then! it happened!
Recently I found out that Nora intends to talk shit about me in a few years. I don’t remember how this conversation started, maybe it was something about stereotypical teen behavior that she had read in a book:
Me: Yeah, a lot of kids don’t get along with their parents all the time. Especially teenagers.
Nora: They still like their parents, though.
Me: Oh, sure. They might just have arguments and stuff.
Nora: Like if I was a teenager I might say to my friends, “Oh my mom is so annoying! She doesn’t let me do anything!” But then I would come home and say, “HI MOM! LET’S SNUGGLE!”
Huh. I almost pressed the point out of curiosity, to find out why one would have to say a dramatic thing to one’s friends while actually feeling a more mild emotion. But let’s be honest, we all know the answer to that one. Bitching about stuff is the American way, and no one ever smoothed over social interactions by saying things like, “Actually there is not one irritating thing about my job” or “To tell the truth, my child is perfectly well-behaved at all times” or “I’ve never had a bad experience on public transportation.” That probably goes triple for teenagers, who are desperately looking for common ground.
Old woman w/Russian accent in gym locker room: [grimaces, hands on abdomen] Och, I don’t know about my stomach.
Other old woman w/Russian accent in gym locker room: What’s to know? You eat, you drink coffee, you go to the washroom, you have a poop. So what?
A woman gets dropped off at the train station. As she walks away from the car, the driver puts down the window and screams, “Elise! Cucumbers!” She nods, waves, and continues on.
Young guy on El [sighing]: There is something wrong with me.
Other guy: Bro, there’s something wrong with everybody.
I have no explanation for how, a week or so ago, I was able to drink beer until last call on a Friday night and then get up not-much-later with Nora to do all the neglected yardwork. We sweated and trimmed and yanked and watered and mowed and filled two yard-waste bags with leafy refuse, with zucchini-plant pricklies in our hands and mosquito bites on our legs, then went inside and had a big farmer breakfast and watched weird daytime Olympic events. Handball? What?
I did enjoy the eight billion 100-meter dash heats, where it seemed like every single country in the world had sent at least one person because what the hell, every country has someone who can run kind of fast. The announcer remarked that there were more people in the stands watching than the total population of some of the countries competing (like Palau and the Marshall Islands).
More of my uninformed Olympic thoughts: Too much volleyball. Kind of too much diving too, although hoo mama, some hotness there. (Specifically the Italian synchronized women’s team and that adorable baby Tom Daley. Yes that is a cougarish, disgusting, and borderline illegal thing to say, my apologies). I did not even know “racewalking” was a thing, and in practice it looks like a bunch of guys trying to make it to the bathroom in time. I would pay a bunch of money to have muscles like Carmelita Jeter. That is all.
Oh what a lie that is not all. There is so much more. But there have been out-of-town weekends and piles of projects and three-hour work meetings where I think things like, “If this meeting had some GODDAMNED SNACKS perhaps I would feel less like punching people in the face.” So no, this is not a proper entry, it is more of a internet hook where I can hang my mental wet towel so it can wave in the breeze and not smell musty later.
—mimi smartypants loves a good wet-towel metaphor.