Like schools everywhere, Carolina had an orientation for new students a few days before classes started. In the midst of that morass of people, I laid eyes on a physically stunning human being. Attractive folks aren’t all that uncommon, especially amongst shiny young college students, but this woman was a total knockout. I’d rarely seen anyone so gorgeous in a magazine or on a screen, let alone in person.
Of all the programs she could have been enrolled in, happenstance had it that she was a library student, too. Walking home from orientation that day I realized, to my gradual amazement, that this Helen of Troy lived two doors down from me. It’s not every day that a breathtaking person winds up living in your neighborhood and taking Intro to Reference with you.
Turns out that this classmate of mine was intelligent, funny, and cultured. She was a truly likeable human being. Her boyfriend was similarly likeable, and pretty hot, too; he could make hearts thump all on his own.
The situation, you will agree, was tremendously unfair. Any person who is extremely attractive in both personality and looks is nearly unbearable. Two of them together? Intolerable! Inexcusable! An offense against God!
I consoled myself by pretending they were brother and sister. I don’t have proof that they weren’t, thanks very much.
Cosmic harmony must be maintained. No single individual should be so gifted on so many fronts. Thus, to balance my own natural intelligence, talent, wit, and humility, I have deliberately acquired certain fallibilities. Germane to this conversation is my lack of grace in all things domestic.
I can’t cook. I hate to clean. Whole gardens wither under my care. Trivial domestic repairs go untended because I don’t know how to fix them and I don’t care to learn. (Sure, I’d like to be able to close my blinds, but I’d also like a million dollars and that’s not happening anytime soon.)
(I’d also like to close the window. I suspect I’ll figure out how when it gets colder. Or not. You’ve got to pick your battles.)
Still though, a few basic chores must be seen to. I vacuum, I run the dishwasher, I do laundry, and I empty cat litter—maybe not as often as other folks, but with enough frequency to prevent a Chernobyl situation.
The other chore is food. As I said, I don’t cook, but as food is necessary to sustain life, I’ve figured out alternate ways to get meals. Nuking veggie burgers is one of those ways. Preparing salads is the other.
Last night I went through my weekly salad routine. I cut open the bag of greens and distributed them equally amongst four tupperware bowls. Then I added dressing, and then cheese crumbles, and then pre-sliced, pre-cooked chicken.
This morning, as I stumbled blearily to the coffee press, I glanced over at the kitchen counter.
There were my salads, all four of them, with the lids patiently waiting to be fitted on the bowls.
At this point, a clear-thinking human being would have tossed the room-temp salads in the trash. But me? Hey, I spent money on that food! And worse, I spent time creating them! I hate making salads! I’m not going to waste it!
Besides, work was stressful enough today that I was secretly hoping for a bout of salmonella to send me home. By “secretly,” I mean I was asking people questions all day along the lines of “Say! How long does it take for salmonella to kick in?” and “Do I look flushed to you? Possibly a little faint-looking? Green, even?”
No such luck. But as it turns out, I did get to go to the doctor. Bastard refused to treat me for salmonella, probably because I don’t have it. He practically forgot to treat me for my eternally-unclear complexion, which is why I went there in the first place. Instead he fixated on the mole on my chest.
He says it looks abnormal. Yes, but it’s looked abnormal for twenty-six years. I’m not exactly nervous about it. But he’s nervous, so he set up an appointment for me with a dermatologist to get it excised. He didn’t describe it in optional terms. The mole’s a-gonna go, like it or not.
Not as fun as salmonella, but it might be good for a half-day off work.
And I could use time off work. I used a week’s worth of vacation last month, but somehow I missed out on the restorative benefits. I’m still a nutcase.
- Exhibit A: the salads that I didn’t put in the fridge.
- Exhibit B: forgetting to take those salads to work. What’s the point of preparing your lunches at home if you’re going to leave them sitting on the counter? This has been happening with disquieting frequency of late.
- Exhibit C: putting on shoes from two different pairs. I’ve done this twice in about three weeks, though both times I’ve managed to catch myself before getting to work. But I worry that it’s only a matter of time.
I should stumble off to bed soon. Maybe if I get enough sleep I can dress myself properly come morning. But first I want to take a moment to promote a CD.
I know, I know, this is atypical. Why can’t I just talk about books like I always do? (Okay, then: Go read Water for Elephants. It’s great.) It’s just that I rarely come across new music I like. Most of my favorite music was written in the late 1600s. There’s not exactly a lot of Neo-Baroque coming out these days, you know?
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy lots of music that was written after the harpsichord had its heyday. I just don’t listen to much contemporary stuff. Most of what I’ve heard (which, to be fair, is probably not a representative sampling) doesn’t float my boat.
But I’ve liked the grunge-punk-altnerna-Indie rock group Modest Mouse since I first heard them in the late 90s. All of their albums have been enjoyable, especially This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About. I thought they’d never top it. But their release this year may have done exactly that. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
Anyway: We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. Great album. Go listen to it.
Now I’m going to go see if I look pale, feverish, or green. Keep your fingers crossed.