Wednesday, January 10, 2007

wednesday night, 1 am

it's cold outside. Avi said it is seven degrees out, in Celsius, because I do not understand Canadian-speak. she saw my look of blank acknowledgment, sighed, and said that that means it is about thirty-seven degrees Fahrenheit. But that too I did not understand, because a) I live in Israel and do not believe that it is capable of being cold here, and b) my roommates don't know that I abide only by the Kelvin system of temperature measurement. they have much to learn about me. namely, that I can hear Avi and Tamara singing Tracy Chapman at 1:30am when I am sleeping, that I dislike all of their laptop backgrounds, and that I don't actually write papers when they lock me in my room and force me to. they already know about my strong attachment to my pens and diet coke.

listening to gnarls barkley. "it's deep how you can be so shallow." mah pitom, gnarls barkley? what is this? you make no sense. i know it is nearing two am, and your song has a really nice beat, but this just makes no sense. off you go. perhaps REM will suit me better.

I am on Shira's computer. it is big and a whitesh silvery color. the keys have a nice feeling to them. did you know that you can spell typewriter using only the top row of the keyboard? I did not know until a few days ago when Avi said it. she said it was so the typewriter salesmen (no women then, I assume) wouldn't look stupid when they were demonstrating the new product. this is an interesting observation. b'tzad echad, it is considerate of the typewriter-designers to not want the salesmen to look stupid. b'tzad aher, they probably didn't want the typewriter salesmen to look stupid because if the salesmen didn't know how to use the typewriter then there would be no way they could sale the product. but I like little things like that. i used to really like typing "was" because the keys were all next to each other. i suppose that i still do, but i just do not specially note it. i often mis-type my "x" and "z." it was not very considerate of the typewriter-designers to put those letters right next to each other.

ok, so I didn't put on the REM yet and Joan Armatrading came on, who I don't really listen to her but my mom likes her and I've been getting into classic female artists lately so I thought I would check out, and I was not at all impressed with her. iris has an idiosyncrasy where she does not like songs that repeat lyrics over and over, which is what this particular Joan song was doing, and I now realize and respect this peculiarity of yours, iris. nooo, not the smooth jazz saxophone, Joan! the death of an otherwise possibly redeemable song. sometimes it seems that I torture myself with my music choices. generally, this only happens when I am forced (bound and chained) to listen to other people's music- a situation which I avoid- but I've been listening to the Love Actually soundtrack a lot, and while the first ten times hearing Billy Mack sing about Christmas is pleasant enough, past that it becomes a form of torture. sometimes I tell myself to wait it out, that the song will be over within three minutes, but as I have no self-willpower I usually end up passing to the next song by the first chorus.

REM is now on and my night is looking better. maybe I will be able to start writing the five-page paper I have due tomorrow? it is possible that I have chosen the wrong life for myself. I think I should have been a math major. or statistics. I took a statistics course with Professor Kenkle freshman year. he wrote the book. I really wanted to ask him to sign it before the term ended, but I never worked up the nerve. Like much else in my life. but I really liked statistics. it was the most work I ever did for a class- I would spend around twenty hours a week in the Cathedral doing homeworks and preparing for exams- but so satisfying. once you got it, you got it. it was solved. no further questions. my TA for that class was from India and he was very hard to understand. I had recitation at ten am (was it nine?) on Wednesday mornings. my roommate Lindsey had Spanish on the same floor at the same time but she didn't show up much, so I walked to class alone. it was a very sad recitation. it was in a great room, on the twentieth floor of the Cathedral of Learning on the Bigelow Boulevard side, with great big windows and red velvet curtains and early morning sunlight, but the class itself was very sad. i think it happened twice that the TA (I feel bad for having forgotten his name, but I am not good at remembering such details, but all the same.) wrote an entire problem from the homework which someone had asked about on the board, explained it all, and then realized that he was using the wrong equation. he also pronounced "probability" wrong, which would not be so significant a fact except that in a statistics recitation the word comes up a lot.

so I think I should have gone into statistics or math. I really enjoyed taking geometry in high school, writing proofs, using logical equations, finding a clear solution. I took geometry my junior year, the second half of which I spent in Israel, so I learned geometry in a small back classroom in the bottom level of the Ramah building in San Simon. My teacher was young, but her face was starting to get wrinkled, and she played the violin. I remember being very impressed when she told us that she walked to class each day, even though she just lived in Baka, which was less than a half-hour walk away, but at that time we took taxis everywhere and did not understand or even conceive of the possibility, the life, of walking from place to place and exploring a city in such a matter. I did not get to know Jerusalem very well that year, only the small shopping center around the corner, with the baker who always discounted our purchases and heated them up for us, the old security guard at the bank who was always so happy to speak to me in Hebrew even though I knew only a few phrases, and the Co-op food store which changed to a Mister Zol sometime between then and now. but my geometry teacher- I think she was Canadian- introduced us to the grand QED at the end of a proof. i love it. I sometimes put it at the end of an essay I think I've done a good job writing, but it does not have the same power as when placed at the end of a geometrical proof. quod erat demonstrandum - definitely proven. ezah hazak! on Purim, while my mom was visiting, our geometry teacher took the class to her house for a demonstration. we made many hamantaschen out of fancy geometrical shapes which I now forget the names of. she only had whole-wheat hamantaschen dough, a fact I thought odd at the time but which I now noddingly approve of.

citizen cope came on. I added him to the end of the REM cd I made. I do like him, and I find that he is good to listen to while studying, but he is one of the artists I feel possessive of. as if to say ("as if to say," "to say"- what strange expressions we use!) that whenever I hear certain people comment, exclaim, or state by-the-by that they like song x by Citizen Cope I get jealous or upset, fearful that they are not listening to the song in the right way or not gaining the proper thing from it, or just upset that these people are listening to such a cool artist that I feel I discovered (but I didn't; I heard him on the radio), and that his popularity will spread and his music won't be as cool and suddenly I'll hear him when I walk into the shoe store, which is what happened to John Mayer and ruined it for him.

this is turning into a Jerry Maguire "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: Thoughts of a Sports Attorney" stay-up-all-night-because-you-have-so-much-to-say-and-need-to-say-it-all -mission statement, but it is not, it is merely my attempt to avoid having to write the final paper due tomorrow and yet still write, and try to show Kate how my thoughts flow because sometimes even she can't follow, but this is not it all, i left out a lot, about the A. B. Yehoshua book I am reading now and about Israel and about people and my life now and why I am using Shira's computer. and I still have more to say about typewriters.


avi said...

really fun to read all that. I'm quite proud of myself that I followed most of it. But ENOUGH is ENOUGH....STOP SCREWING AROUND AND DO YOUR !!!!!!!

Dad said...

REM is from Atlanta, like the B-52's. See

One of the lessons that can be learned from studying the history of young music bands is what kind of character traits allow one to survive, damaged minimally, into a productive adulthood.

One of the dangers in that study is how easy and common it is for people to say "yes, he died, ut look at the live he lived"! Meaning the fame and excitement more than made up for the shortness of life.

Do they?

One clue is how easy and common it is (to repeat that earlier phrase) for people to say so.

What do you think?