Vicissitudes

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Baby vicuna (related to to the llama. Might be the ancestor of the alpaca). By Thomas Quine (BabyfaceUploaded by Dolovis) via Wikimedia Commons.

It was another day–oddly, only the second one in this year’s A to Z Challenge–where I didn’t have a word pop easily into my head, so I decided to let google lead me again. And I ended up with vicissitudes. Actually vicissitudinous, but given that the definition was: “Characterized by, full of, or subject to vicissitudes,” that wasn’t entirely helpful.

Vicissitudes are ups and downs in various forms, but I like the word as it pertains to life. From our friends at Merriam-Webster:

1 a the quality or state of being changeable mutability
b natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs
a a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance a fluctuation of state or condition 

  • the vicissitudes of daily life
b a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one’s control
c alternating change succession
To use it entirely incorrectly, it seems at this precise moment in time, we are all up to our necks in vicissitudes. That’s that’s not a mixed metaphor; it’s a hard-churned one.
The word itself is as undulating as a snake, especially in its plural form, all sharp, biting S sounds. It holds no clue to its meaning at a glance, yet when you say it, it practically acts it out. Vicissitudes.
A word for our current experience, personal for some, universal for all. Vicissitudes.

Unfair

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This unicorn llama has nothing to do with my post, and it’s kind of silly, given the serious tone today. But we have to take the sweet with the bitter or we’ll choke. By Amberbunting from Wikimedia Commons.

So by now many of you have read my Sensitivities post about my terrible restaurant experience on Friday. Got a call this morning from the health department, the nice guy went out to Uncle Julio’s yesterday to talk to them and make sure the manager was aware of a new law requiring training on food allergies. He also explained the dangers and required practices. Which is wonderful, and I’m so glad all of this may have prevented real injury.

I still got a headache, but that’s not why this post is titled unfair.

Yesterday you may have heard about Chikesia Clemons,  a woman from Alabama who, after complaining about a $0.50 charge for plastic eating utensils at a Waffle House, was brutally arrested. In the video, officers were heard threatening to break her arm, and her clothes were ripped from her, exposing her breasts.

I cannot get Chikesia out of my head.

On Friday night I complained and complained vociferously; never once did it even cross my mind I’d get anything but an apology. Never once did I think police would be called. Never once did I question my reaction, my right to have it, or my right to express it publicly.

Chikesia complained at a restaurant on Saturday, she ended up surrounded by three white officers, her body bared as they threatened her with further harm. Because she complained.

Because she complained and someone at that restaurant decided it was a police matter. Because she complained and the police decided it was a police matter, one that called for incredible violence and an apparent sexual assault.

This is not OK. Those words are the only ones I have left about it. This is not OK. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic dignity and respect. Chikesia’s story should not be so disparate from mine when the thing that divides us is the color of our skin.

 

Thinking

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If you’ve moseyed on over here during this A to Z Challenge, it’s possible you’ve picked up on the very unguarded non-secret that I’m a thinker. A constant thinker. A the-wheels-are-always-turning thinker.

I have a lot of thoughts.

Which isn’t a bad thing for a writer; you pick up on one small detail, and suddenly you’re off to the races. Or the computer. I mean who could write at races? I assume they’re pretty loud, what with horses and a crowds and fortunes being lost and all.

And see? Now I’m thinking about who that person would be writing, at all places, the racetrack.

It happened yesterday, too. I was in an elevator with a small cart people in the city have, once referred to as “an old lady cart,” but seriously, “old ladies” have them because they’re smart and realize carrying stuff is for suckers.

Anyway, a guy with a larger cart tried to push into the elevator without a word to me. Just started pulling it in though there wasn’t room. He glared at me with bland eyes, slight malice in the corners, behind a reflective wall glasses as I said, “Hey, let me move this, it’s not going to fit.”

I did, and he pulled the cart in, still saying nothing, and he was followed by a young woman with her hair in a messy knot, a lamp in each hand. I took a quick look from his stern face and short gray hair to her youthful one and figured her dad was helping her move.

“Thanks,” she said, “for making room.”

“Moving?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she said. Then she clarified. “We,” she pointed the lamp from the grump to her and back to the grump, “just got married. And so we’re moving.”

Ah.

I hoped my face stayed in the same position it had been. “Oh, congratulations,” I said. I hoped it sounded enthusiastic. It didn’t feel enthusiastic.

Because it took mere seconds for my brain to observe them shifting the items into a car to get from that moment to a Dateline special. Always thinking.

Always.

The in-motion mind is the proverbial blessing/curse, as I’m sure so many of you also can attest. At least, I think so.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Sensitivities

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Today’s post is not as fun, but I’ve got to rant. So rant I will.

Remember how I had that headache the week before last? It went on and on? Well, my migraines are sometimes triggered by food. And one of my triggers is cheddar cheese.

I know. It’s heartbreaking. But that’s the life I live.

In celebration of a friend’s birthday, we went to Uncle Julio’s, a fancy-ish Mexican restaurant. I ordered something that I didn’t think had cheddar. I admit my cheddar guard was down; most traditional Mexican restaurants don’t use it, they use Chihuahua cheese, which is fine.

Well, you know where this is going.

The waiter took away the obviously-covered-in-cheddar dish, and I emphasized I needed an entirely new plate. He said he understood.

