Saturday, July 07, 2007

Four Pondering Questions

Mary thanks everyone for their kind comments. It has been a whirlwind for her! I leave Tuesday for her graduation.

I have been whirling around myself. I decided that the best way to get all of my tasks done before leaving town would be to go for a preemptive two-day vacation to San Francisco. Friday morning I took a Southwest shuttle up, Saturday I drove down. There were two occasions for this. The sad one is that a friend of mine's mother just died up there, and I was able to meet him for breakfast and a walk in a park. The happy reason was that my little sister, who is an opera singer, was performing in the city. My parents were driving down from Oregon, and since I don't see them or my sister enough, it seemed like a good time to go up. The concert was great, needless to say. And it made me horribly, horribly homesick for the Bay Area. I grew up in the east bay, but am rarely able to visit. Especially now that my parents have moved away, I have few ties, and this makes me sad. I love Los Angeles, and many other places, but there is no other place in which I feel happier than the Bay Area. Especially since I was introduced to the La Farine morning bun, which had somehow eluded my childhood.

Anyways, a friend and I drove down yesterday, which was surprisingly pleasant--Interstate 5 is a miserable drive, but good conversation made it fly by. And although I am exhausted by the traveling, I am nevertheless motivated to answer Tenured Radical's tag for the "Eight Things I wonder about" meme, started over here. I'm not a big meme person, but the whiny formlessness of this one appeals to me in my current state of mind. Except I'm tired, so my version is going to be four things I am pondering.

Four Things I Am Pondering

1. When I was at the beach for the Fourth of July, celebrating our victorious march on terrorism at home and abroad, I noticed an increase in the number of tummy tattoos. Men with big gothic script letters arching across, or women with little chains of thorns or whatever around their bellybutton. My question: are they (a) supremely overconfident in their ability to stay in shape the rest of their lives, or (b) stupid?

2. Will I survive this summer? Seriously. It's not looking good.

3. Los Angeles: there are not many people who love this city. But there are some. I think I am one. But some of those who love this city defend it in terms that suggest that those who do not like Los Angeles are lacking in critical faculty. As in, if you don't like Los Angeles, it is because of romantic attachment to old-fashioned ideals. Los Angeles complicates binaries, the reasoning goes, and forces you to confront prejudices you didn't know you had. For instance, one might argue, Los Angeles is actually not about superficiality. In fact, quite the opposite. In east coast cities, you know you are in a fancy neighborhood if there are brick sidewalks and nice old houses. In Los Angeles, outward appearances will give you no guide to what is inside. This fancy restaurant down the street from me looks like a double-wide trailer home. Isn't that how things should be? Hmmm.

4. Why is it so impossible for me to get work done at home? These days, I only work at coffeeshops. Objectively, this is odd, as at home I have a very comfortable chair, a desk, plentiful food and beverage, and internet. At coffeeshops, I have a rickety table, expensive food, sometimes no internet, and lots of distraction. Will this all change someday, when I am living in a situation that allows my bed and desk to be in different rooms? What about if I have a campus office, will I be able to work there? Would air conditioning help? Is solitude the problem, do I need to have bustle around me? Is it the fueling fire of a professionally-made cappuccino?

Since I am only pondering four things, I am only going to tag four others: Sushi Pajamas, Miscellaneous Mayhem, Violet Vixen, Jewel Dakini? Have at it! Ponder away!


Jewel Dakini said...

Alright, I accept. Four things I am pondering....

1. The Rat: Yesterday, before I left for a friend's bridal shower (see below), my kitten (the Newt) and I participated in our parting ritual. I like to think that my cat likes to walk me out the door when I leave. Actually, I think, he just wants to be outside and enjoy the excitement of the outdoors. Yesterday was no different. The Newt started prowling around in the plants outside when I decided he had had enough. I grabbed him, and he cleverly wriggled out of my arms. I saw a snail inching its way up the side of a flower pot and figured this must be what sparked his curiousity. Seconds later, after I grabbed Newt again, a rat launches itself from behind the flower pot and quickly climbs up the tree only inches away from my face. Ugh. I am pondering whether it managed to sneak its way into my apartment. There is no evidence of this, but still....

2. Bridal Shower: Yesterday I went to a friend's bridal shower. My friend looked as lovely as always, and I suspect that she will not only have a beautiful wedding, but also a happy marriage as well. So the following line of thought has little to do with my friend or her upcoming marriage, but rather wonders about the strange world of the bridal shower generally. You see, in the world of the bridal shower there is an entirely different set of priorities. The single gal (i.e. me) is the outcast. Women gush about their weddings and marriages. At the bridal shower, you must have the names of your kids picked out, even if you don't yet have kids. There was a pause when I said I didn't have my kids names picked out, for example. Children become the center of the universe at these things, and so does cooking. But in a weird way, I always feel that I am entering a world before Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, and so bridal showers leave me feeling unsettled for the rest of the day.

3. Socks: I love socks. I am at school right now, wishing for a pair of fluffy socks. To me, they mean...well, instead of a security blanket, I think I have moved onto security socks.

4. Moving on and away: I have been thinking quite a bit about moving. Not me, but three of my dearest friends, including Barnetbound, are leaving LA in search of new adventures. I am very distressed about their leaving. It also makes me think about what it is I am doing here in LA. What will be my new adventures in the coming year or two while I finish my dissertation? Will I have any adventures? Is my life less exciting because I am not going anywhere? In a way, I think my friends are "moving" into a new stage of their lives and I feel left behind in more than one respect.

sushipjs said...

1. Budgets. Recently, my partner and I decided to commit to a budget due to a few life pressures in our midst. No matter what we do, or how responsible we think we are being, our debt just increases. We intend to plan a life together, and money plays an unfortunate role in that process. Also, we will need to spend a lot of money on things in the near future, so budgets are there. One of the first things we discovered about this budget of ours is that I need to find additional employment. Boo!

2. Jobs. Why is it that after more than 5 years in graduate school, I find it nearly impossible to find additional employment to supplement my meager teaching gig? Maybe this has something to do with my specialty, but as I scour craigslist and the newspaper for signs that I might be employable, I increasingly find that the aforementioned budget might not be possible.

3. Harry Potter. I can't wait for that book to come out. I'm not so excited about the movie (although I will most definitely see it), I look forward to the book. Maybe it helps that I already paid for it.

4. Burritos. Yesterday, as my partner and I walked back from the pet store, we stopped at a wonderful mexican restaurant for burritos. Simply put, this was the most satisfying burrito I've ever had. Either that, or nearly 6 months of a burrito-free existence severely lowered my expectations. My partner, who did not spend 6 months away from Mexican food, stated that we may have found a new favorite burrito locale. Yay for burritos!