sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 23, 2006

anyone have a killer line?
posted by soe 2:20 am

You know, the one that shoots down the person hitting on you in a public place?

Guys approach me on the street with some regularity, asking me if I date “brothers.” Usually if it’s that innocuous I just reply that I would, but that I think my husband might have issues with it. I laugh. They laugh. Everyone has a polite out. As if you’d accept a date with a random stranger leering at you from a car window or a street corner.

I’ve learned when I travel alone to wear a ring with a jewel-like stone. It doesn’t stop everyone from hitting on me, but I feel like it cuts down on it.

Other encounters, however, are harder to brush off. There was the guy in a church courtyard/public lunch spot who touched my toe and told me I needed a ring for it. There were the elderly men (old enough to be my father, if not my grandfather) who made dirty comments about me as I sat obliviously reading my book in a “family-friendly” pocket park next to Eastern Market earlier this spring. When I noticed, I bolted, and it freaked me out for weeks. In London, a certainly drunk and possibly homeless man kissed me — with an astonished Rudi and a snickering security guard standing right next to me. My cousin later told me I was taking politeness a bit far.

I used to think I was the only one. But then I talked to a few girls at work and it seems to be a cultural thing. One colleague was so irked by an encounter on her walk to the Metro one morning that she learned PowerPoint by creating a presentation containing her response. Another once had someone come on to her at a bus stop. He licked her. She belted him.

Tonight Rudi asked me to pick up beer for him. I had already passed Whole Foods by, leaving a liquor store as my option between there and home. I knew when he asked that it wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience. I was wearing a skirt. I thought about saying no — particularly since I wasn’t going to drink any of it. On the other hand, Rudi doesn’t shirk from buying personal things for me, so that didn’t really seem to be a fair excuse.

Ultimately, though, I didn’t want to feel powerless. I don’t want it to be my problem. I don’t want to have to alter what I wear and where I go and how I conduct my life just because I’m a woman and some stupid git can’t keep his comments or his leers to himself.

But there’s always one. Sure enough, some guy comes up to me as I’m paying for the beer. “Wow, look at those legs. Are you a kickboxer?”

“Yep,” I replied, remembering Amani’s advice to look as if the person hitting on you is remarkably laughable and inconsequential.

“No, you aren’t.”

“Then why did you ask?”

“I just got out of the army. Where did you come from?”


I bet if I’d threatened him with the drop spindle and US6 knitting needles I had in my bag, he would have left me alone. Of course, I bet if I’d done that the liquor store clerk who idly watched the whole encounter would have called the cops.

Instead, I just walked home, getting madder and madder as I went along until I arrived at home fuming.

Maybe next time I’ll ask him if these sorts of encounters ever work and why he bothers if he’s guaranteed rejection every time.

Maybe I’ll ask him what he’d think if some skeevy old guy were hitting on his daughter.

Sadly, I bet he wouldn’t see the correlation.

So, anyone have a killer line to end those sorts of encounters?

Category: dc life,politics. There is/are 1 Comment.

May 20, 2006

great movie
posted by soe 11:45 pm

We just got back from watching Akeelah and the Bee, and it was easily the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. If you have not already seen the movie, put down whatever you’re doing, stop reading this post, and run to the closest movie theater and see it right now. Seriously. I mean, I ended the movie with a huge grin. Even the most cynical amongst us (and we’re a pretty cynical bunch) found the movie sweetly touching.

The story centers around precocious 11-year-old Akeelah, the youngest child of a harried widowed hospital worker. She is bright, but tries to pretend that she’s not in order to stay out of trouble with the other kids at her South L.A. middle school. Her principal forces her to participate in the school spelling bee, which she wins with ease, qualifying her to move on to the regional bee. Akeelah then must figure out what to do and whether her principal’s friend, the grumpy former head of a college English department, can help her find some answers.

Lawrence Fishburne is compelling as the professor who sees Akeelah’s potential. Angela Bassett gives a gritty performance as a mother trying to do well for all of her children while holding herself together. And Keke Palmer is delightful in the lead role (and seems to be, from her night show appearances, equally charming in real life). She really captures the ambivalence that a lot of smart kids feel about the balance between using their brains and fitting in.

