Author Archive: Zoevinly
Zoevinly is a poverty lawyer practicing in the bible belt.
Google “snoring” and you’ll get a flood of how-to advice on how not to, and a lot of reasons to stop. Not surprisingly, the majority of links recalled were advertisements for devices, medications, surgical maneuvers, and their purveyors. In today’s pharm-centered universe, the vibration caused by air traveling through our airways has been pathologized and vilified as the destroyer of otherwise sound relationships.
Not only is it bad for your love life. Snoring is deadly!
According to snoring alarmists, snorers who have the audacity to continue sleeping noisily can look forward to myriad cardiovascular disorders including heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and stroke, marital and erectile dysfunction (chicken-or-the-egg?), drowsiness, lack of focus and…Zzzzzzzzz.
Admittedly, I’m no doctor, but let me suggest that there are some positive effects of snoring (besides the possibility that it keeps you healthy by means of temporary asphyxiation). It’s a much cheaper and more effective method of subjecting those around you to intense jealousy (“Please, please, make him stop so I can lose consciousness ASAP”) than, say, buying a pair of Jimmy Choos. Then again, I don’t usually begrudge those masochists the pain of walking around…
Ah, it’s time for bed. Maybe the lumbering Saint Bernard downstairs will give it a rest so I can, too.
You can now obtain a sticker that acts as a credit card. That’s right, you read me correctly: you can stick it to your cell phone, wallet, shoe, coffee mug, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Actually, I’ve exaggerated a bit. You can stick the sticker almost everywhere, but the technology is not so new. In fact, the credit-card-sticker has been in use in Japan and Malaysia for some time now. The sticker contains a chip that uses Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to emit a signal. That signal, like the magnetic strip on your average credit card, contains information that allows you to “charge” a purchase.
Sound familiar? You may be using RFID already, in the MobilePass wand that you use at the gas station. The Chicago Transit Authority has been utilizing RFID for years, and the New York Transit Authority is preparing to start a trial. In fact, your very own United States passport may contain RFID technology. So why am I such a scaredy-cat?
I received a replacement credit card today because my account number “may have been illegally obtained as a result of a merchant database compromise and could be at risk for unauthorized use.” I was not informed of the time, place, manner of the “compromise” and if the identity of the “compromisers” or their methods are known, I remain ignorant of them. I’m leery of the credit-card-sticker because where there’s a will, there is a way.
History suggests that RFIDs can be remotely read and stolen, cloned, infected, or otherwise used for unintended purposes. Now, Visa is preparing to launch a product that allows you to use your phone as a credit card (and not just in Malaysia). This means that if you’re using the technology and you lose your phone, you may be losing your expensive toy, contacts, pictures, applications, etc. stored on that expensive toy, and control over the use of one or several of your credit card accounts.
Sure, there are ways to encrypt this information, but with every safeguard comes a more determined hacker. I’m going to stick to the inconvenient plastic card because the “authorities” are used to tracking its thieves and (I would not discount this factor) it’s probably less sexy to steal!
Which reminds me: I was getting a pedicure. I know, so decadent (for a poverty lawyer, teehee), but I was, in this Vietnamese joint, tiny like a hallway lined with big massage chairs. A dangerously overweight, black woman walked in. No, she lumbered in with her handbag at her side, looking tired of lumbering. Titters from the nail-doers. Manicurists, I guess. They’d noticed her too: first the weight, then the skin color. Or perhaps I’m projecting. In any case, they beckoned her to a chair, malignant smiles aglow like jack-o-lanterns, and she quietly succumbed to the growing twitters, over-generous, nonsensical verbal massaging, and I cringed. I cringed visibly. I said nothing.
They asked her if she exercised often. They asked if she had a job. For many years, she said. Yes. “Food stamps? Are you on food stamps?” they asked. No, she said quietly. She was not receiving food stamps, and had never, in her life, benefited from food stamps. By now, she’d noticed me staring. I was. I was staring at her – and with her- at us in these ridiculous chairs, prisoners of racists. I could tell the woman picking at my toenails to give it a rest, put my shoes on, pay the bill, tell them all off and leave. Or I could sit there quietly and smile sympathetically at this dangerously overweight black woman who knew, I hoped, that I knew that I was a coward. She smiled at me.
I got called a Chink today. The last time I remember being called a Chink, I was an 8 year-old in a fading blue one-piece swimsuit at the Boys ‘n Girls Club in Mt. Kisco, NY. In the shallow end. I don’t remember what I did to raise the hackles of Bully, a short blond chubby boy whose name’s been redacted by my neurons. All I remember is that I was dazed and confused when I first heard the word. I looked into his eyes and saw derision – I knew not of what or why – and a lonely, boiling soup of mysterious inadequacy rose in my belly.
