Hot Air: The Only Woman At The Table

Okay, so I’m sitting in the B-town Diner, breaking the fast. Across the aisle from me is a table full of Boy Scout leaders, four men and a woman. From what I gather, there’s a national gathering of Boy Scout types at Indiana University this week. Flocks of them are flittering about the campus, carrying compasses and charts, engaging in some sort of exercise that those of the Scout ilk like to while away the hours in. You may have seen some of them, sporting their bright orange ID tag lanyards, walking around on Kirkwood or Walnut, trying their damnedest not to look lost.

If you care to know more about this gathering, go here.

Anyway, the group at the table across the aisle. One guy dominated the conversation. No exaggeration. No lie. This guy was the Type A of the chat world. He expounded at length…, nay, ad nauseum, about every single topic up for discussion. He was the world’s expert on everything. Not only did he pontificate at great length on every subject he raised, the microsecond another person would bring something up, he’d break in and deliver a speech thereon.

I wanted to scream Shut up! at him within 14 seconds of sitting down.

As I say, there were occasional peeps from the others at the table — that is, except for the woman. I ordered my two over med. w/ hash browns, rye toast and sausage patties (the traditional Big Mike AM repast) and downed it all, in addition to doing two New York Times crosswords and several Herald Times sudokus, and only after that half-hour span, did the group across the aisle begin to stand up. Even then, Mr. Conversation Dominator continued to blab.

Yet not once had I heard a single syllable emanate from the woman’s mouth. I kept glancing at her throughout, wondering if her face’d betray a sense of frustration or resentment. But no, she wore the map of passivity, the look that women throughout the ages have perfected as they’ve withstood the blustery gales of men who know all things.

But, lo and behold, as the group was just about to make its move toward the exit, the woman at last spoke. I hadn’t followed the particulars of the exchange leading up to that point but when I heard her voice, I was drawn in. She said, “Oh yeah, I found that in my….” And — whaddya know? — the Type A talker immediately cut in and drowned her out. All she was doing was reinforcing what the previous speaker had said yet that dominant guy, that obsessive opiner, had to — had to — step all over her and make his voice heard.

Now, this was an egregious example of men keeping women quiet — and women not saying Hey buddy, whyntcha STFU for a half second. Of course, for a woman to say that, she’d damned well better be prepared to suffer the consequences. It’d take a woman with the combined guts of Sheryl Sandberg, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Xena, Warrior Princess, to do that but, hell, you can’t win a war without heroes. The thing is, this kind of thing goes on every day, all day long, in offices, gyms, restaurants, homes, and diners. Men talk; women listen.

I look forward to the day when we’ll be able to look back and say, Can you believe people used to act like that?

Latte, Lager & Lectures

I hear whispers that the next Science Cafe will be held, later this month, at the original Hopscotch at Dodds and the B-Line Trail. Bloomington’s Science Cafe has migrated through the years from the late, lamented Rachael’s Cafe to Finch’s on Kirkwood and, lately, to Bear’s Place.

This latest move is a natural — Hopscotch recently expanded its hours, closing now at 10pm. The java emporium is also serving beer now.

My only quibble with this development is now there’s no reason on Earth for me ever to leave Hopscotch. In fact, my coffeehouse pal, Dr. Alex, the cannabinoid researcher as well as the mover and shaker behind Science Cafe, told me this AM it looks like he and I will soon be roommates, inasmuch as we’ll both be living at the place anon.

Body Talk

Here’s the link to the podcast of yesterday’s Big Talk with my guest, artist, feminist, and academician Filiz Çiçek. A native of Turkey, Çiçek is curating the Every Body Art exhibit opening tonight at the Thomas Gallery on North College Avenue. The exhibit ties in with this month’s Bloomington Pridefest, our town’s celebration of all things LGBTQ.

Every Body Art features works in various media reflecting the artists’ conceptions of their own body images and genders, as well as commenting on our society’s imposed definitions and restrictions on same.

The opening begins at 5:30pm. The show runs through August 31st.

Bigger, Better?

Speaking of the NYT, did you catch the front-pager about Apple becoming the first company to be valued at over a trillion dollars?

Now, that’s a landmark in economic history. Hell, it’s a landmark in our holy land’s history, considering big business and these United States are, essentially, two different ways of saying the same thing. And, believe me, it ain’t a landmark worth celebrating.

I’m of the crowd that detests enormity. Bigger is not better. You know what’s big? Hydrogen bombs. Monopolies. Transnational corporations. Tyrannies. Colonial powers. Empires. None of which are particularly admirable or constructive.

In fact, the NYT article cites economists who are jittery over the emergence of a 21st Century brand of uber-corp. Those experts say:

…[T]he rise of so-called superstar firms is contributing to the lackluster wage growth, shrinking middle class and rising income inequality in the United States.

Companies like Apple, some of whom also are approaching a trillion-dollar valuation exert undue social, cultural, and political influence over the rest of us. And, believe me, the things these mega-outfits want aren’t things that will do you or me one goddamned bit of good.

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