Monday, December 18, 2006

Death of a Salesman

Three weeks ago my mother called me to tell me that my grandfather, her father, had died in his sleep. This should not have been a shock to me; he was nearing 80, was quite overweight, had smoked for about 30 years (before finally quitting 10 years ago,) and had had 2 previous heart attacks (the first when he was barely into his fifties.) I was shocked anyway and responded exactly the same way people on television do when getting news like this--I argued with her. "But you SAID he looked FINE when you saw him at Thanksgiving."

Over the next few days my entire family massed at my grandmother's house to take care of whatever needed to be taken care of and to attend the funeral. I could not be there, because I am here, in Germany, and could not afford to fly back. The strangled quality of my voice must have significantly alarmed my extended family because they all spent most of our phone time together trying to comfort me. Our biggest concern right now is my grandmother, who was/is the sort of 1950's-era housewife who never learned to drive a car, has no idea how bills are paid, and stands to collect almost no social security. Now she is alone in a big house in a fading ex-mining town in Northern Pennsylvania, and she has refused, thus far, all invitations to come and live with one of my aunts.

My grandparent's marriage remains a mystery to me. I was never under the impression that they loved, or even liked, each other very much...They married right out of high school and six months later gave birth to a 10 pound "premature infant" (my mother.) In my memory they never once hugged or kissed or slept a single night in the same room. Their interactions mainly consisted of decades worth of low-level bitching at one another, but, then again, as someone who really enjoys bitching, I can sort of imagine it as a building-block of a satisfying long-term relationship. My mother told me that, while clearly devastated, my grandmother carried out the role of the "brave but grieving widow" during the funeral as if she were Rose Kennedy and doing it for CNN.

I don't know much about my grandmother's early ambitions, except that she liked to sing and stopped after she married and had children. My grandfather, "Poppie" we called him, was one of those one-time small town high-school football and wrestling stars. After he married he spent his life working as a traveling salesmen for some kind of cleaning product company, watching TV in a series of increasingly padded and tricked out La-Z-Boy recliners, attending sporting events at his old high school, and grooming his only son, their fourth and final child, to follow in his footsteps in the sporting and business arenas. The pride with which my grandfather regarded his only son is still on display, shrine-like, in the upstairs hallway. Sometime in the late sixties my grandfather commissioned a painted portrait of his son, the only portrait he'd had done of any of his children. The painting features my then-teenage uncle's seemingly disembodied, floating head in the center of the canvas, surrounded by full-body images of him involved in a variety of varsity sports: winding up to pitch a baseball, winding up to throw a football, posing on the starting block at a track meet, and, most disturbingly, purple-faced and sweaty, tricked out like Tarzan in a fetchingly bikini-cut wrestling singlet, grinding some other kid's face into a floormat.

That picture still has the ability to make my mother and her sisters apoplectic with rage. They hiss softly every time they walk past it. My uncle, for his part, is now the only republican in a family of yellow-dog democrats and a disgustingly wealthy fundamentalist Christian to boot. All of this, I feel, can somehow all be traced back to that big floating head portrait.

My mother told me that, on a visit with them two summers ago, my grandfather suddenly told her that he didn't want her or her siblings to be sad when he died. "I've been waiting a long time for it," he said "I want to go and be back with my parents and my sister and brother." He had been waiting a long time. His father died in his early 50s, also of a heart attack. His brother before that even, in WWII. His sister, worst of all, was stabbed to death by her abusive husband when she was in her early 20s. So finally he got his wish. That is, if the people we love really are waiting for us some "other side" somewhere. I'd like to believe this is true, but I find it increasingly hard to do so. I lack my uncle's easy faith, after all.

As for me, the last time I saw m grandfather was last Christmas, as my mother and I were pulling away for our long drive back home. He was standing by the car's passenger side window crying, which he always did. He hated it when we all left at the end of the Holidays and his face would crumple and he'd start to sob quietly as we loaded up to go. I said something like, "Hey there old man, buck up, we'll see each other again soon," like I always did, in the kind of jovial voice that was supposed to make a joke of the whole thing. And he laughed a little, like he always did, as if I'd said something funny.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ach Ja, Bucky



So, two weeks ago I celebrated my 33rd birthday. The pub I chose for this event is the one pictured above. The reason I picked it will, of course, be obvious to everyone in Madison...since it sports a clearly plagiarized Bucky Badger as it's mascot. I came across this particular bar w/ accompanying picture on a random internet search. It's an "Apple wine" bar...featuring a nauseating fermented apple drink characteristic of Frankfurt. You'd expect apple wine to be really sweet but it isn't. Instead it tastes like something that went off after being left on a self too long, which, I'd bet anything, is exactly how it was first discovered. It gets more drinkable when mixed with Sprite.

For awhile I couldn't figure out how in the hell Bucky figured into all this, until I remembered that the word "Dachs" means "badger" (and "roof," for some reason, and is also the source of word "dachshund"...."badger-dog"....because that's what they were bred to hunt, if you can believe that. Explains why dachshunds are so damn mean, i guess, although in a straight-up fight my money would still be on the badger.) Dachs is pronounced like Dax. Dachs=DAX=Badger=Bucky. Get it?

Still, it's kind of an odd coincidence.

Anyway the people I had drinks with here had absolutely no idea why I was so fixated on the damn Badger, but there you have it.

It just tickled me to death the whole time. Thinking about how there were thick-necked men (and thick-necked women) all over the state of Wisconsin who would just die at the idea of Bucky drinking anything as sissified as a jug of apple wine/Sprite cocktails...at the idea of Euro-Bucky to begin with, really. A Bucky who sorts his trash faithfully, drives a Smartcar, sits down to pee (as is generally considered polite for both men and women in Germany,) and carries around his own bag for trips to the grocery store. Even right-wingers here carry the ubiquitous cloth grocery bags stamped with "Sch├╝tzt unsere Umwelt" (Protect our Environment) and a picture of a 70's-looking cartoon frog kissing a cartoon turtle under a rainbow.

I'd like Euro-Bucky a lot better. I have a hard time imagining him joining a frat, for one thing. His politics would be closer to mine and he'd have an appreciation for art museums, sauna-weekends and dance music. We'd probably have a lot more to talk about.

Come to think of it, though, in a fight between Euro-Bucky and a Dachshund, my money might be on the dog.

Monday, September 18, 2006

May vee see your papers, Frau Brown?

So today I cheerfully went down to my local Einwohnermeldamt (Resident's Registration Bureau) to register my bad ol' self with the local authorities. This isn't just something that foreigners have to do, by the way. Whenever anyone moves anywhere in Germany they have to register with the local authorities. There's nothing weird about that...they just want to know where you are, is all. Just in case they, uh....need to find you. Yeah. So anyway, tomorrow I get to go to another office, this one is 'specially for foreigners, it seems, to "apply for a residence permit." (No one has yet told me what would happen if said request should be denied, and believe me it had better not be because I just joined a Goddamn gym here and you simply cannot change your mind once you sign up.)

