Thursday, May 31, 2007

Deep Thoughts: The New Apartment Edition

"Four years of college and all of this knowledge have earned me this useless degree."

Between a crazy end-of-the-semester crunch, graduation, and moving to a new apartment in a new city, I've been a little bit MIA. And the fact that we don't (and won't) have Internet in our apartment doesn't help either. (Also, you can't use between when you list more than two things like I just did, so don't tell my new boss.) Deep thoughts about moving out, moving on, moving in, and moving up:

  • Columbia's illustrious Core Curriculum should include how to set up an apartment.
  • Washington is hot and disgusting in the summer. So hot and so disgusting. And my hair does not react well. Time to invest in some Frizz-Ease.
  • If you remove a bamboo rug from the bedroom because it is in your way, you may be releasing awful pet odors that will take you three days and multiple visits by carpet cleaners to remove.
  • Boys are dirty. So if you sublet from a boy, beware that he may not have cleaned in the entire eight months that he lived in the apartment. Ew.
  • Free wireless is not really free if it's in a coffee shop where you have to buy coffee to get the free wireless.
  • Likewise, free furniture is not actually free if you have to pay to transport it back to your apartment.
  • You can put together a bed frame and salvage a falling-apart futon without any tools.
  • A bed is more comfortable than a mattress on the floor, which is more comfortable than a blanket on the hardwood floor. Let's just say I know this from experience.
  • Everything you need for an entire summer weighs more than 50 pounds in each of two bags, airport regulations not withstanding.
  • In the packing priority list, coffeemaker and shoes come before casual clothing. This is just reality.
  • Having your own apartment and furnishing it makes you feel like an adult. Which is really, really scary.

Friday, May 18, 2007

'College Graduate' Has a Nice Ring to It

It's official. I am a college graduate, with a diploma, a huge sleep deficit, and an apple-stained light-blue gown to prove it. (Columbia tradition is for each class to throw something related to their school at the university-wide commencement. Columbia College throws apple cores for the Core Curriculum. We might just throw those apple cores at the engineers and the Barnard girls, who don't have to take the Core. Anyhow, some of them got irate and threw some cores back, but I maintain that the core-throwing is one of Columbia's best traditions.)

More thoughts about graduating later.

"Will we think about tomorrow like we think about now?
Can we survive it out there?
Can we make it somehow?
I guess I thought that this would never end

And suddenly it's like we're women and men

Will the past be a shadow that will follow us 'round?

Will these memories fade when I leave this town

I keep, I keep thinking that it's not goodbye

Keep on thinking it's a time to fly"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

One Word or Two?

Part one in what may be a multi-part series of my reflections on being frum in a secular college, as I prepare to graduate.

Due to the subject matter, this post is a little less clean than what normally appears on this blog, so be forewarned.)

As a freshman copy editor at my school newspaper, I was editing one night when The Paula Zahn Show came to film a segment related to the paper's new sex column. The editor-in-chief, who probably didn’t even know I existed, decided that he would show the cameraman the entire process an article goes through—from writer to copy editor to print. So, the large, imposing editor-in-chief (in retrospect I know that he was neither large nor imposing, but I was a freshman and he was the editor-in-chief) sauntered up to the copydesk and asked that one of the copy editors open the sex column. Slightly starstruck—by the editor-in-chief, not the Paula Zahn Show—I volunteered before I could reassess what was good for me.

“I’ll do it,” I said.

“OK,” said the editor-in-chief. “What’s your name again?” (And by “again,” he meant for the first time.)




“Well, OK, Ellie. Here’s the way it’s going to work. I want you to just open the sex column and edit it while this nice camera crew films and I’ll look over your shoulder and help you edit.”
So now the editor-in-chief who didn’t even know my name was going to help me edit an article. In front of a camera crew.

“OK,” I responded.

I took out the column and began to edit, acutely aware of the eyes over my shoulder. I made some small changes, continued to read, when the editor-in-chief uttered I’m pretty sure the only words he ever said to me after asking my name:

“Is blow job one word or two?”

“Two,” I answered quickly—I had already looked it up. I finished editing, closed the article. The camera crew went somewhere else, the eager editor-in-chief followed, and I left the office terrified that someone I knew—maybe my grandmother, she watches CNN—was going to see me being asked on camera whether blow job was one word or two. I’m a good little Orthodox Jewish girl from Long Island. I shouldn’t even have known what a blow job was, nonetheless how to spell it.

I was pretty sure walking home that night that it was time to switch to Stern. I had tried Columbia and maybe even loved it, but I had just been asked on film about sex. I had just edited a sex column. I knew whether blow job was one word or two. This was not the place for a nice Jewish girl.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Poem of the Day

I came across this poem a while back and really like it.

This Was Once a Love Poem
By Jane Hirschfield

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

It spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.

When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them-one, then another-
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Study Space

Just in case you've been wondering where I am... That's right, I have literally moved into the library. Disturbing, I know.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Deep Thoughts: The More-Fun-Than-Studying Edition

This is Eli7 reporting from Butler Library...

  • If the library has stupid rules that don't let you bring in food even when the library cafe is closed, it will only cause students to be more creative about bringing their food in. (Big sweaters? Sweatshirts? Bags? Knapsacks? Really... I had to leave my food outside, go into the library to get my bag, go back out, put my food in the bag, and then walk right back in.)
  • Note to self: If you are a second-semester senior who only needs five credits to graduate, do not, under any circumstances, take 17 credits, all of which include a lot of work in your last week as a college student. Also, once you've handed in 40 pages in a day, your semester should be over. No matter what.
  • Do not blog from the library or more people will know about your blog. That's just the way it is. Maybe that's OK.
  • If you take over a study carrel in the library, leave all your books there, and hang up pictures, probably everyone will be too scared of your insanity to displace you, even when you leave it unattended for all of Shabbos.
  • Who wants to join the "If Eli7 Fails, I Will Eat a Newspaper" club?
  • As of now, I am living in a box for the summer cuz I have no apartment. This is bad.
  • Columbia paraphernalia always makes me happy. A duffel bag, a fleece blanket, a mug, a beach ball, a photo frame, and a pennant all on the same day makes me ecstatic. Or maybe that's just the sleep deprivation.
And now back to work...