Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Having Too Much Fun, If Possible

And the second act of vacation begins.

With more guests and 14 hours and nearly 37 minutes of daylight, today was all about the summer solstice.

Over pancakes and bacon at breakfast, one guest mentioned that he'd woken up at 5 a.m. to find it was completely light outside and felt a bit unnerved. The sun took its own sweet time setting over the sound and dropping out of sight reluctantly, like a hammy vaudeville performer who gets pulled off the stage with a hook. At 9 p.m., we could still distinguish the ocean from the blue velvet sky with no difficulty.

Because of course we were sitting outside admiring that scenery.

I recall this time of year when my five sisters and I were young and our bedtimes fell long before daylight gave out. It seemed so unfair to have to try to go to sleep when you could still see blue sky through the bedroom window.

What sticks in my mind is a time when my bed was positioned beside a window and I remember kneeling in bed, my arms propped on the window sill, staring out into the backyard entertaining visions of a time when I'd be allowed to be outside while summer nights were so light.

A forecast of severe thunderstorms didn't stop me from walking after breakfast, although I had no takers on my invitation to come along. The loss was theirs.

The overcast sky and dire forecast are no doubt the cause of so few people being on the beach today, but anyone who was out enjoying the day would attest to the practically perfect temperature of the air, neither too warm or cool.

A favorite guest has suggested that the ideal temperature scale would not be Celsius or Fahrenheit but a new scale based on body comfort temperature, which would register as 0 on the scale.

He thought it was a brilliant concept but I foresaw issues with deciding what "ideal body comfort temperature" might be to assign that value. I know men who would find 58 degrees eminently comfortable while those of us with two X chromosomes and less muscle and fat would be in teeth-chattering mode.

Besides, no one wants to think about science at the beach. Or at least I don't.

No, I want to focus on finishing my second book of the week - Phyllis Robinson's "Willa: The Life of Willa Cather" - discussing a compelling New Yorker piece on Prog-rock (for the last time, Pink Floyd is not Prog-rock, kids) with a couple of guitarists and devouring a divine lobster and shrimp salad at the bar at Steamers while a jazz guitarist played a few feet away from our stools.

Unlike a traditional second act, mine has had not a single complication and the dramatic interest already arrived in Act One. What remains to be seen is how everything is neatly tied up in the final act.

Fingers crossed that the run is extended.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Delightfully Eccentric

Give me a self-proclaimed beach hater and I will return you an enthusiastic beach appreciator. It's a gift I have.

Granted, part of it is that I operate from a practically perfect beach headquarters, making my indoctrination all the easier. When I invite someone to come live at the ocean for a few days, I'm alerting them to the proximity of the ocean  (beach replenishment begins in Kitty Hawk July 1) which is both impressive and, as they soon learn, all encompassing.

I find the best way to welcome the beach-shy type is with Miraval Rose on the deck where the railing provides a convenient height for resting a motorist's weary legs and the ocean begins its seductive tease. That we also had the most delicious breeze - irresistible to those certain they can't live without air conditioning - only added to the certainty of the outcome.

Having a screened-in porch wrapping two sides of the cottage doesn't hurt the cause, either. The two big chairs made comfortable with throws and cushions provide ocean and sky views that spark cloud games and philosophical discussion set to the sound of crashing surf.

Showing a newbie around the "neighborhood" means a nice long walk along the beach after breakfast each morning, a gambit that acclimates them to the low-key appeal of this shabby and funky stretch of beach where McMansions need not apply.

Doing the heavy lifting for me, a guest's first outdoor shower here is a game-changer. No one who has ever lathered up to the sound of surf with the sky above and dune grasses visible through the slats in the floor can emerge anything but clean and happily mellow.

When I do invite a non-beach lover, I always make sure they're a reader. Besides the myriad obvious delights of beach life, this place is a slice of heaven for those who like to read, whether on the beach under an umbrella or on the porch with our feet up. We both bring back-up reading besides our stacks of books - me, the Washington Post, my guest, the New Yorker - so that we can trade off periodicals and make suggestions what the other should read.

The seduction onslaught is pretty much non-stop.

