avocados; the month of may

it’s may 2007. that month and year that would never come. that graduation date that was always so far away. i have so many feelings in so many places.

i defended my thesis monday, april 23rd. final words of wisdom from my b&w cropadvisor on a post-it note: “smile confidently and often. look serenely at your audience.” apparently i did that. taylor took pictures, though curiously, none of them are in focus. conclusion: i am smart and pretty and i know a lot of things. afterward, at dinner, i could only really stare into space– rather numb in the wake of the culmination and climax of a year’s worth of work, stress, and sacrificed sleep, sanity, health, life. nothing can really be said besides, “victory is mine!” i wrote a book, basically. you’ll be able to check it out of the university library.

in other news, as my victory raged unabated last week, a girl callously broke up with a boy. well, i’m sure many boys were callously broken up with, but specifically my friend peter. there’sb&w crop 2 a history there, of mutual affinity and bad timing. we’ve talked about how we should have dated two years ago, but neither of us said anything, and then i went to london and he met that other girl, the blonde callous one with no soft tissue on her body. i suppressed my then very basic crush and we spent the next year playing happily as friends, a natural trio: him, me, and third friend… definitely not her. even after he graduated, we stayed close, seeing each other when our busy and distant schedules allowed. but he called last week and i knew. i don’t even remember the words he used because all i could hear through the phone, like the sound of the ocean in a conch shell, was my feelings for him surging up to the surface, somehow stronger after their time beneath the rock under which i’d buried them.

last weekend we arranged to rally around him in rhode island and organize some fun. i skipped biology, he picked me up from school, and we gathered our friends on the drive tob&w crop 3 newport. it was a weekend of comfort and cuddling. he slept with his head in my lap for most of the drive. in the small apartment, he volunteered us to share the queen bed to ease the pressure of sleeping arrangements for five people. the whole three days is both a blur and a string of bright clear moments which mass together in my head to confuse me. that moment on the sofa, while we were watching mcguyver, i touched his shoulder and he settled back against me. he came down with a cold, which i resigned myself to catching, and i handed him ibuprofen and rubbed his back. standing on the sidewalk, he rested his head on my shoulder and wrapped his arms around me. refused to let me chip in for pizza, whiskey, bagels. the whole weekend we functioned like a pair. he stayed near me; he clearly wanted me near him.

this is the part where i get irrationally ahead of myself and start thinking in circles. what does all that mean? what do i do with the feelings i get from him? is it real or did he just need me there for comfort and stability? a warm body next to him or more than that? it makes my head spin, and i didn’t know it could go all the way around and back again. it seems cliché, but b&w crop 5peter isn’t like the boys i’ve let myself get involved with before. he’s not a moron, for one thing. and i have this sense i can’t explain– that we’d be good together. that somehow pete and i are built for each other; we’d be healthy and real. i can’t be a rebound for him; it would hurt too much. i have to be patient and not push him into something he’s not ready for. which means this is going to take a while. and i’m leaving jersey after graduation, in roughly twenty days. which creates the added difficulty of getting him down to maryland or driving the three hours to jersey frequently enough that we can build something. and he might be against long-distance relationships, anyway. is this just another patch of bad timing?

…and this all just goes to show that under the right circumstances, i can totally bring the crazy train. good thing the weather’s nice. fin.

oh pretty girls, you’re too good for this

i have a lot of feelings about the state of things this past week. it seems i’ve slipped into one of tlondon eyehose transitional periods without quite realizing it. there was no explosion or blast to signal the onset of change; suddenly things have just taken on the faint odor of chemical accelerant.

i turned in my final thesis draft on tuesday, a rather innocuous-seeming act. but approximately twenty-four hours later, all the emotions i’ve been incapable of having while living a life buried under the burning sands of stress… began coming back. i received an email from my advisor which said “Katie, your honors thesis–which I couldn’t resist reading quickly last night, for the delight–is a thing of beauty and a joy.” and then i realized the slightly-hysterical half-sob, half-laugh was coming from me, and that my heart rate was alarmingly high, a sure sign of the presence of emotions. however, wednesday was a return to trafalgar squarebasics, and in the kindergarden roller coaster of feelings- those with corresponding emoticons- happy :-) must inevitably be followed by sad :-( . so the honors banquet marked some sort of breaking point and frankly, it was all i could do to get home before calling eric and having a meltdown about my thesis, graduation, the forthcoming job(s), etc. anyway, progress has been rapid. now, four days later, i’m capable of emotions spelled with more than five letters. it’s a whole new style of being.

