Friday, March 25, 2011

Still Life with Robin: Thirteen Months Old

by Peggy Robin

A year has flown by. How did that happen? Yes, I’ve been writing this column for more than a year. The anniversary was actually a month ago, on February 26, 2010: The first column was published on the Cleveland Park Listserv. All Life Is Local did not yet exist; the birthday for this website is April 2, 2010.

The subject of that first column was the phenomenon of complaints choirs, springing up in various cities -- a group of singers who perform an area-specific song that puts all the woes of that particular city to music. The subject appealed to me because I like to complain. However, I recognize that others may not like to hear someone complain too much – especially someone who, for the most part, is lucky enough to have very little of consequence to complain about. So I pledged in my seventh column to do my best to hold down my natural curmudgeonliness and keep the complaints to a minimum. Now is the time to take a look back and see how well I stuck to that pledge -- and what I did with all my non-complaining columns.

Herewith, the breakdown of subject matter for the past 55 weeks:

Complaints columns: Just five! After that initial column on complaints choirs, there was column #3, complaining about name changes (of streets, hotels, businesses), and then #17 bemoaning the obnoxious, constant buzzing of vuvuzelas at the Soccer World Cup. Column #24 told tales of well-meant assistance with bad outcomes, and finally, #29 whined about how hard it is to remove those horrible security tags on clothing if they’re accidentally left on after checkout.

I have done sixteen columns that I would classify as “slice of life” pieces or musings on miscellaneous themes. (That’s the “still life” I had in mind when I named the column “Still Life with Robin.” Some of these were: #14 cooking according to a recipe when you discover you are missing one key ingredient; #16, a story of what happened one 4th of July when the air conditioning went out; #22 on pens and keys; #25 on stacking plates in the dishwasher and handling other mundane household chores.

Ten columns were on travel/vacation/ holidays/fun places to go: #20 about beaches; #25 about packing suitcases; and #39 on TSA’s habit of taking away useful objects (like knitting needles) when you pass through security.

Nine were on consumer issues/shopping experiences: #11 was on the opening of the Georgetown Safeway; #12 and its follow-up, #13, were on buying wedding presents; #40 took on the dilemma of holiday shopping: online or in-store.

Six were on home maintenance: #31 was about laundry mistakes; #23 was on power outages; and #34 on my incompetence as a gardener.

Five were on words/writing: #47 was on the need for new terms for extended family members; #48 was on typing two spaces after a period; #54 was about the F-bomb.

Four were on cars/driving/parking: #4 was on teen driving; #51 was on new cars.

I just can’t decide how this column should be classified….but if you call that a complaint, then I’ll put it in the complaints category, which brings that number up to six. Not bad for 55 columns, or about 10 percent of the total. I will do my best to keep the ratio the same or lower for the next 55.

No comments:

Post a Comment