proustbot: (triumph)
I.


I went to see Richard III with Betty and Veronica last night. At the beginning of the intermission, Veronica went to the restroom and Betty went to enter her name in the raffle drawing for a bottle of wine.

"Do you want to come?" she asked.

"Nah," I said. "Feel free to enter my name if you want."

Five minutes later, they both came back to their seats.

"I entered our three names in the raffle drawing," Betty told Veronica.

Veronica went still. "What? But...I just entered my own name in the raffle drawing."

Betty shrugged. "Oh, okay, sorry."

"That means that my name was entered twice..."

"Yeah..."

Veronica stared at her. He was as angry as I've ever seen him. "Why did you do that? Why did you enter my name? Now that means... It won't be fair..."

"Shhh," she said. "Okay. It doesn't matter."

"Yes, it does--" he started to say, and then the stage manager took the stage to make the raffle drawing.

"And the bottle of wine goes to...Veronica?"

Betty and I grinned feverishly as Veronica stiffened and straightened and -- finally, with every muscle in his jaw clenched -- stood up to accept the bottle of wine. It was clearly one of the worst moments of his life.

(I told this story at the bar tonight to Bear, and Veronica stared flatly ahead and said that, in order to make their redress to the universe, he and Betty would be skipping the raffle for their next play. "Maybe even our next two plays," he added.)

II.


At the bar tonight, Veronica and I argued about the definition of a "procedural," and an hour later, when we were leaving (and after I ran back into the bar to find my scarf), I found him waiting for me on the sidewalk with an air of deep melancholy.

"I was totally wrong about that procedural thing," he said immediately. "And then, when you corrected me, I just brought up a totally different genre and pretended like that false evidence supported my argument."

"Um," I said, because I was a little bit drunk and had already forgotten about this discussion. "...okay?"

"I was very wrong," he repeated, and it was clear that this rhetorical sin had been eating away at his puritan soul for an hour.

"Nah, it's cool," I said, a little sleepily, and then I told him about some dumb argument that Lockwood and I had, in order to reassure him that I have doubled down on errorneous arguments in the past as well, and he suddenly smiled in wide, helpless relief.

III.


I stumbled back to the workroom and, through the miracle of social networks, started watching the live feed of the university symphony performance featuring Ariel. I scanned the musicians looking for him, and when I finally found him, I felt the same base glee as a child successfully locating the striped scarf in Where's Waldo. He had one elbow resting along the rounded top of the bass drum, and the fingers of his hand wiggled in nervous energy as he waited for his cue, and I felt such a burst of warm, happy recognition at seeing someone I knew do something so characteristic of themselves.

IV.


It has been a good 24 hours, is what I'm saying, I guess.
proustbot: (liz)
I.


This morning, Veronica boarded the bus at an earlier stop than usual.

"Yeah, I was walking M's dog," he said. "But right when I handed him off to my wife to take home, he managed to find an big chicken bone on the ground and eat it."

"Ah," I said.

"That's not good, right?"

"Ah, well, no, but--"

"I mean, my wife is watching him."

"Sure. I mean, in your shoes I would probably google 'what to do when dog eats chicken bone,' but of course you'd probably get a lot of alarmist advice..."

"Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to text my wife."

From the corner of my eye, I observed the beginnings of a guilt spiral.

"Or you could just call M's vet. I'm sure they get questions like this all the time. They'd give you some expert opinions."

"Yeah. My wife isn't responding. Maybe she didn't see the text? I'm going to call her."

A pause.

"Hey, sweetheart. Have you considered calling the vet? This was the suggestion from Proust...who is shaking her head, because she doesn't want to be a part of this."

II.


I told Veronica the story of Gosling and Lockwood.

ME: "I told Vidalia about it. And then I had to forbid him from e-mailing Gosling to ask him about his new best friend."

VERONICA: [laughing] "Vidalia! That's not how gossip works! You don't go straight to the source like that. Or maybe it speaks well of Vidalia. Maybe he just doesn't understand how gossip works."

ME: "Because he's never experienced it before? Oh, man, I don't think that was it, but it's an amazing theory."

VERONICA: "In high school, me and my friends never gossiped. We just said terrible things to one another's faces. I called it 'front-stabbing.'"

III.


At work, Gosling had fled without notice, leaving behind a project that he had been given only because it was the only thing he could be trusted not to fuck up.

As such, I was somewhat suspicious when my boss, cajoling me into taking on the project, explained that I was "patient" and "detail-oriented" and so perfectly suited for said project.

"Ah, yes," I said slowly, "People often say that I'm...detail-oriented..."

