So Easily Entertained

Here’s what must be my shortest slice ever: me being oddly amused by the local flying frack enjoying breakfast.

I was minded of when my sons were toddlers picking up and tossing food with their hands. I looked very much like this. Now, here is a sentence that you won’t read every day…. the pigeon was cleaner.

It’s been a slow week – what can I tell you? Apparently nothing.


Let’s see how others are slicing it what left of this Tuesday…

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Quantification Feculence

I’m on my way to work. As I pass near a guy on a park bench, clearly taking a moment’s respite before continuing his run, I hear, “You’re pretty for a fat girl.”

Luckily, I have the earbuds in, so I pretend I did not hear that, ignore him, and blithely keep walking.  

Lothario has the effrontery to rise, and then jog backwards to catch up to me, just to inform me that most women say thanks when handed a compliment.

Wait… What? Oh, come the bleepity-bleep-oh-bleep-this-bleepity- bleep on! No!

To say I would not have been in the mood for such nonsense after my third cup of coffee is one thing. I’m dang sure not up for up at not even a quarter after seven in the feckin’ morn with not one drop in me.

“You’re right, and conversely most women don’t thank the person who back-handed insults them.”

I declare I can all but hear the crickets of confusion chirping in his head.

“How did I…?”

Le sigh…

“Most men know better than to make a definitive statement then quantify it with another that negates it.”

I try to be helpful, but oh dear Lord –three things I pray– I think the crickets are even louder.

Why am I doing this to myself? Oh, wait! I’m not.

“Nay. Nein. Nix. Nope. Nyet. I’m out.”

I start to walk away when he puts a hand up.

“El Sol’s ascent has not attained sufficient altitude to engage in such feculence, dude.”

This time I’m expecting the succession of rapid blinks from him as a chorale of crickets join in for harmony, and I am not disappointed.

“I’m sorry… I just don’t get how you’re insulted.”

I note he’s careful not to touch me even accidentally as I move forward; he only wants to continue the conversation. That is the only reason I entertain this.

“Look, are all your public declarations of perceived attractiveness to unknown women attributed with their body mass?”

Oh, that sweet, sweet cricket orchestra crescendos for a moment, but I see when the magical penny finally drops, “you’re saying I would not have added that last part if you were skinny. Fuck. You’re right.”

Certainement.”

“Okay” He sighs taking it like a champ, “I stand corrected.”

“And I exit, vindicated. Caffeination’s lack will soon make bitter my tongue. Better luck next time. Bon jour.” I give a short nod.

His amused expression tells me what I already know: my tongue has been bitter this entire conversation. I know he thinks it, but in this he is smart enough not to say it as I start to walk away again.

Points to House Lothario.

“Hey, one moment.” He calls out.  

Demerits to House Lothario.

“Dude...” I stop and turn letting my face show how that lack is not working in his favor. “…be succinct.”

“Is it next time yet?”

Points to House Lothario

“You are pretty. Perhaps join you on your quest for caffeination?”

Fast learner! More points.

“Thank you.” I laugh, “Alas, I suspect I can tick at least a score’s gap between our ages. That brings you to a vintage within the bounds of that which I brought upon this earth. Négatif. This conversation is fini.”

I wave my fingers and walk away in a manner the requires no further quantification, as I don’t look back.

If you’re asking: What’s with the French, Rai? So am I. I have NO idea; I don’t speak it – but there it is.

Au revoir!

[Side note: I do love the moments when my internal Oxford Dictionary overrides my internal Urban Dictionary, and it was in rare form considering my lack of morning coffee.]


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Elevat-tiquette

I slightly sprained my ankle over the weekend. So, stairs and I are not the best of friends this morning. Luckily, the train station near my job has elevators. I generally don’t use them, but today I swoop into the first elevator behind two other women just as the doors close. As we are at the lowest level and each just left the same train, there only one direction to go, up. One woman, on my left, is standing by the call panel, I notice she is holding a paper towel sheet. A common enough sight these days in the world of Covid. The other woman slightly to my right has a cane. The three of us do that I see you, but I’m not looking at you, thing in which all mass transit commuters and in this case, strangers in an elevator excel.

I’m mentally patting myself on the back for my excellent timing for the elevator so a few seconds pass before I realize we are not ascending to the mezzanine level. I look at the call panel and sure enough neither woman has pressed the button. I was about to make a little joke on how elevators might work a little better if at least one of us remembered to push the button, when the woman to my right sucks her teeth, rolls her eyes and reaches in front of the woman to my left to press the call button.  