Naturally, when we do get in the car, it's to go somewhere that continues the charm offensive, whether a vintage seafood stand for locally-caught dolphin and tuna sandwiches that we then eat on the porch picnic table overlooking the ocean or to a porch overlooking a canal for more local seafood, this time shrimp and mahi mahi.

Beach beginners have no clue about the wonders of star-gazing in a place so far from city lights, so I make sure to include deck time at night when the whitecaps become the only part of the ocean visible, their irregular rhythms as mesmerizing as the flames of a fire. On the horizon, we see enormous, well-lighted boats and speculate on their purpose.

In general, I let things unfold organically. There are no schedules at the beach so my guest can set the pace and the priorities. If we want to open up a bottle of Nero d'Avola for lunch, why not? Get up at 4 a.m. to take in the moon's reflection because there was still too much cloud cover at 1 to even see the moon? Sure thing. Spend hours in the porch swing staring at the ocean while sharing personal histories? Let me get another cushion.

By Day 3, my non-believer has been rendered defenseless and unasked is already unashamedly admitting the error of years of anti-beach attitude.

A lethal combination of absolutely perfect weather ("How did you ensure that?" my guest marvels before resignedly attributing it to my "magic skills"), a breeze with as much kick as a roller coaster drop and the non-stop aural appeal of being practically on top of the ocean has made my guest a believer.

My hostessing skills are lauded, but I know perfectly well that anyone can fry bacon and eggs and make coffee and my true talent is putting the right kind of person into this setting and letting nature take its course.

All I really have to do to make a beach lover is share a few of my favorite things, be open to any conversation and smile.

I am so good at those things.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Darts of Pleasure

I was overdue checking off that musical box.

Back in 2004, my boyfriend had given me a copy of Franz Ferdinand's eponymous debut, no doubt because the band's sound mirrored that of all the post-punk bands then getting my admiring attention (see: Interpol, Editors, Bloc Party et al) along with him.

It was love at first listen. So arty, so cheeky, so Scottish.

And while I've since seen all three of those bands (Interpol twice), I'd yet to see the boys from Glasgow live, so when I saw they'd be playing the Jefferson in Charlottesville, tickets were purchased and plans made.

The crowd was still small when we found our place for Atlanta trio Omni in front of the sound booth facing a black and white backdrop of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Clever, if probably too obscure for some in the crowd..

Omni took the stage and it was immediately obvious why they'd been chosen to open for Franz Ferdinand. Their au courant take on post punk - all angular and passionate - clearly took a page from the Glaswegians' book.

My companion noted how surprising it was that so few people were using their phones to photograph the band, but my guess was that they just didn't care enough about Omni and, sure enough, once the headliners came out, so did the devices.

One person filmed practically every song with a stinkin' iPad, for cryin' out loud, blocking multiple people's views.

It was a decidedly under-tattooed crowd, but then I'm looking at it with Richmond eyes and this audience was nowhere near the usual majority tattooed.

By the time Omni finished, the crowd was close to capacity but not sold out and clearly eager for the main event. What was surprising was the youth of the crowd - many people did not qualify for alcohol wristbands - because this is a 13-year old band and how much Franz Ferdinand can you remember if you were in Pampers for the first two albums?

Since I had been plenty old enough to overplay that first album, I was nothing short of thrilled when the band came out and began their show the same way they'd begun that album in 2004: with the song "Jacqueline."

It's always better on holiday
So much better on holiday
That's why we only work 
When we need the money

Following that with "No You Girls" was a masterful move since it had been used in an iPod commercial, thus ensuring that everyone in the room besides me knew it well.

Kiss me where your eye won't meet me
Meet me where your mind won't kiss me
No, you girls never know
How you make a boy feel

I was unprepared for what a master showman lead singer Alex Kapranos was, his belt buckle worn over his hip and his legs in constant motion, scissor kicking, side kicking as high as his shoulder and wielding his guitar like a phallus.

After two songs, he had the room eating out of his hand and decided to toss out compliments. "Hello, Charlottesville! You've got a nice town here. We had a stroll around this afternoon and met lots of nice people. There's good vibes here. We could stay here a while!"

When they played "Darkness of the Matinee," I was reminded of reading  a critic's review of the album back in 2004 which likened the sound of "Matinee" to Roxy Music, a comparison neither my boyfriend nor I heard and was no more apparent tonight.

