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The last time I housesat for someone, I ended up staring down a chicken who proved more adept than me at slipping out the gate of the coop. I think I should have sensed at that point that it wasn't just the chicken; ridiculousness, rather, follows me.

Allow me to explain. I am housesitting again, this time for my choir director. I've spent the last twenty-four hours in the company of two lovely dogs named Darwin and Luna, one naughty cat named Loki, and one curmudgeon I believe to be either a cat or a cat-shaped alien named Lorenzo. The following events have befallen me in that time span.

-Sitting on the first floor with my GRE Lit flashcards, I hear a resounding thunk, scuffle, and then scratching sound above my head. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, I find Lorenzo has pooped on the floor next to his litterbox. This has happened three times, and always with the same set of noises. I don't even care about the fecal matter; I just want to know what the hell his bathroom ritual is.

-I climb the stairs, bleary-eyed with studying, and step into the master bedroom, where I am to sleep. I tap the door and it shuts behind me at the very same time as I come to notice there is no knob on this door. It is a perfectly smooth door with no handle whatsoever--only a hole where I assume the knob used to be. The mechanism of the door is, however, perfectly intact other than the absence of a knob. The door clicks shut and my only thought is, My god, I hope that hole is big enough for my finger.

It isnt.

So I spend half an hour poking every one of my fingers into this diamond-shaped hole, poking every single pen and pencil in the room in, twisting and pulling--at one point, I stuck my fingers into the crack between the door and the floor and just pulled. Lorenzo whinnied at me from the other side and probed my hand with his teeth. I decide that at forty-five minutes, I am going to call my choir director (owner of the house) or some sort of emergency line at the end of which there might be people with tall ladders. I then have a searingly vivid memory of my cell phone on the dining table downstairs (and out of reach) and then one of my director saying, "Oh, yeah, and don't try to use the phone in the master bedroom. It's really broken."

It is with renewed vigor, then, that I attack. I fumble frantically and tell the dogs to stop staring. Luna whips me affectionately with her tail while I'm hunched in front of the keyhole, jabbering.

Finally, I uncover a large safety pin in the top drawer of the dresser. Certain that it will never work, I nonetheless poke it into the hole and twist. The metal catches; it seems the safety pin is more structurally sound than I gave it credit for. The door swings open and I stand silently in the doorframe for several seconds. I feel equal parts sad that no one saw me be resourceful and glad that no one saw me be an idiot.

-This morning, I go to the bathroom and, terrified of what happened the last time I shut a door in this place, I leave it open ajar. Lorenzo bounds in and rubs against my legs, then against the wall, then the sink, then the tub. He caws and rubs at my feet again. I notice a cat brush on the floor, so I grab it and, thinking to make friends at last, tentatively run it down his back. He purrs, so I do it again. Suddenly, he bounds out of reach and, staring at me like he's forgotten something, slowly begins to eat the front cover of People magazine.

-I pour myself a bowl of granola. I turn to the refrigerator to hunt out the soymilk, hoping that it is plain and not vanilla. I find it and spin triumphantly. My bowl is empty, and Loki is sitting next to it looking pleased. He happens to be sitting on a stove burner, which thankfully is not on, and is totally unfazed by this fact.

underwear

I'm taking an acting class at a nearby theatre that has a conservatory associated with it. It's the same theatre where I saw The History Boys last spring, which in and of itself explains my drive to return to it every week. Anyway, we're starting the semester with pantomimes that engage one of the five senses. Each person gets up, performs their three minutes, and then gets workshopped.

This week, someone did a pantomime in which his character was operating a sniper rifle. Of course, since it is a pantomime, the room is totally silent during our performances. At the very start of this sniper rifle business I half-noted a creaking sound. Without dividing my attention very far at all, I associated the sound quickly with the same noise that ensues from my hips when I twist my torso a certain way while wearing my favorite brown leather belt.