friday was that certain holiday in which i can no longer participate, but which still fills me with a wild sort of springtime joy. i spent most of the day on a blanket in the sun, enjoying the scent of freshly planted ferns and basking in the ruckus of our campus’ environmental festival. i took a late-afternoon nap to absent myself from that other, more… brownie-based aspect of the celebrations. when i rejoined the partiers, they were completely burnt. i visited for a while and was hust. paul'sgged by all the soft-brained hippies.

saturday i turned twenty-two. i woke up to a birthday phone call from the brother and a number of text messages. in the absense of a pre-planned celebration, given our thesis madness and distraction, i decided to treat myself to birthday presents at the mall. i’m a consumer whore, remember. i bought large faux-pearl earrings, pin-striped pants, a cute pink/red skirt, and black suede boots. and had a lovely drive with the windows down.

campus was a lovely noisy mess last night. i wore the black suede boots with black tights, black and white tweed shorts, a black shirt, and a loooong string of pearls. a little overdressed, but as georgia said in response to my concerns, “well, you are, but you’re kate. you’re awesome.”

after plowing through several beers, we managed to be the second group in line for the a cappella show, since, like i’ve said, our school does a oxford circuscappella like most other schools do football. we spread out blankets in front of the stage and subtly sipped from plastic bottles filled with amber contraband. we made fun of the visiting girls’ group, like you do: “oh my god, her dress. i can see her vag!” afterward, we adjourned to the pub, wherein our friend’s cover band was playing. we spent most of the night slipping back and forth between the a cappella party, which was hot and gross and filled with freshman, and the rock show at the pub, which was also hot, also gross, but where there was at least air to breathe. the floor was sticky with spilled beer and the band shouted about my birthday, which apparently i share with the drunk boy who stood further back by the door. more hugs.

and now today, which i was supposed to spend preparing for my thesis defense and bio test, but obviously didn’t. after my procrastination shower, my friend peter called. let me just say, i am desperately tired of offers for sex that i so clearly can’t accept. it’s like an epidemic lately. my guy friends hit hard times and decide that we should have random meaningless sex. i went through parliamentthat madness with eric. and now peter’s suddenly single and miserable. seriously, if he had just come to visit for graduation, like we’d planned, and one thing led to another, that would have been fine. i’m a bad person; i’ve been waiting for his girlfriend to dump him for over a year so that could happen. but he had to go and actually ask. men are such morons sometimes. they don’t know how often they thwart themselves. and how often they frustrate the hell out of me.

well, i have to go work on that to-do list… i couldn’t care less about my biology test, frankly. i’m understandably distracted by my thesis defense, which is tomorrow at 4pm. the only upside is that in less than twenty-four hours, it’ll be done, over, finished. and i’ll be drunk on $4 champagne.

lavender derivations

i am a thesis danger to myself. i went to the store to secure a future involving simple things, lip balm and breakfast cereal. i also found myself some emerald dry roasted almonds, juice, milk, and zicam because the girl next to me in biology was emmalavendernating the plague this morning. but alas, no burt’s bees lip balm, and you know, lip balm addicts the world over bond through our shared knowledge that burt’s bees lip balm is as good as it gets. so i went to whole foods, a mere eight seconds farther up main street.

and then i had a thought! i may have forgotten the blockbuster movies i meant to return, and the prescription i meant to have filled, but i could still accomplish something. i would check out the organic bath products section for lavender-scented anythings as… research, yes, that’s it, research, for my thesis! and then i lost my mind. forty-two lavender shampoos, eighty-sevlavender fielden lotions, a million and one bar soaps, plus tea, candles, sachets, essential oils, bulgarian lavender, french lavender, french especifically-from-provence lavender…oh my. i could have spent a fortune; and i may have. i bought the cheapest shampoo and conditioner, which luckily was also the type that smelled most like natural lavender, i bought a giant neck-wrap lavender sachet that i can heat or cool to cause much relaxation and stress relief, and i would have bought lotion, too, if they hadn’t been completely out except for the tester. it was a horrid tease.

