Saturday, August 30, 2008

since then it's been a book you read in reverse

Apparently the photography theme of the week is water.

Also, yeah, yeah, I'm still alive.

Started grad school two weeks ago, and discovered that all of those rumors about grad school are relatively true, about how you pretty much ought to be doing work all the time. When I'm not working, I find, I tend to be super productive with my procrastination-- buying coffee makers and britta filters and obsessively cleaning my room over and over because, try as I might, I can't just make it STAY clean and put things where they belong, but I also can't study with it dirty. I have also been doing things like hanging pictures and writing threatening e-mails to my ridiculous, filthy, irresponsible subletters from the summer who didn't clean my bathroom for two months and didn't pay me their rent and the utilities they owed for July until this past week.

Unlike the subletters who I am VERY glad to be done with, I like my roommates so far. And I like L's roommates a lot-- one was in the same city in France I was in the same year I was there! Luca and I have been trying to use our "veg" time more productively instead of sitting around and watching I Love New York like we did last year, so we've been trying to figure out harmonies to various songs by The Shins.

In between studying and cleaning, life certainly isn't calm. I have discovered that starting school again with all new people is just as scary as it was the first time, and the second and third times. Aside from some third-grade moments (who saves seats and won't let you sit by them in grad school? is neuroanatomy really the same as 8-year-olds in the lunchroom?), I like the girls in my program. We're all girls, which will means some cattiness is probably in store, but also at least there will be no departmental dating drama. Maybe.

Here's one amusing anecdote:
Wednesday, the day I bought a coffee maker and made coffee and got SUPER productive for five minutes (or two hours) before a high school friend called and explained that he had purchased tickets to the John Mayer concert in Raleigh for the girl he had been dating, but that she had dumped him and did I want to go? And despite the rain, tornado watch, fact that I don't like John Mayer, and copious amounts of reading, I said yes, because the only more pathetic thing than having to call an old friend to go with you to a concert (in the rain) that you were hoping to go to with your girlfriend is getting turned down by that friend in favor of homework. So I went! We drove all the way to the concert hall in Raleigh, made it all the way to the gate, were getting ready to walk in and WAIT! A text message from the fine young lady herself, saying that despite having said that she would pay for her ticket, she didn't think she should if someone else was using it. But would pay for it if nobody used it. So. Not really wanting to be an extra $50 in the hole, we debated, and....didn't go! Turned around, sold the tickets to a scalper for $5, and drove back to Chapel Hill. Madness.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

a year gone by

In less than a year he's been reduced from that man to this one. I hadn't even noticed, other than to see that his hair was whiter and sparser and he stooped a little more, but I didn't realize how much of him had wandered away, or been eaten away, by this creeping death in his body. One year to the day, yesterday, I was looking at pictures of my sister's wedding, and there he was, standing tall and proud and smiling, his hair dark gray, almost still black in a couple of places. His skin was tan. He looked more like the twentysomething man in his navy uniform than the skinny, breaking old man who peeked around corners in his underwear and diapers, like a child, asking for help in the bathroom. One year has almost done more than sixty, it seemed. Unbelievable.

She looks the same, more or less, looking every bit her one-month-to-nintey age. It's her memory that is slowly slipping from her, her mind calcifying into stubbornness and almost pathological optimism. Any information that is unwelcome, or different than how she thought it might be to begin with, slips away. So, conversations about his health, or them moving, or shifting furniture around, or anyone leaving whom she wishes to stay, flit away like birds as soon as the wind changes.

Why do our minds harden and rot as we get older, like the rest of us? Whose bright idea was that? Why do our bodies betray us, break down and fall apart? Why not, poof! and gone, in the middle of the night?