Anyway, the exchange with the woman who registered me was exceedingly odd insofar as she asked me to declare my religion. One's "official religion" is still something one registers with the state here. This might be because churches get state support and said support probably has something to do with how many people claim membership in each officially state recognized church.

All of that's fine, I suppose, except.."I don't have a religion" was NOT an acceptable answer. I know this, because it was the first answer I gave her. She just stared at me expectantly and asked the question a second time. Slower.

This was all unbearably confusing, in part because when people ask me "what religion I am" in the US I never know what exactly it is they mean. Often the question simply means "do you believe in God?" followed maybe by a "if so, what name do you call him/her/they in your house?" Sometimes it means "what religion were you raised in?" or, more accurately, "what holidays did you celebrate as a child?" Sometimes it means "Have-you-accepted-Christ-as-your-Personal-Lord-and -Savior?" Usually the latter applies when the question is coming from the old lady sitting next to you on a long-distance flight, and you can try pretending to read, or to sleep, or to not speak English all you want because she's got a massive hard-on for Jesus and she's never, ever going to shut up about it.

Also there are some situations where my preferred answer, "I don't HAVE a religion," is patently incorrect. The first is whenever one of my Jewish friends asks this question. The question then actually means "are you Jewish or are you a Gentile?" Here you have to pick one. You don't get to opt out, I know this, because I've tried. I do understand why this is. When one is a Gentile one gets to be part of the unmarked, political majority...one is not automatically "Otherized" in the same ways that an American Jew finds herself often to be. Here though, again, the question hints at political and cultural dimensions that reach beyond those suggested by the word "religion."

The second situation wherein "I don't have a religion" is not the correct answer, is when the question is being ask by the woman at the Einwohnermeldamt who is not going to drop it until you give her an answer that corresponds with one of her little numerical codes.

My second attempt, wherein I stupidly blurted out "uh...GENTILE!" also didn't fly.

"Are you a CATHOLIC, are you an EVANGELICAL, what?" she persisted annoyed**.

"I guess...Protestant?" I said.

"Evangelical is a kind of Protestant" she informed me "So, Evangelical, yes?"

"Um...sure...Evangelical."

And so now that's what I FUCKING AM.

Never mind that "Evangelical," in the United States, generally connotes the kind of person who speaks in tongues and firebombs abortion clinics. No fine, I'll happily be Evangelical for the Federal Republic of Germany if that's, apparently, what the Federal Republic wants me to be.

Right so, if you move to Germany they want to know exactly where you are at all times and they want to know what religion you are too, and there's NOTHING weird about that. NOTHING.

Just try not to think about it.

Praisejesusamen.

(**Please do keep in mind that this transaction was completed entirely in German, not in English. Any principled stands you yourself believe you might have taken in the name of Atheism or Agnosticism or whatever the hell, do remember that when one is dealing with an unpleasant bureaucratic hurdle, in a foreign language no less, all one really wants to do is get one's little stamped and signed piece of whatever and get.the.hell.out.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Poland, the early days...





Warsaw, August 29: Self-portrait after transatlantic flight, change in Frankfurt for second flight to Warsaw. Awaiting third flight to Lodz. Have made self sincere promise never, ever to fly across an ocean on an American carrier again. You'd have more leg room if you stuffed yourself in a cardboard box and went by mail. I'm going on British Air or Lufthansa next time.



World's most expensive nap. Had 8 hour layover in Warsaw. If I were entirely a different sort of person, I'd have used this opportunity to engage in some edifying tourism of Warsaw proper. Being the lazy bastard I am, I drug my 40 pounds of carry on luggage across the street to the only close hotel. A Marriot. 70 Euro for a six hour nap and a bath. Worth it.

World's boingy-est meal. "Sausage Plate" courtesy of the Warsaw airport




Scenes from walk to and from dormitory in Lodz. Note car driving down sidewalk in top photo.





Okay, that's all for today. Please continue to join me here as I bitch constantly about each and every single place I visit like the insufferable little princess that I clearly am.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Okay, I take back most of the trash I was talking about Poland

Krakow is beautiful...charming, charming, charming. Beyond charming. I will post pictures, yes, when I finally find perfect digital camera/laptop/internet access trifeca.

Highlights from final days in Lodz...

1.Tour of of local Jewish history on which our chartered tour bus dropped 20 of us (all Polish non-natives) off at the end in an unknown part of town and took off with all of our stuff on board. 20 minutes of angry intercession with tourguide on the part of my academic advisor did, rather magically, cause said bus to reappear with our stuff eventually. Apparently they "needed the bus for another tour." Why they didn't think to warn us about this is beyond me. Also it isn't clear how they expected us all to get back to the university when the vast, vast majority of the dispatchers or local cabbies don't speak a word of English (or any of the other major EU languages, so far as I can tell) and none of us spoke Polish (or Russian, Czech, and other more common former Communist Bloc second languages.)


2. Group of local children that followed along after us on final leg of Jewish history tour yelling the only two English words they knew.."HELLO!!!" "HELLO, MOTHERFUCKER!!"

3. As ever, my twenty minute walk two and from my dorm over a pitted, mud road through what seems like an endless construction site. Said construction site is lined with vacant lots, gutted abandoned buildings, and the occasional deeply skeav-y bar. Cars aren't supposed to drive down this street, given the construction. But they still happily do. On the sidewalk.
I lived in Washington DC when it was still the official murder capital of the country and I can't say I ever felt quite so unsafe there as I do transversing that mud road after dark.

4. Second day in Lodz, when I saw an old guy nonchalantly pushing his car down the street. He wasn't pushing it from behind. Rather, it was one of those rattle-trap little Eastern European cars that looks like it's made out of recycled Jiffy Pop bags and was so light he could both push and steer simultaneously, by opening the driver's side door and keeping one hand on the steering wheel and one on the dash. His manner suggested there was nothing at all out of the ordinary going on, and walking hunched over alongside his car like that it looked more like he was escorting a very short friend down the middle of the highway. When he finally got to the crest of a small hill, he hopped in and rolled away.

4. Four hour drive to Krakow in back of car piloted by advisor and her husband. Headrest was oddly positioned so that it digs into the back of shoulders and very base of the neck instead of, say....reaching high enough to support the head. About five inches of leg-room. We got lost maybe eight times.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fuck, I gotta post something

Okay, look...I haven't posted anything in awhile. I had to teach an intensive summer class for about a month there, and I was literally working 14 hour days. Not only did the class meet for 2 and a half hours everyday, but it was the first time I ever lectured so I was frantically writing and researching content all day every day.

