Friday, March 18, 2011

Post-Birthday... Not Quite "Blues"

Super-quick life update:

At the tail-end of January I left a note on the table of a man I had been eyeing for months, off and on, at Java House; it read "I admire your argyle". I was quite pleased with myself, feeling like the heroine in an indie romantic comedy. I'm not sure if I expected it to work or not, honestly. I mean, men that beautiful inevitably already have thin, gorgeous girlfriends who know how to walk in heels and wear eye shadow, right? Men that beautiful are not interested in young-looking curvy girls in cowboy boots... But a couple of days later, he approached me at Java and introduced himself and got my phone number. I mean, what?!? How did that happen? I had to pinch myself. Repeatedly.

We started hanging out every couple of days and talking when we saw each other at Java House, and then we just sort-of progressed into dating from there. So, meet Robert: he is a pharmacy tech at the hospital, though he is and has been looking for a job in urban planning. He was in the Master's program here at Iowa for urban planning, but dropped out because he just didn't mesh with the program itself. An Iowa City native, he lives just outside of town and usually comes in by bus. He lived in Portland for a time several years ago and loved it. He is also into jazz music. We drove up to Madison this past weekend for a mini-break during my spring break, and spent three days reading at coffeehouses, wandering through used bookshops, weaving through protesters, and eating at restaurants. On Sunday night we even heard a Latin jazz band at a bar, which was something new for me and super-exciting for him. (We don't get many jazz bands playing here in Iowa City). I had a great time just being out of Iowa City--despite how much I do love it here--and being with Robert and getting to know him better and holding his hand while walking down unfamiliar streets.

I'm learning some things about myself, as I feel like one inevitably does when one is with someone new. But this feels different, like I'm learning much more and more quickly. Perhaps this is because Robert is older than me--now that I've had my birthday, by 7 years--and already has much about himself figured out. He is into politics, knows what he believes, and is willing to fight for it. He knows what he wants for a career, and what he wants out of the city he will live in. He is very honest with himself, I think, and straightforward about his needs and wants. Naturally, I in turn have begun to sort-of evaluate myself. I feel hopelessly naive and ignorant when he discusses politics and get rather bristly, defensive, due to my engagement with it in the past. I think he is frustrated that I'm not registered to vote, and just last night we had a bit of an argument that ended with his saying that it's just naive for me to try to avoid politics because they are present in every thing and every aspect of life.

I think I know what I want, on some levels. I know that I want to be an English teacher. However, I've been so unhappy academically and intellectually this semester that I am beginning to have my doubts about whether I belong in the PhD or the MA program. If the teaching is what I really want to do, what am I doing discussing Levinasian ethics as applicable to poetry about the Mississippi delta post-Katrina? I want to be teaching Jane Eyre, accompanied by Wide Sargasso Sea. And don't even get me started on my utterly useless American Lit and Mass Culture class; we had to turn in a syllabus for our "dream class" before spring break and I spent a great deal of the week before it was due staring at a blank Word document sputtering, "But... my dream class is in British literature..."

Anyway, I knew a part of grad school was going to be taking classes I didn't care to, in subjects not pertinent to what I want to study and teach, but it just seems that they have all unfortunately fallen in the exact same semester so that at the moment I an not intellectually invested in any of my three classes. This is particularly dangerous as we approach term paper season and I am struggling to give a shit about a paper topic. Sigh.

So, I'm 23 now. And I wanted to update this, my blog, and begin what I hope is a routine of updating it more regularly. I picked up a zine in Madison put together by a young mom, each issue comprised of written accounts of her every-day experiences and it has inspired me to want to keep an account of mine. After all, my life is pretty exciting, right? I'm a pretty engaging writer, yeah? So we'll see how this goes.