i am a consumer whore. we’ve been over this. i feel guilty for indulging in these lavender things specifically to soothe my thesis madness and sudden desire to be surrounded by the plant/colour i’ve been obsessing over for months. but i like to fill mcather awesomey life with physical manifestations of my internal monologue/dialogue, and, i assure myself, if i’m ever able to finally defend this monster, assuming my committee members cough up enough time that we can actually meet, i’ll take the bath products and my lavender body wrap and use them as props! it will be splendid. if i’d had the presence of mind, i would have planted lavender seeds on the baseball field months ago and held my defense there, on blankets. apparently i lack forethought.

my thesis chair, at our last meeting, asked why i wasn’t wearing lavender. he’s one of the reasons i sometimes want to throw myself out a window, or set someone on fire, namely, him. my friends, specifically the non-thesis writing ones, think it would be a marvelous idea to wear a lavender dress to my defense. honestly, how is this a good idea? not only would it be farcical, but… what about the girl who’s writing about female genital mutilation, huh? how does she glam it up for her defense? let’s not be ludicrous about this.

that’s willa cather, by the way, in the photo. welcome to my lavenderthesisbrainlifemadness.

p.s. i borrowed all these pictures from elsewhere.

Published in: on April 9, 2007 at 8:23 pm  Comments (1)  

fifty days until graduation

i have a lot of feelings. now that the weather is warmer and sunnier, i can cather books 1address them without fear of being eaten by them. seasonal affective disorder, you know.

i spent several sunny hours the other day on a blanket on the lawn of my building with a rotating group of people and frisbees flying overhead, and i fairly stumbled upon the conclusion to my thesis, through no fault of my own. by monday, the thirty-three page rough draft i haven’t touched since march 1st, when the rough draft was due to my committee, must become a 40+ page near-final manuscript. this is daunting, but not detea cup spongeadly. if i can defend on april 19th, i’ll not only have a pain-free birthday, but also precisely one month in which to devote myself, body and soul, to alcoholism and other hedonistic pursuits before being handed my diploma (with honors) and being told to build a real life somewhere else. namely, maryland, where i shall return to live with my parents and work for the government, two things i said i wouldn’t do. lovely, isn’t it? this is why i like to pretend i don’t have feelings.

i went for a twilight run yesterday through the suburbs. since i couldn’t run during the winter and i hate the university gym, i am now relatively crippled, but it feels good to hurt this way. as the weather gets better i’ll not only be able to runcather books 2 more, but i’ll actually want to. and after gradution i’ll go back to my gym which is full of old and/or fat people, rather than entire sports teams, and all will be well. exercise releases endophins, you know. oh well, that’s debated, but at least i usually feel good after working out and that’s what matters.

and now, friends, i have to build myself a little willa cather thesis fort and hide in it until monday. i’ll be such a better person in the wake of this monster. it’s amazing what a good haircut can do.

Published in: on March 31, 2007 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

trivialities

too long, again, i know. apologies. i blame the madness, as if that’s any decent excuse. the past two months have been… one adventure after another, with no sign of slowing mosaic plate 1down. i’m not going to share, frankly. drama that isn’t mine, drama that is mine, drama hiding behind wrap-scarves, drama coming out of the woodwork. it’s too much; it’s too personal. i came home to maryland hoping to have a quiet month of sleep and work and friends, and instead my shit got even more crazy.

moral of the story is, i’ve been deviating from my own path lately, and i’m not sure how i feel about it. but i am having fun, and that has to count for something. and i have my new digital camera, so everything is properly documented, including some of the fabulous things i’ve had to eat lately, such as the potato pancakes with orange marmalade and cheese and oregano quesadilla pictured here.

in a different strain of madness, the rough draft of my thesis is due in three weeks and i have about two and a half pages written. trouble? perhaps, but i’m really just waiting for something to click. more likely than not, i’ll read and re-read these cather mosaic plate 2stories and stare at my notes and one day, probably in the shower, or in the middle of a bowl of oatmeal, everything will become clear. i’ll have a final point to make from all the connections and similarities. 45-60 pages of connections with a final point. just you wait and see. it will be great.

anyway, i’m at the cafe with eric. we spend a few hours here almost every day. i read and work and he applies to jobs. we grumble and drink over-roasted coffee and it’s good to have company. we chose this cafe as our home-away-from-home because of the free wifi and sushi place within walking distance. it feels like new york in that way we both need. my peppermint from lunch is almost gone and eric’s bitching about joe lieberman’s inconsistencies, so i’m going back to the professor’s house to see about some snake imagery. oh, and i have a real job for after graduation. go me.

