I’m listening to You Just Don’t Understand: The Sociolinguistics of Everyday Conversation, partly because of the sociology, partly because of the linguistics, and partly because after so many years of trying, I still haven’t melted into the pot of Puget Sound. On a conscious level, I expend much energy doing my best imitation of a Californian. I can hear my self-editing self sounding drunk or retarded most of the time, and see listeners impatiently watch me struggle to express myself through this filter. Invariably the New Yorker goes off, as off-putting and confounding as a percussion grenade in this tea room we call home. Here, I am retarded and inarticulate, except for the times I am explosively unpredictable.