Wednesday, January 30, 2008

a person could develop a cough

Greetings from the underworld. You know, I could put on a cheerful facade. I do it every day, but really, that's just a protective measure. When you're in the darkness and you want to stay there, the most foolish thing you can do is call up a friend and explain, "I'm sorry I haven't been in touch, but I've been sitting inside without the lights on." You know just what will happen next. They will proceed to harangue you for doing this. They will ask whether you forgot to pay the electricity bill, they will tell you to buy a new light bulb, they will tell you to turn on the switch. They will explain to you that you need the light to read, to see yourself, to find your way around. They will chide you for needing to be told all of this in the first place.

You don't tell people you're in the darkness unless you're just about ready to come out. W noted recently that darkness is a luxury. That is not unfair. But the fact that darkness is a luxury is just cause for more darkness, sometimes. Other times, that fact is a breath of relief, an exhale of thank god I didn't go down that path or I would have ruined everything.

Anyway, now I am sick. Not seriously sick, like some, but sick nonetheless. Up until now, what I'd been doing to cope with the darkness was to work hard, harder, hardest, until my eyeballs hurt and my brain felt like it had been purged of all information not pertinent to my studies. But this cough, persistent and nagging, this simple little nuisance has succeeded in chipping away at this one sphere of control.

I am in chaos again but it's not wrong. I know that. What was wrong was being foolish enough to think I could turn myself into a robot. I'd been behaving like an android because it was a way to keep afloat. Only someone who can snap into this kind of trance has the luxury of such stretches of darkness. In the past, when plunging to such lows, this was always my trick. Outwardly, I always became something of a machine. Misery always did wonders for my grades, my work, my whatever else.

The chaos, the cough, though, foiled that plan. It's hard to explain, but the cough is the beginning of something else. I can feel it rattling around in my chest, uncomfortably tickling my throat. The cough is laughing at me. Fool, bugs always win.

I'm studying microbiology at the moment, so I know the cough is right. But it's right about more than that. Bugs always win. The body is not static, is not beyond insult. Life happens. Reality always wins out over these imagined wars. Reality is a different kind of daily battle, more noble, if less cinematic. And for all the times I've called reality bleak, I have to admit this-- it's much brighter than the darkness in which I've been floating.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

if I could I would let it go

A special kind of torture. Somehow W can call my cell phone from abroad and leave messages, even though my phone cannot make international calls. Yesterday, I finally sat down to address that, sent an email that was better suited to be a letter. Better suited to be a letter because it was the sort of thing you ought to write on a piece of paper and then toss in the garbage. But then again, that's not our deal. When I write to W, all the things I don't want to admit to anyone, to myself even, suddenly come spilling out. And I always press send before I have a chance to regret it.

It's all by design, you see. Maybe you've gone through a dark phase. Maybe you're a person who's gone through a dark phase, maybe you're not. I went through more dramatic ones when I was younger. I came back from a vacation in India when I was 21, a senior at university, came back and decided why bother with jet lag? I started living my life in the night, a strange sort of transformation took hold. Most of the time, I haunted the streets in the dark, when no one was around. I worked on my research project in the lab during late hours when everyone else was heading home. I slept in and missed classes. I just drifted, further and further into a sphere of my own creation.

Maybe some people get pulled out of such phases. Maybe some people have interventions, carefully staged with an outpouring of such concern that it crushes them with an overwhelming wave of gratitude. But it's all by design, you see. By that time, I had conveniently created a distance from my closest friends, from the people who would have said, dude, wtf? I had carefully picked out the people I'd kept around me, and they were chosen based on their ignorance, based on their inability to see beyond the superficial.

I couldn't sleep at night, and it was just me and the darkness. It's all by design, you see. Maybe you've had a dark phase. Maybe you wanted to have this showdown. You and the darkness. There, in the darkness, you sit there and wonder what is my problem? That question turns over and over in your head. It never occurs to you to ask whether you really have a problem, because the simple fact that it's 2 in the morning and you are sitting in a corner with your head throbbing tells you that you do, even if it's one of your own invention.