Published in: on January 12, 2007 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

self-indulgence

current track: the libertines- music when the lights go out
current tea: twinings- darjeeling

i’m going to have a problem when i graduate and am forced to develop a real self-sustaining lifestyle. by self-sustaining i mean i’m going to have to pay windowsfor everything myself. i better go to the career center soon and be sure to tell them that among my other career demands, i require quite a bit of money because i need things. looking beyond the relatively straightforward matter of materialism, which i do embrace whole-heartedly, i’m not sure i know how to exist without q-tips and non-lipton tea and the occasional pack of blue pilot g2 05 pens. a can of raid. instant oatmeal. vitamin b-12. these are things economically-challenged [read: poor] people do without when rent and college loans only leave perhaps $80 per week for food, booze, and subway fare. let’s face it. i’m high maintenance. i like those soft pads that stick in the back of my spicy black stiletto heels and protect me from blisters. hell, i like things like spicy black stiletto heels. not that i wear them frequently, but i find fulfillment in owning them. i also love my red alligator-print italian leather handbag, that glittery black clutch i got free when i bought a grey sweater at express last friday, my green leather tote bag, and various other lavish pretty things (not always handbags) that i find deep satisfaction in possessing. mostly, i live in jeans and cons, but oh well. i’m in college and i like knowing i could at least look sexy and accomplished if i wanted to bother.

but let’s take a look at the whole picture. i attend a small liberal arts college. students here tend to bond a little too tightly to the people they meet at orientation. for me, somehow, those people were the ones who would become the token group of campus activists. vegan, pothead, feminist, environmentalist, anti-establishment, pro-choice toadhippies who shower without soap, refuse to use deodorant, organize teach-ins like other people organize their closets, protest as frequently as other people change their underwear, and who make a coveted fashion statement by ignoring fashion completely.

don’t get me wrong. i do love them or i wouldn’t still bother knowing them. and for the most part, i agree with their intentions. but really, i’m just not that person. i did spend the first two years of college trying half-heartedly to be that person, however. i say half-heartedly because i never gave up eating dead animals. or wearing them. i retained a deeply-rooted appreciation for material comforts and television. but i smoked a lot of pot, marched in the streets a few times, and attended countless lectures on the oppression and/or liberation of countless marginalized interest groups. by now, my hippies have realized i’m not that person and we’ve established a sort of unspoken détente because we’d never have remained friends if i constantly told them that they smell funny and they harped on me about my bottled water habit. these are some of the supposedly problematic things i do (and will continue to do):

i buy underwear from victoria’s secret even though their millions of catalogues are made out of pure rainforest.rings
i drink bottled water even though it’s apparently ‘slave water.’
i still use tampons even though the chemically bleached cotton is terrible for my body and actually draws away good natural moisture. and they also wreak havoc on the environment.
i shower almost every day, with soap. and i use deodorant (but not antiperspirant- that’s unhealthy).
i own a $200 hair straightener and boots with three-inch stiletto heels, even though both reflect the unnatural and unhealthy standards imposed on women by the fashion industry and modern culture.
i sometimes buy vitamins or batteries at wal*mart even though their human rights violations are numerous and extreme.
i wear a watch even though it keeps me chained to the arbitrary social construction of time.
i use lysol all over the place even through it’s bad for the environment and recklessly killing bacteria will eventually make our bodies unable to cope with even common harmless bacteria.
i eat dead animals even though they have feelings too, are forced into putrid living conditions, and are herded to their deaths in slaughter houses like animals…
bridge okay, now i’m just laughing, which is why i am not meant to be that person. and i do all these -terrible- things despite having full and organic knowledge of suitable alternatives… [diva cups; nalgene bottles; frizzy, wavy hair; vegan substitutes, et cetera].

