Last night, a miracle occurred in Dallas airport. Randi and I were having dinner before our flight home. It was Katie’s annual Chicken Caesar Salad Day, so I was providing the chicken and Randi was bringing the Caesar salad. I got up to find the loo, and ran into our server who pointed me down the airport corridor, “about 25 metres that way”. I thanked him and went on my way, and it took me a few steps to realise… metres? He said metres?
I asked him about it later, and he explained that he studies engineering and “thinks in metres” before suppressing a thinly-disguised shudder at the “other measurements”. This is encouraging. This is the spark of the future. If the metric system can infiltrate Texas, it’s only a matter of time before the US goes the whole 8.23 metres and converts.
We were in Dallas and the surrounding metroplex (the actual term) for Randi’s grandmother’s birthday and a mini family reunion. I already knew most people (although hello to the person who only knew me from this blog!) and it was especially fun to see the youngest cousins again. We stayed with Randi’s immediate family in Grapevine, a town with a cheerful and extensive main street which includes an impressively stocked ‘British Emporium’ for some reason, but we did briefly venture into Dallas proper to visit Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum. This is the infamous ‘Texas School Book Depository’ from which JFK was shot, a tragedy which presumably could have been averted by arming school books with machine guns. (Back in Grapevine we passed a guy wearing an NRA baseball cap, and in my superhero fantasy I was able to confront him rather than tutting behind his back and donating to Everytown to make myself feel better. Take that, anonymous man!)
Earlier this month, it was Pancake Day! Unlike Chicken Caesar Salad Day I am no less than 100% committed to Pancake Day, as this video surely makes clear:
This level of coordination might explain why I slipped and fell on the ice in Chicago last week, gifting my thigh a giant ‘nebula purple’ bruise (©Katie Self) and giving me a great excuse to lie back on the sofa and watch the Winter Olympics. It has never really occurred to me to watch the Winter Olympics before, but at Randi’s urging I gave it a try, and aside from the ice dancing it was pretty great. This was also a good moment to see Icarus, an incredible documentary which we were lucky enough to watch in a cinema, by a filmmaker who stumbled into an amazing relationship with the lab director at the centre of the Russian doping scandal. I was dimly aware of the doping story, and had obviously noticed the Russian athletes competing under the ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ banner, but understanding the events which led to this moment was eye-opening. Highly recommended.
And when you’ve done that, you have to watch the three-part BBC series on IKEA, Flatpack Empire. It’s totally compelling, and it’s the type of cosy BBC2 programme I need more of in my life.
Also in the last fortnight: a traditional Valentine’s Day at La Scarola, a dipping of our toes into watching The Crown (I could be wrong and sometimes the origin of phrases can surprise you, but it felt very wrong to hear about Churchill on the “campaign trail”) and a winning game of the co-operative Pandemic with Toggolyn. Although it was touch and go in the end. If there’s a real global pandemic I don’t think we are the people to call.
Bruno Antonio Quintanilla Leon, Katie Self, Sharon Dinkin, Susanna Märak-Freeman, Phyllis Lawrence, Randi Lawrence, Steven Petitpas-Polselli, Beth Dubowe-Lawrence, Natasha Self, Catherine Tarsney, Peter John Boss liked this post.