Bus fights, pants-wetters, and Joanne.

May 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Do you ever have a day when crazies just seem to appear out of nowhere and take over the world? Sort of like the zombie apocalypse, only with nutters instead of zombies? A couple of weeks ago, I boarded the bus near Harvard Square. Instead of continuing on the route, however, the bus driver proceeded to get into a screaming match with another passenger after she boarded the bus against his wishes (apparently they had had an altercation the day before). He refused to move the bus until she got off. She refused to get off. It was a mess. There was yelling, there was shoving, there was filming on a camera phone. Brilliant stuff. (Perhaps my favorite part was the woman who was not involved in the argument but who kept piping up during the argument to ask questions and poll the rest of the riders on their opinions, who called her husband to tell him all about the argument, and who insisted on repeating the story to any passenger who boarded after it was over.)

As the above mentioned bus was heading through Central Square, an elderly woman was crossing the street in front of us. While all of the cars on the street stopped for her, a cyclist did not. She saw him coming, stopped walking, and proceeded to actually try to hit him with her cane. She picked it up off the ground and waved it at his head. I can’t make this stuff up.

On my way home from work later that day (on the same bus route, as a matter of fact), I noticed a woman (or maybe a man… it never became clear) sitting near the front. She was the type of person that you can just see is crazy. I avoided her. A few stops later, a man in a wheelchair got on the bus, and the crazy woman had to move to make room for him.  She sat down in the row next to mine. At a closer distance, I could hear her muttering to herself angrily. She was very antsy, half standing up repeatedly, shifting in her seat almost constantly, and so on. Not knowing anything about her mental state, I practiced careful ignorance of her behavior (as did everyone else on the bus… it’s what you do). She seemed kind of volatile, so I was relieved when we reached my stop without incident. She exited the bus in front of me, and as we walked down the sidewalk, I realized the source of her anxiety: she had wet herself on the bus. (Remind me never to sit down on a public surface ever again ever, ever.)

As I walked home from the bus stop, I jogged across the street. A homeless man saw me do so and shouted, “Hey, Joanne, why you gotta run like that?” I pretended I had no idea I was supposed to be Joanne. He followed me, shouting, “Joanne! Joanne!” and expressing anger at being ignored. What could I do but keep ignoring him? After a block he departed, but it was a horrible block. It made me deeply uncomfortable. It was rush hour, however, so there were other people walking in relatively close proximity, which minimized my sense of danger. Not wanting to turn and look at the man, I wasn’t sure if he had stopped following me or not. When I got to my street, I was very aware that there was someone behind me, and I wanted nothing less than to give the crazy man an opportunity to follow me down a quiet side street.  I was petrified as I turned the corner and glanced over my shoulder in the direction I had come from, but much to my relief the man behind me was a fellow passenger from the bus and (apparently) quite sane. Still, it made me very uncomfortable. (A few days later, the same homeless man came up to me and L. and very insistently bugged us for cash. Lucky for me, he didn’t realize he was talking to Joanne.)

All in all, it was  a crazies day.

I love living in Cambridge, but my neighborhood is getting less and less appealing all the time. I’m leaving! Just as soon as I find a full-time job that pays decently and has benefits. So, I’m leaving within the next 7 years, give or take a few weeks. Har har.

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Comfort Food Weekend

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

It was a good weekend for comfort foods.  L was sick with a cold and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the end of school.  Saturday dinner:

Lemon Chicken Soup. Lots of garlic, lemon, and herbs for banishing illness, and lots of veggies for yumminess. And farfelle because it makes me happy in a way that only fun noodle shapes can.

After a minor meltdown and subsequent reality check, I have learned that the end of school does not necessarily mean that my life becomes a meaningless, directionless abyss. I’m still feeling a little cranky about it, though, so I made myself an enviable lunch:

Apricot and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. Lots of cinnamon and cloves plus a drizzle of New Hampshire maple syrup make this a warm and cozy kind of food.

There is also a large quantity of chocolate in my apartment at the moment, but I didn’t photograph it because, well, you’ve all seen Hershey’s Kisses before. Probably. And if not, the fact that you are reading this indicates that you have access to the internet, so you can Google that shit.

Sorry, I’m awfully profane today.

That’s all, folks. Off to write that last paper…

How to Terrify Your Boyfriend without Really Trying

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

A genius way to scare the shit out of your boyfriend:

“Can I have babies?”

A great explanation:

“I meant baby spider plants.” (Make sure there is a spider plant in the vicinity, or this will be less credible.)

