Saturday, June 30, 2007

Vacance interrupted!

Pretty Lady is feeling a bit Flustered! Not only has she been tagged with a blog meme, she has been tagged along with Susie Bright! She is not certain how she feels about this, but given Pretty Lady's skirting-the-edge-of-racy past, she supposes it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Anyhoo, on with the meme!

1. All right, here are the rules.

2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.

3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

4. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight
things and post these rules.

5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged
and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re
tagged, and to read your blog.

Well, right from the get-go Pretty Lady is confounded, because all of her favorite people hate blog memes. Last time she tried to tag them, they all refused to play! Pretty Lady has always had an unfortunate affinity for the Jaded.

Plus, Pretty Lady's readers probably already know more than they care to about random, trivial aspects of Pretty Lady's life. Self-indulgence is Pretty Lady's middle name. She is about exhausted, coming up with witty notions regarding Self, phrasing them prettily enough so that their essential banality and lack of consequence is entertainingly disguised.

So, Pretty Lady shall exploit her family instead, since she is At Home.

1. Pretty Lady's paternal grandmother, the one she takes after, the one who would enter a party two hours late and realize that everyone in the room had been waiting for her arrival so that the party could Get Going, is named Mo. This stands for "Mary Olive." Her nickname as a child was "Soap." (Palm olive.)

2. Pretty Lady's second cousin once removed is named Spiro, and has written several novels which caused his parents to roll their eyes and consider disowning him; evidently, they contained Sex Scenes. The horror.

3. Pretty Lady's paternal grandfather's second cousin is Jimmy Stewart. Yes, that Jimmy Stewart.

4. Pretty Lady's maternal grandfather was a florist, and when he retired, at the age of seventy, he took up the art of Bonsai. To cultivate a genuine Bonsai takes twenty-five years, but Pretty Lady's grandfather took up this hobby in perfect confidence that he would live to see his Bonsai mature. He was correct in his confidence.

5. Pretty Lady's paternal great-grandfather contracted Consumption at the age of twenty-six, and was given six months to live. He went West, and died at the age of ninety-eight, of pneumonia contracted when he went up on the roof in a blizzard to hammer down that blasted shingle which was banging around.

6. Pretty Lady's Mommy is a classical pianist, a docent, an ornithologist, an amateur chef, speaks German, has been Chairman of more than one Board, and can confidently assume the baton when the choir director has to go play the organ. She and Daddy built a harpsichord while she was pregnant with Pretty Lady. She biked across Germany at the age of...well, she biked across Germany recently.

7. Pretty Lady's Daddy designed something which is still Top Secret, but we have a model of it on top of the bookshelf.

8. Pretty Lady's brother...well, Pretty Lady must respect somebody's privacy. Suffice it to say that all you ladies over thirty can eat your hearts out.


Yoo-hoo! You're it!
Pebble Chaser
Desert Cat
Tracy Helgeson

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Impeach George W. Bush

WASHINGTON - President Bush, in a constitutional showdown with Congress, claimed executive privilege Thursday and rejected demands for White House documents and testimony about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

His decision was denounced as "Nixonian stonewalling" by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bush rejected subpoenas for documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. The White House made clear neither one would testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas.
Can this be any clearer? We have a President who fully believes that he is Above the Law.

We have a President, dear friends, who has spied illegally on U.S. citizens. He has authorized indefinite imprisonment without charges. He has authorized, nay, encouraged torture of those imprisoned, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. He has embroiled us in an unwinnable and monstrously expensive war under false pretences. He has attempted to foist legislation upon us which makes a mockery of the very notion of 'citizenship.' He is a liar, a jackass and a fool.

Pretty Lady believes that it is morally incumbent upon every citizen of this once-great country to impeach this man. She is absolutely serious about this. If we do not impeach this stupid, scurrilous, hubristic, narcissistic, self-righteous, incompetent excuse for a human being, we do not deserve to call ourselves 'citizens' any longer. We are merely the easily manipulated cardboard idiots which our fatuous ass of a President and his cronies assume us to be, and we deserve the desecration of our civil rights which will inevitably follow.

American Airlines Has Some Problems

This is the best Pretty Lady could do for a title without becoming Vulgar.

