Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Backstory: On the Squirrel Plot, Bronchitis, and Books

Today was a good example of why I not only want to go to grad school, but need to go as well.

After much wrangling and phone calls I had secured a doctor’s appointment this morning (backstory: I’ve been sick with cold-like symptoms for over three weeks, lately they were manifesting themselves in really nasty coughing fits) and managed to avoid the howling fantods when they brought out the needle to do bloodwork. End result of the visit: I have bronchitis (and my macho “I’ll just get better” strategy for dealing with colds was exposed as really a fine display of jackassery.) Side effect of the visit: they told me taking a half-day off work wasn’t the best idea, and that I shouldn’t go in until tomorrow.

Given that it was beyond gorgeous outside (perfect temp, nice breeze, not too hot, or too cold…the perfect day for Goldilocks to steal from the Three Bears were said bears in possession of a day to steal) I took the loss of pay in stride.

Also, because I had recently had a needle jabbed into my arm (backstory: when I was in 2nd grade I got very, very sick, wound up hospitalized for over a week, etc. etc, and had an IV, that took 8 tries or so for the staff to get tapped, and I had bloodwork done either daily or twice daily—longish story shortened, I have a strong dislike for needles) I figured I’d reward myself and grab lunch at Harry Bissette’s (see below about the soups 1-1-1).

But after a great, great lunch I was left with an open afternoon. It was too nice to sit inside, but I was too contagious to call anyone up and say “hey let’s throw the football around” or anything like that (more backstory: you don’t want to see me throw a football, unless you want to laugh. At my expense. I’m learning, but it’s a long, slow process.)

Instead I found myself walking around North Campus.

A few things jumped out at me:

  1. The squirrels are plotting something, and they tipped their hand (paw?) today when one of the little rabies-prone bastards hit me in the head with an acorn. Clearly one phase of the Squirrel Plot involves attacking attractive and funny guys. Perhaps it’s some sort of Moronic conspiracy (and I wouldn’t be surprised if the bastards are chucking acorns at attractive and funny girls too—even though there aren’t many of them) set up by guys who grew too tired of hearing “you’re cute, but we don’t really connect.” But probably not, because dumb guys could neither form a conspiracy nor train squirrels to do their bidding. Either way, part of their plot has been revealed, and that’s the first step to uncovering the entire Squirrel Plot.
  2. For the first time I felt a lot older. I blame the Pre-frosh kids taking the campus tour for most of this, but also there was a bit of confidence: I’d walked these paths for years, when many of the people walking past me were still in high school—there would be no surprises for me.
  3. Surprise: they’re messing with North Campus. Yeah, I didn’t know about it, and it surprised me (backstory: I may have written #2 as a set up for this cheesy joke), but at least it was it as bad as the fortified battle fortress modifications they made to Park Hall. (Though if the Ottomans were to invade campus, Park Hall would be a great place to defend. How the walls would withstand Squirrel attack is anyone’s guess though.).

And after all that, I found myself in the library. How many people, a few years removed from college go back to the library (many never even set foot inside one their entire undergrad careers)? Me, I missed the scholarship, the myriads hunkered down in front of computers, typing away furiously at another seven-dozen essays on Frankenstien, and I missed the 3rd floor. I spent a few hours there, reading some random books on game theory and postmodernism, as well as a few short stories from the 25th Anniversary Johns Hopkins collection. And that’s yet another reason I need grad school. I couldn’t spend an afternoon at the library unless I had been sick (note to fearful library goers: I didn’t cough ones and my hands had been washed, so you can handle all those books on John Barth and Don Bartheleme without fear) in my current situation…but in grad school it would be expected. So expect me to get extra nervous in a few weeks when all my applications are mailed and I’m stuck playing the waiting game (and if any random wealthy folks read this, a grant to a writer is a nice tax write-off).

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