Monday, May 08, 2006

two vignettes


How Not to Win an Argument:

by bleeding on the other guy. (Any Python fans out there?)

A couple of days ago, my partner and I were sniping at each other about the great basement project (okay, I lie - it's all marital bliss and roses over here. Um, right. Moving on), when I felt a telltale tickle in my nose. I ducked into the bathroom, only to see that I was having a nosebleed.

Background: as a carrier of the hemophilia gene, I clot a bit less than most people. Any hematologist will tell you that I'm in the range of normal, but let me ask ya: how many people do you know who get nosebleeds just from stress? My dissertation committee finds this immensely disturbing.

Tempted to go back out there and point at the bloody object, I sat on myself until the moment passed. It's just too easy to win an argument from pity, and besides, the kid might be watching.

Coda: the basement shelves got built and I'm happy. The nose, however, is still determinedly oozing. Sigh. Why?

What Evil Lurks in the Brain of the Four Year Old Boy

We're in Cafe Zing, a wonderful if tiny Cambridge cafe, when my eldest turned to me and says: 'Mummy, I have a bad question.'
'What kind of question is bad,' quip I.
'Well,' he says, 'what if I got up early - I got up first - and drove here and put a spoon in the fork jar and a fork in the spoon place? Could we do that?'

I looked at him carefully, noting well the gleam of mischief in his eye. I considered the surroundings and then got up and walked over to the counter. 'Don't look,' I murmured, and slid the spoon jar towards the counter's edge, and within reach of a small person's arm. Moments later, an excited small person got up and took a spoon from the spoon jar. He then snuck past our table to place the spoon in (gasp) the fork holder, simultaneously extracting a fork. Finally, he slunk back towards the counter, where he quietly inserted the fork into what had been the spoons' personal preserve. And giggled.

My compliments to the general manager of Cafe Zing, who has chosen her serfs wisely and well. The folks behind the counter held themselves together for a crucial half-minute or so, before we all dissolved into laughter. Ah, the evil genius of the child. But that laughter turned into almost painful roars when he, supremely pleased with his act and its effect, put it all back.

I think I'm in love.


magid said...

One: Yay that the basement shelves got built! (I should be so industrious.)

Two: *giggle* *giggle* *giggle*

Anonymous said...

I completely understand your stress-nosebleed connection. Remember, docs used to never think that carriers could be symptomatic.

Hang in there! Love your blog.

mama o' the matrices said...

magid: you? Industrious? the terror of the day-lily? Naaah.

Anon: thanks for the nod! Glad you are enjoying the read. And my still-drippy nose and I appreciate the support.

magid said...

Harder to get my own task/chore stuff done, when it only affects me. Motivation much higher for things that have hard deadlines or impact other people.

Daniel H said...

Of course stress can cause nose bleeds. Here's a wonderful example:
- precision blogger

joy said...

1-Ian once got a rather explosive nosebleed all over the seminar table during his masters. I don't think he was particularly overstressed at the time, but it certainly made his entire class take notice.

2-Awww! What a charmer that little one is!

mama o' the matrices said...

Daniel, joy, thanks! Good to know that I'm not unsettling my committee in an unprecendented fashion.

So what did Ian do?

joy said...

I believe he was handed a tissue and made apologetic noises trying to get everything back on track. He's not much of a storyteller about such things. :)