In Which Sniffles Are Revealed

8 June 2003

Good morning, and happy Curt's birthday. Also happy Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday and happy Pentecost. Pentecost is such a hard holiday. It's about the most difficult aspect of the Trinity, for one. And it tells us we're supposed to meet people where they are, talk to them in words they can hear and understand and think about, rather than going on and on about what we think is important and deep and spiritual. Tells us we're supposed to communicate, not just talk. And what kind of a message is that?


Glimmer Train sent me rejection #500 yesterday. Haven't yet decided how I want to observe it. Well, except by filing it away and sending the story back out again. My mom suggests ice cream. This may be a plan. It certainly sounds like a plan. Has all the hallmarks of a plan. Whether it becomes an executed plan remains to be seen. (For those of you who are alarmed, I really do have a lot of stories out there, even though I haven't been writing as many lately. "The Flask of Today" was far and away my most-rejected short story, and now it's sold.)

I went shopping yesterday. Finished the last of this week's "to do" list. Officially, I don't have anything I have to do until tomorrow. We picked up my birth control, got my dad's Father's Day present, and got a replacement for my grandma's birthday present. And I got two new tank tops and a khaki skirt, so I can go home without running around naked. (I love my old khaki skirt, but it's really, really old, and pilling and tatty, and if I'd worn it at home in front of my mother, she might have chased me around the house to make me take it off rather than being seen with me in it. It has crossed the line into a house/work skirt, I fear, and perhaps will join my old pair of favorite khakis on the Goodwill pile, even.)

And those of you who have heard my clothing rants before are probably thinking, oh, great, she found a skirt, it apparently fit, hurrah. Well. Quasi-hurrah. It was a size 0, people. Zero. Null. And I have many witnesses to tell you that the set of my butt is not the null-set. My butt exists! I do not have zero butt! Aaaagh!

I hung it on the same hanger with the old good khaki skirt, which clearly says "4" on the label. They are very nearly the same size. This bothers me.

Partly it's the 0 that bothers me, but partly it's the idea that I'm wearing the smallest size they're gonna make. That's what zero means. When I called Scott up to let him make fun of me -- when you've been friends with someone for more than half your life, you know when he's going to make fun of you, and so I figured better to just let him make fun of me on the phone than to read this entry in a week or so and call me up then. It's almost like having a sibling that way, only somewhat more fun.: you know you're not going to escape the mocking, so you give in to the mocking and move on. Is that comprehensible to anyone but me?

Anyway, I called him up to let him make fun of me, and as I was telling him what had happened, I said, "And I bought this skirt...." Him, stifling laughter already: "Yeeeees?" Me: "And it wasn't leather, I know that's what you're thinking, but no, no leather skirt for me." Him: "Hee hee. Okay, so...." Me: "So you wanna guess what size it was?" Him, promptly and seriously: "Negative two." Okay, here's the thing: they don't make negative sizes. If they're going to keep making their stuff bigger per unit size, they really ought to make negative sizes to make up for it, but they don't. A zero is a clear statement that they're not going to make it any smaller. It's not like XS that way, where conceivably they could start sticking on more X's, like they do with XLs, so that someday some of my cousins would be Ls and I'd be XXS. I'd be okay with a 0 if they made negative sizes or if they would stop making clothes bigger per unit size. But the combination makes me fearful. Makes me very fearful indeed. And makes Michelle frustrated, I should think.

So Scott made fun of me for being small, which is why I called him in the first place. And he decided that this meant the fashion industry wanted me to eat more. I said, "Maybe it means the fashion industry wants me to find lots of skirts on the sale rack?" He thought no.

It's not even that I object to someone being a size 0. Someone small-boned and leettle, though. Someone you could look at and think, yeah, all right, that's about as skinny as a healthy adult woman of average height should get. I don't believe anybody thinks that when they look at me. So there are other healthy adult women who are not able to buy skirts, because I have the 0. It's like with the bra thing: if I had really, really weird breasts, scary-big or funny-shaped or something, I would still be frustrated at not being able to find bras, but it would seem more justly frustrating: well, of course I can't find bras, I would say, because I am just that big/funny-shaped/etc. It would be sad but reasonable. But women cock their heads and look at me funny when they find out I have a hard time buying bras, and then I have to explain. Because it's not intuitive. Same thing with the 0 skirt: not intuitive.

But it's evidently starting to be intuitive, because I took the 0 into the fitting room with me. That really upsets me: that not only am I wearing a size 0, but I recognize that this is something I can expect, and I behave accordingly. It's probably better than if I kept trying on the 6s and watching them not fit and getting mad and having to send poor Mark for the 0s. (It is especially better for Mark.) But it's still bad enough.

I keep hoping there will be more curvy clothing when we move home. Predominance of ScandoChicks = more curves, right? (= excuse for some of our curve-liking friends to come visit us there in the spring, right?) Maybe? But Predominance of ScandoChicks != smaller people, so I don't know if it'll help.

I finished reading Explorer, and I liked it a lot, much better than Defender. This is the problem with C.J. Cherryh: it takes me maybe the first 50 pages to get into some of her books, but then I want more new stuff in the same universe. And I'm caught up on most of the SF. We still have a few bits and pieces to pick up, and some fantasy, but for the most part, we're good on the Cherryh SF collection. Which frustrates me every time I read another of her novels. I could probably pick up 40,000 in Gehenna again, or Downbelow Station. It's been awhile since I read those. I could go on an old Cherryh binge. But it's just not the same.