For the last week I've kinda been sleeping it all off and watching TV.

What else is new?

1. I am never talking to Joel again. I am sick of him. He is a small, ugly man. He went through a short relationship recently and had taken to calling me, telling me at length how great the sex was, waiting for me to get upset, and then telling me that I need to go into counseling for my moods.

2. I put my Match ad back up. I took it down while I was teaching because I didn't want my students to maybe find it, and because, once again, I couldn't bring myself to respond to anyone who was emailing me. It's back up again because clearly the only thing fueling my lingering crush on little, mean, homely Joel is complete long-term deprivation and my overall lack of hope, love and sex-wise. Going on blind dates is like enduring a tax audit while getting tea-bagged by Dick Cheney, but I just have to keep at it.

3. Almost all of my friends have left town. I am alone. I don't like being left along on holidays, even shitty cocksucking Republican holidays like the 4th. I get to thinking that maybe everyone is at a picnic without me.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mr. Angry Apologizes

So...the day after I got the email included in the post below this one, I got a follow-up email from the same guy. He wanted to apologize. That was nice, I suppose.

Here's what it said:

"Hey, I owe you an apology. I'm sorry, I was just really hurting emotionally that day and felt like lashing out. There is no excuse. Of course, I don't expect you to write back.....never did. However, my actions were childish an insensitive. I hope you laughed it off.

I'm usually a very kind person but a woman was particularly rude to me that day and it brought out the worst in me.

I wish you luck in your doctoral endeaver."


Okay. But...um...I still got issues with this. First of all, I'm real sorry "a woman" was mean to you, but WHAT THE FUCK does that have to do with me? Oh, oh, oh...right, I'm sorry, we're kind of all the same...I keep forgetting. It's kinda like, you know, you're having a really bad day at work, and then on the way home some Asian dude cuts you off in traffic, so then you come straight home and start screaming racial slurs at the old Korean lady next door while bashing in the windows of her car with a tire-iron. You know, it's like just that.

The other reason I'm not-super impressed by Mr. Angry's act of contrition is his personal ad itself.

Observe:
1. He lists his age as 38
2. Clearly, he's actually about 45
3. He only wants women between the ages of 18 and 30.
4. Oh...also they have to be "slender."

Fucker. Don't even know what he was doing looking at my ad in the first place, since, at 32, I'm clearly too old (and too chubby) for his sorry 45-year old ass...

Fucker

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Seriously, though.....you really think I'm pretty?

A few days ago I got the following email via Match. The subject line read: "You are pretty, just confused."


The message itself said the following:

Ever noticed how the liberal "intelligencia" go off to Europe to study when they are in their twenties? Must have something to do with that "trust fund" in their future. Also, I have NEVER once met a liberal who is actually had to live with the "poor and oppressed". Yeah, so in other words, you are looking for a lefty (dred-locks prefered) to have casual sex and conversation with for the summer. You might as well go the entire direction and hook up with another girl.

This is one of the more interesting responses I've ever gotten from a personal ad.

First of all, being good self-interested resource maximizers, most people use the online personals as an easy way of making contact with people they might want to date. I guess there's no specific policy against it, but utilizing essentially the opposite strategy; emailing people you think you'd probably hate to say "I don't like your politics and I don't want to go out with you. By the way, you are a lesbian" seems irrational...if only from a time-management perspective.

More to the point, it is interesting to see what I (or an online picture of me coupled with a short description) might come to represent to someone who's never met me. Just like that news photo of John Kerry wind-sailing got used to make Kerry look like an effete, over-educated, East Coast snob who could never, ever sympathize with the problems of the common man, my personal ad clearly signifies, for this dude at least, the kind of woman who really pisses him off. Which is to say the kind of woman who has more education and money than him, insists on cunnilingus, and wants him to do his share of the laundry. Shit...who knows? Maybe my personal ad is out there LOSING an election for the Democratic Party RIGHT NOW!!

Finally, it's fascinating to me that he assumes that I must be rich because I'm in Academia (okay, most academics come from middle-upperclass backgrounds, but I ain't one of 'em) or because I'm a leftist (nah, lefties tend to be poorer than conservatives across the board) or that, since I'm looking for a short-term relationship ("casual sex" in his words) with a guy, I'm OBVIOUSLY something of a dyke. This last is the most egregious example of sad-ass logic in the whole thing...

....although here he is, of course, entirely correct.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Back into online dating...

Despite (or rather because of) the fact that I'm about to leave the country for about a year in a few months, I decided to go back up on Match.com. Why? Here's my new "triple-threat" plan of attack....

My ad has now been modified to state outright that, while I'm open to meeting 'the one,' I'm about to go Splittsville for awhile. I'll be back eventually, of course, but looking to start something long-term now just doesn't make sense. Therefore, the ad reads, all I really want is "someone intelligent and interesting to enjoy Madison in the summer with."

Personally I thought the wording (or at least the implication) sounded kinda slutty....Ang and The Prof both think it's actually a little too subtle. Prof said he thought fewer guys would respond anyway because the possibility of marriage, babies and love everlasting is pretty much off the table. Clearly Prof is smoking crack these days.

Anyway, if my blandly worded incitement to commitment-free naughtiness doesn't get me stalked, skinned, and turned into a lampshade in some dude's torture basement, this whole thing might prove to be a refreshing experience....

Observe:

1. Dating men* (and some women...but this more a problem with the fellas) is a little bit like training wild squirrels to eat from your hands. You have to spend hours...days...weeks squatting absolutely motionless in the backyard with your palms outstretched and full of seeds. Eventually, they'll start to slowly approach. However, if you get excited and make the slightest move toward them, they bound back into the bushes and you have to start all over. But, see...this is dating without expectations. No, not even that...this is dating without even the POSSIBILITY of expectations in the near or distant future. What more can you ask for?

2. Since I'm not looking for long-term either, I'm free to go out with people I'd normally reject as utterly impractical right off the bat. For example, I generally avoid really 'sporty' people like the fucking plague. But.....I'M LEAVING!! I don't have to learn how to play softball, or try ultimate Frisbee, or resign myself to a lifetime of miserable wilderness vacations squatting over shallow hand-dug holes in the ground everytime I need to take a dump. If he doesn't want kids, or is a vegetarian, or a Buddhist, or has a really, really gross dog who constantly swallows, regurgitates, and then re-swallows the same shredded rubber ball under the bed all night, every night....IT DOESN'T MATTER!! Because, hey, I'm not looking for life-long compatibility here.

3. Finally, since letting go of all desires and expectations allows one to reach that perfect Zen state of dating that all the magazines tell you is the prerequisite for actually finding someone in the first place (and a prerequisite for ending up in an amazingly shitty relationship, sounds like) maybe I'll end up with the LOVE OF MY LIFE in a SPECIAL SEASON FINALE TWIST ENDING. WAAAHHH!!

