Part Four

I’ve regained complete control of the tea situation. My backup teapot (with its spill-generating poorly crafted spout) has been stored on an out-of-the-way shelf and a sterile-looking, but very adequate, French press has been brought in for ongoing tea-making needs.

As a bonus, I happily discovered a forgotten month’s supply of Darjeeling hiding behind the pancake mix.

Barring another under-caffeinated moment of clumsiness, I anticipate no more tea situations for the foreseeable future.

Slogans and Headlines

Washington Post headline:
U.S. Defies Judge on Enemy Combatant

Front-page Seattle Times headline for the same story:
U.S. balks at judge’s order in terror war


The Justice Department yesterday defied a federal judge’s order to provide him with documents that would have supported the government’s classification of a U.S.-born man captured in Afghanistan and being held in a Navy brig in Virginia as an “enemy combatant.”

“U.S.”, as it’s used in both headlines, doesn’t refer to the American public at large. (The reaction of anyone outside the court room isn’t described in the article.) Both papers are equating the Justice Department with the United States as a whole, and implying that the federal judge is somehow non-U.S. (Perhaps he’s un-American too?).

Even passing this off as a copy-editing oversight on the part of both papers, it seems like a pretty telling Freudian-slip.

Justin on the Bush administration and slogans.

Old Schools

A guy came over to talk to me. “How long have you been wearing those Old Schools?”

I was sitting at the Japanese noodle place staring at a newspaper. He had a soul patch.

“Excuse me?” I looked down at my clothes for something that someone might call old school. My shirt was fraying in places, but it didn’t seem notable in any other way. Levis are too old to be old school. “My shoes?”

“Yeah, your shoes.”

I shook my head. “Uh, I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

“I work for Vans and we always like ask people a few questions when we see them wearing our shoes. How long have you had them? Six months? A year?”

I thought for another second, dully. “I don’t remember. Six months – A year – That seems about right.”

He hesitated, not sure anymore how to proceed with his marketing pop quiz.

I turned our exchange over in my head, my brain still moving a little slow. I remembered the circumstances in which I’d bought the shoes. That was kind of interesting. “I bought them because all the other tennis shoes in the store looked like they were made for aliens’ feet.”

Aliens feet, this didn’t seem to mean anything to him. “How do you mean?”

“All the other shoes were made of weird pods,” and I gestured trying to conjure up an image of the over-thought ergonomic running shoes I’d looked at, “They had traction pointing in directions that I would never need.”

“Do you skate at all?”


He backed toward the door and gently flicked his business card at me. “Thanks. It was nice talking to you.”


I felt especially disheveled today. I like that word, disheveled. When I say it, I pronounce it correctly aloud – “di-shev-old”, but at the same time I sound it out in my head incorrectly – “dis-heave-old”.

I realized, in the early afternoon, what a state of dishevelment I was in after I noticed that my fly was open. I thought back, trying to figure out how long it had been unzipped, and realized that I must have had it down since leaving my apartment in the morning.


Last night, as I finished reading a story, I got up and ran into the kitchen to get a glass of water. I pulled a glass from the overflowing drainer beside the sink. The dishes left in the drainer shifted around the glass. My teapot lid was displaced, it rolled out the front of the drainer, hit the counter, and tumbled down, spreading itself across the floor. Somehow I let go of the glass too – it smashed against the floor, it’s pieces mixing with the teapot’s.

That pretty much makes sense, the way things have been going, I thought. I picked the largest few teapot pieces out of the wreckage and set them on the counter, cleaned up the rest of the mess, and went back to reading.

Surveying the remains this morning, I see that the two big pieces could still fit together into an adequate lid. But I discard my optimism after seeing the toxicity level of my glue options.

It’s time for a new teapot.

The Dumps

The break-up conversation stung almost as much as the break-up does.

Ingrid and I hadn’t had one of those difficult frank discussion in awhile – the kind where I, stubbornly but honestly, had trouble understanding how everything had reached such a straining point. Instead of forgetting about them, I guess I should have wondered why it had been so long since we’d had one.