And then, that greatest of mysteries. That strangest of phenomenon. I can look back now and create a history, weave together a prettier resolution. I can look back now and say and then this happened, and I snapped out of it. But it's cheap and false. It's the frustratingly neat ending to a messy tale. But the truth is even more frustrating, because who dares to believe in magic? Who would buy that it just happened, without explanation or warning or progression, just happened? And then the clock was reset, and I got reacquainted with life outside the shadows.

You see, it's all by design. If you create that dark phase, if you bring yourself into it, then only you can get yourself out of it. Retrace your footsteps. Remember the last twist, the last turn, close your eyes and turn it all upside down in your head.

For a second, you might panic. It's tempting to try to start over again, but you can't. In the middle of the darkness, there is only one thing to do, and that's to go back to what you know. It's a dark phase, sure, but it's all by design. I've been here before and recovered, and I will recover this time too. Let me have my demons, my periodic pilgrimage to the darkness, like Persephone to Hades. I will return.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

problems got me pessimistic

Sometimes music can go a little too far, but sometimes that's the whole point. I thought all day today about pulling off my last post, deleting it, shuffling the sand over it, whistling and pretending it never happened. Such rambling rage in a post, from me? Never!

But then it didn't seem right. I make up these completely arbitrary rules, I realize, when it comes to blogging. I make it up as I go along, draw lines here and there and then cross them and make new rules to justify them. I realize that. And I realize that some day, I probably will vomit up some ridiculous post that I will, in fact, pull from the blog because of remorse. But for now, it didn't feel right. It wasn't a dishonest post. It reflected a true feeling, even if it was written in a state of heightened emotion, when I usually like to quiet myself down, slap duct tape on my mouth and wait until my eyes start seeing more colors than red.

Anyway. Sometimes music can go a little too far. Listening to this week's song now reminds me of this brash idealism I had when I was young. Had I not been so stupid back then, perhaps I would not have turned out so annoyed with my cynicism. I was never particularly religious, so I am not really sure why I found this song so buoying when I first heard it, when it first came out.

I always wondered what happened to Arrested Development- not the show, sillies, although the show was its own special brand of fantastic. I thought this band and Digable Planets were starting a revolution of some kind. But the thing of it is, this song is problematic. It's all about acceptance, and acceptance is no way to start a revolution.

But sometimes when music goes a little too far, it's useful. Like when you've been heartbroken for some time and you listen to some truly heartbreaking, call-in-the-Morrissey depression-central song, and you find yourself laughing. Music is great, even in instances when I don't relate to it. Music is great, maybe especially in instances when I don't relate to it. It helps define what the feeling is exactly. Or better yet, it helps you to think, well, sh*t, do I sound like that? In that case, I need to dial it down a bit.

All the same (or maybe for all of these reasons), I do like this song. And at some point, the internets will cooperate with me tonight, and it will be up for your listening pleasure.


Tom Brady, you better be in working order in two Sundays.

p.s. Working order does not equal three interceptions.

Monday, January 21, 2008

it's my blood

I have cakes baking in the oven. The laundry is folded. School started two weeks ago, but it feels like it starts tomorrow.

School didn't start quite right. Even setting aside the Amish-Country living with no electricity at the start of the year, I just wasn't in the right mental space for it. I think I'm there now, but I am having all sorts of thoughts about school right now, and I debate whether or not to express them. It's not (necessarily) that I don't want to share, but rather that all the thoughts are so fleeting and so dynamic. One moment I am enraged by various things, and in the next moment, a turn of events changes the way I think about everything.


It's Martin Luther King Day today and it's one of the rare years that I've actually spent time contemplating the Civil Rights movement and its legacy. At school this past year, we've had a number of cultural competency conferences, which have varied in usefulness, but have been notable for the reaction they've evoked in some people. In particular, the last competency conference we had really put the white man under a sniper attack.

