Thursday, September 21, 2006

It was bad enough having to get up at 4:45 AM to make it to the airport for a 6:45 AM flight. On top of that, I knew the plane was going to be one of those small ones, because the airline recently (for some ungodly reason) switched over all of their flights between Chicago and Hartford from normal, safer-feeling planes to the tiny, wobbly ones where you can barely hear yourself think over the engine noise. I'd also forgotten to medicate myself, it being so early and all.

I had a driver to take me to the airport, and noticing his foreign accent, I started to chit-chat with him, asking where he was from and the like (he was Bulgarian). Halfway to the airport, he suddenly--and OUT OF NOWHERE, I might add--asks me, "Do you believe in God?" Now, aside from the fact that this is a highly inappropriate question for a service provider to ask his customer (who is TRAPPED in his car with no escape), my immediate reaction to this question was an overwhelming feeling of being in a bad made-for-TV movie, this scene being the one that foreshadows my forthcoming doom in the rickety plane I am on my way to board.

I made the mistake of telling him I was an agnostic (which I then had to define for him). He went on to preach to me for the entire remainder of the car ride, basically telling me that if a person *really* wants to find God, he will (no shit). To add insult to injury he alluded to his being a veterinarian by training and thinking that evolution was ridiculous (WRONG way to approach the religion topic with me, sunshine). As we pulled up to the terminal, he said he was sorry we didn't have more time, and that perhaps we would meet again, maybe he would even pick my husband and I up from the airport at Thanksgiving (we are definitely now going to drive, not fly!)

Lesson learned: next time a stranger asks me if I believe in God, I will steal a line from Frank Lloyd Wright and answer, "Yes, I believe in god. I spell it N-A-T-U-R-E."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Before I moved in with J, I had one simple rule: I don't do garbage. I mean, I knew I'd get stuck with the majority of the household tasks, so I just wanted to lay it down right then and there. I never wanted to take the garbage out again. This is probably because in my last apartment I lived on the third floor, so taking the garbage out meant going all the way downstairs--not forgetting the keys since the doors locked automatically--and then going into the darkest corner of the parking lot to the dumpster, where sometimes a homeless man would be hanging out to collect the recyclables, touching the nasty dumpster lid, and then taking the 3 flights back up to my apartment.

Well, my friends, I believe that I have just discovered a household task that makes taking the garbage out seem like a day watching monkeys fondle themselves at the zoo (which, in case there's any doubt, is something I would consider FUN):

The worst household task EVER is having to fix an inside-out plunger after having frantically plunged a crap-clogged toilet. It's bad enough when the thing goes inside-out mid-plunge as the water rises in the clogged bowl, because then you don't know if it'll still work or if you'll end up with shit water all over your cream-colored bathroom rug. But then you have to deal with the fear of that thing splashing shit-water at your face as you try to put it right (and you can't just put it back on the floor inside-out because, well let's just say one should never have to see what's on the inside of the plunger after a frantic plunging).

Monday, September 11, 2006


I was on the treadmill at the University of Illinois gym when it happened. The Today show was on the overhead TV, but I was listening to music on my headphones when I saw the first footage of the WTC on fire. At first, I thought they were showing movie footage. The thought that this could be REAL, and happening right NOW, was almost impossible to grasp. I had switched over to the TV audio in time to see the second plane hit on live television, and was completely and utterly stunned.

I got home and stayed glued to the television. I also called my mother to find out where my father was. He is an American Airlines pilot. Turns out he had been flying, but had landed safely just before the tragedy happened. After watching the towers fall on television, I didn't know what else to do so I went to work. Many of the other people in my lab are not Americans, so I don't know if that's why a CD and not the news was playing on the stereo, but I was dumbfounded that no one else seemed to appreciate the magnitude of what was happening. Was I the only one afraid that the attacks weren't over? Yes, it was true that we were a thousand miles from New York, but the absurdity of what had happened already that morning meant that nothing would be impossible now. I somewhat angrily dialed up the news on the radio, and struggled to get through the day. At some point that day, or maybe the next, at home in my apartment, I thought about the number of people who had lost someone in the attacks--a mother or father, a daughter or son, a sister or brother, a friend--and I cried.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hey everybody! To document my new-found obsession with bonsai, I've started up a new blog dedicated to the subject. Follow along with my successes and (hopefully not too many!) failures over here.