You see, Pretty Lady was supposed to be On Vacation today. She was supposed to be in her homeland, perhaps toodling down I-35 toward Austin, her best friend at her side and a six-pack of Shiner in the cooler.

She is not. She is still in hot, muggy, grimy Brooklyn. This is American Airlines' fault.

Oh, Pretty Lady is quite aware that the there was a bit of Weather last night; she even saw the lightning. There were some rather disturbing flooding conditions round the Marble Falls area. She does not dispute these facts.

However, it would have behooved American Airlines to:

1) Inform her of these facts;

2) Apologize;

3) Inform her of her options as regards waiting in line for hours and hours and hours, with no evidence that any flight could be obtained, except for increasingly ugly rumours flying around the crowd, that no planes could be had till Sunday.

Pretty Lady has worked, herself, in Public Service for years. She has experienced her share of confrontations with angry persons whom it was beyond her power to help. And she knows, firsthand, the difference it makes when a Public Servant is courteous to these same people; when compassion and commiseration are expressed, together with an honest assessment of the situation at hand.

So it is with great confidence that she states that the employees of American Airlines, in the ticketing and check-in sectors of LaGuardia Airport, are Incompetent, Discourteous, Unhelpful, Offensive, and Not Doing Their Jobs. Telling a stranded traveler, "That flight has been cancelled. Stand in that line," is Not Enough. It is Dereliction of Duty. It is Gross Negligence.

The proper phrase is, "I'm terribly sorry. There have been some awful weather conditions all across the country this evening, and we've had to cancel a lot of flights. We're doing the best we can to re-book people, but confidentially, that line is really long. You may be standing in it for several hours, and then then best chance of getting you out of here is, realistically, Friday. Do you have a place to stay in the area? Why don't you go to it, and call this number, and stay on hold in the comfort of your own home. We're terribly sorry."

Would that have been so difficult?

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Feminization of Power

Darlings, Pretty Lady is missing you all terribly, and feels dreadful for having neglected you. She had all sorts of wise things to say on the subject of Feminine Power, and then she sat down to think about it and discombobulated herself. Sometimes Pretty Lady thinks that this 'sophisticated wisdom' schtick of hers is all just an act.

She does believe, however, that some of us Smart Girls out there have it all wrong, when we envision packs of roving Smart Girl Gangs banding together, and taking over the government, or the economy, or even the Art World. In her experience, attempts at forming Smart Girl Gangs have always ended in unmitigated disaster. Smart Girls, it seems, are not particularly suited for gangs.

No, it seems to her that acquiring sordid sorts of Worldly Power has always had much more to do with perceptions of appropriateness, and the acting accordingly, than the brute acquisition of Power at All Costs. For example, you will all recall that last week, Pretty Lady was having a meltdown regarding some simple Web Design issues. You will all be as thrilled as Pretty Lady is to hear that these issues have been resolved; they have been resolved, unsurprisingly, by a Nice Gentleman who knows a great deal more about troublesome computer issues than does Pretty Lady. Not by a charter member of any mythical Girl Gang. Pretty Lady hates to puncture your idealism, but so it is.

For, as she pontificated to the Nice Gentleman over brunch yesterday, true Power only has tangentially to do with Authority. An ignorant person who begins issuing orders indiscriminately, at whatever level of External Hierarchy, will sink the ship and become terminally Disempowered if she does not stop to perceive and listen to Incoming Facts, no matter from whom these Facts are incoming. It may take awhile, but Worldly Power, when ungrounded in Transcendent Wisdom, is always fleeting.

Pretty Lady has learned, from sad and codependent experience, that it is insufficient to the acquisition of Feminine Power to simply support Women in Everything. It is suicidal to support some people; the lame, the ignorant, the incompetent, the narcissistic, the manipulative and the rude should be Constrained, if not Shunned, no matter how politically expedient it may seem to attempt to Empower them, or they will drag the Female Empoweress to a watery grave. Conversely, the Competent and the Kind ought to be accorded positions of High Respect in one's personal Power Canon, however white, male and upper-middle-class these persons might happen to be.

