Find the flamingo and you’ll find the lampshade

I broke a lamp when I was moving items on my desk for a home zoom call.

The vintage-glass shade hit the wooden table and cracked to bits.

I asked my husband where he put the old shade—the one that came with the lamp before I found a vintage replacement—and he said it was in the garage by the flamingo.


Anyone overhearing our conversation will think we’re bonkers.

The plastic pink flamingo was a housewarming-anniversary gift from our kids we found sunk in our front garden years ago.

Being cloistered during the Pandemic means my husband and I have created our own language and even copied each other’s expressions and cadence.

We call our neighbor’s chickens The Girls and our robo-vacuum Rufus.

I’m reading in the room we call the West Wing.

Yesterday he expressed amazement by saying, “Oh, man!”

That’s my expression, having never left the classroom—but I’ve never heard him say it.

When he speaks, his words are clipped and he pauses…between…phrases.

I found myself imitating him on a zoom call with 60 college students.

My cadence is quick, but I paused…between…sentences.

One of the students said she liked our theory class because it intersected with her media course, which gave me delight.

“Oh, man!” I said.



















About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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