Technically, I am kidding. The conference involved a video which did show a group of various minorities ganging up on a white man, pointing out all of his prejudices, pointing out all the fallacies in his 'color-blind' assessment of the world. And while they did gang up on him, he kind of deserved it- the video was a bit archaic and the dude was saying things like, I'm fond of your people.

What was curious though was everyone's reaction to the video. Some students were in earnest and wanted to discuss it, all bright-eyed and idealistic, thinking they might change the world in a 2-hour discussion section. Some of us (me included) didn't want to get into it. And then there were a few white students who arched, arched in a way that was disconcerting. There was rage in the offense they took.

I'd put it fairly well out of my head. I have to admit that I'm not a big subscriber to MLK's dream these days. It's hard for me to imagine a world without prejudice, where everyone is given a fair and equal shake, where there's seamless integration across all racial divides. Maybe I'm jaded, because I get weary at such discussions- it feels like a waste of precious words to try to talk to people who feel so differently from you.

Then, at a dinner party this weekend, there was a resurgence. Two white men at dinner brought up the conference again and freaked out, got rather suspiciously defensive and started in with the I'm not going to apologize for my race, I'm not going to apologize for things I didn't do and that none of my family did, and you are not going to make me feel sorry for anyone.

One of the bright-eyed idealists tried to meekly interject, pointing out that wasn't the intent of the video. The tension just started getting heavier in the room.

In such instances, I sit with stone-faced silence. I'm not going to condone such behavior, but nor am I going to bother to engage in an argument with someone so clearly unwilling to entertain other opinions. And I guess I always feel conflicted about that, like I am letting some idealistic part of myself down by choosing my battles.

But I woke up the next morning with a case of the mean reds. I was, all of a sudden, angry about a wave of things. See, I'd also been asked by the school to fill out a survey regarding diversity on campus. And you know, as an Indian woman in medical school, I am well aware that I am not really underrepresented. And yet, things occurred to me. Why were all the perceived-to-be-brilliant students white? Why is it that the professors know the names of the white students but only know the name of two Asian students? Yes, the white students are the ones who ask all the questions and talk to the instructors, but why is that, that they are so much more comfortable with that? Why were there five women and one man who ran for the leadership roles in our class, and, even though everyone felt the man to be a disaster with no personal skills, the leaders wound up being that man and a woman (both white, incidentally)? Why are the two women who are professors the ones who are most often challenged in class, and why by male students? Why are all the professors either white professors who like to teach or foreign PhD's who are teaching because it's a requirement for them to do research?

The numbers say one thing, but the reality of what you see every day, what you feel is something else entirely. And, you know, most days you shake it off and know this is the world and go out with your scythe and cut your way through the stalks until you get where you need to go. But some days, it's frustrating. Some days, it's frustrating because you have to pretend it's all in your head when you know it's not. I guess that's the frustrating part of the civil rights movement. The opposition has gone guerrilla, underground. It's become insidious in this way that makes it impossible to prove, to articulate, to challenge.

On the other hand. On the other hand. On the other hand, I think of how I'm in medical school right now. I think of how a woman, an Indian woman, an old Indian woman- I think of how impossible even the dream of someone like me going to medical school was a mere 60 years ago. I'm aware of how far the world has come. I'm not sorry to live in the present. But I just wonder where we're headed. I wonder if we didn't stall out at some point, or if the game did not just shift in some way. And perhaps what frustrates me the most, what gives me that case of the mean reds from time to time, is that I have no idea how to turn these tides.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

three years since I've been knocking at your door

Some lymphocytes (sorry, I've got a bit of Immunology on the brain of late) become anergic. See, a lymphocyte is a cell that waits. It has, on its surface, a receptor that is just waiting to be activated. And you think it's as simple as that, receptor meets antigen, perfect fit, the cell becomes what it was meant to be.

But as a matter of fact, it's just as complicated as any other meet cute story is in real life. Receptor meets antigen, it seems like such a perfect match. It is a perfect match actually. But, predictably, it's not enough. There are other things that have to fall into place, the right secondary receptors, the right signals, a perfect, delicate microenvironment that tells the lymphocyte, this is the one.

