Thursday, September 21, 2006

Persuasion Frustration

The real problem is not a lack of men to date, or menstrual synchronization. The real problem with going to a women's school is that when you're done with classes and you really want to watch a Jane Austen movie, everyone else at your school has already thought of that and checked them all out. Nobody at Swarthmore or Haverford has checked the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice and the 1999 version of Emma out of the library. Just us.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Feminasque veritatem dilexi

I'm psyched about the professor for my gender and sexuality seminar. She's the only person I've ever met who uses the word "queer" in both its meanings, as in "That's really very queer" and as in "They always give me a mullet. I go to the salon with pictures and I say, 'See, this is the haircut I want.' But no matter what I say they go, 'She is a big queer! She shall have a mullet. Snip snip snip.'"

But then, I go to a school where there's lesbian grafitti in Latin etched into the sidewalk. I'm going to bask in it for the next eight months.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My life as a shiksa

A few days ago my best friend's grandfather, a dear man I'd met a couple of times, died unexpectedly. They needed someone who knew the grandmother's house to let the caterers in and show them around while the family was at the funeral and burial. It being a Jewish family, the whole thing had to be pulled together in a matter of hours.

So yesterday I took the train to Delaware to be a sabbath goy (or funeral goy, I suppose). The caterers were at least as clueless as I was about Jewish food, but we managed fine until we came to the dish designated for pickled herring. We searched all over the house for herring and were completely baffled. I was looking for something like Danish herring and it's anybody's guess what the other two were looking for, so we poked at salmon fillets and peered in tupperware bowls to no avail until some relatives arrived back at the house and told us it was in a jar marked Vita. Suddenly said jar appeared before our eyes on the top shelf of the fridge.

When everyone arrived back home there was a meal and the first of a series of religious services. It was the first real Jewish service I had been to, though I think I was a little more comfortable with it than a couple of the other goyim there. I'm not a fan of the smite-our-enemies type texts, but some of it was beautiful.

I think a chance to observe the workings of any other family is always an education, and this was certainly a moving one. Mostly I'm honored that I could help out a bit, that they asked me to be part of it. If this were a Jane Austen novel, this would be the turning point in the plot. Clearly my life is not a Jane Austen novel.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tricky business

I'm feeling very nervous about criticizing US economic and military policy in my Peace Corps application. I'm applying to work for the government, after all. But when they ask why I want to serve I can't honestly answer any other way.

I'm also realizing that my relationship with being an American, which has gotten really painful in the past months, is only going to hurt more in the Peace Corps. That love-hate thing with my country is only going to intensify.

Cross your fingers for me?