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Monday, December 21, 2009

i believe in everything, nothing is sacred; i believe in nothing, everything is sacred

Forgive me. I meant to write about Advent tonight while my stew simmered away. But like the Magi showing up unexpectedly at Bethlehem, my dear old college roommate found her way to my doorstep. She arrived just in time to help me wash the mushrooms and share the wine. So allow me to cheat this post with a story I wrote a while ago to explain our relationship.

It was early on in our freshman year that Jen's family had come to visit and dropped off two huge pallets of FlavorSplash water along with a ton of other "care package" items. Jen and I were random assignment roommates - friendly but not friends. Yet.

I decided the water was taking up too much room on the floor. Being a Social Thought and Political Economy student, (mainly enrolled in creative writing courses) I had some free time. I began to tie string around the bottles and hang them from anywhere I could get them to stay. The top of the windows, the posts of our bunk beds, attached to wire hangers and suspended from the ceiling...

Jen looked up from her Organic Chemistry book to ask for an explanation.
"It's like we have water-trees," I said, brushing my electric pink hair out of my face. "We can just reach up and pluck them down."

She was silent. Then, to my surprise my sensible, pre-med roommate put down the heavy text and began helping me string the bottles up.

Once we got all the bottles hung we went back to our homework. Jen began inventing a vaccine to prevent HIV transmission, while I wrote a poem about a bird I saw once.

It was not long before a bottle fell, BONK, narrowly missing Jen's head.

"Misch," Jen took her glasses off, "this is not going to work."

I had a different reaction to the crash. "Jen, this is great! It's like the Clock People in this book I'm reading."
"MichELLE. What on earth are you talking about?"

I was talking about a fictional pile of trash in a fictional underground tunnel. The Clock People in Tom Robbin's novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues tend to this giant trash pile that functions as their clock. When something falls off the trash pile, that's the clock striking. There is no set interval to the striking of this clock. It can go days without a sound, or toll several times in one hour. The noise reminds them that the time is NOW. There is no past or future. 1 o'clock; 2 o'clock ... means nothing. Just NOW.

I explained this to Jen. She looked like she was sorry she asked. She went back to her work.

BONKCRASH. A bottle fell onto the dresser between our work areas, upsetting some spare change.

"The time is NOW!" I yelled gleefully. Jen began to laugh. "The time IS now," she answered.

We picked up the water that had fallen and re attached it to the walls. As we were doing so Jen's boyfriend knocked on the door.

"What are you two doing?"
Jen smiled widely, "fixing our water-clock!" Mike looked extremely unhappy.
But I was very happy. And guess which one of us she spends her time with now?

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