Okay. Clearly something is going on there that I missed, but my name’s Nat, I’m not in that. Whatever.

There is an odd tense silence as we ascend to the mezzanine level and exit. We make our way to the next elevator that takes us to the street level. In this elevator, the woman who was to the right of me, and I have switched places. Like the previous elevator, there is only one destination to choose, the three of us are going to the street level. It’s an unspoken rule in such situations, if they are nice, the first person to enter an elevator will hold the door open button for others to safely enter before they push the button for the floor. IF they are nice. And that’s when I begin to see the problem.

The woman with the paper towel, having entered first is again closest to the buttons, but for some reason she does not push it. She stares straight ahead clearly expecting the other woman or I to push the call button. You know, the call button that she is standing right in front of.

Now I know why there was teeth sucking and eye rolling as I struggle not to follow suit with a annoyed huff. I remind myself these two women are my elders. If I’m lucky I will annoy some near sixty-year-old person with my own special brand of curmudgeon-dy in another decade or so. Still…

No. No. No. No. No. It is barely 7 in the dang morning! It is MUCH too early for such trifling nonsense. And I haven’t had my coffee yet!

To put in some context, the trains were fast this morning. I am really early for work, so I could easily be 100% that bi-er-that person and wait the two of them out. However, my ankle chose that moment to remind me of its slightly-less-than-optimal existence.

Fine! I’ll be the mature one.

Now you know any situation where I, Raivenne, am forced to be the mature one, is a stupid situation. I start to reach for the button when the woman with the cane clears her throat loudly. You know that throat clearing sound your mama made right behind you when she’s caught you doing something you know have no business doing? It was that sound. It was near Pavlovian the quickness in which I snatched my hand back like a switch took to it.

“Etiquette dictates when walking with a sharp implement you do so with the point towards you, because in case of an accident ‘cause it’s kinder to harm oneself than another. It seems t’me the one with the ability to protect us all from the germs on them nasty ol’ buttons with that trusty lit’l napkin they carryin’ jus’ for that purpose should be like the kind one and press it fo’ us all.”

Aww sookie-sookie now!

I don’t know if Napkin Lady was from the south, but Ms. Cane surely was. Her call out was delivered with all the all sugar and spice and mint julip enough to make Scarlett O’Hara, or at least Julia Sugarbaker, proud.   And me?

Hmm, I never noticed that spot on the wall before! It looks old. Surely facilities had been through here over the long weekend, the floor is cleanHow long has it been there?

Yeah, let me tell you, that wall in front of me was The Most Interesting thing in the cosmos just then. Enough that I embodied the three monkeys because I was not saying a dang thing as I pretended that I did not see as napkin clad knuckle pressed the call button, nor heard the very self-satisfied sniff behind me.

I swear for a moment it felt like I went back in time and I was that small child caught between grown folks arguing about grown folks things and hoping they don’t notice I’m there and then turn on me for listening to grown folks conversation when I can’t go anywhere because I’m not grown and (whoa – whoaaaa – sorry about that – tiny bit of PTSD there – I’m back…).  I did not have to see it to know some serious side-eye between those two happened behind me. I’m just grateful I didn’t hear (in)sincere apologies if a cane accidentally made contact with a foot.

When the elevator doors opened, I got off first and left them to whatever passive-aggressive shenanigans were employed before they went their not-so-merry little ways.


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this Tuesday…

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Some SOL Company

When I encounter friends, colleagues, countrymen, hell perfect strangers, who were raised with civility and make the mistake of asking “How are you?” one would presume being a woman raised by Sothern Belles one would think I was equally brought up with such manners that would have me politely respond with some variant of “I’m fine.”

But nah, my NYC mouth blithely shuts down all such social convention as I almost always reply with “Insane as usual. And you?” {Hey at least I’m housed trained enough to ask – mostly I’m tired of my southern Grandma reaching up from beyond to Gibbs SlapTM me upside the head – but I digress.] This is almost always met with a chuckle that ranges from exaggerated eyerolls [those that know me very well], through amused head shaking [those that know me somewhat], to nervous smiles [those who are not entirely sure if I’m joking].

Today I took it one step further. Having had the above exchange with a colleague in the ladies earlier, I pass her office a while later.

