Friday, January 31, 2014

I mispronounced “consortium” in front of a consortium

I said it like “consort-ee-um” and the consortium rolled its eyes. I knew I had messed up, but how often do you get to talk to a consortium, so I kind of felt like “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”

I kept talking for a while but I was aware I had goofed. I think it’s because I read a lot and don’t talk to a lot of people, so I say things in my head that I don’t get a chance to say out loud and sometimes the wrong pronunciation sticks. Eventually I stopped talking because the consortium was just looking at me. 

It just looked at me, but I couldn’t tell if it was looking at me with interest or pity or what. This was at a New Year’s party, I should say, and I had to talk loud to get my voice over the crowd, and I thought maybe it hadn’t heard me and that’s why it wasn’t answering me, but then the consortium started slowly pivoting away from me, so I was like “oooohhhh-kaaaay”. It was moving very slowly and I felt like everyone was watching it move slowly.

Here’s a true thing, this is actually the truth: when I was younger, I knew the word “epitome” and I said it correctly out loud, but when I read it, I pronounced it in my head like “epi-tome” and I think my brain actually categorized these as two different words. I mean, I didn’t literally think these were two different words, I didn’t think that hard about it, but I definitely remember one day in high school, walking to Algebra II and having this realization that the word I’d been saying in my head when I read it and the word I said out loud whenever it came up were the same. I guess it doesn’t come up that often in conversation. The consortium was moving to a different part of the room.

I was over by the table with the crudités and the consortium was going over to a different area where some people were smoking. It bugged me for a while, to be honest! It kind of nagged me that I had done something wrong, like maybe I had offended it? I kind of go out of my way sometimes to not bother people. It was only later on the train when my friend Andy said, “What were you talking about with the consortium?” and I was like, oh, whoops.

“Nothing,” I said to Andy.

Andy lives in Carroll Gardens and I’m in Windsor Terrace, so he got off a few stops before me. The consortium had still been at the party when we left, and I hadn’t said goodbye or anything.

My phone was at like 2% so I had a while after Andy got off the train to just sit there and think about some things that I could have done differently, or maybe should do differently, in the future.  

Monday, January 06, 2014

Iris: A Hippo Story

In 1995 or thereabouts, I wrote a poem about a hippo and made it into a book for my sister. I don’t remember the specifics, other than once every five years I would remember to do something nice for her (also she told me once that she had read that Mikhail Baryshnikov told Lea Thompson that she was too stocky to be a ballerina, and I guess that stuck with me).
I had read somewhere that with a children’s book, for a given age, some percentage of the vocabulary should be a little more advanced than that age, and since my sister was going into grad school at the time, some of the words in here are from a GRE study guide (the original book had a glossary in the back; here I put them in as comments — this was before the internet made this look as condescending as it does now).
To give you some idea of how much I know about anything, the illustrations were done by sketching them in significantly different styles in a sketch book, scanning these drawings in and printing them on standard printer paper, then WATER COLORING THE PRINTER PAPER (if you don’t know why this is a bad idea rest peacefully in the knowledge that it is a bad idea) and then going over that with pencil where I thought it still looked too bad. This perfectly yielded the amateurish yet extremely fussy look I was going for no just kidding I just don’t know how to do anything. Then I gave it to Kinkos and asked them to wiro-bind it because that’s the classy way to bind things.
I also gave a copy to a few other people, including my parents. My dad always liked it a lot, and I thought I would put it up here as a sort of tribute to him. There are a lot of things I would change about it now, but there are still some things I like about it. If you like it, find someone and be nice and/or funny to them, which is what my dad liked to do. XOXO