Later, after I expressed some confusion to the sub-boss, she laughed and said, "Well, yesterday when she said that she was going to assign you to that thing, she said it was because you were 'persnickety.'"

"I'm persnickety?" I said. "What about Veronica?!"

"Hey, hey, I'm sensing some hostility here," Veronica said.

"It's just, out of the two of us, when one person finds an error in the catalogue, one of us just shrugs and keeps on trucking, and the other is all, 'Oh, no, we have to fix this entry, everything has to be perfect.'"

IV.


At lunch, my boss asked us about a mysterious restaurant "coming soon" that has been advertised on the side of a new building for the past six months, and Veronica waited the perfect amount of time before he said, "We'll just have to keep hoping that it'll be a Cracker Barrel."

V.


Many hours later, Vidalia asked me how my stuff was going, and I told him at manic length, and he nodded sagely and said, "Well, I'm glad to see the flood gates have opened."
proustbot: (lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos)
Yesterday I did 9 pomodoros (in which I wrote morning pages, wrote ~300 words, synthesized my sacrament notes, and starting speeding through HC's letters).

Then I got suckered into a friendship obligation and spent $10 on a beer and mozzarella sticks.

Current Tally: $29

This morning I went into work to assist my sub-boss in stuffing envelopes, and then I came home and slumped around and did nothing productive. Blergh! I was supposed to go to a friendship obligation this evening, but I'm bailing in the hopes of actually getting some writing and/or laundry done instead. (Blergh!)

I also went through ao3's tag for Riverdale; there is a lot of not-very-good stuff on there. (And a couple of brilliant femslash stories.)

A story about Gosling: Lockwood reports that she tried to hang out with Gosling, but he's being too cool for school and the one time they got a drink, it mostly involved Gosling playing with his phone and ignoring her. Understandably, he's now dead to Lockwood. BUT the ironic twist is that Lockwood ran into him at a protest last weekend. Lockwood was with a friend and a friend-of-a-friend, who is a famous figure in our industry. As soon as Gosling recognized him, suddenly it was "LOCKWOOD, MY DEAREST FRIEND!"

Understandably, he is now double-dead to Lockwood.

A story about Veronica: J. vaguely referenced a recent injury, and I betrayed some knowledge of that injury. "How did you know about that?" she squealed. I tried to indicate C., but J. was already saying, "Oh, I know. It must have been Veronica. Because I told him about it, and then I asked if he was going to tell anyone, and he said he wouldn't tell anyone, but he would tell you, because he tells you everything." ("Okay," I managed to finally get in, "but, once again, he didn't tell me...")

He came in a little later and had a morose conversation with me. "I have to go," he said at last. "I'm too hyper." He was, as far as I could tell, being completely serious.

oh right

Feb. 2nd, 2017 04:17 pm
proustbot: (the best hill driven by black wine)
Yesterday, Veronica forwarded me a message from Betty in which she asked, essentially: whither Groundhog Day?

Oh right, I thought. My annual viewing of Groundhog Day. That I'm usually so excited about. That I totally forgot about this year.

"We'll totally do Groundhog Day," I told them.

Belatedly, it occurs to me that my friends have been worried about me.
proustbot: (lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos)
Went into work today. Veronica and I spent a lot of time looking at one another, deadpan, as if the other person was The Office's camera lens.

At one point, Veronica was on a roll, delivering an entirely fictitious and absurd story, and he and I went back and forth, mockingly elaborating on it until I realized that everyone else in the room was swallowing it all, so I -- like a fool!!! -- revealed that it was a fake. In retrospect, I should have let it continue in all its impossible glory.

Played ten hours of KOTOR yesterday, as my gift to myself for finishing a difficult thing. Man, 2003, you were another time, but I am charmed to see the standard narrative Bioware tricks appearing in primitive form in this game. (I was also surprised when I became a Jedi, although I don't know why I was surprised because a) I know the game's big plot twist and b) I think you're legally required to "become a Jedi" in any Star Wars game.)
proustbot: (liz)
I.


ME: "Oh, yeah. That dude. I met him at an anthropology workshop. The workshop kind of confirmed the awfulness of current anthropology as a discipline."

VERONICA: "Hmm."

[five minutes later]

ME: "What word can I use in this chapter that's like 'supernatural' but doesn't carry the extra Eurocentric garbage connotations of 'supernatural'?

VERONICA: "I feel like...there might be a whole discipline dedicated to solving this problem...it's on the tip of my tongue..."

ME: "If only I hadn't thrown that baby out with the bathwater!"

II.


