didn’t like data entry as a summer office temp, and I don’t like it now as a teacher!
was always one of those books I meant to read, and now I probably should, given the recent death of David Foster Wallace. What the hell is it about? Wikipedia is no help.
So I saw the Sex and the City movie this weekend, and I couldn’t help but wonder: were the writers of this film as technologically retarded as fictional character Carrie Bradshaw is herself? I mean…
I’m feeling restless.
I have urban malaise. In college, I was surrounded by cornfields, and before that, I was never too far from Wisconsin or the Fox Valley, but here I never seem to get out of the city. People in Philly don’t travel too far from their homes. Some of my former students had never been out of their neighborhood. I do not mind Philadelphia, but everything seems so cramped and everyone seems to be practically on top of one other. At least in Chicago, there is that wide watery expanse of space to the east of the City.
I think I am going to need to venture out of the city for a bit soon.
- Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
- but the empty space between them
- is the essence of the wheel.
- Pots are formed from clay,
- but the empty space between it
- is the essence of the pot.
- Walls with windows and doors form the house,
- but the empty space within it
- is the essence of the house
Well you can just go ahead and call me Prophet of the Century because I, as an extremely casually-informed high school senior who only took interest in Indecision 2000 because my AP Government teachers let us miss school to work the voting booths, foretold that bipartisan mentalities would screw our country over. I came to this conclusion while helping run the booth in my district, which was this retirement home-cum-apartment complex full of extreme conservative Republicans and way liberal Democrats, both of which were united in their white hair and tracksuits. Lemme tell you straight off, those old folks can really throw down when it comes to defending their party. This one old dude came storming into the lobby to bitch out my supervisor for having Gore signs stuck in the grass within a 40 feet radius of the polling place, which is like really illegal I guess, but then homegirl was all, “Excuse me sir, but YOU’RE wearing an elephant pin!” They were about to come to fisticuffs, FO REAL. Go old people!
Anyway, I saw a TON of people who would just march in, pick up their ballot and just BAM swing the lever and they were done. Allllll the way down one column, obviously either R or D. Which kind of rankled me, as someone too young to vote in an obviously important election–I had watched enough SNL and Daily Show to know that Bushy was an idiot, mmmkay?–because it was quite clear that zero thought was being put into their vote. Republicans do it all the time, yeah, but so did the Democrats (which is the party I identified with at the time, and sort of still do, even though on principal the idea of aligning myself with a party goes against my values). Which to me is like going to see every movie that Julianne Moore has ever been in. Like, she’s a good actress, and I like her, but she’s also been in SHITACULAR films. I want her to do good work, so I refuse to financially encourage her to make more shitty films like that one where the aliens stole her baby!
Lo and behold, that particular election ended in a ridiculous near-TIE, as we all remember, and I can recall sitting there all smug like, “I told you so.” And then everyone else agreed with me, and THEN came the bipartisan backlash, which my opinion sucks just as much, as you’ll see in a minute. Even now you can see articles lambasting bipartisan politics and how being moderate is totally the new black, y’all! I’m certainly no extreme leftist, but I’m also really tired of all these so-called Democratic presidential candidates trying to please everybody and playing it safe. I say, bring on the Bill Richardsons who legalize medicinal marijuana! Bring on the crazy loons like Mike Gravel (who I don’t think is that crazy, just a progressive thinker). I am ready for a really AWESOME leader who isn’t afraid to make giant sweeping changes and has the clout with Congress to make those changes happen. And I don’t mean selfish changes that only affect the insanely wealthy 1% of the population, MR. PRESIDENT, but everyone. Where is our fearless world leader with long-term vision, like Lincoln or Jefferson? I am crazy jealous of my grandparents on my dad’s side, who lived through FDR and Eisenhower and Kennedy. Where the fuck is the new FDR, dammit? Do we really need to go into another Depression just so folks will be desperate enough to let a president do whatever the fuck s/he wants? SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.
When I was little, autumn meant jumping in a pile of papery brown oak leaves. It meant my dad putting the bright blue plastic cover on the pool until March. It meant my mom arguing with me and my sister about why we didn’t need the slightly more expensive mechanical pencils and Trapper Keepers for school.
As I entered my teenaged years, autumn became both a welcome relief after the dreary boredom of summer and a font of stress from whence a whole host of adolescent fears poured forth. For awhile, it meant starting over at a brand new school every few years, facing judgment and blank faces from strangers; after my family finally settled in one spot, it came to mean a new year, a fresh start, another chance to make a different life for myself, to make new friends, to get a coveted spot in the school musical, to finally get straight A’s. But it also meant seeing my breath shimmer in Friday night lights during marching band performances, shivering with a shared blanket and a paper cup of hot chocolate in the football stands in my pom pom uniform, grabbing late-night chai lattes at Caribou Coffee, planning elaborate Halloween costumes, spooking ourselves on drives down Cuba Road, TPing football players’ houses, pep rallies, and racing home from the Homecoming game to get ready before my date showed up at the door, cumbersome corsage in hand.
In college, the advent of autumn signaled an even more frenetic, heady time. Once the mania of sorority rush ended, then ensued a flurry of social events: fraternity exchanges and pledge mom nights and football blocks and barndances and serenades and Homecoming floats and cast parties. My friends incessantly calling me at 7am to roust me out of bed and to the bar to play approximately 20 rounds of flip cup before stumbling to the stadium. Wandering the corn maze at Curtis Orchard before picking out a pumpkin and indulging in cinnamon donuts and cider. Jumping into a pile of hay with a cheap beer in hand. Letting my eyes water by the bonfire all in the name of the perfect crispy golden marshmallow. The autumn chill in the air biting my nose as I walked through fiery leaves to class, to chapter, and to rehearsal.
When I started teaching, autumn quickly became a thing of dread. Once again I could kiss my free time, my sanity, my personal happiness, and my voice goodbye until the next long weekend. Every day became one more day closer to summer vacation. One more day to question myself, to doubt myself, and to generally resent the fact that I could not enjoy the changing seasons about me until they had already passed.
I have a different situation now, and for reasons I will not go into here, I’ve been forced to take public transportation in the mornings. I choose to walk home in the evenings. I choose to drift through the seasons. I’m almost a quarter-century old–!!!–and time does not stop nor run backwards. I never thought about my future when I was younger; why should I worry now? Yes, autumn signifies a dying of things, but it also means abundance and harvest and plenitude, as my past autumns have shown me. When I walk home, iPod in hand–the “Into the Wild” soundtrack seems to be a particularly apt accompaniment for such a trip–I try to focus on that.