This is not to say that Great Leaders may not be both Female and Feminine. This is to say that mature Feminine Power may not look at all like common, military-variety notions of Authority; it may blossom into some other paradigm entirely. It may be serene, rather than strident; delegatory, rather than authoritative; ruminative, rather than frenetic. Above all, it should recognize the strengths of every person in the spectrum, and create a structure wherein these strengths may be depended upon, not merely attempt to inject power where power is not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Foul Play

Missing: Large lake in southern Chile

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A lake in southern Chile has mysteriously disappeared, prompting speculation the ground has simply opened up and swallowed it whole. The lake was situated in the Magallanes region in Patagonia and was fed by water, mostly from melting glaciers.

It had a surface area of between 4 and 5 hectares (10-12 acres) -- about the size of 10 soccer pitches.

"In March we patrolled the area and everything was normal ... we went again in May and to our surprise we found the lake had completely disappeared," said Juan Jose Romero, regional director of Chile's National Forestry Corporation CONAF.

"The only things left were chunks of ice on the dry lake-bed and an enormous fissure," he told Reuters.

CONAF is investigating the disappearance.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pretty Lady Submits to Angst

She has spent the last five hours proving conclusively to herself that with the resources at hand--an outdated copy of Dreamweaver, an updated copy of Firefox, various freeware web editing programs, and an aging iBook running OS X--it is absolutely, definitively IMPOSSIBLE to design a simple navigation bar with spontaneously popping-down menus.

This would seem a simple task. It is not. It is an impossible task. Pretty Lady must repeat this. Impossible.

This impossibility has precipitated an internal crisis of epic proportions, because who is Pretty Lady, really? How can one define oneself, if one cannot design a clean navigation bar on one's professional website with simple, intuitive choices? Must one's navigation bars always be messy, confusing and schizophrenic? Thus causing viewers to turn away in disgust, at the amateurishness of this untidy life?

Pretty Lady apologizes for inflicting upon you this cryptic Zen Screw moment.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How to be a Charming Con Artist

1) When you show up twenty minutes late for your appointment, apologize. Do not make a fuss about where your bicycle is chained, and waste more of Pretty Lady's time going up and down stairs to bring it into the hallway, where the neighbors will trip over it.

2) Refrain from rolling your eyes during your therapy session. If there is something going on that you dislike, feel free to express your opinion with directness and clarity.

3) Thank your therapist afterward, whatever you thought of the session.

4) When you discover that you have brought insufficient legal tender to cover the cost of your session, have the grace to be embarrassed. Offer to leave something behind as collateral. Apologize profusely. Say how much better you feel after the session, and how dreadful it is, having to stress out over a stupid thing like money.

5) Leave your bicycle in the hall while you run to the ATM, in good faith.

6) When you discover that your card does not work in the ATM, call Pretty Lady immediately, explain the situation, and apologize again. Do not leave her hanging for 45 minutes as she grows increasingly irritated and suspicious.

7) When several ATMs reject your card, the likelihood that you do not have sufficient funds in your account to cover the fee is high. Thus, offering to 'send a check' to an already irritated and suspicious Pretty Lady does not mollify her greatly, bounced check fees being what they are.

8) Apologize again, and do not hang up on an understandably angry Pretty Lady until she is done speaking, whatever you may think of what she has to say.

If you follow these simple steps, you may still be a con artist, but you have occasioned far less stress to self and other than by simply being an irresponsible, self-absorbed flake.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Laws of Balance in Operation

Screaming Paris Hilton Sent Back To Jail

Paris Hilton was taken from a courtroom screaming and crying Friday seconds after a judge ordered her returned to jail to serve out her entire 45-day sentence for a parole violation in a reckless driving case.

"It's not right!" shouted the weeping Hilton. "Mom!" she called out to her mother in the audience.

Hilton, who was brought to court in handcuffs in a sheriff's car, came into the courtroom disheveled and weeping. Her hair was askew and she wore a gray fuzzy sweatshirt over slacks. She wore no makeup and she cried throughout the hearing.

Well, it is High Time. Noxious brat. Perhaps she will learn something.

In Defense of Elitism, Part II

It has occurred to Pretty Lady, pleasant and diverse as this conversation has been, that she is not certain her original point was understood. She is not, and never has been, calling anybody stupid. Her contention was merely that persons who are not familiar with the forms, range, history and conventions of literature are not fit to judge the quality of a single work of literature. That is all.

