Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Summer of Meg's Cultural Revolution

My third shift coworker called out sick and nobody found coverage, so I am stuck here at work. I got here at four in the afternoon, and I have to stay until eight in the morning, then drive 50 minutes home, get a few hours of sleep, wake up at 1:30 to shower and then leave because i have to be back here at work by 3pm. Eww. So, I guess I'll write a blog post, since I'm wide awake (thank you, green tea) and have nothing to do.

So, I realized the other day that I have no cultural foundation. I haven't read any classic literature (except what they made us read in school, by force) or seen any classic movies or studied any classic art. For example: I have never read a novel by Goethe, or Dickens, or Nobokov, or James. I have never seen Casablanca. And i couldn't tell the difference between a painting by DaVinci, or Michelangelo, or Renoir. I am vaguely familiar with all of this stuff, because it's so embedded in our culture that you can't help but know the plot of Lolita or recognize the Mona Lisa, but I've never taken the time to sit down and study them. So, my twilight-zone coworker has a degree in art history or something, so she's going to spend this summer bringing in art textbooks and educating me in the classical art department. I'm going to start bringing in some opera music to play while we're at work, since both of us want to explore opera. So, we have officially titled this The Summer of Meg's Cultural Revolution.

(I know i know, "cultural enlightenment" is a more accurate descriptor, but i like how "cultural revolution" sounds, the ending sound of "cultURAL" and the start of "REVOlution", the way they kinda blend together and compliment each other. It makes my tongue happy. So we're going with revolution.)

I'm recruiting help in the following areas: Classical art, literature, music, philosophy (with a focus on ancient, because i'm taking a class on that in the fall), opera, classic "american" movies, and . . . basically anything else anyone wants to teach me. I am also recruiting people to help me with language -- I need to brush up on my meager high school Spanish, and I'd like at least a conversational grasp of French, and maybe Italian and/or German. Some people (you know who you are . . .) have already "been volunteered" for The Summer of Meg's Cultural Revolution. And i have my eye on a few more "volunteers. But, if you wanna teach me something, cool.

...So, I was filling up my car at the gas station this morning, and another car pulled in to use the pump behind me. I turn around and, lo and behold, there is a pitbull in the backseat, smiling at me! So I caught the owner's eye and motioned to the dog, and he smiled and nodded (this is the secret code of dog-lovers) and i went over and let this gorgeous dog slobber all over my face. She was so sweet and drooly and womderful! And all I could think was, dog in car at gas station? Dog in car at gas station licking my face? WHAT?!? JACKPOT!!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"A Life Adrift"

I had a Jackpot! conversation the other day.

Last Monday evening, after completing my thesis, getting an A on it, hearing that I will retain my full-tuition scholarship next semester, and learning that I am exempt from two final exams, I went home in a great mood. There is an interesting group of guys who live right next door to me, and they saw my kitchen light on and invited me to come over and hang out. I got to spend a few relaxing hours celebrating with these strange, fun guys. When I finally left, one of these cool dudes, A., walked me home. We ended up sitting on my couch until the wee hours of the morning, talking.

Unfortunately, due to my stupidly busy schedule and crappy school, I don't have many oportunities to have "real" conversations. Dialogue which is not driven by topics and subjects, rather guided and flowing through senses and resonances. Like currents in a river. They say that conversation is an art -- not my conversation with A.. This wasn't art, this was messy. This was all over the place, coloring outside the lines, stripes and polka dots. It was great! No restraints, no chains, no expectations. No rules. Just conversation. Whatever needed to be said was said, with no need for censorship or masks. It was . . . natural. Honest. Relaxing.

A. said something which struck me. I don't remember the context, probably because our conversation was all over the place and free, but I remember he said, "A life adrift." A life . . . adrift. "Adrift" has negative connotations, but I suddenly saw it differently. Not directionless, not stagnant, not dead in the water, not aimless. No, this state of being Adrift is good. There is motion, there is momentum, there is progress and scenery and adventures. There is curiosity and risks and pay-off. With a simple phrase, A. unhinged something in me. Life really is like being adrift. A piece of driftwood, floating along, being guided gently by the currents of the river.

At this point in my life, i am looking at grad schools to apply to. I am looking at new jobs closer to home and with better pay. I am single, not necessarily looking for someone but not adverse to the possibility. There are a lot of . . . things going on. I think that i will no longer allow it to be overwhelming. What's the point of life if it's so overwhelming that you can't enjoy it, can't even really experience it without being afraid? I am Adrift, and that's ok. I'll let the currents guide me. I can practically see God, chillin' in the clouds, blowing this way or that to stir up some currents and waves, to move a little piece of driftwood . . . red-headed driftwood :)

Monday, May 07, 2007

...I'm done? What now???

Wow. I had my last meeting with my Thesis Advisor today. I asked him if there were any last changes which needed to be made before I printed it out. He said no. He said I was a good writer. He said I was done with my Thesis. He said I could print it out and hand it in. He said he was giving me an A.

...I'm still in shock.

I printed out three copies of my 63-page Thesis, entitled, "A Guy Walks Into a Bar: An Investigative Study of the Tools of Humor Found in Aristophanes' Plays and Modern Comedy." I took them to the Honors department to be bound. Wow. Now, I'm carrying a copy of it in my purse, showing it to everyone I see. I know that pride is bad, but this isn't really pride. This is more. . . shock and awe. Amazement. Like, I just can't believe I actually wrote and finished an Honors Thesis. Wow.

I'm done. I don't know what to do. I mean, really, I don't know what to do with myself, not having the Thesis-worry hanging over my head.

As the director of the Honors Program was binding my copies, I said to her, "Well, what do I do now?" She smiled and responded, "That's up to you."