Sunday, August 31, 2008

the non-existent gypsy blood is pumping

Went to a housewarming party for a couple of friends. The place was gorgeous. I'm not that surprised, knowing what D and J do in their spare time. It got me thinking about homes and moving. I feel like I'm always moving.

Number of apartments I have lived in: 9 apartments in the past 7 years.
Number of apartments I left before the lease was up: 3
Number of roommates I had: 8

This is the first time I have been completely satisfied with my neighborhood, my landlord, my building, my location (in relation to my job/school), and I am going on my second year here, so WHY am I getting the urge to move AGAIN? This is a curious issue for me -- perpetually teetering on the verge of nomadic and nesting. I really enjoy change, and love the aspect of moving that requires me to purge various unnecessaries from my life, but I also really like settling into a place and making it a home. Admittedly, the urge to move has tapered off, slightly. However, all that does is remind me of the crappy quality of things I own.

When I first moved out, my mother spouted off some ill-taken words of wisdom: "If you're going to be moving a lot, invest in wicker."

I did, in fact, own some wicker furniture, which made moving in the rain, sleet and snow less hateful. But now...

That stuff is gone and I'm pondering whether or not it might be time to get some "grown-up" household items.

Why would I do that if I'm planning to move again?
Where would I move?
Will it really improve my life, having improved-quality items?
Am I succumbing to consumerism, or am I attempting to plan for my future?

If I am making attempts to plan for my future, shouldn't I know what that includes? I can measure for a new television or dresser, but I can't figure out the scale for the rest of my life right now.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

all my little words

I saw "Fake Lake" on Thursday night and it moved me, but not in the way I think it intended to. I watched the actors, some of whom I knew, and some I did not, reenact an episode from the writer's life, at a time when she left Chicago to pursue... well, something else. The story that was told had humorous, dramatic, emotional, and political points to make, but I walked away from the Welles Park Pool (where, yes, it was performed IN the pool) to ponder my own choices.

Could I write a play based on my life, or a particular point in my life? Sure. Would it be any good? Doubtful. I'm not being self-deprecating, just honest. Honestly, I don't have the time to form my experiences into anything coherently meaningful. I'm too busy living out the episodes in my life, and it's non-stop. The most I can muster is a blog or two.

How do these people make the time to write, practice, perform AND work their day jobs? All of my motivation is tied up in school right now, and I know that's part of the problem. I wish I had gone through my higher education in a conventional method. Four years and a mountain of loans. Done. Instead, I squandered my time and effort and still have little to show for it. I just want to be done with school and get ON with my life, before it's all gone.

For the time being, I suppose I will have to content myself with being consistently impressed with the efforts of artists. One day, I hope to join the ranks of the creatively employed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Day Thwarted by CTA

In a hopeful attempt to finish out her 12-hour school day on a high note, Shama Dardai, boards the CTA train at the Kimball stop at approximately 9:30p, expecting to reach her home, in Lincoln Square, by 10p. She reclines in the well-maintained train car with her fellow passengers and pulls out her homework, calmly awaiting the announcement for the southbound train.

20 minutes later, she is still waiting.

Just as she is about to stand up in the indignant, "When is this train gonna move?" manner, the doors shut, and the recorded announcement was heard. She settles back in for a minute, as the train moves along the track at a leisurely, if not slightly slow pace. She reflects on her day, noting with satisfaction that it has been good -- tiring, but good. Then the train stops.

It lurches forward, struggling to reach the next stop, inches away, as a drowning man might stretch for solid land.

10 minutes later...

The passengers have grown weary of the slow train, but Dardai has grown restless. She paces the length of the train car, randomly kicking her backpack every few moments. She sits down again, and waits. And waits. And waits.

5 stops and 45 minutes later, she sits at her computer, cursing the CTA for stealing her time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've never let my school interfere with my education.

I'm excited and scared. I'm scared that I will finish up this semester and someone will say, "Good work. But you still have eight more years to go."

My transcripts don't make sense, I have many credits. I only need 6 more classes. Why is my projected graduation date in 2010? Don't they know that's too far ahead? That's the arbitrary futuristic time science fiction stories from the 80's would choose. I'm not graduating in the distant future. I'm graduating in the near future.

School begins tomorrow, but The Future begins now.

My education has been erratic, hopeful, and stunted, but it has been constant. I think about everything I've learned since high school and I truly believe that I haven't actually wasted any time. I know what I know now, and that's more than I knew then. Maybe a degree would have made a career path easier, but I don't think it would have made life easier.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Swift Boat Has Sailed

Obama has finally announced his running mate, Biden, and from what I've been reading in the papers (i.e. online), I'm optimistic. Elections in the past have broken my heart, time and again, with smear campaigns and muckraking, so much, in fact, that I rarely discuss politics anymore. Yet, here I am, feeling confident, for the first time in a long time, that I can voice my opinions on the upcoming election, with some gusto.

In the past, I've voted for the lesser of two evils, always noting that neither candidate really offered me any hope for the future term. This time around, I find myself excited about the possibilities of a decrease in our astronomical debt, better foreign relations, and an overall sense of global well-being.

Maybe I'm just buying into the hype.

If that's the case, so be it. It just feels good to have SOME hope for the country again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One For The Ages

I have been following The Olympics, I won't lie. I have also been following a lot of the drama surrounding The Olympics.

The particular issue of the "underage" Chinese gymnastics team has caught my interest. They do not LOOK anywhere near 16 years of age, and this is a problem because:

A) Gymnasts must be at least sixteen by the end of the year.
B) The training and pressure put on such young souls is disgusting.
C) Someone might be lying and/or cheating.

