Category Archives: Anecdotes de la Kendall

Burn Burn Burn.

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So on Monday morning I was making myself a cup of coffee before work, as I do every morning, and right as I finished pouring boiling hot water into one of those plastic single-serve funnels that you set on top of your mug, it became unsteady and immediately tipped over onto my right hand. To make a long story short, I worked the whole day with a cold compress rubber-banded to my wrist (which, I’d like to point out, none of my co-workers noticed until about 2pm) before going to the urgent care, where I was bandaged up, diagnosed with a first-degree burn, and sent on my merry way with miles of gauze and some potent painkillers. I’ve been walking around all week with my wrist wrapped up like a mummy and many passersby have given me concerned looks, because what they surmise from my bandages is that I’ve attempted, and failed, to kill myself.

I feel pretty dumb when I have to explain to inquirers exactly how I became a “burn victim.” I am an object of pity, but I sense that most people pity my stupidity and clumsiness more than the fact that my flesh was scalded with boiling water and coffee grounds. I guess I can’t really blame them. Moral of the story: from this moment on, I am leaving my coffee preparation to the professionals.

Catcalls.

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Since returning to Seattle, I’ve been without a car in the city for the first time since I was a college freshman. Because busses cost money and I’m poor, I’ve opted for walking as my go-to mode of transportation, and strangely enough, I’ve noticed that, as a result of walking, the frequency with which I’m catcalled has increased tenfold. About a month ago, after a particular week of what seemed like endless catcalls, I read a post on Apocalypstick that addressed catcalling and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

As far as I can tell, the point of Almie’s anecdote was to express that she felt weird and a little disgusted with herself for being flattered by this stranger’s catcall, and to question whether or not those feelings of weirdness and disgust were valid. As a lady who gets catcalled fairly regularly and never feels flattered by it, I can say with surety that if the same thing happened to me, I would probably be flattered too. But that’s probably because I think there’s a very distinct difference between a catcall and a compliment, and I don’t see Almie’s experience as a catcall at all.

When I think of a catcall, I think of men sticking their heads out of moving cars like dogs to whistle or shout at you as they pass. It always seems to be a drive-by, or walk-by, experience. When you’re catcalled, there’s no acknowledgment of your distinct personhood or even of your humanity, really; you’re simply being appraised as an object, as a body without a person inside of it, and I suspect that’s at least part of the reason why it’s referred to as a catcall instead of a human-call. A catcall has nothing to do with being complimentary and everything to do with asserting power, like “Woman, I can tell you exactly what I think of the way you look because I’m a man and my opinion is important!” Catcalls strip you of control and force you to be passive, because there’s nothing you can do to counter a catcall: you can’t stop the cat-caller and say “Excuse me, sir, but I’m offended by the way you’re objectifying me” because it all takes place in passing, and you can’t even really shout profanities at them or give them the bird before they’ve made their way out of hearing distance. All you can do is let it happen to you and silently seeth later. All of which is to say: catcalls are not flattering, and in fact, there is no quicker way to make me openly hostile than to utter a catcall in my direction.

And that’s the difference between a catcall and a compliment, as I see it: catcalls make me angry, and compliments don’t. Here’s a story: when I was a senior in high school, I went on a trip to Chicago with my journalism class to attend a high school newspaper convention (right?) and when we had a little free time to explore the city, I found myself in the overwhelmingly huge Virgin Megastore. As I was riding an escalator up to the third floor, a male store employee turned around from his position a couple steps above me and got my attention. He was probably around my age, maybe as old as twenty. But he turned around and with a shy smile he said “Excuse me, I just have to tell you: you’re really beautiful.” And I said thank you, and he smiled more, and then we stepped off the escalator and he went back to work. I think it’s awesome when a male stranger pays me a compliment and then walks away after I’ve expressed my gratitude at their kindness, because that means they weren’t just leading with a compliment in order to get something else, like my phone number or a date. When a man looks me in the eyes and speaks to me instead of at me, and when a man says he’s not trying to hit on me and then doesn’t, that makes me feel empowered instead of powerless, and that’s what a compliment is meant to do. Of course there are exceptions, and men can definitely compliment you to your face in a way that’s sleazy, but my guts tell me when someone is being gross or when someone is being genuine, and I trust that feeling because it has almost always been right. And I like to think that all intelligent women who have a healthy sense of self-worth are intuitive enough to tell the difference, too.

Do you agree? Disagree? What’s your opinion about, or experience with, catcalling?

Capitol Hill Block Party.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMajor Lazer

Oh boy, I had a doozy of a weekend at Capitol Hill Block Party. For those who don’t live in Seattle, Capitol Hill is a super hip Seattle neighborhood just east of downtown, and Block Party is a weekend-long music festival in which the city closes Pike Street between 10th and 13th (much like SXSW, only on a smaller scale) to allow for some serious live music grooving to take place. In spite of my skinny pocketbook (does anyone even use the word ‘pocketbook’ un-ironically anymore?), I decided to buy a weekend pass because a) my good friends Hot Bodies in Motion were playing, b) small outdoor music festivals are awesome (see: Bumbershoot), and c) YOLO, my friends. YOLO trumps every excuse ever.

