I look in the mirror, and I look one way. I look OK. Presentable, anyway. Good enough for what I need to do that day. Then I pass a reflection in a store window, in a mirror at the gym, or on a Zoom camera, and all I can think is: Who’s the old fat lady?
A friend says when we look in our own mirrors, we have our own presets. We know what we’re supposed to look like, and so we see ourselves that way. But other mirrors tell the truth. This is a very strange conversation, but it makes as much sense as anything. It’s like the United States, when we tell ourselves we live in the greatest nation in the world, the land of freedom and opportunity, and all of that is our preset. I heard an interview with an Afghan woman on the way to work out this morning. She was spitting with anger at how betrayed she feels by the United States, and who could blame her? She’ll probably swing from a rope before too long, if she isn’t killed some other way, for the crime of being educated, English-speaking, intelligent.
I saw a tweet by Ted Cruz, jeering at the CNN correspondent covering the fall of Afghanistan. She’s female, and she wears an abaya on the streets when she’s working. Cruz jeered at her “burkha.” It’s not a burkha, you dumb fuck, Mr. Harvard, it’s an abaya. Didn’t we learn this after 9/11? An abaya is a full-length dress, usually black, worn with a hijab, but leaving the wearer’s face uncovered; a burkha is the garment that covers everything and the wearer can only look through a crocheted screen. That’s three terms of art about Islamic religious dress for women; is it so hard to remember? I remembered, and I didn’t go to Harvard.
But of course, not remembering, calling everything you don’t like a burkha — because we agree that’s the most medieval garment, the worst one — is its own mirror. It says, who gives a fuck what these awful people call their outfits? The guy can probably expound on different styles of cowboy boots, but can’t be bothered to step outside his comfort zone, even to sound smarter than he is.
I turned off the radio on my way back from the pool. It was a lovely morning, and I wanted to enjoy it, feel thankful that I don’t live in Afghanistan or Haiti. There will always be a Haiti. You have to enjoy good fortune when you have it.
How can it only be Tuesday? It feels like it should be next Thursday.
Two pieces of bloggage today, neither of which has anything to do with Afghanistan, Ted Cruz or Haiti:
Do you talk to your dog? (Of course you do.) What sort of voice do you use? And when your dog talks back (of course it does), what kind of voice does it use? The WashPost investigates:
Most nights, as he is about to go to sleep, Josh Lieberthal gets into an argument with Werner Herzog. It is often over the pillow, which the 30-year-old communications specialist refuses to cede.
“You gave me part of your pillow,” the argument goes, in the German director’s soft, accented timbre. “The pillow is actually part mine, now.”
The voice belongs to Lieberthal’s dog, Rocky — a 5-year-old wheaten-poodle mix, or “whoodle” — with whom he and his fiancee share a bed. The argument is one that Lieberthal has with himself. Rocky’s voice, which Lieberthal provides, is that of the 78-year-old director of “Grizzly Man,” which just seems to suit his dog.
…He doesn’t remember when, or how, or why he — er, his dog — adopted a thick German accent, dropping the “w” and “th” sounds, but he and his fiancee do it all the time now. Even, occasionally, when they’re not with their dog.
“I feel like a crazy person,” he says. “But at the same time, this is just so normal for us.”
Of course it’s normal! Our last dog, Spriggy, had his own fantasy sitcom, the scripts for which we would sometimes improvise as we dressed for work. It was called “The Spriggy Show, starring Spriggy! Co-starring Alan and Nancy” and the episodes usually involved Spriggy getting into some sort of mischief and escaping all consequences. There was the one where Spriggy called the state of Michigan and ordered a truckload of sand to be dumped in our back yard. That one came after a blissful camping weekend where he ran wildly on some sandy riverbanks. There was the one where he talked the dumb hound dog next door, Samson, into letting him climb up the bigger dog’s back so Spriggy could raid the dumpster at Casa d’Angelo, the nearby Italian restaurant.
“Are we gonna get in trouble, Spriggy?” Samson would ask in a Southern accent. “Hey, can I get one of those meatballs?” Spriggy, deep in the dumpster and speaking with his mouth full, would reply that he couldn’t find any. “And his head pops up, and he has spaghetti hanging off it,” Alan would say. “Hmm, good note,” I’d say. “Make sure to tell the writers’ room.” More from the Post:
Sarah Coughlon, 27, has an ongoing bit with her girlfriend that their dog, Maurice, is the manager of the Bedford-Stuyvesant WeWork.
“He’s also sort of bumbling and, no offense to WeWork, but they seem sort of bumbling. And so I think he’s, like, kind of overwhelmed,” Coughlon says. “He’s really doing his best.”
Maurice, a mix that Coughlon describes as “a German shepherd that has beagle ears,” has a Midwestern accent for reasons that Coughlon cannot explain and always refers to his owners as “the ladies.” Coughlon, who works in advertising, doesn’t even go to a WeWork. Maybe this whole weird comedy bit comes from “trying to sort of make sense of the fact that our home that’s like our sanctuary suddenly becomes a workspace and that my girlfriend becomes my officemate. And that’s a weird relationship for us to have,” Coughlon says. “I think we are sort of trying to mediate that through the dog.”
“The ladies.” Cracks me up.
And if you watched “The White Lotus,” which was a very very fine HBO limited series that ended Sunday, you might want to read this interview with writer/creator Mike White.
And that’s it for the midweek. Enjoy talking to your dog.