Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sweeping slantwise

I've been sweeping and mopping out the new apartment in Dorchester, and have found such archaeological gems as a single tacky earring, other people's hair and toenail clippings, and -- the tour de force -- a great pair of thong underwear while sweeping underneath the radiator... Those will of course come in handy as it gets closer to laundry day. Such a find really makes me wonder who used to live here -- a hooker? A hot mama? A drag queen? My sister?
What if that person is dead? Is there a right or wrong way to dispose of a dead person's thong? Can they haunt you if you do it wrong?
The Thong
It's been hot up here all summer -- but I'm close to the water, and the views are great. UMass is on Dorchester Bay, and Dorchester and Quincy both have nice bodies of water right next to them.
UMass Boston and Dot Bay
Dorchester Bay
Wollaston Beach, Quincy
I keep seeing these ominously enormous snowshovels in people's storage closets. They're serious and square and imposing. There should be some kind of organ music playing. Dum-dum-daaaaaah....
Boston drivers are the best. They are affectionately known as Massholes and they're lots of fun to be around. Seriously, in Florida, where people stay in their lanes, there's not nearly the sensory challenge. But in Boston... it's kind of like a video game, where pedestrians pop up out of nowhere (kind of like Galaga, except they don't shoot things at you. Usually. I haven't even gotten The Bird.) and other cars behave erratically (You can't let the taxis intimidate you.) and sometimes barrel straight at you. You kind of have to fight for your lane sometimes. (But it's not personal.) And then -- why you've EARNED it, by golly. That's the American way.
Another funny thing -- on autopilot, most cars edge out of their lane if there's an impediment -- they sort of expect that you can see the huge FedEx truck inexplicably parked in the middle of moving traffic and that you understand they've got to get around it somehow or another. It's much more fluid traffic than I'm used to -- everybody expects exceptions and nobody really raises much of an eyebrow when you cut in front of them because you've suddenly found yourself in a turn-only lane. There's some sense of camaraderie, I think, about the whole thing. An "Ah, whaddaya gonna do." (shrug) laissez faire sort of approach that, in our culture of rules, rigidity and restrictions, I find quote wholesome. It's organic driving -- the next craze, and it didn't even start in California. :)
I miss the cats. They are funny beasties and their personalities are a lot like people. I mean, they have their annoying parts. But mostly they just made me laugh and snuggled me lots. Oh, and clawed things that did not belong to them. That was a big part of their schedule, too. But, ah (shrug), whaddya gonna do.
School starts Tuesday! So... I'ma gonna read something. Stansell's "City of Women," Johnson's "Sleepwalking through history" or "Playing the Race Card." Until next time...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Here I am!

Andover is gorgeous! And the drive was beautiful!

I've arrived safe and sound after a fun and funny trip where I learned very valuable lessons about bungee cords, aerodynamics and the things you can and can't do while driving at high speeds... (texting OK, searching for CDs isn't) luckily no real incidents, once I abandoned the tarp, which kept catching the wind wrong. My longsuffering truck is a champ and made it through with flying colors...

New Jersey was funny -- there was in fact gorgeous scenery once you got away from the highway -- but somehow I couldn't tear myself away from the gas stations, which were amazing studies in human behavior. The gas station attendants get very flustered when you try to pump your own gas, because apparently that's illegal in the state of New Jersey. What *is* that?

I came up via Albany, and thus got to see some of the gorgeous scenery in western Mass... I found a neat hostel in New Paltz, about 40 minutes south of Albany, which turned out to be a fun little hippie town with crazy pedestrians, dreadlocked hitchikers and several great natural food stores.

The MIT class is fun so far (I'm doing lots of reading and research to get ready for it at the moment) -- the building we're in is right on the Charles River, which is gorgeous... I'm casting about for ways to make some money for the summer... I have some interviews in Boston coming up -- but then there's a Harvard sleep study that will pay you $10,000 if you will agree to not leave a hospital room and let them interrupt your sleep cycle for 40 days. Hmm.

I had a great fourth -- Both Boston and Portsmouth, NH, had great fireworks displays. The Portsmouth display (so I understand from a seasoned resident) has a history of crowd casualties, but happily, this year the flying incendiaries stayed in the sky.

In Andover, so far I've visited the public library, the grounds of Phillips Academy (alma mater of our esteemed President and also our esteemed columnist Charlie Patton) and the local and fabulous Andover Bookstore. It's two stories of wall-to-wall books, and ... they give you cookies at the door. And, of course, the Dunkin' Donuts. Spectacular.

Also, (HURRAH) I finished the clockface I was working on!

Write and let me know how it's going...Miss you all lots.

Also -- check out breakdancing Yoda: