In the Venn Diagram of things that are both terrifying and true, the fact that I just meandered through my first post-graduate week is pretty firmly in the middle of the circle. And it wasn’t even like I had a boring, quiet week to help ease the transition–I managed to attend the (lovely, tasteful) wedding of a (lovely, tasteful) friend, pack the vast majority of my belongings, and haul my life across town.
So that’s been fun.
But in between assembling furniture and crowding six to a hotel room in south Georgia, a weird thing has happened. I’ve begun to gather glimpses of my looming adult life. The end of moving is in sight, and that means that soon enough I will have substantial free time in the mornings. I could take up running! Or sit in my local coffee shop and flirt with baristas before work! My tiny studio, which seems Parisian if you click your heels together three times and just believe, is within walking distance of Atlanta’s largest park, most famous art museum, and (to my knowledge) only botanical garden.
By the time this post is published, I will be in the middle of the long, bagpipe-filled process of graduating from college. I am not particularly excited about the ceremony. I checked out from school a month ago, and even at the best of times I was never particularly connected to Emory College. And, of course, it’s been a difficult semester.
However, attending my younger sister’s graduation from Oxford College (my other alma mater) over the weekend reminded me that two years ago, I went into graduating with a very different frame of mind. I was excited to celebrate my time at Oxford. In the pictures taken during my graduation, I look happy (and slightly sunburnt from spending some day of the previous week drinking mint juleps on a beach).
Going back to Oxford reminded me of why. Walking around after their own long, bag-pipe-filled ceremony, I was greeted by professors and staff members and lookers-on who remembered me, and asked about what I was doing with myself. They were pleased to see me, and they remembered me well. Perhaps most startlingly, the way that they remembered me lined up with the way that I remembered me (with, of course, the polite gloss that someone else will give when describing someone to their face).
My mother died this week. I have been trying to come up with an appropriate response to this that I might post on the blog, but of course there isn’t one. It’s awful. I will probably fail to feel the weight of its awfulness until a few months or years from now. That is–I am told–the course of these things. Thankfully I do not know from firsthand experience prior to this point.
Cancer is an awful disease, and at my mother’s insistence I refuse to categorize her experience with it as a battle, though research and anecdata both tell me that this is the Done Thing. It was a bareknuckle fight with an asshole of a disease.
I try to avoid cursing on the blog in general, but really, fuck biliary cancer.
So, I was just delighted to find myself with my two classmates and professor on a Saturday morning, heading out to Cartersville to hang with people who like to make their own arrowheads, and–in the case of the primitive bowhunter side of the festival–their own arrows and bows, and then shoot deer with them. We rolled up–one of the few cars that wasn’t a truck–around 11am, and headed on in. Continue reading →
Image courtesy of Jarapet. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.
I have come up with a fail-safe way to test whether you are ready to have children at This Moment in Your Life. Ready? Here it is:
Go to the zoo during the first nice-weather Saturday in the last two weeks.
Meander on over to the tamarin exhibit.
Decide whether you think that the five-year-old screaming, “AHHHHHH” every time the tamarins move for two minutes straight provokes an “awwww” response out of you or an “AHHHHH” of your very own. If the latter, maybe hold off on spawning!
I spend so little of my time around children, particularly children in groups. Hell, I spend very little of my time around adults that are not in the 18-22 range, or at least did before I got a job. (My coworkers have children! And hobbies that are not drinking and being sad! Truly it is a brave new world.) After being in Senegal last year, I thought my view towards them had softened. I had been around kids! They didn’t hate me!
I had forgotten what happens when the children clump together. Because then? All bets are off.
Children aside, the zoo was great fun. I spend so much of my class time learning about non-human primates via YouTube videos that I forget that you can, you know, go look at them for real. Which I did! Much to my excitement, our gorilla troupe had a newborn, and she was out, and it was phenomenally cute. Because if that infant was making noise? I couldn’t hear it! Continue reading →
Most of that derived from the fact that RespectCon, the conference on sexual assault prevention/response that I helped organize, happened this past Friday. Like, actually happened. People came! Presentations were made! Cameron and I got to have a wonderful discussion about armadillos and leprosy! There was a hashtag!