in the past year i’ve made certain choices and accepted certain truths. i started going to the gym (and kept it up faithfully with the exception of october, when i had mono). i no longer feel compelled to answer my phone every time it rings- sometimes i don’t even carry it [gasp]. i stopped putting sugar and cream in my coffee, and then stopped drinking coffee altogether. i stopped watching broadcast news because i won’t allow mass media to have that kind of control over my consciousness- dead bodies, fear mongering, alarmist controversies… i just don’t need that shit. i sometimes go to the movies by myself. i’ve accepted the ridiculously high standards i hold for potential partners. i don’t know how to lessen the impact of my gut reactions and i shouldn’t have to; eventually there will be a person who either lives up to my standards or renders them null & void. i quit smoking pot. the amount of energy i put into avoiding emotional extremes sometimes makes me seem cold. my favourite person to talk to is my mom: she doesn’t buy into my bullshit and she laughs most freely at my cynical irony and sarcasm. most of the time i’m pretty sure i’ve only tricked everyone into believing that i know what i’m doing when really i make it upguster as i go. with or without my permission, things will change and i will change and current issues will work themselves out while new issues present themselves. i have to be okay with this.

margaret thatcher used to get b-12 shots every day. how do i arrange that for myself without becoming prime minister?

p.s. i have seven different kinds of tea. apparently i send mixed signals.

i am le worst

dear readers, i know, i’m awful. a poor excuse for a blogger. the past two weeks have been interesting, but in that boring personal way, so i guess it’s only interesting to me. i’m actually leaving in about twenty minutes to visit a friend in maryland for the weekend. maryland, yes, but not home, since she goes to school on the eastern shore and home is more d.c.ish. anyway, she just turned 21, so i’m going to get her boozed out of her mind and then sell her to the highest-bidding hobo in the parking lot. she’ll appreciate my intentions, i’m sure. get ready for mayhem, babe. (mayhem, and a pink scarf i knitted for you! shhhhh. it’s a surprise. a surprise with tassels, no less.)

i just made the tragic mistake of taking a fistful of vitamins on an empty stomach. i’m awesome. needs a nature valley bar, poste haste.

so i really don’t have an excuse for two weeks of silence. i’ve been reading jane eyre furiously, because i had a paper due a few days ago. it was fantastic. as a life-long jane austen fan, i must say charlotte bronte is fast gaining in my estimation. and we have the same birthday, so that’s neat. me, charlotte bronte, the queen of england, and former new jersey governor tom kean, sr. the prick. i think that’s a sign that i’m meant to leave the u.s. and move to england, where i was apparently meant to be born. it was in the stars and i was for some reason thwarted.

i must say, however, that the midterm elections did much to raise my disheartened american spirits. i wasn’t even thinking about them, except the governor’s race in maryland (yay, martin o’malley) and then i turned cnn on tuesday night and found myself glued to the tv until 3:30 in the morning. i was rivetted. and it had nothing to do with anderson cooper’s acclaimed good looks. even though the dems won only because people wanted to send a message to the repubs, they still won and that’s a huge step for the country. p.s. virginia went blue. who would’ve thought? certainly not me, and i lived across the potomac from those bitches for eighteen years.

but i digress. i’ve been absent mostly because i’ve moved lock, stock, and barrel into my personal study carrel in the library. i spend about three hours there monday- thursday. it’s quiet and peaceful, and except for the garish lighting, quite excellent. i’m more productive and efficient than i, a registered member of the procrastination party, knew i had it in me to be. so that’s where i’ve been and what i’ve been doing.

must go water the plants and zip the bags. scummy eastern shore, here i come!

teacup plotlines

last week, over mugs of hot tea, a friend of mine, also an english major, posited an intriguing theory. she said that she believes the divorce rate for people who were english majors in college isautumn steps probably higher than for people who majored in other disciplines, simply because our chosen field of study practically sets us up for loneliness and dissatisfaction.

and, i’m sad to say, i think she has a point. our course material includes some of the best the english language has to offer, and though our private reading lists may contain more contemporary fiction, all of it, taken too much to heart– as it most certainly will be, given the nature of the people who become english majors in the first place– has the potential to make us unfit for decent emotional connectivity. we study the aesthetics of idealism and heartbreak. jane austen’s novels present romantic attachments too good to be true, poe’s narrators are forever killing women who then refuse to stautumn tomatoay dead, and shakespeare contains his own superbly complicated versions of both ends of the spectrum: comedies and tragedies, both extreme and unrealistic, but moving enough to affect us at our core.

