The Sunday Post for August 26, 2018

Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.

Crying in H Mart

Michelle Zauner’s essay about H Mart has been everywhere this week. Zauner transforms a chain supermarket with a food court into something rich and compelling, a touchstone for remembrance and her Korean heritage. It’s a lovely piece about loss, loneliness, and home — but what makes it extraordinary is how she weights it with empathy, extending her imagination into other lives while on her weekly pilgrimage to the place that reminds her most of her mother.

It’s a beautiful, holy place. A cafeteria full of people from all over the world who have been displaced in a foreign country, each with a different history. Where did they come from and how far did they travel? Why are they all here? To find the galangal no American supermarket stocks to make the Indonesian curry that their father loves? To buy the rice cakes to celebrate Jesa and honor the anniversary of their loved one’s passing? To satisfy a craving for tteokbokki on a rainy day? Were they moved by a memory of some drunken, late-night snack under a pojangmacha tent in Incheon?
Ode to Grey

Seattle’s not a grey city or a melancholy one, but we host our share of the color — its absence in July just as defining as its presence in December. It’s a constant thread through the urban psyche, a backdrop to all sorts of brightness. Meghan Flaherty defends grey, and those who love it, making stops along the way to explore the history of the color wheel, photography, and the tyranny of sunny weather.

Ask any schoolkid to list the colors of the rainbow, and she’ll singsong you through your ROYGBIV. Seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Newton started out with five, then added orange and indigo to sync with music — one for every step between one tonic and the next along a major scale. (Aristotle had seven colors also, but his scale stretched from white to black, not red to violet, and included yellow, crimson, violet, leek green, and deep blue.) Then there are the eleven standard colors taught in schools, which add black, white, brown, pink, and (my beloved) gray. It feels like an addendum, consolation for a color overlooked and undersung.
The Trouble with Dogs for a Writer

I’ve never before posted a piece simply because I found it unlikeable — so blame, perhaps, a too-bitter cup of coffee this morning, or the mass of laundry waiting to be done? Whatever the cause, this immense objectionable run-on by Karl Ove Knausgaard is almost self-parody, should be self-parody, maybe is self-parody. Maybe that’s the point, or maybe Knausgaard fans would claim that to be the point that I’m missing.

Or maybe it’s just that I rather like dogs.

It didn’t help that, as a human being, I was intellectually and, presumably, also emotionally superior to the dog — that I knew how to read and write, draw and paint, tie my shoelaces, butter my bread, buy sweets at the shop, and take the bus on my own — for the loud, aggressively monotonous sounds it made trumped all that; when I stood there facing it only those sounds mattered. The dog’s barks were like a kind of law, they marked a boundary I couldn’t cross, and it was the dog that enforced it. The kinship with my father’s law was obvious, since the feelings his loud voice awakened in me, all of them connected with an inability to act, that paralysis of fear, were the same as those produced by the dog’s barking. Defying the law wasn’t just unthinkable, it was impossible. That this was so made me a subordinate, which was something I knew even then, that I had the character traits of a subordinate, and more than anything else this has marked the forty years I have lived since then.
Do Men Enter Bathtubs on Hands and Knees So Their Balls Hit the Water Last?

Did you think this was a serious, high-minded weekly list of links? Wrong. If we can’t all laugh at Kelly Conaboy’s straight-faced investigation into a deeply silly question, Donald Trump truly has destroyed America. Conaboy skewers us all in this piece, including the anxious mother whose post to a baby board spawned her inquiry, but so gently and with such good humor that you’ll barely feel it.

Slightly NSFW — especially if your workplace is offended by audible snorts of laughter.

Perhaps it is not a question for doctors or children, however, and instead a question for bathtub manufacturers. Has bathtub design taken into account the fragility of a man’s balls, and if so, how? Do bathtub manufacturers have a suggested way of entering the bath, for men? Had they done research into how men enter bathtubs before designing their bathtubs and, if so, could they share any of that research with me? I reached out to several and, again, surprisingly to me, I did not hear back from most.