Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reports and Little Fishes

When Ma'ikwe was a child her maternal grandmother had a habit of venting frustration with the semi-outrageous—especially coming from a woman born in 1915—ejaculation, "Shit and little fishes." As a naturally curious (and semi-outrageous) child, Ma'ikwe picked it up, and that particular oddment of phraseology became incorporated into Ma'ikwe's repertoire of the myriad ways she lets others know that all is not beer and skittles with her in the moment.

To be clear, she reserves that matrilineal derivative for moments of minor irritation. Bigger moments call for hand gesticulations and language more calculated to give a longshoreman pause. This one has a touch of whimsy and even mild amusement—which I think is appropriate in that it's hard to conjure up a school of small fry in a state of ennui or consternation, much less collective rage.

While neither Ma'ikwe nor I have the faintest idea what the etymology of this choice phrase could be, it appeals to me for its quirkiness and as a way to evoke a grandma I never met. Idiosyncrasies like this are charming.

• • •
For the period Friday through Tuesday, Ma'ikwe and I have been fully immersed in five days of meetings: three days of facilitation training followed immediately by two days of the Fellowship for Intentional Community's Oversight Committee. While both of these went well, there is necessarily a plethora of obligations that are generated in such sessions, many of which adhere to me, plus a fair number of which fall onto Ma'ikwe's plate. Blissfully, there is a stretch of 10 largely unstructured days laying in front of us, providing excellent prospects for digging out from under and arriving home at the end of the month with a reasonably light heart and a light ongoing workload.

Wednesday was a travel day—600 miles of driving from Afton VA to Waynesboro TN—and we needed to arise early. Though it was free of meetings, it was also free of an internet signal. Hence no posting until we could make it into the Waynesboro this afternoon (we're ensconced at Jeanette's on the northwest corner of the downtown square while our host, Harvey Baker, moseys over to the high school for soccer conditioning).

Our first thought was to hole up at the public library, which offers free wi-fi, but you're not allowed to plug in your computer there. Huh? I'm trying to figure out their reasoning. Are they afraid that a flood of geeks (in south central rural Tennessee, mind you) will suck all the electrons out of the wall and there won't be enough left at the end of the day to vacuum? I'm scratching my head over this particular line in the administrative sand.

As we stirred from a warm bed in the pre-dawn light yesterday morning, Ma'ikwe leaned over and observed that we had a lot of "reports and shit" to do over the next several days. Never one to willingly pass up a chance at word play, I riposted, "You mean reports and little fishes?" To which she playfully rejoined, "You understand me!"

Well, sometimes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It comes from an old Welch sailors chantie