26 Jul 2012

I Ain’t Callin’ You OLD.

Written by sally @ 9:59 am — Section: sally

There was a police cruiser that crashed on my friend Jenny’s street in the middle of the night recently. Pieces of the car were found IN A TREE. Naturally, neighbors gathered the next day to discuss.

Jenny: Well, at least it happened at 2 in the morning and not during rush hour.
Other neighbors: Oh yeah, you’re right, blah blah, etc.

(A few minutes later)

Crackhead neighbor: HEY. I ain’t callin you OLD or nothing, but me and my husband are out clubbing until 3, 4, 5 in the mornin, and people are out drinkin and drivin and we don’t need no high speed chase.
Jenny: (eyes bugging out) Oh, ok.
Crackhead neighbor: Yeah, and my baby’s room faces the road, and I can’t afford to have something happen to her because I can’t have no more babies!

She also implied that if the cops knew she was talking about them, they would kill her.

13 Jul 2012

Only Worry If It Starts Raining.

Written by sally @ 1:30 pm — Section: sally

1. My eyes, they are failing me. In the past two days, I have misread someone’s name in a webinar as Karl Slime (off-brand superhero bad guy featured at dime stores) and misread a vanity tag as NECROS1S. Truth be told: I would follow someone with a NECROS1S tag to the ends of the Earth. Where I would wait in my car, doors locked, to observe them sneak to the place where they keep the pile of dead bodies.

2. If you are an English major type, then you know that when it comes to the classics, there are those that make you feel sheepish for never reading and those that you feel victorious about never reading. For instance, I felt bad that I hadn’t read Lolita (but then I read it!). I feel bad that I haven’t read Ulysses or Proust or Anna Karenina or any Dickens. I feel victorious that I’ve only read excerpts from Paradise Lost and never took a full Milton class. I’m equally thrilled that I’ve avoided Vanity Fair. Somehow, I have also avoided reading Slaughterhouse-Five, but I am reading it now. And despite the aliens, I am enjoying it.

3. Sometime I am going to make a chart wherein I also list all the books I HAVE read that are classics, yet that I thought were terrible and a waste of time (An American Tragedy? oh, I hate you, Dreiser! Gravity’s Rainbow? UGH GROSS). It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and reveal that I really only like love stories. Then I will make a list of books that I know are truly awful and that I loved despite this fact (um…like Love Story).

4. When it’s raining and I see an abandoned construction setup on the side of the road, I always think of this story:

One night my college boyfriend, who was not my college boyfriend anymore but someone else’s boyfriend, went out with his friend. They met two ladies. His friend and one of the ladies hit it off; college boyfriend talked to the other one. The other one was married but took a shine to college boyfriend. Occasionally she would call him up and they would chat about her mean husband.

So one day college boyfriend’s phone rings. He answers. A voice says, “I’m gonna come kick your ass!” It’s the mean husband. He’s gotten the phone bill. They discuss this implausible asskicking. College boyfriend says something about how the mean husband doesn’t know where he lives. “Oh yeah?” mean husband says. “You live at 305 College Street.” (Mean husband has a friend who works at the phone company.) College boyfriend is worried, but not overly so.

Later, the lady calls college boyfriend. She says, “Don’t worry about Roger–he works construction and if it’s sunny, he’s gotta work. Only worry if it starts raining.”

Mean husband continues to call college boyfriend over the next few days. College boyfriend watches the weather report. One morning, it’s cloudy. He has a bad feeling. The phone rings. “I’m comin’ for you today, son,” the mean husband says. “305 College Street.”

PAUSE TO ASK AN IMPORTANT QUESTION: What would you do in this situation? Call the police? Leave the house? Get some friends to back you up?

Here is what college boyfriend does: he gets a roll of duct tape. And he walks up and down the street, covering up the street addresses spray painted on the curb, on cute little yard ornamentation, and on actual houses when applicable. He lives in a big apartment complex so he covers the street address on the sign. His girlfriend, whom he would later marry, is visiting from out of town and is asleep. College boyfriend then gets a baseball bat and sits by the window, watching.

Eventually he sees a truck driving past his house really slowly, as if it’s looking for an address. It passes by. It comes back. It pulls into the parking lot. College boyfriend goes outside, bat in hand.

“You that guy that’s been fuckin’ my wife?” the mean husband asks.
“Uh, WHAT? No. NO nonononono. We’ve only talked,” college boyfriend says. There is some arguing. It goes on for awhile.

Then the mean husband grabs the bat, bonks college boyfriend on the head with it, gets into his truck, and drives off.

College boyfriend is knocked out. When he wakes up, a police officer is standing over him. Three different people from the campus parking lot across the street called 911 when they saw the argument. College boyfriend doesn’t press charges, doesn’t want medical treatment. He goes back into his apartment. His girlfriend is still asleep. She never hears this story.

11 Jul 2012

I’m Happy to Detail Other Thought Processes in the Future If You Want.

Written by sally @ 12:42 pm — Section: sally

How does the mind work? By association.

A moment ago, I was filing some papers. Well, sorting a pile of papers in preparation for potential filing. I’m not good at filing. Once a piece of paper gets in a folder, it looks the same to me, and thus, is lost forever. I had just knocked a folder into a crevice between my monstrous, impossible to move U-shaped desk and a concrete pillar. I sighed. I turned and looked sadly at the trash can, a symbol of where my career is going. There was a book next to the trash can with a candy wrapper on the edge. “Candy!” I thought. I reached into my desk drawer for another piece. Under the candy were some Batman fruit snacks. “Wonder if I should give those to Spike after school or if they will make him crazy,” I thought. [Fruit snacks always make him crazy.] I thought of Spike eating the fruit snacks on the way home. Then I thought about what I could give him for dinner.

And then I remembered the hotdogs that I bought at Target at lunchtime and that have been sitting in my car for an hour and a half.

Thanks, weird brain!

5 Jul 2012

The Art of Epiphanic Flashes.

Written by sally @ 9:24 am — Section: sally

I ended up liking The Art of Fielding a lot. It grows on you, picks up speed, and goes in much different directions than you’d expect, which is excellent if you are baseball-resistant. While I’d say it’s more of a plot- and character-driven novel than a lyrical one, there are some gorgeous, true passages that really sing.

This one was my favorite:
“Affenlight realized in what was as close to an epiphanic flash as he’d ever dared to come that there are many ways of living that had never been named or tried” (219). Epiphanic flash! While the book DOES have a lot of baseball, it is essentially an academic novel, which I adore. (Blue Angel by Francine Prose is a really, really good academic novel as well.)

But there was another passage I found even more significant. My way of dealing with things is to take a real-life situation apart as if it were a novel and analyze it that way. What is this character’s motivation? Is there bigger significance to what he said? If I were reading this book, who would I be rooting for? What would I want that person to do in order to win my trust? Acting as though I’m living in a book makes it easier for me to figure things out. Oh, and then I read this part:

“Literature could turn you into an asshole; he’d learned that teaching grad-school seminars. It could teach you to treat real people the way you did characters, as instruments of your own intellectual pleasure, cadavers on which to practice your critical faculties” (328).

Ouch.