In Her Shell
Monday, February 26, 2007
  The Trappings of Adulthood
Here is a picture of a room in my new apartment.

When I show people these pictures, they usually comment on the nice hardwood floors. I like them too. But today I started thinking about that term--hardwood floors--and wondering if there is such a thing as softwood floors. Then I wondered why we don't just call them wood floors. Or bare wood floors.

I added "hardwood floors" to my list of adult vocabulary. Other words in this category include "mortgage," "taxes," and "mileage." It is not as frightening a list as some of my friends have, with terms like "breast pump," but still. It's weird.

And even though just recently I extolled the virtues of turning 30, and even though I would not want to return to the days of "the mall," and "the Prom," it might be kind of nice to have more conversations that revolve around "treats" and "coming over to play."

(But here's another picture of my new apartment, because it's artsy.)
Thursday, February 15, 2007
  10 Ls
Lulu's general tag of 10 favorite things starting with the first letter of my middle name seemed fun.

Lionesses--I had a poster of one resting in a field of wildflowers hanging over my bed when I was little. I found it comforting and felt like it watched over me. Still not sure about a god, but big cats are damn cool.

Lip balm--especially if it makes my lips shiny. I don't like the taste of lipstick and gloss comes off too quickly.

Letters--getting them more so than writing them, lazy girl that I am, but I still have boxes full of them from the days before e-mail made it harder to sift the dedicated friendships from the casual.

London--it was there that I learned independence. I still miss the Docs, Wagamama, and takeaway baked potato.

Laughing--a friend once said it was similar to orgasm: losing consciousness (and inhibition) momentarily. Even more than laughing myself, I like making other people laugh. Try not to extend the metaphor too much...

Learning--In education they talk about "life-long learning" so much it's made the phrase meaningless, but the best people realize that they are always teaching and learning, with all its triumphs and humility, and embrace it.

Lightning--especially over the ocean.

Leaving--in the sense of the moments at the beginning of a trip. One of my favorite places is in the airport, waiting for my flight to be called and watching all the people, or sitting in a loaded-down car, with the map spread out across our laps.

Lunch--eating is good, especially when it is a break from the students, a meeting with an old friend to catch up, or an excuse to stand in front of the refrigerator on a lazy Saturday, which I've been doing all morning anyway.

Laziness--remaining prone and warm with a book or remote in hand, steaming tea nearby, and snow piling up outside while the bag of ungraded papers sits cold in another room... heavenly.

If you haven't played yet, do it! Stick with the middle name tag; I like it.

Monday, February 12, 2007
  Big Brother, Little Sister
Over at Lulu's she posted recently about a scary memo that turned out to be fake, but could've been real, making it even scarier. The next day, I received the following in my school mailbox:

To: Teachers of [Student A] and [Student B]
From: Assistant Principal 1
Re: Meetings in the Corridors

These two students have been meeting far too frequently in the halls during classes and immediately prior to or at the end of classes. This needs to stop! Therefore, you are to restrict their use of hall and bathroom passes to the extent that you do not issue any until further notice from me. Also, please be diligent in marking them late for classes and informing [the Asst. Principal in charge of Attendance] of any ongoing issues. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Never mind that this is the first memo any of us has ever gotten regarding couples meeting in the hallways, and believe me, we have plenty. The amount of making out that goes on against lockers and in stairwells is copious. It is gross to see them slobbering and groping, but that is not what this memo is about.

It's annoying when I have to go out into the hallway and nudge whatever half of a dewy-eyed couple belongs in class into my room, but tardiness is not the focus of this memo either.

In fact, these students are clearly not supposed to be seeing each other at all. Notice that the memo asks us to be diligent in restricting their meetings prior to or at the end of classes. This is the students' time to get where they need to be, meet up, chat, spread rumors, whatever. But this particular couple is not even allowed this.

I had Student B in class last year, and happen to know that her family is arranging a marriage for her to a much older man in Lebanon, where they are from. I know that her parents are very strict, and that she rebels a little. I know that she is treated as a second-class citizen in her house, and that her older brother is the golden child, no matter what she does.

I also know that she is in love with Student A, whose family is from Pakistan. I have heard that she recently declared this love to her parents. I can only assume that they contacted the school, hence the memo in question.

Sorry, Assistant Principal 1. You're on your own with this one.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
  Farewell, Old Sport

I always liked Anna Nicole Smith. At first it was because she was such a curvy bodacious babe posing in those Guess ads, and then even more when she married that incredibly decrepit billionaire. It seemed to me that she was really embracing the cliche--this trashy, bleach-blonde boobtastic chick cuddled up to a ridiculously rich old guy who doesn't seem to be aware of much except maybe her enormous breasts rubbing against his ear. I loved the weird alternate memorial service she held for him when his kids kept her from the funeral, and the fact that she never gave up fighting for his money, maintaining to the end that their love was true.

After that I sort of lost touch with Anna Nicole. When she started doing that reality TV show, I saw it once and it seemed that she was having a mental breakdown in front of the cameras; it seemed irresponsible to me to air it, but people watched. She seemed completely unaware, which made me feel incredibly sad.

The TrimSpa ads were the real low point, I thought, because she looked so deflated and polished and orange--like a shrunken head. All the vitality was gone.

Recently, when her son died, I felt shocked and truly sad for her. Where once she was an unapologetic climber, now she seemed to be quietly fading, and surrounded by loss.

I'll think of her as a modern-day Willy Loman, or better, Gatsby. All the facade and grand schemes end in undignified tragedy, the pathetic hero unaware, or worse, knowing it.

"And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night."


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In a move that seems to amuse only me, I pull lines from the blogs I hit on the Next Blog button, and arrange them into found poem form.

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