Are you still reading this? If so, I’m guessing this means you’ve already seen the movie. If not, did you not read what I wrote in the first paragraph? Seriously, people, the movie will bring a grin to your face. Hurry up, go make yourself happy.

Category: arts. There is/are Comments Off on great movie.

May 19, 2006

water, water everywhere
posted by soe 1:20 am

Apparently the water gods are aware that I am a transplanted New Englander. While the good folks of Massachusetts and New Hampshire are floating away on thriftily devised rafts of submerged car seats, I want them to understand that I have personally been siphoning my own allotment of water from the storms.

In the course of a week, we have battled water thrice. The first arrived in the form of a persistent leak through our bedroom window and onto Rudi. He did not care for this brand of Chinese water torture, and our handyman has patched the problem.

The latter two leaks seem to have come in the form of a bad water heater (which lies perilously close to our subterranean Burrow) that has, thus far, left the laundry room soaked but our own apartment untouched. My hopes remain that the water is not planning on a sneak attack in the form of mold in the walls later this summer. If you can spare dry thoughts from the Northeasterners, please send me one or two small ones…

Category: dc life. There is/are 2 Comments.

May 18, 2006

kick, vacation-planning, and birthday
posted by soe 12:21 pm

How did it get to be Thursday already? Today is Clare’s second blogiversary and my hat is tipped in her general direction today for providing the inspiration for my oldest (and best) recurring feature.

Here are three beautiful things from the last week off the top of my head:

1. We were heading to a trece de mayo party on Saturday night and I wanted to bring a dessert. None of my usual desserts piqued any interest, so I headed online to see what sorts of spicy-sweet concoctions I could make. I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that included cayenne pepper and pine nuts and decided to give them a shot. They were surprisingly tasty and a big hit at the party. People were stumped by the mystery ingredient, which didn’t alter the taste but instead added just a hint of warmth at the end!

2. I looked at the schedule this week and figured out when I’d be taking some vacations over the next few months. It’s necessary to recharge the batteries — and good to know that I’ll have time to see friends, as well. Now if I can just fit a trip to the beach in…

3. In between Rudi’s many well-wishing phone calls and emails, we managed to fit in pancakes, a trip to the zoo, a late lunch at Open City, take-out Thai, presents, Walk the Line, and strawberry shortcake. I like birthdays — even when they aren’t my own.

A bonus beautiful thing: Secrets. It’s not my beautiful thing to share. But suffice it to say, that beautiful news for one person is beautiful news for all. I’m glad to share in everyone’s happiness.

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 1 Comment.

May 16, 2006

wedding mashups
posted by soe 12:08 pm

So the weekend of June 24, we had plans to go to the wedding of Rudi’s friend Penny to her long-time partner, Jeremy. Life being what it is, their wedding has been pushed back to allow them to deal with dissertations, graduations and a cross-country move.

Now we will be going to a different wedding that weekend, but all the way across the country and of my friend (and former intern and cat-sitter) Elodie to her long-time partner … Jeremy. Adding to the eerieness? Jeremy’s mother’s name is Penny…

Now my main problem is to figure out a wedding present. I’d planned on making Rudi figure out the original wedding’s present, but now I suppose I’d best put my brain to it. Do you think she’d like hand-knit potholders?

Today is Rudi’s birthday. Because he is once again a year older than me, I can now return to referring to him as old. Feel free to leave him some love (and some walker jokes) at his blog.

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 1 Comment.

May 15, 2006

i am a terrible manager
posted by soe 11:13 am

I hereby declare that I am a terrible fantasy baseball manager.

My players seem to play well especially well on the days I have them benched. Yesterday three of my benched players had OPSes over 1. (OPS stands for on-base percentage plus slugging. Being over 1 is good.)

A quarter of the way through the season and I have yet to win a week in my fantasy league. I essentially have a 2-3 ratio of wins to losses in the categories we score.

Can you come back from being 42 games behind the leader?

My only consolation? After last week, one of my league-mates is one game behind me.

Category: sports. There is/are 1 Comment.