They may, of course, have an opinion. Pretty Lady may have an opinion as to the elegance and viability of the proof of Fermat's last theorem, as well. That is not to say that Pretty Lady's opinion on this proof amounts to anything more than the opinion of her two feline companions on the screenplay of As Good as it Gets, which Pretty Lady viewed yesterday evening. The felines appeared uninspired by the movie; Pretty Lady herself was pleasantly surprised. It is rare that sappy, predictable love stories are actually accompanied by witty and insightful dialog.

It is all the more astonishing that in this age of Advanced Technology, people seem to forget that in order to assess whether something functions, one first has to test it. Nobody would consider that the design of the latest BMW had set a new standard for perfection in automotive technology if it never left the showroom; why then do people believe that they are competent to judge the effectiveness of a work of literature without having read it, the power of a painting without having viewed it, or the transformative capabilities of a spiritual practice without having practiced it?

Ah. Now we see that Pretty Lady has yet another Deeper Agenda.

For it strikes her that as arrogantly ignorant as people can be regarding the arts, this arrogance is dwarfed by their cavalier views toward the spiritually esoteric. For the mere reading and intellectual analysis of a spiritual text is not at all sufficient to the assessment of the merits of this text. One has to actually try it. Spirituality is not an abstract theory with no bearing on the physical world, except insofar as it is used to justify the ego-will; it is a practice.

Pretty Lady visited, yesterday evening, a regular client of hers. This charming lady has suffered from chronic, unspecific and seemingly acausal physical pain since long before she started working with Pretty Lady. Pretty Lady knows this pain is genuine, because she can feel its consequences.

Yesterday evening, her client seemed much more cheerful than usual. 'I've become a Buddhist,' she declared. 'I've been chanting regularly.' She informed Pretty Lady a bit about the history of her particular branch of Buddhism, the services she attends, and their activities on behalf of World Peace.

But it was when Pretty Lady began work that she sensed the true fruits of this practice. 'Buddhism seems to be good for you. You are more relaxed than I've ever felt,' she exclaimed. Indeed, at the end of the session, the client declared that it had been the least painful session of her life.

Pretty Lady understands, of course, the inadmissibility of the link between correlation and causation. Moreover, she does not prescribe Buddhism as a method of healing pain. However, she finds her client's experience to be a more compelling argument for its practice than twenty volumes of purely theoretical argument against it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Path of Excess

The only word to describe the current state of Pretty Lady's fire escape is 'riotous.'

Things have not even gotten started blooming yet, aside from a couple of morning glories and the miniature rose, purchased yesterday to fill the spot where the peony got scorched.

And yet Pretty Lady can...not...stop going to nurseries, garden stores, and the Botanical Garden. She is re-potting the indoor plants as well.

BTW, for those of you who have been following the story of the Epiphyllum with bated breath, Pretty Lady has some sad news for you. This weekend she had supper at an Ecuadoran restaurant which had an Epiphyllum in the window. It was potted in a tiny pot, with soil which resembled crumbled asphalt. It was obviously watered only rarely. It was tall, bony, preternaturally thin, and wan-looking. It also sported an incipient Blossom.

If this is how badly a person has to treat one's Epiphyllum in order to get it to bloom, then, Pretty Lady very much fears that she will prove to be Incapable.

In Defense of Elitism

Pretty Lady, being in a bit of a Mood yesterday, created somewhat of a furor over at poor dear Edward's blog. She must apologize to Edward, since he has been ever the gentleman; moreover, she is doing him the courtesy of moving her diatribe to her own space.

But move it she must. She cannot let people get away with such Philistinism.

For the fact is, people, Literacy Is Important. And Pretty Lady maintains her view that an illiterate person suffers under such a whopping big handicap in terms of ability to process and communicate issues of universal importance, that this person's opinion on such matters is innately suspect. As she controversially stated:

Judging by numbers in the 'Da Vinci Code' sense is a red herring, because we're dealing with factors other than the perception of Quality--availability, marketing, and the generally abysmal state of literacy in the U.S. these days. One glance at the blogosphere is enough to tell you that most people are unable to comprehend a basic sequence of logical causality, when presented in a coherent paragraph; are we then judging questions of literary style based on the perceptions of these people?