Probably not though.

*(Yes...I know, I've written this post as if all I'm looking for are men. Well, on Match that's all I really am looking for. There are, like, three dykes up on that site.)

3am and still awake

I'm trying to finish a paper at the last minute, it's due tomorrow either at noon or at 5pm...I'm actually not sure. Its for the kind of Prof who leaves town abandoning all papers turned in 15 minutes past the deadline and parcels out F's like mints. I'll probably have it done by 5.

Along with my constant sleepiness I've been shockingly apathetic about everything for months now. This entire year has been an exercise in courting disaster for me, really. I've been doing such a half-assed job of everything and, while I fear failure in some abstract sense, I no longer seem to fear it enough to make myself take steps to avoid it. Worse, despite the fact that I actually LIKE what I do, my interest in it doesn't seem to be much of a motivator.

I thought maybe I could blame recent excessive television viewing for some of this, but then my satellite receiver broke and I was TV-less for four days until they sent me a new one. During that period of time I did nothing at all. I just sat in a chair staring out the window, listened to an audiobook, or slept. Normally when I'm putting off doing work I have this excess of nervous energy and I clean the house...anything to keep from sitting still. Now though, I am all about sitting still...except for the tongue chewing and nail biting bit.

I could be depressed, I suppose. Before when I was depressed, though, I FELT it. I was, not to belabor the obvious, deeply, deeply sad...and deeply crazy. This does not feel like at all like that did. Plus the Zoloft's been doing a pretty good job of keeping the volume knob on the crazy tuned to a reasonable level (unless...shudder...it's suddenly stopped working.)

Today I decided to do some internet research on this and found that there is a (rather small) movement in the psychiatric community to get "Apathy" declared as a DSM mental illness. Depression, Anxiety...and Apathy??? I dunno.

I think the thing that troubles me the most is that I can't even begin to draw the line between "grad student normal" and "major depression." Isn't all of what I just described actually pretty much, like, most of us a lot of the time?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

That which presently preoccupies me

These are a list of my current worries. Many, but not all, of them have something to do with the fact that I will be in Germany most of next year.

1. You would think that out of all of the problems one has when one goes overseas for a research stint, finding someone to take care of a cat for you would be the least of them. (They're CATS, for fuckssake!!!) You would especially think finding cat foster-parents would have been easy given the volume of petsitting I have been doing over the last 5 years in preparation for calling in just exactly this favor. You would be wrong.

2. Still, though, whoever takes them probably won't be willing to stand still in the morning and let Tilda lick the post-shower baby oil off of their legs (she enjoys that for whatever reason, plus it helps prevent hairballs!) or gently hold/squeeze Lola's hind paws in bed at night in just the way she likes while she's falling asleep.

3. Actually number two, above, probably doubles as a pretty good explanation for why I'm still single.

4. My German sucks. God it sucks. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've been studying it for years, but people who don't intensively learn a foreign language for the purpose of going abroad....and then actually go abroad to find out how fucking bad their speech and comprehension still is.....have no idea how much this complicates the whole process. Nightmares, people. Every night. Alienation, anomie...like something out of a Fritz Lang movie.

5. I'm growing my hair out, so right now I have a big-ass mullet.

6. Right now, I also have a big ass.

7. I finally got some money together to buy a wireless ("Airport") card for my computer. But then when I went to buy it, the DOIT chick was all like, "Oh uh, this computer's five years old. Apple doesn't MAKE wireless cards that fit this computer anymore, because right after this one came on the market they UPGRADED to the 'Airport extreme." And I was like, "Oh, thank you, Miss, for that useful information, and THANK YOU TOO, Steve Jobs, you FUCKING COCKSUCKER. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your strategic use of planned obsolescence to price basic computer technology even farther out of the reach of people like me." Now if I want an Airport card I have to buy an old one on Ebay. EBAY!!! And they're even more expensive now, used, than they were new before. Know how come? Cause now they're RARE.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yellow Fever

A few weeks ago I finally got a long-awaited look at the ex-girlfriend of Joel (alias the Professor) this dude I went out with for a short while last year. His ex, Kim, this chick he dated for a few months shortly after he divorced his wife and a few months before he met me, had long been something of an object of fascination for me. She dated the Prof, but also she ended up dating this sorta hot dude that my friend Bonnie had gone on a date with and quite liked. Since Kim had scooped both Bonnie and me (sort of....Prof deemed her worthy of a semi-long relationship, whereas he broke up with me after a few dates, ostensibly because he was "too stressed out over the recent purchase of a new house to handle a relationship") I was anxious to lay eyes on her.

She was kinda scary, actually. Joel had described Kim to me thus: "After my divorce I thought to myself, 'I've got to find me a really thin girl, I want to date someone really thin.' So I started dating Kim. She was really, really thin, and we went out for awhile. But she was too thin, actually." (I know, I know..he's awful. But is he unusual? Really his politics are impeccable..including, on the surface, his gender politics...but you get a glass of wine in 'em, get him really talking about relationships, and crap like this comes spilling out.)

Anyway, Kim.... Clearly she had a pretty bad case of the ol' anorexia, a look I can't say I find particularly appealing, but, worse, she'd had it for quite awhile. Twenty-something Eating-Disorder Girls are one thing. Yeah, they're essentially victims of starvation, but their bodies still retain enough youth, stamina and elasticity that they look emaciated, but not necessarily scary-ass, drug through hell backwards, rode-hard-n-put-away-wet SICK. Eating Disorder Girls in their 30s and above are another thing entirely. They look like they've suffered a long illness, 'cause they have. I think the worst thing about Kim (no, not her REAL name, I'm not THAT huge of a bitch) was her SKIN. Yellow...profoundly yellow, malaria yellow...as if her body had given up and started breaking her liver down for whatever calories it had to offer. Yellow and loose and dull, like crepe-paper or chicken skin. She also had deep, brown under-eye circles and her hair was long and brittle and dead. (GAH, there's NOTHING worse than really long Eating-Disorder Girl hair, it looks like that wispy shit you see still clinging to the victim's dessicated skull during CSI exhumation scenes.)

Her boyfriend, Greg, was, as promised, quite attractive-tall, athletic...healthy. (According to Joel, it isn't particularly surprising that he's dating Kim, as Greg also tends to go for super-thin women.)

Okay...so...we get it. A lot of guys like that reed-y Kate Moss thing...but, but, but....even when it means that prematurely-aged, slack and jaundiced skin...the dead, dry cadaver hair, the brittle fingernails, and blue lips, and sunken eyes? Is the thin thing really so wonderful that you lose the ability to SEE that? Is ANY really thin girl automatically attractive? Are TB and radiation sickness patients suddenly hot commodities on the dating market, despite the bloody sputum and missing hair and teeth, because they're so very incredibly thin?

