Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

Well well - here I am at the computer and I can see the rug in the living room. I would say I am winning. I am so proud of BD. Not that I had no hopes of dodging the great office clean-up project. He actually is the sort who can take on gargantuan efforts - I call them his Herculean Tasks, his Twelve Labors. For sure, had this room not been full of paper and books, I would have suggested redirecting Farmer’s Hall Creek through it instead of performing like a human crane, lifting about a thousand pounds of stuff and dropping it 20 feet away. In fact, he designed and built this house. No. He didn’t hire contractors. He came home every evening for 3 years and took up hammer, saw, shovel, block and tackle, sheetrock spackler and sandpaper - all the paraphernalia required to build a house. Sometimes he’d work part-time, especially when there was a BigProject like plumbing or wiring, and put in blocks of days on the task at hand. I used to tease him that this was his great birth experience.

I had never seen anybody tackle such a monumental project - at least, not alone, willingly, without a boss or parent hovering. My admiration for him is prodigious, for he never gave up, but stepped steadily, one foot in front of the next, for three long years. In the end, we had a house that cost so little we’d paid off the mortgage in 7 years. For a process person who almost never finishes anything, his efforts are even more astounding, because it is the sort of thing I know I could never have done.

So what is the difference between building this house and cleaning out duh cave? Well - it’s the operative word. CLEAN A word that is emotionally tied to the humiliations of childhood. Clean your room! Clean up this mess! Clean that up now! It’s the sort of word that turns a process into a punishment. It doesn’t produce anything and for Mr. Production, a clean office just doesn’t cut it in the reward category.

Still and all, he’s done a good job and will be relieved of his cleaning duties once I can get the vacuum over the living room rugs. Sounds like a fair reward. Sounds like a victory.

KnitDad complained yesterday about a sloppy rude habit clerks and functionaries have developed of asking for someone’s Social - instead of one’s Social Security Number. This is a particular bit of truncation I haven’t yet heard, but my reaction to the news of it was “How California”, which prompted further musings about how regionalism still lives in this vast country. Not just little accent issues, like folk from Baltimore saying soder for soda, which I believe is called pop in Pennsylvania. No. I am talking about whole sentences that carry completely different meanings, depending on where one is.

When I was at MSW, I noticed a strikingly beautiful woman with a familiar face. Suddenly I realized it was Anna Zilboorg. I knew she was teaching at the festival. I just thought she’d be much shorter. Every photo I’ve seen of her has been taken from above, most likely by someone standing while she was sitting. When realization dawned I stepped up to her, hand extended, and asked a confirming “You’re Anna Zilboorg, aren’t you?” Her smiling nod produced a gush of compliments - for I must tell you - I was buying her knitting books for our library years and years before I took up needles myself. She had a particular influence on one of my students who has filled a large wooden bowl that stands on her dining room table with hats from her book 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit. After I had babbled on for a bit she asked “And who are you?”

Now, my dears. I am from the south. From small town south. Heart-0-Dixie south. That question has a particular meaning where I come from, and like all the rest of the world, I take my peculiar parochialism’s and mental shortcuts with me when I travel. All this being true, you will know, if you’re southern, that the answer to such a question is “I’m Bertha Holcum’s daughter’s roommate’s sister-in-law’s daughter. You know, the younger one, Little Bertha.” Or, as in my own case, “Oh, I’m nobody. Just a fan.”

Ms. Zilboorg lives in Virginia. Southwest VA, at that, a place riddled with SmallSouthernTowns, but she wasn’t brought up here, so my blithe reply was disconcerting. A blink, a flutter and she rephrased her question to “What’s your name?” which, you are bound to see, is an entirely different bit of knowledge to be seeking.

Well, we are all local, aren’t we? I’m sure she thought “How Southern“, just like I thought “How California” when I read KnitDad. And then I thought “how comforting”. That sort of difference is fun - not divisive - not unkind - just a cute little quirk. Like talking to an Englishman.

I am knitting away on the pink silk shawl. My fingers are crossed that I will have enough yarn to complete one more pattern repeat. I want this finished the weekend after next - hmmm. That’s Memorial Day weekend. Yikes! Best be off then, to the needles. I promise - photos when it is done.

posted by Bess | 6:02 AM