Thursday, October 13, 2005

Casual Observances

My old college roomie called me last night and asked me to help her with something. She wants me to help her design a tattoo. She says she’s always admired my work and would love to get some ideas from me. Naturally, I’m very flattered, and agreed to work with her.

Here’s the thing, though. Frankly, I’m more than a little nervous about it. I have always been artistic, and have designed many things for many people, including a few tattoos. But it’s been eons since I designed anything. I got out of art and into accounting more than ten years ago because the “starving” part of “starving artist” wasn’t working for me. Hence, I only do creative stuff for fun anymore, and there are often large spans of time in which I’ve done nothing creative. I’m a bit rusty.

Still, we’ll be getting together to noodle around with some ideas. I love her, she’s one of the few people I would call a life-friend. I just hope I will not disappoint.

In cuter news, Incrediboy did something a few days ago that just killed me. He’s approaching two, and hasn’t had much opportunity to see the night sky. He goes to bed at eight, and in the fair weather months the sun is rising as we leave for our day. Now that winter is creeping up, it’s still pitch black when we head off in the mornings. He’s been learning shapes and objects at a rapid pace while we indulge his love of books, and he’s taken a liking to celestial objects (just like mom). He gets very excited when he sees a moon and stars in a book and will always holler it out. MOON! TAWS!

The other morning we were leaving for the day and the predawn sky was very clear. The stars gleamed on the coal black blanket of night, and the boy tipped his head back and took them in. This time last year he was still a baby and didn’t really notice the stars, but now as a toddler, he notices EVERYTHING.

He pointed up and made his noise which means, “What’s that?” While he recognizes the moon, as it is sometimes out during the day, it occurred to me he’d probably never noticed real stars, just the ones in his books. So I said, “Those are stars!”

He looked at me with those gorgeous big blue eyes of his. “Taws?”, he repeated. “Yes, stars!”, I confirmed.

He tipped his head back again, gazing up at the sky - and in the sweetest, breathy dreamy voice, he sighed, “Wwwwowww.”

Maybe you had to be there, or maybe it’s just a mom thing. But it was the cutest thing ever, and I’m still grinning like a fool about it - hearts popping out of my head like Sally on Peanuts.

This last observance is in honor of my blog friend, Stephen. Stephen posts brilliant and poignant observations about race and culture in his blog. My following cultural anecdote is neither brilliant nor poignant, really – but it is kind of amusing.

The hub called me yesterday and asked me, “What’s a cracker?”

“You mean, as in, ‘You’re a cracker’?”, I asked. “Yes!” he said emphatically, obviously relieved that I could enlighten him.

The hub’s not a stupid man, but he just didn’t know the term. I explained to him that it was slang for a white boy – kind of the new - er, replacement phrase for? - “honky” (he was a teenager in the seventies). Apparently he had to stop by the store on his way to the office yesterday to pick up coffee creamer. While he stared at the multitude of choices in the coffee aisle, he accidentally bumped into an elderly black man. When he turned to apologize, the man groused, “Watch where you’re going, you dumb cracker.”

The hub didn’t even know what he meant by that.

Poor hub. He was the victim of a driveby slurring. Luckily, he didn’t feel a thing.

14 comments:

Nicole said...

I'm grinning just reading about your sons love of stars...I totally get it, could be a mom thing. Those little conversations with my daughter always leave me with a sense of joy...even the 'funny fat girl' comment.

Poor hub! Somedays it's good to be ignorant of something huh?

:) Happy Thursday

martie said...

Clew, how wonderful the boy is noticing his environment and seems impressed by it. That's the kind of sentiment I was referring to re: Through a Fawns' Eyes. The pure magic of discovering through "new eyes"!

Back when I was younger, a "cracker" was something you ate. LOL

Bougie Black Boy said...

Martie, Here's where I'm a bit crass. :) Crackers are still things we eat. I don't discriminate! LOL

Uhm.... Yeah, Clew, This was a great write up and great transition from your artistry to the racial slurs. Some things you have to just laugh at. And this time, I laugh at your husbands innocence. I wish I were like him, again! New York has changed me!

Lori said...