And..honestly. What are we to think about the fact that so many men prefer the women they date to be weak and sick, even if being that sick makes you...well...ugly? It can't be about beauty, when beauty is clearly the first thing to go when you treat your body like that. I'd hate to say that its about power...that intelligent, well-educated, lefty men STILL just want girls who make them feel big and important by being the very embodiment of powerlessness themselves...but what else could it be???
Or maybe the dude that dates underweight women totally gets off on the fact that this whole thing is a performance wherein she constantly proves her devotion to him by denying herself....they go out to dinner, he stuffs his face, and she sits across from him starving and picking at an undressed salad.

It's like the dating equivalent of those people who train their dog to sit there with a dog biscuit balanced on its nose for 15 minutes before giving it the okay to eat.

Except when does she get the okay to eat?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Random notes 4/10-4/13

1. I rode my bike into campus on Monday for the first time this season, and I managed to crash it into something (in this case, the ground) almost immediately. This happened when I decided it would be a good idea to BIKE down a flight of three wide-ish stone steps instead of dismounting and walking them. I do not know what I possibly could have been thinking. I am not the sort of person who "hotdogs" (as the kids used to call it, back in the day) her bike down, or up, things. I think for about a second, as i went over the first step, I remembered those kids from the 80's Kool Aid commercials, perfectly guiding their Huffys and skateboards down a long flights of concrete steps or gracefully jumping them. (This is a job for KOOL-AID, OH YEAAHHH!) As a consequence of this lack of judgment I was late for Femsem and spent most of a Yen Le Espiritu talk picking gravel bits out of my palms.

2. Also, riding a bike is really tough on the ol' snatcheroo...at least until one gets used to it. I suppose men have the same problem.

3. I got an iPod, finally. It's black n' really pretty, although I'm kinda miffed you can't buy the multi-colored ones anymore. I spent about a year trying to decide whether I wanted an orange or lime green iPod once i could finally afford one, and now they don't make them anymore. (Honestly I still can't afford it, but finding out they can be used as digital tape recorders made up my mind for me. I most definitely need one of those if I'll be spending the next year doing German-language fieldwork, and you really can't beat the storage capacity or battery life of an iPod. Plus, you can't download and watch Futurama episodes on a standard digital tape recorder, or so I've been told.) Actually, I'm scared to take it out of the house now that I have it, for fear that 1. it will be stolen or 2. someone will grab it away from me and get an unvarnished look at the godawful music I listen to.

4. I am going to Lodz, Poland this summer! Poland...damn, man. I got a paper accepted at a conference there, and a grant to defer my travel expenses. Poland! Why am I so excited about going to Poland? I dunno, but I am. Poland!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Things we already know, already

After being lectured more or less non-stop for our entire goddamn lives by everybody, I would like to announce that we all know the following things.....

1. We're all too fat. The average American's BMI is 700, we watch too much TV, the only exercise we get is shoveling food into our enormous maws. We're fat. we get it.

2. Our pets are also too fat. Mine in particular. My cat Tilda sleeps draped across my chest every night and it is exactly like being crushed under a purring boulder. This is BAD for her, yes, diabetes...heart disease...arthritis...blah blah blah, I KNOW.

3. If we have children, those children are also too fat. I don't have kids yet, but when I do, I bet they'll be pretty fucking fat.

4. If we don't have children and we're women, we're all waiting too long to have children. I'm 32 and I don't have kids yet. I won't be having them anytime soon, because I'm broke and single and will be for the foreseeable future. By the time I can afford kids and/or will be a relationship I'll be in my late 30's, if I'm lucky, and my babies will all be born retarded and with flippers. Yes, I know. (if we don't have children and we're men, hey...no worries, mate! Just wait until you're 50 or so and then marry a 12 year old. That's what everyone else does.)

5. We have too much credit card debt. Hell, I'm still paying 22 percent interest on groceries I bought 7 years ago....oh, and also on the two months rent this last year that I had to put on my Mastercard. In case you were wondering, I can actually do simple math. I do understand that I'm losing money this way.

6. Smoking is bad for us. Drugs are also bad for us.

7. We drink too much.

8. We're all too stressed. We need to learn to relax. Stress is a killer...heart disease...strokes...cancer, blah, blah, blah. WE NEED TO LEARN TO RELAX OR WE'LL FUCKING DIE! We get it.....Thanks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random notes 3/20-3/23

1. Children smell bad. Not babies, I generally like the way babies smell. It's school-age children that smell bad. It's a very particular bad smell too. They all have it. Sort of stale, a little acrid...metallic even. My downstairs neighbors have a kid, and I can always tell when he's been in the hallway because the kid-funk lingers in the air. Elementary schools totally reek of it. I think maybe people with school age kids tend not to bathe them that often. Maybe I'll like the way my own kids smell, though.

2. I've gained weight. 176.5 at the doctor's office, but that was with clothes and shoes. I'm oozing over the sides of everything I own, like a warm, yeasty sourdough starter.

3. My deviled eggs rival those to be found in the best restaurants. Case in point: Madison's Old Fashioned Cafe. Nice trendy little place on the Capitol Square, good food generally...but the deviled eggs there are sort of bland. Mine are not. My secret? Two kinds of mustard and a little Apple Cider Vinegar. Sometimes I even add a touch of curry powder. My deviled eggs KICK ASS.

4. I am suffering a severe lack of motivation work-wise. I'm not making much progress on my dissertation, and my classwork is mediocre at best. I feel like I kind of biffed my grant application process too. Like if I had done a better job, I'd have gotten further along in the Fulbright process (even if I ended up getting rejected eventually) would have gotten into the Berlin program outright instead of getting wait-listed, etc. I should have applied for more grants too....there were a few I could have put in applications for that I just didn't (mostly because each one is a fucking mountain of work.) Urgh...why do I always feel like I'm fucking up even when I actually do sorta okay? Or like I'm a huge dissapointment? Today I met with my advisor and she was all "Well, your applications clearly could have been better...I mean, they weren't BAD, I wouldn't have let you send them if they'd been bad...but they could have been better." I almost started crying, which was great.

They could have been better? What CAN'T be better?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sleep

I had a doctor's appointment today. My primary concern is that I sleep too much. I asked my doctor if there is such a thing as being chronically overslept.

"How much sleep are we talking about here?" she asked me.

"I can sleep 11 hours a night...and sometimes I'll still be up for an afternoon nap," I told her.

"How do you have time to sleep for 11 hours a day?," she asked.

"I don't"


That last question was the best part, I think. If sleeping for 11+ hours a day weren't a problem, I wouldn't be asking her to fix it. It's a little like asking someone "Wow, you have cancer? How do you even find time for that, what with your job and everything?"