My companion, however, considers the second verse iconic, so I listened for those words instead.

I time every journey to bump into you accidentally
I charm you and tell you of the boys I hate
All the girls I hate, all the words I hate
All the clothes I hate, how I'll never be anything I hate
You smile, mention something that you like
How you'd have a happy life if you did the things you like

The band was incredibly tight and, to all appearances, having a ball and by the time they got to "Do You Want To," Alex was in full rock star mode, posturing, pouting and encouraging the adoring crowd to clap longer after each song.

A couple of guys near the stage had brought Scotland's flag and waved it around to get the band's attention. When one of the guys managed to scramble up on stage, he danced with it over his head until a security guard tried to whisk him away. Alex shook his head no, security vanished and the guy soon dismounted the stage the way he'd come.

We Franz Ferdinand fans are not heathens, sir.

Alex introduced "Walk Away" as "a breakup song about being in love and walking away from it, knowing you're making the biggest mistake of your life," but what struck me was that it had a bit of a Roxy Music vibe to it, something I'd never noticed before.

I cannot turn to see those eyes
As apologies may rise
I must be strong and stay an unbeliever
And love the sound of you walking away, you walking away

Their first big hit, "Take Me Out," got a nice long tease of a lead-in and then the crowd lost it for the song, so the band wisely moved directly into "Ulysses" to keep the momentum going.

During the encore, a fan gave the band a giant red heart that read, "Thank you for playing!" and Alex accepted it and put it center stage, which caused its creator to scream in excitement.

They finished with "This Fire" and Alex wrapped in the Scottish flag, an effect that paid homage to countless rock gods before him and only stoked the crowd's devotion. When the band bowed and left the stage, the room seemed to sigh with satisfaction and release.

Personally, I was just happy to have finally seen these guys do live what they accomplish so cheekily (and so very Scottish-ly) on their records with so much flair and passion. It was one musical box satisfyingly checked.

In the ladies' room afterward, I overheard a young voice ask her friend if she was going to go to the bathroom.

"I'm too much in awe," she said breathily. "I never thought I'd see them live!"

When I walked out and saw her impossibly young face and lack of alcohol wristband, my first thought was, and you've been waiting since when? Kindergarten? Puh-leeze.

No, you girls never know what delayed gratification feels like. It's really sweet.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ogle 'Em If You See 'Em

After yesterday's thunderstorms, today's air felt scrubbed clean.

Mac and I set out for a walk of fairly epic proportions - 6.82 miles, as it turned out - and returned sweaty, smelly and satisfied. How much more can a woman ask of a friend first thing in the morning?

Heading directly to Brown's Island, I had the brilliant idea that we should begin by walking Belle Isle to see what the lower river levels looked like after the recent flood stage levels.

Now that the water has receded, it's clear just how much of the island's edge the swollen water "ate" away during those torrential days and how uncomfortably close the path around the island is to a precarious drop-off now.

Over near the quarry pond, we chatted with a shirtless guy ("Easy on the eyes," was how Mac described him) who works for one of the outdoor companies who host activities on the island. My question to him was when the floating dock was going to be rebuilt on the pond.

Two years ago when the deck came down, a park employee assured me it would be rebuilt during the off season. Two off seasons later, still no dock. The large, square space was ideal for fishing, for watching the climbers on the rock wall opposite and for education, since a sign explained the quarry's original uses.

It seems to me that if the city can't find the funds, surely a Kickstarter by the Friends of the James River Park could raise enough to build a simple floating dock. The guy was a font of information, sharing with us that a canal runs under the island and river water feeds the pond, which actually holds cleaner water than the river despite its constant movement.

He also shared that during their summer activities in the past, they always had the kids jump off the dock into the pond to start their adventure. Apparently the lack of a dock now denies Richmond youth the distinctive pleasure of hurtling into a quarry pond.

We were able to easily get out on rocks near a rushing stream of water and abandon our shoes and socks for a whirlpool foot bath and a fine view of the skyline. After sitting there a minute or so and taking it all in - the sunshine, the cool water, the view of Hollywood cemetery - Mac said softly, "I love my city."

Ditto, girlfriend. What neither of us could comprehend was the young woman sitting nearby, her ears encased in headphones that surely blocked out the life-affirming sound of rushing water.