The Dude circulated his dissertation to his committee on Monday, following the most manic spurt of writing I've ever witnessed. (He claims to have written his conclusion in two hours.) Following that, we've witnessed various stages of euphoria and depression from the Dude, and we haven't been a particularly reassuring crowd. (When the Dude tells people about writing the conclusion in two hours, I think he is expecting a different reaction from the one that he inevitably receives.) But we went out drinking with a motley crew Tuesday night, so that the Dude could alternate between venting about academia and gushing about high-school-era hip-hop.

I have experienced many, many hours of venting in the last week, so whenever the Dude began to vent again (usually about how his advisor hadn't been over-the-moon when the Dude began their meeting that morning by talking about writing his conclusion in two hours), I could feel myself entering a disassociative fugue state. As an added bonus, the Dude had invited an acquaintance who has now made good in a way that doesn't affect me (insofar as I like her a lot but I don't need to impress her with my CV), but in a way that really mattered to other people in the booth with us. (Which is to say: I gave Lockwood some shit about her overly correct pronunciation of LaTeX and Lockwood reacted in such a way that suggested that I was HUMILIATING her in front of her IDOL.)

What I'm saying is: I spent a lot of time at that bar looking for an opportune moment to leave.

But I stuck around, and I'm glad I did, because eventually people peeled off, and it was just me and the Dude and Veronica and Betty, and someone said "thorough," and I said, "He's a good man, and thorough," and the Dude clutched his hands to his chest and asked if we could watch The Big Lebowski.

So we bought some Kahlua and take-out Korean food and tromped back to Veronica and Betty's house, and we watched The Big Lebowski. And at the end, as the credits rolled, Veronica and Betty and the Dude all sang along Townes Van Zandt's cover of "Dead Flowers."

And I thought, This is nice.
proustbot: (clint eastwood)
I saw Captain America: Civil War last night. (It was fine!) Midway through the credits, the group with us left the theater, and Wife A. and I shrugged at each other and settled down to watch the rest of the credits.

When we walked out of the theater and found them waiting for us, my heart literally fell, because I knew that they wanted to make contemptuous comments about low-brow pop culture and summer blockbusters. (Bear and Veronica did not disappoint in this regard.)

Wife A. glanced at me. "I'm summoning an Uber!" she chirped. "We'll be out of here in five minutes!"

It was a very long five minutes.


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Name of the Rose )
proustbot: (triumph)
I.


Riding the bus yesterday home from work, I noticed a girl who got up from her seat two stops too early and then awkwardly remained standing until the bus reached her stop.

I felt a jolt when I saw her, and I'm not sure why. It may have been because she looked a little like K. -- same cheekbones, same shock of corkscrewing hair -- although she was a foot shorter and performing a different vision of gender. (Not all that different, though.) She noticed me noticing her, and then I averted my eyes and continued making small-talk with Veronica, while this girl determinedly tried to make eye contact with me.

Veronica got off on the penultimate stop. The girl followed and, passing me, blurted out, "I--I like your shirt!"

"Thanks," I chirped and she tried to say something else that was lost as the other passengers swept her along and out of the bus.

The next stop was the end of the line. I walked home and thought about the bus ride and wondered about that jolt.

II.


I went to a birthday party with Bear tonight. We had made a pact to go together and leave after one hour, because as much as we liked the birthday girl, we knew that we were going to know no one else at this party.

"We'll protect each other from strangers," Bear texted me before the party.

When we finally fled the party, Bear was carrying the unopened bag of chips he had brought to the party (which he had carefully retrieved from a side table) and I was clutching a stolen hot dog, which I consumed on our ten-minute walk back to my apartment. As we maniacally giggled at one another in the chill evening air, I remembered all the things I liked about Bear, and how much I still want to be his friend, despite everything.
proustbot: (lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos)
I.


ME: "Catastrophe? Yeah, I watched the first season, but I haven't seen the second, because I find it kind of...corrosive?"

VERONICA: "Corrosive?"

ME: "Yeah."

VERONICA: "No, no, no. That's just real talk about relationships."

II.


I was telling Vidalia that A Fish Called Wanda was an important movie in my prepubescent sexual awakening, and he immediately started imitating Kevin-Kline-as-Otto, and I was overcome with a swelter of confused emotions.

Then I went home and watched A Fish Called Wanda. That movie holds up! And John Cleese's naked torso still confuses me!

III


I had a series of underwhelming professional experience this week. It may be time to run off and join the circus.
proustbot: (instant intimacy)
In my place of part-time work, I have a Big Boss, and a Little Boss, and a Co-Worker (aka Veronica).