My doctor scheduled a blood draw to see if my thyroid's working properly. I'm sure my Thyroid Hormone levels will be fine. That would be far too easy a solution. Probably I have one of those diseases that everyone thinks you're just making shit up when you tell them you have it, like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That would wicked suck.

My doctor also asked me if I was more depressed than usual. "About the same," I said. Anyway, I don't get sleepy when I'm depressed. I'm what they call an "anxious depressive," I get all brittle and edgy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Everything I own is rubbish

Case in point....my stereo. It stopped either rewinding or fast forwarding tapes. Who still listens to tapes? Me, because everything I own is shit. We've covered this. Everytime I need to rewind or fast forward something I have to drag my old boom box out of the closet, plug it in, and then stand there holding the cord in just the right position or else it shuts off. Rewinding and fast forwarding is the only thing my old boom box can still do, but I have to keep it around because of the thing with the stereo. The stereo only plays CDs about 1/3 the time, too, either cause it's old or because the lens is dirty.

Also, I just paid $400 to have my breaks replaced and the mechanic told me I need to get my second tie-rod end fixed. That'll run me about $200.

Okay, actually Shamus paid $400 to have my breaks replaced...and I think the check I wrote him to cover it bounced.

Friday, January 20, 2006

random notes 1/15-1/20

1. Classes started this week. Something I learned in one of my classes is that if your hair is badly thinning, do NOT, under any circumstances, dye it jet black and comb it backward with great hand-fulls of Depp hair gel. The effect is disturbing.

2. My cat, Lola, started this weird thing where she wants to climb onto my left shoulder and snog my ear in that excessively loud, slobbery purring cat way. She only does it while I'm sitting on the john.

3. Lemonade Crystal Light is surprisingly tasty.

4. I always have a nervous habit, but it'll change from time to time. Sometimes I chew my fingernails, sometimes I'll need to rotate and stretch some part of my body (my neck, a wrist) until its swollen and painful, which'll only make me feel like I need to do it more. Or I'll pick at something, like a zit, until I work it into a right little scar. Recently I can't seem to stop chewing on my tongue. Sometimes my tongue'll get a little white sore on it from rubbing against the jagged edge of one of my teeth. Once that happens I can't stop scraping it and chomping on it. It's like it has this itch deep down inside it. It's gotten so bad my mouth tastes a little like blood most of the time.

5. I've had three dreams this week that I've woken from in a cold sweat. Two involved being chased by the walking dead, in the third I'd been told I had to teach a college-level math class.

6. If you think dating someone a lot uglier than you means they'll be grateful and treat you better, you are sadly mistaken. Try to find hot, insecure people instead. Then you can be the mean, ugly one.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Holy fucking shit

I PASSED, I actually PASSED. I can't even believe it. I was so sure I failed I called my friend Shamus and made him log onto my email account as me and tell me what the email said when I finally got it (if'n you're an outside reader...unlikely, since about 2 people read my blog and I should spare myself the bother of typing and just call them both......yeah, well, if you aren't in my grad department, our preliminary exam results come in the form of an email from the department secretary.) I was too scared to look at the email myself..I thought "I'll see that big FAIL all in capital letters and my eyeballs will burst into flames." Better to hear it from a friend. But I passed.

The catch is, even though I passed, it was what we call a "weak pass"....meaning, I squeaked through so narrowly I'm required to meet with someone on my committee to "discuss the results." Basically, I have to report for an ass-chewing sometime next week. They'll be like "We decided to pass you, but you didn't really deserve it...and this is why...blah, blah, blah"

I don't mind, I guess. Its a little like finishing some awful thing and having someone hand you a Special Olympics "Good Effort" medal. Except Special Olympics kids get praised and taken out for pie at Denny's after, they don't have to meet with the judges and get told they basically did alright except they're still really throwing that javelin like a retard.

Whatever. A weak pass is still about a million times better than having to retake the fucker. I told Reba and Virginia I wanted a cake that says "Congratulations on your Pass-With-Ass-Reaming!" They said they'd do it. Really, that's even better than getting a cake that says "Congratulations on your Pass!" or even "Congratulations on Distinction!" because mine will have more icing.

HA!

Friday, January 06, 2006

it was awful

the prelim was like getting ass-plowed by grizzly bears. i totally bombed it. my committee would have to be drunk to pass me. i still can't really write about it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

i. don't. care.

Tomorrow I take the political prelim, and I do not feel prepared. I have been studying for this thing, off and on (mostly off,) since June. There is a decent chance that I will not pass it, because motivating myself to study for it has been like pushing a stone slab up a hill. The major literatures have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with my research or my research interests. Studying them has been a task akin to memorizing names and numbers from a 1974 copy of the Barstow, California Yellow Pages.

There are some literatures on the political prelim that I actually like, but they rarely come up as questions...so I haven't really studied them. This is an unfortunate strategic response to having to study for a test in which there is a huge body of literature, and one is working under a time constraint. If I get asked a question on something I like and will eventually use in my Dissertation research (citizenship, nationalism, discourse, etc) it will be especially cruel, because odds are I will be unable to answer it.

If I fail this thing tomorrow, all that will happen, supposedly, is that I will retake it in August. Except that this is grad school and of course there's all this shame and guilt associated with everything, so I'll end up feeling ashamed and guilty. My advisor will let me know how horribly dissapointed in me she is and I'll feel like total shit. I won't have a good excuse for not passing it, either. Just that I couldn't quite pull it together to do the unbelievable volume of studying necessary to confidently pass the fucking thing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Yeah, bitch, that was me at Starbuck's...

I don't understand how Madison, a town with more coffee shops per capita than any other place I've ever lived, still can't manage to scrape together two or three people who can make a drinkable cup of coffee. I probably spend an average of about $6 a week on coffee that ends up tasting like hot, milky ass.... and that I end up, consequently, just throwing out.

Also, before I moved to Madison, I never realized how many different WAYS a cup of coffee could suck. Burned and bitter. Too weak. Burned and bitter AND too weak...my favorite...like drinking really rusty tap water. Sometimes it tastes oddly flat...Reba says that happens when you start with tepid or warm water instead of starting with cold water that is quickly heated. Or sometimes it's the steamed milk that ruins it. That happens when it isn't scalded properly and ends up being sorta...slimy.

In fact, the only consistantly good coffee shop on State Street is Starbucks. Everytime I've bought a cup of coffee there it was actually GOOD. And if you have a problem with me buying coffee at a non-locally owned establishment, you can kiss my ass, Hippy Fucker. ERC? Terrible...probably the most reliably terrible, well next to Fair Trade, anyway (which started out good, but went downhill for some reason.) ERC's coffee is always way too weak (its just tan, hot milk really) while Fair Trade's is generally burned and tastes like the bottom of a utility room sink. Also the ERC closer to the Capital is staffed by hipster assholes who blast music through the stereo system like they're at a Yo Lo Tengo concert and sneer at you if you ask them to turn it down so you can read. Room of One's Own? Terrible. Michelangelo's? Terrible...although Fair Trade and Michelangelo's do have good sandwiches. That leaves Starbucks. Bitch.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

request denied....