A more accurate test would be to take a group of people who have all proven themselves capable of explaining, in their own words and in complete sentences, the basic principles underlying our Constitution, the plot of Anna Karenina, and why a poem by e.e. cummings was radical for its time, but still holds up as literature in these degenerate days. Then you give this group a copy of 'The Da Vinci Code,' and 'Gaudy Night' by Dorothy L. Sayers, and ask them to assess the relative literary merits of each, providing support for their assertions.

I would stake my inheritance that Dorothy L. would win by a landslide.
The immediate reply to this screed was sadly predictable:
What is this elitist ethnocentric bullshit? If I haven't read Anna Karenina or e e cummings I'm not fit to discuss spirituality or transcendance with this "pretty lady"?
Even her dear friend David, who should know better, was skeptical:
PL, it sounds like a wonderful group of people to have over for dinner, but I seriously doubt they represent "the vast majority of people."
Pretty Lady hangs her head, and cries.

Because any literate member of Pretty Lady's friends will be able to spot the trick at once. That trick is, these questions are easy. Anybody who has ever BS'd their way through an examination after drinking beer in the parking lot till 3 AM instead of studying knows that.

But let Pretty Lady explain the answers, to those whose BS skills are as poor as those that Pretty Lady used on her grant application:

1) The Constitution is the basis for the U.S. government. We live in the U.S. Our basic rights as citizens are outlined in this document; therefore it behooves us to have a vague idea of what these rights are, and assert them, and defend them. These rights include things like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, right to bear arms, and right to privacy.

For extra credit, one may mumble about 'checks and balances,' which were put in place to prevent, oh, the executive branch of government from launching foolish, unwinnable wars to satisfy private grudges and not-so-private Messianic complexes.


2) One need not have read Anna Karenina to have heard, somewhere, that it is about a Russian lady who has an extramarital affair, and jumps in front of a train as a result of it.

3) Similarly, one need not have a degree in English Literature to note that the poems of mr. cummings are unconventionally capitalized and punctuated; one need only read a few of them to perceive that they are rather spicy. They Hold Up, in Pretty Lady's opinion, because they are still sufficiently oblique to be Teasing, rather than hitting you over the head with a hammer.

Notice that Pretty Lady did not demand that anybody understand a poem by Wallace Stevens.

Pretty Lady does not consider that people who cannot summon up even a cursory, BS'd answer to these questions are necessarily unintelligent; she can say, and boldly, that they are disgracefully and dangerously ignorant. She understands that the state of public education in this country produced this state of affairs; she has even heard rumours that this was done deliberately, by the government, to make people easier to control.

Judging by the state of the country's affairs at the moment, it seems to be working.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pretty Lady Throws a Tantrum

Pretty Lady is shocked. It seems that the Art Funding Powers that Be find Pretty Lady to be an insufficiently compelling BS artist.

This strikes Pretty Lady as nothing short of incredible. Here she has been, day after day, month after month, year after year, proving that her BS skills are so finely honed as to be almost Second Nature. She produces ream after ream of muddy, pretentious, overwritten, arch prose which can be read on literal grounds, ironic grounds, and metaphysical grounds, wherein each reading contradicts the others. Chaos, confusion, exasperation and controversy follow in her wake, as well as a certain amount of Irrational Adulation.

What more does an Art Funding Organization require? They definitely do not require that the actual art be compelling in any way, since they have declined to look at it. No, Art Funding Organizations make no bones about the fact that such impenetrable BS artistry is what impresses them, and Pretty Lady has given it to them. And still they have turned her down.

Moreover, the Art Funding Powers that Be have had the unmitigated gall to send Pretty Lady a request for donations, in the same week in which they declined to view her application. She would have sent them their own rejection letter in their donations envelope, except that her printer is out of ink, and she cannot afford another cartridge. Since she is not, in fact, funded.

(This action would indubitably come across as childish and spiteful, and so perhaps Pretty Lady's lack of printer cartridges comes as a minor blessing.)

It is at times like this that Pretty Lady turns her thoughts to the Wider Viewpoint, since the smaller one is irritatingly grim. She sees a certain karmic harmony in the Art Funding Organization asking her for money, after she asked them for money; indeed, she has received exactly what she put out into the world. She sees a certain absurdist risibility in the fact that a Visual Art Funding application provides no opportunity for an artist to display any visuals. And she finds her fundamental view of the world profoundly reinforced; that our value is bestowed by God, from Within, and has nothing to do with External Valuation by crass, pretentious, ego-driven Arts Funding Professionals. Or it had better not have.