by this point in the process, only a few credits shy of a degree, we’ve become convinced that human interaction is best as an exchange of elegant, lengthy monologues constructed with pocket thesauri, and that when visiting historic locales, like lord tennyson at lyme, we’d rather be shown the exact spot where louisa musgrove fell than be told of the duke of monmouth. but despite the mandatory cynicism we develop– as it does happen to be a degree requirement–what we want more than ever is to be swept off our feet by a kind of ultimate beauty and worldly romance that just doesn’t exist and the idea of which manages to eclipse the more subtle wonders of real life.white building

and yet it isn’t the stories that cause the fatal idealism- it’s more likely our own propensity to absorb whatever suggestions the stories make about the nature of human development. characters that find themselves happy don’t have to prove that their happiness is sustainable- the story ends, and we’re stuck, forever picturing their full and contented days stretching on to infinity. and those that find themselves sad, pathetic, and broken at the end of a story will always be that way. their stories don’t go on beyond those last pages of despair and so we always imagine them there, unfulfilled, in dark corners, trying resignedly to fill the void with endless cups of black coffee… oh, wait, maybe that’s us at the end of the semester when there are three papers to write and length requirements total something like forty-five pages!

either way, we live our lives as if we’re forever mounting towards a pinnacle, after which we expect to reach a point of cessation and stagnation, when all loose ends will be tied, where we will discover our fate– either to be happy or sad– and settle into it, like a figure in the lasstepst chapter of a novel. we have incorporated plot diagrams into our theories of how the world is supposed to be, and like all good english majors, we have the textual evidence to support our thesis statement.

point is, while we try to navigate the treacherous waters of day-to-day life, we, like the rest of the world, wonder why life isn’t like it is in books, only, unlike the rest of the world, we’ve made a study of those books, and so the disappointment registers deeper and more poignantly for us, i think, thus rendering us generally more likely to be painfully idealistic and/or disengaged, and consequently, dissatisfied.

**this is a terrifically depressing post, not to mention pretentious, but i hope you’ll forgive me, as the alternative was to tell you: how annoying it is that girls on mpumpkiny hall leave their hair all over the bathroom; that sometimes i’m too lazy to walk all the way to the rubbish bin to dispose of used teabags; that today, being monday, marked the return of the painful knot of stress in my left shoulder; and that i’ve perfected my halloween costume. at a prohibition-themed party over the weekend i was a 20s muckraking journalist, but tomorrow, i’m going to be a 20s muckraking journalist who got too close to the truth and was consequently strangled to death with a rope, leaving deep and bloody ligature marks across my neck. every costume gets better with some death.

motives & momentum, a theory

i, myself, am a lover of spaces, enclosures, compartments: everything having a proper place and fitting there cleanly and functionally. that’s why my dorm room appeals to me. it’s a space designated just for me. the room is mine, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, every drawer, every square inch of closet space, and one cannot overstep one’s bounds or feel encroached upon when one has only herself to account for.

however, in a space so competely geared towards my own personal comfort and satisfaction, where no one is ever watching, i am too much at my leisure to accomplish more than is absolutely necessary. no one will know if i take a nap instead of reading emerson, or if roller coasteri post a blog entry instead of studying for my statistics exam (which, i must confess, is tomorrow morning). i’m not lacking in accountability- everything must get done, or else english seminars and stats quizzes will get very uncomfortable, indeed. unfortuately, there is one area in which i lack immediate motivation- my honours thesis. the first due date is february 1st, for a rough draft. but i don’t work when there’s no pressure. in my entire college career, i’ve never started writing a paper more than one day before the due date. and aside from losing a night of sleep, it’s never been an issue. my papers are lovely… maybe i’ll post a few, just to satisfy my ego. but the issue still remains: i can afford to write entire papers in one night because i’ve never had to write a paper longer than fifteen pages and it is more than logical to assume that my typical plan of attack will not suffice for a 60-something page honours thesis. research for a typical paper- approximately twelve pages- takes me roughly four hours at peak productivity, so let’s say six, to be fair, and that’s entirely online, using the library’s e-book and academic journal resources. for a paper of this magnitude [huge- in both size and import], i feel like perhaps i ought to maybe touch a few actual books.

so in the interest of… self-preservation, perhaps you could say, i’ve taken a first step towards personal thesis momentum: i’ve applied for and been granted a private study carrel in the library. i’ve even got a key to the filing cabinet. so far the top drawer contains a pad of purple sticky notes and a roll of scotch tape, and the book shelf contains seven recently checked-out volumes. i taped postcards roller coaster 3to the wall- london’s tower bridge, stonehenge at sunset, arcimboldo’s l’hiver, and a b&w photo of rupert brooke- because i have a soft spot for the poets of world war one, and because he’s spicy in that tragically doomed sort of way. this amounts to english major pornography. i want to hang up matisse’s la negress, 1952, but i need to find the postcard in my room first. i’m vaguely sure i stashed it in one of my books when i packed to move up here, but that remains to be seen.