Crossing back over Brown's Island, we headed directly for the pipeline walkway, where yesterday I'd seen kayakers hot-dogging in the rapids, rolling underwater and back over, and a clutch of young Mennonite-looking women in long dresses and head coverings who asked me to take a picture of their inaugural pipeline adventure.

Today's interaction was with a trio of fishermen - one missing a lot of teeth, but this is the South - who were pulling up a fishing line heavy with 4 or 5 one and two-foot fish, according to them, catfish, bluegills and something else that got swallowed in translation.

Their dilemma was how to get this bounty of fresh-caught fish up the ladder that wraps the pipeline, with one angler asking if we knew where they could get a mini-crane to aid the cause. Corny, yes, but I cut him slack since pride and male hunting and gathering were involved.

Further along the pipeline, we got more eye candy when a young guy in slacks and a button down white shirt stripped to the waist, draped his shirt on a tree branch, pulled out a fishing rod and went from businessman to fisherman right before our eyes.

"Ooh, plaid boxers!" Mac observed, ogling again as we walked by him on our return leg across the pipeline. Plaid, we decided, is a deal-breaker for neither of us.

Everywhere we went, enormous magnolia trees were full of blossoms fresh and fading and Queen Anne's Lace bloomed in profusion, providing a classic Southern summer tableau.

Just not quite as titillating as half-clad guys.

On The Highway to Happiness

Correcting one cultural lapse only reveals additional ones.

I went to the Byrd Theatre for "Sullivan's Travels," a 1941 film, because it's #61 on the American Film Institute's top 100 films of all time, has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and because I'd never seen a Veronica Lake film.

Apparently that's all it takes to lure me out on a thunder-storming Wednesday evening.

What I didn't know was that it was about a director who wants to abandon directing comedies and make a serious film (a la Frank Capra) about the Depression and call it "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Incidentally, that's another film I've never seen.

I can't help but wonder if Coen brothers fans know this tidbit.

Before the movie, though, I situated myself at the bar at Nota Bene for Stobi Rose (Macedonian), the only cauliflower I know of that makes fans out of haters (mostly men) and wood oven pizza (margarita) while rain poured down on Main Street and vintage soul - including rarities like "Up the Ladder to the Roof" - played.

Conversation centered around "A Quiet Passion," the movie about Emily Dickinson I'd recently seen because I finally had access to someone else who'd seen it and needed to discuss it as much as I did.

And speaking of Dickinson, hers was one of the quotes - "My friends are my estate" - on the menu at Eleven Months, the new pop-up in Carytown which plans to revamp concepts once a year.

To keep track of that limited time, there's a digital clock on the wall counting how long they've been open (28 days, 9 hours and change while I was there), but the bartender explained that once they got to 5 1/2 months, the clock would begin counting down to closing day.

Got that?

Presently, the theme is "best friends forever" and the menu is full of quotes about friendship, but as soon as that begins to feel tired, the plan is to replace it with another theme.

The catch is that no iteration can last longer than 11 months, which I have to assume is the average attention span of their intended diners. Don't worry, kids, that's plenty of time to post video to Snapchat before moving on to the next new thing.

Not me. My eccentricities are my estate.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Calling CRS What It Is

I have many concerns today, but one of the most important concerns our Attorney General's terminal case of CRS, as in "can't remember shit."

The sheer number of times that man's answer amounted to, "Not that I recall" or "I don't recall that" was nothing short of jaw-dropping, even for a 70-year old. When he said, "I don't want to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous," he sounded doddering and old, as if keeping up with rapid fire questioning was beyond him.

Remind me, please, how long Hillary sat - cool, calm and collected - answering endless questions and we'll go from there.

How is it okay to have a man in charge of the U.S. Justice Department who a) was named after the president of the Confederacy and the general who bombarded Fort Sumter, thus starting the Civil War and b) who has zero ability to recall, well, anything of importance?

A woman can watch only so much of that testimony on the tiny video of her computer before needing to seek the solace of others as outraged as she is. I took shelter at Camden's because there I knew I'd find the TV on and the vocal critics of questionable AGs in attendance.

As a bonus, I got to hear from the recent Bonnaroo attendee about his sore 20-year old body, the result of four days of twerking non-stop while on mushrooms. Ah, youth.

