Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Little Green Man Repellent

Some girls get pet dogs because it helps them meet men. They have to go to the park to walk the dog, and there they meet men who are also walking their dogs; plus, guys (some guys, anyway) think it's a turn-on when a girl has a dog. Dogs are man magnets.

My pet, Green Bean the lovebird, is the opposite: a man repellent. He doesn't help me meet men. In fact, I think if he had his druthers it would be just the two of us cuddling in my bedroom for the rest of his life. He hates it when I go out; heck, he doesn't even like it when I leave my bedroom to go take a shower. He's happiest when he's snuggled inside my shirt or in the crook of my neck, and if he's anywhere else he is trying to get to one of those places. The other night I went to opening night of Sex and the City and didn't get home until after 10, and he was so upset that he bit me, hard. He had to have a time out in his cage to calm down.

I've only invited one man to my house since moving to Boston: the Brazilian. I was excited for him to meet Green Bean. Bean, however, was not excited to meet him, and immediately attacked him. It was amazing to watch – he looked like a tiny, green bundle of fury, lashing out with his sharp little beak at the Brazilian's outstretched fingers. I've gotten used to leaving his cage door open most of the time when I'm home, and when the Brazilian was here, in order to get some “alone” time, I closed him in his cage. Unused to this treatment, Bean protested with sharp squawks, and spent his time racing back and forth in front of the cage door like a little prisoner trying to get out. It was not exactly romantic.

Another downside to Green Bean is that he poops constantly, every 15 minutes or so. As long as I'm paying attention, it's not a big deal; I scoop it up with a tissue and it doesn't leave a trace. But Bean and I spend a lot of time together, and embarrassing as it is, sometimes I lose track of some fecal matter and end up leaving my house adorned with it. This happened a couple of weeks ago, when I was going on a date with a man who is a closeted homosexual (that's my theory, anyway). Midway through our date he reached out and plucked what he probably thought was a bit of green lint off my sleeve. He looked mildly surprised to discover that it was hard and crumbly, but hopefully he didn't realize what it was.

Sometimes I feel resentful that I ended up with Green Bean. I never would have gotten him if I had thought I'd be taking care of him on my own. La Moustache did offer to take him, but it seemed a bit ridiculous – if I'd let that happen he would now be in Tanzania, in a cage inside a Land Cruiser. Not a good life for a bird.

However. Bean is the most utterly adorable pet I have ever met, and most of the time he more than compensates for his downsides. He is like a teeny tiny dog in how completely faithful and adoring he is. I finally watched the new(ish) Pixar film recently, Up, starring Kevin the gigantic female bird. She reminded me of Green Bean: I'm pretty sure that if he were twice my size he would pick me up and cuddle me exactly the way Kevin cuddles the boy in the film. Plus Bean is a huge fan of chocolate, just like Kevin, and they share the same goofy enthusiasm.

Despite being a man repellent, he is awfully adorable. And hopefully he won't repel the right man.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tales of the Playground

My handsome, naïve and far-too-young-for-me coworker, Babe in the Woods, and I were sitting on the playground benches outside of school one day this week, chatting and idly keeping one eye on our small charges in the hopes that none of them would run away or become fatally injured. The 6th graders were across the way on their own benches, lounging around and looking bored out of their minds. I was in charge of a few of these delightful little balls of hormones, and BITW was in charge of the rest. They seemed to be paying no attention whatsoever to our conversation, but out of the blue one of them called across to BITW, or Coach, as they call him:

“Coach! You like her? Why you always flirting with her?”

Wait, what was that, 6th graders? WHO is flirting with WHO here? Have they not noticed that I am wearing snazzy new turquoise, brown, orange, purple, black and white sneakers, purchased last weekend, that match BITW's? That I ask kids to bring him superfluous notes asking for extra apples when snack runs out, or other favors? That I make up excuses why I need to talk to 6th graders who are with him, and once or twice when the snack box for my kids is already upstairs I've pretended I haven't seen it and gone down to get it from the refrigerator in the hopes that I'll run into him?

Well, apparently these 6th graders are more perceptive than I gave them credit for. I never imagined they would notice any flirting going on, given how busy they are complaining about their lives.

As my cheeks grew red, BITW replied, “She's my sister!”

“Na-ah!” the kids called back.