And then, minutes later, he returned with the plate and said that the manager said it wasn’t cheddar, it was “yellow velvet cheese.” You know that situation where you’re skeptical but don’t want to make a fuss? Yeah, this was it.

So I try a tiny bit.

Obviously cheddar.

I asked to see this manager who sent this dish back to me assuring it was safe to eat. He still denies it’s cheddar; he claims now it’s “American cheese.” I said to him you and I both know there’s cheddar in that dish.

Finally he says, well I told him there wasn’t any in the sauce. But there is cheddar inside the enchilada.

MMM.

I asked him who can possibly not eat something when it’s on top of a food, but it’s fine when it’s inside it?

He said “he understood.” Clearly he did not.

I tried to emphasize how dangerous it was to lie to people about ingredients with which they have issues. I told him he could kill someone with an allergy. I could see it went nowhere. He looked at me from his happy place behind his eyes, waiting for me to stop talking.

I will survive a migraine, I’ve done it before. But what galls me is instead of just getting me something else, he tried to “trick” me into eating the food I made clear would make me sick. It was insanely dangerous.

So much for not making a fuss.

A fuss was made. Oh was a fuss made.

Please be careful when you’re eating out if you have issues relating to food. Be your own food police.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Reeling

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By Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia (White Rhino, Uganda) via Wikimedia Commons

R should be one of the easiest letters on this journey from A to Z. It’s got all the possibilities of a P; all the nuance of an N; all the all of an A. But I had trouble.

Too many choices. In fact, I’m reeling from them (ahh). My fingers wanted to type “realing” from them.

Realing. Another new word my friend who shall remain nameless (Breaker of Things. Wait, I don’t think I did that right), will tell me has already been somehow released into the ether even though I’m the maker-upper of everything. Realing. Verb. Present participle. The act of making something real.

Now I want to change my title. Realing feels so much more stable, more grounded, more together than reeling.

And now you see how we got here.

I’ve always been one of those people who want to know all the outcomes before I start, who wants to make the best possible choice at all possible times (see: post about OK.) And even now, when you know and I know I’m going to chatter on about some nonsense for the length of a post, I feel compelled to make it the best possible nonsense.

Hmm. Yes, you’re right, hypothetical reader. I can see how that sounds.

It is, to throw in another r-word, ridiculous.

Especially when I set out originally to write about reality, which is probably how realing came about. Oh well. Let’s get realing.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Quoffee

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This is a quoll, a carnivorous marsupial from Australia. It’s also a great Scrabble word. By Ways from Wikimedia Commons

Hmm? What’s that, hypothetical reader? Quoffee is not a word?

Why I beg to differ. Quoffee is a perfectly acceptable word. Me making it up doesn’t make it less of a word. It only hasn’t caught on yet. Because I made it up about four minutes ago.

Speak up, hypothetical reader, I didn’t hear that. What does it mean?

Well thank you for asking. You always know exactly the right thing to ask at the right time, hypothetical reader.

It’s uncanny.

Quoffee is, of course, the quest for coffee. Why be forced to describe this (nearly) universal need in two words when you can, at your darkest hour, use but one? Quoffee.

Yesterday I told you how I accidentally got chocolate-donut-flavored coffee instead of coffee humans actually want to drink. It wasn’t awful yesterday because only half of it had the artificial flavoring, but today I had to do a full cup of this concept catastrophe.

Maybe it would have proven drinkable if I’d added enough cream and sugar to believe I was eating an actual chocolate donut, but really I’d rather just have the donut.

So I looked in the fridge where I store my coffee and coffee-based experiments, and lo and behold there was a bag I’d tried, didn’t love, and saved for emergencies. A while ago.

In the calculus of the quoffee, almost-stale beats fake flavoring that crawls inside of your brain and takes up residence. Every time.

Almost-stale it was.

I’m on my second cup because apparently the caffeine also degrades. Sigh. So the quoffee lives on unto eternity.

Or, you know, until I go buy a fresh bag. Whichever.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Nearly

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Nearly ready, nearly there, nearly finished. Nearly. So much distance in the word “nearly.”

What? My wistful post of Saturday was firmly and irretrievably interrupted by “TAXI MEDALLIONS?!” so on this Monday, you get nearly.

Nearly to the back end of this challenge. This year, the posts aren’t that difficult (except, of course, again for the the “TAXI MEDALLIONS,”) but keeping up with everyone I want to visit and read is more challenging than I’ve found in the past.

I’ve nearly gotten a handle on it.

Nearly.

Told you there was a lot of distance in “nearly.”

I was considering why it felt like more this year, and I think I very nearly have the answer. I’ve mentioned this is my fourth time through the challenge, so there are many familiar digital faces, many people from years past it’s so nice to see. And then there are the new faces, so layer upon layer it builds.

It feels like more people to visit because there are more people to visit. Funny how it works out that way.

Nearly logical.

Hmm, I seem to have lost my wist. Something something something, the intangibility of close but not quite.

Eh. It seems it’s more of a roll-up-the-sleeves day and muck right in. Great phrase you UKers, “muck in.” And maybe not sleeves too rolled up, it’s snowing again.

It could have had the decency to wait until S.

Well, it nearly did.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.