Yesterday was grading day at kung fu— with the founder of the Canadian Wing Chun association no less— and now I have kung fu fever. After an hour of practice, two hours of gradings, and an hour of staring mesmerized at Sigung demonstrating our corrections (so relaxed and flexible!), eleven of us went for dinner… for another two hours. Epic!
When I finally got home I was still a bit wired and despite it being almost midnight, Galen was not yet home from his slightly mysterious staff meeting. I distracted myself from both sources of nervous energy by trying to draw out the end of The Confusion as long as possible. Thousand page books become a familiar presence— I don’t want to finish and be lonely for my science-fiction/pirate/economics novel.
I managed to read slowly until Galen finally got home at twenty to two, totally boozored. Turns out the reason his boss thought it would be nice if everybody “dressed up a bit” for this meeting was because he was throwing a surprise five course dinner with wine pairings catered by the chef from Brio and getting them all plastered on a school night. So funny! Poor Galen came home in his dapper pink pinstripe shirt, unable to stand upright without swaying, and casting class 14 smells that I chose to blame on the duck confit. Seriously. Farts like no farts the earth has known before. I suggested we bottle some in case we ever need to make potions or spells. We could label it “Ogre Breeze” or something and keep it in the back of the pantry.
We had some excellent sleepy/wired show-and-tell, then watched half of Standing in the Shadows of Motown to keep Galen awake until he sobered up a bit. Who ever heard of a cute drunk? I seem to know a lot of boys who get extra adorable when they cross the legal limit. Galen was cuddled/sprawled under a blanket, sipping ginger ale and giggling whenever a tambourine player made an appearance on screen. Which was quite a lot.
We finally went to bed around four, and so far we’ve both managed to have real work days today anyway. This is my version of take back the night: having late-night adventures on weeknights. I don’t think I do that enough.
Granny: “What I want, is a phone… for my wrist. So I can call if I get in trouble.”
Me: “Oh yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a phone like that. But lots of cell phones can clip on your belt.”
Granny: “I don’t wear a belt, though. What I do wear, is my wrist. And my wristwatch.”
Me: “Hm. Most cell phones are too big to wear on your wrist. How about hanging it around your neck, or keeping it in your waist pack?”
Granny: “But you see, I’d want it to be convenient to get to. When I’m in the car, driving, I can get to my wrist really quickly.”
Me: “So you want a private detective, wristwatch walkie-talkie?”
Next time my grandmother invents something that already exists, I should just buy it for her even if I think it won’t actually work very well with her lifestyle. (I mean, she phones me and plays her answering machine messages into the phone and has me say them back to her. Pretty sure a cell phone would be a bad idea.)
Galen’s granny invented music videos one time. She even got the dominant structure right. (“Darling, do musicians ever make little movies to go along with their songs, as a marketing device? You could have scenes of the band playing, mixed with scenes of the band, say, walking down the street.”)
It seems like there should be some way to define this quality. Technology or media so right that grannies spontaneously invent it.
I learn more words from spell check. Just now, my email client suggested “cavicorn” instead of favicon. So earnest. “Do you mean cavicorn?” I wish I did, spell check. But I don’t know anyone who has hollow horns, or how I would use that trait in a metaphor.
This is really just an excuse to tell the internet about the time my spell check suggested I edit a love letter to read “Dear hognuts.” I let that suggestion come up a few times before I finally added hotnuts to the dictionary.
I’m a little embarrassed to be quoting Einstein here, but I really liked this bit from The World As I See It (via Communication Nation):
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science…
“I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”
Einstein relates the experience of mystery to religiosity, but for me it’s the cornerstone of atheism. Mysteries remain mysteries, and are satisfying without reaching for explanations.
(I realize Einstein is not an embarrassing figure; it’s just that he gets quoted in such flaky ways. The idea of anti-science new agers using Einstein to back up their desire to make science bow down to rainbow vibes is a bit of a cliche for me. There is a chiropractor at the corner where I cross to check my postbox who has several “Imagination is more important than knowledge” posters propped up in the window, and it makes me cringe. I don’t mind rainbow vibes, but I do mind bad science and dumb posters.)
Hallowe’en is my favourite holiday, balanced by Thanksgiving and New Year. I was up late at a pretty dull party, and up early for a long, slow breakfast with a lumbering behemoth of a group (my cousin’s bicycle activist tour coworkers), and now I am too tired to make witty paragraphs. It’s a list format day.
Highlights from my adventures as Bride of Frankenstein:
- So that’s how you use Tupperware to build tall hairstyles…
- Galen’s great-aunt: “So dear, you’re a ‘goth,’ aren’t you?”
- More great-aunt: “How did you get your hair so tall?” (Making me feel suddenly awkward because her everyday hairstyle is a beehive variant and I wasn’t sure whether she thought mine was ridiculous or not.)
- Dragging the hem of my white dress in puddles and mud on purpose, because it was only a bedsheet.
- Still having gray streaks in my temples at breakfast today, and getting to talk to our waiter about it. He still had metallic green fingernails from a Satan costume. We said one sentence each, I think, but I liked it. He was a good waiter. I might have had a 5-minute crush on him.
And of this Hallowe’en in general:
- Mistaking Rebecca for a couch twice, instead of recognizing the back of her California Raisin get-up.
- Walking around having serious conversations about work and responsibility and taking charge, and being taken by the snippets that passing pedestrians must have heard coming out of that Raisin, with her huge aqua-rimmed sunglasses.
- The whole city smelled like brussel sprouts. Probably from fireworks? Hopefully from some anti-loitering stink-bomb we imagined the city bureaucrats setting off.
- So many fireworks going off. I love the spectacle, but this year I was actually moved by the way pretend-bombs emphasize the absurdly peaceful and neighbourhoodly place I live. (Bang!… no flinching. “I’m sure that’s fine.”)
The whole reason I like Halloween is for the costumes. I can’t come up with a reason that costumes are important or worth a holiday, but I stand by Halloween. New Year’s I like for the cyclical celebration, and Thanksgiving because gratitude is one of the few things I practice in what could be considered a spiritual way. That one actually is important. But the costumes!