Friday, July 17 2020

swearing, rice lunch, and small writing

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Friday. I don't know what kind of work week you've had thus far, but the important thing is that it's over, and you can officially begin your coast into the weekend.

It's a typical morning here on the homestead. Rodney is sitting at a table for one with a single cereal bar and a cup of milk laced with a tablespoon of stool softener. To appease his super hero fantasy, in which I have been promoted to Captain America, I'm carrying around our heavy cast iron Dutch Oven lid to act as my shield. Captain America may not be my favorite super hero, but it beats being Shredhead or Super Hero Rodney's butler.

Sip. I had a relaxing day yesterday. By some miracle, Rodney amused himself thoroughly enough for Marissa and I to both spend all morning doing our own thing, respectively painting and working on code at the dining room computer. I hacked on my journaling framework, rewriting my CSS to be a little cleaner, and I also added a "bad words" counter to the statistics page. On each build, the code will scan every journal entry and count the number of times I've said words like shit (6 times), crap (12 times), ass (8 times), and hell (23 times). Spreading that out over 390,000 words, that's a pretty mild swearing habit if you ask me.

Rodney still asks me about swearing. Even after Marissa and I dropped the parental hammer and banned the word sucks from Rodney's vocabulary, the little s word still leaps into his brain and prompts further discussion.

"Dada," said Rodney, breaking my long stare out the window while waiting for him to finish his food. "Why I can't say sucks?"

"That's not a Rodney word," I replied.

"I said sucks when I got a lil' poke," said Rodney, folding his hands underneath his chin.

"That's right," I said, crossing my arms. "Mom and I let you say it once after your shots. Because shots suck. But Rodney can't say it whenever he wants."

Rodney stared blankly, blinking his big doughy eyes.

"You can say Holy Cow, at least you got that one," I said, trying to cheer him up.

Rodney pushed his fork around his plate. "Holy Cow," he whimpered.

I think we should all be a little more open and honest about swearing. I've never met anyone who hasn't eventually swore around me, and I think the moment you feel comfortable enough with someone to have a slip of the tongue should be celebrated. Swearing isn't about words we shouldn't say - it's about the people we feel comfortable enough to swear around. Swearing is the salt of our language - you can overdo it, but God forbid we cut it out all together.

And speaking of salt, somehow over the course of the week, we ended up with three different types of rice leftovers stored in our fridge. We had Monday's rice sausage pilaf - mellow and comforting. Tuesday was Wingstop leftovers fried rice, in which I tried to redeem our questionable Monday lunch hot wing binge by chopping up the leftovers with garlic, red onion, and cabbage. Lastly, Thursday was paella. Even though we had paella for Rodney's party a short weekend ago, there's a distinct difference between politely eating paella at a party and wolfing down a whole cast iron pan alone like you're on your way to the electric chair, and we thought we had missed out on the latter.

"This is rice lunch," I said, setting the table with leftovers. "Three types of rice, and we need to eat it all today."

rice lunch

Missed out on an opportunity to taste these all combined in a single trough. I bet fried Wingstop paella pilaf would have been exciting.

Marissa excused herself from the table and headed back into the studio, and I flicked through reddit on my phone while waiting for Rodney to finish. I stumbled on a thread about writing advice.

"Big events make for small writing," read one comment. "Don't try to write about war - write about the kid whose socks were burned while trying to run away."

Isn't it a great feeling when someone else puts words to a growing agitation you have? Out of all the journal entries, the hardest ones to write are the ones that follow big events - parties, weddings, and special occasions. The next morning, I get out of bed on time, brew a fresh pot of coffee, and open a new text buffer only to find the word well empty - no matter how full my heart was the night before.

Don't get me wrong - I still write. I write even if it's bad, or I'm not feeling it. But the advice I read rings true - the writing that is closest to my heart is small writing. I love writing about things that, unlike a big party or a special occasion, nobody would ever remember unless you had written about it.

For dinner, we took a drive out to the near west side. Marissa's favorite pizza place built a new location that was closer to us that still had safe outdoor seating. And maybe it was because we hadn't eaten out anywhere in several months, but yesterday it was my favorite pizza place too. We found a serene shaded table on their empty patio that was nestled perfectly beside a busy road. Marissa brought our cold beers to the table. We clinked bottles.

"Wait, can we do that again?" said Marissa getting out her phone. I reluctantly held my bottle out.

"Right there - hold it," she said.

"This is so embarrassing," I chided. "We totally look like millenials right now."

"There's nobody here," laughed Marissa. "And it's a good picture, you'll thank me for it."


OK fine - it is a good picture.

A masked waitress cautiously brought us our pizzas and we began eating.

"So it's been a while since we had Novanta," said Marissa. "What do you think about it." I had already finished a slice, and there was a little pile of mushrooms on my plate that I had pushed off the pizza with a fork.

"I think I finally figured out why I don't like mushrooms on pizza," I said. "I think they are added to the pizza raw, and the short time in the oven isn't enough time to cook them. They kind of taste like lukewarm water in my mouth."

"Ah sorry about that," said Marissa. "She said it was their most popular pizza."

"Hey - I was the one that just said surprise me," I laughed. "But can we talk about this dough? And the sauce? My god, this pizza is delicious."

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Friday, everyone.