A Correction

To the Blogging Community at Large:

The word "loose" is pronounced "lewss" and means 'to release' or 'not fastened tightly.'

The word "lose" is pronounced "looz" and means 'to miss from one's possession; mislay' or 'to bring to destruction.'

Please stop using the one when you mean the other.

Thank you.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Conspiracy uncovered

Pretty Lady has discovered something.

Take a look at these cans. Do you note anything particular about them? Anything special, in an aesthetic way?

Yes. They all look sort of retro, particularly the artichoke hearts and the hearts of palm. Sort of like they fell out of a nineteen-fifties time-warp.

It has become increasingly borne in upon Pretty Lady that most of the canned goods in the grocery store are sporting this aesthetic. What could this mean?

Pretty Lady thinks it is an Insidious Plot. Now is the explanation for why all the bohemian ladies in her bohemian neighborhood are suddenly becoming pregnant. She wouldn't be surprised if these cozy-looking cans are spiked with female hormones. They are luring all those bohemian girls back into the kitchen, and motherhood, and cookie-baking. "Come back to the times of flowery aprons and bright-red lipstick," they seem to be saying.

So have no fear; the canned-goods industry is making certain, all unbeknownst to Independent Thinkers, that Western Civilization carries on, and is not swamped by the infidel hordes.

Pretty Lady sleeps better at night, knowing that the capitalist powers that be have our future so well in hand.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Oh, for goodness' sake

Pretty Lady is ashamed of you people. She just had a glance at today's Site Meter statistics, and she is wryly unsurprised to note that the vast majority of you are not interested in her Mind. No, the subtleties of wit, insight, holiness and bizarre esoteric speculations are as nothing, it seems, to the hopes of catching a glimpse of a Pretty Lady in a tank top.

One would think that all you people would have to do is stroll down any Manhattan sidewalk in the summertime, to discover a surfeit of this sort of thing. Is this Desperation, or Sheer Greed?

Nevertheless, one has a duty to one's fans.

Have a lovely weekend. Hmph.

The Big Transformation

Pretty Lady is thrilled to report that, due to the recent arrival of some heirlooms from her dear departed aunt, she is tiptoeing into the semblance of living a Grown-Up Lifestyle. She is no longer using plastic storage boxes as furniture in her living room.

In the right-hand side of the frame, we see both the new drop-leaf end table with Queen Anne legs (Pretty Lady had to ask her mother to define a Queen Anne leg, not being a connoiseur of antique furniture) and the Oriental rug from her great-grandmother. Pretty Lady was thrilled by the fact that the colors all came together like that.

(And yes, that is a Flying Pig in the upper left. Pretty Lady is inordinately proud of it.)

To counterbalance and complement the pink and blue florality of the new floor-rug, she hung some new artwork that has a bit of an Edge to it, while picking up some of the major color themes.

The resultant aesthetic, Pretty Lady feels, is cooler, less cluttered, and more cohesive. Compared to the riot of orange, green, gold, red, burgundy, and blue that was there before, of course. The only remaining source of angst is that horrible industrial gray carpet, but one must learn to live with small distractions, until one becomes sufficiently well-off to tell Phil the Neanderthal where to stuff his rent-increase without a lease. Hmph.

How to Be Low-Maintenance

Darlings, Pretty Lady humbly apologizes for neglecting you. The truth is, the time simply got away from her, what with the heat, the Memorial Day barbecue, the roses at the Botanical garden, and lazing around with her new Gentleman Friend. But from what she gathers by the sparse state of her comment threads, most of you are similarly, and she hopes happily, occupied.

Pretty Lady and her Gentleman Friend do not make careers out of slacking, however, and the stress of so much mutual lazing did threaten to set the two of them into Limbo, at one point. Especially in the early stages of a new friendship, a person tends to forget that life is not all about sitting around and engaging in witty repartee, rather like a sitcom. Once the Intense Discussions began to seem a bit forced, Pretty Lady could feel that the next words hovering in the air might well have been, 'well, this has been nice. Let's move along, now.'

