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The Observer, July 10 

The Observer's particular brand of feminism is a practical one. We can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan if we feel like it, and if an opportunity presents itself — like, say, a very unfamiliar and insistent noise in our still-dark bedroom at 5 a.m. on a recent morning — we will never, ever let you forget you're a man.

So, we have set the scene for you. It was dark, The Observer couldn't sleep, and at some point we became aware of a kind of skittery, scratchy noise. We dug a sharp elbow into Spouse's nearest body part, he started awake and heard the noise, and was out of bed and on his feet with a speed that was either admirable or stupid, The Observer still hasn't decided.

“I don't think it's a person,” Spouse said. Well, whew. “I think something got in, like a bug or something.”

So The Observer — who, we should mention at this point, is all but legally blind without our glasses — was heartened, and turned on the lamp.

“Unprintable expletive!” Spouse shouted.

We got our glasses on just in time to see something large and furry and black fly across the room and disappear into the laundry hamper.

“Even more unprintable expletive!” The Observer shouted, and dived headfirst under the covers, like some cartoon housewife with a big bloomered behind poking out and shaking.

We stayed there while Spouse rigged up an escape route for the bat, which at some point ventured back out of the laundry hamper and could be heard flapping around far too near The Observer's sheet-covered head for comfort. But by the time Spouse was ready to flush it out the back door, it had disappeared.

This was when The Observer finally got the nerve to show our face. A disappeared bat in the bedroom? We wondered how long it would be before we'd ever sleep again. Spouse rattled the window blinds, poked at various stacks and piles with his big toe, peeked under the bed. Nothing.

Just as he went looking for a flashlight, though, our new friend crawled out from the underside of the window scarf, and The Observer hightailed it to the other end of the house, banished for fear our banshee shrieking might wake the baby in the next room.

After all that drama, Spouse and a white bath towel quickly and quietly returned the bat to its natural environs, and we slunk back towards bed.

At which point — of course — the baby woke up.

 

The Observer went to Sunday brunch at a new West Little Rock restaurant, just ahead of benediction at the megachurches. So our party was done and exiting as the hostess was telling hordes of new arrivals about 90-minute waits at a restaurant whose opening came with little public notice.

But this item is not about yet another case of Little Rock chain restaurant hysteria. It's about the power of imagination.

The highlight of The Observer's visit wasn't the restaurant's French toast but a nondescript Ford Escort in the parking lot. Proudly screwed to the front bumper was a Chippendales license plate. The plate bore a selection of photos of bare-chested Chippendales, the ripped male dancers.

What kind of person puts a Chippendales license plate on their car? The mind raced.

Man? Woman? Married? Single? Ripped? Pudgy? (Given the restaurant, its food and the crowd, we'd say the odds favor unripped.) Has appeared on “Girls (or Boys) Gone Wild”? Has tossed undergarments on a stage before writhing dancers?

We favored lingering in the parking lot to get some answers. The Observer's first and only mate was having none of it. It occurred to us later that the reality probably couldn't have topped our imagining.

 

In last week's column, The Observer dropped the mental ball (getting slipperier all the time!) and referred to City Director Dean Kumpuris by his brother's name, Drew.

We know the difference; it's their alliterative names that caused the brain blip. Their sweet mother, Kula Kumpuris, knows the difference too, but that didn't stop her from calling them “Dreen” a time or two.

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