As I walked away, the clerk called out, “Sweetie, you forgot something.” Though I’m older than his mother, I never let a term of endearment go by unacknowledged, so I decided he was talking to me, turned around and gave him my best smile.
No matter what the speaker’s intent, it’s the recipient’s attitude that matters. Even if the person doing the talking might be trying for a bit of sarcasm with the “Well, sweetheart” or “Oh sure, darlin,” I choose to ignore the barb and accept it all quite literally. If you call out any one of these terms, I’ll answer to it.
You know how sometimes a restaurant server addresses you with “Just a minute, Hon” or “Be right with you, darlin’,” and sure it could mean “Wait your turn. I’ll get to you as soon as I can,” but it might also mean “I call everybody Hon,” leading to the best possible interpretation, which is “Have I seen you here before? Well I’m gonna treat you like a regular anyhow.”
Here’s the conversation from last week, in a coffee shop. (I spend a lot of time in coffee shops.)
My server to me: “You want coffee, Hon?” She poured, then carried on three conversations at once.
To a nearby table: “No, that was Doris’ brother in law who moved away.”
One booth over: “Joe was already here and gone this morning. He catches the early bus to the casino now.”
And to another table: “Yeah, she’s learning English, studying hard, but somebody gave her an app so she can talk into her phone and I get her order right away.”
Some might object to this level of familiarity, saying these forms of address are sexist or inappropriate among people who haven’t been introduced. I find this language from strangers oddly comforting. It’s way better than being ignored, so you can call me Hon anytime.
Music this week is “I’m in love with you, Honey” from a 1928 player piano.
I’ve never been a birdwatcher, but there’s drama outside the window this week. The pictures are fuzzy because I took them from inside the house. These birds have already been through enough.
Our backyard has recently been Crow City. My daughter hung this bird feeder a few days ago and the crows took it over. It’s meant for smaller birds, like the ones above, but the crows tilt it so the birdseed falls to the ground, then they call each other in loud voices to come gobble it up. A little consideration would be nice. Do these crows not remember when a couple of their babies fell into the yard and were rescued right here at Crow Hospital?
Small birds avoided us until this week. It’s the first time we’ve seen anything besides crows fly into the yard. Wonder if this bluebird is a good sign.
After Christmas a friend said, only half-kidding, that he should hire himself out as a break-er down-er of Amazon boxes. A news report later covered how many pounds of flattened Amazon boxes were taken to recycling centers. A staggering number. (Photo/Getty Images)
Our Amazon boxes lived outside under the eaves for weeks. We flattened them bit by bit to squish them into the recycle bin for pickup. We just finished the stack from Christmas.
Only after the holidays did I learn about Give Back Box. I haven’t checked it out yet, but it looks interesting – a way to do some good while re-using all those empty boxes.
New week. New season arriving soon. New definition. Remember when we were very young and thought “happy” was our birthright? As years went by, we did a lot of things just to get some of that. Today I think “content” or “peaceful most of the time” will suffice. I don’t think of these as compromises, but as more likely-sustainable states of mind.
Those were the days, weren’t they? In memory, they’re golden. We also want to know about a colleague’s passing, comfort each other about health issues, but that can also occupy every conversation.
A friend and colleague, Don Barrett, is Los Angeles radio’s teller of tales, and often our prophet, at www.laradio.com. He’s had several careers with contacts ranging far and wide, and he’s in touch with multitudes of people he knows in movies and broadcasting. Don’s our resource when we need to find someone.
But Don has a fifteen minute nostalgia rule and then he wants to know about today. Are you still on the beach? (In radio talk, being out of work is being “on the beach.” I don’t know why.) Do you have plans? He’d rather hear about right now. What are you doing? Where? How do you feel about it?
Radio and television and newspaper and all manner of media ruled our careers for decades, creating exciting relationships, and then when that part of life moves on, there’s a desire to remember when, with groups we once worked with. I like Facebook for that. And emails. But I also respect Don’s approach to staying in touch with what’s happening now.
Music this week is “Moon River.” Chris Whiteman on guitar.
Chris plays “Moon River” on his 1959 Gibson ES-125T
I was late to Instagram and I still don’t post all that often. I use it mostly to watch what other people do. Building and remodeling and designing, planting and pruning and cooking.
I’m a little bit envious until I remember that my personal interest in the domestic arts has been on the wane for years. I don’t plan to begin any of these projects but still, I’m fascinated. A little voice says, I might like to have a wall like that. Another voice says, too much work, but hey here’s one on Instagram and isn’t it fine? And that chicken pot pie. Those hydrangeas. That charming old house for sale, cheap. Some of this and some of that which I get to see without doing any of it.
I’m presently following entertainers I like and deep thinkers and silly people and all kinds of home-related posts. Here are some I check often. Nigella Lawson. This Old House. All things San Francisco. All things New England. All Southern cooks, and weather everywhere.
But my current Instagram obsession is Elizabeth’s Humble House. She’s a talented photographer and designer and it shows in all her posts, no matter how brief, which are accompanied by photos taken inside a cottage she and her husband are restoring.
Look at that wood stove.
The floor she painted by hand.
Now I have to go over there and see if she’s posted anything new today.