All of this is rather unremarkable. Receptors meet various ligands all the time, sometimes it doesn't work out, and they move on. But the lymphocytes, when it had that perfect fit, when it found its soul mate but it just didn't work out, the lymphocyte can't just get over it. A lymphocyte becomes anergic. It becomes inactivated such that, even if that perfect fit presents itself, even if Mr. Right shows up, the lymphocyte doesn't react.

Some lymphocytes internalize their receptor when that happens, turn themselves inwards, safe from any future heartbreaks.

And I think that's the greatest fear, when you have your heart broken, that fear that you've been scarred such that you've actually lost the ability to fall again, lost the ability to even entertain notions anymore.


In other, somewhat related news, I think it's a shame that it's become so commonplace to say men are stupid or men are bastards or such pejoratives. Especially amongst my classmates, who are far too young to be so jaded. I don't just find such statements to be war cries for women to unite and bond over. It's bonding over the wrong thing. Or perhaps it's fine, if you at least acknowledge that women can be just as foolish and just as capable of stomping on a man's heart. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

And now, time to wash away all these sentimental notions by watching a whole lot of football. I predict that I will cry at least once today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

you got no fear of the underdog, that's why you will not survive

Let's get the silliness out of the way first. This week's song always makes me laugh. Dean Martin always makes me think of alcohol. This particular song also always makes me think of light years past, when I used to swing dance. The tempo is really well-suited to dancing, in the event that you should be shopping around for such a song.

But you know, it's also about being surprised. There were three kicks in the head this weekend. The first, Surprise #1, was the Chargers upsetting the Colts. Now, I never thought the Colts were going to have it easy. However, in the 4th quarter, without their QB1 and Ladanian Tomlinson (both sidelined by injuries incurred during the game), they seemed doomed. But no! It's still anyone's guess as to whether it was Peyton choking (this, of course, being the explanation I'm always biased towards, but he did win a Superbowl last year, so technically I know he can play clutch) or just really impressive manning up by the Chargers. Either way, that was some game to watch.

Surprise #2: I did actually leave the house last weekend. Frustrated with my lack of productivity, I finally did the distasteful thing I've avoided heretofore: I went to the library. Here's the thing. My disgust for the library makes it the perfect venue to study. I don't want to be there which means I'm more focused while there. I got enough done that I could go home after and not feel guilty about relaxing. I'm doing an experiment this week to see if this is sustainable.

Perhaps the biggest of them all, Surprise #3 is the other game that was played on Sunday. Can I just take a moment to gripe about the Cowboys being called 'America's Team'? Since when does that hold true? I mean, for one thing, they're the Dallas Cowboys, as in Texas, as in the state that often proclaims that it's not part of the rest of the country. For another, the Cowboys are polarizing-- people seem to either love them or hate them. Crap, on second though, maybe they are reflective of America.

Even though I'm now stuck watching another Manning next weekend, it's really nice to see the Cowboys dispatched. In particular, it's a bit amusing that they seemed in utter disbelief that they could have lost the game. And then, of course, T.O cried, which negated any sympathy for the team that I might have had at that moment.

I'll say this. It's sort of weird cheering on a team that's not the underdog. I'm so used to the teams I like stinking the joint up that it's really odd to realize the Patriots are favored to win against the Chargers. What New England seems to have going for them is that, this year, they don't seem like they get too comfortable with anything. Maybe it's all just the image they project, but it's certainly the right attitude. It certainly seems to be my experience that pride comes before a fall.


Perhaps this should have come first, because it's certainly less nonsensical than the rest of it, but I finished reading Junot Diaz' The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao this morning. Something struck me before I'd even finished it. It would be legitimate to criticize Diaz for not having a singular focus in his book, for creating a meandering, disorganized tale that has complications and contradictions, that borders on being overly cute for some of its creative use of footnotes.

