There's a lot to life these days.
Monday afternoon I had a long conversation with one of my fellow PhD students, following my asking how he was. He told me he'd had an emotionally trying week last week, and I asked him why. Turns out Mark is one member of one of seven gay couples whose case was heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Court last week. They are all non-residents of Massachusetts who'd gone to Mass to get married, and now the court has told them their marriages are void (because not recognized in their home states). They'd had to travel up to Boston last minute when it was announced their suit would be heard one morning (after two years) and then, in disappointed states of mind and emotion, had to give lots of national and local media interviews before returning home. Mark is hurt and confused.
Monday evening I had a long conversation, over Japanese dinner, with four companions who spoke almost entirely in French. I was joining a Tunisian filmmaker who'd shown her work on campus that afternoon, and another fellow PhD student (who's French), a professor (German, but PhD from France) and his wife (French). I told them not to worry about me, I could follow about 80% of what they were saying - including heated political disagreements. Occasionally I'd make a comment in English, and then one of them would begin answering in English but then switch quickly back to French. (The director's English, I think, was about like my French, only maybe 10 times better, but still not comfortable speaking.) It was exhausting, but fun, because I realized I really do understand another language. Too bad it's a complete waste of skill since I'm not doing anything with it except checking off a doctoral requirement.
Wednesday, I got up early, brushed two-and-a-half inches of snow off my car (April 5), and drove two hours (in swirling snow and rain) up to Mass to meet with a banker. Upon arrival in Beverly, a piece of my car flew off, hitting the windshield on its way over my head. I stopped at the post office, saw that the major part of my windshield wiper was totally separated from the car, put the piece in the car, went into the Post Office and collected from my box a check for my inheritance from my grandmother. This was a sad moment for me, reading my aunt's attached letter in the lobby, but a happy thought remembering her generosity to her 15 grandkids, and she could (once again - having six or seven years ago bought me my dining room table) help provide a little more furniture for my home next year. I drove on to the bank, where the nice man spent about an hour and a half pre-approving me for a loan to buy a condo in Lynn.
Back out in my car, I realized I'd lost my cellphone. So, two hours on, I returned to the Post Office, looked on the ground by where I'd checked out my windshield wiper, saw nothing (but snow), went into the PO, and came upon two nice people looking at my phone, trying to figure out who to call to see whose it was. I said, "that's mine." So relieved!
From there, drove to Salem where I asked my friend Shawn if she'd want to have lunch early (for her) with me, which she did, then asked her off-handedly if she'd want to take some extra time off that afternoon to go look at a condo with me, which she did! After standing in the rain watching Shawn try to fix the windshield wiper, we gave up and drove to under-development downtown Lynn where a nice realtor showed me a gorgeous condo which is available to me for an incredibly good deal through the college. I absolutely love it. I love its urban setting, its billions of huge windows, the fact that it comes with a washer and dryer, its space, its affordability, and the fact that the condo across the hall has a welcome mat with cats on it (obviously a sign). I drove Shawn back to work, paid a semi-nice man $12 to install a new windshield wiper, drove to campus and met with students and taught my class and drove my two hours home to CT. That evening, I received an email alerting me that the final of three other cheaper condos I'd been considering in Salem (closer to school) had sold. Parfait!
Thursday I received confirmation of my pre-approval and told the realtor I'm ready to commit. (I probably won't move in until at least the middle of the summer.)
And today, well, today I return to earth. No impossible personal-meets-political agony for me (like Mark), no dramatic conversations in French with talented Tunisian filmmakers, no mishaps-perfectly-fixed (car and phone), no miraculous gifts of condos in Lynn. Nope, now I have to go proctor a quiz for 300 students in Classical Mythology and return home to read a French novel, a collection of Iraqi short stories, and a pile of journal articles to help me write two huge papers so I can finish out well my final semester of being a student ever.
I hope your lives are as interesting and good, but that you're less distracted now than I am!