Friday, January 11, 2008

Extraordinary Machine

News, so much news to report! First, if you've checked Facebook at all in the past few days, you may have noticed a change on my profile under "Relationships". That's right, Yuval and I are "official" now! The big Talk lasted all of 30 seconds before we just went back to cuddling. I think the fact that we've been on 6 dates that have all lasted more than 4 hours is a pretty good sign, yes? That said, I'm more than a little nervous about this whole thing. I haven't been in an "official" relationship since...geez, since Junior year. And that one lasted for all of three weeks. I feel like I've turned into kind of a commitment-phobe since then because of the experiences I've had in the interim. So this is wonderful, but also a little scary for me. Fortunately I think things are going to go at a rather slow pace as he told me he's never had an "official" girlfriend before: he's had complicated (as in, with feelings involved) exclusive-friends-with-benefits relationships, but never an actual, labeled girlfriend. Which scares me on an entirely different level (as has always been the case with being someone's first GF) because what if I screw up and this great guy ends up having a terrible impression of what it's like to have a girlfriend? Of course, I'm very prone to over-thinking and obsessive worrying, so most of this is just internal nonsense. He's coming over tonight for take-out and a marathon of Futurama Season 4 (one of his favorite shows and one that I always wished I'd seen more of).

Hopefully I'll get to the gym before he comes over: this Saturday will make it 3 weeks since I've last smelled its sweat-filled workout classroom. Needless to say I feel like a big fat lump of lazy. But I wasn't home for a week and the holidays were nuts! That's what I keep telling myself. Good things have happened in place of my usual workouts, though: on Wednesday I had dinner at Bertucci's in Harvard Square and saw Copenhagen at the A.R.T with Yuval. I really liked the play, I understood the physics (a big accomplishment for someone who hates physics), loved the set, and had a bit of a problem with the young man playing Heisenberg. I just thought he had close to 0 onstage realizations--everything he said sounded like he already knew he was going to say it. He talked unnecessarily fast, too. But I really enjoyed the moral back-and-forth and thought the applications to what's going on in the Middle East today were quite apparent (in a non-blatant, no neon sign way). I found myself alternating agreeing with each character's stance, only to be convinced by another character and switch sides. There was an excessive amount of getting out of chairs, walking around chairs, and sitting down again, but it was to be expected, I suppose, considering three chairs was all the set consisted of (and a giant suspended light-up model of an atom). It was long, but I never felt bored: nothing happened in the physical, moving-through-a-plot sense, just like nothing really happens in Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" or "The Waves" or all her other books that I love so dearly. Not the best play I've ever seen, nor the one that's moved me the most, but a very good show by A.R.T. And now I want to pick up a copy of Copenhagen for myself.

I had my orientation last night at the homeless shelter I'll be volunteering at through Horizons for Homeless Children. So many cute kids! And the actual shelter is really, really nice--it looks just like a big lodge/dorm but with more comfortable furniture and playrooms for the kids. It made me a little sad, though, to see how young the majority of the mothers there were. However, now that I've taken on this volunteering job and delved into the world of homelessness, a lot of my original perceptions have been radically shifted. I've realized it can happen to me as easily as it happened to them: getting fired from a job can snowball into homelessness in the blink of an eye. And a lot of the women at the shelter work jobs just like mine but still don't make enough to keep up with the rising rent prices: add to that the fact that the federal government won't give them assistance or shelter housing if they make above a certain amount and you've got a messy situation that's hard to get out of. They have good paying jobs but have to cut back on their hours if they want to continue receiving federal help while trying to save up for permanent housing. It really is a vicious cycle and system.

