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You say 'aspirational' like it's a bad thing

Dateline Miami...Seven knuckleheads (who sound like graduates of "Rex Kwan Do" in Napoleon Dynamite) are accused of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower.  But a phrase jumps out at me from the AP  report:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stressed that there was no immediate threat in either Chicago or Miami because the group did not have explosives or other materials it was seeking.

"This group was more aspirational than operational," FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said.

It's worrisome when a quote about would-be terrorist "bungling wannabes" (as they were also described ) reminds you of yourself...yet this seemed a strangely apt description for us as renovators. We aspire; boy, do we aspire. I subscribe faithfully to a glossy niche shelter mag called Old House Interiors, from which I tenderly clip display ads for antique doorknob warehouses, millers of barnwood planks, and purveyors of lace swag curtains. We take house tours. Back in the day, we took courses, too--woodworking, plumbing, the works. 


But operating? That's another matter. Doorknob-and-plank money is usually in short supply, as are time, skill, and energy.  (But distractions are plentiful, especially given the glut of fascinating things to do here in Brooklyn.) This past week, I have felt especially like a BW (bungling wannabe). The Child's birthday has come around and with it a round of visits from family and friends. They'll notice some changes, by God: We have stripped some paint off the front door, so it is now piebald, and we have removed the dangerously malfunctioning bathroom doorknobs. (Easier than facing the sad but inevitable day when we would have to remove the molding and take the door off its hinges to free a trapped guest.) 


So, not much operating...but the aspirations persist. And while the house (like the cake in that awful song) may soon be melting in the rain, tonight there was a mad solstice celebration of fifth-grade graduates in the garden, dancing wildly to ABBA in a soft summer shower and waving armloads of lavender and yarrow. Earlier, before pink-iced cake and Twister, the Child took her party pals on a tour of the vast and raffish recesses of the CrazyStable; I winced, imagining them recoiling after the tidy perfection of their own civilized homes, but was gratified to hear "cool!" several times. Admittedly, it was the kind of "cool!" uttered when you tell your friends your father is a warlock or your mother gives tattoos for a living, but "cool" it was. 

So maybe, on some level, we are already operating, and I am just aspiring to the wrong things.

At Rex Kwan Do, we use the buddy system. No more flying solo. You need somebody watching your back at all times. Second off, you're gonna learn to discipline your image.  -- Napoleon Dynamite 
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 at 08:44PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | CommentsPost a Comment

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