but oh, school!

on a brighter note, i love being a grad student.
i can't believe i get to do this for the next n years.

when was the last time a week was so exhausting and so rewarding?

'til human voices wake us

all i really wanted to say was:
fsm 8/31 9.30a
a burn on my wrist, fitting.

(you are not meant to understand)
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question...

-t.s. eliot
i may not ever figure out this love thing. i wish i could give up but i seem to need other people and right now that is making me sad.


last few unworried hours

there are great things about being a student. free bus rides, cheap movies, chill schedule, beautiful campus and the freedom to sit outside with the sun on your face reading a book, all afternoon if you want to. in particular, there are great things about being a grad student. classes are never full for grad students, waitlists are a thing of the past, a thing solely in the domain of the unwashed undergraduate masses. we have ascended to the rarefied heights of guaranteed enrollment. we call the professors by their first names, and sometimes the school or the government gives us money. that's right, we get paid to be in school. we have the freedom and the resources to immerse ourselves in the quest for theoretical glory, or something nobler. people say "i could never go back to school" and i think they are insane.

the flip side is endless endless work. the reading pile gets bigger as you try to eat your way through, there's always a paper to revise. this much i already know. and that money that they give us? very rarely just falls out of windows, usually we scratch and scrape for it, there's always a fellowship to apply for. then there are the myriad ways we prove our engagement in (to?) the department: "it is highly encouraged that all grad students attend the colloquium talks," committee work, socializing as junior colleagues with more advanced students and faculty. from day one we think about master's exam committees, research advisors, dissertation topics, and how in the hell we're going to get that first paper published. we think about the small fraction of social science ph.d's that get the coveted research/teaching job directly out of school, and the even smaller fraction that pass their first tenure review. we eye our cohort warily. we must be cagey. we must be absolutely excellent.

it's only worth it under one condition: you love your field completely.
lucky me, i do.

i am {scared thrilled jittery smirking blown away steeling myself amused proud resigned nervous} because tomorrow my new career begins. (pick as many of those adjectives as you like.)


avanti! forward!
with open eyes and perfect calm, forward into the madness.


the captain lied

i feel a bout of despondence coming on. i won't blame the leonard cohen documentary, either, because if anything it alleviated the press. just sometimes it seems like no matter how much you care and struggle...the meaning all sinks back into the noise eventually. the signal gets lost.

i'm just speaking generally, don't read too much into this.
grade inflation.
"apple care" doesn't.

leonard cohen says i'm dead and you're dead and we're just acting out the drama but the end is already written. it could sound hopeless but the way his eyes contain perfect calm and the corners of his mouth are always twitching toward a smile makes it a blessing.

he also says to live as if you are real, and i wonder how he reconciles these points of view.



talked to new guy on the phone tonight for 2.5 hours.
my ear is sore.

for all the weird and sometimes frustrating things about him, i sure do appreciate a guy who can work tantric sex and wittgenstein into the same sentence.

i've been grading final exams all day but i like to think of it as crushing the hopes and dreams of undergraduates.

i wish i had a cookie.


strange days

it'll seem more like a song and less like it's math
if you pull on my hair and bite me like that...

the apartment is one of those long, narrow san francisco victorians, built circa 1900, divided into flats. he begins my tour at the back: a laundry/utility room. "i told you we have a lot of bikes." between him and his roommate there are six. this room, like the rest of the flat, is impeccably clean and freshly painted. further forward is the kitchen. in each room he describes the remodeling work he's done and he points out items of interest. he tells little stories. he obviously loves his home. the computer room with desks from the old office. the bathroom he retiled in hexagonal black and white. forward into the living room and i flop down in the L corner of the red couch but he says no come here, look at this.

flash back a few hours to the karaoke bar with a group of coworkers from the job i just quit. new guy was there, all was awkward and he left early. hot was there and flirting but i didn't take it seriously. by ones and twos everyone else peeled away until only hot and i were left, sitting by ourselves at the bar, ignoring everyone else anyway. we go outside and for a few minutes i'm sure my car has been stolen again until i see it further down the street. he shakes out a cigarette and lights it for me, laughs and says no way are you driving home.

then he does everything i've been wishing new guy would do. he says we're putting my bike in your trunk and going to my house. he uses his belt to macgyver the trunk closed. he drives and i babble, it's easy and comfortable. we get there and he circles looking for parking that isn't friday street cleaning. i realize dimly he means for me to stay and think oh well, i will sleep on his couch. why not. (i am not naive, it just never seemed like a very likely match.) we go inside.

back to the tour. forward is the closed door of his roommate's room. "she's really sweet and she sleeps through everything." i notice he's turning off lights behind him the whole way. into his room (soft two-tone blue with white crown molding, hardwood) and he dims the lights and takes off his jeans and gets into bed. "i'm sleeping here?" "yeah." i take off my jeans and get into bed. this is weird. i say "tell me a story" and he says "what is it with girls? they always want to hear stories." he tells me a story and then says "so you're in my bed...are you going to kiss me?"


some people deal with the uncertain space in a potential new relationship rationally and calmly. apparently the new me goes off and spends the night with other people. it doesn't really change anything; hot is not dating material for me and new guy is the one who said no definitions, no expectations, not yet. so today i talked to new guy (uh, not about this) and we are in agreement about what the next step should be, and i think for right now that is enough.


state of the state

dear internet,

i am returned from minnesota. i don't think i told you that i was going, but there you have it. i brought back a few birthday gifts, a sunburn, and a flushness of gratitude for both my amazing family and for my home now, the bay area, which i love for being almost nothing like minnesota.

