proustbot: (asia at odd hours)
I saw The Wedding Plan yesterday with Zane and Betty and J. It was cute. I liked it. (Zane tells me that the fish-smearing scene is not normal practice.)

I also saw Wonder Woman with Bear et al. It was...okay? Decidedly less amazing than the euphoric reviews made it seem, though. I think movie reviewers are just really, really bummed out by the Batman/Superman movies, and they're so desperately relieved to see a fun, Disney-esque film that their critical apparatuses are not functioning at peak power. However, I am reminded -- once again -- how much I enjoy movies in which buff ladies beat up men.

Alias Grace, The Rivers of London, and A Writer in the Kitchen )
proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
I.


I was telling Bear about seeing Richard III and then looking up my journal entries from my freshman-year Shakespeare class, and discovering that I had loved Richard III, that I had written, "Richard III is very good, and will become my new favorite Shakespeare play, which was previously Twelfth Night."

And Bear, laughing until he sobbed at this Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, pressed his hands against his chest and cried, "Oh! Oh, my heart!"

II.


A week ago, we all went to the bar, and I ended up sitting next to him, and since we were all cheek-to-jowl in that booth, he had his elbows up on the table to avoid digging into me.

He's slender and delicate, and his hands are long and slim -- and absolutely covered in hair, dark and thick and deep and spiraling up the back of his wrist past his knuckle, and his hands were clasped loosely before him in the manner of a very elegant monkey.

III.


Yesterday, as I frantically tried to finish this god damn paper and get it sent out, he went off to a campus screening of Persepolis. When he came back, he brought me a slice of the pizza that had been given out after the movie.

"It has, um, pineapple?"

"Oh," I said, tearing into it, because I hadn't eaten all day. "It's the most delicious thing I've ever had."

He cocked his head to the side and looked at me uneasily. "Is that...sarcasm?"

"No, I mean it," I said, and I felt a pang that he already knows me well enough to reflexively doubt everything I say. "Did you like the movie?"

"Oh, yes," he said. "It was beautiful. I cried at the end." He shrugged. "I am a crier, you know? I cry at everything. Movies, the evening news, pfffh, everything."

And I felt like squeezing my chest and going, Oh! Oh, my heart!
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: (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: (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 )
proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
I.


On Sunday there was a lunar eclipse of a blood moon. It had been cloudy all evening, so I didn't think it would be visible, but when I left the house at 9:30 pm to trudge grimly to campus, the skies had cleared and the moon -- orange and smudged with darkness -- was there.

So I listened to Night on Bald Mountain as I walked through the night and watched the moon hanging above me. Behind my department building is a dark little area -- grass and a decorative pond, shielded by trees on three sides and completely without lampposts or lights. It would be a great place to commit a murder, and it was there that I stretched out on the cool grass and crossed my arms behind my head and watched the eclipse proceed, bit by bit, to the sounds of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho soundtrack.

I was on Day 4 or 5 of severe sleep deprivation, and all day, if I moved my head too suddenly, I had experienced a split second of vertigo. I experienced those moments of dizziness again as I lay there, and I stretched out further -- with the voice of my old yoga teacher trilling vertebra by vertebra as I did so -- and as gray clouds drifted across the corrupted face of the moon, I thought, And this, too, shall pass.

II.


I realized this week my current depressed funk lines up precisely with the anniversary of last year's depressed funk, and the agent of my low-level despair is, in fact, identical.

Last year, I clutched little crumbs of comfort to my heart when I could and spent a lot of time lying to myself about said agent's motivations. And crying by myself. Admittedly last year's fall also featured "seasonal affective disorder" and "living alone, the worst idea," so there were some contributing factors. But last October was generally wretched, and its only bright spots were a) a glorious phantasm, b) apple-picking, and c) getting very drunk with M. in the worst bar in our neighborhood.

This year, two-thirds of those comforts are cut off from me (although drinking with M. remains an evergreen occupation). This year, I want to be wiser and stronger and squint into what is, in fact, the identical sad-making scenario based on the identical sad-making circumstances and whisper, "Nope, not this time."

These are the things I want.

III.


This afternoon, as I wandered into the library in a state of general dishevelement, I ran into B., who was coming up the stairs with Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Risky Business in hand.