Except that I felt like this is what a book today should be. Lately, I've been avoiding movies that are period pieces. I hate to admit it, because I sound like a conspiracy theorist when I say it, but all these movies set comfortably in the past seem awfully convenient in circumventing the multicultural world in which we live. How convenient to put a story like Atonement to screen.

I suppose what I love about Diaz' writing and his book is that he confronts the whole thing head-on. Sorry, Mister, but this is what it means to live as a first- or second-genner. Things are not convenient and clear-cut and simple. Everything is complicated and everything has not just one explanation but a layer of explanations. And that is messy. If you're Junot Diaz, you can transform it into a beautiful mess. But I'd rather read a mess than read a fairy tale or a story that conveniently avoids anything that could get your hands dirty. I think it's that essential component, that embodiment of life in the present tense, that's missing from so many South Asian 2nd-generation writers (cough, Jhumpa Lahiri, cough).

Really, my only complaint is that Diaz is a self-professed slow writer. What if he doesn't come out with another novel for another 8 years? That would be real cause for criticism.


And now... it's back to the biblioteca.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

you're getting to be a habit with me

Ummmm... yeah, checking in and interrupting a case of serious writer's block. Also, it's not right the beginning of school has coincided with the AFC/NFC playoffs. A few little notes to the boys:

    Dear Brett Favre,
    I still cannot pronounce your last name, but I take back everything else I've ever said about you (even that stuff about how football players shouldn't cry). Nice work.

    Dear Rodney Harrison,
    Good job with the interception tonight, but dude? Can you calm the f*** down? Can we go one game without you getting a flag for doing something based solely on spazziness? Remember when you said 'youth is overrated'? How about acting like you're a grown up.

    Dear Ladanian Tomlinson,
    I was as shocked as you when we beat you last year. Now do me a favor and kick some Colts' a$$. Bellichick wouldn't give it up, but I think we all know that the less Peyton Manning seen on the tele, the better.

    Dear announcers,
    Oh you guys have a few things coming your way:

    1) Make up your mind. I don't know why everyone's complaining about the media changing their position on Clinton and Obama every few days. Tune into any NFL game and you can see that kind of work every few minutes. It would be fine except that y'all are so prone to hyperbole. Stop calling the Pats the best team ever and then in the next breath mutter how crappy their defense is. You can't have it both ways and you don't get to call them the best team ever yet. Those kinds of titles take more time than getting a first down and 4th & 6.

    2) Quit talking about Tony Romo in terms of his girlfriend.

    3) Just so you don't think I'm totally against you, please know that I am forever grateful that you put Bryant Gumbel back onto the undoubtedly unwatched NFL network.

    All the best,

I think I may have to dismantle my television set tomorrow so I can focus on more important things. Then again, I'll also have to throw away the Junot Diaz, as I spent all morning reading that instead of Immunology. But truth be told, I have to believe there's some connection- as Diaz himself (or at least the protagonist in his novel) would say- is there anything more sci-fi than Immunology? Well, we haven't gotten to Microbiology, but until then, B-cells & T-cells occupy fantasy-- and with that, I'm back to the fellowship of the immunoglobulins.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

sweetheart, we hardly talk, I was doing my thing

Now I finally feel like it's 2008, now that school has started, I have power in my apartment, and I have started spending my evenings scrawling on my dry-erase board. But now that it feels like the beginning of a year, it's made me think of what I want to do with this blog.

Amelie-Freak sent me an email that got buried in my inbox recently. I finally had a chance to read it- inside was a link to a NYT article on the medical and law professions. More importantly, she'd sent some extremely wise words taking physicians and lawyers to task on the attitude of entitlement and elitism that permeates those circles. It would be better if I'd just cut & pasted her remarks here, but I felt that would be violating her privacy.

Everything she said was true. A lot of it comprised thoughts I've had and ideas I've railed on amongst friends in the past. But I haven't written much about it here. There are a lot of things I've left out here, when it comes to medicine. In the early days, I was trying to keep it all under wraps for a lot of reasons, and it wasn't even relevant-- the early days of this blog were about wanting to change a set of circumstances radically. But now, game change in place, I'm on the path. Now, it all seems relevant.

