Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gimpy Philly

I'm starting to feel old and crotchety in the studio. 5 years ago I would wedge clay for 3 hours every morning, throw pots all day and then teach 10-person classes at night. A week ago I had my godson and his sister come into the studio to play on the wheels for an hour or so. I was leaning over to help them out, and I could barely stand afterwards. It's also been 98+ degrees. I'm too cheap for AC. I work in Peugeot coveralls that have polyester in them. I don't normally have breasts, but because I'm still breastfeeding the sweat collects in that fold and dribbles down my belly.

Clearly I'm destined to be a hunched-over gimp. Tim describes Philly as the City of Gimps, so I'll have company. There certainly are an inordinate number of handicapped parking spaces here. My sa-nanny-ty's boyfriend, James, walks with a cane. The kids adore him, so a cane is a glamorous accessory in their minds. As observant as they are, handicaps escape them. We were out last night and I had to sprint to the bathroom with both big kids. They do everything together, and they are about the same size and weight. Precise little machines that they are, they need to poop at the exact same instant. I was terrified to see the "out of order" sign on the second stall, but Steel waited patiently. While they're on the toilet, they have me captive, poised with a wad of toilet paper in my hand. They enjoy it, so they prolong things. A little line was forming. Undaunted, they include everyone in their conversation as they sit there, knickers and pants on the floor. I felt bad enough that they each took 20 minutes...who sent in the patient, but obviously uncomfortable, 1-legged woman in short shorts on crutches? Neither of them noticed.

Tim's 1-armed friend, Mike was visiting a while ago. He brings groups of architecture students to Philly from Canada. I was making breakfast and forbade Steel to go in and wake him up because they tend to go out at night. I got distracted and she disappeared. She returned saying, "Mike has no eyes!" Her little head had been 3 inches away from him staring at his sleeping face for the past 10 minutes. I said without thinking, "He has eyes; he's missing an arm, and you shouldn't have been in there!" When I first met Mike I was setting up a show. He kept offering to help, and finally I had to say, "MIKE! the boxes are 16x16x16, and YOU ONLY HAVE ONE ARM!" One night he returned late and uncharacteristically exploded into a tirade..."Do you know how hard it is to deal with cling wrap when you only have one arm????" I sent him one of those boxes of Saran Wrap that has the little zip cutter. It made me so happy.

Babies are fabulous gimps. Toby's starting to get frustrated about her inability to walk. We appease her with bones. Now that I live in Philly I forget that vegans even exist. I brought lamb chops to a play date the other day because the kids are always sprinting around and not eating; it's good 'on the run' food. Heather had to do some fancy PR work to get her kids to try them: "It's steak on a stick!" she said jubilantly. Ciela, in a tinkerbell dress was the first to scream hysterically, "I want steak on a stick!" Toby gets the half-finished chops. She gnaws on them for hours, eyes wide with a harrowing look of intensity, grease shining on her fat forearms and hands. It keeps her from wobbling around, losing balance and banging her head on the floor, and I get to chat and drink too much wine.

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