Monday, August 27, 2012

Sorting Nonsense

I like to organize stuff. And I have grand plans for maternity leave (although I'm less than a week into the semester and already realizing what a joke my "grand plans" are. Mostly I nurse the baby, change the baby, change the baby's clothes when he gets bodily fluids on them, change the baby again, nurse the baby, play with the baby, try to get the baby to sleep, and THEN spend half an hour doing all the things that I haven't been able to do earlier, like get dressed or brush my teeth. Don't get me wrong--maternity leave is an awesome thing, and I do love taking care of Bonaventure, who is endlessly delightful. But it's not like I'm lounging around all day. Well, except for when I'm lounging around nursing the baby, but even then I'm occupied).

Let me start again.

I like to organize stuff. But for years, I've had this very disorganized folder-box-thing full of letters, cards, notes, and other mementos. I recently found a big accordion folder in my office and thought that, at last, I could organize those things--possibly along the lines of Flavia's letter-sorting system (I'm not going to look for the link, sorry). After all, I am sort of the family archivist; I bound all of our wedding cards together in a Coptic-bound book, I put together photo albums, and I even scanned a bunch of my grandfather's adolescent poetry.

This afternoon, when Bonaventure finally went down for a long and much-needed nap, I settled myself on the bed with my accordion file and my collection, eager to go through it and get it all straightened out.

But along what scheme? It's such a hodgepodge miscellany: a torn-off bit of paper with a nice note from my dad, birthday cards from twenty years ago, a collection of letters from a friend living in Spain, wedding invitations, cute pictures of my friends' kids. I found myself making (I kid you not) the following piles: (1) cards with pictures of cats on them (wow I have a lot of these); (2) items from 2004; (3) letters from Andrew; (4) things on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper.

And then I noticed what fun I was having finding all of these things in no particular order.

So I've changed my approach. Instead of cleaning it up, I'll embrace the disorder as part of the collection's point. I have put it into the accordion file (which will keep it much more tidily and with less damage to the pages), and I couldn't resist a little bit of organizing (group 4, for some reason, remained intact), but I'm keeping it messy--a strangely liberating sensation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How would you respond?

So I'm afraid that Dr. Koshary's fear has been realized: I had a baby and stopped blogging. I won't say that this was Dr. K's greatest fear, but it was, at least, a minor, trifling concern that he expressed in the comments to one of my posts.

Anyway, I've compounded my unreadiness to post (because of having a baby) by convincing myself--as I always do--that I need to have some earth-shatteringly clever post to mark my re-entry into blogging. And then I would compose mildly amusing posts in my head, decide that they would be said earth-shatteringly clever post, forget how they went, and try to reconstruct them (still in my head) with little success. And then I'd, like, go to sleep or something. And so it went.

Whatever. I'll just jump right in here with this little incident from the afternoon:

I was walking down my quiet, residential, small-town street to a meeting. Two girls (around 12ish? I couldn't see them very well) were sitting in the open cargo space of a van at a house on the other side of the street, with the door open. One of them yelled, "Hey, girl, you want some milk?"

I figured that she was talking to someone in the house and ignored her. But when I drew abreast (ha ha) of the house, I saw that they were looking at me. I smiled, as one does in a small neighborhood in a small town. One of them repeated, "You want some milk?"

"No, thanks," I replied uncertainly, since milk seemed like a weird thing to be selling out of a van.

Then, when I was a little bit past them, one yelled at my back, "Those are some big boobs you've got there!"


In my inner monologue, I used the fact that I was running late for my meeting as reason not to turn around and demand to know why these young women were heckling women about their breast size, but in fact, I still haven't come up with a witty retort, and this is the reaction I almost always have when other people (= men, up until today) shout comments about my body. I'm curious: What would you have said to these girls, if anything?

All I can figure, honestly, is that they've seen me (discretely, let's note) nursing my son on the front porch of my house, because "want some milk?" is a pretty weird body-heckling comment, isn't it? The truth is, though--well, they're not wrong. But still, I'm not endowed to the point that it would like call to you from across the freaking street to comment.

Anyway, isn't that just strange? I have never been yelled at by girls. I'm rather appalled, to tell the truth. But I do expect that they'll grow out of such behavior, and maybe even be embarrassed about it one day. (Perhaps on the day when men start yelling at them. Unfortunately.)