mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

neon bright tokyo lights

Oh my goodness I am still so tired. Weekend business trips, where you have to get up and go to work less than twelve hours after arriving home, officially suck. I suppose I could call in “sick,” or “dead,” or “exhausted,” or “crazy” (actually, those last two attributes do not require scare quotes since they have much basis in reality) (or maybe, “reality,” which is how you would put it if you were the annoying philosophy TA I had my freshman year of college. He used to like to get drunk and go off on this rant about how nothing exists, which always made me want to punch him in the mouth. “Those broken teeth are but an illusion, my friend!”)

You already know my complaint about Mondays (oh for fuck's sake. Who do I think I am, Garfield?), and how I tend to be even more textually discombobulated than usual on that day. (Isn't “discombobulated” a great word? There used to be a panhandler on the Wabash St. bridge who would whine, “Can you give me fifty cents? I am very discombobulated.” I never quite understood how two quarters would help with that, but I sometimes gave him change because of the word itself.) Some of the following paragraphs were written when I was actually on my Washington DC trip, and I would like to post them here for my own memory's sake (a personal web page being a way to externalize your memory) (which is a rather biggish idea, and you and I should get drunk and discuss it sometime). So you might want to strap on some of that armor that makes you impervious to verb tense changes if you actually plan to read the rest of this entry.

STORY THAT I WANTED TO TELL ON FRIDAY, ONLY I HAD TO LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT INSTEAD, SO I WROTE IT ON THE PLANE

Out for dinner and drinks recently, at the restaurant and waiting for my dining partner to show, I decided to go ahead and order the wine, since she usually defers to my judgment anyway. I wave the waiter over and he is truly a marvel of a human: incredibly thick Italian accent, lovely green eyes, and the hairiest arms I have ever seen in my life. If he worked in a kitchen instead of as a waiter, the board of health would probably make him fashion some sort of hairnet for his arms.

(Digression: I am neither turned on nor repelled by copious body hair, although I will admit to a certain lack of experience [and hence fascination] with really hairy guys. LT is somewhat sparsely furred, as have been the other [and oh what a medium-sized list it is!] males with whom I have shared Naked Time.)

Anyway, I get the attention of the hirsute waiter and he uses his hirsute arms to bring me a bottle of Pinot Noir, which turned out to be curiously dull and flavorless. However, this could be because I have had a weird smell and feeling in my nose and mouth for a week now. Sort of like the drippy nastiness that accompanies a serious sinus infection, only skipping the pain and heading right to the feeling of foulness and rot. Isn't that pleasant? Doesn't that make you want to meet me? Oh, that is Mimi Smartypants, the girl to whom everything tastes like dirt. Homecooked meal? Dirt. A 1999 Chauteau Neuf-du-Pape? Dirt. Chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick? (Dude. Have you had this? It is fucking incredible. Unless, of course, you are me, and some sort of lingering rhinovirus or, possibly, Curse From God makes it taste like: Dirt.)

OH MY GOD HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO TAKE ME TO TELL MY STUPID LITTLE STORY

Forging ahead with this anemic anecdote, if it even deserves such an exalted title. When I finally did get the waiter and order the Dirt Wine, while waiting for R and seated at a table obviously set for two, with two menus and such, he asked me whether I wanted just one wineglass or two to go with the bottle, which made me laugh a little bit. Do I look like the sort of person who would drink a whole bottle of wine by myself? I probably do, and I certainly have, but only in the privacy of my own home, not out and about in a swank restaurant.

Jumping ahead to this past Friday, I was able to do curbside check-in and I breezed through Security, so O'Hare was an absolute delight. And although the plane was freezing, and I had to sit there with three blankets and my scarf and the hood of my sweatshirt flipped up and even then I shivered all the way to Dulles, it was one of those giant triple sevens and practically empty. Which was nice. The flight attendant handed out free samples of ECLIPSE FLASH FRESH BREATH STRIPS after our “snack.” Here is the copy from the back of the package.


Experience the power of Eclipse Flash and take your mind Beyond Breath!

* Instantly dissolves to freshen your breath at a moment's notice.

* Gives you an immediate, powerful burst of satisfying flavor.

* Discrete [sic] compact dispenser for convenient use anytime, anywhere.

* This refreshing low calorie food is also available in Peppermint and Cinnamon.

