As a rule, I’m not a big observer of the Hallmark holidays, and that includes Mother’s Day. I happily accept the homemade cards and macaroni necklaces, but hold the presents and even the brunch and corsage. In this, I hope I’m in alignment with how we treat Father’s Day already.
Poor dad — his holiday arrives after school is dismissed for the year, so no art project. He doesn’t wear corsages, and does any man need another tie or pair of socks? Nope. So last night we opted to take Alan out. Then we made him pick up the check. Fatherhood in a nutshell.
I regret the restaurant, which I recall as scene of several pleasant lunches last summer, was having a bad night. An approaching thunderstorm was snarling the outdoor seating, and the hostesses didn’t seem to know how to handle it. I had to revert to my Big Bitch mode, which I thought was reasonable under the circumstances, and was certainly rewarded, in the sense that the Big Bitch got us seated, finally. Although things didn’t improve from there.
But I won’t bore you. The day was a cavalcade of small irritations, beginning with the sandwich guy at the shop where I bought lunch for our Sunday sail/picnic. I was wearing one of Zach Klein’s clever T-shirts — this one, in fact. It expresses the opinion that Nascar races are boring. The sandwich guy, not a fan, approved.
“A risky sentiment for the Motor City,” I allowed.
“Well, in some parts of the Motor City, they wouldn’t know what you were talking about,” he said, and switching to a mild African American voice, said, “Um, does that have anything to do with basketball?”
The casual racism I hear in this place simply amazes me. (Along with the stupidity. I mean, here I am — a total stranger and a customer, and this maroon assumes I’m down with his program. No wonder he’s making sandwiches.) To my great relief, his fellow sandwich-makers called him on it. Sorta.
“You can’t say that if you’re not from Detroit,” one said. “If you’re from the suburbs you have to shut up.”
“My family owns property in Detroit,” he said, which is not exactly being from the city, is it. The debate went on in somewhat casual fashion, although you could tell his fellow sandwich-ites didn’t have their hearts in it. He was the guy they had to put up with. Even in a sandwich shop, there are guys you have to put up with. It is the Way of the American Workplace, the way of workplaces worldwide. Go to college, kids! The annoying co-workers only get more well-groomed! They still say the same stupid things, however.
Some years ago, I did a bit of moonlighting at a well-known Fort Wayne radio station. (As opposed to the less well-known one I also worked for.) The office bulletin board was a cavalcade of amusements, including whatever 25th-generation photocopied joke was circulation via fax machine at the moment. Many were about President Clinton; one in particular was about the don’t ask/don’t tell policy regarding gays in the military, then in early discussions. It was a crude cartoon showing the “new uniforms for Clinton’s military” — a limp-wristed pansy in a dress with epaulets. We had a gay editor at the newspaper at the time, but even without him, posting something like that on our newsroom bulletin board — yes, even in Fort Wayne — would have gotten you frog-marched to re-education camp so swiftly your little webbed feet would barely touch the ground.
“Do customers and advertisers ever come up here?” I asked the program director. Sure, he said. “Do you ever think that maybe you don’t want stuff like that in public view?” He was agog. What was the problem? It’s like I was objecting to the “Hang in there, baby” poster with the kitty dangling from a branch.
Progress comes slowly, oh so slowly. But it comes.
The day’s final irritation? We planned to go sailing with Kate and one of her friends, and so the wind blew … at 30 knots. Too windy for young children in a small boat. We had our picnic aboard and then went to the pool to watch the lounge chairs blow over. I had a front-row seat for the day’s brightest spot — a floater alert in the shallow end. Good lord, it was funny. They actually roped the area off with yellow police tape while the head lifeguard retrieved the offending Baby Ruth with a long-handled net and another guard emptied it into what looked like a biohazard bag, but probably wasn’t. Still another sprinkled chlorine pellets around the crime scene and the whole area was left to disinfect for an hour or so while the kids ran around shrieking and saying ewwwwwww.
No word on whether the offender was brought to justice.
So, then. Bloggage:
Finally saw “Good Night, and Good Luck” over the weekend. I was going to write something about it, but it turns out Lance Mannion already did, and echoes my thoughts pretty much exactly, so why bother?
That should keep you occupied for a while.