Thursday, July 19, 2007

the highest caliber

on an early winter day six and a half years ago, having been tapped to introduce a performer at my undergraduate college, i was practicing my schpiel in the car with my new boyfriend as we drove to campus. i had written the whole grant proposal to get this musician to michigan from israel, and my professor totally screwed me by not even letting me have a lesson with the guy. instead, apparently, he thought i'd be satisfied getting to introduce him at some recital. which was total bullshit. nonetheless, i wrote a great introduction, and was rehearsing it in the car with b right before the recital when, for some reason, i slipped into the eastern european accent i'd been goofing around with the day before over drinks ... right as i was getting to ... "he is a violist of the highest caliber ..." it was at a point for us when everything was still so new, when we were reveling in those little inside jokes, things we thought we might keep in our pockets for ages, but we didn't quite know for sure. and for some reason, when i said "of the highest caliber" in a crazy eastern european accent, it was the funniest thing either of us had ever heard. i remember driving past the D&W, laughing so hard i was crying, yelling to b that he should pull over because he was laughing so hard.

it's been a phrase for us that has always been hilarious.

but today, today it took a turn.

i was sitting in my k street office, listening to congressional testimony being given by b's boss on cspan radio that i knew he'd written, rummaging through breach of contract cases and minding my own business, when i heard it.

"the staff will be of the highest caliber."

it was like someone came into my office and handed me a box with all the progress we've made, with a map of how far we've come, and shoved it into my arms. suddenly, six years seemed like no time whatsoever. six years ago we were a couple of kids in kalamazoo, busting our guts over some stupid line in a stupid speech about a stupid musician that i said in a stupid accent. all of a sudden, here we are. i'm sitting in my k street office, he's written it into congressional testimony. shit, i wrote congressional testimony a few weeks ago.

how. did. this. happen.

this summer, for me, has been an exercise in walking assertively through doors i'd never thought would be opened for me. literally, figuratively ... it's all the same. but there was something about hearing that phrase on cspan radio. it was like someone asked me, as i was walking into a restaurant that i'd never pay for, whether i belonged. like a doubletake. it was something, i don't know what, but it got to me.

and now i'm wondering - how many more times will we make our powerful bosses utter that phrase just to amuse the other person? or will i utter it in court just for a grin? now it's a challenge - and now i love those two college kids in kalamazoo even more than i did before.

(b's editorial response to my first reading of this: "that is a blog of the highest caliber." indeed.)


EJ Takes Life said...

S is of the highest caliber.

Feet is of the lowest caliber.

Chateau Chantal is of the highest caliber.

I like this game!

Laura said...

Know the feeling. Sometimes when I walk into kropp woodworking it overwhelms me. Or when I look at Jack in the morning.

Jack is of the highest caliber!

Canned Asparagus is of the lowest caliber!

Kropp Woodworking is he highest caliber.....

Who's next???