P.s. I’m writing more these days because I have a really long study break. FYI.
Cameltoe as coping mechanism: Thursday is the last day of school for me every week. I get up every day at ungodly hours. Today for example I got up at 7 am. My state was atrocious; eyes bugging out, back curled in the remainder of a fetal position, me falling over while putting on my strangely skin tight stretchpants that prompted my roommate to go “Buns!” when he first saw me. (It’s a sociological experiment; how does it feel to wear bordering-on-cameltoe, 60$ stretch pants – one feels self-conscious, yet protected by the stealthlike leanness. I bought them at Barneys in a fashion emergency and they’re actually worth the money. Moreover, they make my legs look better. I walk around and it’s like god is routinely scooping me up in a velvet fist and throwing me about. Cool feeling.)
Morning coffee is not so easy: I go to the grocery store where the Indian dude already knows me and gives me a two dollar discount on my “large coffee with two shots of espresso please.” The first time I asked him for double espresso, he glared at me, took forever, and charged me 3.50$ for it, ignoring me as I grumbled in shock about it. Now he gaily greets me as I tell him “I need to be awake today. I have a test” or some other academic emergency. “I understand” he says and quickly gives my coffee order to the coffee bloke, in the knowing, businesslike sense of “I know no one has ever conceived of double shot espresso large coffees in this here World Famous Deli, but it’s happening, she’s a regular, deal. How many sugar, milk?” He always asks. I don’t have the heart to make him reach for Equal. “Two sugars and cream, please.” I take that moment to contemplate whether I will be more satisfied by the Chocolate Crunch Rice Krispie treats or Caramel Crunch Rice Krispie Treats. Today I got a banana instead of Rice Krispies, because I’m a better person. Or more like the not sleeping till four, total maximum caffeine at 7, has removed my appetite.
This is how I do: My schedule for this week has been as follows (this is my blog, I get to detail worthless things): Sunday night in bed with my Art History book that’s bigger than anyone’s head. Study Ancient Greek, Byzantine, Hi-Gothic. Scribble things on index cards. Want to cry because I know I have Early Italian Renaissance and Hi-Renaissance ahead of me and there is no respite till Tuesday night by which time I’ll just want to crash instead of celebrating and getting drunk like I used to when completing a test was the equivalent of saving babies, when I didn’t have a quiz every week that I have complete herculean tasks for, which means it doesn’t end, there’s no reason to celebrate, this constant state of stress is just…normal.
Red, red, red: Monday I go to class late even though I’m coming from the Upper West Side which is only 15 minutes away from my school. I run into the teach, who’s also late, and wearing three shades of red. One of the reds is sparkly, and one is a pair of red velour running shoes. “I like the color combo” I say, because I know she’s making a statement and it needs to be affirmed. “I didn’t know if it worked” she says cutely. “Sure it does” I say breezily, as if I know.
Because life is stupid, Starbucks: On break I order a Starbucks Light Frappucino thinking it’ll solve the breakfast ish, and the dude gets made because I try to take some other girl’s Frapp and he says snottily “That’s a Light, miss” and I say “I did order a Light” and he doesn’t listen because he’s mad I tried to take the other. Finally, he hands me a Venti Regular which looks like it will kill me. I ask “Is this a Light?” And he says “Light doesn’t have whipped cream, miss and it has 1/3 less calories.” as if I’m dumb. “Oh. Is the lack of whipped cream the only distinguishing feature? In which case I don’t care if I have a regular.” He repeats the same information to me, takes the Frapp, dumps it dramaticaly in the trash, and tells me he’s going to make a Light because “that’s what you ordered, miss.” I keep saying “I don’t mind, I don’t mind” and he says “You ordered a Light, miss, I’m going to give you a light.”Pure bitch. I grab my Frapp and by that time I’m late from break.
likes being challenged, hmm: Luckily I’m funny when I get back and use the Frapp as a gesturing prop. Cheerleader girls laugh and I think to myself, wow, being 27 has its benefits – cynicism has made me droll. Some of this funniness however, has a lot to do with my inability to control my obnoxious quips. I say to the teacher after class, “I feel like I’m being abrasive.” Aka the lesbo fiasco last week where I looked at her coolly and said “what’s wrong with that?” when she said a hetero girl putting a pic of herself kissing another girl on Facebook is unseemly, to which she responded “Hey, I’m a feminist!”
She says “you challenge me. I don’t mind being challenged.” Kind, kind woman.
No phone causes psychological distress: Monday night is bad because I think I’ve lost my phone at Mar’s birthday party. I had left bloke that morning with no plans to meet up even though we had made tentative plans to watch Anchorman and I get mad because there’s no attempt to book me, and that’s always a sign that things are going downhill. Things were all cute over the weekend when I was in my party personality – gold eyeshadow, whiskey, cig, and smacking people in the arm. Flitting about with random bouncy gestures seems to have the effect of making people think I am somebody, or something.
