Monday, November 23, 2015

domestic animal

This weekend marked the final nail in the coffin of our slow march into domesticity. We sold our couch, a gorgeously simple chrome framed piece with fine, herringbone wool fabric in warm brown and grey tones, to make room for a boxy Ikea model with a chaise type end piece that is very popular these days. We did so because of the change of lifestyle that we have experienced since becoming dog owners, which is akin to becoming parents. Our previous living room setup was carefully chosen by me to be stylish yet functional. The main feature was a beautiful Kazak Rug. All of the other furniture was simply designed but with complex textures such as the herringbone couch in neutral shades and the modern end tables of glass, teak and chrome.  I also had plants overflowing from every corner of the room.

Then we got dogs.

Dogs are curious creatures, so the plants were relocated to higher ground.
Dogs track in dirt, no matter how thoroughly you wipe down their paws at the front door. I wasn’t interested in joining those weird neighbors whose dogs wear shoes outdoors, so I bought a nice (though not comparable to Kazak), washable rug to lay in the living room.
Dogs shed. I got a slipcover for the couch.
Dogs are fun to be around so we stopped going out so often. After months of weeknights on the couch with the dogs, I realized that our comfortable couch was kind of small when piled with two adults and two medium sized canines. It also wasn’t so comfortable when you sat there with a dog on your lap for several hours. In fact, my butt fell asleep on more than one occasion.


The couch was the last holdout. I loved that couch. But I love my dogs more, so I finally sucked it up and posted an ad online. I received several replies within the hour (it was a nice couch) and it was gone by the time that I arrived home from work the next day, carted off by a not-so-young hipster. Two days later, a beige, boxy sofa was delivered. The dogs love the couch. We all watched football together on it. SB is happy and none of my body parts fell asleep. I looked out over our sofa kingdom last night, taking in the sea of beige, from the beige and brown rug littered with various sized chew toys, to the striped beige and green dog bed in the corner, to SB drinking his coffee with a beige and black hound at his feet on the chaise portion, and I realized that I was happy, also. And oh so beige.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I dreamed a dream

My alarm woke me up from my dream at the most inconvenient time, as I was about to feast on a delicious prime rib dinner, having consumed a salad that was very similar to an actual side salad that I ate at Stones in Tai Hang. Shortly before being rudely awakened (or at least shortly if dream time is similar to real time) I had a moment of clarity in my dream where I recognized it for what it was and thought to myself, please let me not wake up until after I eat this prime rib. Sigh.

I tried to fall back asleep but instead of returning to my dinner, my dream took me in an absurd direction. I was back at the company headquarters but thankfully I did not spend my dream time doing work as I have regularly before. I wish there was some sort of a brain filter to remove work related events from dreams because nothing is more depressing than waking up after a long day of work, only to realize that you haven't actually been to work yet. It's like working twice as much with no reward.

Anyway, there I was in the office when a former colleague strolled in with the new iPad Pro, only the one in the dream was bigger than any of the office monitors. I have yet to see the iPad Pro, but in the dream it was fantastic and had all sorts of meaningful features, none of which I can remember at this time or otherwise I would create the apps and become fantastically wealthy, because they were just that good in the dream. After oohing and ahhing at the massive tablet, we all broke into song and dance.

I have never seen an episode of Glee, but I don't live under a rock so I have heard of it. Two weeks ago SB and I attended a trivia night and ran into some friends with the Welsh Male Voice Choir, who had booked the venue after us. No one broke into song there, either. But in the dream, there was a lot of singing, and for once I was in tune. So it clearly was a dream.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

on or walk

In our walk we ran into three hikers who seemed vaguely eastern European and clearly not enamored with our dogs. While passing their disgruntled selves, Will and I had a debate over whether they were Russian and grumpy because of 'roid rage. Who wouldn't love such adorable creatures?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

are you speaking my language?

With my English friends in the US, I never noticed a class structure in our interactions, only that we occasionally had differences in custom and manner. In Hong Kong, it took me a few years but I eventually became aware of a completely different social construct. When sitting in the pub, watching rugby or football with fellow British, New Zealander, and Australian sports fans, we are all equals in looking down our noses at American football and rugby players. I notice, however, that when Englishmen get together, things get weird. D supports Liverpool while P supports Tottenham, S supports Arsenal, and E is Manchester United all the way. Each speaks with the dialect of where they are from. However, when P and S talk amongst themselves, they take on different accents and mannerisms than when they chat with everyone else. When I pointed it out, D explained to me that P and S went to public school (the English definition, not the American one) and apparently there is a public school way of elocution that they turn on and off depending on who they are with. I guess it is their way of recognizing each other above the flock.

I hear P and S's dialect in meetings when several British educated people are in the room. Like P and S, a few of my company directors speak this language in formal meetings. No one seems to hold it against me that I can't turn up my posh, but all the same, it sometimes feels like I'm sitting in the midst of another civilization. I wonder if this is how people with autism feel. I can understand the words and see the gestures but I know that I am missing comprehension. I can practically, physically feel the social cues flying past me, too quick to grasp. My boss will say one thing and everyone will agree, but I have have heard that tone enough to now realize that he meant opposite of what he said and nobody is in agreement, and it fact, they are all fighting with smiles on their faces. Maybe Khrushchev had the right idea, because sometimes I want to bang the table and demand that we cut through all of the posturing and actually say what we mean.

My former boss told me that as he grew older, he came to appreciate the American way, which was direct instead of polite. I can't recall how he said it because it was rather indirect and circuitous, but I took it as how I think that he meant it despite the condescension in the message's delivery. I'm not sure if it is an American way of thinking, or if it is just me, but I don't mince around. In the construction industry, every minute spent making nice nonense is a million dollars of delay costs. I understand  though, that the correct answer is not always the right answer. It's more of that autism feeling. I can give a correct answer and it is still wrong. Maybe I need to reply in crisper vowels and everything will be okay.