January 5, 1999
Duluth, South Dakota

Hey!  Not one but two excellent job prospects on the Internet this morning  ...   both of them local, both of them with big reputable companies I've actually heard of ... and neither of them requiring me to operate a HEAT LAMP.  One position requests a faxed résumé, the other specifies e-mail only: luckily I've got the 'puter programmed to spit out either at the touch of a button. Of course, I'll have to go in and perform a little "attention-to-detail" surgery on the cover letters first. (Still cringing over the Unfortunate "Dear Insert-Manager's-Name-Here" Fiasco last week.)

While I work on that, click here to read yesterday's fabulous journal entry, all about baked potatoes and blissful domestic stoopidity ... and then check back later. (Especially if you're from Duluth. Or if you can pinpoint Duluth on a map.  Or if you even know what STATE Duluth is in.)

Later That Day:

First off: many thanks to all who wrote to tell me that Duluth is in Minnesota. You just can't buy that sort of audience participation. (Well  ...  yes you can. Just plunk down a bunch of money for a computer and an ISP and a groovy "GeoPlus" account, cut and paste 30+ years' worth of personal journals onto a website for all the universe to read and toss in a purposely dopey reference like "if you even know what STATE Duluth is in" ...  then sit back and wait for the helpful e-mail to come pouring in.)

Why Duluth, you ask?  It's actually not as off-the-wall  --  or as off-the-map  --  as it may seem.

David and I were watching "Sleepless In Seattle" on TV last night, and somewhere along the line, one of the characters mentioned "Duluth, South Dakota."

We looked at each other. "That's not right," we said  ...  little hamster wheels turning in our heads. And then we spent the next forty-five minutes puzzling over where exactly Duluth is located, if not in South Dakota. ("North Dakota? Iowa? Michigan? France?") It was one of those instances where the storage facility portion of your brain locks up and refuses to upload the correct information to your *frontal lobes* (she says, attempting to sound authoritative but basically having zero idea what she's talking about) ... like suddenly forgetting how to spell a word you use every day. Or standing in a phone booth and forgetting your own phone number.

We felt like idiots.

"We could always look it up on the Internet," he said, and I agreed.  But the fact is that we were both too comfortable  --  and too lazy  --  to crawl out of bed and run a search for Duluth. So we simply snuggled deeper into the blankets and watched the rest of the movie. Or at least *I* watched the rest of the movie. David mostly read a book and made the occasional "subtle" [yeah. right.] snorting noise of derision. 

"This is the 'They're Involved With the Wrong People & Then They Find Each Other' plot, isn't it?" he said at one point..

He had cooked dinner for the two of us, once again  --  outrageously good spaghetti  --  so I ignored that comment and allowed him to live.

Then he started having problems with other parts of the movie.  Meg Ryan hiring a private detective to spy on Tom Hanks, long-distance. The fakey-looking computer screens. The eight-year-old son sitting squooshed together in a chair with his little female playmate. The houseboat. The 'An Affair To Remember' refs. The whole accidentally-leaving-the-backpack-on-the-top-of-the-Empire-State-Building plot device.

"This movie is just like 'You've Got Mail,' " he decided. "Same plot, same actors ... just different technology." Which may very well be true ... except that neither one of us has actually SEEN "You've Got Mail" yet, so he was working on pure conjecture. Annoying, but once again not fatal. He's a guy, after all. He's allowed to be all pompous and full of himselves at times.

But then he committed The Unpardonable Sin.

We had reached the climax of the movie.  Tom Hanks and his son had just gone down the Empire State Building elevator, at the very moment Meg Ryan was coming up ... mere seconds away from the moment where she hands little Jonah his teddy bear and says "I think this is yours" [HUGE **Kleenex Moment**] ...

... when David suddenly disentangles himself from the bed and casually walks out to the kitchen for another glass of Cran-Tangerine juice.

I couldn't believe it. I waited for a minute, thinking he would be right back. But then I heard water running, and plates clanking in the sink, and assorted other piddling-around-in-the-kitchen noises, and I made a noise of my own  --  a sort of involuntary strangling noise, deep in my throat ("Arrrghhhkk!")  -- and he came running in to see if I was OK.

"How can you walk out of the room during the last three minutes of a movie??" I screeched.

He looked at me, all surprised and guy-like  ...  as though I'd just announced that we were moving to Duluth, South Dakota  ...  and then he sat on the edge of the bed and watched the closing credits with me, clear to the end, no doubt as penance for his horrifying lapse in movie-watching protocol.

"I knew how it was going to end," he said defensively, when the credits were over.

"Yes.  But when you are out in the kitchen during the last three minutes of a movie," I explained  --  slowly, patiently, lovingly, trying not to grind my teeth into little pointy stubs  --  "it is impossible for me to concentrate on the last three minutes of the movie, because I am too busy concentrating on YOU being out in the KITCHEN. See?"

And he nodded, as though he understood, but clearly this was a completely foreign concept.  Like shower gel. Or gift bags.

But I'll bet that the next time we watch a movie together, he doesn't budge until that very last credit rolls across the screen.

(Men. You can live with 'em, but you can't watch a chick flick with 'em, either.  (Unless it's a chick flick with plenty of EXPLOSIONS, and absolutely nothing of interest occurring during the final three minutes.)

DRaftervoi Replies ....

First of all, I was spelunking in the Hotpoint for some cheddar cheese, and NOT for some Cranberry-Tangerine juice, as misreported over on SecraTerri's Footnotes journal. And secondly, if I get a powerful hankering for a chunk o' cheddar, I don't think there is a "chick flick" on the planet that is going to hold my interest, even if it had TONS of explosions and starred Arnold Schwartzenegger in drag. Women just are constitutionally incapable of understanding that when a guy gets the Bad Munch, he simply MUST feed, regardless of whatever overused Hollywood cliché happens to be on the screen at that moment. It's that whole "Man the Hunter" thing...men know that somewhere there is a piece of free-range cheese roaming around the refridgerator, and we have to hunt it down, beat it into submission and eat it.

Other than that, "Sleepless In Seattle" was a fine little movie, and Terri got the most important detail of the evening correct: I DO make a killer spaghetti sauce. It is simply SCRUMMY!!!  Of course, my mom's is better, or it USED to be better until mom started in on the "let's cut all fat out of our diet" style of cooking about fifteen years ago. So, in all honesty, I now make the world's greatest spaghetti sauce, and Terri gets to enjoy it. Lucky girl!

COMING SOON: DRaftervoi Deconstructs "Uranium Rock".



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