PRATIE PLACE

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Illustrating for Menticia that "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."

I picked up Menticia this afternoon. We planned to go on a "nature walk" as she calls it, since it was the first nice day in ages, but first I had a small errand to do: I'd made a test cd for Bob of the cuts from our new cd, and I wanted to drop it off at his house.

On the way, I made her listen to our songs of murder and mayhem for "We Did It! Songs of People Behaving Badly." I kept asking: "Do you understand?" She laughed at the jokes and showed horror in the right places, so that was good.

We got to Bob's house and he was home! We popped the cd into his crummy boombox (the theory being that, since most people listen to music on crummy machines, that's how it should be mixed) and took sketchy notes on changes to be made.

Then, to reward her for her patience, a walk to Locopops. I egged her on: "Don't you want to try tamarind pomegranate? Or maybe cucumber basil?" She calmly ignored me and ordered chocolate brownie and we walked back to the car.

The car had a completely flat tire.

I hauled out my tire pump and pumped it up and we drove to a tire place. They were very busy -- we had an hour and a half to kill.

So much for the nature walk - but Menticia pointed out we could walk anyway. We were in town so we headed towards Ninth Street and I started yammering about "best-laid plans" often not working out, as witness this afternoon.

The subject is timely: lately Menticia's been worried she may not have the fortitude for her first-choice profession of nursing, and has been wondering whether going to veterinary school might be best. "You have lots of time to decide, and change your mind many times - everybody's plans change. Look at us, now, for instance!"

(As her mentor, I felt obliged to point out that both nursing and veterinary science will require that she hang in there with science and math - especially with fractions, her bete noire.)

So we walked, and we toured a Third-World bead-and-bangles shop and a craft gallery, and we poked our heads in all the restaurants, and she passed up Mediterranean (shawarma and baba ghanoush) in favor of the Vietnamese restaurant, Banh's cuisine, where the same lady has been on duty every single time I've been there for the last quarter century.

Having now googled Robert Burns' famous line, which I quoted incorrectly to Menticia, I see Burns thinks a wrecked scheme is a bad thing - the mouse's house was destroyed, and Burns feels very sorry for himself - but in real life Plan B is often just fine, in fact often better than Plan A would have been.

So then we walked back to the tire place and watched the young employee behind the desk trying to come up with the Spanish equivalent of "lug nut" as she talked to a non-English-speaking customer.

When it was our turn, she asked us: "Do you speak Spanish?" Jeimy didn't say anything, because she likes to hold her cards close to her chest. I told the young woman I thought her Spanish was good, had she learned it on the job?

"No, I learned it when I was in music school. I'm a French horn player and thought I would tour Latin America with a symphony orchestra, so Spanish would be handy. But that didn't turn out so well, it's hard to get a job in classical music... Now I'm thinking of going into the medical profession."

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