Friday, January 25, 2008

a weird week

I'm a fairly awkward and random person and my life tends to be fairly awkward and random as well, but this past week seemed particularly awkrandom (yes i just created that word, pass it along). It all started with a move so graceful, so balletic, so purely poetic, that it will probably be discussed and analyzed by those who saw it for months to come. As I was leaving trivia at Mellow Mushroom, I found myself suddenly plunged into the air. I have gone up and down those stairs many a time, but this was the first time I had flown down them. I honestly cannot even recreate it with any justice, because I really only remember losing my balance and then coming down hard when I landed. The few fractions of a second I was in the air were probably beautiful, legs and arms splayed in every direction, so I'll just let you assume as much. I think there was a slight freeze frame effect, but when I looked up the patrons on the first floor were, understandably, startled. One kind old man, bless his heart, jumped up from his booth and came over to see if I was okay. I remember doing a lot of nodding, and repeatedly saying that it hurt my dignity more than anything else. Yet once I had recovered one of my shoes (and they were flats mind you, even on even ground I am that spectacularly uncoordinated), I shuffled myself off to the ladies room, wincing all the way. Because while my dignity was hurt, I think my left leg took the brunt of the injuries. I've never really gotten over that little kid fascination with
bruises and scrapes, like how even after you've fallen off your bike and are crying to your mom, you're still a little impressed by the yellow and blue colors blooming beneath your skin or the deep red gash on your knee. And my current leg situation is impressive indeed. I basically no longer have a leg. I have a bruise that is capable of bending and walking and doing all of the things that legs do. It stretches from the very top of my knee to the very tip of my foot, with several gorgeous, large cuts to make things even more interesting. I have been neosporing myself every few hours because I have been told that will prevent a scar. We shall see. At this point it doesn't even seem to matter because of how many other scars I have sustained while out and about in college. There's the cigarette burn scar on my wrist from the time I stood in line at Gilroy's freshman year and suddenly decided, out of the blue, that I was a smoker. On the plus side, it only took one cigarette for me to realize that I was the worst smoker in history, because I somehow managed to put my own cigarette out on myself. Needless to say the habit did not continue. There's the big scar on my knee from when I scaled a large fence at an apartment complex, in a dress, to get to the pool on the other side. I also sprained my ankle in that dignified incident. And there are the handful of callused scars all over my feet from too small shoes, too big shoes, too high shoes, too everything shoes. I guess in a way all of these are war wounds. I would be shocked to find any girl, especially one who wears heels, who makes it out of their 20s without at least one of these physical reminders of youth and stupidity. As for myself, I have clearly been both very young and very stupid on far too many occasions.

So on a completely unrelated note, I have really felt like I'm living in some kind of political carnival/clusterf*ck these last few weeks, or really months. Charleston is by no means an unknown city, but it's also not really the center of attention in the US. We do our own thing and entertain the tourists and basically just go about our business. But these politicians have been positively stalking Charleston and her inhabitants lately. If I see one more John Edwards commercial I'm getting a restraining order (and by the way, we get it, your dad worked in the mills, yay middle class, but why don't you go ahead and remind everyone for the 5 billionth time). But the stalking isn't limited to our televisions. I drive down Coleman and there's John McCain's posse hanging out in some parking lot. Barack Obama took over the Cistern. Giuliani held the Stern Ctr. hostage way back in May and I am still getting e-mail from Team Rudy (if any of you are reading this, for the last time, I will not be holding any Rudy parties, now or ever). But they don't just stop there. They put their children to work on the stalking front. Edward's daughter was at the college. And in the most bizarre moment of my week, so was Chelsea Clinton. There I was, innocently walking through campus between classes. I saw a news crew at the study abroad fair, and was like, okay, that's weird, maybe it's a really slow news day in Charleston, maybe there's an increase in students going abroad, who knows. But then an hour later when I was walking through again, I turn my head to the side and there's Chelsea, a couple of feet away, chatting to some student. CofC does not get a lot of big names. And we're okay with our anonymity I think, but if this were to go on much longer we might just start getting a little full of ourselves. And it doesn't end with Chelsea. John Edwards gave his poor daughter a break and came himself to the college today. Obama was back in town the other night to woo some more support. I swear, these politicians are positively everywhere. I half expect to open my blinds and see Mike Huckabee peering up at me with binoculars. Or maybe Romney will be hiding in the back seat of my car. I'm a little frightened. What does one do when one's town is overrun with politicians? Is there some kind of pest control service for zealous, over exhausted politicians desperate for votes? I guess I'll just wait it out. Tomorrow night it'll all be over, and they'll all run away to a new state and forgot all about poor, little South Carolina. We'll be a distant memory, but at least we'll have some peace and quiet.

So that's only the tip of the iceberg for my awkward and random week. But for now it will have to suffice.

One last completely unrelated thing. I've heard a couple of people say that it's wrong that Heath Ledger's death has merited so much news coverage. But I think people are attacking the right idea but the wrong particular. There's a large chunk of our news that is unhealthily obsessed with celebrity lives. It's CNN running a story on Paris Hilton or MSNBC talking about Britney Spears. It's this sick and mean spirited obsession with celebrity warts and meltdowns. That I completely agree with. But I think Heath Ledger's death was news because like any good actor, he was an artist. Now when that coverage starts talking about phone calls to an Olsen twin or the details surrounding his death, then it gets morbid and wrong. But there's nothing wrong with documenting the tragic passing of an immensely talented actor. Movies are a part of our culture, and so are actors by extension. And some actors are famous not because of their club exploits or their personal lives but because of their work. I think Heath Ledger was one of those actors, and I think his body of work, while strong and lasting, was cut all too short. I've been a fan since he was singing to Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You and I think it's a really sad thing that he's gone.

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