As I'd anticipated, of all the bands he saw, it was The XX's show that he deemed truly epic. He was particularly scathing about the Red Hot Chili Peppers all but phoning in their performance and dubbed U2 merely "good."

And for this people are willing to live in a field and bathe in a fountain for four days? I think not. And don't get me started on the guy taking a glitter bath - is that like birds taking a dirt bath?

On the latest in a string of ungodly hot days, few things could have been as appealing as a salad special of chilled shrimp and radishes with micro-greens and Meyer lime for piquancy. When the bartender-turned-IT student who sat down nearest me ordered the same, his enthusiasm for the spot-on summer combination matched mine exactly.

Watching the analysis of Sessions' testimony threaded through with election results ensured that the bar sitters (and occasionally, those paying their check nearby) kept up a running commentary about unfolding events. My favorite had to be Pelosi saying that she thinks the narcissist is going to self-impeach, an appealing outcome if ever there was one.

Speaking of narcissists, the subject came up closer to home when a woman mentioned that her father was one and pulled out a photo of him modeling to prove it.

Although bearded and dressed in appropriate lumberjack attire, she assured us he'd never so much as cut off a tree branch. But he's got a great Dad beard and apparently they're in high demand as the beard grooming industry moves into the coveted and expanding bearded Boomer demographic.

My Cava-fueled dinner continued with a perfectly lovely flounder over white beans and greens, a plate I would have licked clean if I'd not already done the same to its shrimp and radish predecessor.

Discussion of today's events inevitably drew in other customers, my favorite being the woman who overheard me questioning the wisdom of an AG with CRS and felt gratified since that had been a major sticking point for her as well.

It was while enjoying a chocolate pate with nut crust ("Let's just call it what it is," implored the bartender-turned-IT student, "Fudge!") that we dove into the subject of the white patriarchy (hello, Republicans repeatedly interrupting Senator Kamala Harris for her audacity to press Sessions on not answering her questions) and how, amazingly, there are still people who deny such a state exists.

Of course, there are still those who fail to acknowledge that the Confederates were committing treason, so I shouldn't be surprised at any sort of deniers, I suppose.

My good fortune was having a terrific meal with a rotating company of similarly-minded voters dropping in and out of a wide-ranging conversation about the state of this administration. With comparisons in mind, someone piped up asking how long Watergate lasted and two of us were quick to recall, "An entire summer."

With no precedent for self-impeachment, looks like we'll have to just wait and see, an excruciating proposition.

Surrounding myself with good food and like-minded liberals makes it somehow easier to bear.

Chocolate pate doesn't hurt, either.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

In the end, all I want is to swear by you.
~ graffiti on pipeline walkway

[heartfelt sigh]

Today's walk along the pipeline walkway involved a guy in a hammock seductively hung from two trees by the river 's edge...tragically occupied on the phone rather than with his proximity to nature.

Crossing over to Brown's Island, I encountered a guy busy mopping his sweaty head every other step, yet with no hat on. After admitting that his dermatologist uses dry ice every six months to freeze off the pre-cancerous growths on his head, he allowed that he'd erred in grabbing his towel and ear buds and leaving his hat sitting on his desk.

Ya think?

Today's heat meant that my walk on the pipeline inevitably led to scrambling out over the rocks, the better to lower my feet into the cool, moving water. It was impossible not to notice the radically different water levels from barely two weeks ago, the recent abundance having already given way to trickles.

A letter from Sister #2 today brought this sentiment: Our lives are so different from what I expected and what Mom and Dad had.

Where do I even begin to respond to the comparison of what they found at 22 and 23 and what I still seek? She's married but seems to be admitting she's not as happy as she perceives our parents to be, but also that they retired in their early 50s.

Part of my afternoon winds up being devoted to explaining in letter form why we can't expect to find such luck in either arena at this late stage of the game to someone merely 13 months younger but far less accepting of our reality.

Fortunately, the disappointment of low river levels and relationship failures was forgotten when I met up with a favorite conversationalist for purely friendly dinner and drinks.