“You know how I said that I was insane?”

She knows me just well enough that she starts smiling, “Yeah?”

“I can prove it….”

The smile turns into a I already regret letting her in grin, “How?”

“Please explain to me why I cannot get the bass line, not the melody, not the lyrics, but specifically the dang bass line to DuckTales out of my damn head?”

She blinks a few times getting the reference and asks the pertinent question: “When is the last time you’ve even seen DuckTales?”

“My youngest is thirty-eight, so-decades!”

For those who don’t know DuckTales is an animated TV series produced by Disney. The original cartoon series premiered in the late-80s and ran for several years. The show featured Scrooge McDuck, his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie (yes, the nephews of Disney’s Donald Duck), and others, on various adventures. It was part of the afternoon line-up my boys watched after school. Thus, I was not exactly kidding when I said decades.

It had a very catchy theme song, with a pretty groovy bass line, which I heard five days a week for several years. And for some reason it was now stuck in my bird brain.

After stating she how she concurred with my self-assessment, I was informed I was SOL because she couldn’t help me and laughingly ordered me to get away from her immediately before I infected her. Another colleague was passing and made the mistake of inquiring what shenanigans were I causing now. I do have a slight reputation for such – slight.

Long story-short: going by my burning ears, there are at least five colleagues cussin’ out my name for the bass line likely still running through their minds.

I mean we all know adage Misery loves… Well I’ve had that miserable bass line in my head most of the day – so guess who’s joining me? For those of you reading this who know theme in question, and now are equally infected, I would say I’m sorry, but we’d all know I’d be lying.

That SOL in the title doesn’t stand for Slice of Life today.


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Glad I Didn’t Wait…

  1. I love jalapenos and had them in my salad for dinner. Uncouth and greedy idiot I am, did not use utensils, but fingers to consume said jalapenos.

  2. On way to the loo to wash my grubby jalapeno scented talons, I run into a friend I have not seen in a while who was leaving the restaurant. My mind said wash your hands it can wait. But my mouth had already called out to her. No choice now but to have the chat I garnered her attention for in the first place.

  3. Typical of me, hands forgotten, the chat devolves into silly conversation that soon has me wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. People – please review 1 and 2 above. It was a bit not good as I am quickly shown the error of my ways. Eyes now beginning to sting I hear a familiar motor sound approaching me.

  4. Another patron in a motorized chair is coming down the hall. When I politely step out the way as she passes -I don’t always apply them, but Grandmama taught me manners(!)-, I hear another very familiar sound, that is soon followed by cold wetness through my blouse.

  5. I turn in surprise realizing I backed into the automated hand sanitizer dispenser, that did its job and dispensed itself – on my back. The friend I was conversing with saw the stain and lost it, making a reference to a scene in the James Spader/Maggie Gyllenhaal movie “Secretary”. It was a reference I got, which sent me completely over the giggle edge. [Either you know the scene or you do not, I am NOT explaining it. Just know that it is sexual in nature and let your very dirty mind -if you have one- extrapolate from there.] I make it to the ladies room at last and she goes on her way.

  6. Now imagine walking into the ladies room to find a female at the sink, make-up ruined, seemingly trying not to cry while tears stream down her face, holding copious amounts of paper towels trying to blot dry a blouse spotted with suspicious looking stains down her back, without taking it off. Only when I saw the horror stricken look on her face as she slowly approached me in genuine concern and gently asked asked if I wanted to call someone did I get the enormity of how it looked from an unknowing eye.

    And me, being me, continue to be a child at a most inappropriate time, told her “Mr. E. Edward Grey!” referencing James Spader’s character in the above mentioned “Secretary.”

  7. Still giggling like the twelve-year-old I am mentally, I finally finished washing my hands and face as I assured her the only assault was from the automated hand sanitizer dispenser whose motion sensor I had accidentally set off. Much to the woman’s relief, and momentary blush, I also explained about the movie and that I refer to the Spader character as the original Mr. Grey, where I believe the author of the 50 Shades series of books/movies may have taken the surname inspiration.

  8. I had to wear my blazer with paper towels between my blouse and my back until the wet spots dried. But so worth the unexpected laughter. Yes, speaking to the my friend, instead of immediately washing my hands, could have waited, but I’m glad I didn’t.


    I also now have a mental bet with myself that the woman from the ladies room will be watching a certain movie before the week is out. It’s a Schrodinger’s bet, but I’ll wager it’s in my favor.