"Hey!" I said. "When's your test?"

"It was this morning," B. said. "It didn't go very well."

"Oh, well, I'm sure it was...better than you think..."

He shrugged. "Can I have a hug? I think I really need a hug right now."

"Sure," I said, glancing at the coffee cup in my left hand and the umbrella in my right. "Sure, come on in here, honeybunny."

He hugged me gingerly and then stepped back. "Was that a weird request? I'm sorry if it was a weird request."

"No, dude, it was fine," I said. "Don't worry about your test any more. Go watch your movies."

He put his hand on the door and then paused, turning back to me. "Do you want to come to the H. tonight? Some of us are going..."

"Um," I said, because this was clearly a group outing from which I had been excluded, though B. had not realized it. "No, no, I can't, sorry."

"Okay," he said, peacefully oblivious. "See you later."

Then I went down to my carrel and rested my forehead against the cool desk and thought, This month is going to be wretched too, I see.

IV.


Then I made plans to go hang out with my brother.
proustbot: (et je veux ta revanche)
Once upon a time, there came across our list-serv the advertisement for a cat seeking a good home. Her owner was returning to Germany, and he wanted to ensure that the cat had a good home.

Then there followed a long week for me and Brother Bear in the office, because an esteemed colleague [L.] had fastened upon the idea of adopting the cat. Every day, we were regaled with a new chapter in the continuing saga. Should she get this cat? What would her roommate say? He was opposed. But no, he was coming around. Would the New Cat get along with the Old Cat? The roommate was doubtful. But he was coming around. Now he has met the cat. It has been decided. The cat is being acquired.

(Each installment lasted about an hour, during which time we grew even more glassy-eyed and remote.)

We were relieved when the Cat Saga had concluded. But!

Then we went, en masse, to a play from Bear's ex, and as we were chatting in the audience before the curtain rose, Wife A. drunkenly turned to me. "I'm adopting a cat."

"Cool," I said absently.

"[So-and-so] just told me about it. One of her friends is going back to Germany, and he wants a good home for his cat..."

In the farthest recesses of my brain, a little alarm bell began to ring. "Um..."

"It's gonna be great," A. continued gleefully. "It's the best news. I've always wanted a cat, and now I'll get one. It's perfect! I'm so excited. I just need to email [German Dude] and then--"

"Wait," I said weakly. "Wait. [German Dude]? Is this [German Dude's Cat]?"

Around us, the friends who had dinner with A. before the play have the glass-eyed looks of humans who have been hearing about this cat for the last couple of hours.

"Yes, of course," A. burbled.

"I think [L.] is adopting that cat," I said.

"What. No."

"Um," I said.

"No," A. insisted. "That's my cat. I'm going to adopt it."

"Yeah, I think [L.] and [German Dude] have already agreed to it," I said. "Uh, trust me. I've gotten to hear about it all week in the office."

"No," A. said. "No."

Therein followed a long, meandering, stream-of-consciousness rant from A. about [L.]'s various crimes and misdemeanors, and how she was always trying to take the things that belong to A., and it wasn't fair, god dammit. I made jokey interjections during this extended rage aneurysm. Meanwhile, in front of us, Keats sank further and further down in his seat as A.'s words washed over him and everyone sitting around us.

Anyway. The play starts. A. settles down. There is calm and quiet and Dramatics for an hour.

Afterwards, we were standing around the front of the theater, waiting for Bear's ex to come out so that we could congratulate her. We were chatting about nothing in particular when A. -- standing on the other side of the group -- shouted to me, "I'm still really upset about that cat."

On the other side of Bear, Keats muttered, sotto voce, staring off into the horizon, "Yeah, that cat has taken us all on a real emotional roller coaster tonight."
proustbot: (et je veux ta revanche)
HIM: "Yeah, we hadn't talked about it or anything, but I had just assumed that you would want to go for drinks after the seminar. And then I was in a fog with my bag on my lap, and when I looked up, you were gone. And I thought oh no, she left! And then I sadly got up to leave and opened the door -- and there you were, cool as a cucumber, leaning against the wall, like the Fonz."

ME: "That is the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a while."

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