Fortunately Pretty Lady came to her senses in time, and the next time the G.F. called and suggested an evening of more purposeless Hanging Out, she declared, 'I really do have to get some work done. How about you bring along those pesky tax papers or something?'

The G.F. understood at once. 'Ah, the Mutual Ignore!' he enthused. 'I'll be right along.' Twenty points were awarded to the G.F. on the spot.

This may shock a few of you, but Pretty Lady has not always had friends who were as understanding and accommodating as this. Some of the most memorable knock-down drag-out fights of her career were precipitated by the fact that she had had the temerity to fall asleep in someone's company--not in the middle of a meal or anything, but during the hours when a person normally sleeps, after working long hours, or running the Bay to Breakers. Pretty Lady puts this down, in large part, to the fact of Spoiling, and Only Children, and the notion that whenever two people are occupying proximate spaces, their attention must be focussed exclusively upon one another.

Pretty Lady suffers from no such delusion, having shared a bedroom with a most beloved sibling for all of sixteen years. Under these circumstances, if both parties are Sensitive, and if long-term harmony is to be maintained, it is utterly necessary to cultivate the tactic of erecting invisible Privacy Shields around one's person. When a person shares a bedroom, overweening self-consciousness is an unaffordable liability.

(Horrors! Pretty Lady must share with you the fact that when she just typed the word 'unaffordable,' the Blogger Spell-Check underlined it in red. Perplexed, she Googled 'unaffordable' and discovered that as she thought, it is spelled 'unaffordable' and not 'unaffordible,' as Blogger would have it. What is the world coming to!)

In latter years, Pretty Lady has found that what makes her happiest, in a sustainable daily-life sort of way, is if she knows there is somebody she is fond of in the semi-near vicinity, working happily away at a project which does not involve Pretty Lady. Then Pretty Lady can occupy herself with one of the four or five or six ongoing projects with which she is concerned, and every now and then pause in order to consume a meal, and chat in a desultory, low-pressure manner. She does not thrive on chaos; what she likes is a quiet, constant hum. This makes her feel both unisolated and undistracted; it helps her to focus, and not slack off.

That is why it has so shocked her in the past, when she got to know somebody, got fond of them, and proceeded to show her fondness by attempting to hang out with them in companionable, industrious silence--and this person responded by throwing a hissy fit. She clearly recalls several conversations with a then-boyfriend, who was on the brink of becoming a Psycho Stalker, wherein he declared, very very late at night on a work day, "It's really rude of you to go to sleep like that. And would you put down your sewing while we're talking?" Or the hostess who could not endure the fact of her friend sitting at the opposite end of the room, reading a book, while she performed her Pilates routine. 'Would you go somewhere else?' she demanded. 'I can't have anyone around while I'm working out.'

(Gracious, one would have thought that she was doing something sexually perverted or something. One wonders how she managed to endure the shame of taking all those dance lessons.)

Pretty Lady feels that such persons are setting themselves up for an exceedingly neurotic existence. It is simply not practical to run one's life under the assumption that if there are other people in the vicinity, all of you are On Stage, and must perform accordingly.

This has nothing to do with the need for Basic Courtesy; one hopes that the tenets of such are not so unendurably constricting as to absolutely require total solitude for many many hours every day, simply in order to function. And it must be stressed that Pretty Lady is not at all a fan of Gossiping, Chaotic work environments; if the person at the next desk insists upon blasting offensive music, engaging in offensive conversation, or repeatedly interrupting her work, that person must be Suppressed.

So, for those of you recovering neurotics who would like to experiment with the Mutual Ignore as a daily lifestyle, Pretty Lady has a few pointers.

1) The Mutual Ignore is mostly mental. It is not control of physical space we are after; it is the cultivation of a State of Mind.

2) This State of Mind involves two basic assumptions: a) that the other person in the vicinity does not expect anything specific of you in an ongoing way (except for the abovementioned Basic Courtesy) and b) that this non-expectation is mutual.

This may seem simple. However, a person must have a base line of inner centeredness to perform it. If a person is incapable of understanding the basic tenets of the Mutual Ignore, it is highly likely that this person likewise does not understand personal boundaries. Either they habitually make the other person's business their business, or they expect that all people around them must be consumingly occupied with their affairs.

It is Pretty Lady's draconian, experiential opinion that these sorts of people must be ejected from her life, so that she can get some work done.