On Friday, Veronica left work and returned home and discovered that he had accidentally carried home one of the Sacred Keys. These keys are not supposed to leave the premises; they're not even supposed to go into our pockets or bags. If we need them, we remove them from their consecrated container (an old tea tin) and clutch them in our hands for the duration of our errand, and then we immediately return them to their old tea tin.

So Veronica felt bad and sent Big Boss and Little Boss an apologetic email, and then he made an unnecessary trip to work Monday morning just so he could return the Sacred Key to its tea tin.

He did not look forward to performing this ritual, because Big Boss had intense feelings about the Sacred Keys, and he knew that she was probably going to yell at him.

But no! Instead, no mention was made of his key-theft, and work proceeded normally the entire morning. And Veronica thought, Really? Am I going to get out of this without a stern rebuke?

"And then," he told me that afternoon, "just as [Big Boss] was about to leave for lunch, she paused at the door and turned and totally Colombo-ed it. 'Just one more thing...'"

And then Big Boss proceeded to rake Little Boss over the coals. It was Little Boss's responsibility to make sure we didn't wander off with keys. It was Little Boss's job to monitor us. It was Little Boss's fault when we fucked up.

And then she sweetly turned to Veronica and told him that, henceforth, whenever he (or I) screwed something up, she was going to yell at Little Boss about it.

And then she left for lunch, leaving a poker-faced Little Boss and the slowly dying Veronica.

"It's genius," he told me. "We'll never step out of line again."

"Hmm," I said.

I did not mention that, knowing the other parties involved, I was willing to bet that, five minutes before Veronica showed up for work, Big Boss said, "'Hey, listen, Little Boss, I've got an idea...'"
proustbot: (instant intimacy)
I.

"Yeah, yeah," I said, "but they need some mid-level grad students. If they just surveyed late-stage grad students, their survey would be full of bitterness and fury." Forgetting that the swivel chair was slightly broken, I tilted back a little too far and had to scramble upright as it threatened to tip over.

Veronica regarded the table. "Sure," he said softly. "It's fine now, but I'm sure in a year or two, I'll regret all the life choices that brought me here. I'll regret moving to the United States. I'll regret leaving my job. I'll regret blowing up my wife's career, just so I could satisfy my own selfish desires."

"Uh, well," I said, spinning a little and almost toppling over one side. "That's maybe a worst-case scenario."

II.

Today Vidalia spoke his native language in front of me, and it might be the highlight of my month. Or year.

III.

THORNTON: "Well, I would, but I can't take off this sweater. Do you want to know why?"

ME: "Yes. Tell me why you can't take off your sweater. I must know."

THORNTON: "Well. So [wife] just bought some new deodorant. From the Internet. Very expensive. But it's better for you than normal deodorant, because it doesn't have some kind of...metal...?"

ME: "Aluminium?"

THORNTON: "Yes! Anyway, [wife] loves the stuff. Swears by it. Told me that I had to try it. So I am...but I'm not confident that it's working, and so I dare not take off my sweater. I have to wait to go home so [wife] can check."

ME: "Yeah... I've think there's sometimes a problem with those natural deodorants, because after a while, you become acclimated to your own body odor? And your partner will normally find your natural body odor appealing, because of biology and pair-bonding, so they're not a useful second opinion."

THORNTON: "Oh, [wife] and I don't have that problem. Last week we were lying in bed, sniffing each other's armpits and talking about how bad we both smelled."

ME: "..."

THORNTON: "...I think I may have revealed too much to you."
proustbot: (Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky)
I.

The other day, I was going through some old stuff, and I found a birthday card from Veronica & Spouse from last year. The latter's contribution to the card was normal and uplifting; the former's contribution was a sly, rambling mock-diatribe.

At the bottom, he included a final line in ominous lettering: "P.S. We are your friends."

II.

We were pedaling exercise-bikes at the gym, and I was complaining to Gosling about a long ago time, when Wife A was attempting to reassure a friend that I wasn't mad at said-friend right when I was in the middle of castigating said-friend.

"It was, like, read the fucking room," I huffed. "Obviously I am angry; stop telling her that I'm not angry and it's all okay."

"Uh-huh," Gosling said.

"It's like her whole thing for managing people," I said. "And if there's one thing I hate, it's being managed."

Gosling glanced at me. "Uh, yeah," he said, carefully deadpan. "I think that's something pretty well-known about you, dude. Nobody who knows you would ever try to manage you."

I peered at him suspiciously.

proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
Three years ago, I did one of those little "year in review" questionnaires that used to be all the rage. Today, it amused me to fill it out again re: 2015, the little year that could.

2015 in Review )

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