“A painting. Moving. Spiritually enriching. Sublime. ‘High’ art! The comic strip. Vapid. Juvenile. Commercial hack work. ‘Low’ art. A painting of a comic strip panel. Sophisticated irony. Philosophically challenging. ‘High’ art.”
“Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?”
“Sophomoric, intellectually sterile. ‘Low’ art.”
– Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes
While my opinion of having children in the near future is well known, J. and I do like to theorize on it. And occasionally I do something that I find completely baffling: I nest.
Not in the physical sense, in the intellectual. See, I have it in my head that there are certain things I was exposed to growing up (mostly books and movies) that I found absolutely necessary to my happiness and that influenced me profoundly. And therefore they will naturally be necessary to my children as well. No discussion permitted.
And so, every once and a while, when no one is looking, when I run across one of these Necessary Items For My Future Spawn on sale, I snatch it up.
Luckily J. understands because one of the things that I think is absolutely necessary is quality cartoons. None of your Spongebob Squarepants inanities and annoying Scrappy Doos, if you please. Which is why he’s slowly building my collection of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons! Behold one of my birthday presents! Looney Tunes – Golden Collection, Volume Three
Future spawn be darned, I watch these during Saturday morning chores!
“You’re making a mess.”
“I’m spreading holiday goodness!”
– J. and C.
Saturday (which was spent almost entirely at Catriona and Bear’s wedding) ended in a mad dash around town to pick up last minute gifts, travel sized shampoo and toothpaste, wrapping paper, and ribbon. Then I threw on a movie and dove into my holiday vortex!
Three hours later, a fine coating of glitter had fallen over everything (the wrapping paper was a gorgeous mash of crimson damask pattern and gold glitter swirls…that might not have been as securely fastened to the paper as could be hoped). My face and hair were coated with sparkling cheer which was starting to snow all over the couch and carpet. I tracked it back into the office at some point. Somehow, it managed to get into the tape (as in inexplicably underneath the various layers) which upped the stickiness factor exponentially.
Admittedly I probably didn’t help matters by skipping about the house dusting off my hands over everything trilling, “La la la la la, la la la LA!” However, out of respect to the dignity of J.’s very masculine suitcase, I stuffed all the presents into a plastic bag before packing everything up tightly.
We fly out to London in two days! We’re set to leave the country via Dallas, the logic of which I originally questioned as it tacks on extra hours to an already excruciating flight, but since that huge storm slapped the east coast, I’m not grudging the extra time.
Occasionally J. teases that I’m a snob, and I can’t really get offended by it because it’s sort of true. For example…
I always prefer quality to quantity when it comes to buying things, I’d rather spend more on something that will last me longer than less on something that will fall apart or go out of fashion in the near future. I’m a bit of a stickler for grammar (I spent a good hour last night proof-reading the group project J. and co. has been working on all term and it practically bled red ink by the time I was done. The whole time I was muttering things like, “Double spaces between sentences, I don’t care what Twitter culture says!” and “Passive voice, be gone!” Suddenly I have an insight into the power trip that can be editing, being a writer by comparison seems very tame).
I think women should wear nice gloves in cold weather, and that fashion might change but style is eternal, so stock up on the classics. Feminist though I may be, I think a man should be taught from a young age to open doors and pull out chairs, if for no other reason than it reflects well on his mother. I, very snobbishly, turn up my nose at ostentatious (read: ugly) houses and think that people who buy things just for the sake of buying them and showing off are sad, sad individuals.
I also think that people should adhere to dress codes, both those printed on invitations and those coming from conventional wisdom (I am especially irritated by people who show up to wedding receptions in jeans and will judge you for doing so). Pearls always work, and unless something designed by Harry Winston is required for an extremely special occasion, simple diamond studs are all you need. Less is more. Politeness is important and anyone who says otherwise is just justifying their own bad behavior.
This is not to say I don’t have lapses, some of them grievous, from this creed (see above quote). But I maintain that they are eternal truths to be abided by. I also have a snobbish habit of calling people “peasants” when they’re doing something foolish, weird, or distasteful. In my defense, I picked that up from my most lady-like friend Marie!
So, knowing that I am a bit of a snob…what do you think my opinion of Walmart is? To boil it down, any place capable of producing a website like this should be avoided at all costs. However, situations do arise in which Walmart must be braved and one befell us last night.
