Monthly Archives: February 2011

Of Uncle Frank, Turtles and Cow Catchers

True Confessions:  There are times that I find myself thinking, at every traffic light, “Why do people take so LONG to move forward when the light turns green?” I mean, seriously, are people not clear on the concept that green means go?  Perhaps other people don’t sit with hands at 10 and 2, fingers twitching, gazing fixedly at the traffic light for that blessed moment when it changes so they can jam their foot down on the accelerator, like some strange cross between Speed Racer and Uncle Frank in “One Crazy Summer.”

But it still seems there has to be a happy medium between driving like Uncle Frank and driving like the turtles in “Hoodwinked.”

Now, I understand that we all get caught unawares changing a CD or reading a text message or daydreaming once in a while.  We’re all human, after all.  But that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about people with reflexes slower than molasses in January.  And not just one of these people, here or there.  I’m talking about the inevitable LINE of slow people one gets stuck behind during the one commute in which one is in a hurry, having been unavoidably detained from an important appointment.

I have a friend who would call this rant “The Excitement Plan.”  He says quite wisely that you live a lot longer if you refuse to get excited over things like this. It’s better to sit back, raise your hands and smile.  People are people, and no one has yet come up with a plan to fix that.  He’s probably right.

Then again, he doesn’t live in L.A.

Tonight I found myself musing that just once in my life, I would like to drive a monster truck, perhaps with a cow-catcher mounted on the front, so that when I get stuck behind a long line of people who aren’t clear on the concept that green means go, I can just give them all a little nudge.  I’m sure it’s just some encouragement they need.  Just a little nudge forward… all nine of them.  Just a little friendly tap on the bumper to say, “Hey guys, the light’s green.  How about we all go now?”  Really, just once would do it.  I think I could be patient for the rest of my life after that.

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Categories: Around Town | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Lunch With Emily

Emily is a charming young woman, if I do say so myself, since I raised her.  She is amazingly talented in art and music, a loving sister who pinch-hits as Mom when I’m sick, loves to read British literature and has a knack for communicating with those who, due to various circumstances, disabilities or conditions, have a hard time communicating with anyone else. At 15 years old, she possesses poise and a propensity for comedy far beyond her years.

Well, okay, she possesses a propensity for comedy.  The poise comes and goes.

Take, for example, yesterday’s lunchtime conversation.  Her part of it was delivered entirely in a fairly accurate British accent.

“I’m going to talk like this all afternoon.  I’ll tell people my name is Rose.  Rose Capps.  From England.  I’ll say I lived in…um…. Yale!”

At this point her friend, Amanda and I are doing our best not to spit out our sodas, turning red in the face and shaking uncontrollably with suppressed laughter.

Emily is still excited about her role.   “That’s good, right?  Oh, wait, is Yale a town in England?  Or is it a college?  Or a kind of cheese? It sounds like a kind of cheese, actually.”

That sets us off all over again, but I finally manage to swallow my soda and gasp, “Emily, Yale is a university… (I pause for dramatic effect)… in AMERICA!”

Now it’s her turn to go red in the face and struggle with keeping her soda in her mouth.

Eventually she calms down and says, “All right then, what town were you born in?”  She figures it will be safe if she just sticks to her mothers’ roots.

It’s important that she get an accurate backstory prepared ahead of time, you see, because of the Halloween Debacle of 2009.  She pulled the accent thing that night, speaking loudly to Amanda with it while walking around our neighborhood dressed as a girl from the 70s.  It would have been okay, but she got cocky and kept it going even when she knocked on doors, and sure enough, at one house the lady squealed, “Oh!  You’re English? So is my husband!  Nigel, come here and meet the English girl.”  She then had to keep the accent going through an entire conversation with Nigel, and of course he asked her where she was from.  She grabbed the first location name she could think of in a split-second and told him “Cotswood.”  It wasn’t until she got home and related the story that I explained that the “Cotswolds” is a REGION of England, not a town.  Which probably explains why Nigel was looking at her funny.

So this time, being a year and a half older and that much wiser, she knows an accurate backstory is mandatory.  So she borrows mine.

“I was born in Stanwell,” I reply.  I can’t say the name of that town without pronouncing it the British way.  It’s one of the few pieces of my original accent that are hardwired into my brain.

“Stanwell,” she practices, rolling it around on her tongue.  “Stanwell.”  Amanda and I take another bite of food, exchanging a patient yet meaningful glance (we do this a lot around Emily, especially when she gets fanciful like this).

“Right, I’ve got it.  My name is Rose Capps, and I’m from Stanford.”

I almost choked on my broccoli beef.

“What?” she asks impatiently.

“Stanford is a university,” I sigh, and then Amanda and I say in chorus, “IN AMERICA!”

She decides to stay American for the rest of the afternoon.

Categories: Family | 2 Comments

10 Ways You Know It’s Monday

1. You get tired of waiting in bed for your husband to bring you your coffee, and then realize he’s not going to because he’s at work.

2. You realize after your 8 year old eats his cereal that he got the bowl out of the dishwasher… which wasn’t actually run the night before.

3. Having off-loaded 3 out of 4 kids at a friend’s house, you look forward to a quiet afternoon free from squabbling and fistfights… until your remaining child somehow manages to punch herself in the face.

4. Figuring you have a good 45 minutes before your first music student arrives, you sit down and relax for a few minutes before tackling the dog-hair-ridden floor and disgusting guest bathroom, only to be interrupted by a knock at the door, at which point you remember you changed the time of the first lesson.

5. Your parental control software blocks your access to your own website.

6. You go to make a cup of tea to calm your nerves, but discover the tea-kettle is empty. You go to refill the kettle from the pitcher of Arrowhead water, only to discover the pitcher is empty. You go to fill the pitcher from the giant, slippery, 5-gallon bottle of Arrowhead water, congratulating yourself on not dropping it, only to realize after it starts pouring that you hadn’t quite lined it up with the pitcher and that you are, in actuality, simply making a rapidly growing puddle of water on the kitchen floor.

7. You realize that the keys you misplaced a week ago aren’t under the dresser, where you had assumed they fell but never got around to picking up, and that you now have no idea where they are or when the last time was that you had them.

8. You finally get your tea made, go to put sugar in it, and discover that the sugar bowl is empty. You go to refill the sugar bowl and discover that the sugar canister is also empty. You pull out potatoes, onions and other bottom-shelf pantry necessities and contort yourself in order to get sugar out of the giant, “emergency” container of sugar which is stored at the back, only to stand up and notice a new bag of sugar sitting in a prominent place on the eye-level pantry shelf.

9. You try to write a list of ten items but can only come up with 9.

10. You go to post your lame 9-item “10 Reasons” list on your blog, only to discover that you have lost all connection to the Internet.

Categories: Around Town | 1 Comment

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