Thursday, April 30, 2009

City Moon

Yesterday was an especially stressful day. Nothing particularly huge happened, but rather a bunch of tiny, small frustrations that wouldn't have seemed like much on their own. Put them all together---and voila! Instantly Stressed Becky.

After spending the day taking care of my mom after her rotator cuff surgery, and dealing with my teething, fussy, needy Dragonmonkey, I was ready to go home. I headed off to my car, alternately proud and embarassed by the amount of stuff I was carrying. I looked like a bag lady, but I was also proud that I managed to make it to my car in one trip by carrying the DragonMonkey in his baby carrier, stuffing his diaper bag with my purse and other various odds and ends and putting it over one shoulder, slinging the rest of the items in a tote over the other shoulder, and hanging my ever-present boppy and baby blanket precariously on the load. My left hand carried the leftover food, and the right hand had the key to the car.

So, I pretty much looked like this, but holding a baby instead of pushing a pram:

Did I mention that my mom is staying at the Marriott? And that it's the Marriott right next to a Cal State school? And that all the cute little, nimple, lithe, nymphettes come giggling in there every night to have a couple of drinks before fluttering off for the night with their tanned, toned thighs?


So, my long, stressful day was almost over. I staggered to the car, and managed to unload everything into the front seat, the back seat, the car seat, and the trunk. Closing the door, I leaned against the car for a moment, enjoying the silence and pondering my life. It was early night, and the full moon was just rising above the horizon. I could see it peeking at me from behind some trees, bright and full. and it brought me peace.

I breathed deeply of the night air, and in the midst of the hectic city, I closed my eyes and tried to find my composure again.

The sounds of the nearby freeway became muted as I became aware of the light touch of the evening breeze.

The stress of the day began to melt from my shoulders, and I stretched my hands high above my head, taking a full, cleansing breath. I felt a sense of serenity begin to slip back into my life.

I looked at that beautiful moon, its full, strangely-yellow glow muted by the skeletal branches of the trees, and I thought back to every full moon I've sat there and gazed at, and it made me smile.

I thought of the beautiful crescent moon I'd stared at only the week before, and I...

Wait a second.

If I was looking at a crescent moon last Sunday evening, and today was Thursday, there was no WAY that the moon could already be full. I took two steps to the side, narrowed my eyes to see better, and ...


I'd been finding my peace by staring at the full, yellow glow of the SALE! SALE! SALE! ballooon of the nearby auto dealership.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On Mongoloids and other Hoosier Terms

Easter week found the Bean and I travelling to Illinois to meet his extended family. Apparently everybody except the Bean, his mom, his dad, and his little brother live within about a twenty-mile radius of each other. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about meeting everybody all at once, but luckily, I brought my favorite little distractor: The Dragonmonkey.

Holding him in front of me like an adorable, wiggly little talisman, I managed to make it through all the introductions without my usual idiocies. I got along with everybody I met, and managed to not inadvertently insult anybody during my entire stay. Frankly, I think that's a first for me.

Ayways, my new extended family are a bunch of Hoosiers, and proud of it. Urbandictionary defines hoosiers as:

St. Louis Meaning: white trash of the worst kind. Also used as an adjective to describe anything several notches below your own perceived sophistication. Dates back to a strike that occurred in St. Louis in the 30's. During this strike, scab workers from Indiana were brought in to fill in for strikers. The pejorative term hoosier stems from the St. Louis workers' lack of appreciation for this. Noun: Rob: Man, I didn't like that bar. Mike: Yeah, it's full of hoosiers.

Honestly, the way my new family tossed that word around, I figured it wasn't nearly as bad of a meaning as that. I've been around several white-trash families in my time, and they weren't even remotely close to white-trash. Still, whatever floats their boat; if that's what they want to be called, who am I to stop them?

At any rate, I do have a funny story from that trip. The whole family, as can be expected, are Cardinals fans, and none more so than the Dragonmonkey's great-grandparents. While I'm only a mediocre baseball fan at best (I enjoy watching the games live, but find it boring on tv) Great-Grandma Bean actually made watching the game rather fun. She kept up a lively commentary from her chair, ridiculing the players and offering insight into their personal habits.

"Oh, I hate this guy. Everytime he takes a swing, he has to readjust his gloves. It drives me crazy!"

And, sure enough, the guy would go up to the plate, take a swing, step back from the plate and readjust his gloves. After only two times of seeing him up at bat, I was going just as crazy as she was.

Go up to the plate.



Step back from the plate.

Rest bat against his legs.

Unstrap glove, pull on tighter, strap, unstrap, strap.

Repeat with other glove.

Pick, up bat.

Position himself at the plate again.




Anyhow, despite the fact that she had me all twitchy and unfomfortable now that I was noticing everybody's annoying habits, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the game.

"Oh, this man," Great-Grandma Bean would say in disgust. "THIS guy has to lick his right shoulder every time he bats." Fascinated, I would lean forward in my chair, and sure enough, the batter would take a quick lick at his shoulder, and then settle in for the pitch.

All was going well, right up until Albert Pujols came up to bat.

"Oh, this man," Great-Grandma Bean said, shaking her head sadly. "He and his poor wife have a Mongoloid child."

SAY WHAT? The game forgotten, I turned my head to stare at her in shock, mouth gaping slightly. Did she really just say mongoloid? Then came the kicker. My wonderful, innocent husband, The Bean, turned her to her in confusion and asked, "They adopted?"

Trying to get his attention discreetly, I flapped my fingers at him. To no avail.

Great Grandma Bean: "No, no. MONGOLOID."

The Bean (in further confusion): "From Mongolia, right? Mongolian?"

Great Grandma Bean (for the win): "No, no. MONGOLOID. You know. Slitty-eyed," and I swear, at that point, she put her fingers up to her eyes and pulled them back like a child making fun of an Asian. "With the funny puffy-looking face." She put her hands back down, and shook her head. "So sad. Their other children are normal, but they have that one poor mongoloid child."

The whole time she was talking, I'm flapping my fingers, and twitching in my chair, and wincing through her entire explanation. The Bean still looked confused, and opened his mouth to ask another question. I couldn't stand it any longer, and burst out loudly, "DOWN SYNDROME. They have a DOWN SYNDROME child." I looked at him pointedly, in that we-are-soooo-gonna-have-a-talk-later stare. He looked back at me in confusion, gesturing "What?" with his hands. As far as he was concerned, here he was, having an innocent discussion with his grandma, and then I start getting all pissy. L-A-T-E-R, I mouthed back at him, and gestured for him to drop the discussion.

Thankfully, at that point, Great-Grandpa Bean came into the room, and started making plans to get his car washed. Scooting over to The Bean, I whispered into his ear, "Mongoloid is a really horrible, really derogatory term for someone with Down Syndrome. Don't EVER use it in public. I didn't think anybody still did." The Bean nodded in understanding, and we both settled back in our seats to watch the game.

That is, right up until Great-Grandpa Bean said, "You know, on second thought, I think I am going to go have the car washed today after all. That nice, COLORED man down on the corner always does such a good job."




I know one little DragonMonkey who is never going to visit that side of the family without me along to chaperone and do damage control.

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