The Vine: August 24, 2004
I have a grammar question for you involving "toward" vs. "towards." Which is correct: "I'm heading toward the buffet" or "I'm heading towards the buffet"?
I've always wondered
Dear While You're Up, I'd Like Some More Potato Salad,
Neither is incorrect; "toward" is more common in American English, and "towards" in British English, but you can use them interchangeably.
I'm thinking of starting an online journal-type (wait! Don't hang up!)…thingy…
The thing is, my boyfriend is dead. Really. We were together for seven years, in a married kind of way for the last five of those, and around Thanksgiving he got "the flu" that was going around and then two weeks later he got diagnosed with metastatic cancer and then seven weeks later he died.
No, really. He had just turned 36, which is how old I am now, and in a week or so it will be six months and generally it seems to have just happened. So I was thinking: If I had a place to write about it I a) wouldn't be going on like this to you right now and b) wouldn't have to try to come up with someone to call every time something fucked up happens. Like today, when I saw the cobwebs on the hook where his pajamas are still hanging.
There's nothing I want anyone to say to me about that anyway; it's just that it makes me want to scream.
What was I saying? Oh, yes. Do you think I should do it? How should I handle the "pseudonymous or not" issue? Should I use Diaryland? Those Movable Type people?
Whatever. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.
I'm so sorry for your loss. And I do think you probably need somewhere to go with what's happened, somewhere that's just yours and that's just about this. So, try it. See how it feels. (And yes, I'd use pseudonyms; you don't want strangers knowing every detail of your life, whether it's in the past or not.)
Diaryland and Diary-X are both okay; I don't know much about Movable Type, but a lot of journallers use it, so you could look into it. The physical venue isn't all that important as long as it's easy for you to use and access.
Good luck with it, and with everything.
I am the owner of two kitties, both of whom I love dearly, but both of whom drive me batty due to their constant shedding all over my furniture, rugs, shower curtains, sheets, keyboard, blankets, floors, and clothing. I vacuum at least once a day and de-fuzz my clothes every morning, but I can't get away from the dander. I even bought those stupid, ill-fitting covers for my couch and chairs because it's easier to throw them in the washing machine once a week than it is to try to get the built-up cat fur off of the furniture.
I try to brush the kitties daily, which isn't easy for one of them because he HATES it (even though I've tried several brushes of varying textures), and we try to bathe them once in a while (also difficult…I don't think any kitties like to be washed, and they'll let you know it), but nothing seems to make a difference. My brother told me that his problems with cat hair were lessened when he started letting his cats go outside, but that's not an option for my guys. One of them has no front claws (she used to belong to my husband's mother, who de-clawed her), and we live on a pretty busy street.
I just don't know what to do anymore. I know that the hair thing just comes with owning cats, and that living in a small apartment with two of them just makes it look worse, but it just seems like other cat-owners' houses don't look like this. I'm a pretty clean and tidy person, but I'm not a freak about it; I'm just being driven crazy by this problem. I'm embarrassed when people come over, and I feel like they shouldn't even sit on my couch because they'll be covered with hair when they get up. How do other people control this problem? My friends' houses don't seem to be taken over by their pets, but you KNOW cats live here the second you walk in the door.
Are there any tricks, Sars, or do I just have to live with it?
Thanks for your help,
She of the Furry Furniture
After a certain point, yes, you just have to live with it. You already do way more than I do; I brush my cats, like, once a fortnight, which is about as often as I sweep and vacuum, because it's a losing battle. I sweep, another cat-hair dustball appears. I lint-roll the couch, Hobey lies right down on it again.
But I also just don't care that much. Eh, so it's a little furry around here — so what? I try to keep the allergens under control for the benefit of sneezy guests, but beyond that, visitors know I have cats, and they know they're welcome to borrow a lint brush, so I don't worry about it. And I think you should take a more laissez-faire attitude towards the cat hair, because you'll just drive yourself crazy otherwise. You have cats. Cats shed. I think you think it's a way bigger problem than anyone else does; people usually don't notice that stuff unless you point it out.
Lint-roll the relevant furniture before you have people over, wave some incense around in the same room as the cat box, and let it go. You can't win. Stop trying.
Here's a question that manages to be about both word usage and relationships — so where else would I send it but to you?
My question is this: What does "hooking up" mean? Twenty-some-odd years ago when I was a teenager, it just meant "meeting." Now I'm not sure — in some Vine letters it seems to imply dating, in others just casual sex with no particular emotional attachment. Is there an agreed-upon understanding of its slang usage? I'm secretly wondering if young people use the term so that their parents think they are meeting for a milkshake, when in fact they are off to the drugstore to purchase condoms.
Not knowing what the word implies makes it a little tricky to understand the nuances of some letters in The Vine. As an out gay man, I can describe with great clarity the difference between a trick, a thing, a fling, an affair, a boyfriend, a fuck-buddy, a partner and a husband — but this one has me stumped.
On the Hook
When I was in college, we used it to mean "making out" — not sleeping together, necessarily (if that had gone on, we'd say we'd slept together), but more than smooching. There wasn't an implication of casual (or serious); it just meant you'd fooled around.
But I don't think other people tend to use it that way; Wing Chun thinks that it implies both sex and the casualness of same. In any case, most of the time when I hear it now it's as a synonym for "make a plan to get together."
Both meanings can apply, and you can usually discern which one from the context, particularly in a Vine letter; if a petitioner says that she hooked up with her friend and then goes on to detail how awry the relationship went, well, there you go.
Tags: boys (and girls) cats grammar sex