In hindsight, I definitely made the right decision… and we all know that hindsight is 20/20. It was awesome: good friends, great weather, lots of moderately priced beer, and Seattle dogs, the most divine of all dogs in all of America. My mom even came on Saturday (to see HBIM because she’s a total fan girl, bless her heart), which should give you an indication of how awesome it was. And of course, the music. I saw lots of big names like Major Lazer (overwhelming), Grimes (creepily enticing?), and Neko Case (surprisingly uninspiring), but CHBP, like most music festivals for me, was all about the underdogs.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppAllen Stone

First of all, Allen Stone. Good Lord, what a homecoming. After nearly a year of touring the globe and making some big appearances on television (he was on Letterman last night!), and after The Stranger gave him a recommendation in their CHBP preview that was lukewarm at best, he absolutely killed it. Nate was reminiscing about last year’s Block Party, and noted how impressive it was that Allen had accompanied him to CHBP last year as a mere pedestrian, and a short year later, Allen was playing the Main Stage and Nate couldn’t even get close to him because of the enormous crowd of people that came out to watch him perform. Go on, boy, you GROWN!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppEl Ten Eleven

Two of the best performances I saw, however, were from two relatively unknown bands: St. Lucia and El Ten Eleven. St. Lucia played on the smaller outdoor stage on Saturday evening, and their set was nothing short of magical: their Caribbean-influenced dance pop was infectious and incited much happy dancing within the crowd, and there was a light breeze that was blowing through all of their hair and it was so picturesque, like a movie, and just perfect in every way. For El Ten Eleven on Sunday night, my friends and I decided to arrive early and stake out a front-row spot, which proved to be genius on our parts because they were mind-blowing. It was just two guys, one on drums and one on guitar (bass and double-headed!), and lots of loop pedals and INFINITE ROCK. I’m so glad that we were so close to the stage because from that short distance, you can really see the joy in the faces of the people performing, and how excited they get when people are grooving to their music and clapping and cheering for them. You could see how much it meant to them, and it was really inspiring and amazing.

Live music is truly one of the best things in the world. I’m convinced of it.

Penny the Destroyer.

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YOU GUYS. I have to tell you about something absolutely crazy that happened this morning. So I’ve mentioned Penny, Nate and his housemates’ dog, and how awesome she is and how much I adore her, right? Well, this morning Nate and Sean, one of his old housemates that is back in Seattle for the weekend, and I all took Penny to the park and were having a grand old time playing fetch with her. They have this little contraption called a Chuck-It, which has a cupping mechanism on the end so that you can use it to pick up and throw a rubber ball instead of getting dog slobber all over your hands, and we were throwing lots of long tosses to try to tire Penny out, to no avail. We were getting ready to pack up and head home when a man and his five-year-old daughter and their dog started walking toward us, and the man asked if his dog could play fetch with Penny too. We try to encourage Penny to make friends, even though her interest lies solely in the Chuck-It the majority of the time she’s around other dogs, so we said sure. The other dog’s name was Clover, and he appeared to be about three years old and just as fast as Penny. Once the game of fetch got under way, the man and his daughter started walking toward the playground within the park and eventually disappeared from sight. We kept throwing long balls and because Penny was already tuckered out, Clover kept beating her on the retrieval. In an attempt to throw Penny a bone (no pun intended), Nate chucked the ball down hard so that it would bounce only a short distance, but high so that Penny could jump for it. But Clover was determined to get it, and when they both went for it, they ended up colliding face-first into each other. The sound of their heads knocking together made a sickeningly audible sound, and we all gasped in horror.

Both dogs looked shaken and paused for a moment like they were trying to collect themselves, but then they both trotted back toward us like nothing had happened. We were ready to resume the game of fetch until we realized that Clover’s mouth was bleeding profusely, so we went and found his owner and explained what happened. We thought that he must have just bitten his tongue or something, but then Sean and I both noticed that Clover’s bottom right canine appeared to be missing. As Clover’s owner and his horrified daughter started walking away to take Clover home and clean him up, Sean walked out to the scene of the collision and started looking around. When he came back, he was holding Clover’s tooth in his palm. The tooth had been ripped clean out, roots and all, and was like three or four inches long. After showing it to us, Sean ran to catch up with the owner to show him the tooth so that he knew what he was dealing with and could take the dog to the vet immediately, all while trying to keep it out of sight of the already-traumatized five-year-old. The owner took the tooth and continued back to his home, and we three and Penny left the park shortly thereafter, but we haven’t been able to stop talking about how crazy the whole thing was all afternoon.

