This is not what I should be doing right now. I should be reading that book I have in my backpack, the one that I think should be a reasonable introduction to the history of Byzantine Trebizond (a city on the southern Black Sea coast, which means northern Anatolia, it was a big port city) but by the time I look at the table of contents or get to the end of this sentence, I remember that it's a collection of papers and therefore less comprehensive. Or I could be writing a response to Orhan Pamuk's The White Castle. Or translating. Or...the list goes on! April is trying to live up to its position as the cruellest month, but sorry, T.S. Eliot, I stand by my declaration that November is the worst, with February somewhere in the middle. The temperature curve is way better in April.
Anyway, my dear friend Ali had the foresight to graduate a semester early, and so she has found herself with hours of unoccupied time to fill. She may have a job, and not sleep enough at night, and I'll be the first person to tell you that being sleepy all the time is horrible—but I'd love to have time I wanted, but did not have, to fill. Ali recently texted me that she needed a hobby, but couldn't think of one. I couldn't come up with anything not obvious to tell her, besides jump rope, which isn't a hobby for most people and can't really take up that much time. Maybe if you were doing it with the long jump ropes with a person on each end and the patterns of complicated hopping and stuff. That's too hard.
Instead, here's a list of all the things I can't wait to do when my term papers have all crawled into their graves and my MCard has ceased to open doors for me...literally. Maybe later, when I'm done with all my work, I can think constructively for other people.
Most obvious, most important, most exciting. Well, maybe not most exciting, but reading did essentially define my life from age seven to age fifteen. High school was sort of a drain on my time, as was the novel Ali and I spent six months writing. And all that embarrassing poetry I wrote about passing in the hall and shared glances and all that. Writing got in the way of reading, as did geometry, algebra, calculus, biology, chemistry, French, English, not physics because I hated it and read Virginia Woolf and all sorts of things during the wasted "Anyone have any news?" portions of class that took twenty minutes if I was lucky. Anyway. The fact that I developed an appreciation for Virginia Woolf of all people gives away that I did not, in fact, forsake reading entirely. But living in books ceased to be what I wanted, and I had to study. In Germany, I read a couple German novels and devoured Dorothy Dunnett's Niccoló books, especially during breaks. Other than that, though, the intense longing to read had dissipated. Now it's back, and just in time. I'm increasingly aware of how much there is that I haven't read, and there's a complete lack of obligation coming in...three weeks.
Even if afterwards, I never knit again—which is probably stretching it–I WILL finish the socks I started in May of 2008. I was on the way to finishing them, having received detailed instructions that I understood from Emma when she was in Slovenia with Maraia and me, but the goddamn Irish security at the goddamn Dublin airport took my goddamn metal knitting needles. Even though they've been allowed on planes again for years. On a side note, this exact time last year minus one day, I was probably in the airport or on the plane to Ireland.
3. Learn to throw a pot well.
That might not work. I've been taught twice. I was worse the second time. (Incidentally, the same was true with calc II.) On the plus side, my mom bought my brother a pottery wheel, so I can practice in the comfort of my own home. Or backyard.
4. Go on walks.
Another thing I miss about home and high school is the long walks I would go on with my friends, the dog, or just me. 'Just me' usually included the dog. But he was up for any distance, as long as he couldn't hear gunshots or firecrackers in the distance. Then it was straight home for him. Anyway, I love walking around my neighborhood and critiquing the houses with friends, or singing to myself as darkness falls and no one is around to hear.
In a similar vein—wait, is that really something people say? it sounds so gross—I am looking forward to bike rides at home. Bike rides for fun and exercise, not because class starts in five minutes and I didn't leave in time and now I have to pedal pedal pedal up that awful little hill and pant pant pant and my gears don't switch anymore and the back brake is broken and please let's walk tomorrow. I have plans to return to the old seven-mile loop, a good portion of which is biking along Lakeshore Drive. I love the lake. I will miss the awful little hill in Ann Arbor, though. Flying down it on the way home is glorious.
6. You know, I can't remember anymore. I'm going to keep taking pictures, and writing blog posts, and watching films in spite of losing my precious access to the Askwith Media Library. I'm going to travel, at least a little. I'm going to look for jobs. I hate looking for jobs. I'm going to organize my house and become my parents' workhorse and manager. I will strip wallpaper. I will wash walls. I will not be allowed to paint because my father is a perfectionist, but although he doesn't know it yet, we are painting those goddamn mint green rooms. And maybe I'll finish inputting the last wave of revisions to Ali's and my novel. It's only, what, five years later? And putting the photos from my entire childhood and before I was born into photo albums. Scanning my parents' slides of Europe, and the renovations of the Victorian house on Alexandrine, and whatever else is in that huge box of slides. Slides. Who does that? We didn't even have a slide projector until my uncle moved to California and got rid of things he owned, and I've never seen these slides.
P.S. This list is very incomplete, but it's 2 a.m., I still have all that work to do and more. And Ali, I'm aware that most of these things cannot be done while you're at work, but I can't think right now.