2014.01.15 A Human of Morenci still wears sneakers

My son-in-law Taylor wrote a column for me a couple weeks ago. He dashed it off in no time...well, it was the amount of time it took me to read half the Observer copy, wash several extremely greasy pots/bowls/plates, put away the soup stock and potato water and wipe down the counter. But, still, he whipped it out with seemingly no effort at all.

I tried to convince him that he and Rosie should move to Morenci and take over the Observer, but he has zero interest. It’s too bad. If he could crank out sports, news, and feature stories as fast as he cranks out columns, he could run the Observer parttime and take a teaching job to boot. That’s what David’s grandmother did for a stretch back in the 40s. But I can see that pipe dream of mine is not coming to fruition. 

So, I’ll pick up where I left off in my early attempt at column writing before Taylor saved me: Facebook. There is so much interesting stuff there! Funny stories and quizzes and startling information and intriguing thoughts and absolutely fascinating pages like HONY which stands for Humans of New York.

Wonderkid Brandon Stanton left a bond trader job in Chicago to take photos of people in New York which he posts every day on Facebook. He interviews his subjects and includes snippets of their conversation with the posted photo, many of them now compiled in a New York Times bestselling book. 

Here’s a sample from Monday, of a black woman with a glint in her eye wearing a hat that, as one commenter said, “is swirling blue fabulousness.” 

"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"

"Have a relationship with God."

"When do you find it most difficult to have a relationship with God?"

"When he's not on time."

Another photo from Monday features a beautiful little girl in yellow rainboots holding a richly colored umbrella. Here’s the snippet that accompanies the photo of her in a dreary subway station.

"I want to be a princess hairdresser."

"What's going to be the hardest part about being a princess hairdresser?"

"Cutting Rapunzel's hair."

I didn’t really intend to talk about HONY, but it ties right in with another site I was led to from Facebook.

It was an irresistible New York Times quiz titled, “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk: What does the way you speak say about where you’re from?” Answer 20 questions and see where you land on a dialect map.

First question: “How would you address a group of two or more people? You all, yous/youse, you lot, you guys, you 'uns, yinz, you, or y'all.”

I figured I’d end up somewhere between Michigan and New York since I’ve now lived here longer than I lived in the Bronx. Lydia Beatty, who I went to junior high with and who still lives in the New York area, posted her results, and even though I’ve been gone 37 years, I still came up with same results she did: New York, Yonkers, Newark/Patterson.

I figured it must be because of my answer to “How do you pronounce the words Mary, merry and marry?” (There’s a very small segment of the country who answer “all three are pronounced differently.”), but it was my response to “What do you call the rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class or for athletic activities?” that placed me back East: “Sneakers.” Sneakers, people, they are sneakers!

Facebook! It just leads you to so many places! “19 Things You'll Appreciate Only If You Studied Abroad.” Number one, “Contrary to every mother's belief, you won’t even feel sick if you eat gelato for every meal. Or pizza. Or crepes. Or empanadas. Or anything in the top, bad-for-you section of the food pyramid. We’re on a budget here, people.”

“10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For.” Spices feminine products, chocolate, toiletries, canned meats and jerky, crackers and tortillas, baby toiletries, soup packets, socks, and canned fruit other than pineapple.

And the truly seductive: “101 Household Tips for Every Room in Your House.” Flip a toaster on its side to make grilled cheese; re-purpose an unwanted Slinky to create a bird feeder. 

But the best postings on Facebook are photos of my grandkids and the things they do and say. Here’s one Rosie posted the other day.

Conversation with Caroline:

Me: how old will you be on March 4th?

C: three. maybe four. 

Me: yeah? I think you'll be three.

C: maybe. maybe not.