I picked up Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt from the library, so I decided to read it next. Hmm. So far he's doing this thing at the end of each chapter that is driving me up a wall. Here's an example: "We do not know which way Psin went, or what happened to him; but as for Bold, you can find out in the next chapter." Bah. I'm not very far in, so I hope he stops at the end of this section. Ick. I know that KSR probably didn't mean it this way, but to me, it reminds me of, "Click here for more info!" It gives the book a spammy feel. Or a Reading Rainbow feel. Or both.

What may be worse is that, at the end of each chapter, it calls my attention to the fact that I have finished a chapter, and may want to quit entirely. So far I have not done so; but this is probably because KSR wrote this book, because it will have been read in speculative fiction, and it will be referred to, and I'd like to know how and why. And I'd like to avoid inadvertently copying it or riffing off of it, and I read enough so that I can sort of keep up that way. I can read the things that One Should Read To Be Up On The Genre, and if I don't like all of them, I still have room to read things I like, things in other genres, etc.

Last night I got to chattering at poor Karina about music, and it occurred to me that you-all probably don't know that I'm the biggest music sap in the world. It's true. There's an entire mix album here that I have a hard time listening to, because half the songs on it make me bawl like a little kid. Under normal circumstances, I am not a weeper. But for some reason, music does it.

Some songs, I have a hard time thinking about without getting snuffly. "I Will Not Take These Things for Granted" is the absolute worst. The first few times, I could get to, "Though it is lonely here, I'm not alone, and on the telephone..." before I was crying. Now, I can barely type that bit before I feel my heart being wrenched out and tied to a paddle on a string, so that the song can play paddleball with my heart. Thwacketa thwacketa thwacketa. Wahhhh. "Poems, Prayers, and Promises" is another like that. Yeah, I know it's John Denver. You can stop laughing at me now, sitting here crying to John Denver songs. I know how pathetic that is. I didn't have to admit it, but it's true, and I don't care if he is John Denver, it's a good song.

(I don't really get maudlin in the, "Oh, oh, it's true!" way: I don't go around proclaiming that indeed, I will not take these things for granted. I had my fill of song lyrics quoted as prose after the tornado ate my college, thanks. I need no more of them, at least not in non-ironic/amusing ways. But I still sob anyway.)

Then there are some songs that can catch me in the wrong mood and send me over the edge -- "I'll Stand By You," for example. Usually, I'm just going along, "Wooo, sing it, Chrissie!" (Because, you know, Ms. Hynde and I are very close. First-name basis.) But if I'm feeling otherwise down, I'm just gone with that one. Or with Blues Traveler's "Yours." (Scott: "Which one is that?" Me: "The one where practically every other word of the chorus is 'yooooooouuuuurs.'" Scott: "So I'm no good with song titles." Uh, yeah.) (So there! I may not be very big, but he doesn't remember song titles!)

(I begin to think that other people are better at this mockery thing than either of us.)

And then there are the songs that remind me of someone I miss, and if I'm missing them in particular, I'll sniffle a bit. I have at least one each for Michelle, Jen (The World's Best Lab Partner -- and will you people not name any more children Jennifer, so that I don't have to keep tagging my Jens, Jenns, Jennys, and Jennifers? Also, no more Christophers would be helpful, and if we could keep Timothys, Matthews, Andrews, Daniels, and Davids to a minimum, that's be great. I know they're good names, but it gets confusing. Thanks so much.), Scott, the other Scott (oh yeah, and Scotts, too), C.J., Ed, the Crowd as a whole, my old physics office, the people who had the senior physics office when I was a sophomore, Andrew, Slacker, Curtis...right, I think I can stop now, the point having been made even to myself.

Let's not even get into the "I miss my family" songs. Some of those come up all the time, but some of them will be totally normal songs that will blindside me. I was totally undone last week by Pete Seeger singing "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream." I had been singing my little folkie heart out along with the rest of the album, and all of a sudden that one came on. I managed to get as far as "I dreamed that the world had all agreed to put an end to war," and then there was a big ol' lump in my throat and I wanted my mommy. They sang that to me as a lullaby sometimes, when I was falling asleep on a summer weekend night.

I really don't know what it's like not to grow up on war protest songs. Not an experiment I'll be performing with my own kids. They're good songs. And I don't really have a lot of faith that they'll be truly outdated by then.

I'm putting "Hard Candy" on the CD player, because I think it's pretty safe, and I just got "What a Good Boy" in my head, and I'm in no mood to deal with that song without sniffles, and I really don't want to feel sniffly. I was never the sort of teenager to play the same song over and over again and cry, and I haven't picked up the habit of repeat-play or deliberate crying as a grown-up, either. The thing is, I like these songs. It frustrates me that I never listen to "I Will Not Take These Things for Granted," but I almost never do, because I don't like wallowing. Every once in awhile I'll try one of the guaranteed-weeper songs, hoping it'll have subsided, but so far no such luck. The real problem is with the songs that can hit me funny occasionally, and with trying to predict which occasion the current moment is.

I think the current moment may be the moment where I go finish writing the short-short I started yesterday ("The Little Feet Go Pitter-Pat") or curl up with The Years of Rice and Salt again. I guess there's only one way to find out.

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