March 29th, 2004

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Standing in the Cold

A Ben Franklin impersonator once hit me on the head with a dinner roll. He was running full-tilt out of the Massachusetts State House as I was on my way in. Before I knew it, the roll bounced off my head, and Ben Franklin was screaming "Ha ha, I got you!" and running away.

When I was twenty I got a job at the Disney Store, working for the holidays. As "cast members" we suffering few in polyester sweaters were supposed to tell the "guests" a Feature and a Benefit of the products they were looking at. I wasn't very good at my job. One day, I saw a woman looking at the children's nightgowns. I walked up to her and said, "That night gown is made of flame-retardant materials, so, uhm, if your daughter ever spontaneously combusts, the uh nightgown would survive."

At my previous place of employment, there was crypt in the basement. We used it to store office supplies. Office supplies and dead people.

My first car had a coat hanger for an antenna and came with a trunk full of pornography.

Every year my mother gives me the same Santa Claus Pez dispenser in my Christmas stocking. Not copies of the same Pez dispenser - the EXACT same Pez dispenser, packed away the previous Christmas.

My point with all these little stories is that funny things happen to me. And if they aren't funny, it usually doesn't take a whole lot of creative re-telling to make them funny. I just have a knack for walking into situations were something off-beat or down-right weird or even embarrassing is happening. So imagine my surprise when nothing funny or weird or even embarrassing happened this past weekend.

Nothing.

This was my weekend:

I went to Starbucks on Saturday and spent two hours having a cup of coffee, reading a book, and catching glimpses of the cute guy next to me. I then went to CVS and bought Odor Eaters for my work shoes. Yeah, exciting, I know. And that was about all I did on Saturday, except stay up late to catch the rerun of Clay Aiken on SNL. Don't get me wrong, I did all of these things by choice - I believe that weekends are a sacred time to express my inner sloth, so I had consciously not made any plans. However, I was almost expecting something funny to happen. After all, something always happens!

I was downtown yesterday. Actually, I showed up just in time for the Greek Independence day parade. You'd think a parade with pathetic little floats of the Parthenon would offer up something funny to observe. I mean, there were boys in skirts, almost a guarantee of a giggle. But no. Nada. In fact, I spent most of my time downtown yesterday just waiting around in the cold for a friend of mine to show up.

When he did show up we did our usual routine of talking about how much better we are than other writers and how nice it will be when we sell out. We looked at books, talked shop for a while, and drank a lot of coffee. So in my definition, it was fun. But then, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at my thesis.

I turned my thesis in almost a year ago to the day, so I was looking forward to finally seeing what it would look like all bound up like a book. Actually, I needed to see it. I don't know why, but over the past few weeks, I've wanted to see it very badly - almost as if I needed to prove to myself that it was actually a book.

It wasn't there.

According to the librarian, they've only just cataloged mine, and it might be a while before it appears on the shelf. My book is sitting in the basement. Book Purgatory. According to Dante, the only way to get a soul out of purgatory is for the living to pray for her. I'm a little concerned I don't qualify.

The electronic record of my book's existence did make me feel a little better, but I was looking to prove how much more work I'd done than some of my contemporaries. After all, my thesis adviser told me that most people don't write full novels. So being an egomaniac, I was almost sure mine would be one of the big ones, and that I could admire it for a few moments. Denied! I did get to pick up the theses of a few classmates and exclaim to my friend, "Her book is still boring," and "Ha, he only wrote a 120 pages" which was as gratifying as small petty moments can be, short term, but no where near what I wanted out of my visit to the library.

And that was about it. I spent most of today in meetings. Nothing funny ever happens in meetings.

Has the world tilted off its axis? If anyone knows, please tell me.