Professing * Reflecting

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dr. Whiskey

I am all for Profgrrrrl's all-blog cocktail party. (Ho)liday, Part Two should really be a drunken post (with proper next-day retraction and revised re-posting).

No surprises here:

You Are Whiskey

You're a tough drinker, and you take it like a man
That means no girly drinks for you - even if you are a girl
You prefer a cold, hard drink at the end of the day
Every day, in fact. And make that a few.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Holiday: Part One

I have decided that an account of my holiday should be in two parts, since I seem to be flipping back-and-forth between two distinct personalities and lifestyles.

Academic Medusa made few plans for Thanksgiving--decided not to travel, politely turned down in-town invitations, organized work into doable portions, and settled in for a long weekend of rest, solitude, re-grouping. Wednesday through Friday went pretty well. I did not get as much work done as I had planned, but I read, wrote, graded, watched movies, slept, napped and ate yummy food.

Working felt good. When I am this behind and this anxious, I need to know that I have hours and hours of uninterrupted time ahead of me. I made a significant dent in pile of reading and grading. The house was empty (Fuckwits were making their yuppie rounds, elsewhere) and the neighborhood was quiet. I even managed to avoid the across-the-street neighbor who has suddenly decided to be my best friend (more on this later. . .it's weird, to say the least). The week before last (when I was racing between classes and meetings and drinks/debauchery with Demetrius and Feste) left me out-of-touch with myself. The solitude was glorious. I even started mapping out my plans for December break and for next semester. First time in a long time that I felt things were not entirely hopeless (i.e. that I could have some kind of a peaceful, sane existence in the foreseeable future). Managed to quell my fears that I am a bad, bad professor.

Although I did not cook much, I managed to eat more than one meal a day. I haven't reported much on this, but my eating habits have been abysmally poor (a standard, ongoing problem when I am stressed). I have been losing weight--eight pounds since August, a lot for someone with a little frame. It also finally dawned on me that my inability to concentrate might be caused or at the very least exacerbated by a simple lack of calories. I also slept like an angel--nine to ten hours a night, powernaps here and there. The more I ate and slept, the more I was able to focus. I was more sleep-deprived than I had imagined. No food + no sleep = low-energy professor. Duh.

Watched many movies (think I was also film-deprived)--stupid movies, serious movies, and those somewhere in-between. Went to an early show (I <3 Huckabees) with Demetrius on Saturday. This was the tame part of the evening. Peaceful holiday devolved from here. Will save that story for Part Two (aka Less Boring Holiday Report, in which Dr. Medusa does not provide long-winded account of sleeping, eating, and working habits).


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A week since I posted? (Guilt-ridden rant)

I wish I could say that I have been working, getting ready for the holidays, perhaps planning next semester's new course, placing book orders, etc . . . but no, no, no, and no. Maybe today's horoscope, which I think is about a week late, will provide some insight into why I have been partying like a rockstar rather than professing:

Here is your horoscope for Wednesday, November 24:

Your usual daily routine will be disrupted, possibly because of the appearance of someone new and exciting from out of town. Needless to say, you won't mind the interruption. You may even plan for it to happen again soon.

Feste is not "someone new" but his return from California, where he has been living, was exciting and did disrupt my daily routine for a full four days. Four days of playing and not working AT ALL?? Insanity. Must not happen during the semester. Did happen.

Luckily, I had a light week of teaching this week. I actually have a week off now. Unfortunately, I have about three weeks of work to do before I return. Mountains of grading. Volumes of reading. Courses to plan. Books to order. I had also planned to clean my house, service my car, Christmas shop, attend various parties . . .In short, I have screwed (literally and figuratively) myself out of a holiday.

How is this my life? How am I this person? Why do I veer crazily from extreme (working like a madwoman) to extreme (blowing off work entirely)? Why can't I be steady and responsible?

I actually could be writing some juicy posts about my wildly irresponsible behavior with Feste and Demetrius and our whole incestuous crew--behavior worthy of a Shakespearean subplot--but I feel too guilty. Oh the angst. Is is really necessary?


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Could not resist

Too much of a John Hughes fan, like Profgrrrl, to let this one go by.

So, yeah, turns out that I am a cyber-creation conceived by adolescent boys with bras on their heads. But she is Medusa-like in that pic, no?


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What to make of this?

Turns out that the consultant (a faculty member from a more prestigious program) hired to assess the needs of our department pretty much recruited me for a position in her department. Hmmmm . . . .


Monday, November 15, 2004

Things you might have overheard. . .[redux, upon sober reflection, for those of you who might have missed it]

. . . if you had been hanging near Dr. Medusa for the last 48 hours:

At the bar:

Medusa: "I want my moral value meal!"