So I officially do not qualify for a personal loan. This is hardly a surprise. According to UW Credit Union, for someone with my income they'd only give me a loan if I had less than $5,100 in credit card debt. I have about six thousand in debt. Or $1,000 too much. According to my financial aid counselor this is actually not a lot of credit card debt, but then again, I do not make a lot of money.

My car insurance is about to lapse. My rent check just bounced. I cannot pay my Mastercard bill and its about 12 days till payday. Plus I owe money to everybody I know. Plus, my jaw still hurts and I'm starting to look forward to my evening Vicodin tablet just a little too much. It makes me feel like my veins have been filled with warm mashed potatos and worrying about money, and my dissertation, and the January prelim suddenly seems so, so silly.

And yet an addiction to painkillers never made anyone's life better...well, not in the long run. I know this. As soon as this dry socket resolves itself, I'm going to have to ask one of my friends to take that bottle of pills away from me and keep it for a little while.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dr. Hook, DDS

I ended up needing to go back to the oral surgeon's day early for a new gauze pad, because the one I got put in on Monday fell out last night.

That it fell out was not surprising, because, in contrast to my first "wound pack," the oral surgeon who did me on Monday didn't tuck the pad in that deeply. I could tell, because it didn't hurt as bad when he was doing it.

Today when I went back, I got the original guy again--This guy takes his little metal poker and sticks that pad down there like he's trying to tuck it in around my goddam tailbone. Like he's trying to get his entire hand down in there. He must have jabbed me with the hook ten times, the end result was an immense throbbing pain and what looks like a squared-off military bed dressing. The kind you bounce quarters off of.

After packing my tooth socket, he looks at me and says gravely "You're really going to have to take it easy with the eating." As if my wound dressing fell out due to sheer gluttony, or because I've been ramming food into my mouth in a particularly violent fashion. Actually, last night's dinner was potato buds, cream of potato soup and a bowl of ice cream...all requiring very little chewing. Breakfast was more ice cream. Lunch was a slimfast shake and...guess what....ice cream. Tonight's dinner? Pea soup and ice cream.

I should have told him it wasn't my diet that was dislodging that gauze pad, it was all the damn $20 blowjobs and could he swab my throat for Gonorrhea while he was in there?

Monday, November 14, 2005

my life is unpleasant

I just got back from the dentist's. In case you were wondering what "dry socket" is, it's when the blood clot that forms in a tooth extraction site and protects the raw tissue while it's healing is either dislodged (and swallowed, most likely) or never forms at all. Sans blood clot, the bone and nerves are exposed to the air. This hurts and is absolutely repulsive to contemplate, I realize, but if I am going to go through it, everybody else is going through it with me.

For the foreseeable future, I will return to the dentist's office every other day to have the wound irrigated and fresh, medicated gauze stuffed into the tooth socket with a little metal poker. This also hurts.

It is unclear to me when these treatments will end. Probably when my lower jaw finally just gives up and falls off.

The medicated gauze, ibruprofen, and clove oil I've been variously tossing at the pain have helped somewhat, but there's now this deep fucking ache back there that might just be caused by having my jaw constantly wrenched open and hosed down.

I would love nothing more than to go home and curl up with Prince Vicodin, my new boyfriend (supplemented sometimes by Princess $39.99 Walgreens-Brand Heating Pad...and the occasional tumbler of Kahlua) but instead I am in the chilly and extremely loud 4th floor computer lab, banging out another grant application.

Also, I just blew my last $2.50 worth of quarters on parking. I did not, somehow, feel like walking to my dentist's and back for the hook, so I drove.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

jesus....

I haven't written anything in months, but now I'm back. It's a Sunday night in November. I've worked all weekend. Its cold outside, I think, but I didn't leave my house today, so I'm not absolutely certain about that.

On tuesday I had three wisdom teeth removed. On friday I developed "dry socket" in one of the extraction sites. Tomorrow I'm going back to my oral surgeon for the third, but probably not final time, to receive the standard treatment for that particular condition. It is performed sans-anesthesia and, except for the fact that the modern dentist washes his hands before performing it, is strikingly reminiscient of dentistry in the Middle Ages. It involves a metal hook.

Tomorrow, if there is time, I will go back to my financial aid counselor for the second time to appeal their decision not to allow me to take out any student loans this year. This is the third month in a row that my rent check will bounce and my car insurance is about to lapse, again, for non-payment. I will cry in the financial aid officer's office, but they will most likely say "no" anyway. Then again, they said "no" last time, but I managed not to cry. Maybe that's what dignity gets you. Good thing I don't usually have very much of it.

It is going to snow this week.

I promised my landlords that I would have the now perma-stalled 1988 Chevy Nova that has been sitting behind my house since last November gone by the time the snow started. I tried donating it to St Vinnie's but even they won't take it.

There you have it.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Wonders never cease.....

I just got the "good-morning-I-had-a-lovely-time" email from last night's date. I guess he liked me after all, because he asked me out again.

This was despite the fact that he spent our entire date turned partially away from me on his barstool and giving me the fisheye whenever he absolutely had to glance in my direction. I wouldn't have thought anyone who spent an hour and a half concertedly not looking at me and parrying attempts at conversation in much the same way one does when forced to share a bus seat with a masturbating, un-medicated schizophrenic, would have had any interest whatsoever in a follow-up date, but there you are.... Guess I'm not as adept at reading people as I thought.

For future reference, if you're very socially awkward, but you're trying to find a boyfriend/girlfriend through arranged dates or online personals, bring this handy cheat sheet with you. You can even write it on your forearm...
Step 1. Look at date, try to fix gaze in rough direction of his/her face.
Step 2. Talk (funny anecdotes that relate to the general topic of your conversation, personal stories etc.. are best.)
Step 3. Ask questions and listen. (this is the part where your date engages in Step 2)
Step 4. Once you get good at Steps 1-3, mix it up. Go from 2-3 and then back to 2 again. Try smiling while looking at your date...Once you acquire a certain level of skill you should be able to hold eye contact while talking AND smiling, or listening, nodding AND smiling.

Don't be afraid to practice in front of your bathroom mirror.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tonight's blind, and mute, date.

I scheduled an absolute flurry of online dates for this week...well, like three, but when you think about it, that's a LOT of goddamn beer, coffee and awkward small talk for a single 7 day period. I just got back from a date with bachelor number 2. Cute, but a goddamn potato in terms of conversational ability. For the first 15 minutes of the date he barely spoke and wouldn't even look at me. It was so bad, the BARTENDER at the place we met actually came to my rescue by jumping in and trying to keep the conversation going.