“Yeah, it's true. He's my brother,” I piped in. “Who do you think is older?”

There was no hesitation whatsoever. “You are!”

Well, I guess I was asking for it. “Ouch!” I replied, and BITW simultaneously broke into giggles and said, “Wow, you're an old lady.” On the one hand, yes, I am six years or so older than he is. But I was a bit shocked at how quickly they responded, given that an adult at my other school asked me if I was in 8th grade a couple of weeks ago, and BITW is a good six feet tall (which technically means I'm not allowed to date him, since my friend Slinky and I have a deal that anyone in the city of Boston who is over 5'9” or so is her territory, anyone under is for me). I didn't think it was that obvious that I'm older, but I decided to take it to mean that they see me as more of an authority figure.

At that point, Coach wandered off, either because he was embarrassed or because one of his 6th graders was picking on one of my 1st graders. Tasia, a chubby, personable 6th grader with a wide, friendly smile, who was stretched out on the bench a few feet away from me, sidled over. “You know Coach likes, you right?” she queried.

I should have told her to worry about herself, but I was taken off guard. “Really? What makes you think that?” I asked.

“Cause he's always coming around when you're here. He's always wanting to talk to you and flirt with you,” she explained.

Well, thanks for the self-confidence booster, Tasia. Maybe it will be enough to give me the push I need to ask BITW out; I've been holding off until the end of the year, but the end is now just around the corner. Or maybe I should follow Slinky's advice and sneak a flask to school with me for some old-fashioned courage. I have done much, much scarier things in my life: I have climbed the inside of a tall, hollow fig tree overlooking a waterfall in Costa Rica, even though I am afraid of heights. I have gone ziplining, twice. I have called a principal who wanted to hire me to tell her that my last principal gave me a bad rating because she was an unethical, horrible person who blamed me for the sexual behavior of one of my students in order to save her own skin. I have even eaten a scorpion, fried, and a few mealworms too. I should be able to ask out a cute young guy, right?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rude Awakening

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of my clock radio playing Ludacris at 5:40, groggy as usual but feeling unusually euphoric for a Monday morning. As my dream came slowly back to me, my euphoria transformed into sadness and disillusionment: I dreamed that, several weeks into the round-the-world trip that my ex-boyfriend, La Moustache, left me to undertake, he called to tell me it was a huge mistake and begged me to take him back. And I was thrilled.

Usually when couples break up after several happy years together they miss each other. They have other emotions too, of course – anger, bitterness, relief – but there is some level of missing someone who you once loved and who was an important part of your life. Not so in my breakup, at least from my point of view. I was too furious with Moustache to miss him, and in any case, our last weeks together – while he prepared his Land Cruiser for the drive around the world and I moped around and frequently demanded “How could you?” of him – were so miserable that it was a relief to finally be out of each others' presence. If he ever felt a moment of nostalgia for me he did not give me any indication of it, and I can honestly say that the scenario that occurred in my dream never once crossed my conscious mind before. I did hope for some level of atonement for his abandonment of me at what was already the lowest point in my life, but I never hoped that he would give up on his mission and return to the life we shared.

Recently my neighbor, the Cat Lady, and I were discussing the Brazilian, and she presented a hypothesis: “Maybe some of your disappointment about the Brazilian is actually misplaced sadness about the end of your relationship with La Moustache,” she suggested. I nodded politely, but inside I poo-pooed her idea: I had done my mourning, and it was over and done with.

My dream called all of that into question. My disappointment when I woke up that it hadn't been real made me experience the loss all over again, even as I was furious with my subconscious self for wanting him to come back. I even burst into tears in my car on the way home from work. And I wondered: What would I have done if it really had happened? Even if I hadn't taken him back, would I have been tempted to?

Really, of course, what I most wanted when we broke up was for him to be the person I thought he was: the funny, caring man who I used to cuddle with on the couch as we watched movies, who adored our pet lovebird and who I was always excited to see when he came home from work in the evenings. And the hard part is that that IS who he is, at least in part. He didn't spend our three years together playing a role. But he is also the other part, the part I didn't see until things started to go badly between us: the person who selfishly told me he still loved me and wanted to be with me and hoped I would wait for him to travel around the world. The person who tried to convince me that it's normal for a couple to spend some time apart before getting married and starting a family. The person who thoughtlessly wrote in an article that was published all over the world that he had to choose between using his savings to buy a house with me or to travel the world, and he chose the latter. People are complicated, and are rarely the simplistic villains or heroes we sometimes paint them as.

