Thursday, May 23, 2013

From cars to turtles

-I can't believe I only just found Gary Shteyngart's essay about his own driving incompetence. It's subscribers'-only for the full version, but think Katha Pollitt minus the gender angle - well, with a different gender angle. "[C]o√∂rdination and spatial skills," yes, been there. I'm fine on the road, but parking in a lot all too often requires my getting out of the car, checking where it is in relation to the spot, starting the car again, and lining it up properly. Anyway, Shteyngart now needs to be added to this list of cultural references for new drivers.

-The parental-overshare debate continues. I've written up a long response that I may send somewhere. (Motherlode? Can non-parents submit?) In the mean time, my short response is a) that it's good parent-writers are now at least asking themselves where to draw a line, and b) that there's got to be some middle-ground between "silence" and a national publication or a memoir. There seems to be this misconception that I was suggesting parents with usual or unusual child-issues literally not tell a soul, not seek help, not vent to friends, not keep people in their lives up to date, not complain to ten trillion other parents online or in a publication but anonymously.

-What do you do if two of your dissertation sources - a very small but impossible-to-cut part of the project - are pdfs with a bunch of documents cobbled together, and whoever did the handwritten labeling had impossible-to-decipher handwriting? Go to the original sources, right? (I know which author, can tell which newspapers, which year, in one case the date, but need page numbers for both.) Which I now see are nowhere to be found. Ostensibly online, but the site where they're supposed to be isn't getting me to them. Googling around in the usual ways (article title, for instance), and, nothing. Usual-suspect library catalogues (Princeton, NYPL) aren't fixing this. These being French newspapers, I should have found them when I was in Frahnce, but I'm not sure I even knew about these articles then. I'm thinking the answer is to just show the pdfs in question to a librarian.

-Running in the woods sounds relaxing, and it is sort of idyllic - all the birds (bluejays! cardinals!), a soothing "Fresh Air" podcast - if a bit less so what with the gallon of DEET I must coat myself with before entering the tick zone. But then there will be something so nature-y that I can hardly handle it. Today's discovery:


Yes, a turtle. A creature I half thought was prehistoric and akin to a dinosaur, half assumed lived somewhere in the world (the Galapagos?), but not a ten-minute drive from Wegmans. A very pretty one, but with bugs buzzing around it. Which at first I thought meant that it was dead, but it seemed just fine - I guess some kind of symbiotic relationship. 

8 comments:

Miss Self-Important said...

Isn't her defense basically that you should publish anything about your children that you believe is in their "best interest"? But only you the parent are qualified to determine what is in your children's best interest, since only you are familiar enough with their lives. Ergo, you should publish anything about them that you want, b/c it is by default in their best interest, of which you are the sole judge.

Phoebe said...

What I really wish she'd addressed (esp. because at least one commenter really misses this point) was the question of what it means for a child to "consent" to being written about on a larger-scale and more permanent way than a child could possibly fathom. The post of mine she was responding to (and I will say, to her credit, that this was one of the rare parent-writer responses that wasn't pure defensiveness and rage, the best of those being the woman who found the "Cheapness Studies" blog and argued that if I could write about bargains, she could write about her kids, as if this had been about parental overshare being too superficial, which is obviously not what's at stake) addressed this pretty directly: "[C]hildren are not in a position to veto their guardians' livelihood. Nor do they understand what it means for information to be private." And that means *all* children.

Petey said...

"Yes, a turtle. A creature I half thought was prehistoric and akin to a dinosaur, half assumed lived somewhere in the world (the Galapagos?), but not a ten-minute drive from Wegmans."

Where else can a turtle live? It needs to be able to hop into a car and drive to Wegmans to pick up the delicious flies and kale it feasts upon.

"I can't believe I only just found Gary Shteyngart's essay about his own driving incompetence."

A Super Sad True Bad Driving Story.

But isn't this just more evidence that Stuyvesant High School subliminally teaches its students how to be bad drivers? A toxic culture indeed...

(There are a bunch of wonderful short essays in that issue. I personally loved the Margaret Atwood one above all.)

caryatis said...

Wait till you see a snake....

Phoebe said...

Petey,

I may well one day get to the whole issue.

Caryatis,

Those were also startling at first, but they're just by the road, so it didn't take that long to spot one. (Or for my dog to ingest the skin of one.)

But this isn't just about a city-country divide. I would always see tourists in NYC photographing squirrels.

caryatis said...

Tourists from Asia? Where do they not have squirrels?

Phoebe said...

Europe too. I don't think they have them in Belgium, or at least not all over the place.

Petey said...

"I can't believe I only just found Gary Shteyngart's essay about his own driving incompetence ... Anyway, Shteyngart now needs to be added to this list of cultural references for new drivers."

One more true new driver story to add to the list...