    And since I’m still in a puerile mood, I feel obligated to remind you dear readers May is National Masturbation Month – handle that information however you will.

Let’s see how others are slicing it out this first Tuesday in the merry, merry month of May…

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But Soft What Spring Through Lovely April Breaks

Arise sweet spring for signs of you have sprung

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I get to enjoy the sight of Venus in the late-winter, early spring mornings on my walk to the train station for work. It the very first sign of spring for me, but there are others.

The landscapers for The Commons around my job arrived last week. Gone are the winter evergreens, and the first shoots of the annual tulips are breaking through the ground. In another week or so the area will be awash in the reds, oranges, and yellows of tulips in the garden beds. With the addition of daffodils and lillies, the white blossoms of the dogwoods and always the pinks of the cherry blossoms the next few weeks will be awash springs bright colors. I will love it as I always do, but surprisingly, or not, for all the visual beauty that is the coming spring, it is not my favorite part.

My favorite part is aural.

The blocks I walk are tree-lined and have begun to bud in their own markers of spring, but it’s their occupants that hold sway for me. I step out my building, cross the street and there it is, a sweet trilling; the first calls of the day. Birdsong. For the next couple of week, my walk to the train station will time with the waking of the local flocks of pigeons and quarrels of sparrows. And as the mornings become brighter, if I’m lucky,I am also treated to flashes of robin and cardinal reds or the less frequently seen blue of a jay.

And yes, even the occasional caws of murdering crows and the conspiracy of ravens have greeted my mornings.

Oh, I am in no way, shape or form, an ornithologist. It is the decades of living in different NYC neighborhoods, and my penchant to look up, that have made me observant of more than just the people and pets that share the sidewalks with me.

The chirping of birds in my mornings is also a harbinger of the coming winter when their waking and my walking will again align, but we shan’t speak of such ill things right now. No. No. No.

This is the time for the most vernal of thoughts and I am here for it.


Let’s see how others are slicing it out this first Tuesday of April…

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Unheard Spokesperson

How’s my day, well the past three days, going so far…? I’ll let my current Facebook post answer that:

screenshot of my Facebook post: bemoaning a twenty-minute conversation on alopecia and the literal politics of black hair, only to be told “But it’s just a hair style.”

** mentally inserts every facepalming gif in existence here **

Of course, the conversation started with the slap heard around the world. I segued away from it being about the men involved and focused on the woman involved that few are talking about. The trials of alopecia for any person, but especially women, and why it’s such a big deal for black women in particular. That naturally lead to the point of the Crown Act and why it’s important, just to be told “But it’s just a hair style” after all of that. Arrggh!

I know I gave her The Look. I imagine my face must have said everything while several generations of great-grandmothers, my grandmothers on both sides and Mommie all reached out from their graves and held back my tongue, as Jesus whispered in the person’s ear um -yeah, that’s a bit not good, turn and go, my child and Lucifer concurred Yo, even I thinks ya betta walk the fuck away from her right now. My jaw still feels some kind of way weird, from the teeth ground so hard in that moment that likely kept me employed as the person made their excuse and hastened away.


Day 30 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

I Knew It!

Last night as I chose on my clothes for today, I pulled out a turtleneck. Despite it officially being spring, by the calendar, I knew it was going to be cold today.

This morning I look at my footwear. Originally, I had selected loafers, I switched to booties. I knew it was going to be cold today.

I look out the window and see the tree branches yield to wind. Soft open knit beret? – Sorry, you’re on the bench. Tightly knit grey toque – suit up! I knew it was going to be cold today.

Last, but hardly least, I pull my red pea coat into service. After all, I knew it was going to be cold today.

Forewarned and armed, I open my front down and head down the stairs. I reach the curb to cross the street. Now away from my building protecting me from it, a gust of wind sneaks around and slams into me. I mean, I’m physically shifted from the ferocity of it. How rude!

So what comes out of my mouth: “Holy f—! I didn’t know it was going to be cold today!”

[A warm thank you to Amy Ellerman for the honor of using my post, Amused and Bemused, in today’s Be Inspired section at Two Writing Teachers.]