Medusa (in response to: "You are not as irresponsible as you think you are."): "I have the restraint of Keith Richards's id."

Medusa (in response to: "Are you Stella Medusa?"): [slurred] "YOU DON'T KNOW ME!"

Medusa (in response to: "Ms. Medusa?"): "I am not a mess! I am a doctor!"

[Editorial comments: All of this is good. Upon sober reflection, I actually believe that I am a brilliant and witty drunk. I know enough about my drunken self, however, to know that things will deteriorate from here.]

In bed, in the night:

Medusa: "I love you. I will always love you. We can't."

Demetrius: "I know. I love you so much. I don't know what else to do. I don't know how else to show . . .sometimes . . . I have to . . ."

Medusa: "Oh. . . . god . . . oh . . . yes."

[Editorial comments: WHAT THE FUCK? I am loath to admit that this is pretty much verbatim dialogue. How the hell did I think that this was incredibly meaningful in the moment of utterance? This is just lame-ass erotica--and only if we can call the content of a Harlequin romance novel "erotica." Does it somehow change when rendered into writing?]

In bed, in the morning:

Medusa/Dem.: "Oh. . . . yes. . . oh . . . god."

Medusa: "11:30? Why? Why?"

Dem.: "Why not?"

Medusa: "Good point."

Dem.: "Does this bed have extra gravity?"

Medusa/Dem.: "Oh . . . oh . . . ohhhh."

[Editorial comments: I actually like this. This is pretty much how it went down. I am not particularly embarrassed to share this.]

On the cell phone, in the afternoon:

Cassio: "This is fucked."

Medusa: "I know you're frustrated, Cassio. This just makes me so anxious. I am understanding less and less what is going on with me."

Cassio: "I understand. I feel rejected, but I understand. What is going on is that you can not feel this emotionally intimate with me or with anyone and be sexual. It is OK. I understand."

Medusa: "Yeah."

[Editorial comments: Oh, the irony. Actually, I have somewhat condensed Cassio's comments. This was the basic gist, but the condensed version makes Cassio sound like some kind of Dr. Philesque automaton. In any case, I am an asshole, because I did not tell Cassio that I can and that I recently did.]

Editor's final comments: The "sober reflection commentary" is actually being composed by a drunk Medusa. A drunk Medusa thinks it is hilarious to compose sober editorial comments from a drunken perspective. Expect a sober Medusa to retract post within 24 hours.

Orignally composed on 11/12/04; redux: 11/15/04.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Things you might have read . . .

. . .if you visited my blog last night: a catalogue of evidence leading to the conclusion that I should never EVER blog while drinking red wine, listening to Annie Lennox, and talking on the phone with Coco.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I might die if . . .

. . . I do not have sex with my hot South American student who reads Neruda's poetry as if he wrote it.

. . . I keep having sex with Demetrius (that's right, not Cassio, but Demetrius, and--yes--I do seem to fuck all of my friends).

. . .I do not figure out WHY IN GOD'S NAME is advertising a "Philips HeartStart At-Home Defibrillator." Should one have access to a defibrillator at home? ISN'T THIS INSANELY DANGEROUS? Does Amazon only advertise this when one is searching for critical theory readers?

. . .my Spamblocker does not stop sending me a Spamblocker report for every fucking piece of fucking spam it blocks. WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT?

. . . the outside consultant brought in to assess the needs of the department (WHY? WHY?) decides my ass is stone-cold out.


Monday, November 08, 2004

A Monster Reflects

[Warning: For those of you who faint at the sight of blood or the mention of blood or the mention of a woman bleeding or what happens to her before she bleeds, however indirect and however carefully couched in medical terminology, the following might be TMI.]

I was looking back over my recent posts--specifically from Friday to Friday--and I was amazed to see how angry or venemous or dark or sad I variously was. The blog is turning into a great mood-o-meter.

Is it a coincidence that those exact seven days were pre-menstrual days? I don't think so. Looking back on the week, I see myself chugging along through pretty constant irritation, rising to anger, and falling into despair in a fairly predictable pattern. Don't get me wrong: I am an out-and-out bitch, provoked pretty easily to a passionate response (whether high or low) on any day of the week, month, year. It just seems that I lost my sense of humor about it all last week. I was still pretty even among students, colleagues, friends, and even family. Inside and on the blog, though, I was writhing.

Is this necessarily unhealthy? Uncomfortable, yes. But it seems I managed to purge some pretty powerful emotions without damaging anyone else, except possibly Coco (long-distance best friend from grad. school) who got an earful over the phone on several nights. And then there was this thing with long-time friend, Demetrius, but I am not ready to talk about that. "This thing" is part of a larger thing that has been going on for a long, long time. It is not "healthy," but I cannot blame it on hormonal shifts.

