Sunday Lowdown #207


Last week I asked if folks could predict what topic I would choose for my interpreting homework, which has tasked us with choosing a video covering a topic that just truly gets under our skin. While the video plays, we say exactly what the speaker says in the same tone and delivery — seriously, just a second after the speaker does. This is called parroting.

Laila @ Big Reading Life guessed correctly: something about dieting or fat people being lazy, etc. Here’s the interesting part: as I went searching for videos that would make me rage-y, I discovered they were basically three kinds. 1) Exercise videos, which don’t have enough talking for the assignment. 2) Hatemongers like Andrew Tate. 3) People who play fat activist YouTube videos and make fun of them picture-in-picture.

Perhaps YouTube has rules about harassment, but I was surprised that I had a hard time finding a video that would work for my assignment. People like Joe Rogan swear a lot (and my college has a no swearing clause in their decent living policy). And then the people making fun of fat YouTubbers actually said very little. Oddly, it gave me some kind of hope. I thought finding a video would be easy. I ended up choosing one by a woman talking about the motivation to lose weight, which veers into how motivation works for anything, so while it doesn’t make me rage, she does talk really fast. I can keep up, but I’m panting by the end.

Alright, so what happened this week. I finally, finally figured out how to go to the gym at school. Let me back up. The first time I thought I was going right to the gym and would use it. All I saw were basketball courts. Where were the cardio machines? An indoor walking track? I ended up making a trek across the campus to the new gym because someone heard something about a track over there. But, by the time I figured out where I was going, an hour had passed.

Then, I used the new fancy gym twice. There was no indoor walking track, but there was an indoor track, like, for a track team kind of track. Both times my student ID wouldn’t swipe me in and unlock the door, so I just kept running the ID and looking helpless until someone let me in. Then I called student services to ask them to fix my card. They noted that I am not an athlete. Okay . . . your point? The point is, the new fancy gym is for athletes only, probably the track team, except 7:00PM-10:00PM. Do they not know Jeopardy! is on in the evening, nor that I am not leaving my house after 8:00PM?

I learned the basketball gym actually has a cardio room tucked in an odd corner, so off I went, Gym Try #4. There is no locker room, so I changed in the bathroom where I had a cartoon-frantic reaction (picture Sponge Bob) when I realized my sports bra was cold . . . and soaking wet. My bottle of Crystal Lite had somehow come unscrewed and dumped all over in my bag, getting my non-gym clothes and my sports bra soaked. I put my non-gym bra back on and carried the bag to the sink, where I literally poured out a puddle. But, it was a success, because I discovered the non-athlete gym has big booty bicycle seats!

Can you tell I am in my element? I hate treadmills, which is what I was using when I “snuck” into the fancy gym. So much better! It wasn’t until Gym Try #6 that I finally got it all right.

Also this week, my neighbor, a six-year-old boy, sent me a letter asking me to be his sign language teacher, and my response might be different than you expect. I examined the ethics of the situation in a post on my interpreting blog. In addition to what I wrote, I’m still learning to sign myself. When asked in class how I would sign riding a bicycle and taking my feet off the pedals, I unknowingly used the common sign to spread one’s legs for sex. My teacher signed I DIDN’T SEE THAT then explained it to me.


Most comments from you all about my review of The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith were about seeing the movie (with the title changed to Carol) and the claim that Highsmith’s novel inspired Nabokov’s Lolita. While the older woman, Carol, is not predatory like Humbert Humbert, and Therese is not a minor (though she is 19), I can imagine how Nabokov looked at The Price of Salt and wondered what what change if older person were a man, or if Therese was a few years younger. Perhaps the novels can be read as a call and response?


A book about female friendship that crosses the boundaries between intimates and colleagues, The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora is set in Hollywood where starlet Elise is in need of support, so she calls her high school friend, Abby, to come live with her and be Elise’s everything. Billed as a psychological thriller, I can’t help but note how uninvested I was in Acampora’s novel compared to a real psychological thriller like Strangers on a Train. Review Wednesday.