Still, I like to think that I wouldn't have taken him back if my dream had actually come to pass. I probably would have been tempted to. But even if he does have some redeeming qualities, he is certainly NOT a quality life partner. Far from it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flirting & chocolate

I received a package with the earrings I accidentally left at the Brazilian's house in the mail yesterday, along with a friendly text message: “Sorry it took so long! I would love to get coffee when things calm down.” His Flickr page displayed a beautiful new photo of his chocolate machine, which gave me a little twinge of longing, as well as a rumble in my tummy (it really does look delicious). On my gchat list, his name continued to appear with a little red stop sign next to it, along with a note that he is busy.

I have to admit it: I haven't totally, completely given up on him. He may never contact me for that coffee, and it might be better for me if he doesn't. But part of me continues to hope that he will, and that the project he is working on has been an anomalous fluke of busy-ness that has made him ridiculously unresponsive. Not that I've given up looking, but none of the boring men I've gone out with recently or even the cute, Bambi-like Babe in the Woods, my handsome young co-worker, quite lives up to him.

Last week BITW and I were having our regular Monday afternoon flirt session on the playground when we had the following conversation:

Me: Do you want to become a classroom teacher one day? [Correct answer: yes.]

Babe in the Woods: God, no!!! I really don't want to work with kids.

Me: [Disappointed] Oh. It's funny that you've been working with kids for the past four years and you don't like them. Well, what DO you want to be when you grow up?

BITW: I majored in writing in college. This whole 'working with kids' thing was unplanned. I want to go to grad school eventually, but I really have no idea what for. Maybe get my MFA in creative writing.

Me: Oohhh. [Mentally thinking: Wow, if this guy were on an online dating website I wouldn't go out with him. He seems utterly directionless. But he IS very cute.]

Me again [as a young child frolics past us]: How can you resist them? They're so sweet!

BITW: I do like the young ones.

Me: You could teach the young ones! We need more men in elementary classrooms. [Mentally thinking: He's young and malleable. Maybe I can shape him into what I want in a man.]

BITW: True... [in a not-very-convinced voice]

It was a bit of an eye-opening reminder that 25-year-olds do not always make the best boyfriends.

So I continue to gaze at the little stop sign next to the Brazilian's name, and wonder if he will eventually call and turn out to not be such a disappointment. I tried to block him recently, and mysteriously it didn't work; even though he was listed as “blocked” in my address book, his name and stop sign were still on my list. The only way to get rid of him was to completely erase him from my address book, and if I did that there would be no turning back: he'd be gone forever. I don't feel quite ready to take that step.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just another weekend in Boston

Friday night found me at the ice cream shop circa 10 p.m. with my sister, Ms. Swamp, and her boyfriend, the Sensitive Bostonian, criticizing a list of interview questions from my sister's school and coming up with far superior ones, then giving practice answers to our own questions. I munched on the fake Pinkberry I had attempted to create, and tried not to feel sad that the result cost $6 and did not contain mochi (which is, in my book, the most important Pinkberry ingredient; the good news is a Pinkberry shop is opening soon in Boston). As we were leaving, we realized that it had begun to pour outside, and momentarily debated whether to hang around or make a run for the nearest vehicle, but the rain let up and we said goodnight and walked our separate ways.

About ten minutes from my house, the drip of the raindrops intensified, and just as I was passing the subway stop I realized that it was getting ready to dump some serious water. I evaluated my choices and took refuge under the subway awning with a few other bedraggled pedestrians, and waited out the storm there. Sure enough, the rain continued to quicken until it was coming down in sheets, instantly soaking anyone who was out there. People who were walking toward the subway changed their gait to a gallop, and I started to notice how the rain brought out primal qualities in the passersby. A group of young men ran in and started howling, at first just a few light barks, then long, full-on baying howls like werewolves. It brought out the teacher instinct in me: “Settle down, boys! You're getting out of hand.” I resisted the urge to say it out loud.