I had one of the worst nights of my life in Boston so far on Tuesday night. Please make use of the T subway map as a reference for this story. As I stated in my entry that day, I went to Costco after work to look for a new pair of glasses. In order to get there I had to take the Orange line to Wellington (near the top of the map), hop on a bus to cross the highway bridge that spanned the river between the station and the shopping center, and walk across what felt like 1/2 a mile of parking lot to get to the Costco. No biggie, though, I get there and find a really cute pair of glasses that are only $59.99 for the frames (I love Costco Optical). I ask how long it usually takes to fill an order, and he says 2-3 weeks. WHAT?! But I need them now, doctor's orders! Nothing he can do, so I grudgingly accept the fact that I'm going to have to wear jerry-rigged ghetto broken glasses for the next two weeks. Then the guy tells me I need my actual, physical prescription in hand to order glasses. Pain in the ass, I think, but I'll just get them to fax it over. 10 minutes later, prescription in hand, I sit down to fill out the order forms and talk it out with Gary (the optician). He then asks me for my Costco card to which I eloquently reply "Bwahh?" See, I've always gotten my glasses/contacts at Costco using my mom's card, so it never occurred to me that I might need my own. I ask if the card applies even if I'm paying with a check, and he says yes. So I call my mom for the third time in 30 minutes, trying not to break down in tears from utter frustration at the powers that be, and explain what's going on. She tells me to just go get a membership, they're only $50 and it will still be cheaper than getting glasses at an optical shop. 15 minutes later, new Costco card in hand, I sit down to order my glasses, Gary sympathizes with my plight, and he tells me they'll call me when the glasses are in.

You'd think the saga was over, but OH NO, there's more. I walk about 3/4 of a mile across more parking lot to get to the Michael's to buy foam so I can create a replacement nosepad for my glasses. After 30 minutes of being totally distracted and tempted by all the arts and crafts stuff in there, I head out across the Parking Lot Sea to get some dinner at Panera--at this point, all I've had to eat that day is two PopTarts, two PB&J's, a Coke, a bottle of water, and a handful of M&M's. Sounds like a lot, but trust me, it isn't. So I'm starving. I get my panini and soup, relax for a half hour, and then decide it's time to head back home. After much wandering I find the inbound bus stop that will take me back across the scary big bridge to the station. 35 minutes later, the bus hasn't come and, through a phone call to my dad and teaching him how to check the MBTA bus schedule, I find out the bus stopped running at 6:30. It's nearly 8pm at that point. Frustrated, cold from the high winds, and miserable beyond belief, I start my mile trudge to the highway bridge and across to the station, convinced that the grating below my feet was going to give way at any minute and plunge me into icy wet oblivion in the frozen river. I finally get to the station, catch the Orange line, switch trains twice to get on a B train on the Green line, and arrive at the Harvard Ave stop at 9:15pm (see it towards the left of the map, in tiny print, on the top most branch of the Green line). I immediately jump into the shower to get the feeling back in my feet, curl up in bed, turn on my heated mattress pad, and die. Thus ends the saga of Erin and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night.

Also, I had an audition at 9pm that night for a production of The Seagull. No big loss, as I see it, since I don't think I really look like Chekhov material anyway. Besides, my sight is more important. Still sad to miss it, though.

Okay, must get back to the world's largest scanning project (over 500 pages to convert to PDF!). Peace outside, homies.


Traveler72 said...

For Wilson's War, I just thought it didn't really have any conflict. It was like, "I'm Tom Hanks. I'm a womanizer and a drinker. I'm gonna go to Pakistan cause Julia Roberts slept with me. I'll meet with the president. Oh no, he's saying America's dumb. I'll cover with a joke. Phew, crisis averted. OH NO! Pakistan's going through scary shit! Get the Pakistanis better weapons. Oh, to do this I'll have to align the two countries that hate each other the most. 1 scene with minor insults thrown back and forth: Done! Quickl align everything else up: done! Act Two: A MONTAGE OF THE PAKISTANI'S WINNING. Act Three: Well, I guess the only thing in my way now is that scandal that hasn't really had much of an effect on me, and it turns out I got re-elected anyway. Oh, but the guy funding us didn't get re-elected. But it's okay, I've coincidentally got the guy who did get elected under my thumb. I guess that just about wraps things up, except darn, I can't get them to keep concentrating on Pakistan. Well phooey."

It felt like it was trying to be a kind of modern Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but it wasn't. Everything he wants to do he gets done with little to no personal consequences, apart from calling Julia Roberts while he's drunk and crying a few times. The scandal just goes away, we don't even see his re-election campaign ... I don't know. I just got bored.

Traveler72 said...

And as for Athens, Ireland is costing me NO money because Kenyon-Exeter is paying for me to go there. I still might go to Athens if I can get my act together though...