Blog/Stories

Falafel & Tater Tots Together

Give me one good reason that I have to choose either falafel or Tater Tots. Can’t we all be friends?

When my proper Southern Baptist grandmother acceded to my request and took me to see Hell’s Angels on Wheels at the movie theater when I was a child, I loved sitting in the dark theater with her, my young cousins and a multitude of bikers in black leather. I felt safe and intrigued, and comfort in that dichotomy has become a reality of my life: I enjoy straddling multiple worlds. 

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Yo! Toby Keith and Me (Yes, Me, I, My)

Yo… yo… and yo again. A couple of years ago I was taking Spanish classes. There was a woman in my class who was really neurotic, blunt and funny.  We “advanced beginners” were working on preterite conjugations, and this woman (overwhelmed as she often was) said that she’d “decided to just stick with the first person singular because most people only talk about themselves anyway.”

I laughed.  Then I cringed.  Because I know that being self-referential is my default mode.  Anybody else?

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Cheerleading for Each Other

What if I left my house each day assuming that I’m surrounded by a bunch of walking miracles, truly amazing people?  The people I sit by on the subway, the clerks at the stores I frequent, the others at the communal table in the coffee shop with me, not to mention my friends who are (obviously) the most scintillating of the teeming masses on this spinning planet … these are one-of-a-kind specimens of humanity.  And often I forget to be awed.

What if I took the time,

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The New Normal

I’m going out on a spindly, dangling, vulnerable limb and admitting that I’ve used the word “normal” to describe people like me with whom I wanted to be friends. As in “I like that girl; she’s so normal.”

In 1985 I declared about a new friend, “She’s so normal,” just because she was wearing Tretorn sneakers and vacationed at a place I’d been to often. I was ethnocentric and provincial enough to think that conferred normalcy or acceptability.

My husband pointed out that “like Cary Umhau”

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Nathan Barnatt & the SPACIOUS “State Dance”

SPACIOUS is a movement; it’s an enterprise; it’s a brainchild; it’s an evolving venture.  And it’s a state of mind.

And like all the states of the union have special symbols, SPACIOUS has its own too.  Texas, big and gnarly as it is, has the Nine-Banded Armadillo as its “state small mammal,” and they also celebrate the cast iron dutch oven as their “state cooking implement.” SPACIOUS may not go so far as to have our own small mammal or cooking implement,

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"Yes, and…" People

In the world of improv, there’s a concept of “yes, and.”  Meaning that if you say “yes, and,” then the action/narrative/drama/scene can go on, but if you say something akin to “no” or allow the dialogue or action to stop with you, then the scene is over.  It can’t go further without each player moving it along.

The beauty is that each participant gets to take it where they want to. Perhaps actor number one says, “I saw a bear today and I wanted to kill it and eat it.”

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Not Elvis

I see him most days as I zip around the neighborhood. He’s been an Elvis look-alike, dress-alike for years, a clearly cultivated persona. This is not bloated Elvis, or flamboyant Elvis or even dying-on-the-toilet Elvis (was that a myth?). And he’s not even Army Elvis or daddy Elvis or “I’m with Priscilla” Elvis. This is generic Elvis. Elvis at his core without any of the drama going on.

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Interstates, Blue Highways and Taking the Road Less Traveled

I can make a metaphor out of anything, and road trips are my best fodder.

Most places that you go in this country are reached fastest through the interstate system.  Our vast system handles more than “one trillion person miles” per year. So suffice it to say that we USE our interstates here in the land of free and the home of the brave. But they don’t yield much adventure, actually. Or novelty. Things look the same in many ways from that big,

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Love, Loss and What An Ex Kept

I’m a cynic about calling in to radio shows to express myself on the air. I don’t know why my opinion matters, and even if it did, I can’t imagine I’d ever get through the digital equivalent of a lit-up switchboard. Why bother, really?

So when I found myself pulling my car over to the side of the road recently to call D.C.’s MIX 107.3, I was surprised. I didn’t know the depth of loss I felt.

The topic was “things you gave your ex that they kept when you broke up.”

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Shlumpadinkas and the Intimidating World of Retail

Recently I went to a foreign country, AKA a major-name clothing store. Okay no need to be coy; it was Lord & Taylor. I’m not a shopper (okay, I need to be kidnapped, blindfolded and led in wearing a straitjacket). But this time I did go under my own steam because I am wearing the same shirt every day, because L&T is near my house, and because there was a sale.

And people, this is a bizarre experience if you don’t do it regularly.

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