A motorist pulled up next to me while I was riding my bike the other day to say she found me “difficult to see.” I was wearing a black top and beige shorts — monochrome, c’est moi — and I could see her point. So yesterday I put on a pink top and headed out to Target for some exercise gear in colors to induce eyeball hemorrhage.
My local Target is in a mall that is becoming increasingly racially segregated, and I’m not the race it’s selecting for. That means the local Macy’s has a men’s millinery department, but it can be difficult to find a jean skirt for Kate that doesn’t say BABY PHAT across the butt. However, it has a Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears and Target, so we spend a good deal of cash there.
I quickly identified the bright-eyes tops and snagged two, one of which makes my complexion look like I’m in the last stages of a terrible liver disease, but this isn’t intended to flatter. I wandered over toward the skin emollients and was drawn into the orbit of a woman in the uniform of the U.S. Postal Service, having a very loud conversation on her Bluetooth:
“Well, that’s some BULLshit, then, because we’re getting three GPS errors a block on that system. …uh huh…uh huh…I’m telling you, until you get out there, you don’t know what I’m talking about, but it’s the truth.” Her tone was decisive edging into belligerence; who in the world was she talking to? Surely not her boss. A union rep? A colleague?
“You don’t know that because you never been a clerk. I’ve been a clerk! I know what it’s like!”
Whoever was on the other end had better be listening, because I believed every word she said. Eavesdropping is one of my favorite things to do, and I recommend it to anyone who aspires to put words in another’s mouth. Of course, no one eavesdrops like Lance Mannion. Read and imitate.
And that’s pretty much all I did yesterday, other than writewritewrite. I don’t like to self-pimp, but here’s something I wrote yesterday, for the other site I run, on a topic that increasingly interests me these days — what is to become of our public institutions as public money falls short of sustaining them. The solution reached in Grosse Pointe schools isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty big step forward, at a time when many municipalities and school districts around here are still wringing their hands. In the Pointes, many are still fighting over tax increases that translate to lower tax bills, i.e., raise the millage while property values are falling, which means a lower tax bill, but not quite as much as if rates were left alone. Some of the rhetoric is ugly, and suggests some won’t be happy until every employee who draws a paycheck from the public is living on bread and water. Anyway, what I mainly want to do is pimp a really good “This American Life” episode we listened to en route home from Canada, “Social Contract,” which was sort of the inspiration for my column.
And which leads us into the bloggage:
Elena Kagan, funny lady: Where were you on Christmas day, Ms. Kagan? “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”
I swear I saw a classified ad once for three pairs of men’s underwear, “like new.” I was not surprised to find u-trou on a list of 20 things you should never buy used, but on the other hand, do you have to tell people this? And who in their right mind buys used makeup?
Finally, the miracle man, Mark Bittman, does it again — following last summer’s hugely popular 101 salads feature, here’s 101 foods to grill. With delicious-looking pictures. I know what I’m doing for the rest of the summer.