Next along came a group of girls, wearing high heels and tank tops and uttering little shrieks. And then, the climax: A man loped by who I usually wouldn't give a second glance to, utterly normal looking, wearing a green windbreaker and ipod headphones in his ears. He came at an impressive speed, flying through the air, taking giant leaping bounds. As he closed in on the subway station, he turned sideways; he was still going extremely fast, but now it was more of a sideways skip-run. Then, just as he was closing in on the entrance to the subway, his feet slipped forward and he landed with an impressive, perfect smack on his bum. The whole performance looked like it had been choreographed. The other refuge-seekers and I broke out of our mesmerized observation to rush over and see if he was okay, but without a word of reply to our queries, he leapt to his feet with the same impressive energy and enthusiasm, and disappeared into the subway. At that point, I was pretty sure the show was over for the evening, and I headed back out into the rain.

On Saturday afternoon my friend Slinky and I were heading to a barbecue in Cambridge, which, it turns out, is where all the men in Boston live. Boston's funny like that: it's gender segregated. On the way, she reflected aloud, “You know, I feel like for a while we were dating, and now we're going steady.” And it's true: we are now at the two-dates-a-week phase, including a Saturday night, which as everyone knows is a big deal. I'm very happy to have a steady-date-friend in Boston.

Since we were in the male part of town, we were hoping there would be some single men there, and we were not disappointed. None proved to be too interesting, though: there was a nice guy who just wasn't quite cute enough, a Nicaraguan guy who, if you used your imagination, looked like a short, chubby version of Gael Garcia Bernal (or, without your imagination, he looked like a short chubby guy with a Spanish accent). Then there was the semi-interesting but egotistical man in designer jeans who works with the Brazilian (have I mentioned before how ridiculously small this town is?), but whose current project is waaaaaay less interesting than the Brazilian's chocolate machine. It's hard to compete with a chocolate machine.

It didn't matter much since neither of us were interested, but I ruined my and Slinky's chances of meeting someone early in the evening, long before the beer pong commenced. I was chatting with the Nicaraguan, who politely asked me how Slinky and I know each other. I replied the way I usually do when people ask that: “We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend of ours from New York.” Then, with Slinky's comment still in my mind, I added, “And then we fell in love.” As soon as I said it, I realized that it hadn't come out quite right, but I didn't correct the misrepresentation. After all, even though we're not exactly in love, meeting Slinky has been one of the best things that has happened to me in Boston. Certainly far better than any of the men I've met.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Frogs & More Frogs

When I finally heard back from the Brazilian, my heart leapt. He told me that he still likes me, and that he wants to see me again. My first instinct was to write back immediately and say, “Yes!! When?” But I restrained myself, and upon reflection decided that there are about a million warning signs that he would make a terrible boyfriend, and I needed to cut him loose. So I did, and then I texted him to ask if I could pick up my earrings. Guess what – no reply! Something tells me he never bought me a bottle of grappa, either.

Then I went out with someone else, a guy my friend had a massive crush on two years ago. He asked me out and I said no, but he persisted, and I finally agreed, with the caveat that it was as friends. For a brief moment I wondered if I might like him, especially since my friend thought he was such a great catch. But I think he's just not the one for me. I am turned off by so many things, ranging from Seinfeld-like nitpicky details like I don't like his shoes to major red flags like he lied to my friend when he broke up with her. Really, the best thing about him is that he likes me. But that's just not enough.

Which leaves me back at Square 1: flirting with my cute, too-young co-worker, Babe in the Woods, who will probably be ready for a committed relationship in ten years or so, who may or may not have a sneaker fetish and does have a very cheesy tattoo about love on his bicep (mental note for a future flirtatious conversation topic: ask about it next time I can see it peeking out of his sleeve). Who knows, maybe this will be the week when I finally work up the courage to ask him to go with me to the Harpoon brewery for a second round of growlers. Or maybe I'll go invest in some snazzy sneakers in the hopes that they'll catch his eye.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Heathen Sparkle

I don't have a very common name; it's currently several spots below the 200th most popular girl's name in popularity. Perhaps it's something about Boston, but lately it's been everywhere. I take pottery classes with my friend Heathen, and it makes me realize how unaccustomed I am to sharing my name with someone. Every time anyone so much as whispers her name across the room I react physically, even when I KNOW they're not talking to me. There's a Heathen in one of the kindergarten classes I've spent a lot of time in at school. I went to a tapas bar on a non-date the other night, and ordered the Heathen Sparkle from the cocktail menu (weirdly, the other cocktail on the menu was named after the Brazilian, who also does not have a common name).

