In Which Our Heroine Triumphs Over Spaghetti Straps

4 June 2003

I got exactly one happy thought from yesterday's request: Heathah wrote that she got a puppy. Which is pretty much the epitome of happy thoughts, I would think, although naming a basset hound Thor...well, I just don't know about that, Heathah. I don't know about that at all.

I was doing okay even without the happy thoughts, though, because the apartment people agreed to a four-month lease instead of a twelve-month, for the same rate. Yay, same rate! And Dr. Bill did a good job with my back, yay, Dr. Bill! And my shirts arrived, and fit, and were reasonably cute! Wooooo!

I was pretty sure that the really good one wouldn't fit. I had steeled myself for the disappointment. It was, after all, my shirt. It looked like it was made for me. It was a red tank top that had "Geek Lvr" written on the chest in a little heart. It was the closest thing to adorable I would ever want to wear. It was cousins with my blue Chix0r shirt, which I love. But it had spaghetti straps, and some of us are not members of the class of women who can buy spaghetti-strapped bras and let our cute little bra spaghetti straps make friends with our cute little tank top spaghetti straps. Some of us have had our clothing choices curtailed for the last decade because of that fact. Some of us are more than a little bit bitter about the whole spaghetti strap thing.

But! The cute little red spaghetti strapped geeky tank top fits! Strapless bra or no strapless bra, I'm psyched. Clothes! That fit! And look halfway decent! Rah!

If I just didn't care about clothes, I think it would be easier. But I can't make myself give up caring entirely. If I had literally nothing I liked in my closet, then I would think of clothes as a legal/temperature-dependent necessity and move on from there, wearing the proverbial potato sacks if necessary. It's actually having some things I like that's the problem, because it keeps my standards higher than the market seems to be able to bear.

I finished the Katherine Paterson book yesterday and read Dumas' Fernande. From Dumas, 144 pages feels like a short story. It was interesting, and I'm glad I read it, but I can see why his historical novels get more interest/attention. I also started Jonathan Franzen's How To Be Alone, because it was on the new nonfiction shelf at the library, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with his Harper's essay and all. Well. He starts out in the introduction talking about how he's moderated his views since he wrote some of these essays, which is mostly good to know but in a way hardly seems fair. How can you work up a good head of steam to disagree (or, I suppose, agree) with people if you don't know whether they still believe it? Miff. What else are essays for, but strenuously disagreeing?

But there are some bits I'm guessing he wouldn't disavow. For example, "Pride compels me, here, to draw a distinction between young fiction readers and young nerds." Good thing pride does, because accuracy wasn't going to. Oh, wait, I should just let him go on. All right then: "The classic nerd, who finds a home in facts or technology or numbers, is marked not by a displaced sociability but by an antisociability. Reading does resemble more nerdy pursuits in that it's a habit that both feeds on a sense of isolation and aggravates it. Simply being a 'social isolate' [a category he gives to readers and not nerds] as a child does not, however, doom you to bad breath and poor party skills as an adult." (That's from the essay "Why Bother?" You shouldn't oughta give essays titles like that. It just makes them too easy to rip on.)

So, to sum up: litgeeks aren't like other geeks, who enjoy, you know, other stuff! Litgeeks brush their teeth and eventually learn to chat with people!" Franzen evidently doesn't know that many "classic" nerds are big readers, some of whom grow up to smell fine and have parties of their very own. But since the entire essay assumes that genre fiction doesn't really count as reading, I suppose it's easy to make nerds into a "them" to his "us," a social group he can look down on: the Science Club is so much less cool than the high school newspaper staff. It just made me want to ask him if he could have made room to rip on band nerds while he was at it, as long as he was trying to form high school hierarchies. Honestly.

