New Friends, Old Friends

I felt as though this weekend passed in a haze of laziness but I have apparently gotten some things done. For one, I lopped off about half a foot of hair and reinstated the fringe, so now I look … different, I suppose. I like it, but “better” is purely subjective. Neither of the male members of my family could tell the difference, which is unsurprising: my father, when I once walked in the door with half my hair gone, squinted and asked if I’d changed my glasses. He asked this question in all innocence, which was the really frightening thing. Then again, Skype doesn’t give you a very good indication of anything except the vague contours of someone’s face. I’ll excuse it this time.

This happy event occurred on Saturday; Friday night my room mate invited me over to dinner with some friends. She’d spoken about them but I’m always nervous about meeting new people (except I try to replace that nervousness with anthropological objectivity, which sounds horrifying now I spell it out). I ended up having a fabulous time and an amazing dinner; we spoke about science and paranormal activity and religion and everything else, it felt like. One of the best feelings in the world is meeting people whom you can get along with as though they are, in fact, old friends. I think we occasionally recognize minds we resonate with, so meeting them feels more like a reminder than an introduction.

I also need to take a moment to thank the Italian who invented the strawberries-and-balsamic-vinegar-with-sugar combination. I ate my dessert in silence, trying to figure out what was going on in my mouth, but all I know is that it was awesome.

Strawberries in balsamic vinegar, vanilla ice cream and biscotti

This weekend I also lost a battle I’ve been fighting since 2010, and got myself thoroughly addicted to West Wing. Since I can’t remember where I stopped, I’m starting again from the beginning. Of course. I don’t know how or why I decided I wasn’t going to watch this show; I can pretend to be intelligent while watching the banter and admiring Sorkin’s fabulous writing.

Empires of the Word is interesting but dense going — I’m at Sanskrit now, and the language was so ripe for punning that a king apparently wrote an entire poem that simultaneously told both the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha, purely by virtue of interchangeable word meanings. Wrap your head around that for a second. Sanskrit was also such a grammatically strict tongue that it was almost as though you could reconstruct it using machine language rules, says Ostler.

And then of course I blew straight through Dune, thinking “where’s all the rest of it, about his twins and the Duncan Idaho resurrection?” Only remembering later that this all happens one or two books later. There’s apparently a huge canon of Dune that I’d internalized without contextualizing it, as it were. Clearly this means I have to get the other books in the series. It’s just a matter of being accurate, you understand.

I’m not sure what this week looks like work-wise but I’ve actually done very little work this weekend. I hope that bodes well. I also need to figure out a system where I get some exercise done, because the very idea of straining away at the elliptical, moving my legs up and down and not actually accomplishing anything, is becoming increasingly wearying.

If there was just a badminton court nearby. Or if I just had the courage to use the company gym. Right now it’s a toss-up between feeling like a hamster on a treadmill or like a fish in a glass bowl.

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