Monday, February 22, 2010

Empress of the World.

I feel vaguely optimistic about this week, like perhaps I will be able to handle the single parenting with incapacitated and drugged out husband thing a bit better than last week. Maybe it seems like I have my little Beatrice back. She isn't demanding things simply to hurl them back at my head anymore, and while my husband is mostly on the nod, he is now mostly able to use the potty by himself. The snow has melted enough that my garden gnome is now exposed in my backyard, and I have been back to wearing a vest rather than a full winter coat. I am ignoring the calls for massive amounts of rain and mixed wintry weather tonight. We are just going with optimistic and sunny.

At any rate, last night when laying in bed, I was reminded of my early years in college when I spent inordinate amounts of time doing, well, nothing. Eight cups of coffee and cards for three hours in the middle of the day? It is mind-boggling now to think about all that free time. Even before I had a child, I reminisced on that time with a sense of awe and bewilderment. My friends and I met every morning in a cafe and raced the crossword puzzle, and played cribbage for HOURS. Somehow we worked, but I have no recollection of how or why that happened. We had jobs in cafes and restaurants, and took half-assed classes. Somehow I managed Summa Cum Laude whilst cooking at a vegetarian restaurant, spending hours whittling my time away playing chess and drinking beer at Dirty Frank's every night. Ah, youth.

One favorite topic of conversation of mine at the time was the "Empress of the World" conversation, in which I would invent random edicts I would decree if crowned Empress of the World. Oh, this conversation usually disintegrated after, you know, a few hours, but until then, it sure is fun.

My first decree would be that one could not eat in a restaurant if one did not work in a restaurant. Perhaps there would be a mandatory period of time where people worked in a restaurant, and like the Culinary Institute of America, you would HAVE to do a week or two waiting tables, whether you were a chef or not. Another decree I would make is that professional sports teams needed to be made of people who were local to the area. You couldn't BUY a winning team. I just think "What's the point of watching the Philadelphia Sixers if they are made up of people from not Philadelphia?" Even as I am cheering for the AIs--Andre Iguodala and Allen Iverson. Wouldn't it be great if every sports hero was also a hometown hero? It would be like the micro-Olympics. And it would force teams to deal with superstars and mediocrity, just like high school. It would be a more interesting game, in my humble opinion.

There would be a lot of edicts surrounding driving, but not least of which is that each person would have their name and number on their car. There would be a database of bad driving with various degrees of embarassing public humiliation for lousy, stupid driving. Perhaps it would be just a driving number, because we don't want stalking beautiful women to happen. I would work that out with my advisers. But the point is: people that are anonymous and unaccountable for their rude behavior are more reckless and dangerous on the road than those who can be seen. I read that in the book Traffic, which is an incredibly fascinating book. (On an unrelated note, did you know that traffic signs/lights actually increase danger in an intersection?) People in dark-tinted-windowed cars drive more carelessly. And the worst drivers in this country, or I should say people that kill themselves or others most frequently--men in huge Ford F-150 trucks. Because they don't meet the eyes of other drivers. Humanize the machine. That is all I'm saying.

Alright, so for the beginning of this week of new beginnings and optimism, I am asking you: what would your edict be if you were crowned Empress (or Emperor) of the World?

I will randomize the comments and pick a winner for something needle-felted. (I need to start relaxing and needle-felting again.) If you have won before, you can still enter. I don't care. If you want to give it to someone else, fine by me. If you want to enter fifteen times, go for it. This is about being Empress/Emperor of the World, you can do whatever the eff you want. The only edict is that you come up with some law for your reign. Here are the things you can win. (Scroll down on that post. )

Good luck, Empress.


  1. Edict: Mind yer own fucking biz.

    Funny, I look back on college and I can't believe everything I *did*. I was up at all hours, had a crazy schedule with work and classes and orchestra and radio and soccer and boyfriend and . . . I can't believe I had that energy, ever. I'm finding it hard getting off my ass this morning to go grocery shopping. Age hurts.

    I keep meaning to read "Traffic" -- thanks for the reminder.

  2. Holy cow. You mean I have to actually think of something creative this morning, rather than lazily kick pack and soak up your posts as usual? Angie, this upsets me terribly. Here's my decree: nothing productive should have to happen before 10am, west coast time. ;-)

  3. I have lots of driving edicts too. One that I like is that we would set reasonable speed limits and then anyone caught going above them would be shot on sight. Or have the speed limit signs communicate with the cars and not allow the car to go any faster. There would be a button in your car to push, if you were say heading for the hospital or something.

  4. Edict - once a year, each person (at a random time) needs to have all the not-so-nice things that person did to someone else done to him/her. Get cut off in traffic, check. Be mean to friend for no reason, check. Walked right by the person who needed help with groceries and didn't offer to help, check.

    All in the same day, and at the end of the day you get some kind of notice and reminder that you get back what you put in.

  5. Glad to hear you're feeling more optimistic. And, I hear you about that college time-warp thing. I swear the days used to be longer.

    My edict (and I have to co-credit my consort/spouse with this one) is similar to the payback that kimberly mentioned but with an elaborate credit system.

    It's a two-step process

    First, a potato gun loaded with chalk-filled nerf balls is mounted on every street corner. The nerf balls are fired at anyone who endangers folks at the intersection with unsafe driving/biking/walking behavior. The chalk leaves a temporary mark so that they can be easily identified.

    Second, everyone who can make it through a 6 month period without getting 'marked' for bad behavior gets one day (maybe a birthday or half-birthday) to act as enforcer. The enforcer receives a plastic fat bat and is entitled to beating as many bad actors as he or she can chase down(those marked with chalk) with said fat bat for a 24-hour period.

    I know it's a little complicated but I think it would be both hilarious and effective...and I am the empress, after all.

  6. My law: If you have lost a baby (or any loved one, really) someone else (a friend or relative) is allowed to contact all of your bills and you are not required to deal with them until you fell up to it.

    I told my friend after I lost Aiden that 50 years ago my sister would have been able to go to the bank and tell them I would have to pay the mortgage late because my baby died, and the bank probably would have sent a condolence card.

    So that's my rule - corporations have to treat grieving people like someone they care about - not a number on the bottom line.

  7. My edict reveals that I am probably one of the infuriating drivers you posted about, or would be shot at by TracyOC's chalk loaded potato guns.

    Here it is; There is no need to indicate before turning corners if there is no-one to see you turning.

    Really, I am not indicating for my own good, I already know that I am going to turn a corner. If there is no-one else there I don't see the point in making the effort.

  8. I am filled with edicts, so why the heck not - here's another.

    No passive-aggressive b.s. is allowed. Okay, that's probably a little restrictive - it should be seriously, seriously limited, and it shouldn't be allowed to be a behavior pattern. Especially in families.

    Also, I need a place that is never more than 10 minutes from where I am and that will always open up to sell me bacon or cupcakes or diet sprite. Oh, I guess that is probably what a 7-11 is. Well then.

  9. I hope the week went/is going well.

    Another edict - no closing an entire major highway during rush hour unless it's a super serious accident. It's a new trend here, just close the whole entire road!

    And... I'd like a free pass once in awhile, to see down the road a bit. I've got a fork in the road right now - to the left, pretty much known, and never gonna work out the way I want, but comfortable in its own way, and such a part of my life -- to the right, unknown, who knows what might happen, but do I want to find out? And if I wasn't ready to make the choice, why did I saddle right up there? So, edict - say once a year, I'd like the gift of clarity, of not trying to make choices where I want both, dammit, or maybe I want neither, but it is hurting to even stand at the cross roads.


What do you think?