The really sad thing is that he's on about modern society being diverse and/or fragmented, about how nobody could really write a modern American social novel the way 19th century social novels were written. And he ignores the fact that the 19th century had loads and herds of people who barely even spoke the same language, in this country --but he also ignores the fact that these social novels are getting written and published all the time, just not in his genre. It would be easy to go through and mock and pick at this essay, and in fact I almost started to do so. But the more I think about it, the more it makes me sad that he's too intent on segregating himself from optimists and non-lit geeks to see that they have anything he might be missing, short of bad breath and maybe some facts. It's worthy of some snarking, but it's even more worthy of pity.

And this man who spends pages and pages on how writers are just grown-up readers who read out of a need to communicate with the reading world -- this is the man who came blustering out to tell people he didn't particularly want to communicate with them, not if they fit a given demographic, not if they were the wrong readers. Poor silly man.

Ah well; in the essay I'm reading now, he's talking about the shortcomings of the post office, so it could be worse.

The mailbeing was way too excited about delivering something from Victoria's Secret yesterday. Big ol' smirk. I wanted to holler after him, "It's a shirt!" But whatever -- let him have his fun, I suppose. (The Geek Lvr shirt was from Think Geek, not VS. In case you were wondering whether they'd expanded their product lines: nope. It's this one. Only it looks way cuter on me. In case you were wondering.)

The AC is still not fixed, but there doesn't seem to be any call for it this morning. They're supposed to be in between three and five this afternoon, or, failing that, first thing tomorrow morning. I'd rather have a working AC and no need for it than the need and no AC, especially with company coming.

Some reservations have been made, though not all, and many items removed from the list. There was something else that was supposed to go on the list, and I've entirely forgotten what it was. I keep sitting here working on this and that, looking at the list from time to time: what was it? What could it possibly have been? Did it have to do with Father's Day? Reservations? Cleaning things? What?

Last night we talked about getting out of here, in very specific, concrete terms: where would we stay over? How would we handle having two vehicles over so many days of driving? Those two still aren't answered, but Timprov did map out a southern route and calculate the time/stops for that, in case of an early blizzard in the Sierras. This makes me happy: I am all about contingency plans.

As usual, I'm growing alarmed at how fast the time in Minneapolis is filling up. When I thought I would only be there a few days, I swore that I was not going to try to see everybody, nor even everybody important. I would have a very short list, and if tempted to expand that list, I would remind myself that I was moving back to this very city within a short number of months, and that it's better to have quality time with a few than rushed hugs with many. But then Northwest Airlines practically forced me to be there for longer than that -- twisted my arm, I'm telling you. And I failed to take into account that it is summer now, and will still be in two and a half weeks, and summer means that some people can travel. So all of a sudden, there are people in Minneapolis who won't be there when we move there, and it doesn't really make sense not to do things with them, because I have a little more time, and it's an opportunity that'll be missing later. It brings me to the conclusion that no matter how much time I'm there on a visit, it won't be enough.

Good thing we're moving there, innit?

(I'm still trying to keep social plans to a small, manageable level, especially considering housing preliminaries. We shall see. I will be sadly missing out on many of the people I like best in Minneapolis, and I'll hope they can understand and wait just a little longer.)

One of my friends wrote yesterday and, among other things, reminded me that living there wasn't like that, that people had their own lives there now, that it wasn't a constant social whirl. Thank God. If two months in Minneapolis was like a week in Minneapolis, I would keel over dead from the exhaustion. I don't expect it to be like that. I don't want it to be like that. I'm sure there will be times when I'll think, "Oh. I thought we could [activity] with [friend or relative]," and be disappointed. I know it won't be ideal. But the idea of being in Minneapolis and not having to think who I can manage to squeeze into the very last day is something of a relief. (My friend also said that she was feeling pretty social, so if we feel like whirling, we'll know who to call.)

Ack! I've kept sitting here and sitting here, and the task to go on the list has not returned. Come baaaaack! I will pay attention to you, little task! I promise I will!

Sigh. I'm going to get something else done, in hopes that the lost task will feel encouraged and come creeping back out again.

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