What a silly question.
Stephon stood just a few feet away from Barack Obama. The president, busy shaking hands, looked right at him. “It was like he was waiting for me to say something,” he said later.
So the 26-year-old Prince George’s Community College student took his cue and spoke to President Obama in his first language: American Sign Language. “I am proud of you,” Stephon signed. The president, almost involuntary, instinctively, immediately signed back.
“Thank you,” Obama replied.
This is one of those moments that humanize the office of the presidency.
I’m tearing up a little right now.
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Forward by John Dies at the End author David Wong.
“I want a big house, and I am willing to spend absolutely zero dollars to get it” (or… “How we built our own house despite being incredibly cheap. Frugal, incredibly frugal.)
Way back in my dim dark past I used to imagine living in my own house, a house for me, to suit me, with nooks for reading, and windows onto secret little gardens.
When I was a child, one of the many houses we lived in was built up against a cliff. It had no yard to speak of, which suited my mower allergic father just fine, and fronted right onto the beach which suited my sea loving mother even better. But the best part for me was a secret garden.
Actually, not a secret, anybody standing at our washing machine could see it, and with the little Kelvinator twin tub washing machine we had and the clothes of four people to wash every weekend, I got to see it a lot.
It was this odd little nook, triangular, about 15 square feet of cement and brick with the used-to-be-white retaining wall behind it, my parent’s bedroom along it and the wash house wall supplying the third side. There was no door, just a small window for access, which even my brother, smallest of a tall family at the time ( the short arse role now falling to me, dammit) couldn’t easily fit through. But some previous owner had wriggled through and painted the sunless retaining wall white, and had put in some fairly big urns of plants long dead. Underneath the mould of leaves and roots and hopeful fern fronds it was just able to view a Lilliputian terrace of red/black brick. At some point, at some strange moment, this tiny space was loved and beautiful.
But I loved it for it’s nowstrangeness. In the grey winters it was a dripping darkness of tarnished leaves, jewelled spider webs and happy silver snails. In the summer, just visible if I craned myself over the wash house sink and looked up at the faded blue sky, the little garden came alive with small scurrying things hiding from the sun that I so wanted to be out sacrificing my teenage body and future crow’s feet to. I could watch ADD geckoes hunting in the gloom of midday; rats, mice and possums curling up waiting for evening cool and one memorable month a young morepork nested in the upper reaches where native scrub and rudely neon gorse reached across never quite meeting the opposite roof. I feel sort of guilty keeping our squatter secret from the rest of the family, but I took such delight in sneaking into the wash house and tapping on the window to get the bird’s attention and seeing his round, disapproving sleepy glare, yellow eyed as an ancient bus driver.
Since the Kiwi and I are going to be building our own house sometime in the middling future, I’ve decided, more or less, to write about the journey. Since I am afeared of looking stupid (and yet totally fine with acting same. Whodathunk?) I’m going to be tumbling (or do I leave out the ‘i’?) the bits and bobs as they appear in my clouded wee mind, and allowing my darling, talented critics to poke prod and generally rend asunder my poor efforts.
…I am used to people looking at me funny.
I had to pop into the supermarket this evening, having managed to run out of soy sauce. Jesse decided to come with me, supermarket beating out homework every time. Whilst we were there, he asked if he could have noodles with his dinner. Pasta is cheap, so I said yes, and in the pasts aisle this conversation took place…
“What sort of noodles do you want tonight? Wibbly wobbly timey wimey?”
“Nah. Too slickery.”
“How about Sontarans?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Ummm, Bowtie? Bowties are cool.”
“Yeah, but I had Bowties on Saturday.”
“Fair enough. Sonic Screwdiver?”
River’s Diary? What do you want?”
“Nah,” says Mister Man, still surveying the shelves.
“Ooo,” says I. “I still have a bag of Daleks in the cupboard. How about that? With that spicy sausage sauce you like?”
“Oh, yum! Daleks and blood gobs for dinner! Yay!”
Then on my way to the register I fell over my fat feet and almost knocked over a display of Dr. Pepper.
Honestly, it happens every time, and of course it felt like everyone was looking at me.