Making babies.

European Adventure Redux

March 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ok, the name is still under debate:
– European Adventure Redux
– European Adventure, Part 2
– Cupcake and Muffin Go to Rome
Please vote.

The deal is this: L. invited me to join him and his family on their vacation in Italy this summer. And then he suggested that he and I also visit England and France.

I’m guessing you can accurately predict my answer.

Revision, or My Brain’s Sabbatical

March 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

It’s spring!! No, really, this time! It’s absolutely gorgeous in these fine cities of mine. You know how they say smell is the most powerful trigger of memory? I think weather conditions are equally powerful. The weather often inspires me to think about the last day that felt the same or maybe a particularly noteworthy day that felt the same. It’s not that every day I walk out of my apartment building and am hit with a tidal wave of memories of days that had the same atmospheric conditions (although there are certainly days where it feels like I’m wading through a hip-deep sea of memory), but quite frequently I am reminded of a similar season from some past year.  Lately I’ve mostly been reminded of my first year living in Cambridge.

Everything was so foreign to me. I was a pedestrian for the first time in my life, which actually worried me.  How backwards and screwy is that? What could I possibly rely on more than my own body? A hunk of machinery? Yeah, right. But I guess back then I really didn’t rely on my body for much. I mean, other than basic life functions, my world revolved around intellectual activity, not physical activity. A year and a half later, that couldn’t be less true.  It’s surely no coincidence that the least intellectually stimulating years of my life have coincided with my long-overdue attention to physical health.  It’s certainly been a gradual change.  At first it was just the matter-of-fact lifestyle change of moving to a city and walking everywhere rather than driving. Quite obviously, that meant I was more physically active in a really basic, everyday way. But that change in behavior, although minor, was the start of a sea change in my life. As my graduate studies progressed and I was forced to accept that my program is just not intellectual (practical and useful, but not remotely intellectual), I really began to need something more.  At some point last spring, I made the conscious decision that if I wasn’t getting what I wanted from school, I had better be making every effort to get what I wanted from the other areas of my life.  The results: traveling to Europe, first of all, and finally embracing a healthy lifestyle. And perhaps also worthy of making this list is my decision to let new people into my life.

So, I’ve written more than enough (or have I?) about my trip to Europe; I don’t need to rehash it all right now. But it was easily and by far the most liberating, empowering, thrilling, terrifying, wonderful, exhausting, and brilliant thing I’ve ever done. No contest. It will probably always be winner of some of those superlatives (at least “liberating” and “empowering,” although the others I am by no means done with trying to reuse). Only wait, maybe getting my own body within my control (acknowledged: it always has been, even if I didn’t know it) is even more empowering and liberating than that. (Mind = blown.)

Decisiveness not being my strong suit, I’ll leave the assignment of superlatives for another day. But my point still stands. Without intellectual stimulation, I had to find something else to focus my considerable will power on. Hello, new body, it’s great to see you.

But that really wasn’t what I wanted to write about today. But what was? I’m not totally certain, although I think I wanted to write about my birthday. Which sounds really obnoxious and self-serving, but … wait, that’s what a blog is! Obnoxious and self-serving! So yes, that. But with a few deep and meaningful observations about life thrown in (and upon further reflection, maybe the above paragraphs were what I wanted to write about, but just somehow out of order).

So, about two weeks ago I turned 25. Big milestone! And one that represents about 1,000 other big milestones for me.  In a two month span, I will have both turned 25 and graduated from my graduate program. This also means that I’m currently seeking full-time employment (I’m a great archivist, hey!), which brings with it a slew of anxiety-inducing question marks.  For instance, who the heck is going to pay my rent and student loans payments? Because I’m sure as hell not equipped to take those on. Ok, I guess with a “real” job I might be able to, but those are pretty dang hard to come by these days. Here’s another example: where exactly am I going to live? Where I’d like to live is obvious (Cambridge, please and thank you), but where I can find work and where I want to live are two vastly and painfully different things. So where am I looking for work? Quite literally everywhere in the country (with the exception of Nebraska and North Dakota) and even a few international locations. The upshot of all of this is that my 25-year-iversary seemed like a death sentence as it loomed ever nearer. I was paralyzed with fear. Of age, of adulthood, of change. But then I remembered some stuff.

1. The things that scare you are always (always, always) the things you grow the most from doing. Lucky for me, you can’t opt out of aging, so I couldn’t hit the panic button and get out of this one.

