Saturday, October 30, 2004

A flirting disaster 

Boy, oh boy, do I wonder at the myriad convictions that individuals so colorfully and energetically display.

I don't even know where to begin, so I'll simply state an exemplar conviction of my own: drug use is a tricky subject about which there can be no correct superlatives; by proxy, if one demonstrates an adamant and vocal position to this effect, it is categorically interpreted as a character flaw (one worth exploring, no less).

Friday morning the sun emerged from a near two-week absence, and I celebrated by taking an apple and some study materials down to our front stoop. It was breezy and cool in the shade, but when the light caught a gap in the slow clouds one could feel the heat accumulating on one's skin--suffice it to say that I was in a good mood to match in magnitude the break in drear. When the handsome nerd passed and read the title of my book aloud, I couldn't help myself but ask him to sit and share my apple, and I won't hesitate to admit that I sat a little straighter and smiled a little more coyly when he turned on his heel and made his way up the steps.

We chatted about public health, oddly enough, and he was interested and inquisitive. He mentioned his work in some sort of creative industry and I secretly swooned at the potential of being someone's muse. He confessed that he felt his work left him too uninformed about current sciences, and I positively fluttered with eagerness (I even felt a little sweat forming on my upper lip). For almost two full hours I chatted with this perfect stranger, and our conversation veered wildly and with abandon from politics to Halloween, ink pen preferences to funniest porn story, even venturing into the boring domesticity of the classic contacts versus glasses dichotomy.

It was when talk drifted into vice that things changed, rather abruptly, in fact, with a question about recreational drug histories. I was prompting, as one could imagine. His smile, as if tripped and sprung by some tensed trigger, snapped into a blank and unreadable formlessness, a neutral horizontal line.

After a momentary pause, mine slowly sagged away from its happy state into the same closed-mouthed gesture of ambivalence, casually masking the apprehension that was building with every passing moment. I imagined the hundreths of a second on a digital stopwatch, racing, a blur, with the growing silence. I couldn't stand it any longer, the stillness still locked in a direct stare.

"Is that improper territory?"

"Do you use drugs?" he replied, as quickly as possible and without pause after my ice-breaking question.

"Judging by your response, I expect that you won't be open to much discussion about what your question actually means," I offered, not yet resigned to the inevitability of what I expected would follow.

"Ah, so you do. You're right, there isn't much room for negotiation."

"Yep, sorry to disappoint. Mind if I ask why it's such a negative?" This was all I could offer. I liked the guy, notably so, so I couldn't bear tearing into him about the ambiguousness of his prejudice, about misconceptions that he obviously held, about his feigning self-righteousness... but, as I did then, I digress.

"A drug is something you use to solve problems without human effort, and I think that's a bad way to live."

"I hadn't heard that rationale before, it's an interesting variant. I mean, technically a drug is any biologically active compound used to modify physiology, like your multivitamin and the food you eat even, but it's an interesting position. It doesn't allow much room for variation, though. It's sort of nominalized, a bifurcation of a continuous variable."

"Is it? Or are you rationalizing your own drug abuse?"

At this point my interest switch is flicked down into the "off" position, as the absolutist character flaw mentioned above has been gloriously unveiled. I try to think of a closing statement that won't get me in the mood to argue.

"Listen, (sigh), you're nice, you're very interesting, I like you... as such I would like to avoid causing this to degrade into an unpleasant ideology war on my stoop. I think you're wrong, terribly wrong to make most of the assumptions that your position requires, but I'll leave it at that. Is that okay?"

We shook hands, he stood to leave, and I went back to my book. I smiled bitterly at the weirdness of the situation, the randomness of it, the succintness of the entire event, beginning to end in just under two and a half hours. All of this surrealism and I didn't even think to offer him a joint.


Friday, October 29, 2004


I've had it pointed out to me that I completely failed to notice my recent blog anniversary. All C-130s should raise a glass (and I don't mean one of the drinking sort) in honor.

Girl Friday tonight, if anyone's interested.

More soon, I'm rushing to get my absentee ballot to FedEx.

Our majesty, volans.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004


I received my absentee ballot by mail yesterday, and cleanly printed in a tasteful sans-serif type is one of the main reasons I've kept my Arkansas voter registration:

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3

(Proposed by Petition of the People)

(Popular Name)


(Ballot Title)

"A proposed amendment to the Arkansas constitution providing that marriage consists only of the union of one man and one woman; that legal status for unmarried person which is identical or substantially similar to marital status shall not be valid or recognized in Arkansas, except that the legislature may recognize a common law marriage from another state between a man and a woman; and that the legislature has the power to determine the capacity of persons to marry, subject to this amendment, and the legal rights, obligations, priveleges, and immunities of marriage."

There's not much that I can say in regard to this amendment proposal that hasn't already been said better (but I can't fight the urge to again point out how hilarious it is that the people who wrote this travesty couldn't think of a better way to inclusively ban all manner of gay unions, opting for the dumb-reading and legally shoddy "substantially similar to marital status.")

I know that this amendment will pass with ease (some two hundred thousand petition signatures were recorded, more than twice the required figure for putting a proposal on a ballot), but I'm obligated to cast my ballot against what I find to be the most repellent example of the state rotting under the influence of an uninformed electorate content to eschew the duties of self-governance. Hopefully change will come soon and start the nation back on track to being a progressive and socially just institution, but I don't see that kind of progress coming any time soon, so I'll vote against this amendment and remember that I did my part back in the day when the Supreme Court is someday striking down all of this malarky.


Monday, October 25, 2004

To the gentlemen outside my window: Спасибо 

This morning I got up a little earlier than usual in my continuing attempt to catch up on the schoolwork that I let lag behind while my family was in town. Never one to groom for academics, I've just been sitting here in my underwear, alternating between sitting by the light of the window or working at the computer. As I'd just begun an online exam, I was startled at how clearly I could hear the Russians next door chatting, assuming that they were working, as they have been lately, on the balcony one floor below. As such, I didn't pay much attention to them outside of listening to their pretty talk now and then. At some point during the exam, though, I reach over to the bed for a reference text and I freeze as I notice that, no, the Russian gentlemen aren't downstairs; they're, in fact, perched right outside my window on the roof of the house on which they're working, all of them essentially standing facing my window. One of them smiles and waves, and I can't help but laugh.


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