I know, I know--I need to meditate, exercise, eat right, do anything, everything to control the dreaded, the terrible, the horrible, the unspeakable PMS. When exactly did we diagnose this syndrome, anyway? Why I am not allowed to ride out the heightened emotions of that week then enjoy the glorious energy of the next week? There's very little physical discomfort. Is it really unhealthy? Is it really me who is all that uncomfortable with the "crazy" emotional highs and lows? My only real discomfort comes from worrying over how I may have affected or appeared to others. Maybe during that week the mirror is not steady enough to steady others.

I think/fear that the blog is turning me into a big, nasty narcissist. I do not know if that is entirely a bad thing.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Stickin' it to Bushworld

In today's mail I received a document from a bank in Bushworld (i.e. a red state). I am taking out a loan to help my mother buy a house in Bushworld. The "New Accounts Representative" who sent me the letter asking me for a signature addressed me as "Mrs. Medusa." I provided the signature, but added the following on a lime-green Post-it note:
Please be advised that the proper form of address is NOT "Mrs. Medusa" but "Dr. Medusa." I am not too picky about formal modes of addressing a contact, except when such addresses involve the offensive assumption that one is married or, if married, prefers to be addressed as her husband's property. Thanks! Med

Aw yeah.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Through a glass darkly

I was a melancholy and melodramatic kid. At least this is the way my immediate family would describe me. I was actually bright and eager and energetic. "Full of light and love," according to my favorite aunt, who used to kiss my elbows (because freckled elbows were "pure genius"), to play in the rain with me (because it was "more fun than a bath and laundry"), and to make me laugh on purpose in church (because "God really isn't this serious"). She died when I was 13, from drinking as far as I can tell. The family carefully suppressed the details, quietly claiming that fumes from the stain she was using on an antique dresser or an allergic reaction to a prescription drug might have been involved.

I was melancholy and melodramatic much of the time, largely because my "let's go out and explore that great big crazy funny world" attitude was regularly frowned upon by my depressive mother and autocratic father. I am not blaming them. My mother was depressed--clinically--and too tired to deal. And she still managed to bring quite a bit of light into my life. My father was scared shitless, because he had been working his ass off for years to bring himself, his little brother, and his parents out of poverty. By the time he had his own family, he was doing well and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even though he was pretty much out of the tunnel at that time and is way beyond it now, he--then and now--is convinced that the light is attached to a big old train waiting to mow him down.

Excuse the tired metaphor. And the melancholy. And the melodrama. I have been in a dark, dark mood for days now. Voting yesterday and seeing all of my neighbors and students happily voting significantly brightened my mood. And then the results. I was hanging out in the attic with my friend, Demetrius (who just returned from a long trip and whom I was delighted to see), Cassio (whom I was less delighted to see--more on that later), a giant bottle of red wine (which I was sipping then guzzling and which I'd like to guzzle now), and some take-out food (yummy Chinese). My state of course turned blue (har har) but many of the rest--including my mother's, my father's, and my sister's--turned red. Demetrius and Cassio slipped away at some point. I passed out at some point. I awoke at some points (2:30 a.m., 4:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m.). I had a few vivid, drunken dreams with no plot other than me screaming insults at my mother, my father, and my sister. This morning, a few realities hit: a) I have a raging hangover; b) This country is fucked beyond repair; and c) I might never speak to my family again, at least in any real way.

I do not want to talk to them. I do not want to visit them over the holidays. I am irate with them. I know I am irrationally focusing all of my frustration about the state of the union on them. But how am I supposed to love and live and laugh with people who are motivated by fear and hatred and radical exclusivity--to the point of railing at and excluding me when I dare to express my beliefs? My sister is even raising her children in this way. Her kids know I have liberal views. In fact, they are rather fascinated by them. Sis is careful to tell them that Auntie Medusa is "confused" and "brainwashed." Of course this is said as if it is some kind of hilarious joke. When I object, she claims I am being "uptight."

Maybe I am just obsessed with my own state of the union. Rather than thinking about what I might do politically, I am thinking about how to get along with my family. It feels like the two are all bound up in one another, though, at least for me. The dark mood of many days is partially the result of dealing with a recent family drama. I have been trying to help to sort out a battle between my mother and my sister (yes, an old pattern), which my father has in some ways caused. Now I just feel trapped in their ideology. I feel like the whole fucking country is trapped in their ideology.

Yeah--melancholy and melodramatic. The kid is back.