I couldn't help wondering if I wasn't as good looking as he'd hoped and he decided to show his disappointment by sulking and refusing to be drawn out. God knows, I'VE shown up for blind dates to find my partner to be about as appealing as a plate of cold chicken feet, but then again, I've nevertheless always tried to maintain a stream of polite questions and bubbly, winsome anecdotes so as not to make the situation even more painful. He warmed up a little after about a half hour and talked me into a second drink....and seemed kind of annoyed when I cut the date short. So maybe he didn't find me powerfully ugly...i don't know. Honestly, though, dude, I'm not here to clean your teeth...the first date is basically a TALKING thing. You can't just SIT there and stare at your drink for two hours. Fuck.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Later, back at the Batcave....

I am so goddamn shallow. So, I was walking across Library Mall tonight on the way to my date and I almost had a full-blown panic attack because I was scared that, when he showed up, he would be wearing tapered stonewashed jeans. With a really tight T-shirt tucked into them. And white sneakers.

THAT was my big fear. I thought "If I see him and he is wearing tapered jeans I will fly into slobbering fit. I will have an honest-to-God breakdown right there." I was literally in a breathless panic thinking about it. It's like when my spider phobia gets really bad and I'm terrified that a spider will get on me somehow. That I will look down and there will be a giant spider sitting on my forearm, and.....that's it. I can't ever imagine anything past that. I would see the spider and then I would go into a psychotic episode from pure fear that I would never, ever recover from. Except this time it was imagining my blind date showing up in really, really bad pants.

Either I am the most superficial person alive, or...well......that's the only interpretation I can come up with.

It just that I've been on so many really terrible dates in the last few years, and small things, tapered jeans, a Bush/Cheney pin, freedom rings circa 1991, a visible human bite mark...well, they can say a lot about a person.

Anyway, he wasn't wearing tapered jeans. He was wearing shorts. And a tucked-in T-Shirt. And Tevas with white ankle socks....and I didn't even hold that against him because he's from Europe and that's to be entirely expected. And he was sweet but boring and we had absolutely nothing to talk about and I counted the minutes until I could make my apologies and leave. And there you have it. I am so, so, so, so sick of dating.

Mouse Hospice, II

The box is still there. The mouse and food are gone. Maybe something ate the mouse or maybe it survived...or crawled away to die somewhere else in defiance of my hospitality.

If it lived, maybe it'll come back and free me if I'm caught in a net someday.

In other news I have a date tonight with some guy I met through Nerve. Its our first meeting. We're having drinks on the Terrace. He's a scientist and is originally from the Netherlands. A scientist.....I don't know how I feel about that. He's probably going to be a mildly autistic dorkwad.

The Mouse Hospice

Two nights ago I found an injured mouse on my front porch. I'm pretty sure it had a broken leg. I think maybe my downstairs neighbors caught it in a trap and just tossed it out there. It was directly under the porchlight in full view of any and all possible predators. It was cute (as mice are) and looked terrified.

I was thus presented with the following options:

1. By far the most sensible course would have been to leave it there and let something eat it: circle of life, weak and the sick, etc....

Of course I didn't do that because it was small and scared and furry and I am a dipshit.

2. Kill it myself. The second most sensible option, since it was probably going to die anyway and was suffering. But how? I briefly envisioned myself stomping it to death, then considered stringing a bunch of extension cords together and dragging my vaccuum cleaner down from my apartment and just sucking it up (would that kill it? I would it get stuck in my brand-new $89.99 Hepa-filter Hoover and gum the whole thing up?) I ran through other unworkable ideas...putting it in a bag and holding it up to the tailpipe of my idleing car, lugging one of the spare concrete blocks up from the corner of the basement and dropping it on the mouse's head....

3. Subcontract the job out to a professional, otherwise known as taking the mouse up to my apartment and feeding it to my cats. My cats would have loved this and it might have saved me a little money on cat food. On the flip side, I have no solid evidence that my cats would actually kill a mouse....even a gimpy one. They are well fed and domesticated. Would they have been any more motivated to kill and eat a mouse than I would be to to do the same and feed myself if someone gave me a hunting knife and stood me in front of an injured deer?

4. Take mouse to vet and pay for tests, surgery, etc. Would have had to wait until morning, plus I have no money, plus this would be patently ridiculous. Mice are vermin and, according to a not entirely trustworthy public health notice I once read somewhere (probably on MSN or similiar) might be carriers of the Bubonic plague (or was that squirrels?) Dropping $300 to rehabilitate a mouse that my downstairs neighbors would just turn around and trap again a week later would be soft-headed in the extreme. Like naming the cockroaches in my apartment and sewing them little clothes.

5. Put mouse in box and bring upstairs to either recover or die in relative safety. Problem here is cats, also plague. Mouse might escape from box only to crawl behind fridge and die.

6. Construct cardboard "mouse hospice" from empty box of teabags, cut open little door on side so mouse can get out but is nevertheless somewhat protected from rain, owls, etc... by cardboard roof. Fill wih shredded newspaper, breakfast cereal, and apple chunks (for moisture.) Pick mouse up with washcloth and stuff into hospice. Hide hospice in shrub so mouse doesn't feel so exposed and can escape into leafy cover if it recovers enough to make a run for it.

YES!! Clearly the PERFECT solution. Maybe the mouse will get better, maybe it won't, but, I reasoned, at least its somewhat safer and has access to food.

That was too days ago. The cardboard box is still there in the bushes but I've been afraid to check it. After all of that work, the mouse is probably still in there, dead.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Real American Heroes

I've just found the best personal's site ever....possibly one of my favorite all time websites: Esquire Magazine's Brutally Honest Personals. From Dave Scheffler of New Jersey who's endured "crushing debt" since his "tragic foray into Santeria" to Washington State's Michelle Hardenbrook who says "My breasts sag enough that I could throw them over my shoulders to fend off cold, and my stomach seems to be following them south." I love them all. They are my online dating gods. I might die for them.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

a nibble!

T+2 hours since my Match profile went up and I have my first response! And, ooohhh, he's got a PhD! I am a shameless slut when it comes to advanced degrees, I must admit. Now I have to upgrade myself from a "member" to a "subscriber" and pay, like 30 bucks, if I want to email him back. Bummer.

Trolling the net, II

I've bitten the bullet and joined Match.com singles as well as Nerve.com. I'm now peddling twice as much virtual ass online.

I didn't do Match.com for awhile, because I'd been informed that--online dating-wise--Match is to Walmart what Nerve is to Target, same flimsy merchandise perhaps, but people on Nerve at least try to pull off that "young, hip, & edgy" thing a bit more. Match, on the other hand, seems like it might be all Subaru Foresters and Ray-Ban sunglasses...but we'll see.