cabinet,” into one sentence. Just like a real grown-up! I have a sideboard! And croutons!
Anyway, the cat food is down there in the cabinet, amongst many many bottles of vodka and bourbon and other assorted delights, and Nora opens the cabinet door, squats like an Olympic powerlifter, and bear-hugs the huge Rubbermaid thing, and then she takes off the lid and says, “Cat! Cat! Food! Bowl! Eat! Cat! Eat! Food!” about eight million times. Then she takes the cat-food scoop and digs around, usually managing to snag about four lonely pieces of kibble, and says “Food! Food! Cat! Eat!” Then she walks with such careful slowness to the cat food bowl that you would think she was carrying an unstable explosive compound, and pours in the cat's meager meal. The whole process is then repeated until I say “okay, that's [finally] enough food for the cat,” at which point Nora goes tearing off into the living room to where the cat is usually sleeping, gets right up in the cat's face, and yells, “CAT! EAT! FOOD! CAT! EAT! EAT! BOWL! FOOD! EAT!” The cat lifts maybe one eye at this, and Nora runs back into the kitchen and stands there pointing at the cat's bowl screaming “CAT! EAT!” and eventually the cat will come ambling into the room and give me a look that very clearly says THE SMALL ONE IS INSANE. TERMINATE IT NOW. Nora, thrilled to pieces that the cat is now consuming kibble, will clap her hands delightedly and deliver another five-minute monologue about how the “cat” “eats” “food” that we put in a “bowl,” and I will (depending on my mood) either be cracking up laughing or slumped on the kitchen floor with my hand over my eyes thinking OH GOD THAT TOOK SO LONG.
And that is the downside to Nora's newfound love of chores and her stereotypical-Jewish-grandmother drive to stuff the cat full of food: she wants to do it at every opportunity. I used to get a big smile and lots of loving “mamas” when I got her out of the crib in the morning; now I hear a brief “mama” and a lengthy, one-word-at-at-time discussion of how it is time to feed! The cat! Food! In a bowl! She cannot even walk by the bar without stopping to peer into the cat's bowl and wonder out loud if more food could be needed. I still think it's cute, and the cat is certainly not complaining, but sometimes it does get a little teeth-clenchingly old.
Of course, just when I think I am full to the brim with toddler-chasing exhaustion and exasperation, she will go and do something like sit up suddenly and kiss me on the lips in the middle of her nighttime bottle/rocking-chair session, and say “night-night” all sweetly when I put her in the crib, and sleep until 9 am the morning after I have drunk an entire bottle of wine by myself (THANK YOU NORA), so there you go.
—mimi smartypants is the crouton in your salad.