This Blog is Stolen Property

Friday, February 23, 2007

Straphangers Ball

The bus is crowded by the time I get on--it's standing room only. The invariable Law of Straphanger Dynamics demands that people refuse to budge up until absolutely necessary. So one begins by standing in the front of the bus and only gradually works one's way back as the bus gets fuller and fuller.

So, stop by stop I was moving backward in the bus, looking with a kind of mild envy at those who get on early enough to grab a seat.

I am never quite sure what to do with my eyes on a crowded bus. It's obviously bad form to make eye contact (also, this can lead to actual conversation, which is to be avoided at all costs), but my strategies for avoiding eye contact have often backfired.

One time, I fixed my eyes on one of the poles that run between seats, and I noticed this woman's hand resting on the pole. I was idly staring and the pole and the hand, and wondering what the woman's glove was made out of. It was slightly shiny and very taut. So I was looking and wondering and running over the possibilities in my head: very well fitting leather? some kind of treated microfiber? vinyl? I stared and pondered for several minutes, not wanting to move my eyes from the pole for fear of making eye contact with anyone. Well, then the bus turned a corner and my eyes shifted and I looked at the woman whose glove had been my study. She was looking at me rather pointedly. And as I glanced away, I realized with horror that I had been staring at her prosthetic hand. For maybe five solid minutes.

Um, awkward much, Feemus? I don't think "mortified" quite covers it.

So I'm careful now not to look at anything that's not entirely and unequivocally inanimate. Lately I have taken to reading over the shoulder of sitters. Which I know is obnoxious, but I have managed to be fairly unobstrusive about it. And it's better than staring at cripples, you know?

The problem is, just as I get interested in something, the bus makes another stop and I have to move back and start reading something else. It can be very frustrating. But sometimes it works out.

Here's the story I read on Friday morning:

For a long time, I went to bed early. Sometimes, my candle scarcely out, my eyes would close so quickly that I did not have time to say to myself: “I’m falling asleep.” And, half an hour later, the thought that it was time to try to sleep would wake me; I wanted to put down the book I thought I still had in my hands and blow out my light; I had not ceased while sleeping to form reflec-tions on what I had just read, but these reflections had taken a rather peculiar turn; it seemed to me that I myself was what the book was talking about: a church, a quartet,....

STOP...shuffle back...look over another shoulder act of jihad. While jihad is certainly a controversial political issue, it is a relatively straightforward religious one. Nearly all Sunni clerics reject jihad as heretical, and reject its classification as the so-called "sixth pillar" of Islam. The term itself has been highly politicized, coming to refer primarily to external jihad, while most exegetical and scholarly treatises on jihad discuss it in terms of personal jihad, or a spiritual struggle waged...

STOP...shuffle back...look over another shoulder

...against my thighs. As I watched the models teeter out on the runway, I couldn't help hoping for a broken heel (fashion is a bitch!). My BlackBerry buzzed. A message from Daniel: "how r u? meet me 4 a drink?" I tried to play it cool. I waited five whole minutes before I typed back:

STOP...shuffle back...look over another shoulder

"I am not mistress, nor beloved, but more even than love: I am polymath love's androgynous advocate."

STOP...shuffle back...look over another shoulder

שמקום קבורתם אינו נודע; הגדיר את קריאתו של מלך ירדן לחדש בהקדם את המו"מ המדיני וליישב את הסכסוך
הישראלי-פלשתיני כ"חשובה"; לדבריו, ישראל מנהלת

STOP...shuffle back...look over another shoulder

"Yes," I said, "Isn't it pretty to think so."

And then it was my stop and I got off, having had a nice little story.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can You Stand Another Email?

It's been suggested (*ahem*, Periodic) that I might be inventing some of these emails from students.

I wish!!

I could not POSSIBLY make some of this shit up:

Hey Feemus-
Do we have class on Thursday? Monday was a holiday, so I just thought I'd check.

-Student Who Won't Show Up to Class Unless I Email Her Back

If I got an email that said something like "I can't turn in my paper on Monday because today is Sunday" I don't even think I'd be surprised.

Catching Up

I have worked 42 hours since Monday. I have slept in my office the last two nights. I look (and, I am afraid) smell like a man who has slept in his office the last two nights (ok, I did shower at the gym so I don't smell TOO bad).

I have had so much work to do that a bunch of bees would look at the work and say: "damn, Feemus--you're busy."

If they were talking bees, that is. And not so freakin' self-involved that they could see past their own little hive and care about someone else's problems for a change. Bees can be so selfish.

Stupid selfish bees.

Where was I? Oh yes, I've been working 80+ hours a week for the past month. The funny thing is, I am not sure what I accomplished. Nothing I can put my finger on. I guess that's not so much "funny" as "maddening."

What I do know is that for the next five days, I am not going to work any more than is absolutely necessary. And I am not going to a single meeting. Even if I have to lie to get out of it.

I have no idea what is going on in the world. Is the war still on? Is Paris Hilton still skanky?

Here's to getting caught up on my life and the news and the blogosphere!