Precisely three weeks from now I will be half-asleep above the mid-Atlantic. So close, so far. In the meantime I am subsisting entirely off peanut butter, whisky, gummy vitamins and battered Galaxy bars, and spending my time either working, failing to sleep, reading decade-old SG-1 fic or wailing on Shim down the phone. I have done approximately a quarter of my outlining and a quarter of my paper writing (my professor writes: "Nice start - why don't you write about due process?", to which my response has not so far been "DO I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT CON LAW DO I" only through a magnificent quantity of self-control.
On Thursday morning I got up at twelve, stared at the ceiling, went back to sleep. Then hit said ceiling at a hundred miles per hour half an hour later, hit the shower, found clothes, managed to have earrings in and boots on, even, by the time the South African Siren wandered in, looked around and said, "...you just got up, didn't you."
We ran out to the car, which was stuffed with people. "I drove past them all at the bus stop waiting for buses that wouldn't come," the Siren explained, and the bleakness of the sky seemed particularly telling. "It's a day to be kind, I think."
I agreed, squished myself in, and was a model of togetherness and poise, until we got to where we going, and I jumped up and down and shouted, "Shit, I forgot my TICKET!" just in time to be introduced to the Siren's mother, who is looking more regretful by the moment at leaving a southern hemisphere summer. ("I'm so glad she's making friends," she told me gently, a little later, while I was desperately trying to give off the impression of being put-together young professional rather than half-asleep work-crazed caffiene-deprived woman.) The Siren, who is all kindness, really, clapped me on the back, refused to be intimidated by my sheer grey-weather incompetence, ran me home to get my ticket and brought me back again.
Explaining Thanksgiving to foreigners is difficult, as my adviser swiftly seems to have discovered ("We thought the Native Americans suffered
," said YJ, an earnest chap of Chinese descent over dinner, and he gave up) but nevertheless, the law school took pity on us all and said they would pay for us to have lunch with the graduate-and-international-students' association. Lunch was, actually, surprisingly nice. Tobermory and Baby E had kept some room for us, and we went to get the food. It was informal - you had to serve yourself and eat off melamime tables - but the food was extortionate in quantity, and the sweet potato was sweet and the turkey wasn't dry and there was good coffee. The desserts were lacklustre, but you can't have everything in life.
Halfway through lunch Tobermory stood up and said, "I'd like to say, I'm thankful for all my friends. Except Iona" - to laughter and applause and people making affectionate faces at me.
I waved a regal hand and ate more pie. A lot has changed in the last fifteen weeks of my life, but it certainly hasn't all been bad.
Afterwards the Siren dropped me off home, and I should add my apartment is a biohazard right now - it's full of discarded articles, sweet wrappers, unwashed dishes and laundry, and to add final insult I had a wee incident with a hole-punch and everything's covered in chads, so help me God - but it was looking suprisingly cosy against the backdrop of the bleakest day I've lived through recently. One oddity of the last week or so has been strange, sporadic power cuts: five- or ten-minute intervals heralded by nothing but a sub-audible whine. Because I spent a good deal of my formative years in Delhi, I have an instinct for a loss of power, even in daylight; it's like the world around you has taken a breath and not let it out, an unspoken question hanging on the suddenly charged air - and then you look up and there are no figures displaying on the microwave or whatever, but just for that second, you know
, without being told. That's what Thanksgiving daytime was like, on a bigger scale - bleakly grey and freezing cold of course, a cold I associate with bad things coming, and that loss-of-power desertion; no one on the streets, something missing at the heart of things. It's a lonely place, sometimes, this.
So I got home to my tip of an apartment, and turned on all the lights, and all at once it was warm, and welcoming, and nice, despite the bleak feeling outside. I curled up on the couch and got an hour or two of work done, drinking tea sent in the post, feeling rather okay about things. And once I'd done that, I called a cab and went out again.
See, I had kind of had my doubts whether this was a good idea - whether having more than one Thanksgiving meal in a day was going to get a bit Vicar of Dibley
- but then I thought, you know, what the hell, I will love seeing thingwithwings
, and they will totally not mind if I don't do their delicious spread the justice it deserves.
That.... was not an issue. Oh, food
. More turkey, sweet potato, squash, delicious salad with walnuts in it, a kind of bombastic pinot noir and my subsequent re-realisation that I can eat more than anyone else I know, especially when I am living off a diet of peanut butter and whisky. We got tipsy, talked politics - somewhat depressingly; though we rounded it off with a solid conclusion that clearly the world would be better if we became pirates and went around dispensing loot and social justice - and watched "Dalek", the first new Who episode which features Daleks. (obv.) livrelibre
is in the enviable position of just starting to watch Doctor Who and is being shown it in increments. (I cannot wait to show her "Blink".)
"Dalek", actually, holds up to the rewatch. I hadn't seen it since hathy_col
and I were at a con in Milton Keynes back on the weekend it first aired (I remember now, we'd been wandering around all day with little badges marked "Dalek Virgin", and the second word handily came off for the second day of the con.) I was watching it, and there's a marvellous woman in it who is Van Staten's assistant, and gets him dumped by the roadside in the end, and I was watching it thinking "...is that? Yes, it is
Osiris from SG-1!"
Of course, reading back my own review of the episode from 2005, I apparently had this exact same revelation in almost the same words when watching it with Colleen. I am so smart. So I wandered home, fell asleep on my couch - and managed to move myself to my bed during the night, which is, sincerely, an achievement - and have made it through the next couple of days without what one might call major
crazy. Three weeks, three weeks.