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December 22, 2009

Erstwhile askings: Meryl, mullet and more

Between paragraphs these past few days, I snuck in a few askings. Nothing crazy, since I was mostly at home writing, but here they are:

1) Can we please change the subject?

I was glancing through the latest issue of Vanity Fair, which features an interview with Meryl Streep. The article includes a photo collage with Meryl from her teens or 20s until today.

Mr. A looked over my shoulder and, of all the movies she's been in that were splayed across that page, he had a question about only one:

"Is 'Sophie's Choice' any good?" (In this drama she plays Sophie, a Polish woman who makes a very difficult choice; it's based on a novel by William Styron.) The problem: That very book was wrapped and under our tree, a present for Mr. A.

I tried to play it down.

"It's average. A movie about World War II."

"Have you seen it?"


"Didn't you read the book?"

"Yeah, a few years ago."

"How is it?"


"What is the choice she makes?"

"It's stupid. It's a waste of time to even talk about it. Let's talk about something else, ok?"

"What? No, tell me her choice."

"You might want to see it one day."

"Not if you say it's boring."

"Arghhh! It's not boring, but I can't tell you. Let's just please change the subject."

"Let me guess. She decides if she should get an abortion. She isn't sure if she should comply with the Nazis."

"No! I mean I'm not going to answer either way. Please."


"What time is it? I think I'm ready for dinner."

"Why?? Just tell me and we can change the subject."

"Just wait."

His eyes lit up. Bingo. "Wait for what?"

"For Christmas. Congratulations, you've just guessed your present."

"Oh. Oops."

(I should add that somehow Mr. A always guesses his presents. I don't get it. Sometimes, when I pick up on his hints, it's not that hard for him to anticipate. But even when I get something totally random, like this book, which he had no way of knowing and I've mentioned maybe once, two years ago, he gets it out of me. YEGADS.

One more piece of evidence that I would not be a good spy. Police officer: "Excuse me, miss. Do you know what time is it?" Me: "I work for the People's Republic of China. Until last year I was involved in the special-ops mission in which I relayed sensitive government files to the division of biological programming. Now I am collecting encryption intelligence which I intend to sell to the highest bidder.")

2) PLEASE don't get a mullet?

More antics, just around the bend.

Mr. A hails from a country where English is not spoken, and as a teenager he moved to Canada, where he learned French and English. Hence, English is not his first language. He speaks it very well, but this means two things: he has a really cute accent. And he didn't know, until this weekend, what a mullet is. We were talking about the haircut he was intending to get, and the word came up. Don't ask me how.

Him: What's a mullet?

Me: It's that really gross hairstyle people used to wear in the 80's. You know, really long in the back, and short in the front.

Him: Really. Sounds interesting.

Me: No. It does not sound "interesting."

Him: I think I know what you're talking about. That's a pretty practical look. The hair would stay out of my eyes.

Me: And it would be long in the back. Long. Gross. Unfomfortable.

Him: I could put it into a ponytail.

[At this point I was pretty sure he was messing with me, but not entirely...]

Me: WHAT!? NO!! Please don't get a mullet!

Him: I think I will. I bet you'll get used to it.

Me: If you do, I won't look at you until you cut it again. I'll move to Italy.

Him: Just look at me from the front and you'll never notice it.

Me: PLEASE!! No mullet!!! Ewwwww!!! You totally would, wouldn't you!? NOOO!

Him: We'll just have to see. [Evil evil evil gleam in his eyes.]

We went to Supercuts together. A worthy study break, don't you think? I anxiously sat in the magazine section pretending to read, but I felt like a young father in an alien movie curious if his offspring would be human or hybrid after the mother-to-be accidentally ingested the alien spores. Or something.

In the end he got a perfectly charming cut. But not before making my heart race...


3) Give me a discount on plumbing services?

Speaking of hair. The shower has been slow to drain. I tried drano, and a special little tool that came highly recommended, but nothing helped. So I called a plumber. Figured I'd be home all day, writing, so might as well take care of some business in the meantime. I also had a coupon for $50 off any service from Rescue Rooter, so why not give it a try.

First, I asked for an estimate.

"We don't give estimates over the phone. But I can have someone at your house within the hour. No obligation."

"Ok, sure, if you prefer that, I'll be here all day. Come whenever is convenient for you."

Twenty minutes later, a woman in blue overalls rang the doorbell. (It's the first time I've seen a female plumber. Cool!) I showed her the shower and she stated the price.

I wasn't sure I heard right.

"One hun-dred and eighty se-ven??" I checked.

"Yes. $187."

"Oh, wow, nevermind."

"How much did you want to spend?" she asked.

"No, it's ok. It isn't even worth negotiating. Much, much less than that. It's totally a low priority for me, but I just figured that if you could fix before our house guests arrive, I'd be willing to pay something like 50 bucks. But I cannot afford anything even close to that. Thanks anyway for coming."

"Hold on," she said. "I'm going to call my boss and see what I can do. I'll keep asking until he says yes. At least, I'll try!"

"Ok -- thanks!"

She stepped outside and came back a minute later to say it was a no go.

But I liked her attitude. And her overalls!

Next post: the next two askings. Broken down for user friendliness.
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