Archive for the ‘Tom Robbins’ Category

Another Roadside Attraction

May 15, 2009


I needed a distraction and that’s what the book was for me.  It took me almost an entire month to read this book, way too long for me.  It was my first book by Tom Robbins and it probably won’t be my last.  If you’ve never read any Tom Robbins, start with this one, it is his first novel and you won’t be disappointed.  It is beautiful and insightful, hilarious and creative.  In short, it’s about two hippies who open up a roadside zoo and hot dog stand during the 1960’s.  Also featured are a disillusioned scientist from Johns Hopkins, a pet baboon, and a former college football star who accidentally becomes a bad ass ninja monk.

I am still coming to terms with my decision to leave New York and go to Michigan for school.  It feels so reckless, leaving a well paying job, a rent controlled apartment, and all of my family.  The hardest part, obviously, is leaving Manny behind.  That is going to suck, big time.  I am afraid he feels like I’m abandoning him, that I’m choosing my career over him, that my education is more important that our relationship.  But actually he has been not like that at all, he’s been totally supportive and encouraging and understanding.  He wants the best for me.  But we are really sad and I start tearing up every time I think about it.   I am afraid of being in a new place without him.  Stuff is just so much easier to deal with when he’s around.  It’s going to be really hard.   I keep thinking, what if I get swine flu while I’m in Michigan, who will take care of me?   All I know is I’m definitely getting the flu vaccine next year.

Every decision that I make, I make it with him in mind.  I hope that going away to a more prestigious school will increase my chances of getting an awesome job that I love here in the city.   I would be happy with my career, which would make me a more pleasant person to be around than I am now.  I would make more money, which will help us get a nice place together.  But I just want to do this first, I want to take this chance and go to school,  for myself and for us.

It was my 25th birthday yesterday, on the 14th.  Last week I found my old diary that I kept from around 5th through 9th grades.  What a strange period of my life that was.   I realized I wasn’t a kid anymore and I was just beginning to know myself as an independent person, as an adult.  And it was painfully obvious that I did not fit in, not at school and not at home.  I wanted acceptance from my peers so badly but I also did want to hide or change or who I was.  When I graduated from high school I went away to this crazy cool hippie college in western Massachusetts.  My family teased me endlessly.  They said I was going to major in ultimate frisbee and live in clothing optional dorms.  They said I would never find a real job and that when I graduated I would end up working in a Starbucks.  How wrong they were and I love that they are all eating their words now.  But the best part of going to that crazy hippie college was not the satisfaction of proving everyone wrong.  The best part of going to that college was finding Manny, who was just as much of a misfit as I was.  And in him I found the acceptance I was looking for, but also learned to love and accept myself; with all my flaws, weirdness, and dorky-ness included.  Happy 25th Birthday to me!


April 29, 2009

I mentioned I had carpenter ants in my bathroom in a previous post.  Well, as the weeks passed I saw fewer and fewer of them.  Then on Sunday, the temperature went up to 90 degrees.  That morning, my parents came over to help me put up my Ikea blinds that I had bought 5 months ago.  Then I went to brunch with some friends from Hampshire, then I wandered through Prospect Park with Manny and our friend Sam for the rest of the day enjoying the weather.  A red tailed hawk flew right over our heads and we saw a black and white warbler.  Then I got home that evening, I opened my bathroom door and saw dead ants everywhere. On the floor, tub, floating in the toilet, in the sink, windowsill.  They were everywhere.  And they all had wings, which I thought was weird.  So I consulted Google, which told me that many people confuse winged carpenter ants with winged termites.  Google told me that winged termites swarm during the first warm days of spring.  Google told me that if I had winged termites in my house, then I have a problem.  

So, I freaked out.  The next day I called my building management company, declared that I had swarming termites in my bathroom and demanded they send over an exterminator.  And the lady on the phone was all like, yeah ok you really don’t have termites and you need to calm down.  But she obliged and called the exterminator.  So the exterminator came, took one look at a dead insect on my bathroom floor and informed me they were just carpenter ants.  He squirted some peanut butter smelling ant bait in little cracks and crevices and behind my shower head, declared the situation under control, and left.  Three days of stress and fear of swarming insects resolved in less that 15 minutes.  

Why can’t all the issues in my life be resolved so quickly and easily? 

I was accepted into both U of Michigan and Hunter College here in the city.  Michigan has offered me almost a full scholarship.  But just this week they told me I have to take 4 prerequisite classes in order to go there – chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and calculus.  It is even possible to take all these classes in one summer?  Plus, most of deadlines for summer semester at the community colleges in the city have passed.  Plus, some of these prerequisites courses also have prerequisites – for example in order to take calculus I need one year of college math.  In order to waiver this college math requirement, I have to take a test, which I will surely fail because I’m a terrible test taker and particularly suck at math.  So… what do I do? 

I don’t need any prerequisite classes for Hunter, as far as I know.  Going to Hunter is clearly the easiest choice.  I get to stay in the city and not go through the stress and heartache of up-rooting my entire life and being separated from my significant other for months at a time.  While Hunter may not be as prestigious as Michigan, it is still a well respected institution.  And I do really want to go there.  Hunter has been my first choice of school, that is until I was accepted into Michigan.  Is a masters degree worth all of this?  Isn’t what I do with my degree more important than where I get my degree?  But,  I should not just settle on a school just because its the safe and easy choice.  I should go the school of dreams, right?  Up until 2 weeks ago I thought that was Hunter.  Now I’m not so sure.  I want someone to just tell me what to do and how to do it.  

By the way, everything has to be decided by May 5th.  In case you didn’t realize, that’s in 6 days. 

I started reading The Great Bridge last week, a book about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, but it was not entertaining enough to distract me from my school dilemma. So I quit reading it.  I’m sure its a good story and one that I would like to hear, just maybe I’d rather watch a History Channel documentary about it instead of a read a 600 page book about it.  So I started reading Another Roadside Attraction which has been sufficiently entertaining and distracting so far.  I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Tom Robbins but never read anything of his, so I wanted to fix that.