Once You Go Black.... (and other weekend antics)
Friday, Bobby and I had a dinner-and-a-movie date. We saw Freedomland. I thought Julianne Moore did a nice job as the crazy mother, but now, three days later, I find that the movie didn't make too much of an impact on me. I am finding that more and more: The more movies I watch, the fewer I remember fondly days after seeing them. I am becoming very picky about my movies, I know that much. It is no longer enough to simply be entertained. I feel like every storyline is something I've seen before, so I want something more. I think this about writing sometimes too: Is it advantageous to hone your skill so much? I used to enjoy reading utter dreck--popular novels without much beyond a glossy plot. Now, I try to read that stuff--to be entertained--and I find myself picking it apart. Rolling my eyes at the characters. Giggling at the metaphors. Not that I'm a perfect writer...but I've become a picky reader, and it is harder and harder to entertain me.
For example, I picked the last Harry Potter book to pieces. It's a freaking children's book...and I love the series overall. But I had a hard time being entertained. Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population? Is it worth it, do you think, to satisfy innocent enjoyment for a hobby that might result in a few online "fans" for us but little more?
All of this Olympic skating on television has really put me in the mood to skate. Of course, there was no club skating this weekend due to the holiday. Of course. *grumbles* But my ever-kind husband went to the Columbia roller rink for a public session with me on Saturday afternoon. The place was smaller than I was used to, but they had a wooden floor--not concrete--so that was good. The floor didn't have the grip that I get on the rink floor at Putty Hill; I could feel my skates sliding sideways when I took hard edges. That is not a confident feeling. That and the fact that the place was pretty crowded meant that I practiced a few easy jumps and some holds--spirals, spreadeagles--and no spins. But it was nice to have my feet in skates.
I've been really enjoying the Olympic skating that's always on TV. I haven't missed an event except for the compulsory dance, which is rather...erm...boring. But I do have to say that I have been less than pleased with the commentary we get, at least in the U.S. The figure skating commentators are well-known ex-Olympians, and they are very harsh. They will trash a skater's program as "boring" or pick on flaws in his/her technique. They are fond of trying to explain behavior based on antecedants like "She fell yesterday...look how nervous she is; you can see it in her slow footwork," which reeks of confirmation bias to me.
It is my feeling that they should be more supportive of world-class athletes with the courage to represent their country in such a competition. And most viewers are far from experts. I actually know what a "salchow" is...I know the different spin positions and how they're supposed to look, and I don't like to hear nitpicks that even I--as an artistic skater--cannot see. To a person who doesn't know a lutz from a flip from a loop, it must be utterly inane to have to sit through this.
And I'm sorry, but if someone goes out and does a quadruple jump, I don't care how crappy the landing, I'm too agog to criticize. I can't even do a single axle.
Saturday night, we took our families to Timbucktu for a thank you dinner. Both families have given us a lot over the past few months, so it seemed only fair. Timbucktu is a really nice restaurant in our area. Incidentally, we had our wedding "reception" there. The meal, as always, was excellent. The service, as always, was great.
Then today, my dad calls me and asks me the weirdest question: Has Timbucktu changed to a "black" restaurant?
So I asked him what he meant, and he clarified that there were only five other "white" parties in the dining room beside us.
So is Timbucktu now a "black" restaurant?
To begin, I was utterly embarrassed because my boss (who is black) was standing in my office, having a chat with me, and I was mortified to think that he could hear what my dad was saying since my dad is not the quietest guy on the phone...or anytime. (Incidentally, Timbucktu was also recommended to us by my boss.) Secondly, I wasn't exactly sure of the mechanism that my dad thought was in place here. Did Timbucktu become a "black" restaurant? Meaning what? That a declaration of such is made; that a full-page ad is now taken out in The Baltimore Sun: Timbucktu is henceforth a black restaurant. Black people should all come and try to run the white folks away. Secondly, I don't see why the fuck it matters the skin color of the patrons in a restaurant. Timbucktu is one of the nicest places in our area. Am I supposed to think that it is something less now because the majority of the diners there on Saturday night were black? Am I supposed to be afraid to go there now? Am I supposed to feel excluded? Am I supposed to roll my eyes and say, "There goes the neighborhood"?
Pardon me but: What the fuck??
Did I time-warp back to 1956? Or are we still in 2006? Last I heard, black and white folks are welcome to eat together in the same restaurants and places "belong" to neither race.
*quietly screams lest she disturb her black, Timbucktu-patronizin' boss*
Then, today, I am sitting in my office, minding my own business, reading the latest chapter of Ellie's "Crossroads of Time" over at silwritersguild, and Bill the Fake-Ass Bureau Chief--a.k.a. the "Acting Bureau Chief"--comes in to take some furniture. And he asks me, "So Dawn, are you ready to come to Baltimore?"
This is like the fourth time he has asked me this in five visits. At first, I laughed it off. Now, I'm really starting to wonder. I shall have to speak to Johnny the Boss (yes, the black, Timbucktu-perpetratin' guy in the office across the hall) if there is something I need to know about this. For example, has the notion of one Dawn Felagund going down to the Baltimore office been batted around between the superior minds of our bureau? It would not surprise me to hear that this was so, as I am apparently Teh Champion of WAU Support Staff. Not like that's saying much. Some of you may recall that Johnny and I were both going to move to an office in the city--supposedly with pay raises and grade increases all around--but it turned out that the pay scale was a Corrections pay scale (versus Parole and Probation), and we'd be making basically the same as we do now for twice the work. I have no problem going to work in Baltimore...but not for what I'm making now. No way.
Nor am I tempted to leave Johnny, who--as far as I am concerned--is the best boss a meager research geek like me could hope for. Even if he's black and likes Timbucktu. (Actually, I kind of like both things about him!) The city unit and everyone affiliated with it tends to get on my nerves.
Oh, and here is the quote of the day, just uttered to me by one half of the two coworkers lovingly known (by me) as Alatar and Pallando:
Alatar: Dawn, I don't know the name of the system, but can you run him in it and find some relatives' addresses?
Luckily, my mind-reading skillz are in effect today, and I knew what system he was talking about.