But I get tripped up commenting on medicine without going to the beginning. If I just remarked on all the negative things that I acknowledge about the medical profession, you'd likely question why I would even bother to go back to school and put myself in the midst of all of it. Maybe it's not just that. Maybe it's that I want to go back, want to create the back story. It just feels as though the time has come.

I'm sure many of my posts will still be filled with the usual idiocy and ramblings about whatever. But there will be some jumps back in time, to where it started. It's time for me to know it for the first time.

Monday, January 07, 2008

famous sounding words make your head feel light

One of my classmates, BB, was remarking that she was without power for 1.5 days, and that it was driving her absolutely insane. She noted that she tends to get really angry when things happen that are completely out of control. Perhaps I never wanted to admit it before, but when she put it so plainly, I had to admit that this is probably why the great power outage to open ’08 threw me into such a tailspin. Of course, it could also have been that I grew up in EBF, and yet this was the longest I’d gone without electricity, so I was starting to wonder what kind of back-a$$ward place I landed myself in here.

Either way, our long national nightmare (keeding!) is over, and I came home to power tonight. Just in time to clean out the refrigerator and hit the books, which are, predictably, stacked up and waiting for me now. It wasn’t quite the start to the year that I would have planned, but at least things keep moving forward. And furthermore, by the time I stepped into class this morning, the entire debacle of being powerless for over 3 days was humorous enough to me that I didn’t sound like a whiny pain in the neck when talking about the break.

So, as luck would have it, and rather appropriately so, I can now post this week’s song and mean it. Yesterday, it was a wish- to be as peppy and slick as that song. Slick is the right word for it. I imagine, if you really felt this song, you could walk down the street and raindrops wouldn’t be able to touch you. You could pull Matrix sh*t on the cars as you walked by, all effortlessly while seeming without a care in the world. As I said yesterday, I’m late to the party where this particular Spoon single is concerned. All the same, if you haven’t heard it, I highly urge you to give it a try. If you’re in a bad mood, it might push you out of it. If you’re in a good mood, it might keep you in it.

Even though I tend to get ultra-focused while school is in session, and even though the free time will quickly dwindle away, I think, now that I have working lights, I will finish The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao soon. It’s a book that is hard to put down. Though it might not be for everyone, there’s something about the voice in this book, the narrative style, that is so fresh and vibrant. Sometimes, I’ll read a novel and the writer’s style will leak into any words I string together, an unintentional mimicry. Undoubtedly, this is going to happen or already has happened with Diaz’ book, but more strangely still, Diaz’ voice is so strong that you can actually imagine his voice creeping into your voice. Some of his language is so colorful, however off-color at times, and in such a conversational tone, that it’s like talking to someone with a cool accent for a while and inadvertently imitating them.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

all I wanted to be is a million miles from here

Oh my god, I can't believe it, as Lily Allen cribbed off the Kaiser Chiefs. It's been a perfect storm, y'all. Figuratively, literally and everything in between. Evidence:
  • As of this posting, I'm going on 3 days without electricity in my apartment. Fantastic folks at the power company helpfully tell me that there is 'a very good chance' that I will have power restored by the end of the day tomorrow. Thanks, dudes, tell that to the rotting contents of my refrigerator.

  • The geniuses at the Genius Bar called me to tell me that they were now in a position to fix my MacBook Pro. I braved a torrential downpour with high winds, downed power lines, and blown out traffic lights, just so that they could look at it for two hours and surmise that, whoops, they need yet another part, returning it back to me in no better condition...

  • and in fact, in considerably worse condition. Took it back, and then the damned thing wouldn't even boot up. Today, the geniuses tell me they have no idea how it happened but my entire logic board got fried. At that point, I was ready to hit them with some logic.

  • School starts tomorrow.

