Thursday, May 31, 2012

genetic bias, or, the auntie in me

I didn't expect to love him this much. I didn't expect to so contentedly cradle him for hours, whether peacefully sleeping or crankily crying or snorteling (as we have dubbed it) his way through the saliva he is still unable to swallow or gazing up at me quietly with those gorgeous blue eyes.

I think he may just be the most beautiful, the most adorable, the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

Friday, May 25, 2012

at jfk, or, the things we lose in the name of safety

There was an old man a few people in front of us going through security the other evening at JFK. He could barely get out of his wheel chair, the poor skinny old guy, let alone walk, but they made him walk through the metal detectors anyway. Someone lifted him up by his elbows from behind and sent him tottering through to someone waiting on the other side to catch him.

Of course he set off the alarm. So they took off his watch and sent him backing through unsteadily to our side. The someone on our side caught him by the elbows and sent him through again. He set off the alarm again so they took his belt and backed him over to our side. Again. He stood there looking forlorn as we all grew restless. He started forward again, got half way through the detector, lost his pants which crumpled and ballooned around his knees. The alarm went off. They took something else from him and sent him back to the our side. He clutched at his pants, seemed to tremble -- with rage or humiliation or mere very-old-person weakness or confusion, who knows? I know I was close to tears, afraid I might say something to get us in trouble. Managed to keep quiet. Still hate myself a little for this.

It took two more times before they deemed him not a terrorist, and I've spent the last two days wondering how in the world this keeps us safe? And even if it does, how in the world is it worth it?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

this & that

Today I am wearing my above-the-knee corduroy skirt and feel like I am channeling you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the ivory tower?

(Friend Mick & his students extraordinaire. I thought it was too bad the kid worked up the nerve to ask.  I mean, just imagine the papers Mick could have had the pleasure of grading...)
Mick: So make sure your thesis is stated explicitly and foregrounded at the beginning of your paper. Make sure I immediately understand the claims you make in each paragraph by making clear, again--EXPLICIT, claims at their beginning. Make sense?
Student: Dr. Souders?
Mick: Yep? Got a question? Go ahead.
Student: Doesn’t “explicit” mean, like, something…like rude? Or like pornography?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

the dark ages, or, out of the mouths of playwrights

I constantly check myself for when my love of New York becomes smug. New York is great, but it's not the world, and it's alarmingly easy to be provincial here. But when I read about the backwards hate-mongers who are trying to stage a comeback for The Dark Ages in North Carolina, I consider myself lucky to live among even moderately enlightened people. The Dark Ages were never built to last. There's too much light. And intelligence, creativity, and a sense of justice are never regional attributes. "The people have the power / to redeem the work of fools" -Patti Smith
(L. Kunofsky)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

the perfect phone call

(Office phone rings.)
Me: Lehman Library, this is Emily.
Staff person: Oh, never mind, Emily! I've figured out the solution to my problem!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

1e (letting go)

I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning today and stumbled across a set of keys: my Erica's keys, though she left this particular apartment almost a year ago now.

It's got me to thinking about our years of friendship, all those moments stacking up and now spread across a thousand miles.

Now I write her sentimental postcards about childhood Sundays in Paris and she writes me quirky postcards about flesh-eating viruses and getting published (published!) and long, sad emails about heartache I'm not there to fix.

I think it's my turn. It's probably been my turn for awhile.

And probably it's time to lose the keys, however much my overly-sentimental heart cries to let them go.