My heart has gone out to those Chinese gymnasts. They have endured the type of training that could make a grown man weep for mercy. They have been stripped of the opportunity to be anything OTHER than an Olympian. They wear enough barrettes in their hair to make a stylist weep. And they are now facing the possibility of global humiliation, if those few are found guilty of being... adolescents.

At first, I was outraged at the sight of these prepubescent girls performing their astounding feats of agility and precision, until I realized that they were truly spectacular athletes. Then, I was amazed. When they placed higher than the U.S. team, I was outraged, once again, out of patriotism and a strong sense of fairness. For the past week, I have been teetering back and forth on the balance beam of morality, when it struck me that no matter what age these girls are, they will have to carry this possible scandal with them forever.

Consider this:
If those gymnasts are found to be underage, they will be stripped of their medals, and possibly banned from future Olympics. If they aren't banned, then the ghost of this scandal will haunt them in future Olympics, as well as their personal lives.

If they are found to be of age, they will STILL be chased with rumors, gossip and anger. They will have their medals, but humiliation can last longer than gold.

I still don't know whether or not they are of age, but at this point, I don't really care. They are amazing at what they do, and should be awarded for a lifetime (no matter how short) of dedication to their sport. After all, they're just kids.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dearly Beloved...

My grandfather is getting better. He's home, safe and secure. I wish I could see him. I wish I could see a lot of people. This recent episode of family crisis has forced me to take stock of my life, and the people in it.

-He moved away last year. To Miami. I don't write to him as often as I should.
-He was fired from his job yesterday. I want to do something for him, even though he may not need me to.
-He's taking his PCAT exam this weekend. Even though he hates me, I want to wish him good luck.
-She is engaged to a man I wish I knew better. She is one of my oldest friends.
-She made her debut as a Faux Queen in Rochester, NY and I wish I had seen it.
-He's in Detroit, and I know he's lonely.
-He's moving to Europe in less than ten days.
-She's in Australia, and I don't know when I'll see her again.
-He left for Portland. He didn't even say goodbye.
-She's having a party that 6 months ago I wouldn't have missed. I'll miss it, but I miss her more.
-She might move away, to take care of her father, and I have to support her, even though I don't want her to go.

There are so many others that I miss, and keep on MISSING. I don't know what to do about it but hope that they know how much I love them and how often I think of them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Olympian

he was astounding. his ability to face down all odds, pull forward and make that final push to glory...
Phelps was good too.

My grandfather, on the other hand has made me realize what it means to be an Olympian. At this moment, he is in a hospital, suffering from heart complications and kidney failure. Last winter, he was also in the hospital, and my family was preparing to say goodbye. He pulled through. I'm convinced that it was because of the support and love of everyone around him, and the distant support and love of those who were not, that helped him recover. A cheering crowd can do wonders for someone who wants something badly enough.

My grandfather is dying. I don't know what will happen, but I know that I'm having a harder time dealing with this bout.
Maybe it's because I can't imagine the world without him. My world. He's been a constant inspiration to me, for as long as I can remember. He helped found the first penicillin factory in Pakistan. He's traveled the world. He's taught. He's healed. He's raised my mother and my aunt and uncles to be equally admirable people, in their own right. He's lived a full life. I am completely dumbfounded that the man who lovingly refers to me as "oolti copri," might not exist in this world for much longer. He should get a medal.

I was watching Michael Phelps and the American swim team declare to the world that they are, indeed, part fish. It was, and continues to be, thoroughly magical to see these athletes do what they do best, in front of the whole world. I wish my grandfather had been given such a chance. Maybe he will pull through. If that happens, I will have a medal for him, and a song to make his heart fill with joy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

he ruined a state park

my science teacher ruined Starved Rock for me today. i went on a field trip with my earth science class, for extra credit. i was excited about this field trip. i have many fond memories of the majestic cliffs and curious trails, as well as the historical significance of the park. i loved this place, as a kid. i am a kid no more.

he took us down every NOT FUN trail possible. i was fine with the muck and bugs, but when he started down non-trails that were clearly marked, "Restricted," i got pretty upset. i did not sign up to put my life in danger, yet there i was, being put directly in harm's way. i'm so angry and disappointed.

this summer has been chock-full of nature-based trips, and i have enjoyed them all, so far. why was today different? because it was stupid. he ought to know better, as a responsible adult. he ought to know better, as a teacher. he OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER.

i think i'm a pretty tolerant lady, but at the moment, i'm outraged. if i get anything less than a 'B' in this class, i'm gonna take some k-feldspar to his granite skull.

who says i haven't learned something?

Friday, August 1, 2008

nighthawks at the diner.

i mentioned in an earlier post that i have a shitty waitressing job.

i take it back. it's not shitty. ANYMORE.

i recently asked for my job back at the diner that is conveniently located ten minutes away from where i live, knowing full well that i may have to deal with the same drama and blatant discrimination that drove me out in the first place. i have yet to encounter those problems.

something changed. the staff is more or less the same, but the business has tripled, making everyone involved happier. i hate to say it, but money changes people. no one fights over the "good" shifts anymore. everyone does the work that needs to be done. my co-workers are much more pleasant and far less mean-spirited than i've ever known them to be.

i don't dread the work anymore. it's a relief. i can climb out of debt again and keep my soul intact. for those who know where i work, please come see me again. i'm happy to serve you.