Archive for June, 2004


I am going to Florida this weekend for a conference and I have a bazillion things to do and I am leaving early today and was — you guessed it — out late again last night. Sadly, not with bartender dude, so no free drinkies. But BD did swing by where I was hanging with my pretty friends Andrea and Paul and gave me kisses over the railing, which was nice. Though I must digress and admit that casually seeing someone is somehow WAY HARDER for me than seriously seeing someone because the same shit comes up but just has more hooks to hang itself on. Or, has less reassurances to unhook it from where it hangs, like a miasmic fog over the sunshine of your inner divinity.

Damn where did THAT come from? Still, I plow ahead. It’s like playing the fucking slot machines sometimes I think. You have to keep pulling the lever because EVENTUALLY three cherries WILL line up and then you’ve hit the jackpot.

So anyway, I was out last night at a few favourite watering holes in my neighborhood and then Andrea decided we were going to go dancing at this club called Chaos where it was ladies night (ladies for ladies night, if you know what I mean). So when we arrived I was somehow miffed that it cost $3 to get in. THREE DOLLARS. That is nothing. I don’t know what the miff was about. Plus you got a ticket and could get $3 off your drink later. Anyway, we all filed inside and the place was hotter than a turkish steam bath in the Arizona desert. Or some other very hot place. No air-conditioning.

I kept thinking (as I always naively do) that I would have one drink, dance a bit, and leave. HA. Not a chance. I was too fascinated watching all the people. A collection of odds and ends that didn’t go together, a jumbled mix of gay men and women who didn’t seem to be there with their lovers, and straight people who were just looking confused. But the music was good and the place was happy and steamy and I danced in more than one three-person-sandwich. I probably also lost ten pounds just from sweating.

I keep trying to post some pictures for you all, especially since I love pics on other people’s blogs, but the pictures I have are too huge and our Internet connection is like trying to run Niagra falls through a tea strainer. One day I’ll have a shiny yummy iBook and a digital camera and a big fat Internet connection so I can post a MILLION pictures and bore you all to death with my holiday snaps.

Until then, here is a picture of my favourite place in the world to be: sitting in the Well House looking out over Exeter Cathedral, after class and before Evensong.



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Carpet. Scrape. Me.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So. Hung. Over. I am a wuss. I only stayed out until 2 am last night but the bartender dude kept bringing me free drinks. Note to self: when seeing a bartender, however casually, do not see him on a school night. How can you turn down the free drinks? What, willpower? Because then he rings you at friggin 3:35 AM to say he’s done closing out now what are you up to? I think I fell asleep (hold on a second I already WAS asleep) on the phone with him.

And then I take a cab to work–crazy extravagance because it takes about as long as public transportation but involves far less movement on my part–and as I am walking in 25 MINUTES LATE and basically an HOUR after my boss gets in I walk smack INTO my boss as she is leaving for a morning appointment. This day could not get any more charming. Except that I have a pink folder on my chair when I finally make it to my office after cowering in the hallway hoping I don’t run into my BOSS’S boss and this fifty page document needs to be edited BEFORE NOON. I don’t know why everything around here is always so last minute. We are a non-profit for goodness sake.

Oh my lord I am so going to get fired.

I have to send a shout out to my first commenter sarey. Thank you first commenter. I weep at your eloquence.

Quick weekend recap: Friday night dinner and gin and gin at my friend’s house which turned into us watching The Two Towers Extended version until 4 am and me staying on the couch. Ate breakfast (really, lunch) at my new favourite-place-to-eat-breakfast, this kick-ass greasy spoon hole in the wall on Cap Hill called (I think) Jimmy Ts. Then I went to the Library of Congress (NEVER BEEN BEFORE how is that possible?) which is stunning, and an exhibit on Winston Churchill, which was so cool. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing docks. We shall kick eternal ASS with our amazing chill-inducing rhetoric. Actually, Mr. Churchill, I weep at YOUR eloquence.

Then it was: Rajah’s place for drinks, cupcakes (?? I know ??), and meeting cool new people, and then off to have my first date with BD (bartender dude) which was lovely.

