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Language Log

Sunday, Nov. 01, 2009 - 7:33 a.m.

Only 5 trick-or-treaters last night. Five! Last time Halloween fell on a Saturday, there were several times more. Around 20-25, if my memory serves me correctly. I nearly ran out of candy. Wonder what happened.

Today is a day for the venting of peeves and the explication of irksome things.

1. Malls. On the topic of what happened to the trick-or-treaters, two people yesterday expressed their approval of mall trick-or-treating. I'll just say now that unless you live in a very sucky neighborhood, mall trick-or-treating is no substitute for the real thing, and I for one will never initiate taking my kid to a mall on Halloween. Bah. (I don't actually think that's what happened to our local t-or-t'ers-- both people who reported that were in other states, and our mall sucks. But still.)

2. Walt Whitman. I've been trying to read through "Leaves of Grass" in search of quotable bits-- it's so damn long, there has to be something good in there-- but I just can't take it. I've tried several times now-- this poet, so respected, surely he wrote some few lines worth finding? But no. Or maybe yes, a few, but I haven't the stomach to stick it out and find them.

3. 'cute'. This LL post reminded me of something else that happened at the recent show. So I had that new showpiece that didn't sell. The thing is substantial-- a full neckpiece. Also costy-- $650 is the price I had on it. Anyway, a couple of people came up and exclaimed to each other "Isn't this cute! Oh, it's darling!". I wanted to kick them the fuck out of my booth right then and there. I don't put 10+ hours of work into one piece so it can be called 'cute'. I realize some people are verbally hobbled, but come on.

4. Pink things. Ok, I thought about this a lot last night and have come to an understanding with myself about how I will take this and all the things like it yet to come, but my mother in law is apparently buying baby clothes like tomorrow all baby clothing factories will spontaneously combust. And despite our explicit, repeated instructions that we don't want any pink, she has been buying pink things almost exclusively. (The exceptions are, I'm told, white. White on a baby. Seriously? Neither J nor I can go more than a day or two without getting something on our own shirts while eating-- what on earth would make anyone think our baby could do any better?). Ok, here's my full snark response to this: I know, we should do the baby's room in VAGINA theme, that way everything can be pink, and the mil's urge to ensure that nothing that is not pink ever touches the baby can be indulged fully.

Of course, my more reasonable side tells me that a) we can probably return a lot of it, and b) the mil is so gosh-darned considerate about virtually everything, that if she wants to have a time of fun buying whatever the hell she wants for her grandbaby, she's certainly entitled to do so. I don't have to dress the kid in any of it when she's not around, which will after all be most of the time. I do have a problem with having to go out and essentially buy an entire new baby wardrobe so that I'll be willing to be seen with the child in public, but that's an issue with me and my tenacious frugality. If that's what we have to do, so be it. Anyway, it's not like my idea of what counts as an 'entire wardrobe' is anywhere near as extensive as mil's. We're not talking one-for-one replacement, here.

I have this memory of visiting my cousin and his wife in PA when their daughter was young. I don't remember how young, exactly, but toddler-age I think. I was a young teenager--13?. She had her own large room (we still lived on the boat, so that was impressive in and of itelf) and an entire closet full of neatly arranged clothes. Even then, I was mystified and somewhat disgusted and scornful that any 2-year-old could possible need that much clothing. It spoke badly of the morals of the parents. Such is the judgmental type of frugality I've been bequeathed by my parents, and cannot shake no matter what. I can only temper that reaction after careful reflection. Now I have to come to an acceptance of the fact that my own kid will probably have that much stuff herself, no thanks to me. (From me she'll learn how to make pie and trouble.)

Things are complicated right from the beginning, aren't they?

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