Thanks for stickin’ around for my bumming and non-travel writing and even my non-writing [period] Did you know that working full-time takes a lot of energy? Boy I sure didn’t. The whole first week and a half, I just came home and slept–that’s what going from BUMMIN to FULL-TIME will do to a gal. (And, presumably, to a guy as well.)
In my last year of college, I began writing a publication. It was self-published and circulated via email to only the members of my immediate family and one in-law (total readership: 6, including myself), but it was a blast to write. I started it because at some point during the semester of fall 2008, I realized that with my family spread across two countries, two continents and three states, combined with my loathing of phone calls, I was losing touch with my family. Writing the Muse Letter was a way for me to connect with them while recording my experiences in Utah.
I began the project intending to make it a weekly thing, but writing it took so much time, I ended up doing it only sporadically. In the spring of 2009, I wrote my 7th and final letter.
Well, one year later, I’m busy as ever and my family is still spread out across the globe. So, I have decided to once again have a go at a weekly letter–a ‘muse’ letter, because I only write about the things I find amusing.
So, welcome to Museletter 8/1.
My week began at 5:45 Sunday morning. It was my phone alarm getting me up in time for my 6 AM workout class. This is not an amusing detail of my life. In fact, it’s down right, straight-up painful rising before the sun and working every muscle in my body (and becoming acquainted with the ones laziness has prevented me from ever knowing even existed). I am not a morning person and, in fact, last semester when my friend approached me with this “great idea,” I told her I would only go if she physically dragged me from my bed and later rewarded me with copious amounts of ice cream. As it turned out, she never did either of those things; She never had to. I dragged myself to class that first morning (with some encouragement) and never even asked for ice cream.
I recommend them.
Later that morning, I had a meeting with my boss. Her office is located on the second floor, the part of the floor with carpeted hallways and offices (the rest of the building is cold, grey tile). It is the wing where the university’s most important officials maintain their offices, including the chancellor himself.
I had a chance encounter with him last week while my boss was away and I was at her desk, answering phones and attending to the stream of email that is a-constantly pouring into our office. He threw a quick hello my way as he passed not-my office, and then took a few steps back when it registered that I was me and not my boss. I introduced myself and told him that my mom was also an Important Official with a carpeted office and plenty of natural light (because it was clear he thought me a teenager–a teenager who, not unlike Goldilocks, had happened upon this particularly comfy office space with its just-right chair and free, high-speed internet access). To prove my noble lineage, I slipped in that I had (over)heard him speaking Arabic with one of the other Important Officials. As an Arabic guy himself, surely he would appreciate my year in the University of Utah’s Rare Books Department, where I hung out with a whole collection of awesome Middle East and Arabic materials, including the third largest papyrus collection IN THE WORLD.
Well, I use Princeton’s library, so…
Oh. Princeton’s library. Well! Forget I even mentioned Utah’s papyrus collection–
Chicago has a good one, too, he informs me (not really. I already knew they had a less-good papyrus collection). But anyway, he’s not interested in anything that old. He’s more the modern-lit type, but nice meeting me anyway.
On Monday, I had to go take care of some stuff in HR. One of the (several to many) hazards of sharing the workplace with one’s well-known, well-respected parents is that everyone knows who I am, and how great my parents are, and boy where did I come from? (Just kidding. Two weeks in and I haven’t spawned a single catastrophe.)
The HR guy is a Sudanese fellow who was excited that I had studied Arabic. Do you speak it?
Eh, I speak a little, I replied, for probably the 698th time since learning the phrase (last summer).
Ah, Lebanese! He was delighted at my accent, which really isn’t Lebanese at all but depends entirely on where I learned a particular phrase (which has never been in Lebanon).
On my way back to my boss’s office, I passed the Chancellor in the hall.
Hello, Chancellor! How are you today?
I don’t remember how he replied, but I do remember him returning my question. I responded “Oh, pretty excellent.”
He stopped to look at me. You know you can’t be pretty excellent, right?
You can only be excellent. ‘Excellent’ is like ‘singular.’ You can’t be ‘very singular’ or ‘sort of’ singular. There’s only ‘singular’!
Uh, yeah. Well–
How are you with prepositional objects?
Are we still talking about English?
What really gets me–and I hear it all the time–is when a person says, He gave this book to my friend and I. It’s not ‘and I’–
–It’s ‘and me’! I KNOW! Just like with pictures. My grandma and ME, not ‘and I’!
A certain understanding–a newfound respect–passed between us in that moment, and I knew the university was in good hands. He didn’t just correct my grammar (unprecedented!), he vented to me about his grammar pet peeve–which just happens to be one of my own! Were he in his 20s, I might have fallen in love on the spot. As it is, I will just take delight in knowing there’s a new sheriff in town–and he
dowon’t take no any crap.
On Tuesday, my friends came and visited me in my new and huge office. We ate leftover pizza and tried to name all 50 states. We finally succeeded–after only 40 minutes.
Then I looked up the capitols on Wikipedia. If you ever need to remember Montana’s capitol, just remember it’s Helena, Hannah’s lesser-known sister.
I went to Arabic class at 2. I’m really rusty and the class is a much-needed coat of WD-40. (Does WD-40 come in coats?)
On Wednesday, Khabeanz and her sister came by. Her sister drew me a great picture, but I didn’t take a picture of it! So, next post I’ll share its awesomeness.
This letter has gone on way too long, and been far too low on the amusement scale. It’s been a while–cut me some slack.
I now have to get working on tomorrow’s talk. Luckily, I spent most of the afternoon listening to David Sedaris. I think I am sufficiently inspired.
Tonight, I will end with this picture, taken from the Dubai Metro on October 2, 2009.
AAAAAAA! Look out! A giant two-dimensional lobster escaped from Sea World and now it’s attacking the–Safest Way?