Monday, July 20, 2009

I'll Give It Some Thought

"I'll give it some thought." That's one of my favorite expressions. It's nothing original, nothing new, just a vague proclamation I've recently pushed to the limits of usefulness. Like making stacks of "open later" mail and coding e-mails in "respond later" colors, "I'll give it some thought" is a well-intentioned procrastination tool which--when paired with a slight chin-tilt and brooding nod--provides a polite delay:

Mom: "How are you keeping track of your taxes for next year? Don't you think you should get an accountant?"
Me: "Hmm. That might be wise. I'll give it some thought."

Bob the Landlord: "Are you still planning to move that old mattress out of the basement? It's a fire hazard. Do you want me to hire someone to carry it away for a small fee?"
Me: "Yes, that mattress has seen better days. It's no doubt blocking the walkway. I'll give it some thought."

Me: "Why don't you spend the entire day arranging every item of clothing you own into three piles: Love It, Hate It, and Haven't Worn It in Three Years? Then dispose of all but the first pile."
Me2Me: "How industrious of you to think of such a plan! I'll certainly give it some thought."

Sometimes, though, it is necessary to maintain an appropriately cheerful flow of chatter rather than putting the lid on a conversation with a handy five-word catchall. This can occur when on a semi-blind date, for instance, or when dining with one's grandparents at a Chinese restaurant. On the dates, I tend to revert to three topics:

1. My job, the related anecdotes of which I suspect make me sound like A. a brat, B. a priss, or C. I'm making shit up off the top of my head.
2. How, when I worked there in college, I used to love to try on bridal veils in the dressing room at Jacboson's department store when there were no customers around (alarming for obvious reasons).
3. The true story of how I once aspired to be a professional flute player (men of a certain age enjoy inserting vulgar American Pie reference here).

Or, I let the dates themselves get a few words in. If they tell me something along the lines of, "So, I'm carrying a laminated list of all my food allergies in my wallet. Here, wanna see?" And the list includes chicken, black pepper, spinach, wine, chocolate, and virtually every other item I regularly place in my grocery cart, I revert to, "Wow. I'll give that some thought."

With my grandparents and other family members, I cover work, their travel plans, the most recent mini-scandals involving each of my three siblings, my relationship with Black Beauty (my car), the state of the economy etc. Luckily, if there's another sibling present, we have double the material. My sister Claire, for instance, can always be counted on to relay the details of her most recent dry-cleaning fiasco (See previous post. Claire has sparred with hundreds of dry cleaners from Chicago to Louisville, for offenses ranging from unremoved wine stains to lost satin belts, too-short hems, unexplained discolorations, favorite-shirt disappearances, and much, much more):

Claire (during lull): "Oh! Did I tell you what happened at the dry cleaner last week?!"
Me (to grandparents): "Claire had another fight with the dry cleaner."
Claire (in affronted tones): "You WOULD NOT believe it. I had this shirt from the store [her store, the Peacock Boutique] that was ivory silk with brown leather straps." (See left, and black version below.)
Me (to grandparents): "They melted the straps."
Claire: "I was SHOCKED. I specifically told them when I dropped it off: 'BE CAREFUL. Those are leather straps.'"
Me (to grandparents): "But in all fairness, how many shirts have leather straps?"
Claire: "Emma! Are you kidding me? Dry cleaning is their JOB. They should know what to do with leather straps."
Me: "Well..."
Claire: "Anyway, you will not believe what happened next. They tried to CHARGE me for it! I said, 'You melted my shirt!' and they said, 'That'll be $15.'"
Gram (mildy): "Then what?"
Claire: "Well, what do you think? I said there was no way I was paying, and they owed me $250 for the shirt, and I would NEVER. RETURN!"
Gram: "Did you get the money back?"
Claire: "Of course I did. And it's too bad since they're so conveniently located. In fact, they're only moments from where we're sitting right now."
Me (sensing drama overload): "So. Pot stickers, anyone?"

P.S. I'm conflicted on the punctuation of the term "dry cleaner's" (or "dry cleaners," or "dry cleaner"). If you have interest or input on the subject of whether or not to use the apostrophe "s" when referring to the specific establishment in question, please weigh in.

P.P.S. Thank you, anonymous commenter. Your logic is sound and I've made the suggested revisions. My initial inclination to use the apostrophe "s" is likely due to the longstanding Louisville tradition of conferring the possessive upon all establishments in existence: "Let's eat at Outback's tonight." "I need to pick up a few things at Kroger's." "I'm craving that burrito from El Mundo's." Outback. Kroger. El Mundo.


Anonymous said...

It would have to be dry cleaner if only one person did the dry cleaning, dry cleaners if more than one person did the dry cleaning and dry cleaner's if possession was shown: That fucking dry cleaner's mama does the dry cleaning.

Colleen said...

You are brilliant, and so is your anonymous friend. Now, if only the dry cleaner(s) paid as much attention to the leather straps/hems/ribbons/belts/buttons than we did to the spelling of their establishment.