Song in my head

Thanks to some living room candlestick-microphone karaoke with Becca (aka “Beccarado“) and a recent viewing of In America with Ross, I now have “Desperado” stuck firmly in my head. I have been finding myself singing it accidentally, like as I wait for the light to change before I cross the street.

Toasters come from Becca

Even though we were in the midst of our now-resolved fight, Becca came over last Friday bearing what is, without a shadow of a doubt, the cutest toaster in the whole wide world. It’s chubby and copper and shiny, and I look at it every day and just want to hug it. I love toast. I even donated my own toaster to my previous job, so I could toast things any time of day. So I’d been missing toast very much, but just simply refused to spend money on buying myself one, rationalizing that untoasted bread should be good enough for me. Now, once again, I’m back to my toasting ways.

Thus my apartment has been almost completely and totally outfitted via the goodwill of others. It’s been like a barn-raising. Thank God, because I’m broke as a joke and would be sitting amongst boxes otherwise.

Like butta

Last night in improv class, my Priscilla accent materialized out of nowhere when I did a mother character. I have never consciously tried to do it in a scene. In fact I have avoided it, for fear of losing it or mucking it up after a few minutes. But somehow, it just flowed right out. Like I was born a Jewish woman in New Jersey.

A good day starts like this

1) Waking up: Wake up 1.5 hours late for work.
2) Packing a lunch: Attempt to pour too much chicken soup into your Gladware. Realize it’s too much soup when soup goes everywhere.
3) Heading out the door: Leave house at last. Realize one of your flip-top mittens is missing. Retrace steps up the stairwell and into apartment. Find mitten in the refrigerator on top of the spinach.
4) Getting there: Wait for the bus. Watch as the bus does not stop. Figure you should take train, as another bus will take forever to arrive. Walk two blocks. See a second bus breeze right by.

It’s funny cuz it’s true

“No one can tell you that you can’t make a difference. It’s something you have to figure out for yourself.” — Teach for America Chews Up, Spits Out Another Ethnic Studies Major, in The Onion

Thanks to Mark for the link.

Elaboration, 2/17: Here’s the thing. The above sentiment is not a deterrent at the moment. I’ve already been learnt and burnt in the hallowed halls of D.C. public schools. I figure now I’ve got a good, crispy shell to keep me somewhat safe. I already know that “making a difference” is really all relative. History has a lot of momentum going for it. Progress can seem incrementally, painfully slow, to the point of appearing nonexistent, because you can’t just shut off Niagara Falls to do some landscaping. Basically, I’ve decided that I just want to pick a spot to stand and see what I can do, whether it makes an apparent difference or not.

How the…?

Unclear: How I will go to improv class tonight and be open and funny, when currently I am feeling humorless and like a closed umbrella in the rain.

Addendum 2/16: Class was fantabulous. I had three or four scenes that I really, genuinely liked, and I really, genuinely had fun. (I am not lying.) I’m not sure what happened — something just clicked. Or snapped. (If you could’ve heard it, it would’ve sounded like the snap of a fresh, raw carrot.)

Furniture comes from strangers

Sometimes I buy things secondhand from strangers. It’s true. This has never turned out well. See couch poems. Also, I once bought an armchair that was an odyssey involving former co-worker Brooke and I and a Zipcar.

Today, transporting a desk with the help of Becca and Eliina, was similarly trying. I will not recount the details here. Suffice it to say that I learned that 1) a desk will not fit in Eliina’s car; 2) minivan taxis will not pick up furniture; 3) if you call a minivan taxi hypothetically asking for a quote, they might think you’re calling for them and will dispatch you a cab anyway; 4) 40 degrees feels much colder when you’re out in it for 40 minutes; 6) you should fully estimate the number of people you need for any job before commencing it and 7) I should consider myself damn lucky that Becca has friends with cars who will come at a moment’s notice and 8) Becca and Eliina are goddesses. Wait. I already knew that.

to my new desk
or: reprieve after a tumultuous journey in secondhand land


oh desk.

your fine slender legs
and delicate gold drawer pulls
smooth surface
and sharp angles —

your modern lines
move me to write these
modern lines.

yeah desk.

Ash Wednesday again

Every year on Ash Wednesday, I have some big debate in my head about whether to go and get my forehead ashed up. We never ever went when I was younger, so it’s not part of my childhood or tradition. Yet though I said in an earlier post that sometimes I take an occasional stab at Catholicness, sometimes Catholicness takes an occasional stab at me. Who knew you could feel guilty about not doing something you never did in the first place? Sometimes the ashy people look happier, like they’ve done a good deed and are now getting confidence from walking around like that.

Maybe not good

I’ve run out of contact lenses for my right eye. So instead I’m wearing a left-eye lens in there, which has a slightly different prescription. This was working just fine for a couple of days, but now I’m noticing that my eyes are starting cross, on their own, when I stare at the computer too long. That’s fine.

‘Round the outside

The Chartres labyrinth is an ancient pattern that twists upon itself in a specified circular path leading to its center. It can be walked for meditation and prayer. You can make one with masking tape, following elaborate instructions. Or you can make one with painter’s tape, using only a drawing, because you have brilliant partners-in-labyrinth. (That was during a college retreat I co-led, wherein I took one of my occasional stabs at Catholicness.)

I walked a labyrinth last week, when I came upon a church that had one, and I found it comforting and peaceful, not just an exercise. This part of the metaphor was maybe most useful: You enter, and it looks like you’re headed toward the center, but then you swing wide, wide around the outside. That’s happening a lot these days, with relationships, with the play project, with classes, with how I feel about TFA. I think I’ve got the answer, and then clearly — I don’t. It was nice to feel like that’s ok, and you’ll get to the center eventually. It’s easy enough to say that to yourself, or to have someone say that to you. But when you walk that metaphor, it’s somehow easier to feel it.

Unrelated, and for Emily’s benefit: Labyrinth, the movie.

A sign

When Amanda ran the Chicago marathon during our senior year of college, We Her Roommates were there to support. We made a banner to hold up at mile 22, the mile wherein she predicted she’d think she was batty. It said: “YOU’RE NOT CRAZY” in big, multicolored letters. Tara, Eliina and I each held a piece of it. When she came around the corner at the mile marker, she gave us big, sweaty hugs.

It occurred to me this afternoon that sometimes that’s all we need in general — someone to hold up a big sign that says, in no uncertain terms: You are just fine. Becca and I, for our play project, are considering featuring a surreal scene involving a validation hotline — Call 1-800-YOU’RE-OK and have a live operator tell you you’re not losing it, you tried your best, you’re not a total loon.

I was feeling like a crazy person today (insecure and tetchy over the usual issues), and so I called Amanda, who was right there to validate my sanity and self-worth. Whew.

Side note: I’m reading About a Boy right now, by British author Nick Hornby. My favorite way to say “gone crazy” is British: Gone ’round the twist.

Art, psychology Artists were given postcards and told to tell or illustrate something they’ve never told another soul.

I’ve thought about the line between art and psychology as it relates to improv. Lately though, my new idea is that I’m analyzing improv too much at the moment. Especially if one of my main concerns is that I get too cerebral sometimes.

Addendum, 2/3: Who am I kidding? I will continue to analyze ad nauseum, and will write more soon enough. Class on Tuesday was worth all that other slogging through — I took a 12-minute vacation from myself and got to completely be another person. No wonder people do this.