who are you today?

Living mostly in my offline life these days, I occasionally miss the person I am online. Here,  I’m stripped of all my little fears and paranoias.  As a child I imagined myself as a princess, graceful, poised, intelligent, courageous, the girl who speaks her mind and is beautiful to behold–and indeed I am have become that, here, a virtual swan only. Reinvented, as any socially awkward person would, in a better personality, a better self.

In real life I’m not half so interesting–in fact, I’m clumsy, cynical, and more than a little insecure. Sometimes I talk too much, too loudly, and other times I’m stricken with bouts of crippling shyness. And while I am petite and pretty by any standards, be assured I have broken more than my fair share of flatware, sprained not a few fingers and toes, simply out of a sheer inability to control my own body. Indeed,  in some ways I am less afraid of my online secrets  being revealed than I am of my online friends discovering my true self.

Last spring I did a small research project on telecommunications infrastructure for rural economic development–it’s a major policy issue, and a topic of great discussion in the media and elsewhere. In my area, there are many towns that are stuck with dial-up, where people prefer a landline due to a scarcity of towers and geographical interference. We’re ten years behind most major cities technologically, and that gap is growing fast. That’s by US standards–by global standards the scale changes drastically, of course.

Think of the people in those places, where the internet only barely exists. Or, think of your own life in some freak alternate universe post zombie-attack or peak oil or disaster situation of choice.

Who are you, offline? And who would you be, if you had never known anything different?

sourdough days

Finally, sweater weather! It’s 60 degrees, the sun is out, the leaves are starting to turn–the girls are all wearing sweaters and tall boots–and all I want to do is go home and bake. My sourdough starter has been sleeping in the freezer all summer, but it’s getting time to revive it and make some delicious food.

In my perfect world, I would have a lot of friends who would come over on a Friday night, we’d watch a snarky movie and drink some hard cider (local, of course), play some games, fall asleep late and happily drunk…and in the morning I would make a huge pile of sourdough pancakes to feed the bleary partiers. Everyone would admire my perfect, golden pancakes, and remark upon the fun they’d had. I’m fairly sure it would involve sliced apples or possibly maple yogurt as well.

It’s the nature of fantasies to exclude genuine concerns, so this whole affair would not involve any dishes, empties, or leftover clothing to be returned to owners–but even so, it’s probably best that I’ve neither the kind of friends, nor the amount of space required, to host such a party. Part of me wishes I had that kind of life, but I haven’t, so I’ll have to make do dreaming of the life I could have had, and eating all the pancakes myself:)

dare to eat a peach…

Some time ago, I read an essay by Susie Bright on aging bodies, where she spent some time at a nudist event/resort/something and made some notes on how people’s bodies look as they age. I found it inspiring, uplifting, and lately I’ve been thinking a great deal on the subject.

At my job, most of my coworkers are my parents’ age, but I also work with students, who are now noticeably younger than myself. At some point in the last year I crossed some line where I don’t relate well with teenagers, where I’m mildly surprised when I meet the incoming freshmen and realize I remember the year they were born. How as time passes I feel older and older.

It sounds funny to write this since I am, after all, only 25. And I look much younger (judging by the type of men who hit on me, and the servers who always always card me). But like anyone I am aging, and I’m sure that someday sooner than I think I’ll look up and realize I’m 40. I hope, when that day comes, that I feel myself to still be attractive, to be beautiful, and am comfortable in my skin.

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money and a room of her own

Give her another hundred years, I concluded, reading the last chapter—people’s noses and bare shoulders showed naked against a starry sky, for someone had twitched the curtain in the drawing–room—give her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days. She will be a poet, I said…
-Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own”

Today I am home alone, cleaning the house. I’m not required to, I do it because I like a clean house—and this apartment is paid for with my own money, which I earn enough of because I have got an education (forgetting for a moment about the debt). These are things that I am profoundly grateful for: the weekend, the ability to read and write, a bank account in my own name, a place that is legally mine to live in.

But on a smaller level, in reflections which are insignificant compared to the above paragraph, sometimes I wish…I had my own bedroom. I love K. and I am glad that we have the freedom to live together, and that I am privileged to sleep in the same bed with her every single night. Someday in the future, though, I would like to have a bedroom that I don’t share with anyone. There are times when I miss relaxing by myself in my own space, with a cup of tea, a blanket and a notebook, and knowing I won’t be interrupted at all. That’s a luxury I grew to love in high school (since I shared a room with my sister until 9th grade, and again with other girls in college) and it’s a luxury I’m looking forward to having again. I’ll always have the space within my own mind to myself, but it’s nice to have a physical space as well.

things to do at work

Like many people, I have a desk job which (sadly) requires me to be physically at my desk, in front of my computer, for 7.5 hours a day. In some ways I’m very lucky–I work in academia which is much more relaxed than it is in the corporate world. There is no dress code other than closed-toed shoes (because we work in a library and books are heavy), and no restrictions on our internet usage. But I’m still an administrator, and I’m expected to sit at my desk and administrate.

In a few years I will probably leave this job for another organization or department. It’s not ideal: I like people, I get bored easily, I want stimulation and interaction and the internet just doesn’t do it. But in the meantime I have great benefits, decent coworkers, good money, and I do somewhat important work.

That said, here is a short list of things I am doing instead of actually working:

-writing a blog post
-studying for the GREs
-thinking about ways to thwart my pets in their quest to destroy my furniture
-obsessively checking my desk plants for insects
-making origami…things
-thinking about scenarios for porn I might someday write

Please feel free to contribute to this list.

house lust / despair

Everywhere we go, K. looks at people’s houses. That person has a porch! That house has round windows. This house has flagstones, oooh look at the pretty flowers. And I say, yes, it is very nice. But that person has to pay for snow removal, and this person has to fix their own plumbing. That person hired a landscaper, and I bet that person has a leak in their roof.

But of course I too have terrible house lust, and suddenly everyone I know who owns property is an object of overwhelming jealousy. Because I want a house too, very very badly, even more than I want an engagement ring [subject for another post]. I want to be able to renovate, I want the space to invite people over (difficult in this 500 sq. ft rental), I want to not have neighbors that keep me up late regardless of whether I’m invited to the party or not.

Most of all, I want the legitimacy of being a Real Middle-Class Adult, because we all know that’s what it really comes down to. I will dream of a house of our own, I will plan the things we might make for it, the paints we might choose…but unless money falls from the sky to pay off our student loans, I can’t see how we will ever qualify for a mortgage of any size.