Friday, May 29, 2009

Unhand me sir! And take down those road signs!

Nothing makes me feel more aged than taking my teenage son shopping for clothes. It doesn't matter how fabulous and youthful you usually look; if you are hanging around the dressing room of an Old Navy and a sulky, 6'1" boy emerges you to show you his pants, no males will cast interested glances and the dressing room attendant will look at you with pity because you are officially a HAG. I remember dressing Mad Scientist in John-John suits that showed off his chubby thighs. How did we get to the point where he needs a 32" inseam?

Speaking of pants, we got the new J. Peterman catalog! My favorite item: the Pants of Glory.

Awesome. How could anyone have a bad day if he armed himself with his Pants of Glory? Get yours today.

I love how their website casually juxtaposes a set of drinking glasses, on sale for $24, with a vintage French poster priced at $1600. That is bravado. Meanwhile, my daughters were rendered helpless with giggles at the "Proceeding Unmolested Through Khalili Souk in Cairo" dress, which features a "Non-plebian hem."

We were seriously considering Morocco for our vacation, and this dress would have been perfect. I almost regret that we wimped out and chose Rome instead.

More neighborhood excitement! On our little block there is one resident who essentially wants to ban all cars from ever passing his house. We'll call him "The General." There's another resident who sees any restrictions on the way in which one may drive one's vehicle as a threat to the freedoms we hold most dear. We'll call her "Beehive." Beehiveand The General have been at war for decades and they use the city traffic engineers as the pawns in their battles. Last fall The General scored a great victory when he got a new stop sign placed at the corner, directly in front of Beehivee's house. Beehive called an emergency meeting which took place in front of the offending stop sign and which was attended by neighbors, the city manager, a Charlottesville police officer and other city officials and myself. Within a week, the new stop sign was gone. This spring, The General began agitating the city to get rid of the bus route that passes down our street. Beehive organized a successful campaign to thwart him. Yesterday, in a stealth attack, The General scored another victory: new signs have appeared at each of the four corners of the park our houses face.

I think the signs are innocuous and might even prevent drivers from missing the curve and careening wildly down our driveway, which has happened--more than once. Beehive takes a different view. Last night, Paul Revere-like, she visited her neighbors to "warn" us about the signs. I'm not sure what she is warning us about. We weren't home when she made her circuit of the block, but my next-door neighbor informed me of it and told me Beehive had, in no uncertain terms, told her to be sure to alert me about these terrible new signs. I guess she thinks the police will by lying in wait for hapless motorists who dare to take the curves a little too fast. To be fair, The General just wants to prevent children--his grandchildren especially, but other children too--from getting killed as they cross the street to get to the park. At one point, he made his own road signs that said SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY. Where he got the correct yellow metal diamonds is a mystery to me, but since the signs were unofficial, the city made him take them down.

I'm less clear about what Beehive wants. I hardly ever see her driving, fast or otherwise, so I don't see why she wants our street to be a raceway.

Pointless photo addendum.

Grace and Seamus at lunch after my graduation.

Seamus and me


  1. I love the J. Peterman catalog for the prose and it's also nice when the clothes are occasionally affordable.

  2. I had no idea the J. Peterman catalog was real. I have missed out on so much.

    I very much enjoy reading about your neighborhood feuds. Also, your children are beautiful and you are quite lovely.

  3. I would wear those shorts--but probably not buy an 1800$ poster.

    Your neighborhood characters are great blogging fodder, BTW. I kind of can't wait until the next installment!

  4. After seeing those signs in person for the first time, I was underwhelmed. I did not feel the urge to whip around the corners. Of course, as someone who used to walk in that neighborhood often, I think the signs are probably a decent idea.

    In other news, toddler still approves of the sprayground. You'll find me by following the sound of sizzling flesh from those damn metal benches.