I wasn’t angry at Bully. I just didn’t understand why he was angry with me. In an effort to understand what had just happened, I told my swimming instructor what he’d called me. I knew it was bad. Perhaps her intervention would reveal what it meant. Denise (sister to Dennis, also a swimming instructor – thank you, neurons) told me to ignore him or said something equally dismissive. I swam back into line on my back (this I remember too), trying to align my body with the rafters through puddly tears and swallowing gobs of phlegm. Maybe I felt anger then. Maybe I briefly flipped onto my stomach to catch my breath and hold in the soup that had turned into boiling bitterness. I remember it now. I can feel the same, helpless, indignant outrage or I can hold it at bay. That’s why I didn’t tell Jin that we’d been called Chinks today, in the bible-belt, by a convertible-driving Catholic School boy: me in my skirt suit with briefcase in tow (saving the poor) and she, a new J.D. with intolerance only for American fast food. I choose to feel nothing.
Normally, a nosebleed seat is not the pick of the prince, but since tonight’s performance is an audio-visual one, it’s prime! I can see the tendons in each dancer’s calves; the sweat flying off their faces (visceral, if nothing else); but best of all, I can observe pre- and post-entrance dancer behavior in my sliver of a view into the wings. The verdict? Gasping for breath, these dancers still stand erect even after they’ve slid offstage.
One of Mozart’s last symphonies is Symphony No. 40 in G minor – and tonight, the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago company performs Marguerite Donlon’s Strokes Through the Tail to Symphony No. 40′s rippling anticipation.
There goes Robertson with his knees again. Bouncing with the beat, crouching low to pull the oboe in like a thick, heavy rope, his hair isn’t flouncing as much as usual. It’s been cut. In a brief pause, we see that the orchestra is as cool as a cat, though it’s sounding jittery with the suspense of unresolved harmony.
Suddenly, the lights dim, and you guessed it! Physicality as the instrument arrives with the second movement. In deference to Mozart’s wired lyricism, Principal Female plays a wind-up doll, fleety-flighting in unpredictable directions with each musical shove. Then, hooray! Guys without shirts on! These young ‘uns are wearing tailcoats, but their breasts are bright white in the stage light.
Synchronous scampering ensues. These could be members of a boy band. Individuals all – the super-young innocent, the mustachioed Borat character, and a slavic-looking baldy with a long scar next to his left eye – nevertheless chained in imitation, they showboat their long legs and make nearly identical half-turns, one after the other, like fancy dominoes.
Principal Female and her boy wonders prod each other with the crown of their heads or chest-bump like blind zygotes to transfer electricity. Tailcoats vibrate with each dancer’s buzzy shudder and periodically, a head-nudge causes one to crinkle her fingers as if she’s received a shock. No wonder David Robertson wasn’t wearing a tailcoat tonight. These Tailcoats conduct kinetic energy among themselves and direct each other’s movements like a bevy of conductors.
The leader-follower imitation mime-time carries over into garb. Briefly, Principal Female solos in white chiffon and tulle. Then the boys are back – but without their jackets! Donning delicate white skirts, they perform the lotus gait behind Principal Female in a long line like ducklings … until we notice that the (mustachioed) little swan hasn’t arrived yet. Swinging torsos – elephants turning their heads: where is mustache? Ah, here he is! Men’s legs in white light – I quite enjoy them in transparent chiffon!
Principal Female returns to the stage wearing blinding-bright pride, black boxer briefs and a tailcoat of her own. (The lacy chiffon top remains.) Tightly-bound, consequential, sequential movements conduct kinetic speed betwixt each person as they pass it on – pass it on – with a biological yearning to bond and release with and from one another.
Time and again, Innocent Boy falls behind, missing a wardrobe adjustment or curling into comfy nap time in the background as the show carries on without him. Then, to reward his audacity, Innocent Boy gets a mini solo as he runs after the others in slow motion or fancies himself autonomous. Mustachioed Joe is even gladder than Principal Gal to return to the stage himself – the first to be back this time, in black boxer briefs and his original tailcoat. No more downy feather-skirt for him.
The audience has been chuckling and giggling for some time now. We’ve bonded with the dancers. Maybe it was the yearning-bonding-slacking-off-then-falling-in-again that drew in our empathy; that and the shocking virtuosity of these athletes who skate across our vision as if on ice.