Whilst setting up J. and my collective Christmas present to ourselves (more on that later. Suffice it to say, I am a very awesome wife), we both were struck with fits of paranoia: me for the physical safety of our fabulous presents, being a klutz with an awful propensity for knocking things over, and J. for the general safety of everything we own, as our deadbolt lock is a pretty pathetic lump of warped metal. And so, seeing as the nearest home improvement store was closed and the next closest store was Walmart and it was nearly 10pm already, off we went for locks, screws, and nylon.
During our 20 minute sojourn one (full-grown) man let out a five second belch from the next aisle that reverberated throughout the framing and mounting section. One university-age boy sauntered in wearing what I think was a nylon head-to-toe jumpsuit covered with a tree motif (which I would have assumed was for hunting if it were not for the vivid coloring – not hunter colors, by the way). Another boy strolled past wearing tie-dye cut off short shorts and extremely bad facial hair. I saw some spoiled fruit, one mullet, and one girl with pants drooping so low as to, er, let it all hang out.
Yep, I’m a snob. And I will not be going back to Walmart again for some time.
“Advice is cheap, Ms. Molloy. It’s the things that come gift wrapped that count!”
Handmade be damned! I buy holiday presents for people. Reason the first: I am not in the least bit crafty, I prefer forming words to paper mache. Reason the second: I like shopping way too much.
Of course, the holidays get more and more expensive every year as a result, to say nothing of it being harder to come up with ideas. My father, J. and Venice have birthdays this month, mere days apart. In December, Fairy, Elle, and Buddy have birthdays all orbiting Christmas. In addition to family and god-family this year, I now have in-laws to buy presents for! Remember the panic I endured last year when I was only J.’s girlfriend? Multiply that times siblings, nieces, nephews, and pets. Gah!
Last year for J.’s birthday I got him tickets to an NBA game for his favorite team, in the lower half of the stadium. Ergo, I was Girlfriend of the Year. In retrospect, I completely shot myself in the foot because there is nowhere to go but down from there. And even my Christmas presents last year were pretty good!
How am I supposed to keep doing this for the next fifty to sixty years?!
“How’s married life?”
“How should I know? I’ve only been married a week and four of those days were vacation!”
-Lt. Citrus and C.
Usually when reality hits me it does so with enough force to break teeth. So here I am, a week into marriage, flinching and waiting for some kind of blow to fall…but it hasn’t landed yet!
Daae says her favorite part of being married is waking up and seeing her husband next to her every morning. J. and I, neither of us being morning people, tend to ignore the alarm and fasten our eyes firmly shut against the light for at least a half hour after we had nobly intended to get up, and then try and urge the other person to take their shower first so that one of us can sleep even longer.
After we’ve both managed to get presentable in spite of ourselves, I’m off to work on campus and he’s off to the city for 4-8 hours a day where his summer job is helping a firm write an article for publication (meanwhile C., being the resident aspiring writer in our newly hatched family, is stuck back as a secretary for a bunch of people who managed to overlook her several emails warning them of her week-long leave and created all sorts of muddles for her to sort out when she returned to their grateful, frantic arms. There’s no justice in the world!). After work I’m back at the gym, which after a two week absence has been hellish, for an hour before heading home. Where, depending on work, chores, and moving in necessities, J. may or may not be.
And as for setting up house! We opened our hoard of wedding presents monday evening, feeling rather smug about how orderly we were being about writing down who sent what, disposing of boxes, and carefully sorting…until we stepped back and surveyed the carnage from outside our little cardboard cocoon. We looked at the two rooms filled with receipts, wrapping paper, and presents, looked at the clock (midnight), looked at each other, and went to bed. And did pretty much the same thing last night when confronted with the wreckage again.
So far I think we’re a pretty boring couple.
But there is this. When unwrapping presents and pulling out the one from Dr. Don, he listened intently when I went off in raptures about how Don had sent me plates! The story of which is that last summer I was in Oxford with him and some other students and we’d gone with him to the Oxford English Dictionary projectwhere we had a presenter, who was also a researcher on the team, who shared his favorite word with us: twiffler. Which literally means it’s a plate that can’t make up it’s mind what size it is! Don had given us twifflers and I was ridiculously excited about it! J., who did not tease me as he usually does for being a hopeless nerd, got this big smile on his face. And when I rather mulishly demanded, “Why are you grinning?” he just kissed me and said, “You’re my wife.”
Which, I’m not going to lie, makes me pretty giddy to hear.