I know, I know. It could be way worse. After all, I have gas heat, so I have the ability to take hot showers and sleep by candlelight without turning into an icicle. After all, I took the opportunity of being disconnected to pick up Junot Diaz' new novel, have read half of it, and am head over heels crazy loco about it. After all, I totally blew this popsicle stand yesterday and spent most of the past 24 hours in San Francisco, missing the city even while I was walking around in it. After all, the power will come back on tomorrow. After all, after all, after all, yes, true enough but right now, it's hard not to see red.

Anyway, I was going to post a song of the week today, but since I'm typing this from an ancient laptop that is thankfully at least semi-functional, but not functional enough to upload a song, I'll give it another shot tomorrow. The song? Spoon's Don't You Evah- I know, I know, always late to the party. But this song... ah, this song is one of those songs that I find myself playing to try to will myself out of a craptacular mood. In other words, quite useful at a time like this.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I simply remember my favorite things

I thought that at a certain age you grow past the ability to throw yourself into a funk for no discernible reason. Maybe some people do grow past that stage, but, as it happens, I am not one of them.

The reasons were real and imagined. Once you imagine you are unhappy, you give yourself leave to unleash all the legitimate reasons to be unhappy as well. Everything plays into a miserable little loop of melancholy. Everyone has some real reason to be less than satisfied with life, but we're all constantly choosing whether or not to let that dictate our state of mind, I have come to believe.

Today, I chose to snap out of it. It scares me, sometimes, that after all of these years, it's only me that thinks to put an end to these phases. But then again, maybe that's for the best. Were it someone else's job, and they dropped the ball, it would be a quick jump into living the life of a shut-in. And who else, really, should have to bear that responsibility?

But today, I got what I needed. I put on my ugliest sweater, older now but no less (in fact, perhaps more) dear to me. I ran my errands. I bought a textbook for school and got to realizing that I am excited for another avalanche of information to begins its descent next week. And then I finished a scarf that's been driving me crazy for a long time.

When my mother looked at one of my coat hooks last week, she remarked, "How many scarves do you have to have?" I am not going to lie. I have a lot, and am always game for more. I am unapologetic about it. When the weather's even slightly nippy, I don them without hesitation. I wear them all the time. If there's a part of my wardrobe that I don't regret having in multiples, it is scarves. And this particular scarf was elusive. The texture of the stitches requires a specific match. I tried making it once, over two years ago, with a run-of-the-mill yarn and it wound up looking ridiculous.

That's the thing about such a project. It teaches you not to accept bullsh*t. I looked at the beta-version of that scarf, wore it once, and knew I would never wear it again. I cringed, but I ripped it apart. And the yarn from it became a more appropriate scarf that I wear all the time. Meanwhile, I pondered everything that had gone wrong, as one ought to do when in beta. The scarf had been too wide, so heavy it could have choked me, and the colors were too staid. It wanted to be something brighter and lighter, two qualities from which I usually shy away. But that was even more reason to forge forward.

And all of it finally culminated yesterday. This scarf was knit in San Francisco on rainy afternoons, in New York on early mornings, in Germany late in the evening, in Spain during siestas, and in Sacramento on New Year's day. I like to think of that, that it went with me in my travels, and now, because I didn't settle for bullsh*t, it will go to new places with me, this time around my neck. The picture really doesn't do it justice, because my photography skills still continue to blow. IRL, it's brighter and shinier. And it's strangely warm for something so light and dotted with holes.

if you are chilly

I started working on something else afterwards, but it was just a bonus at that point. I'd already cleared through the blues. One thing I'll say about getting older is that you pick up the patterns of what works for you. You can stop feeling sorry for yourself faster, and get to diagnosing and trying to fix the whatever, or better yet, recognize that it is exactly whatever.


For the record, the folks at Apple were just asking for trouble when they decided to dub their help desk 'The Genius Bar.' Let's just say after 45 minutes of sitting at said bar with alleged genius, I was not offered a single cocktail and I still have a non-functional k key.