Saturday, April 30, 2005

bring back the sing along

The dog chewed up my passport. It actually happened last week, but it was only today that that fact became relevant. What fascinates me is how there really is no physical person I can blame for my morning, and yet, three reasonable human beings (I'm making assumptions, probably even about myself) could not actually follow the dictates of common logic. Let me backtrack. First of all, I'm nearing the end of my third year of vet school. Trust me, it's relevant. These days I've finally been allowed out of the classroom and around some honest to goodness animals, clients and diagnostics. But what things like post offices don't know is that, well, all day, every weekday (and some weekends), I'm really not going to be allowed to jaunt off to the PO for a visit. So today I get the opportunity to go get my passport renewed, which is good because it expired in January, and I'm off to the Dominican Republic in November, which is also good. The fact that my passport was in a plastic sandwich baggie to keep all the pieces together was...hmmmm...not so good.

Now. It's one thing, I suppose, if the dog had made it through that laminated page with my photo and relevant stats. But those things are nice and tough, made to withstand the rigors of sweaty tourist next-to-your-skin paranoia wallets. So you can clearly tell, yes, this is a US passport, yes, that's me, yes, yes, probably a good chance it used to be legal before the mistaken dog toy identity thing. But because of the dog damage, it's no longer legal proof of my citizenship.

OK. First of all, chances are good that because I've had two passports issued to me in my lifetime, I haven't fooled anyone into thinking I might be from Swaziland. But, alright, they don't know that I haven't been over to the consulate and demanded citizenship from that country over my own, I guess I can give them that. But I'm really having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that in one form, a little blue booklet with my photo has great meaning and import, and voila, it becomes--becomes, mind you, as in your seat cushion becomes a water floatation device--something altogether other, magically devoid of meaning, somehow inactivated, but still with my photo on it. And people scoff at the notion of amulets. And you can't yell at the post office guy (well, you could, but you would be an asshole), he's just doing his job. You can even tell he thinks it's stupid. And you can't yell at the lady at the passport offfice, because for one, you can't reach the phone, and for two, she even would probably agree. And yet, no passport for me, until my mother unearths my birth certificate from some drawer many states away from here.

The truth is, I've angered some postal god(ess?) somewhere, proabably for parking in front of my mailbox and making my postal guy get out of his truck to deliver my mail, or by sending something bookrate that wasn't actually books (you've all done it), or maybe for even greater messaging infractions for which I am unaware. Because the insult to my injury (and do you have any idea when I can predict my next opportunity for the post office will be? Guess. Don't pick any date in the month of May.) is the fact that I was given the webaddress for some website who wanted me to pay 30 dollars for the birth certificate, and then 25 dollars for the Fed Ex shipping. And the drop down menu implying all the while that maybe I'll get some other shipping option. Let's see--what delusional mind headlock do they think I'm in? Last time I checked, the post office was still doing its other job OK. I get it. Time to burn expensive stamps and buy one of those stupid framed commemorative coin things, and light candles under it. Or just wait for my mother to unearth the thing--right.

Anyway, this story has nothing to do with the title of the post, because that was from the end of the day. Tonight was the every-so-often coffee house at school, where some of us prove that once we had other lives besides veterinary texts and exams. And traditionally, we end with a good old fashioned sing along, campfire style (though campus police really put the stop to the campfire idea). But tonight everyone scattered to the winds. I don't know, I guess I'm one of those isn't this egalitarian what-a-shame-people-don't-feel-free-enough-to-add- their-voice-even-if-it-sucks-because-you-know-in-a-sing-along-you'll-
be-drowned-out-nicely-but-end-up- having-fun-without-punishing-others people. Next time--NO break before the sing along, people. We're wise to your tricks.

Friday, April 29, 2005

one of us, one of us, ooh goo ga ga...*

I'm surprised to find myself here. I have a few friends that post regularly (by few I mean, well, two) on their own eblog sites, and I'd never have guessed that I was going to join them. Some inner prompting sent me here, at my computer when I should be in bed, writing to some vaporous and hypothetical electric audience. I was always the type to start a journal and then find it a year later, with several dutiful dated pages and then nothing. This could easily be the latest version. But I have found some comfort in checking in with my friends while they weren't actually looking--like some window onto their daily life distinctly different than one I might glimpse on the phone.

I don't go out and read random blogs, or spend time browsing the weird or wacky (and then emailing them to others--do we all have friends that do that? I'm not complaining, mind you, I just don't do it myself), for me the internet is functional with a few frills. I'm sure I have some mistaken unreal notion of what it means to identify one's self as a "blogger," brought on by NPR stories of the new "is it journalism" debate. And I don't really feel like that "blogger" thing has anything to do with me. Yet here I am, typing away, and I bet anything that the first thing most people do is write a nice little blog about blogging, whatever that gerund means to them. Perhaps it's tedious to my imagined jaded and experienced blogophiles--"not metablog," they sigh, "again?" (This begins to sound like Monty Python--I'll have blog, blog, blog, blog, blog and eggs and blog.) Tough. I like meta. In small doses. Which is why I forsee copious use of parentheses in future posts, if I ever get that far. Be warned.

Did I also mention the wandering train of thought? Right. I guess I've been busy enough for three years straight (more on that later, I'm sure), to give my inner voice pause. It says--"right, and where are you again exactly? Perhaps you ought to be checking on that a bit more frequently." So maybe a little technological journaling is in order. As well as forcing poems on the unsuspecting populace (warned again), because of all the poetry books on my shelves which grow dusty and wan (OK, maybe not wan) from disuse. And besides, besides meta, I like poetry. So when I get tired of myself and my own unique mundanity, I'll post poems instead. And if you've read this far you are obviously not simply the 5 second American I thought you might be. In that case, welcome. *