“You’re looking a little Marty McFly today.” — David, on my down vest (remembered this b/c I just saw Back to the Future again)
So today is good so far. I’m working with a techie writer so I can research fun stuff… He has a coffee pot in his office with coffee that’s good enough to drink black, and the man who works at my cafeteria is going to pick me up some Danish rye bread when he goes shopping for Kiplinger’s next week. Coolness.
Today and yesterday I’ve missed Denmark a lot. I miss the peace. I miss the dinners every night, the classes that entertained me, and the bike I rode to school. I miss playing with my host sister. I miss hanging out with the gang, being like “what should we do today…” and having everything, no matter what, be something new. Even going to dinner was an adventure, because the menu was in Danish and the food could be anything, and hey — there could be a belly dancer. I miss taking the train to Helsingøre, and incidentally, the Ø in general. I miss the hotdog carts, the soft ice on a cone, the rugbrød and the Squash soda. I miss the endless selection of candy. I miss the Wednesday cinnamon rolls. I miss the tea and the subsequent tea cozies. I miss seeing the same people every day, knowing that they’d always be around, it was just a question of where. I miss learning new things about those people, all the time, talking about nothing until we remembered the sunrise. Our friendships were easy. We didn’t get emotional over each other, just over people back home. I miss being late to Nordic mythology class, sitting through entire lectures with just the vague sense that the prof was speaking. I miss coming home to a house that smells like food. I miss waking up under a down comforter. I miss waking up in Helsingøre to music and a sun-drenched room, and then dancing on the oriental carpet. I miss the possibilities. Each day I could meet someone new, learn a new word, see something different. I miss the adrenaline and the curiosity flowing through me.
And at the same time, I miss the peace. I miss that quietness of the streets, with more bike bells than car horns. I miss the respect Danes have for fellow human beings, which shows up even in small ways. Danes stand calmly in long lines instead of sighing, rolling eyes, and making comments. Which reminds me. Here in D.C. I get whistled at, gawked at or shouted at approximately twice each day as I’m walking to or from the subway, sometimes before 8 or 9am. Amanda can vouch for me, and I can vouch for her, that we’re not dressed like prostitutes. Last week we were walking down the street in jeans and long-sleeved shirts and a carful of guys slowed down to a crawl and hung out the windows as they passed. Now, call me crazy, but that’s just not right. And maybe Copenhagen gets a little crazy on Carlsberg, but certainly not at 8:30 in the morning. Anyway, I just miss Denmark today.
Featured facts about George: I figure as long as I’m living in George’s house against my will, I can at least share with you all stuff I’ve learned about him (against my will). So, here’s what I know: George has a brother named Mark. Mark apparently is on parole. I know this because shortly after I arrived in D.C., suitcases still in the backyard, a phone call came over the answering machine: “MARK SULLIVAN THIS IS YOUR PAROLE OFFICER I NEED TO TALK WITH YOU RIGHT AWAY SIR.” George was almost married once but something happened. We don’t know what. He has a girlfriend, and sometimes her mail comes to the house for some reason. But we’ve never seen her. The house is immaculate and tastefully decorated — he had a decorator — but it’s eerily empty. All the plants are fake. There’s a grand piano in the living room, right next to his flashy mountain bike. We’ve never seen anyone go in that room. We’ve never seen him eat at any table. He has a dog, which we’ve never seen him take care of or play with. He has a beach house in Delaware, which he goes to almost every weekend. He has an entire array of spice jars that are empty. He has a DVD player that’s not hooked up to the T.V. The front door doesn’t lock, the back door locks with more brute force than we can apply to the knob. He has a maid, who came today, which he informed me of this morning while I was in bed. George creeps me out. More to come.
Featured bit of knowledge: According to a study in American Demographics magazine, some people are more likely to prefer cremation than others. They: Support gay rights, listen to New Age music, watch the History Channel, read airline magazines, own Apple computers, go golfing, take vitamins, drink domestic white wine, buy casual shoes and advocate doctor-assisted suicide.
Have you ever re-visited a conversation in your head, and realized the other person may have taken something the *completely* wrong way but never said anything about it? That happens to me. That’s because I’m easily distracted. And then I just say whatever’s on my mind, not always phrasing it clearly.
“We’re all jerks,” a boy once told me. “All of us.” …Hmm.
“I would like a career of something.” — Sammy, Reality Bites
I don’t know much about this lil event, but apparently today is the first day of summer, and there’s a blackout from 7-10pm. So if you agree with the cause and the rationale, turn off the lights.
You can get to this very page from lindsaymuscato.com.
Random thought: So, this journalism thing. I’m thinking it’s not for me. Or at least, not office journalism. My head goes numb staring at gray walls. My knees hate sitting behind a desk. My carpal tunnels are very unhappy about the computer. I need something to keep me rolling so I don’t feel like I’m grinding through the day. But I was not born to be a reporter. That much is clear every time an editor looks at me like I’m just a little remedial. I don’t know how I ended up as an intern here, in the American Society of Magazine Editors program. I think each thing I’ve done has banked off the previous thing, creating me, a monstrous conglomeration of stuff I did — but never did particularly brilliantly. In school they always told us to look good on paper. But they never told us to actually become good at something we enjoyed. Shock.
Last weekend I went to meet up with David, his friend Sarah, and a bunch of his friends from high school for dinner, about an hour and a half away by Metro. Everything added up to make me feel really out of it. They all knew each other, and I only had a few hours to get used to the situation. Tensions all around. But somehow I missed the last train home. So I ended up playing a cheesy trivia game with everyone until 5 a.m. (“Battle of the Sexes” … dun dun dun!) and sleeping on a carpet with some adorable but ringworm-infested cats. And for some reason it was fun. We made sandwiches for a picnic with everyone, and Sarah’s friend Abby came along, too. On the way to the park, it was like an 80’s movie… three girls in a jeep, cruising along in the sunshine, when some blonde guy pulls up next to us in *his* jeep and says, “Hey girls, where you going?” At the park I waded in a creek, almost died of a gravel-related incident, and played. Finally. Abby drove me to my train, and on the way we made a slurpee run.
“Been beat up… been broken down… nowhere but up when you’re face down, on the ground…” — Audio Adrenaline
There’s a new megaphone, btw.
Realization: That whole reverse culture-shock thing hasn’t much hit me. Instead I feel like I did a few weeks after I got to Denmark, a queasy trapped feeling in my stomach… because it’s not a vacation anymore, I’m here to stay for a while.