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Late Spring To-Do List

  • Read scholarly book #1
  • Read scholarly book #2
  • Catch up on professional journals
  • Administer evaluations
  • Grade seminar research papers
  • Write two final exams
  • Grade final exams
  • Compute final grades
  • Order books for fall
  • Find apartment in New City
  • Attend INRU Commencement!

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Uptown, downtown, out & about

In the spirit of so not thinking about the job market, and also in the spirit of catching up with as many of my friends as I can before the madness of the semester begins, I've got a pretty busy few days before I head out to Quaint Smallish City. Today, I spent all day with one of my bestest (and until recently somewhat long-lost) friends, Bert.

We'd made vague plans several days ago to get together and maybe see a movie, but when he called he had a better idea: the botanical gardens! To see the Christmas village and the trains! And because neither of us had ever been!

I had no idea what he was talking about, with the Christmas village and the trains, but it sounded like fun, and Bert's persuasive capacities are always increased by the way he shows up bearing interesting foodstuffs--today, bottles of Jamaican ginger beer and jerk chicken patties. So we figured out our somewhat complicated route and made our way to the subway with a number of stops along the way.

It was really cold, and our trip involved a lot of walking, but the Botanical Gardens were excellent, even in their more dormant winter state. We wandered through the enormous Gilded Age pavillion, part of which is set up as a rain forest and another part of which does an approximation of a desert, but all of which led us eventually to the Holiday Trains.

And. . . the exhibit was incredible. Throughout the very large room were scattered replicas of famous buildings in MEC and its environs--department stores, cathedrals, museums, Victorian mansions, municial buildings, statues and fountains--all made entirely out of organic materials. Twigs. Bark. Toadstoles. Petals for shingles. And what appeared to be sugar for the window panes. These were nestled among plants of every description, and numerous different electric trains ran around them and throughout the room. High above us were twig-and-branch replicas of the city's many bridges, strung with lights, on which trains also chugged back and forth. Really amazing.

After some more time in the gardens, we wended our way far downtown to a hole-in-the-wall Japanese place with excellent food and even better music--a crazy fusion of funk, rap, soul, and Japanese pop rock. Then we walked back to Bert's apartment, stopping to buy pastries on the way. We hung out for a couple of hours, eating and drinking coffee, while he occasionally doodled around on several of his many instruments. (His small studio apartment houses, by my count, these instruments: alto, tenor, and soprano saxes, a flute, a piccolo, a clarinet, a recorder, a tin whistle, a practice bagpipe, and a fife. Don't ask.)

And I dunno: every time I have a day like today, I'm torn between feeling glad that I'm making the most of my probably limited time in this city, and feeling just impossibly sad at the likelihood of leaving it.

Some of it is bound up with Bert himself: we both lived in this city right after we graduated from college, when we were both single, and for those two years we did everything together. Even after I started grad school, for my first couple of years I was here at least one weekend a month, crashing on his couch and going out clubbing with the gay boys after dark.

When I moved back, two and a half years ago, I was excited in large part because he was still here (even though he hadn't been himself for a long while by that point)--but until five months ago, we virtually didn't see each other. When we did, Bert was either manic or withdrawn or fighting with his boyfriend, or otherwise just not. . . present.

But now that he's back, and I'm remembering what he was like in the old old days--what he was like up until maybe 2000--it's so hard to think of leaving. I feel like I have so much lost time with him to make up for.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 11:35 PM |


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