Think of stuttering as foreplay for great conversation.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Patience isn’t something that either of us possesses, and Black has been known to question whether it’s really a virtue; but when it comes to someone speaking, or more specifically, stuttering, it’s interesting (but not surprising) how they have very different reactions.

I am running out of patience with your blah-blah-blah. Can you get to the point?

No, that’s not how Black reacted to someone that stuttered, but it’s often how she feels in conversations with Red, and sometimes even tells her that. Because Black isn’t, well, the most patient of people and has been known to finish people’s sentences or interrupt them when she knows where they’re going and wants the conversation to move along quicker.

And then there’s Red … maybe a little more patient because she’s a little more, well, nice. But still, because of her love of the blah-blah-blah, she has a habit of not letting others get a word in edgewise.

So, imagine when coincidence (or was it?) recently led us to each encounter someone that stutters. For Red, it came when she was stressing out about having to possibly disassemble and dispose of a commercial-sized shuffleboard table in our mom’s house. She called a highly recommended company (LoadUp, if you’re curious, but this isn’t a paid ad) and was surprised to find that the customer service representative stuttered,

Something remarkable happened during that call. I went from being incredibly stressed out to being calm and in a good mood. Because as soon as I heard his stutter, I forced myself to “slow down” and just listen.

And Black? Well, it was when she was introduced to the two-man film crew at the taping of an interview for the dedication of the Make-A-Wish building, and assumed that the person who stuttered was the cameraman, not the interviewer, but when she realized her error,

Allowing the interviewer to ask his questions at his pace reminded me of the importance of listening to what he was saying before deciding how to answer. That it was not a race to the finish.

The timing of these two experiences so close together was one thing, but it happened around the same time that Black saw the latest release in the New York Times’s Adapt-Abilty series, a fascinating video, “I Stutter. But This Is What You’re Not Hearing,” with an important message …

The problem isn’t with the stutterer; it’s with the listener.

Some things never change, like our Thanksgiving routines. But that’s ok, as Thanksgiving’s about traditions, so it seems only appropriate that we’d like to repeat what we’ve told you before …

We'll keep this simple and to-the-point … Happy Thanksgiving!

Sadie Hawkins Day started as a made-up holiday in a comic strip called Li’l Abner, but Black finds the idea of women needing a “special day” to feel empowered is … well, comical.

Comic strip or reality show: A group of bachelors participates in a foot race, and whoever's caught by the single woman in the race will become her husband.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We may be sisters, but except for growing up with the same parents in the same house in New York, that may be where the similarities end; especially in terms of dating "protocol" as Black never thought twice about asking boys (and later men) out on a date, while Red never gave it any thought, accepting the convention that boys did the asking. (She did make an exception for her senior prom but was shocked when he accepted.)

Keep Reading ...Show less

Tomorrow’s Election Day, and our thoughts about the importance and challenges of voting haven’t changed since last year (see below) – although the stakes may have gone up. (Think Roe v. Wade and how the Supreme Court has sent it back to the states.) Black wishes more states offered referendums so we could vote on specific issues instead of trying to find the candidate that most closely represents our positions and then actually stays true to their word. Which, unfortunately, makes voting much harder than it needs to be …

So many people have fought for the right to vote, yet so many don't even bother to vote.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Like many of us, Red can come up with a whole list of reasons why she didn't plan to vote this Election Day, but what she thought was a sarcastic comment from Black would point out the challenge of balancing philosophical beliefs with reality.

Red, being that former straight-A student, remembers the first time she voted and how she felt it was her civic responsibility, but that she'd never just vote by party line (for her, it was never that simple, especially not these days). That each vote needs to be a conscious one. But that takes lots of "homework", so unless it's a presidential or gubernatorial election, she tends to sit out most of them. Which she felt was just fine, until Black pointed out,

Keep Reading ...Show less