Books Bought Since January 2023: 0



  1. What Laila said , but really it shouldn’t be so hard should it.

    But I’m really interested in this -“my college has a no swearing clause in their decent living policy”. What is a “decent living policy”. I’ve never heard of it but I like the sound of it. It is sad, though, that we need such a thing Isn’t it.

    Call and response – I like it.

    I saw your other blog post come through last week but haven’t had time to click through to it – yet. I will try to.


    • Specifically, the policy says: “Because we value each member of our community as reflecting the Creator, we agree to avoid abusive words and actions including profanity, hazing, threats of violence, or discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, or physical trait.” To be honest, it is nice to not hear people swearing all the time. Because we are trying to work toward entering a professional industry, it’s key to start practicing that now, in my opinion.

      However, the part I struggle with is “we agree to abstain from tobacco in any form, alcohol and gatherings where alcohol is present…” I mean, alcohol is present everywhere, from the restaurant to the funeral dinner. However, I get the feeling that what they are really saying is do not go to a frat party and refuse to drink and call it good.


  2. Of course a church college has a ‘decent living policy’. Not swearing in class is one thing (hard though) but having the college prying into other areas – well it wouldn’t have suited me. I hope it’s not a cover for homophobia and so on (I was in a church college for a year. Church of England, so not very strict. Life was a bit tougher for the Catholic girls).

    Are you learning scatological signs, and when not to use them!


    • Actually, I’m glad there is a no swearing policy because that twenty-something tendency to want to swear about everything is exhausting, especially when we’re supposed to be practicing for a professional career. Professionalism doesn’t turn off and on like a light. It takes practice, so why not do that at school?

      I know what kind of campus I am on, so I navigate things in a respectful way. I actually felt more pressure at Notre Dame because everyone assumes you’re Catholic and starts talking to you like you agree with them. In the 13 years since then, I think folks have shifted to state things that they believe with confidence, but don’t do this odd dance that makes you intimately involved.


  3. I’m glad you were able to find the gym in the end! My university also had a secret gym for athletes, which I didn’t even know about until after a friend told me about it after I graduated (she had a wheelchair tennis scholarship so she was allowed to use it). Well done for persevering!


    • Thank you, Lou! I think I only used the gym at my first undergrad institution (circa 2003-2006) a handful of times because it was one of those places where everyone is already insanely fit.


  4. Wow, finding the gym took some work! Good job persevering, not sure I would have!

    Oh, Glassy Burning Floor of Hell, I read that! It’s not my usual but there were some good stories in it. Didn’t like it enough to want to read more Evenson though.


  5. It sounds like you answered your young neighbour as best you could. You make great points and hopefully made him and his family more aware of the broader implications. And, as you say, he could grow up and become an ally, knowing from a young age more about Deaf culture and experience (if he finds an appropriate teacher).


  6. I’d just like to say, good for you for making the trek and overcoming obstacles to find the gym. Many people would have just given up, myself included. I used to be a real gym rat, I loved going almost every day, and I enjoyed it, but no matter how comfortable or ‘in the know’ I may have looked, I always had serious anxiety going to a new gym. It’s very intimidating – finding your way around, figuring out the new machines (even the newer versions of them), people looking at you because its’ clear you are new there, etc. It’s a very scary thing, and although I sort of miss gyms occasionally, I’m happy to work out at home for now, but I may go back! Anyway, this was a very long way of saying – you should be proud of yourself for doing that.


    • You have mentioned you used to be a gym rat, but I forgot that fact! When I work out, I take off my hearing aids because I don’t want them to get sweat on them. So, if anyone comes up to me and asks what I’m doing there, I will have to, very honestly, say, “WHAT?!” LOL. I know you got a Peloton bike for home. Is that still working well for you?

      Liked by 1 person

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