Our outing stayed in the neighborhood, specifically Quirk Hotel's "Dinner for Two" at Maple and Pine. In fact, our server informed us that we were the first to come in for dinner for two, resulting in him scrambling to come up with the appropriate menu and a liter of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

The music was spot on: Washed Out, Real Estate and other dreamy-sounding bands, while we munched through grilled eggplant with olive tapenade, feta, pine nuts and lentils as well as a green salad of radishes and green goddess dressing for starters.

We watched countless millennials come through the lobby only to have their IDs checked so they could take the elevator to the rooftop bar. A surprising number wore off-the-shoulder blouses, a fact which we took as a major fashion trend, albeit one that's come and gone countless times.

Discussion revolved around tomorrow's election, a beach getaway and overlapping music shows in the '80s (his with a smoker, not with each other) while we enjoyed fettuccine with pea shoot pesto, country ham, egg and Parmesan and roasted crispy-skinned chicken breast with potatoes and fennel.

Because the conversation was good -  it inevitably is, though we spend too little time engaged in it - we were halfway though carrot cake glazed with cinnamon creme anglaise before even dancing near the interesting topics, namely vacation possibilities, inept help and a ticket to Franz Ferdinand sold away for want of a man to use it.

Keeping to a neighborhood theme, we stopped into Yaki, the newest bar in Jackson Ward and one convenient to us both. The music was leaning toward late era R & B and several of the faces at the bar are usually found at their own bars.

It's while we're drinking Sicilian Rose, specifically Squadra Terre Siciliane Rosato (described on the menu as "bachelorette party in a glass but more reserved) that we politely skirt my preferred topics and instead settle on innocuous conversation to keep things on a purely platonic level. It's enjoyable if a tad safe.

In the meantime, I am fortunate to have a friend who makes me laugh (and occasionally snort) and better accept that my life is completely different than what I'd expected. Unfortunately.

The fault is mine, I would imagine. Here's to correcting that before I die and, like my parents, getting the chance to swear by someone who matters in the end .

Except I will say it and not spray paint it on a railroad support.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

40 - Love

I was born with a forehead that reads, "Tell me anything," anecdote #648.

So there I am standing in the organic chip aisle at Kroger, wondering for the second time in a week why they're out of Red Hot Blues, my favorite spicy blue corn chips. Is it as simple as a supplier shortage, has Kroger disavowed them or have they ceased making them because I am in the minority of those who like their corn chips spicy?

I'm startled out of my reverie by a voice inquiring, "How old are you?"

When I pivot, I see a woman standing in front of the supplements and vitamins, a box in hand. I'm curious why you're asking, I tell the stranger.

This is when the words, "Tell me anything" begin lighting up my forehead and she takes it to heart.

"I'm 57 and I just started dating this man," she begins in a conspiratorial tone. "Now, we haven't consummated anything yet, but he doesn't use, you know, condoms. And I don't believe in abortion. I don't believe in birth control, either."

Two things occur to me. First, surely this woman I've never laid eyes on isn't asking the world's biggest relationship failure for dating advice and second, how many 57-year olds worry about birth control?

She extends her arm so I can see the box in her hand: all natural prenatal vitamin supplements.

"If there's going to be an accident, we're going to have a healthy baby!" she assures me, tossing the supplements into her cart. "Better not take any chances with the baby."

Go for it, I tell her. Take charge of your body, especially if you don't want this man to keep it in his pants.

But mainly, I'm impressed that this woman who doesn't believe in any sort of family planing apparently has no qualms about pre-marital sex. Even better, I admire that she's optimistic enough to think pregnancy is a possibility.

Wishing her the best of luck with him, I continue shopping. When I get to the check-out, there she is in line and graciously waves for me to go ahead of her since I have fewer items.

"Do you play tennis?" she asks and I laugh out loud.

It's the skirt I have on - an athleticwear skirt with shorts built in and a gift at that - that no doubt caused her to guess I had even one athletic bone in my body. No, I can walk long distances but zero hand/eye coordination, I tell her, placing my groceries on the belt.

Turns out she teaches tennis to the 40+ set on clay courts in Northside ("Much easier on our knees") and she suggests I give tennis a try. Her confidence about my tennis potential is matched only by her positive attitude about the results of sleeping with this new man.

We are soul sisters in unfounded optimism. Introductions are made and email addresses exchanged.

I couldn't turn off the sign on my forehead if I wanted to, but the truth is, why would I want to?