Explore the full range of breath solutions from Eclipse. Try Eclipse Sugarfree Gum—available in Peppermint, Spearmint, Winterfresh, and Polar Ice.

Wow. TAKE YOUR MIND BEYOND BREATH has a certain yogic flavor to it. And BREATH SOLUTIONS! That sounds vaguely threatening! A fluffy pillow, a garrote, a length of piano wire; good breath solutions all!

I am not scared of flying but I do have to perform complicated Jedi mind tricks during takeoff, to prevent the phrase “crashed shortly after takeoff” from running through my mind. Because happy thoughts keep the plane up. (Of course, after this weekend, when we were all reminded how horrifyingly dangerous space travel is, flying in jumbo jets will seem like no big deal whatsoever.)

I landed, collected my little businesslike wheelie suitcase, and went to my hotel, but I basically just dumped my stuff, reapplied the lipstick, and headed out to meet some DC-area weblog people at a bar. And they were all incredibly nice to me, and non-boring, and tolerant of my semi-drunken babble. And also tolerant of how badly I suck at pool. Whenever I say I suck at something, you should really take me seriously because I am not kidding. Lex is a good instructor though, and was kind enough to get my obnoxious ass back to the hotel in a taxi so I would not have to recall how to retrace my Metro steps. The hotel had some sort of automated system where you could leave a wake-up call for yourself, but either I did not do it right or they just say that to fuck with drunk people, because I woke up at eight o'clock in the morning, precisely when my board meeting was beginning, and had a moment of total panic where I (a) had no idea where I was (since I had barely seen the hotel room before going out to the bar) and (b) realized I had to get down there to the conference room ASAP. I don’t think I have ever gotten dressed so fast in my life. Good thing all my clothing is black and I had brought plenty of ponytail holders. And good thing the part of the meeting in which I had to speak and be coherent and impressive was later in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time to suck down the tea and cram a health-giving bagel into my system. The meeting ran literally all day on Saturday, from eight in the morning until six in the evening, and then there was a dinner with SO MUCH WINE and SO MUCH EDITORIAL SHOP-TALK that I was reduced to a bleary-eyed blob of jelly. I don't think our party of eleven left that restaurant until around midnight. The food was great and the room was beautiful and the women were terrifying. Am I just all Midwest pseudo-goth casual or are the women who frequent downtown DC really polished and lacquered and done? It seemed like I was surrounded by chicks with tiny asspants and expensive haircuts and push-up bras and perfect manicures, and I just felt like a bag lady the entire time.

After that I was pretty out of it, but I have trouble sleeping in hotels because it is too quiet and the pillows are too soft. Thus I blithered around my room for a while like a palsied Ozzy Osbourne, and watched some television. Lots of Columbia disaster footage, being very careful to change the channel whenever Shrub's face made an appearance (I can't even look at that man without wanting to spit). Lots of letting my mind be blown again and again by the thought of something with people inside it going Mach 18. Lots of getting irritated by reporters asking if the astronauts were “trained” for this kind of emergency, as if you can train for blowing up and breaking apart on reentry. When that got overwhelming I watched some MTV, surprisingly, because they were running a marathon of those “True Life” mini-documentary things and those really aren't half-bad.

Sunday was devoted to tidying up action items with my board, and then I had lunch at a Lebanese place with my cousin and his wife. After boarding my return flight the captain said that we would sit on the runway for an hour, which made me very cranky given my sleepy disheveled state and the fact that I had stupidly packed my spare book in my checked baggage. Luckily that turned out not to be true. Quit trying to freak us out, Mr. Pilot! The woman next to me on the plane had on the ugliest sweater I had ever seen in my life. It was embroidered all over with cats and had cat-shaped buttons and a lacy peter pan collar. Worn with a denim skirt and Birkenstocks with socks. And she had the following reading materials with her: a book about how you can hypnotize yourself to overcome irritable bowel syndrome, People magazine, and a book about knitting. She was like the anti-me.

I promised myself that I would never go over two thousand words in one of these things, so I will shut up now.

A FEW LINKS

Documentary on Derrida?

French fry history.

A wooden keyboard.

Neat! Okay, maybe neater for Classics nerds like me.

Bookmunch has a review of the new DeLillo. And the new Nicholson Baker.

—mimi smartypants dreams a wall around herself.