A minute and a half into the pantomime, however, I realized something important and felt like Nancy Drew, or Sherlock Holmes, or The Doctor.

The man was not wearing a belt. Jeans, t-shirt, fabric shoes--that is, not a visible piece of leather on his person. What's The Doctor's line? If you're a thing that ticks, what's the first thing you do? Break the clock, because no one thinks twice about one clock ticking, but two... you might start to think you weren't really alone... Now, I know it was hardly the fate of Madame de Pompadour at my feet during this incident, but I did get the inimitable pleasure of being able to spend the remainder of the class (and possibly the week) wondering,

What the hell kind of underwear are you wearing, son?!

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*fist pump*

Subject: singing your praises yet again

Anneke
 
Your essay was gorgeous and smart.  You are the best undergraduate close reader I have ever had.  Keats would have been delighted.
 
You make teaching an unmitigated joy.  I can't wait to read what you come up with next.
Richard C.Sha
Professor of Literature



I squeed. I'll admit it. I've never felt such a strong affection for Keats before in my life.

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I'm using my desk for the first time since moving into this apartment. I hope to produce some kind of impressive three-page argument on the question in my subject line within the next few hours, thereby entwining this slab of Ikea not-really-wood with academic productivity in my consciousness.

As for tea first thing in the morning, it is made of win.

As for applying to schools overseas, the professor I approached about it was less than enthusiastic. And I understand that we have countless great programs in Renaissance literature here. And I understand that the dollar is huddled in the corner taping up its glasses from where other world currencies have socked it in the face. But aren't there scholarships out there? This school loves kids who go abroad for international relations; why not literature, too? What I couldn't quite express to my professor was this persistent ache in my chest that nudges me toward airports and researching airfare in spare moments. I have this hungry desire to live somewhere else, to get attached to other places. Because there's something valuable in learning how the world looks from a drastically different angle. I'll look into having this discussion with other professors in the coming week, hoping for someone to hand me a step-by-step plan on achieving dreams.
A party tonight at Teh Apartment brought together again the group of people I swear I've not seen since we all lived on the same floor in the dorms two years ago. Ages have passed since. Entire species have probably evolved and then gone extinct since. But tonight they absorbed me as though I'd always been a part of them, even though at the time they last saw me I was probably visibly uncomfortable and reluctant to get off the phone with John.

We returned to The Fort after the party dispersed. I stirred the cumin and garlic powder into the canned beans and toasted the bread while the rest collapsed on or around the futon in the next room. I was a little concerned that the proportions of cumin-to-beans would be egregious because of my haste, but everyone seemed to like what I produced.

The six of us sprawled in the living room. I gazed around a bit, trying to fix the sensations in my memory. Carpet beneath my hands, my stomach warm on toast and apple cider shots. Fletcher, however, broke my reverie.

"Where's your iPod?" he asked.

I met his gaze and immediately registered his meaning, and five minutes later the two of us were crouched in the front of the room, intently bobbing our heads to the beginning notes of "On the Rise."

"What is this?" asked Grenye.

"Our DUET!" I responded maniacally.

Fletcher took the part of Dr. Horrible while I took Penny's lines. By the third time through, he was looming over me, his fist gesturing toward the sky, I was rapturously hugging my heart with misty eyes, and we were both belting with everything we've got.

I loved it. It wasn't just bumbling over a song for no reason; it was a sincere exercise in noise and absurdity. I'd go so far as to call it a spontaneous creative undertaking.
I. Wrote. A. Very long entry. About transitioning, about the door hanger I put on our bedroom door, about overturning the way I always took to be the way I look and the ripple it has sent throughout my entire life. It was long, and it was productive, and it was at least three quarters of an hour in the making.

And. I hit something on my keyboard. I don't know what key or combination of keys it was, but it launched me ungracefully back two pages and lost my entry to the ether.

