- What recently caused you to boil?
I’m going to stay away from national current events because that’s too easy, and focus on my personal life. Bloody Wednesday at work, a few weeks ago when our leadership laid off ten percent of my awesome coworkers, was devastating and infuriating at the same time. It’s been a month, and we’re still dealing with it. The devastating part is obvious, but the infuriating part is that even though nobody can really predict a pandemic or what it’s going to do to a nonprofit organization, getting to a point where you have to cut loose ten people, ten awesome people, some of whom have been with the organization for decades, is a failure by leadership. I know these things often cannot be helped, but someone is responsible, and it’s never, ever the responsible people who lay themselves off. Perhaps it’s a built-in unfair reality of doing business, especially in a profit-driven world where a nonprofit works on the thinnest of margins, but that doesn’t change the unfairness of it, and I’ve a right to be angry. Which I am.
- What often causes you to freeze?
I don’t know what things are like in other places, but in some cultures here it’s socially normal to give everyone a kiss when you greet them in social settings. Say, at a picnic. Someone shows up and walks around greeting everyone with a kiss. If it’s a guy, he shakes hands or fist-bumps the guys, but he kisses the women. If it’s a woman, she kisses everyone. I like kissing women as much as the next guy, unless the next guy is Joe Biden, but I freeze up every time this happens. Thankfully, it seems to be happening less and less, but man. Sometimes it happens in a group of people you don’t know very well. Super stressful. Aaaaaand sometimes (albeit rarely these days) it happens in the conference room at work. Yikes. And no thank you. Honestly, it’s more often a hug, but I’m almost nearly as terrified of the hugs as the kisses.
- When did something evaporate into thin air?
For Christmas, my sister gave me this cast-iron griddle I love but haven’t used yet. She threw in a couple of amazing oven mitts, and I adore them. I never knew I needed oven mits that only go up to your wrists, made of some heavy-duty fabric but with silicone on the part of the hands and fingers where you grip stuff. The silicone has grippy bumps too. I have these enormous cloth-lined silicone oven mitts that go up to my elbows. They’re great for getting a broiling pan out of the oven, but practically useless for getting a small bowl out of the microwave oven. These little hands-only oven mitts are great for that kind of thing, and I’m dexterous enough in them that I can twist off stubborn jar lids or bottle caps with them. Anyway, I have difficulty keeping track of them for some reason. They’re there, and then they’re not there. Maddening!
- What recently caused you to melt?
I’ve been watching Anna Kendrick in Noelle lately, just for the feel-good. Anna plays Noelle, Santa Claus’s daughter. She tries to convince her brother, the heir to the red suit, to return to the North Pole to claim his title, but he’d rather teach yoga in Arizona. It’s a silly movie completely absent any cynicism or darkness, but I love it. And Noelle has these moments where she extends grace and compassion to people who need it (and who doesn’t need it?). There are a few scenes that have teared me up ever since the first time I watched it, but now I get teary in almost all these instances. Noelle’s gift for listening to people so they know they’re being heard and sympathized with is amazing, the kind of thing we are all charged to do, and she demonstrates how easy it really is. And there’s this silly that’s-what-Christmas-means-to-me speech that’s written specifically to make you cry, and of course I resist that entirely, but the last five times I’ve watched the movie I just let it go, melting right into the living room carpet.
- Among United States you haven’t visited, which would you most like to check out next?
It’s obviously going to be a long time before I can do it, but I’ve got my eyes on Ohio, with Illinois and Missouri second and third, mostly for reasons related to professional sports. Each of these states has two Major League baseball teams loaded with history and lore. Ohio is in first because it also has the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, which I really need to visit. The music festival I most want to attend someday is in Atlanta every fall (except this fall), so Georgia’s on the radar too.