this morning i was awakened shortly before 6a by an earthquake. only 2.9 but centered near berkeley, so it shook my bed and rattled my window. for a second i thought there was someone in my room pushing my bed down and so i woke up a little scared, and the adrenaline did not want me to go back to sleep right away. i went to the bathroom and catherine was awake also. the earthquake reminded her that she needed to do her taxes.

so i'm taking this opportunity to tell you that what's on my mind is new guy. who describes himself as a "mildly dominant bookworm" and says that we have a "seriously degenerate ability to turn each other on". this turning on of one another remains largely at distance, effected by use of the insidious yahoo messenger, and so the question remains: how will two highly cerebral and self-contained people break through these early barriers?

the last one i knew so well that the answer was an easy "are you coming to bed?" the one before that grabbed me on a windy san francisco rooftop one night. this one, i don't know how or if it will happen, part of me thinks it will remain a literary exercise, a thought experiment.

it's fun to have naughty conversations with someone. but somewhere along the line i became a person of action, and i think the words won't work for me for very much longer.

thanks for listening, internet.
i think i will go back to sleep now.




so it turns out that i have issues. "it's possible to work out a lot of stuff for oneself, by oneself...but some things only come up when other people touch them." that's what i wrote to him. but i'll come back to that.

first i want to tell you about today, which was the first day i would otherwise have been at work. but i wasn't at work, mainly because of the whole quitting thing. so i stayed up most of the night grading the most recent assignment and then drove up to campus early to drop the papers off in the instructor's office. then i met with a linguist for coffee and breakfast in my old 'hood. then i went grocery shopping for my house and did some research on bulk buying. then i went to the work study office and found out i'm eligible to get some, and i have "unmet need" so it won't even be all coming out of my loans. then i went to the department and found out what my research job will be, and arranged to slightly extend the scope of it with my work study funds. then visited the research project i volunteered on last year and said hello to everyone. and then i came home, crashed out for a couple hours, and made dinner for my house.

i started off today with a slightly guilty phantom-limb feeling, like i should be at work and someone was going to catch me. sad and missing everyone. and now i feel like...yes. this is everything i worked for the last two years. this is the payoff. (someone remind me of that in about nine months?) running all over campus on a sunny day, talking to smart people about interesting things relating to my new field. rad.

so the issues. what happens is that he says something that i don't know how to take and so i take it in the worst possible way, i overlay it with david's voice and david's tendencies. and i either become upset/angry or shut down. we have had two proto-dates and this has happened twice. at least you can't say i'm inconsistent. and then i tell him that HE is confusing, like it's his fault.

so now there's awkwardness there and i don't know how to dispel it. and i don't know what's going to happen next. i wish i could have a do-over. i wish i could feel things in a vacuum, separate from other times and other people. but it doesn't seem to work that way in this modern world.



oh, if only i weren't such a dumb idiothead.



today i left not only my job, but my field as well. i used to be a programmer and now i am not. i'm something else. actually at the moment i am nothing! i think for awhile i will go around saying "yeah, i'm sorta between things right now." that'll be classy. it was a whirling day with lots to get done and lots of visits from everyone, some congratulatory and some sad. i am glad p wasn't there; it would have been a little too much. i left him a little offering and an email saying "i will miss you bunches."

crush was there, so the stress was interspersed with random instant messages from him: "i am having bad thoughts." it was zingy but also i didn't have a lot of attention to give it. i think he was waiting around a little at the end of the day to see if we would leave together but i had plans already. strange how everything shifts a little when you find out your crush has been crushing back, or maybe was crushing first; they start to be a little more mortal. there is clarity, there is honesty, there are the beginnings of trust. and an absolute lack of tortured longing. is this how it was supposed to work, all along?


not thinking

someone else kissed me tonight and i didn't think about you. it didn't feel like you or taste like you. and it's weird but i think that in most ways (all but that precious mythical way that nobody will ever be able to touch me&you) this was better. you said kissing wasn't supposed to be about thinking but with you i was always thinking. i wouldn't believe you when you said it wasn't a good thing. tonight in the glarey bart station when he leaned in there was no thinking just points of contact. "that shouldn't have ended yet," he said. "what are you thinking about?" i'm not thinking.



i am drunk and tomorrow i have what some people insist is a date.
i am more comfortable with the label 'hang-out'.
how about if we agree on 'proto-date'? it's so much nicer than 'pseudo-date'.

if i ever have another proto-date i am totally hanging out with c the night before it because 1. i will drink a lot of really amazing wine, and 2. she will say things that make this sound like a downright good idea. c is good like that.

it's weird because my best friends are people i've met in the last few years, and in the last few years i have been somewhat different than i think i usually am. for a long time i suffered. and when you suffer, you learn to surrender without a fight. i learned deep kindness and i also learned to retreat. but i'm not about retreat, i was not before and i will not be now. not anymore.

i think my fight is coming back.
i am leo. hear me fucking roar.



today my horoscope said this:

"Every day matters, but today could be especially pivotal. You're reaching a critical point in both your personal life and your public life. In your personal life, the people you are missing most are waiting for you to make the next move -- so don't let your pride or fear of rejection keep you from putting your best foot forward and getting things started or moved into a new direction."

and i was like damn you horoscope.
i know what i have to do now.

so i was like hi and he was like hi. and i was like how are you? and he's like alright, you? and i'm all do you want to get a drink with me after work this week?

and he's like "sure do."

anyway then i'm like blah blah blah and he goes blahblah blah blahdeblah and i'm like blah? blahblah and he's all blah!

and then he's like "let's make a plan. which day do you prefer? we'll get food. hang out. drink. whatever you want."

and i'm like lalala.

and then i told him some things about old english orthography.
because the john hughes teen angst gets kinda old.