A few things I found interesting about this chance encounter: one, poor Clover. That dog had to have been in so much pain to have his canine knocked clean out of his head, but he didn’t yelp or lie down or even so much as whimper. He came back ready for another round! Which brings me to two: the level of power that ball held over these two dogs is somewhat disturbing. Dogs are not known to be super-rational creatures, but most know better than to blindly and voluntarily crash full-force into another dog, or anything for that matter. That ball was an object of such desire for both Penny and Clover that they would stop at nothing, not even personal injury, to have it. Kind of scary. And three: Penny has no concept of what she did to Clover. Penny walked away without a scratch on her and Clover is going to be disabled by the loss of that tooth for the rest of his life, but to Penny, it was as simple as “We were both running after the ball and I won.” Even though what happened to Clover was ultimately an accident and not anyone’s fault, Sean and Nate and I all felt a degree of guilt over what had happened; as a dog, Penny doesn’t really have the capacity to feel guilt over Clover’s tooth, and now that I think about it, Clover probably doesn’t have the capacity to feel angry about his tooth, either. But it’s interesting, nonetheless, to consider the limited range of concepts and emotions that can be understood or felt by dogs in comparison to humans, and to think about the lack of complexity in Penny’s feelings toward most things, not least of all us, her human companions.

All of which is to say: we’re really glad that physical injury did not befall Penny, and still kind of shocked at the damage our sweet girl accidentally inflicted on another pup. It’s already become a joke, though: we’ve been calling her Penny the Destroyer all afternoon, and I kind of hope that’s a nickname that sticks.

Flight.

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So I’m in Georgia right now. My mom had neck surgery on Thursday and I flew out here for a week to take care of her as she recovers, but she barely needs me because she’s a champ and a major trooper. That’s just how my mom rolls.

ANYWAY, as I sat on the airplane on Wednesday morning waiting for take-off, I started thinking about how many times I’ve flown on an airplane in my life. I’ve probably taken close to one hundred flights in my twenty-four years, eighteen of which have been since January 1st of this year alone. That’s a lot of time spent up in the air. You would think that many flights would cause a person to become disenchanted with the novelty of flying, and I’ll admit that it does sometimes if I’m really sleepy or if I’m in an aisle seat, but whenever I sit in a window seat (which I did on this flight) I become a little overwhelmed by the phenomenon of flight and the things it enables me to see.

After I took my seat and other passengers continued to straggle on board, I started reading a book. I read it while the plane started backing up, and while the stewardesses gave their safety demonstration, and while the plane slowly ambled toward the position on the runway where it joins the queue and waits for a far-off voice from a radio tower somewhere to give them the go-ahead. But as soon as the plane started picking up speed and careening down the runway toward lift-off, I put my book down to focus on what was happening outside of my window. Because as much as I know that my plane crashing is a statistical improbability, I still always hold my breath a little as the nose lifts up and the plane’s tiny wheels leave the ground, as everything starts to go diagonal, as the pressure that pushes me back into my seat mounts, like the world itself is moving in the opposite direction that I am and trying to take me with it. It’s a feeling unlike any other, and as many times as I’ve experienced it, I still get nervous during the first couple minutes of the ascent and find myself intently watching for the fasten-seatbelt light, the sign that everything will probably be okay, to come on, just like Diane Court in Say Anything.

But then once I’m up in the air, when the plane has plateaued and the fasten-seatbelt light glows a reddish-orange aside the esoteric no-smoking light, its like that nervousness never happened at all. I’m free to look out the window without worry, and when I do, it’s like I’m whirring through an alternate dimension where everything my eye perceives as big becomes infinitesimal. Believe it or not, this flight was the first I can remember that has started out flying northerly, so we flew over downtown Seattle’s skyscrapers and the Space Needle, and then headed east across Lake Washington and the floating bridge and rolling hills of evergreen and over the jagged snow-capped mountains, and it all looked small enough to fit in my palm. It was easily the most majestic and breathtaking view I’ve ever had from a plane. And even as I continued to fly east, I marveled at how the tiny little houses were arranged in perfect grids like graph paper, how the variegated tones of brown farmland fitted together like patchwork, how those white windmills that stand imposing as giants looked the size of a sliver I might pull from my finger. If you’re ever in need of some perspective, look down from three-thousand feet: everything on this earth can be made to feel small.

There’s a quiet magic in flying, a magic that doesn’t boast or draw attention to itself. Even as I watched this miraculous landscape pass by me in miniature, I never gave a thought to the fact that I was sitting inside a metal bird that weighed tons but, through a series of complex processes that I’ve never even attempted to understand, somehow managed to make itself airborne and to soar through the sky with what appears to me to be relative ease. I get to sit down and read a book and have someone bring me something to drink as if I were at home with my mother, and sure, maybe it feels a little crowded, but it mostly just feels really normal. Tell me that isn’t magic!