I leave you with two of the funniest quotes I’ve heard all week, one from the Professor’s adorable goddaughter, and one from my darling A (uni friend) in deepest darkest Colchester:

“Next time my Uncle Matthew will come and Miss Heather will come late because she has to bring ALL HER STUFF.”

“Saying that Heather is not a morning person is right up there with saying Ghengis Khan was not a people person.”

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Stay Sweet!

Last night I went to the high school graduation of a pair of twins I used to babysit 14 years ago.

Wait, did you get that? FOURTEEN YEARS AGO. I know. Oooooooold lady.

Anyway, the whole experience was fascinating to me because I was just dying to know if the youth of today are going to hell in a handbasket or to Harvard in a Beamer (a distinct possibility in the greater Wash DC area) and what I found out was something I did not expect.

They are not that different from the youth of my day, or probably from the youth of any day. Despite dire warnings and worries about their character or mental health or ability to think for themselves, the kids I saw (endlessly) graduate last night were well-behaved (as well-behaved as giddy teenagers can be expected to be — there was a beach ball getting batted around at some point), positive without arrogance, hopeful without too much entitlement, and charmingly clueless to the lives of the adults present and supporting them. That is all, it seems to me, as it should be.

I know kids in high school today face things I never even had to contemplate: the threat of guns, for one, and the increasing currency of drugs, money, and marketing on the other. I know, too, that they generally have access to more STUFF than I ever had at their age: computer and cars and walk-in closets and cell phones and handbags from Banana Republic for Pete’s sake. I’m not trying to minimise any of that, nor overlook the fact that young people’s lives today are more structured, scheduled, scrutinised, and pressurised than my young life was. And hell, I was only at the ceremony and after-party for five hours total.

But I have to tell you, I was struck by their innocence. And I’m going to use that word again because with all the CRAP and simultaneously all the PRIVILEGE that these kids face in lives that seem to play for way-higher stakes than I ever did, they still possess that crucial element of innocence, which puts them in a better position to seek full self-hood I think than if they were jaded and disillusioned and expected the world to be handed to them for free.

I’m sure that I am mass-generalising like crazy here but I’m indulging myself. From everything I’ve heard and even some stuff I’ve read (fabulous Atlantic Monthly article from four years ago) I went to this graduation fully expecting to write the next generation entirely off as a bunch of spoiled undisciplined disrespectful brats. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that kids today are basically like kids yesterday or kids last week, for the most part. For some reason it was comforting to me that they were still clueless and open even while being sharp and witty and ready to jump ship. So congratulations cuties. I certainly can’t give you any advice but I’m behind you all the way.

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Solitaire = Meditation

Hey so have you ever played so many games of solitaire in super-fast succession that your consciousness becomes separated from your body and you enter the peaceful place of zen meditation? I’m telling you, I’ve been at work for three hours now and for the last ten full minutes I’ve played about 200 games of solitaire, rapidly burning through the shuffle and stack to continually reassign cards where they are most likely to leap to the upper deck and keep my points ticking ever upward.

The key to zen solitaire is not to allow your hand (or clicking finger) to pause at all. If you pause, you are thinking about the game too much. Keep clicking over those sets of three and move the cards around as soon as you see an opening. Breathe in and out. Sit quietly on the lotus flower of pink tranquility. And once you go through the full sets of three twice in a row with no luck, ABANDON THE GAME and immediately start over. Repeat this over and over until you have established a rhythm and your jaw has gone slack and your eyes have glassed over.

Don’t worry if it takes you almost 700 games before you hit the sweet spot and end up with all your cards gone to their heavenly reward in the upper tier. The point of solitaire meditation is not to earn points or beat your former time. It’s not about the end result but about the journey that takes you there (otherwise known as total escapism, otherwise known as avoiding work).

Other GREAT forms of work-avoiding meditation include:

watching previews on the Internet
posting to your blog
reading other people’s extremely cool blogs
balancing your chequebook via Internet banking
dreamily making up lists of things you would buy if you won the lottery or doubled your salary

Zen Solitaire. I think I’ll write a self-help book about this.

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