For a long time, I have had an em-dash habit. I use them a lot–perhaps too much–when I need to make a parenthetical or emphasize a clause. My theory is that since I gesticulate when speaking–hands and face, with funny voices–I feel the need to make certain phrases jump out–as if animated.
Recently, though, I’ve taken up with the semi-colon. I tutor several AP English students and make them do the editing exercises at the end of The Elements of Style. It’s then, after I beat them about the shins with far, far, too many commas, that the chimera mark starts cropping up. It’s insidious; there’s little I can do but wait it out.
Sometimes you have to post about things you tried that you like, because your friends will find them boring.
This here tea, for instance. I love tea. Tea is what my friends and I would hunker over late at night in high school, dishing gossip and making fun of people and pointedly not mentioning how none of us had the wherewithal to procure a fake ID. Tea: the thing I do when I want to stand up and take a break from writing but don’t want to admit that that’s the plan. Tea: the source of many of my calories when living in England on precious saved dollars when the pound was soaring.
A recent crackdown on caffeine use led to this revelation:
If you’ve ever online dated or read the interests section on a resume, it might seem like we are a nation of wanderers. You know: I love movies, sports, traveling.
I always felt alienated by this because I hate traveling. I love being new places, seeing cool stuff and learning how other people live, but the process of getting there–the actual TRAVEL part–fills me with dread. Planes are claustrophobia-inducing. I have severe packing anxiety. Hotels make me feel like I’m in the beginning of a slasher film, and I can never sleep thinking about how many other bodies have shed their skin cells on those mattresses (you’re welcome).
Which leads me to think everyone else is a liar.
No one likes flying, except maybe prop plane pilots. They seem like they’re having fun.
No one likes waiting in line for tickets, for bathrooms, for transport.
Sure, it’s nice when you get there. But I really think people ought to be more specific.
No one actually likes to travel. What we like is arriving.
Watching the latest Game of Thrones season (I’m not going to expound on GoT. It’s just a TV show), my boyfriend pointed out how much Bran-as-Three-Eyed-Raven sounds like all of us after our first year of college. That I’ve been out in the world, I’ve learnt things about philosophy and hidden histories and now I can enlighten all you old people aura of smugness. We have all been guilty at one point or another of “schooling” an elder on the reality of things.
This reminds me of what it was like to be a craft bartender the first few months after training. Six weeks of memorizing drink recipes and scribbling tasting notes about spirits and all of a sudden I KNEW EVERYTHING, and I wanted to drop this wisdom in every bar I graced with my presence.
Ugh, the memories of trying to order a Bijou from some hotel pool bar, then trying to walk the flippant woman behind the stick through an inevitably wretched concoction. That was the start of a realization, that just because I made fancy-pants cocktails didn’t mean I could expect everyone else to make them for me, or be grateful for my definitely-not-annoying schooling.*
As time went on and I spent more time behind my own bar, I learned more about what it meant to be a good customer. I’m all on the side of capital-H Hospitality, here, and definitely don’t think a guest at a bar should be eye-rolled or belittled, but if you’re in the industry, you should hold yourself to a higher standard than civilians. Here are some of the most annoying things bartenders do to one another, trying to show off how in-the-know they are. I state these in full knowledge that I may have perpetrated any number of them over the past five years. Continue reading →
I would absolutely read a well-researched think piece on the cultural significance of the tote bag, because I can personally only offer speculation.
Just a fraction of a lifetime’s collection.
During the recent boozefest convention T and I attended, he chided me about all the schwag I grabbed. We’ve been set on keeping clutter to a minimum, so naturally one would assume bringing in superfluous freebies would be frowned upon.
But I love a tote. I love the concept of a re-usable bag that is also kind of disposable. Like, you probably didn’t pay for it, so if you need to leave it behind because you’ve all decided to go out for drinks after the potluck and you don’t trust your host to return it, it’s no big D. Furthermore, though I usually dislike the idea of wearing a company’s logo on my person when I’ve paid them for the clothing already, the free advertising of freebie totes offers two bonuses: promoting the brand of the product/organization you ostensibly support and promoting one’s own status as someone who supports said brand/organization. It seems petty, but sometimes carrying the right Planned Parenthood or New Yorker tote bag can say more about you to would-be accosters than any of the words you might speak yourself.
I recently pulled out all the tote bags in my house. See photo above. Here are how they rank, based on quality, design and sentimental value, from least favorite to best best.
Have you guys noticed how listicles are getting longer and longer by the year?
Consider today’s front page links from delish.com:
Being a human alive and using the Internet, I’m accustomed to getting my information in list form. I’ve embraced it. And on first glance, I’m happily surprised there might be FOURTEEN margaritas in the world that will lit’rally change my life. I can’t wait for my moment of revelation to come when I bite into one of those marg cupcakes there on slide #3. But as we continue down the page, I’m a little baffled by the prospect of 67 pasta options (one per night for over 2 months), and downright overwhelmed by four months’ worth of surprising AND simple chicken dinners. How much surprise can I deal with at mealtime, and for how long?
Doing this type of writing from time to time, I know that more items=more better. Still, the sustainability of this model is questionable. Right?
[I wrote this as an exercise last year and I kind of liked it. That’s all. Ain’t that what blogs are for?]
My mother reports that I arrived in this world one and a half weeks past due, at 11:00 am on a Saturday. This is the time I’ve awoken, sans-alarm clock, for as long as I can remember. In middle school, my friends changed the meaning of “EST” to mean “Ewing Standard Time,” which averaged 30 minutes behind the clock time of whatever time zone myself or one of my parents occupied. From that first dance recital onward, I’ve told my family that events start an hour before they actually do, and I’m aware and grateful that my friends do this to me. One time the priest at the 65-parishioner church in our 900-person town made a pointed sermon about being on time for God, very obviously not to looking in the direction of the pew where my mother and our brood had shuffled to fifteen minutes into the service. Because, you see, it’s inherited. I am a late person in a long line of late people. On behalf of multiple generations, let me beg your pardon.
I know the arguments, they are solid. Tardiness is evidence of a lack of respect. If you make someone wait for you, it means you don’t care about them. If you can’t get off your butt or stop what you are doing ten minutes earlier, you clearly think your time is worth more than everyone else’s. It’s hubris, disregard. It’s all the things that break personal bonds and endanger the social order. Except, it’s not. Not really.
The problem is not the respect between the late and the on time. Given the choice, I would not select living in a state of perpetually asking forgiveness. I left Catholicism when I left my little hometown, much for this reason. There is no satisfaction in crashing through a door, being greeted with annoyed stares and eye rolls. I know, I know it’s the worst.
So why, the earlies ask, why don’t you just not be late? Well, I’ll tell you. Continue reading →
In honor of achieving my lifetime bartender win by serving a drink to Ted Danson, I thought I’d share some thoughts I’ve had about watching the epic, childhood-filling sitcom that launched him to stardom.
The show shuttered in 1993, and I clearly remember the frenzy leading up to the final few episodes, but the early years are hazy.