Sunday, April 7, 2013

Gerunds: They Exist. Also, Socks.

Over at the New York Times there's an opinion on taking verbs as nouns. I don't see why there's any discussion on whether this is right or wrong. "What is the ask?" and "This year's spend is excessive" are patently wrong. The first is clunky and a non-functional question (without context; in context, much like an imperative statement, there is probably an understood subject doing the asking.) In the second, spend has been conjugated incorrectly. The fact the author never mentions gerunds also bothers me. What's worse, "do you have a solve" is again using the wrong word. The speaker should choose "solution," but is either unfamiliar with English (a non-native speaker, for example), or lazy.

Words mean things. Also, from the What Could Go Wrong? file.

Anyway, today's fiction feels like filler until the end, but I liked the intro thoughts from Lucy. I also really like this because, while being sympathetic, Lucy has had a lot more moments of coming across as being not nice compared to Sam. Sam's flaws tend to flow from being short-sighted and having his priorities mixed up, while Lucy seems to be a bit more reserved, flighty and in some ways too proud for her own good. I think this is a good section for her.

Hopefully now that life is back to a normal rhythm, fiction blogging will be back to speed. Table of Contents here.

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One of the things I like best about being a woman, besides how everyone is almost automatically nice to me is that I never have to wear socks if I don’t want to. My dad hates socks, and I am in agreement there. Like, if he had to choose between time traveling killing Hitler or the man who invented socks, he’d really need to noodle it over. Not that he’s keen on genocide, but he knows that no matter what, things are only worse if you kill Hitler and no one has written speculative fiction on a world without socks. For all we know, no one would have killed the archduke and started World War I. Without that, there’d’ve been no Hitler in the classic sense. So, you know, he’d have to think about it. The only good thing about socks is they kept your feet warm and came in cute designs. I guess that’s two things.

What got me thinking of this was when I was standing by the station a little bit early and cold because in the mornings California tricked you into thinking that it would be warm enough to wear skirts and pretty shoes, then in the evening it tried to freeze off your toes. At least back home on the East Coast, you knew that the weather was malicious and out to get you. But here, it played with you like a kitten that has never been taught to properly hunt plays with a terrified mouse, unsure of how to land a killing strike while it bats it around playfully.

Kittens can be cruel. Like Mother Nature; which I never understood how it was Mother Nature and Father Time. Nature is brutish, often violent and indifferent. Time is gentle, elegant and even-handed. Also, nature screwed women over, hard. Time isn’t much nicer, but we, on average, live longer, right? So, point for Mother Time.

I stomped my feet to get my blood flowing there. Roger showed up and took his time getting out of his car. He then carefully thumbed through each key as he asked me how I was doing.

“I’m cold.”

“You’re not cold,” He said. “You’re a warm, caring individual with love to give.”

“Open the door Roger.”

“Once I get the key.”

“I’m cold now Roger.”

“Wait, which side was I looking through? Right or left?”

“Right, you were going right.”

“Well, I best start from the beginning again.”

“If you know the beginning you know where you were! I’m cold!” Roger could be mean. He and Christine would get along; if Roger weren’t married they could have a May-December romance and ruin my life forever. Roger was kind enough to open the door after only another minute, and I dashed in first. Not that the station was ever much warmer. But it was warmer in my heart.

Sometimes Jon or Tanya had to host the show alone if the other one was out. Roger was swearing as he came out of the office; I already knew what it was. Jon had left a message with Roger. It probably went something like: “In my narcissistic rage, I have barricaded myself in my posh little apartment to write.”

“Someone needs to tell these two that this isn’t like waiting tables, no offense,” Roger said. “You can’t just call out at the last minute.”

“What are you going to do about it Roger?”

“The show must go on, for a given definition of ‘the show,’” Roger said. “I guess we’ll let Tanya know she’s going to have to carry all the weight tonight.”

The next part of my plan happened just about now, as there was a knock on the station door. Roger answered, and then called out.

“Lucy, some guy’s here with your keys,” Roger came in with Sam in tow.

“You left these in the trunk,” He said, handing them over. “You should be more careful; they had this address here. You’ll have to tell me more about what you do here.”

“Roger, do you know who this is?”

“No, should I?”

“This is Sam, the guest of honor at the charity dinner tomorrow night and local celebrity,” I said as Sam and Roger shook hands. “This is Roger; he’s the local crotchety old man.”

“Lucy, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I smiled and said no, but the answer was yes. “Sam, kid, how would you like to make a quick buck and pull our fat out of the fire and get to know more about what we do here?”

Sam said he was willing to lend a hand; I think he was keen on it.

1 comment:

  1. I fear that this is now too self-referential for new readers to dive right in. I strongly, strongly recommend you start here and go from section one to the end (currently today's section) to get a lot of the self-references in the story. As we enter the end stretch, those call backs will be more frequent. (For example, Lucy saying no but meaning yes is a sly reminder that while she insists she is always honest, she's not -- usually for a variety of noble/selfish reasons.)

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