i'm talking to k.lo and am all OH.MY.GOD, who the fuck am i? banging around, lashing out, crawling the walls in dublin, missing my family because i didn't get to spend christmas with them six months ago???
and k.lo says, calmly, you do that, you know? you wait and you don't deal with things until you are isolated and horribly alone.
i officially, officially finished my PhD in early april, when i finally capitulated to the great expense and administratriva it would involve and had my dissertation printed in hard copy, filled out the numerous forms, and submitted the hard and electronic copies to the library for holding.
over the course of the day whilst i was running from waterloo to southwark to chancery lane to do this, i listened to triumphal music.
it was a glorious day. the sky was blue. the sun was beaming. the temperature was warm. my PhD was over. N and i went to see hidden figures.
then i spent a month frantically running all over town, juggling three different jobs, two of which involved standing up for 9+ hours per day.
i have come to dublin to unclench and recuperate with insane quantities of yoga and write four job applications and a paper on kim kardashian's instagram within a calming environment.
on wednesday, immediately upon arrival, i lay down in bed, straightened out my sore back, exhaled deeply, and thought HOLY SHIT, I FAILED TO GET PERMISSIONS FROM THE KENNEDY LIBRARY FOR ALL OF THE QUOTES I USED FROM ARCHIVAL MATERIALS IN MY DISSERTATION BECAUSE I THINK OF THE DISSERTATION AND THE BOOK AS SEPARATE PROJECTS AND I FAILED TO THINK THAT THE DISSERTATION MIGHT REQUIRE THE SAME PERMISSIONS AS THE BOOK AND OHMYGOD I'M GOING TO GO TO JAIL FOR READING JACKIE'S LETTERS AND SHARING THEM WITH THE WORLD.
fyi, this idea in no way contributed to a calming environment.
so this was the year that i realized my interest in the met ball has entirely to do with sarah jessica parker’s presence at the met ball (i literally just wrote “at the mall” just then). i realized this when i realized that, this year, sarah jessica parker wasn’t present and my level of care promptly plummeted.
you know who was there though? caroline kennedy.
and you know what? she kind of brought it SJP-style. which is a fact, my feelings about which remain uncertain.
i’m a little wary of being arrested for copyright infringement, so let’s play a game.
today a woman came into the shop who looooooooooves everything is illuminated. where is the new safran foer? she asks, her voice tinged with that note i've come to recognize as the sound of someone who has really really been waiting for a book to come out in paperback.
because she looooooooooves everything is illuminated.
she owns three copies. she tells me.
she worries that the font of here i am is too small, but buys it anyway. she's going to the optometrist tomorrow so perhaps he can adjust her prescription so she'll be able to read it.
it is dusty in the shop. her right eye is leaking so it looks like she is weeping.
she looooooooooves everything is illuminated. she tells me again. and i am like, the movie's really good, right?
and i'm flashing back to sitting on the balcony of that flat at the gilmore (an apartment, i called it then, because i'd not yet lived in london) that donovan and i shared in memphis, some random saturday morning when he slept in and i sat on the balcony (a surprisingly rare occurrence given the decadence that balcony ownership would seem now, but perhaps not at all surprising given how effing hot it is in memphis in summer) reading everything is illuminated,
and i flash back to our seeing the film together at the studio on the square and for just a tiny moment it is 2005.
and then it is 2017.
and she's never seen it. and i tell her, yeah, it's really good.
what i fail to tell her is, OMG EUGENE.
and she walks away delighted to have learned that there is a film of her favorite book.
and i remain standing behind the till, remembering EUGENE.
remembering how i listened to "gypsy punks" all the way to the lindear's house on that trip to nashville for the trip to chicago after donovan and i broke up and i knew i had to move there.
how i went to the borders on state street and bought super taranta! on the day it came out and sat by the river texting prof j, telling him i had bought it and it was amazing because EUGENE.
how dOugO and i went to alllllllllll those concerts. i don't even remember how many. just that they happened just often enough for us to be sated, for the craving to be contained. and how, at the last one, it seemed as though we both knew it was the last one, though i know not how.
the january- that january that i was watching bright star and downing a bottle of andré every night after work and donovan was driving from denver to mississippi and said maybe bright star wasn't an accurate reflection of my reality- that dOugO bought me a ticket to EUGENE: the documentary for christmas, and we went to see it, but i was hard pressed to finish the proposal beforehand, because i wanted to return the DVD to netflix so i could get bright star again.
i am standing in a bookshop in north london on a rainy day and for just a tiny moment it is, at once, 2005 and 2008 and 2010. and then it is 2017.
and somehow we have (well, all but donovan) survived. and i am looking after a woman who is walking into the rain, excited to watch a film she'd previously never heard of which came out in 2005.
i hope that woman watches everything is illuminated and falls in love with eugene.
i go home and put on gogol bordello and drink champagne and dance about a flat which barely has floor, much less a balcony. and it is sublime, as the aftermath of a rainy day sometimes can be.