Your little boy and the stars...that is so precious. I remember so well my children's fascination. I wrote about my daughter's love of the moon in "Moon Girl" back in August and your post brings it all back.

Hey, I'm with your hubby. Last I knew, "cracker" was that square saltine that one eats with soup! (That, and it was a code name my daughter gave for a boy she had a crush on!)

McSwain said...

I thought crackers were saltines, too. Or crazy people...

Aren't kids amazing? I know the Sally on Peanuts thing--it's impossible to describe, but your heart just gets so full. When you have kids, you get to rediscover the awe and wonder of creation all over again, right along with them. You remember some of the things we take for granted. Being a mom is the best ever.

JenCB said...

I'm not a mother, as you know, but I totally get the "Taws?" and the "Wwwwwowwww!" thing. That must really be incredible seeing the hamster churning away on its wheel in that little noggin of his. To not only associate stars from his books with stars in the sky at his age, but to acknowledge the immensity of what he was seeing is really impressive.

As for "cracker", well, I wouldn't say it's the NEW honkey. He was a teenager in the seventies - but perhaps missed out on all those great Sanford & Son and All in the Family episodes? Even so, it's oddly comforting to realize that some attitudes of the folks back home (yeah, I still call it that) haven't changed...even if I don't agree with them.

Down here he'd just be a dumb gringo.

Bougie Black Boy said...

Yeah I agree that was a Sanford & Son AND All in the Family, archie bunker-esque type of comment. Don't we all love learning racial slurs? so interestingly disturbing

Cat said...

Cheryl,
Regarding "crackers" meaning "crazy people," you're off by just a tiny bit. "Crackers" is not so much what the crazy people themselves are CALLED, rather it refers to their condition (i.e. "That girl is completely crackers," or "You'd have to be crackers to wear a hat like that out in public.").

Using the word "crackers" to mean "crazy" is mostly done by the British, appropriately enough, as most of them ARE. :D

Cat said...

BTW Clew, I LOVE your latest installment of The Continuing Adventures of Incrediboy - just adorable! I actually said, "awwwww" out loud. Really. ;)

...Just wait til you hear the stuff he says when he's FOUR. :D

Rebecca said...

There are few things in life that are as beautiful as seeing things through the eyes of our children. It is here that we get to experience beauty and wonder all over again, since as we get older we seem to have forgotten the simpler things in life, such as the sky and the stars. That, my friend - was a memory you and your son made - that you will remember forever. That is a keeper. :)

And while I AM a cracker - preferably a stone ground one spread with some garlic herbed cheese - I find it interesting that your husband was naive to the slang. It's not a bad thing by any stretch...it just shows the difference in the weight of words with racism when it's in a reverse tone. Cracker, to me - is in no way offensive, or hurtful. It's almost laughable. And while I would be upset that I bothered someone enough to the point that they used it towards me (justified or not), it doesn't hold nearly the hurtful intent, negativity and malice that the "N" word has, when used in that same manner. I don't think there is anything, that anyone can say to me, that would be as hurtful as someone using the "N" word. Just my humble opinion. Happy Thursday! :)

naive-no-more said...

Writer's Block? Yeah, riiiight! You always find something interesting to talk about.

I can almost see incrediboy's eyes staring in wonderment at the early morning sky. Right next to the hub, scratching his butt, going, "taws, what are taws?" LOL

Oh and on the tatto issue - don't worry about a thing. You'll come up with something fab and I'll once again have to be jealous of you. ;)

Harry Yak said...

the bit about your hubby made me laugh.

the bit about your son mwarmed my heart.

tell your friend that if she incorporates my name in her tatoo, i'll pay for half. just kidding (not really.......yeah really)

Bainwen Gilrana said...

One of my favorite parts of when my brother was a baby was the expression he would get on his face when he would discover something new. Some connection or another that everyone else just takes for granted, and here he was just realizing it for the first time. I always loved that.

Strange Little Girl said...

Hi, Clew. Loved your anecdote about your son and the stars, beautiful! Maybe it's a 'mom' thing, or maybe it's just an artist thing. My son is 22 and my family continues to use phrases and expressions he invented when he was little. Thanks for the grin!