So that was very nice. I think it went well. If it didn’t, then I know a lot of very polite, very convincing liars, which is emotionally equivalent.
Image courtesy of Shu Tu, licensed under CC 2.0 BY SA.
As happens every few years or so, I spent this past weekend in Austin, Texas. (Austin is, of course, the only part of Texas that anyone in my family will admit to going to. We spit at Houston.)
Rather than being down there to hone my South by South Best* skills, I was in town courtesy of my cousin, who–kindly–agreed to be bat mitzvahed*, so that I might eat many breakfast tacos and migas.
She, like her brother a few years ago, interpreted a portion of Leviticus in a way that made my heart swell. Leviticus, for those who are unaware, is mostly full of rules that most folks in the family flavor of Judaism don’t really follow, as mixed fibers are great and smiting is not so much. It takes some skill to really consider what that means for a modern reform Jew, and of course my cousin was great and at the end we got to pelt her with marshmallows. (Ritual pelting = my favorite quality in a faith.)
I defy you to come up with something that is more out-of-character for me to do than a 9am Saturday trampoline workout class in the suburbs. And yet, Saturday morning, I found myself in Sky Zone Roswell*, which is essentially a gym floor made entirely of trampolines, with extra trampolines on the wall for parkour/safety.
This was, incidentally, not my idea. I came at the invitation of a friend of mine from nerd camp (lo these many years ago), about whom I feel roughly the same as Leslie Knope feels about Anne Perkins. She is beautiful and terrifyingly smart and has the legs and cardiovascular system of someone who enjoys running as much as I enjoy breakfast tacos.
But my friend had assured me that every time that she had gone before, the workout had consisted of basic cardio, done on your own little individual section of the trampoline mat. We (I) could suck quietly, in a corner, she reasoned, and that seemed fine to me. (It was in Roswell. This is the first time I’ve been there in the 10 years I’ve lived in Atlanta, so if I reasoned that if I was truly shamed by my failure, I didn’t have to go back ever.)
Unbeknownst to my friend, however, this week’s trampoline fitness extravaganza was led by a new trainer. This man had biceps like hams and the relentless cheer that comes from being a personal trainer for a class full of people making fools of themselves on trampolines. And he did not want for us to do cardio on our little trampolines. He wanted us to sprints across the entire trampoline floor.
As part of my apparent quest to see every Masquerade-featured white boy internet-famous rap act of 2013, I went to Watsky‘s show this past weekend. By myself! Which was very exciting for about 30 seconds, until I realized that it was an all ages show and so I probably just looked like someone’s chaperoning older sister, since I was standing in the back next to the put-upon parents. (Even better was the part where I realized that the 21+ show above us was actually a Rocky Horror Picture Show-themed burlesque event. I love my weirdo city.)
(I go feel superior for approximately two minutes while I drank my overpriced PBR at the 8th-graders, until I remembered my dad very kindly attending a Decemberists show with me when I was in 7th grade, and then realized that that Not That Long Ago that I was the irritating wee concert-goer. I am young! But older than the average audience member! Cognitive dissonance!)
There is nothing that Atlantans love quite so much as walking their dogs in public (except, perhaps, drinking beer at festivals or patios, as a concept). And so it was not surprising that on the near-enough-to-room-temperature-so-we’ll-take-it Saint Patrick’s Day that we had this year, everyone and their mother’s great Dane was out walking the Chattahoochee trails with my friend and me.
The dogs came in all shapes in sizes. There were little terriers which were trotting along, and a few robust rottweilers, and 800 labby labs (“Are you a person? I love you!”) walking along with us.
But my favorite dogs were probably the paired set that I saw rounding the back of a muddy trail. As my friend and I were walking this side trail, we saw a couple with two dogs–one, a Great Pyrenees, and the other, a Bernese Mountain Dog.
For those of you who do not creep on dog breeds as a stress-reducing hobby, that’s basically 200 pounds of giant, fluffy dog. That’s a sofa’s worth of dog. They were completely great to see out and about.
Some weird part of me is, I think, fond of big dogs because I enjoy the fact that we as a species of ape have trained another species to walk on strings that we hold and be totally into it. I mean, really now: if those dogs had decided to peace out, they could have with ease. They are basically black bears, on leashes. Continue reading →