And then there is my Facebook friend, Little Heathen. I got a friend request from her two years ago with a note: “Hi! My name is Heathen, and in April I'm getting married and I'm becoming Little Heathen!! So we'll be name twins!” What a strange, interconnected world we live in that allows us to be friends with our name twins.

I didn't accept her right away, but after a few days I thought, why not. I should welcome her into the ranks of Little Heathens; there aren't many of us. (My last name is not common, either.) Sure enough, she got married a month later, and I looked at her wedding photos and noted when she officially changed her name on Facebook to Little Heathen. I looked at her honeymoon pictures, and thought “They look like a nice couple,” and occasionally, “Wow, that's a lot of tonsil hockey she's playing with her husband on Facebook.” At some point, when she was looking through my photos, we realized that we're both from Maine, and commented on how funny that is, two Little Heathens from the same little state.

In August the pregnancy announcement came, through a photo reference to the film Juno. I thought it was a cute way to tell people, even though I also thought that she was young to be getting married and having a kid (she was 22). But who was I to judge; lots of people do it, and I decided to be supportive.

Then things started to get a little off-kilter. First I noticed one day that her name had become hyphenated. She still had my last name, but her maiden name had been added on, too. Hmm, I thought, what does that mean? Upon further investigation, I noticed that there were quite a few photos of Heathen with a bald, unattractive man who was not her husband. Sure enough, when the baby was born, there was the bald man cradling the baby, with the announcement: “My newborn baby and her proud papa!” The birth came close to a year after her marriage.

These days, Heathen no longer has my last name at all. Her profile states that her relationship status is “In an Open Relationship.” Her ex-husband, on the other hand, seems to have moved on: he's engaged to another woman, and guess what – she's expecting!

I have to conclude that, despite being name twins for a time AND coming from the same state, Heathen and I are not that much alike. After all, I'm pushing thirty-one and haven't even been engaged once yet! What a late bloomer. Still, I've developed a certain fondness for her and her crazy life. We've been Facebook friends now for two years, and who knows, perhaps in another thirty years we still will be. It will be quite interesting to see what those years bring.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rain, Concrete and Standardized Tests

I spent my rainy Saturday morning today in “The Bowdoin Room,” a windowless room where I tutored a delightful 13-year-old girl for two long hours. I was there as a spy, checking out what seems to be a very successful, very organized tutoring program at a 7-year-old charter school that has had more improvement on MCAS (state test) scores than any other school in the entire state; quite a feat. I was spying because I run my own tutoring program during the week at a new Boston Public School, and am trying to get ideas for how to improve the program for next year, as well as attempting to impress my bosses so they'll hire me to be a teacher at the school.

I was impressed by several aspects of the program, particularly how organized it is and the turnout of both tutors and tutees. Tutors congregated in the Harvard Room, which is a 6th grade room during the week, and in total there must have been at least 30 people there. The kid count must have been closer to 50, and despite the rain and a school overnight two nights ago at a museum, only three were absent. Free donuts and coffee were provided for the grownups, as well as a “30 minute training session,” which turned out to be five minutes of useful pointers for how to talk to the kids.

Still, I found the whole experience to be incredibly depressing. When I drove up to the school, I was shocked to discover that it shares a building with a CVS. It used to be a bank, and windows are so limited that only 8th graders get them, as a “special privilege.” The kids spend their recess in an area immediately outside the back door of the school, which once upon a time was used as a loading dock. Even the lucky kids who aren't required to attend Saturday school start school during the week at 7:30 and end at 4:30 or 5:15, making their day at least 3 hours longer than my Cambridge kids' days. One of the most horrifying aspects, to me, was that all of the teachers were required to be there every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. I imagine their retention rate is quite low; if I were in their shoes, I would probably quit mid-year for lack of Vitamin D. When I asked the girl I was working with how she felt about school she scrunched up her face and said, “No comment,” then leaned in and whispered, “It's really boring and they're too strict.” After two hours of mind-numbing test prep, I was at the end of my rope, and I have a pretty long attention span (and I didn't have to spend an hour doing homework ahead of time like the kids did).

