And here I am.
August 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
It is a beautiful day here in Beantown, folks. The sun is shining, but it’s not too hot. I’m mildly disappointed to be sitting inside the Simmons library working on my long-put-off assignment from London, but it has to be done sometime and today is as good a day as any. Better than many, in fact, because it’s due tomorrow. Whoops? I somehow wasted 5 full weeks doing nada. I’ve waited later to do bigger projects, however, so my panic is at a minimum. Clearly it’s not yet suffocating me, as I’m taking the time to write this blog post.
In preparing to work on this assignment, I began reliving my trip, and, oh, what a delight it’s been. Really, how lucky am I? Far luckier than I deserve, most likely. I found myself saying a few nights ago that I feel as though my good luck and blessings will all disappear one day when whatever powers-that-be suddenly discover they’ve mis-bestowed them. (Misbestowed should be word.) It’s not that I don’t treasure all of the wonders in my life (life itself among them); it’s just that I don’t really feel that I’ve earned them. I’m no saint, I’m not particularly generous or kind-hearted, and I have yet to make the world any better of a place. Yet I look around and I see family that I treasure and friends I couldn’t do with out, spread now all across the country and the world, dollars enough for what I need to survive comfortably and a good education to boot (and occassionally dollars enough for extravagant 6 week vacations to Europe – I feel sick), happiness and health, and the freedom to choose whatever path strikes me on any given day/week/month. These may not be extravagant gifts in some people’s eyes, but they are riches beyond dreaming for others. Really, what on Earth could I possibly complain about without deserving a solid swatting with a proverbial divine hand? Nothing, that’s what.
Mmm, but my ramble notwithstanding, I’ve been delighting in reliving my journey abroad, and it reminded me that although the trip is over, the blog is not. So, here I am.
I got a library card a couple of weeks ago at the Cambridge Public. In Boston and its surrounds, all the public libraries are part of the Minuteman Consortium, which means that I can borrow books owned by any public library in the area that my little heart desires. It also means that I can request a book from a far-flung location (like Melrose, who’s even ever heard of Melrose?!) and have it delivered to my local branch to pick up. Sweet deal, if you ask me. And today I borrowed my first hard-copy book (I borrowed a couple of MP3s of audiobooks when I first got the card), which I’m happily toting around with me. Wonder of wonders, libraries are. I guess that’s why I spend so very much of my time thinking about, studying, and occupying them. Sometimes I think that I may eventually actually work in libraries instead of archives, although I can’t possibly ignore how much I love old stuff. Hmm, things to ponder.
I’ve been doing a lot of pondering lately, as a matter of fact. Recent revelations include but are not limited to:
- I am beginning to look like an adult. I will perpetually look far younger than I really am, but I noticed a few nights ago that my silhouette at least is beginning to age. In a good way, of course. Perhaps what I mean to say is that I am beginning to seem like an adult in bearing if not in actual appearance.
- Despite my serious belief that humans are an atrocious mistake of nature whose only real skill is destroying the Earth for the rest of all living creatures, I actually have great faith in humanity. I may not have much faith in humans as a group, but I do sincerely believe that every individual human is capable of good if given the right chances.
I’d like to do some type of home-improvement-y project this summer, but, not owning my own home or even any real furniture, I’m at a loss. I came up with a [possibly] genius idea, however, of painting my non-bureau (3 sets of plastic drawers, because I’m all about class). I was worried that paint might be scratched off too easily, though, because of the shiny, smooth surface of the plastic, so I decided to paint the inside of the clear drawers. Brilliant, no? I will just have to make sure that they are truly dry before putting my clothes back into them.
In unrelated “news,” I recently read two wonderful books by the brilliant Bill Bryson. First was Notes from a Small Island, a travelogue of sorts from a tour he made of England at the end of his 20 year residency as he prepared to move back to the States. It is hysterically funny (I laughed out loud in more public places than I can count, once laughing so uproariously and for so long that I had actually to put the book away to calm myself). And it was a real pleasure to read about a number of places I had been on my trip and see them through his eyes. Much to my relief, he feels quite similarly about Aberdeen (that it is entirely not worth visiting). I don’t mean to insult the many people who live in Aberdeen or who have enjoyed visiting it themselves, but, really, I can’t imagine I’ll ever go out of my way to go back. As Mr. Bryson observes, it’s just that it hasn’t got a single thing that every other British town of any size has. It is remarkably unremarkable, as it were.
The second book was his biography of Shakespeare, the first biography of that great man that I’ve read. It’s a very slim volume, particularly when compared with such tomes as Stephen Greeenblatt’s Will in the World. I thoroughly enjoyed reading its few pages, although I was somewhat surprised to find at the end that I learned hardly anything at all about Shakespeare that I didn’t already know. It’s not that I’m an expert (because I’m as far from that as a person with an interest in Shakespeare could be); it’s that there’s hardly anything to know about Shakespeare. As it turns out, there are roughly two dozen actual known facts and very little else. Regardless, Bryson’s work (which should quite obviously have been called “Bill on Bill” not “Bill Bryson on Shakespeare,” as the series names it) was entertaining, engaging, and quite interesting. I’m both satisfied to have fleshed out my knowledge of Shakespeare and simultaneously immensely dissatisfied with the scarcity of Shakespeare facts. It makes me wonder what fills the many thousands of pages written about Shakespeare by so many other historians… and perhaps I will make some effort to find out one of these days.