Skill and luck

First the skill:
































(And yes, I could have straightened out more, but I didn’t feel like it. I was only going to be there for a few minutes.)

And now, the luck:

Driving home tonight, I playfully started racing* another MINI up Fresh Pond Parkway. (At least I was feeling playful; I’m not really sure about the other guy, who wouldn’t make eye contact with me.) Swooshing around the roundabouts and up the straightaways was great fun… until I saw the flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror. With an expression of dismay that may or may not have had four letters, I pulled into the right lane and slowed down, expecting the worst – especially since my passenger side headlight burned out last weekend.

And the cop pulled over the other MINI.


The friends to whom I related this story (and who had commanded me to drive safely on the way home) have suggested that I be a law-abiding driver for the next little while.**

(Un)fortunately, they didn’t specify which law(s) to abide…



*This was the first time I’ve done anything like this since May of 2008, when I realized that I drove like someone with anger management issues and made a concerted effort to calm down my driving. Since that time I’ve only driven aggressively once every few months or so, and it’s never been an entire trip – just an irritated honk or swerve when occasion warrants. I’m much nicer than I used to be.

**At least until the cursing that the other driver has doubtless bestowed upon me has worn off.

Shocked and awed

So the other night I was out buying groceries when I noticed that traffic was stuck in one aisle. Cursory observation revealed three female store employees and an old man and woman who, judging by their apparel and general appearance, were from a rural area well outside of Boston (the guy had a white beard any Nordic elf would be proud to sport). I didn’t hear the beginning of the interaction; I approached as one of the employees said to the woman, “Well, if you need something from us, just let us know and we’ll help you.” To this offer the woman said “I don’t want ANYTHING from you.”

The woman then proceeded to berate the three employees for – wait for it – speaking Spanish while on the job. She said that it wasn’t good to hear foreign languages spoken in grocery stores and went on to tell the store employees that their people hadn’t settled or built this country and that they weren’t welcome here, taking jobs from real (white) Americans. She went on in this vein for a couple of minutes while I stood rooted to the spot, eyes wide, aghast and dumbfounded, mutely trying to convey sympathy to the other employees.

After the woman went away I hastened to tell the three employees in Spanish that I thought my head had just exploded (¡creo que mi cabeza acaba de explotar!), that I didn’t understand why the woman was so upset, that I love hearing and speaking Spanish, and that I was glad they were here (immediately after this last I felt like a patronizing idiot, but the employees took it in the intended spirit). I then spent the rest of my shopping trip distractedly searching the wrong aisles for Nutella while imagining glowing scenes in which I heroically defended the three employees, in the end magnanimously bestowing Enlightenment upon the poor benighted woman.

The more I thought about it, of course, the more I realized that any intervention from me would have only made things worse. Such firmly entrenched beliefs aren’t going to be changed by a 45-second speech by an uppity poster child for Stuff White People Like, no matter how impassioned. And I know absolutely nothing about this woman’s life or what has caused her to believe the way she does. Still, it’s kind of amazing to me that there are real people who really do hold these kinds of beliefs. I guess them’s the risks of living in a free country.

Signs of affection

So some people demonstrate love through words; others, through gifts; others, through physical touch, quality time, or service.

Current and former members of the Park Avenue Smart Set*, however, show our love for each other through…

Taxidermied** cats.

One of us received this delightful and disconcertingly real-looking little monster as a gag gift, and, well, since it looks so disconcertingly real, we like to disconcert each other with it. So we put it in random places, like the meat drawer in the refrigerator, someone’s sheets, an underwear or sock drawer, or anyplace else it would be disconcerting to suddenly discover a small furry rodent. (I put it in the microwave once and forgot about it, then disconcerted myself because I was the next one to use the microwave.) Random shrieks heard through the apartment were signs that the taxidermied cat had struck again.

So imagine it’s your birthday, and it’s 15°F outside, and you’re running late for work (this part is only hypothetical, C-t-P!), and you scrape the ice off your car and then climb in and put the key in the ignition, and suddenly you look down and see this little critter curled up behind your steering wheel:










Oh, how I’ve giggled and laughed and chortled at this prospect. I giggled and laughed and chortled some more once the taxidermied cat had been correctly positioned late Monday night. I’m just sad I didn’t get to see the reaction.

*Oh how I miss me some Park Avenue Smart Set!***

**It’s not a real taxidermied cat, but it certainly looks like it, no?

***Classic PASS:



















J_H, the completely vacant look on your face in the second picture makes me laugh out loud every time…