Day 29 of 31 – Let’s see how others are chilling in a good way and slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
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Book Bash the Final Countdown

For the TL;DR crowd who have yet to google, in a nutshell, GISH is a Guinness World Record-setting, several day, international event that empowers players to push their creative boundaries, tackle hilarious challenges, and perform incredible acts of kindness, most from the comforts of their own home. The event features special guests, literary challenges and more. The Book Bash Mini-Hunt! this weekend is thirty-six hours and while more literary oriented, no less wonderfully chaotic.

Because I did not want to leave the house, I chose four out of the nearly 100 challenges to accept. Since I never attempted fumage art before, I did what I thought would be the hardest out and got it of the way first with yesterday’s create a sign protesting the banning of books. I was wrong. The next challenge turned out to be, not so much harder, but a lot more detailed and time consuming. Create a portrait of LeVar from quotes from famous black authors and activists. I have yet to see other artists’ interpretations, but here is my entry:

Levar Burton with the entirety of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s
“I Have a Dream” Speech. Click for full size.

I posted my entry to my Instagram account, tagged GISH and thought nothing of it. And then THIS happened… So, imagine my shock of all shocks when I saw the first “Like” on it, and who it was from!

Misha Collins "Likes" my GISH art!
Misha Collins “Likes” my GISH art!

I’m sure this is something curated by his staff and all of us who took up this specific challenge also got a “Like”, but it’s from his official account and it looks so cool on my account.

My third chosen challenge was a breeze. @yung_pueblo posts lovely meditative poetry on Instagram. Write your own poem in his style. Post yours on Instagram:

Because sometimes we need to remember to take a moment to put down our loads, lift up our feet and just chill...
Because sometimes we need to remember to take a moment to put down our loads, lift up our feet and just chill… Click for full size.

Because I like futzing around with photoshop I was volunteered by our team’s captain to do the challenge of taking a screenshot of barren land from Google Maps and overlay a Photoshop image, as if you have carved into the earth. Make it, of a message or drawing that would be seen from space. The message should be a call for help, as if a passing space fleet of benevolent aliens might see and come rescue us from ourselves.

Don't bomb us! Rescue us! We have Girl Scout cookies!

Because even aliens know Girl Scout Cookies are out of this world! (Or maybe they think the cookies are made from actual Girl Scouts. Hmm, maybe I should have checked the “To Serve Man” menu.)

And finally, I did it just because: According to GISH, not everyone knows this, but the first novel ever written and the world’s first science-fiction novel were both penned by women authors. In honor of these literary trailblazers, show us Frankenstein’s monster reading a copy of The Tale of Genji.

A modern-day Frankenstein's creature listen's to tunes while reading the ultimate classic.
A modern-day Frankenstein’s creature listen’s to tunes while reading the ultimate classic. Click for full size.

Yes, Creach -what? he was never given a name- is wearing earbuds and listening to “Monster Mash”, don’t judge his musical choices!

Still, as much fun as it was, it was a lot of hours on my computer without break. At 8pm, I called it quits. All I know is, if this was a mini one, I’m part excited, part terrified to experience a full one.


Day 28 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Book Bash the First 24 Hours

Logo for Gish Book Bash March 26-27, 2022

To give you just a tiny piece of how Book Bash works here’s a what I thought would be an easy challenge to try:

“It was a pleasure to burn.” Using pyrography or fumage, create a sign proOtesting book bans and censorship.

Fumage you say? Having never done it before, my (not-so) inner pyromaniac and artist vibe were both sparked to say the least.

Book Bash is a mini GISH, so I only have thirty-six hours. The very first step was to remind myself I’m using unfamiliar techniques. I won’t have time to dedicate to just one challenge for corrections or perfection. It’s not going to look exactly like I envision it in my head, but I can do this. Okay, pep talk over, let’s get some fire going!

Ray Bradbury was right. “It was a pleasure to burn.”

What books shall I choose? I wanted a mix of classic and current books that have been banned and these quickly came to mind.

Photo of covers of some of the many books that have been banned.

Let’s see: glue, scissors, paint and a fresh reminder to tell the Virgo in me to zip it(!), and the here’s end result:

Art protesting the banning of books. quote: Pay attention to the books people try to ban then go read them. Find out for yourself why those people want it banned. Then decide for yourself, can they be trusted to know what's best for you.

I may yet do this over when I have oodles more time to block text, properly arrange the “logs” and about fifteen other things I am internally screaming about, but here it is.

And this is just ONE challenge my team and I completed. 24 hours down, 12 more to go.

Stay tuned…


Day 27 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers