Monthly Archives: March 2016

TalkBlock

If you are capable of speaking but remain incapable of being heard, it is because you are doing one or more of the following things wrong. If you want to overcome your #TalkBlock, check all boxes that apply and correct yourself accordingly.TalkBlock

  • Are You a Woman? Are you visibly, identifiably, physically female?

The first thing you probably did wrong was being born a girl. This was one of the first and wrongest choices that you’ve ever made. Typical. Women are always wrong. At least you got that right.

But don’t fret. This condition can be corrected. The more female you sound and appear, the less likely people are to hear you. Try looking a little bit less feminine, and lowering your voice. Or try composing a written message instead, using one of those revolutionary BIC “For Her” pens. Speaking verbally in person can be distracting because your female physical presence will inevitably steal the show, leaving your message, as usual, ignored. Surely ink on paper poses less of a distraction. Although, without the tits and ass attached, your message may go entirely unnoticed.

 

  • Are You Speaking To A Man?

This was undoubtedly your next biggest mistake. Men are statistically the least likely to hear you, whoever you may be. Try presenting your message in the form of an ESPN report or sports commentary. Or booty call.

 

Most men don’t hear these words. The more entitled the man, the more immunity he’s built to your denial, and the more his ears have adapted to filter out these words. Don’t even bother.

 

  • Are You Saying What You Think or How You Feel?

Unless you are a man, what you think and how you feel mean nothing, and no one wants to hear. Just stop. If you are a woman, opinions are for men to have, and you to live with.

 

  • Do The Words You’re Saying Simply Have No Value?

Did you answer yes to the first question (Are you a woman)? If you are a woman, most people can safely assume the words you’re saying are a) wrong, b) stupid or c) otherwise completely valueless. Try saying the same words, as a man, or finding a man to say them for you, so that your words will not only be audible, but also indisputably true and correct, wise, and undeniably profound.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to share / ask. EspressYourself is owned and operated by a woman, so she’ll be sure to actually hear you.

 

Message In a Bottle

Papa Snow and Teacher Sarah, preaching equal rights to pink, whatever your gender
Papa Snow and Teacher Sarah, preaching equal rights to pink, whatever your gender

Last week, one of my preschoolers wanted to tell me a funny story. She dragged me over to the lunchbox cubbies, and grabbed a pink water bottle out of one of the other kid’s cubbies. She said, “Johnny brought a girl’s water bottle to school today. That’s so funny.” She smiled at me, impressed with her witty observation. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to tell her that she’s wrong.

Maybe other teachers might hear her comment and shrug it off as not-a-big-deal. But I am not that kind of teacher. I think it’s a big deal because the same logic that tells kids that “pink is a girl’s color” is also telling them girls can’t be good at math or science. And I don’t want any of my kids to think they can’t do something because they’re a girl, or because they’re a boy, or they don’t fit the gender binary. I want Johnny to proudly and confidently drink from a pink water bottle if he wants to, and I don’t want any of my kids to be confined to gender stereotypes.

I don’t want Susie to walk away, thinking Johnny’s pink water bottle is a laughing matter. But I can’t just say “Susie, pink is for everyone. The idea that pink is for girls is a gender stereotype. And I don’t want you to be trapped by stereotypes because I want you to grow up to be your own authentic self.” First of all, she’s four and she won’t understand what a gender stereotype is. And second, she perceives that the fact that pink is for girls is an indisputable truth. She’s observed our cultures and listened to adults in her life and now she believes that pink is for girls. I can’t argue against a whole lifetime of her experiences that imply pink is for girls. There’s no real reason behind it. And how do you argue against a fact that has no reason behind it? You don’t. You challenge it. So I asked her a question.

I asked her, “Why is it a girl’s water bottle?”

Susie stared at me, thrown off. Finally she responded, “Because it’s pink. And pink is a girl’s color.” She’s happy she got the question correct.

And I ask her another question: “Why is pink a girl’s color?”

Susie was silent. Most of the time, I ask the kids questions I already know the answer to, and there’s only one correct response. This time, I asked her a question with no correct answer.

Finally she said, “I don’t know.”

She looked to me for the answer, and I said, “Then why can’t Johnny have a pink bottle?” I don’t answer her question. I let her sit with the uncertainty. Maybe that uncertainty will make her hesitate the next time she assumes. Maybe the uncertainty will challenge future patterns she observes, leaving her instead wondering why.

I put the water bottle back in Johnny’s cubbie and smiled at Susie. She smiled back at me, uncomfortable with my unanswered question. Soon, she was distracted by a trampoline, the pink bottle quickly forgotten. Or maybe not. I don’t know if what I said made an impact on her.  All I can do is try to make a teaching moment out of the experience.

But often times, a teaching moment for the kids is also a teaching moment for me. Because I also live in a culture that has implicitly shaped my views and I have “truths” that I’ve just accepted as fact. And all I can hope is someone will come and ask me why, because that’s where the conversation starts.