She was astonishingly well-equipped with knowledge about how to take a test, and seemed to have memorized an endless supply of formulas and definitions. She didn't hesitate a single second when answering questions about means, medians and modes, which I continually confuse to the point where I have taught entire lessons using the wrong word, which in turn will probably lead to a lifelong confusion for my students. Still, she struggled to understand what many questions were asking, even when the question was relatively simple: “Tim gets $0.05 per can he returns at the redemption center: money earned = $0.05(number of cans). Mary gets $0.05 more per can than Tim does. Write an equation for how much money Mary earns.”

Last year, 100% of students at the school received a passing score on both the ELA and math components of the test. No doubt this is very good news for the school. But, how much significance does it actually have for the futures of these kids? I'm not sure. Personally, I've been able to get by just fine without knowing the definitions of mean, median, and mode, and I don't think any of the skills these kids learn to take tests really helps them out in life. However, our society does place a high value on testing. It's possible that these test scores will help them get into good high schools, which will lead to good colleges, which will lead to good jobs, which theoretically should lead to productive and fulfilling lives. They may have to suffer through a few years of misery, but perhaps in the long run it will pay off for them. Or, the message that learning is not fun will be ingrained into their minds, and they'll take the first opportunity they can to escape school and get a job at the nearest 7-eleven.

I'm sure I can glean some helpful lessons from the charter school's program, and I'd love to become as successful at recruiting volunteers as they are. Still, despite its disorganization and occasional haphazardness, I love my tutoring program best, and not just because it's my baby. It's a happy place with beanbag chairs, lots of Patricia Polacco books that are in high demand, and frequent hugs from kids; everyone is happy to be there, even me at my most stressed out. And my tutoring program is not ending next week like the charter school's, just before the state tests, because we hope to do more than just get the kids to pass the test.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"The Classic Dip'n Run"

I was introduced to a new term by my friend Slinky last week: “the classic dip'n run.” This is apparently what has happened to me with the Brazilian.

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the term is a similar expression from Michael Chabon's amazing book, The Yiddish Policemen's Union. The expression is “dip his beak into him/her,” and it refers to sex (yes, it's totally gross and I love it because it aptly conveys the sleaziness of many of the male characters in the book). Dip'n run could be interpreted as a reference to a man who disappears after sex. However, I choose to interpret it in a nonsexual way: my personal definition is that it refers to a situation in which a member of the male species tries out a relationship with a female for a short time, dipping into relationship territory, then flees out of fear of commitment, weird personal issues, or other mysterious reasons. (Who knows what they're thinking; when I asked my friend Li'l JC this question, she responded, "They're not.")

Presumably, the Brazilian made it back to the U.S. after his extended, volcano-induced stay in Europe. However, he has neglected to contact me, and I have not received a response since sending him a questionnaire several days ago inquiring if he a) is too busy to have a social life, b) doesn't want to see me again, or c) eloped in Europe and is no longer single. This is frustrating for a number of reasons, number one being that I left a pair of cherished earrings at his house, and number two being that I haven't seen him in a month but have spent much of that time thinking that he was excited to see me again. I didn't just think that because he offered to bring me back a gift from Italy or talked about going to the Cape together this summer, I also thought it because when I told him to let me know if he didn't feel excited about going out with me again he replied, “Still very excited!! [Please note the two exclamation points] I just haven't slept very well lately and spent way too much time in a windowless shop. Sorry about that!”

Another reason that I feel frustrated is that, in my humble opinion, he is significantly less attractive than me. This is a first for me; usually I have boyfriends who I consider to be my equals in attractiveness, but I liked the idea of being the more good-looking person in the couple, and plus I did feel attracted to him. If I were the Brazilian, I would be very excited to date me, and I would certainly not play with my emotions in this inconsiderate way.

I do feel a bit disappointed that I won't get to see the Brazilian's futuristic machines or taste the allegedly delicious chocolate that they emit, but in the end, I got few fun days with him and a whole lot of anxiety and annoyance. Not worth it. And if anyone thinks I'm going to mope around about this minor setback, think again! After my ordeal with La Moustache, this is child's play. As my friend Li'l JC put it, “You are more seasoned than a good wok.”