The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Odds and Ends

It really is an odds and ends kind of day…the sort where nothing really hangs together quite. You go out the door without your keys. You lose your water bottle and hunt frantically for it, only to find it hanging off your shoulder (I have a snazzy little carrier with a strap for mine—I can wear it just like a purse….and, apparently, lose it just like one as well). You put on the lovely brown wool sweater with a cotton turtle underneath, and only realize as you’re going out the door that you now resemble—quite uncannily—a cardboard box on legs. You do not, of course, have time to change. You try to straighten you hair and it curls, so you try to curl it and it straightens (more about that another time—suffice it to say that my hair has pushed the limits of my patience with its latest little “funny” trick). You can find exactly one of any pair of socks you might want to wear, you trip on your backpack on the way out the door, you spill canned cat food on your hand while feeding the fur people, only to realize that you are now doomed to smell like ocean whitefish for the next four hours because nothing short of steel wool and industrial acid is going to get that smell out.

You just know. It’s an odds and ends kind of day. It is no surprise whatsoever that my writing style is similarly conflicted.

For one such odd or end, I offer my mother’s insights. A couple of you commented on my mother’s lovely observation that “you can’t go out wearing that—it looks like it’s been in a dog’s butt all night!” You will scarcely believe it, but there are more. My mother has always had a collection of truly interesting expressions that I rarely or never heard elsewhere. For instance:

“You can’t wear that bra. It makes your boobs look like lunch bags.” (What, brown and wrinkled? Or with a smashed sandwich inside?)

“I can’t stand that actor—he looks as if he wears dirty underwear.” (And what exactly does that look like, Mom? No….no….don’t tell me.)

“Don’t you think she looks a bit bitchy around the mouth?” (I have no comment for that one…I mean, where are you gonna go, really?)

“How can you drink that crap? It tastes just like horse piss.” (I got absolutely no good daughter points for asking her how she knew that.)

Upon awakening me in the middle of the night to take some unidentified medicine which she had poured into a paper cup: “Hurry up and drink it—before it eats through the cup.”

And, when asked why she had awakened me to take it “To help you sleep.”

“That kid is such a brat—she makes the palm of my hand itch.” (as in, to slap her)

“I don’t know him from a load of goats.” (Must be a strange looking guy….)

My favorite, though, was Dutch word she used (both of her parents were born in Holland) that I unfortunately can’t begin to spell, but it was something she would threaten to hit me with, and she swore that the literal translation was “a sock full of sh*t with a hole in the toe.”

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

Another odd (or end): my psych teacher said recently that she raised a boy and girl and is utterly convinced that there is no inborn gender difference whatsoever—other than being different people, they are no different from one another. I can’t agree, and here’s a good example of why:

A dear friend of mine several years ago was getting ready for a party. Debbie preferred stockings to pantyhose, the upside of which was that they are two separate and individual entities and she could simply toss one if it got run rather than losing the whole pair. The downside, however, was that they are two separate and individual entities and she inevitably wound up with about 73 stockings and no idea which ones matched which other ones. That night she selected two likely looking candidates and finished getting dressed. But when she looked in the mirror, she had a niggling doubt about the match and thought that one might be a hair darker than the other. So she went out to the living room to ask her husband. She twirled for him, asked how she looked, and then asked if the stockings were the same color. He replied that they were. She told him to look again, as she was concerned that one was darker. He obliged and then told her again that they appeared to be the same color. Fair enough. She grabbed her coat and purse and they headed out. Once at their destination, they went up to the porch and rang the bell. As they waited, she suddenly became aware of him staring at her legs. She asked him why and got this (decidedly male) response:

“Well, under the porch light, I’m starting to think you may be right. The one with the seam up the back does look just a tad darker than the one without.”

See, another woman would have understood the unspoken portion of her original question about the color--specifically “because I want them to match.” I’m not buying this “we’re all the same” thing. Oh, and here’s another one: Mr. K does not think of chocolate as a food group. I don’t get this at all. Clearly, something is wired differently (notice I did not say “strangely”, although I have thought this about men at times.). Oh, and does anyone recognize this exchange?

Wife, wanting to put on make-up before leaving for work: “Honey, are you through in the bathroom?”

Husband: “Yes.”

Wife, approaching bathroom and finding the door closed with husband inside: “I thought you said you were through in the bathroom.”

Husband: “I am. I’m just shaving.”

Wife: “….”

It does no good at this point to go through the logic of “but, you’re shaving IN THE BATHROOM” or “But if you’re using the only mirror in the room, clearly you’re still using the bathroom” because….well, he’s male. It’s a different wiring job altogether.

If I fail psychology, you’ll know why.


  • At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    That teacher is completely whacked. "She's as bright as a diamond up a goat's ass"

    I am also intimately familiar with the odds and ends days.....

  • At 4:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "That teacher can't tell her ass from her elbow...." as my mother used to say!!

  • At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your mother's "turns of phrase"- quite visual & smart-ass enough to be appealing.
    I also must respectfully disagree with your psych prof- I've raised both sexes in the same house, same manner, same rules, minimal gender-specfic leading- yet have two very different kids w/opposing outlooks on virtually everything & methods of processing/dealing w/the world.


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