Dakota Snow, Daughter of Papa Snow, was privileged to grow up knowing it's okay for anyone to drink from pink, whether a boy, girl, man, woman, or faceless ball of hair
Dakota Snow (D$), daughter of Papa Snow, was privileged to grow up knowing it’s okay for anyone to drink from pink, whether a boy, a girl, a man, a woman, or a faceless ball of hair

The Real Peel

The wasteful-food-packaging nazi I am, I consider it my responsibility to report on this atrocity. Whole Foods, famous for their mission and commitment to sustainability, have failed us, disgustingly. Their crime: Peeling oranges, just to repackage them in plastic boxes.

The grossness of this offense comes second only to the 2012 social media meltdown of German grocer Billa, who went so far as to pre-peel bananas and rewrap their delicate, browning, exposed interiors inside of cellophane-sealed styrofoam trays, meatslab style.

But the silver lining on these tragedies is how they were received by social media. The public put these companies on blast. Fast. The action taken to correct the crime was as immediate, in both cases, as the outrage spreading virally online. So rest assured, any future packaging catastrophes will be promptly put to rest, and justice will be served, in the timeless form of public humiliation, so long as we have social media.

Water

Until recently, all water ever was to me was an ingredient in coffee. Or tea. Or something to wash things with. Or something to swim in and / or drown in. Or something to admire while it falls out of the sky. Certainly not something to drink straight. What are we, animals?

Raw, colorless, flavorless, odorless, might-as-well-be-empty water. What the fuck. Why even bother? Surely juice or milk or coffee are exponentially better alternatives. Or alcohol, depending on your agenda. As a barista, nothing pains me more than when a customer walks in for nothing but a bottle of water. It’s the ultimate insult to me, the magician, the potions master behind the counter, concocting water into coffee, to serve somebody unadulterated H2O that will never live to brew a single coffee bean.

But all my life, adults have told me to drink water, like my life depends on it. And all my life, people around me just keep inexplicably sipping plain water for no apparent reason. It’s like some really elaborate practical joke that everybody’s in on. And it’s beginning to get out of hand. Just look at the state of the drought on the west coast. And I read somewhere that humans are mostly made of water, but anyone can see that’s bullshit. For one thing, if I were mostly water, what’s to stop me spilling all over the floor? And if two thirds of me is made of any fluid, it’s obviously coffee.

But during a routine complaint about my chronic lack of energy, migraines and / or indigestion, etcetera / [insert-other-generic-symptom-here], it occurred to me that maybe the problem has been my refusal to drink water, all along. It suddenly became clear as, say, a glass of water, that maybe I’ve just been dehydrated for years. I sweat and bleed coffee. Maybe it’s time I try this mysterious invisible substance.

Agua
the daunting (reusable!) glass of liquid torture that stands between me and my coffee every morning

So since last week, for every cup of coffee, I must first consume an equal size serving of water. And although it’s been a real bitch to kick my strictly-coffee-only habit, it was a worthy change to force myself to make. I’m no doctor, and I can’t definitively promise you that water will cure you of anything, but it certainly can’t hurt you. In the short time I’ve been on the stuff, I’ve noticed changes in my skin, my tummy problems have perhaps slightly improved, and most of all, I’ve been more energized. I find this ironic. Water wakes me up better than coffee. Maybe my caffeine tolerance has grown too high, but unlike coffee, water doesn’t hit me with a crash a couple hours later that leaves me narcoleptic / comatose in public places.

But health benefits aside, my commitment to earn a cup of coffee only as a reward for an equal portion of water has attached a conscious action to an automatic habit of having another cup of coffee, and another, and another, which is easy to do behind the counter handling an unlimited supply. But now, I’ve become all too aware of how much coffee I actually consume, and I’ve been forced to pace myself. There is such a thing as too much coffee. Just ask my friend Eugene what happened to his intestines after eight consecutive shots of espresso. Coffee is a drug, just like any other, and you can overdose, indeed.

So if you’ve been neglecting your recommended water intake, as I have, just drink it. If clean drinking water is available to you, be thankful that you have it. Filter it. Fill a reusable water bottle with it. I use glass jars and a metal water bottle, with lids that seal. Whatever you do, don’t waste unnecessary plastic. Make some room in your routine to wash your coffee down with water. Or chase each shot of booze with an even fatter shot of water. Your body is a garden. Water it if you want it to bloom.

Weight Up A Minute

Last week, I posted this letter on the back of the espresso machine at Summit Coffee, for my customers. But even if you’re not a customer at Summit Coffee, this letter holds true for you, too. Much love.Letter

To All the Fine-Ass Residents of Redwood City Trying to Lose Weight,

I just want you to know how sexy you already are, and how surprised I am when you cut the cream and sugar and switch to black, or “skinny” lattes instead of regular. Light cream cheese on your bagel… Why?

If the fat upsets your stomach, I completely understand. By all means. (I clean the bathroom.) Medical condition, fully justified. Your health should be a high priority.

But when you tell me you’re “trying to get your summer body back,” as if your winter body wasn’t good enough, you’re trippin. Your fine and fully capable winter body carried you into Summit Coffee every day. Your winter body brought a smile to my face. Your winter body probably did everything your summer body promises to do, except your winter body dignified you all the cream and sugar you deserve.

So take it from your barista, who sees you every day, before you’ve had your coffee, naturally, at your worst / most disgusting. You’re beautiful. Every day. I know it, and I just hope that you do, too.

Love,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Barista