Showing posts from September, 2010

An ordinary meal

The other night on my way home from dinner, on a dark, windy, unpopulated stretch of road not too far from my house, I came around a hairpin turn and right there in front of me was a woman standing next to a motorcycle.  I was practically up to her before I could see her; she had no lights at all.  She waved me around, so I pulled in front of the bike, got out of the car, and asked her if she needed anything.
“No, I’m fine.  My boyfriend walked home to get help.  We’re out of gas.”
“Well, I’ll just keep my car here with the flashers on.  It’s really hard to see you.”
“Oh, that’s so nice!  Thank you.”  She dropped her cigarette on the road and ground it out with her boot. I was still thinking about the dinner at a restaurant that I just had with the kids.  We had gone to a nice place on the waterfront, which we do about once a year.
“Do you know why we’re here?” I had asked.
“Um, I guess it’s what we do?”
“Yeah, see, even though the food isn’t that interesting, and it’s expensive, it’s just a…

Layoff Day

I stopped wearing stuff from my dumpster bag for Layoff Day, and chose to wear a sort of pink slip type outfit.   It wasn’t an actual slip, but it was pink, with some slip-like qualities.  
The weird thing about layoffs when you work for a unionized bureaucracy is that the layoff decisions have no bearing on keeping the agency effective; it’s all about seniority.  
And, it’s not like a list is posted, but rather, the information leaks out slowly, like a toxic gas.  Ms Click Click finds each person, escorts them to the Great S’s office one at a time, where he gives a small speech and then hands them the notice.  It took hours.  Since our cubes are outside of the Great One’s office, we got to see the sad march that everyone was required to do, and felt sorry that Ms. Click Click had been tasked to be the grim reaper.  She looked like she might cry.
B. and I went out for coffee early to miss a little bit of it, because it was pretty depressing.  “Why are you ordering decaf?” B. asked.
“Oh, I…

Holy shirt, Batman!

Right at the very end of the work day earlier this week, I noticed that the shirt I was wearing was riddled with small holes throughout the chest area; tiny borings the size of mini-chocolate chips, revealing my bra.  It sort of looked like it had been washed on the jagged rocks for years, which could be possible, because it came from my dumpster bag of clothing.
It’s a bag that The Author gave me a few weeks ago when I did my “stop in on the way home from work and she might feed me” routine.  She handed me the bag, and told me to keep what I wanted.  The Author had found the clothes in a dumpster, laundered them, given them to me, and I believe she also fed me dinner.  I know.   I AM lucky. In my own private little homage to the dumpster, I wore a shirt from the bag every day this week.  I hadn’t really looked very carefully at this one, I guess.  
Ms. Pasta commented, “Maybe you should just wear that around the house.”  I think that was a pretty charitable thing to say, don’t you?
At an…


Yesterday our boss told us he wishes B. and I weren’t speaking, because he thinks if we weren’t talking to each other, maybe we wouldn’t notice all of the problems in our work place.
“Betsy, stop sharing your music. Just put headphones on, and don’t talk to him any more.”
“So, like, kind of an angry, hostile silence?Is that what we should go for?”
“YES!That’s exactly what I want.And, by the way, I’m coming in on Thursday especially to have a beer with you guys." We’re having a beer after work on Pink Slip Day, the day when some number of us will be laid off -- the rumor is 20 percent.As people on the bottom of the pile, seniority-wise, B. and I have both been trying to figure out whether it would be good or bad to get the slip, but we’ve both been reassured that we’re not getting one by people who also claim not to know what's going on.
They've been saying, “No, you’re fine, no need to worry,”and winking.
“What’s with all the winking lately,” I ask B.“Does that mean they’re kid…

Super powers

The question was, as always, “flying or invisibility?” 
R. contends, and I believe he heard it on This American Life, that if you select “flying”, you stick with your answer, but those who select invisibility can easily be talked out of it.
I didn’t answer, because R. and I have been through this enough that it’s one of those conversations that happens without anyone saying anything.I pick invisibility because flying sounds tiring, and he says it’s not like I’d have to flap my wings, and I say I’m afraid of heights, and he says that wouldn’t be an issue because I can fly, duh, and I say I get vertigo easily, and he says that’s lame, and I stick with invisibility, and he says that’s creepy, and I clarify that I wouldn’t use the power to be creepy, but rather, just to be lazy sometimes, like to lay down and take a nap when its not appropriate, or to not talk to people because I’m out of things to say but I don’t want to be rude.I explain that I’m not sure where would I go if I fly anyway,…


I once had homeopathy explained to me in a way that I got it.  Suddenly, and unexpectedly, because I tend to be pretty skeptical about Things That Can’t Be Proved.  I get frustrated when affects are attributed to something without proof, and I get frustrated when purveyors of health promote ideas that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

I’m also impatient with the minor health woes. Who cares if you get a mild headache and fatigue when you eat potatoes?  Either skip the potatoes, or cope. That's not a real problem.

But here’s the explanation of homeopathy that I loved. What people need in life in order for personal growth to occur, is empathy. We all need an empathetic presence, the feeling of being understood and accepted for exactly who we are, to be able to move forward.

Someone saying, and truly meaning, “Oh! That must hurt.  I am so sorry. Acknowledging the pain, without exaggerating it in a gentle way that allows us to let go, and move on.  That, according to my friend, is what home…

Friend's Birthday

Dear Qourt-knee,

A friend of ours has a milestone birthday coming up - 50 - and as far as we can tell she has no big plans. We want to celebrate it with her, but we're not sure how. Do you think a surprise party would be appropriate? We're not really sure how into surprises she is, and we don't know all the people she might want to be at such a party. What's your advice? Should we plan something big behind her back? Something small in front of her front? Or just let her come up with her own plans, even if that is just spending her big day at home with whatever cats she may or may not have?

- Party boy

Dear Party Boy,

The strangest thing is, I actually know a cat named Friend.  I know! 

But anyway, she's certainly lucky to have friends like you guys, and I'm sure if she's worth it, she'll be delighted to celebrate with you in any way, large or small, especially if it involves cake.  She's old enough that she's probably just feeling grateful to g…

Zucchini Apocalypse

I was reading Laurie’s nice post about the fair, and lazy writer that I am, I thought I’d re-post this old piece. But let it be known that I actually did sit here for a long time, writing something new, but it was a bit tedious, and then this weird thing happened, which is that I noticed that I was bleeding from the leg – there was a dime-sized bit of blood on my mid-quadricep that was growing, and, strangely enough, shaped like a fish. It caused me to wonder if I’d been shot or just what the deal was. At any rate, the bleeding seems to have slowed down, but sadly, so has the writing.


I love the fair because of the produce. I like the displays that the granges put together, using vegetables to form a collage. And the giant zucchini, that remind me of one of my most embarrassing moments of the last century, that maybe, if I don't get too distracted in the next few minutes, I'll write about shortly.

But back to the topic at hand: most of all, I love the jars of string be…