Fuck me, I am so frustrated right now I could crawl under this stupid Ikea bed and drape myself in my baby blanket.

i am so full of business

I got overwhelmed again. I spent the morning unpacking boxes and duffel bags and garbage bags and crates, disbelieving all the while how much stuff I managed to accumulate in three years of school here. At no point did I sit down and burst into tears; it wasn't that sort of overwhelming. I did, however, lean over my box on several occasions, locking my elbows, and distantly consider retching onto all the neatly rolled tops and skirts and dresses. I will consider, via blogging, what spurred this and why at a later time. Right now I need to go with Grenye to Linens 'N Things to buy a rubbish bin. She thinks it's for paper, but I'm pretty sure if I have to unpack more tonight and get overwhelmed again it will go toward a much more disgusting end.

he was not of an age, but for all time!

I've gotten three comments in the past week or so urging me to finish a History Boys fic I started just for the hell of it, and I am flattered at the same time as I am feeling more and more like a drug dealer. It's actually very comforting, knowing there are a couple people somewhere who want me to write more enough that they express it in capital letters and exclamation points. I've been working so hard on my critical work for grad school applications that the endless refrain of zomgplz2bearticulatekthx has drowned out just about everything else in my world. Suppose it can't hurt anyone if I take a moment to write something fluffier than "And then Ferdinand is incapacitated with lycanthropia because he spent so much time thinking about the sex his sister was having." That is not my thesis, to be clear.

My brother, who was passed out on the sofa, came to as I walked by. He opened his eyes long enough to mumble, "You have a nice glow about you," and fell to lightly snoring again. That's what my relationship with Luke is. Moments of simple but mind-jumblingly sincere sweetness.

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it takes you years to know what love is.

username_umm just left, bouncing out the door as she is wont to do, bless her lovely heart. We kept a lively commentary through three Doctor Who episodes, and I suspect it would have been more, but Netflix has denied me the fourth disc of Season Two until Saturday. Rose was prancing about in this beautiful pair of bright pink heels, which pulled at the corners of my attention from the very start of the episode. A few minutes in brought me face-to-face with one of them, though, a close-up of Rose's foot kicking up from the ground onto a scooter with The Doctor. It caught me off guard, this shoe, and a sizeable rush of attraction blazed its way from my stomach to my lips in a sort of shocked gurgle. I raised an eyebrow and looked down toward the other end of the sofa, very aware of the way my new glasses frames stretch squarely down my cheeks in a very--I fancy, anyway--Doctor-y way.

"Those shoes are..." I gulped, searching for a word, any word, and feeling like a fourteen-year-old boy taken aback by an unexpected hard-on.

"Yeah," agreed username_umm. We sat in silence for a few beats. I thought of Freud and fetishizing the shoe. "I kind of want to gnaw on them," she continued gravely. "Is that wrong?"

every morning hath he there been seen.

My mother has been suffering from spells of vertigo for a few weeks now. They're growing less frequent and less incapacitating, though, so we anticipate their full departure any day now. Anyway, the first thing she said to me this morning--indeed, the first thing I heard all morning--was she dreamed that she managed to cure them. Excited, I inquired as to how, in the hope that her body was relaying a message and that we could exorcise them right away.

Evidently, the dream began in the backyard, where she was diving into the pool and swimming laps. After climbing out, she realized she had water in both ears. Tilting her head to one side, she jumped up and down on the pavement until the water ran out of her right ear. Switching to the left side, however, she remembered the vertigo might be triggered by such jostling and hesitated. Deciding after a moment that it was worth the risk to get the water out of her left ear, she repeated the jumping process. She felt a large lump of something work its way out of her ear and fall into her hand, and with a huge wave of relief she realized that the vertigo was cured. Reveling in this happy end to her discomfort, she looked down and found an apricot-sized plastic baggie tied tightly shut. Turns out, the cause of all her dizzy spells was just one of Charlie's bags of heroin from Lost stuck in her head.

Deflated, I admitted that I had no ideas on how to tend to such a malady.

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