phrasing

D: That’s Randolph Scott on the right.
E: That’s Randolph Scott? I never recognize him. It’s a mental block. I always think of him as a villainous type.
D: He is the villain in this.
E: I mean look like a villain. He looks so harmless. He looks like half of Gary Cooper.
D: Aw.
E: You know what I mean! He looks like if Gary Cooper and Ralph Bellamy got together to make a, a, a second banana.
E: … that sounded so dirty!

advice

The #1 piece of advice I give to nieces & nephews: HEY KIDS, only date people who like you and whom you like, who are nice to you and to whom you can be nice.

You’d think it would be obvious, but it really, really isn’t, especially when you’re young. To young people schooled in the brand of romance sold in songs and movies, drama and acrimony can seem like the inevitable companion to romance. Drama and acrimony can seem like the definition of romance.

But they aren’t. At least, they don’t have to be. Only date people who treat you well, whom you can treat well, and only date people you genuinely like. It’s simple, obvious advice, and it needs to be said a lot more than it is.

that’s just my face

We join this conversation in progress:

The Fella: Is there anything I can do to help?
Elsa: Naw, I’m fine, just trying to write [thing], get it sorted out in my head. There’s no way to help.
The Fella: Would some chocolate help?
Elsa: … yeeeeeeEEEEEESSSSS. [as he walks to the kitchen] Was I making an “I wish I had chocolate” face? Do I have an “I wish I had chocolate” face? … is that just my face?
The Fella: Your face has elements of that in it, yes.

Dear Dad

Dear Dad, I was thinking about “Macbeth” again this week, and the cat i’ the adage. Whenever I read that, I think of talking to you.

Dear Dad, I got some new cartridges for those pens you gave me when I first went back to school. Thanks for thinking of me, and for knowing how useful it is to have brightly colored pens so classmates don’t walk off with them.

Dear Dad, it might be about time for me to have a BLT. I never have one without thinking of that midnight with you. I wish I could take you to the neighborhood restaurant where I sometimes get them. You’d hate the noise and love the fries, and you would have been as vexed as I was that they called themselves Hot Suppa but weren’t open for supper, and as weirdly relieved as I was when they fiiiiinally started serving during supper hours.

Dear Dad, not too long ago a community member asked for help decoding his late father’s document full of punchlines without the jokes. I was able to explain one of the jokes and to tell a little story about you and me, too.

Dear Dad, I’ve been in pain for a few weeks now — nothing serious, but damned unpleasant. The Fella has been unsurprisingly amazing and thoughtful during all that time. I wish you’d met him. You’d love and trust him with all your heart, just like I do. I think you’d love him for himself, not just because he loves and cares for your daughter so sweetly and unfailingly.

Dear Dad, I’ve spent a lot of years unwinding my complicated feelings about my childhood and the ways my parents coped with (or didn’t cope with) your own grief and heartache before I was born, and how that affected my own adult relationships and my own childless state, and I know that I might never come to the end of that skein.

But it gets easier and easier to reconcile that complex snarl of feelings with the simple love that I feel for you and Mom, and to say it over and over: Dear Dad, I love you. Dear Dad, I miss you.

coupling

Me: Argh!
The Fella [hurrying solicitously from the next room because my back is bothering me today]: Whoa, what happened?
Me: No, nothing, nothing. I just did that thing — that thing where you bang something, y’know.
The Fella [louche and with a theatrical leer]: Roger that!
Me: Y’know, when you bang your —
The Fella: Copy that! I do know it. Ohhhhhhh yeeeeeah.
Me: I hit the ball of my ankle on the futon, is all.
The Fella: Cannnnnn dooooo.
Me: All you heard was “ball,” wasn’t it?
The Fella: Annnnny time.

everything

The Fella returns to the room from grabbing a beer. Before he sits, he reaches out, and strokes the top of my head.

Him: Oooh, your head is so nice.

Me: Thank you. It’s right at the top of my body. That’s where I keep it.

Him: I like everything about you.

No punchline, folks. No joke. I just wanted to document this moment so I won’t forget it. Because I like everything about him, too.

pet names

The Fella: Hi, burpington!
Elsa: Hi, babe. You’re awful nice.
The Fella: … did you just call me “baby hotbox”?
Elsa: What?
The Fella: Did you just say “Hi, baby hotbox?”
Elsa: “Hi. Babe. You’re. Awful. Nice.” But yes, from now on, I’m calling you “baby hotbox.”
Fella: That’s nice.

made for each other

I turn on the TV. The actor onscreen is turned away from the camera, so we glimpse the merest flicker of face: the line of a jaw, the edge of nose. Instantly, we both blurt out “Is that The Gersh?”

That’s right:

A) We have a household nickname for Gina Gershon.

B) We can both recognize her in a split second, even when she’s got her back to the camera.

It’s nice we found each other.

a fine how-do-you-do

The Fella: Your hands are so soft.
Elsa: They’re getting rough. I think I have to buy some fancy-lady lotion.
The Fella: I’ll get you some Zelda Fitzgerald gloves.
Elsa: Did she have crazy*-lady gloves?
[a pause]
Elsa: [way too excited at the prospect] Like, did she have the nervous disorder where she picked at her hands? And she wore gloves to keep from doing it?
The Fella: … no. She had fancy-lady gloves. She drank champagne in them. She smoked cigarettes in them.
Elsa: A lady doesn’t eat, drink, or smoke in gloves, though —despite unschooled suggestions to the contrary — it is perfectly proper to shake hands while wearing gloves. A lady should leave her gloves on rather than delay the handshake.
The Fella: A lady should bang in them.
Elsa: But Zelda mighta drunk champagne in her gloves. Or smoked in ‘em.
The Fella: She mighta banged in ‘em.
Elsa: Anything one may properly do in gloves, one may properly do in bed. Wait. I mean, I suspect handshake etiquette is the same as banging etiquette. Wait.
The Fella: [waits]
Elsa: [laughing] For example, the senior lady always initiates it with the younger lady! ETIQUETTE JOKE!
The Fella: Uh-huh.
Elsa: And the lady always makes the invitation, not the gentleman, but if he extends it, you’d be rude not to put your hand out for it. ETIQUETTE JOKE!
The Fella: Mm-hmm.

*I’ve been slowing trying to replace casual able-ist slurs in my everyday speech. It isn’t going super-well.