Fox Paw…

I guess I’m in the mood to tackle another story today and trying to stick with the ingredients of a good story, our protagonist (me) will be sufficiently self-deprecating, socially awkward and generally clueless. But first for anyone reading who’s not up to a mini-tome post, I opened the kiln Sunday and got some photography done yesterday. I’ll finish that photography stuff up today hopefully. I had a lot of experiments in this kiln so it was exciting to see what happened and although there were a couple flops, I had some interesting results that to me have a lot of potential. I particularly like this one…

Of course my favorite part is the surface texture which I’m hoping that I can remember what I did to achieve it. Here’s a closeup…

OK, so on to my tale of social misfititudiness. My ex-wife (oh oh here we go) had a friend, her “best” friend as it were, who was married to a fishmonger here in town. Let’s call them Barbie and Ken. They had a baby girl who, at the time, was still an infant. So one day my ex and Barbie had gone out for lunch or something and Barbie had confided in my ex that she was very disturbed by Ken’s parents who, when “babysitting” their daughter had given the child half of some kind of pill (I cannot remember what it was) to put the child asleep because apparently the child was too much for them to deal with. I guess Barbie and Ken had argued about it and the whole thing was weighing on her and she had spilled the whole thing for cathartic reasons. Of course, my ex told me about it when she got home. Now, I’m not the type to not listen… I listen, really, to everything that’s spoken to me. The problem is that when it comes to stories about people I generally have little connection to, I immediately forget. What’s left is a general feeling about what had happened and the names and times that it happened fade away (which to me always seemed like a good thing because it frees up memory space in the brain for other more important things… like, say the lyrics of the latest Brittany Sp3ars song). Of course to my ex and to Sofia’s Mom and any other “girlfriend” I may have had, I’m an easy target for the accusation… “you never listen”, which is patently untrue. Of course, my real defense of “I listened, I just don’t particularly care” is a bit raw and definitely not politically correct. But I digress. So every year for Barbie’s birthday, the fishmonger who knew all the best chefs in town, would arrange to take her to a different fancy restaurant with a special menu and sometimes the restaurant would be reserved just for the occasion. Part of the gift was that Barbie could invite a friend (and of course, their date/spouse/boyfriend) and she invited my ex and, by extension, me for 4 years in a row. So, we went out for this fancy dinner. Now this may seem like a real fun time but it never was for me. Ken was a stutterer (which I have deep sympathy for and would never ridicule in any way) and apparently when he got nervous he would stutter even more… and I made him nervous. At the core of it, it probably had more to do with an assumption shared by both of us that we were in different social classes. I’ll give one “for instance”. I played racquetball and he played squash. Although, at the time, I hadn’t played in a very long time, discussions of the two racquet sports were as close as we ever came to connecting. Inevitably, I would make it clear that I would love to try squash (even though it was at the local establishment notorious for racist policies) and Ken would say enthusiastically that he’d call and we’d play. He didn’t and it was no big deal but I always thought that the next time we got together he would leave it alone… but he’d end up inviting me again and then not following through again. So we’re having dinner on Barbie’s birthday and it’s been probably almost a year since Barbie had confided to my ex about her inlaws drugging the baby. We were at a small table against the wall with Barbie to my left, Ken across the table from her and my ex across the table from me. This night was no different insofar as the conversation… Barbie and my ex would talk up a blue streak and Ken and I would spend a lot of energy pretending to have fun. My particular M. O. in this situation was to look for crevices in the conversation that I could insert a quip or small story that was related somehow to what they were talking about. To me this served the purposes of not only appearing to have a good time but also to be actually interested in what was being said. So here goes, the conversation rolls around to kids and parenting (we didn’t have a child and had no experience parenting) and Barbie was talking about some people who she felt were not parenting well and I saw my entry into the conversation. Now, the problem was that I remembered the essence of what I had been told but I completely forgot that the story was about Barbie and Ken and also there was wine involved. So I studiously looked at my ex and said, “what was that story about the parents?, was it the parents or the inlaws?, and they were watching their granddaughter?”. My ex looked at me and had a slightly worried look on her face which I didn’t realize as the red flag that it was. I kept going… “I guess the baby was too much for them and they were cutting (x) (the drowsy pill I can’t remember the name of) in half and knocking the baby out and the Mom was really upset”. Now about the time I got to the “cutting the pill in half” part of the sentence, my ex has this look on her face of abject disbelief coupled with the realization that there’s no turning back. When I finally got the entire thing out, it hit me that, of course, the story was about them and everyone was mad. My ex was incensed with me and Barbie was mad at my ex for betraying her confidence and finally Ken was mad at Barbie for betraying his confidence… and everyone just thought I was an ass for telling the story and ruining the night. This was early on and the entrees weren’t even served yet. There was some excruciatingly feeble attempts at backpeddling but the cat was out of the bag. That was the last time Barbie invited us to her birthday dinners. In retrospect, it’s funny and makes for a good story but it really was and is insightful to me at how desperate I was to get along when the whole thing was simply not my cup of tea. Of course now that I have a child and am in my 50s, this type of thing would never have happened because I try a lot less to do anything that I don’t want to and I probably just would have sat there and listened… although I never listen.

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16 Responses to “Fox Paw…”

  1. Dawn Says:

    what happened lately for you to remember that? xo, dt

  2. Ignatius Says:

    Great story!

  3. Ignatius Says:

    By the way, love the glaze!!!

  4. michele Says:

    Another good laugh. I am the same way about the stories my husband tells me about people I don’t know, and I, too, love the glazes.

  5. carole epp Says:

    i love it – i listen, i just don’t care.
    thanks for the morning smile and honesty.

  6. carole epp Says:

    oh yah and the glaze – awesome!

  7. Eugene Hon Says:

    Fo%k Fo%k is all I can say – shit happens. And then they say you don’t really listen – a clear indication that you do. Love the story – and that distressed looked surface is great – cant wait to see the rest.

  8. meredith@whynot Says:

    oh yea- there are those moments that you just can not take back.
    Whoops— and let me just put my other foot in while I am here.
    I get a face off the tumbler- a sort of 1940’s Charlie Chaplin look.

  9. Robert Says:

    Yeah, I was wondering about that face there too. I thought that was interesting results you were talking about.

  10. Deb W Says:

    Loving the effect and here’s hoping you can repeat it. Good luck with that.
    (And the “Charlie Chaplin bust” is pretty cool too, but I must admit I was totally focussed on the glazing.)

  11. judi tavill Says:

    you kill me.

  12. John Dorsey Says:

    Jim – the new surface on the cups is very appealing – I’m really interested in how you will incorporate this into your work. The “controlled freedom” is beautiful.

    BTW, I get more Rhett Butler than Charlie Chaplin…

  13. bob killar Says:

    that’s one of the coolest glazes I’v seen – any chance you would share the process (as well as you remember it)?

    • jim Says:

      hi bob,
      i was trying for a commission which stipulated the piece had to have a logo on the side. my idea was to put a stencil of the logo on the glass, dip it in a crackly slip (which i did). later i decided not to pursue the commission but thought if i could get rid of the logo, i might be able to salvage the glass. the slip had fused with the clay body and wouldn’t wipe off very good so i took it outside and sprayed it with the hose. this removed the logo and in places only partially removed the slip. i liked the look so i bisqued it. wiped it later with iron and glazed with clear glaze.

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