Another quiet morning with Ruby. (Hop. Hop. Hop. Scratch-scratch-scratch. STOP CHEWING THAT! It’s a loop.) A mild day. Rain seems to be gone for a while. It brought down a fresh load of leaves, so the work I did over the weekend, raking and piling, looks completely undone. Ah, well. As soon as the coffee kicks in I’m going to get to work for reals.
Don’t I sound stupid, writing that? “For reals?” Just like the kids say. I look at Kate’s Facebook postings, and I want to faint: “hangin wit my besties CALL TEXT ME PLEEEEZE.”
“I know you know how to spell ‘please.’ Tell me you do,” I say.
“I write the way I talk,” she replies. In other words: Bug off, geezer.
The other day I retrieved one of her short writing assignments off the printer tray. With the exception of one exclamation point, I wouldn’t change a keystroke. I guess she’s mastered the art of being one thing for the adults in your life, another for your pals. A key adolescent coping skill.
Well, she’ll never take writing advice from her mother, at least not for a couple more decades. I just sent an e-mail to our Wayne State student interns at GrossePointeToday.com, recommending yet another Detroitblog gem. You can learn a lot from breaking down a piece like this to see how it sings:
Helen Turner has a mean scowl on her face. Always. It’s the look she gives customers at the diner where she works.
“I don’t take no shit off of nobody,” she spits in an Appalachian accent.
She’s behind the counter at White Grove Restaurant, a tiny, genuinely retro diner on Second Avenue near Charlotte, in Detroit’s skid row. Her customers are the city’s underclass — addicts, prostitutes, the homeless and the insane. They spend their days aimlessly roaming their neighborhood here like zombies, slowly killing time and themselves, waiting for the next handout or the next quick score.
And nearly all of them come into the diner at some point, trying to pull a fast one.
It was a pleasure to read, start to finish. It’s hard to paint a portrait like that without lapsing into cliché and stereotype. I was left wondering how the place even keeps the lights on, if Turner and her colleague, a man with whom she’s guarded the counter “for decades,” spend virtually their entire working day yelling at their customers. I guess they’ve figured out a way to make it work. It helps when Mrs. Take-no-shit guards the register; the place has only been robbed once in recent memory, and the thief escaped with his loot only because the manager didn’t have it in him to pull his own gun on a 16-year-old boy.
So let’s get to the bloggage, then:
Vanity Fair has a piece by a former member of the Letterman staff. A woman. She gets to the heart of the flaw in the it’s-only-consenting-adults argument, right here, with the extra emphasis mine:
Without naming names or digging up decades-old dirt, let’s address the pertinent questions. Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.
Boss/underling relationships will be with us forever. That doesn’t mean we should stop saying it’s wrong.
Shower, work, more coffee, crossword.