2. Even if some of my life circumstances change, there is absolutely no reason that I won’t enjoy my life.

3. The worst thing that happens is that I work two part-time jobs for a while with continued aid from my family. Holy shit, could I be any more spoiled? (Well, actually yes. See future blog posts.) Seriously, what the fuck am I worried about? Chipping a nail?

Sometime around 24 hours after I turned 25 and the world didn’t end, I realized that I’ve been being a big baby (say that three times fast). Everything is going to be just fine. And if 25 isn’t the best age to be unemployed, what is? So, my job applications go on, and so does life. And isn’t 25 the perfect age to reflect on how far I’ve come? Why, yes, I believe it is! But I think I already did that earlier in this post. Suffice to say that I’m virtually unrecognizable when compared to myself of three years ago (or even two), both literally and figuratively. Year one: mental revision. Year two: world view revision. Year three: physical revision.

The nice thing about revision is that you’re never really done.

I think I need to revise my attitude about real life. It’s coming, it’s not stopping, and I am no longer able to pretend that it’s taking me by surprise.

January 24, 2012 § 1 Comment

Today is sunny and warm (“warm” meaning above freezing) here in this fine city of mine, and I think I might finally be emerging from my yearly wintertime funk. Whew! It’s exponentially better/shorter in the city, but still no fun for me or anyone around me. Yuck.

Yesterday was the first day of class of my last semester. [Please give me a moment to hyperventilate.] It’s a little hard to believe that I’m going to be done in May, and even harder to believe that I have to start making big ol’ decisions. I found my dream job in San Diego. San Diego is sunny and warm. This should be a no-brainer. But it’s not. Because San Diego also has a grand total of zero people I care about in it. Zero isn’t very many, and Cambridge/Boston and the larger New England area have 90% of the people I care about.  Thus my conundrum.  Imagine that my job accounts for 40% of my total happiness/unhappiness.  Imagine that I live in Boston and have a mediocre job, but that everything else is pretty great (as it has been).  I’m estimating about 80-85% total happiness.  Imagine instead that I live in San Diego. My job is fantabulous, the weather is great, but everything else is pretty mediocre.  I’m estimating about 55-60% total happiness.  So, the solution is clear:

Hey, everyone I know! Let’s move to San Diego! Please RSVP by February 1st.

 

Or something.  Anyway, this semester should be interesting.  I’m only taking two classes: Photographic Archives and Archives Field Experience.  The field experience consists almost entirely of an internship, with just a couple of complementary class sessions. Photographic Archives is a regular course, but on my all-time-favorite subject. Yesterday I had my first session of the field experience course with a professor I’ve taken a course with before.  She’s extremely knowledgeable about the field, and I really appreciate that she knows what she’s talking about.  I also really appreciate that she got me really pumped up about my profession yesterday afternoon at a time when I was feeling pretty bummed about it.  The job market might blow, but the profession doesn’t, especially when there are people like her in it who actually care about their work, see a bigger picture than their daily tasks, and are really striving for the best from the profession.  She’s so great.

Right now I’m rocking out to the best mix ever. Dancing around, singing, cleaning my room. All the things that make me feel the best in the world. :D

 

 

Turn and face the strange…

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh man, I love David Bowie.

But also I am in a reflective mood and have just made a fascinating discovery about myself.  No, I can’t regrow limbs or anything awesome like that (nor is Milo Ventimiglia my uncle).  But I can live without a plan, and, in fact, I prefer it that way.

A few years ago, I had a pretty solid life plan.  It involved college, grad school, and a career, among other things.  It did not involve taking a year off after college to change my mind a thousand times about grad school, but somehow that year happened.  And since that year, a lot of other unplanned things have happened.  I like to refer to these unplanned things as “life.”  That’s right. Life happened.

And that’s precisely what’s so great.  Living a plan is not living.  Ok, sure, it’s good to plan out how you’re going to pay your bills and so on, but having a strict, long-term life plan is just plain boring, not to mention that it’s totally unrealistic.  Living without a plan, on the other hand, is fabulous.

I’m currently in the process of job hunting because of my impending graduation from graduate school.  Imagine, if you will, the feelings of terror and glee vying for control of my brain.  Then imagine that I spent a month hyperventilating because I’m 90% sure I will not find a full-time job in a timely manner.  Then imagine that, over the course of a few days and some serious sense-talking from helpful others, I realized that everything will be fine.  Because I’m employable, for one, but also because if I don’t find something right this second, something even better will come along after, something that I would otherwise not have been able to take advantage of.

Hey, life! Bring it.