anyway, one of the library rules is that you must spend at minimum twenty hours at your carrel per week, over at least three days. i can come here and get reading done for class or research for my thesis (since the writing itself will probably take place over january break) or just plain hide from everyone and enjoy being where no one will know to look for me.

i like disappearing- either leaving my phone at home or turning the ringer off- and positioning myself where no one who’s actually looking will think to find me. i flatter myself that people actually look, but then again, there are usually voicemails when i check my phone, so apparently my self-flattery isn’t too undeserved. except, i’m certain it doesn’t say good things about me that there are perhaps only three people in the entire world whose phone calls i will never roller coaster 2purposefully ignore. everyone else: i figure there’s only about a 25% chance that i’ll answer your call, understanding that there’s a 50/50 chance i’m actually carrying my cell, and depending on who you are, roughly a 50/50 chance i’ll bother answering. 50% of 50% is 25%. sadly, this clearly does not count as studying for statistics.

oh dear, it seems i’ve adequately managed to frivolously pass the time, even camped out in study carrel p-14. that gives me about twenty-five minutes to study for statistics before i must return to my room for thursday night’s television indulgence: grey’s anatomy. then there’s school-sponsored pumpkin painting at 10:30 and then more statistics review with a friend- and from the looks of her last quiz grade, i’ll be learning through teaching tonight.

autumn affirmations

every year as the summer winds down, i get a little sad and apprehensive about the cold, always forgetting to account for the majesty of autumn. i used to think that things like vacations and changes of season were perfectly timed- when i needed a break or a shift, the world seemed to have preemtively taken me into account and hand me what i wanted, but recently i’ve come to a different conclusion: that as change approaches, we prepare ourselves, whether that means accepting sweater & scarf weather or finding ourselves anxious for a holiday only because one is about to be upon us. either way, i’ve warmed up to cooler weather. i dug my -massive- scarf collection out of the trunk and blanketed my wardrobe with british pashmina and italian cashmere. scarves make the most satisfying souvenirs, let me tell you.

yesterday after class i decided to skip the nap/shower that has become my typical afternoon pattern since the onset of mono. in the interest of self-satisfaction, i got myself all smartly appropriate for fall- black pants, jean jacket, flippy pony tail, and gorgeous salmon-coloured pashmina- smeared on some mascara just for fun, and grabbed my nikon fm-10, which has been sadly neglected since sometime in late 2004, i think. there is something warm and unique about film photography that i can’t help feeling digital photography lacks, despite the obvious advantages. film photography is more fun- interactive and corporeal- and indeed, more difficult and impressive, if i allow my inner puritanical elitist to voice her opinion. anyway, i left campus. despite the weekend of intense personal time and seclusion, during which i mostly slept and watched television, i still wanted to be on my own, only this time out in the world. i like the anonymity of doing my own thing when only strangers are watching.

my camera in hand and extra rolls of film in my pocket, i took a walk through the neighbourhoods around campus, which you’d think we’d all know inside and out, but not so. i left campus through the arboretum, like i do when i’m actually allowed to work out, and walked down the tree-lined street opposite that weird compound with the herds of tagged deer. i wandered through the old neighbourhoods, running through three rolls of film (b&w 3200, colour 400, colour 800) on the fall foliage and seasonal decorations. i was in search of the autumn of my childhood, or at least what my memory has tricked me into believing autumn was like for me as a child. living in a dorm makes me crave domesticity and for some reason this year i want that kind of idealistic domesticity of rural life. i want orchards, covered bridges, meadows surrounded by turning leaves. crisp white eyelet curtains hanging against the window panes, quaintly peeling blue paint on the shudders, rusted iron hinges on the gate… that’s what i was trying to capture yesterday, in bits and pieces, since this town is too rich, suburban, and self-aware to be what i really wanted. photos are being processed because i don’t have my own chemicals anymore, and as long as i haven’t totally lost my touch, they should be up in a few days.

Published in: on October 24, 2006 at 7:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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