Friday, March 12, 2004

Friday Ramble

Last night, the loneliness really sunk in. Lots of crying. Crying while washing dishes. Crying while packing little sandwich bags full of different brands of laundry detergent to bring to school for some students. Crying while attempting to do some catch-up grading. Crying while attempting to sleep. *sigh*

By the end of school today, I felt at loose ends. What to do? I've invited a few friends over for another mah-jongg get together tomorrow, and they all have boyfriends who get to claim them alone tonight. Also, I'm getting up really early tomorrow to meet two students and take them to a science conference at Barnard. Didn't really feel like renting a movie. And I'm nearly broke until Monday.

I returned some library books - collections of chemistry experiments for kids - to the local branch library. I've had them out since, um, December. I renewed them... once. I knew I was going to get hit with massive fines. Sure 'nough: $56.60. Ouch. The returns librarian suggested I speak to the head librarian about getting some of the fines waived since I'm a teacher. I did, and she did waive $30 worth of the fines, sourly. I wasn't expecting or even hoping for a break. After all, part of the reason the books were so late is that I'd tried to return them two or three times before, to various branch libraries, but I always just missed library hours, which have been shortened due to budget cuts. They could certainly use the money! I only asked because the first librarian thought I was crazy to just write a check like that. Anyway, there's some librarian out there tonight blogging about the nerve of people who check out a dozen books at a time, keep them for 2 months, renew them only once, and then cry "teacher" to try to get their fines reduced. Hey, I hear you - I feel a little guilty about the whole thing, but I could use the money, too.

After the library, I decided to get a new haircut, which I needed, desperately. I found a little salon I liked back in November, a little too expensive but lovely. The cut I got there looked great at first, and good for more than two months! For the past six weeks I've wanted to make another appointment, but they keep going on 3-week vacations just when I get ready to call... A glance in the mirror this afternoon told me it was time to suck it up and find another place. The problem is, I am illiterate in the language of hair and cosmetics. Ask me about punctuated equilibrium, and I can answer intelligently. Ask, "Do you want layers in the back?" and my mind goes completely gray. I simply cannot picture hair - at all, let alone in layers, let alone on my head - when asked questions like this. Getting a new haircut - especially from a stylist you picked more or less at random - requires a good deal of trust. It requires even more trust if you've just nodded and muttered lucky guesses in response to the stylist's questions. Fortunately, all worked out, as it often does. Not as great as the last cut, but fine. Of course, the biggest test is the next two or three days, when the products wash out and I'm on my own with it!

So, back to loose ends. What to do tonight?

I could just sit around playing this, or this. I find the first challenging, and the second oddly entrancing.

But I think that I will read T.C. Boyle's Drop City instead. I am loving this book. It's about a group of hippies who decide to move from their California commune to Alaska to try really living off the land, only to discover nature to be a lot less gentle mother Earth and a lot more hard work than they'd imagined. I lived in a student co-op in college (in California), and although ours was not nearly so free-wheelin', the descriptions of commune life really ring true for me.

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