(Oh yeah Sunday after the party boy was in my hood for once. He got to sit in our music “studio” and roll out his beautiful musical imagery that is more evocative than any normal phrase; my roomie walked around with his brilliant capital “F” tattoo emblazoned on his chest and little boy shorts, listening while tying an amp onto the loftbed post, which I protested against, and both insisted it was ok. The two worlds of home and boy united, I felt giddily integrated as we went up to UWS where boy became very concerned about my inefficient way of getting ready.)
Anchorman, because he’s schooling me on American humor, the general project of unravelling me and putting me back together in a form I can hardly recognize. I’ve already shown him my British favorites: Alan Partridge and Spaced, but it’s not something movie nights are made of.
But no communication for two days, and by Wednesday I’m a wreck. Prep for my Art history exam, surprisingly, drives me batty. I thought I was over the whole wanting to succeed thing. (So Asian.) I had sat at a poorly lit rickety wooden table Monday night sucking in Marlboro UltraLights and straight vodka till the wee hours, spending 1.5 hours talking about late 80’s early 90’s pop music with my other DJ roomie who has encyclopedic knowledge of all sorts of music, esp cheese. Of course I had to hunt around for classic freestyle songs and Prince and create definitive playlists with Donatello and Bruneschelli glaring at me on the side with their thousand year old mathematical precision and celestial visions.
Index cards don’t work: The spectre of thousands of words integrated with glossy photographic images flanked by historical timelines is enough for me to maintain denial through the night that I’d have to finish the Renaissance. By Tuesday evening I was still getting down the details of how the hell Bruneschelli built the Florence Cathedral Dome (by building it on the drum and not the rotunda, or something), the largest dome ever made at the time. And promptly forgot everything no matter how many times I flipped through my index cards shamelessly on the subway. I had all the dates rolling off my tongue. The one thing I neglected to study was the Hagia Sophia which also happened to be one of the two questions on the exam.
Flashback to 6th form in England when I almost pass out from the dizzying action of taking my index cards out of my breastpocket and going back and forth till I knew nothing of who I was or where I was, thinking perhaps death was preferable, in fact a happy place. Remember why I was so scarred by trying to be a brilliant student – because I’m crap at studying. I really am just crap. When I studied for AP in high school, I stayed up all night to the chagrin and disgust of my mum (who surely had a structured way of learning un-poisoned by emotional investment), with a pen and three different colored highlighters, lining the book to shreds to try to understand every psychological, historical minutae of Western European History. My brain bursts into strained pus, and the only option is to clean-slate it and become complete insane.
A few years to recover, and my ginger re-introduction to thinking again, is usually preceded by reading a couple of bad, visceral books. I get convinced my habits and mind are clean enough so knowledge will seep through me like runny waters of gold, but no, now, instead of sugar, it’s cigs and coffee I’m cramming into me to blunt the force of self-doubt and muddled writhings of illogical shit.
I wanted to share this activity with you and you had to go eat ice cream. I party on the weekends, and do homework in the wee hours at the precise moment that I am officially doing it the wrong way – all to postpone fears of intellectual inadequacy, which is unbearable – it is preferable to deprive myself of sleep, snap at people, and think of suicide.
Because this pace is hard to keep up with, I try to have my tiny bit of chill, except it’s every night. I think in a moment of radical hope, that watching Anchorman with you is something I can fit in, I can do my NYT reading while watching that, sure, and beforehand too, I’ll be behind the stone kitchen counter smiling while you bread pork cutlets because that makes you feel connected to me, I need to connect with you, because I’m lost, my day is held together by desperate considerations of ideal behavior, guilt, guilt, regret.
And who am I to turn down a bottle of Oregon Pale Ale you had someone bring me off a plane? Must stand still and enjoy the complex bubbly hops while you look at my face to drink in the mixture of surprise and pleasure. I’m keeping it together and if that means putting aside Current Affairs and “what’s Fatah,” “How’s Iraq doing these days?” “Who’s Mitt Romney?” to ask you how you’re breading the pork cutlets and wherefore why so, so be it. A little hour here or there not glued to school, to afford me a kind, sympathetic smile, unfettered by political, distancing, ejecting interfaces,
melts me – I sink into a sofa and let myself go to coos, close-knit jibes and American humor video. Responses to my smiles. Everything’s ok.
“I’m surprised you don’t read the paper” Boy says. “People are really surprised when they find out I don’t know anything, because they think I’m smart.” This after I say, having just read the paper for my current affairs test tomorrow: “People are getting killed in Palestine right now – like – A LOT.”
“You are smart, that’s why I’m surprised you don’t read the paper.” “If I’m smart, it’s accidental, it’s hereditary. Meanwhile I do everything to not support it.” I don’t like concentrating, thinking, trying. This is further proven when we play music for each other, and I reach for Prince and Ace of Base, and he makes me listen to Autechre and Bjork, the more obscure albums, and I only like poppy Autechre and early Bkork. When we get to the track with the Eskimo warbling I want to hurl. I don’t like going outside my aural comfort zone.
I never want to get out of any comfort zone. I don’t like working out, I don’t like walking, I don’t like uncontrollable things. As a consequence I’m a complete control freak and completely dependent upon rituals and safety warnings.
Guess I won’t get to Wednesday in this blog post, or whatever. I have to study.