Thursday, December 07, 2006

How Can They Do That?

The question isn't posed on the basis of outrage, but sheer mystification, quiet admiration, and a certain level of plain bone weariness.

(1) For example, this morning in the New York Times, I read a news story about women carrying bags that are too heavy for their shoulders and thereby creating for themselves physical miseries. I was sympathetic 'til I got down to the closing segment of the story. A woman had to explain to her insurance company what she usually had with her in her handbag and she was quoted as saying this, "“I had over $2,000 worth of stuff in that bag,” said Ms. Thompson, who works in retail analysis for Cynthia Vincent, a fashion company in New York, “my iPod, digital camera, cellphone, glasses, sunglasses, makeup kit and a ton of other belongings, including a Care Bear that I’ve had since I was born.”.

Forget the implied rampant consumerism of the must-have electronics. A 24-year old woman is still carrying around her CARE BEAR? A. CARE. BEAR. Even if I put those words in bold italics and underlined them, I don't think my incredulity would be adequately conveyed... A graduate of Brown University (the bag was stolen at her reunion) with a job that sounds faintly glamorous, and she can't bear to leave the house without her childhood teddy? Who's nuts here? Her or me?

(2) Then I was over on DoveGreyReader's blog and I suddenly realized that she manages to include either a photograph or a book cover in almost every post. They're really nicely done and add to the attractiveness of her blog. So the question is then is asked more in a tone of wistful admiration. How do you do that? I mean, are you allowed to just snag a cover off Amazon to include on the blog? Am I not required by law to link to them when I do that? Or at least hand over a first-born child? I don't have a scanner or a digital camera, but I would like to snazz up the text a little bit...

(3) UK-based Reading Matters references her Other Half being off on a business trip to New York and how sorry she was that she couldn't go with him. I assure you, my dear woman, that you truly are better off staying put! I was in New York yesterday on a day-trip for business and tonight, still feeling the effects of fatigue, I sit at the computer and wonder "How do people survive that town? How do taxis not crash into one another every other block? I saw the tree in Rockefeller Center, but how can anyone carry Christmas in their heart when they're so rushed, pushed, crushed and otherwise mentally assaulted?". How did I survive there for seventeen years?

Please believe me when I say that one of the great mercies of our time is the Quiet Car on Amtrak. No loud conversations and no cell phones. An hour and a half of relative calm on the Northeast Corridor...

So, yes, I'm still befuddled and bemused, still asking the question in all honesty, How can they do that?