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treize64
12 February 2016 @ 07:37 pm
Deadpool was wonderful.
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Current Location: Home
Current Music: Themis Lecture, NY Agency Law - Chapter 2
 
 
treize64
11 February 2016 @ 02:07 pm
Purely anecdotal data suggests the neighborhood is becoming browner.

On the walk back from the library, I happened across an Indian man in shirtsleeves, a light purple tie (elegantly knotted), and a winter jacket. Over the summer, South Asian children composed much of the traffic I noted while I studied there, and occasionally, while perambulating, I'll notice a few families of hue darker than what attended my growing up here.

Newington is a tiny town. Reliably blue come election season, but the gun store next to the Chinese restaurant on Constitution Square has been in business for as long as I remember. Our neighbor across the street, who has been a mainstay in our family for quite some time and has watched us grow up and who has been invaluable in helping our family out with everything from home-cooked meals to upkeep on the property when neither me nor my brother were around or willing, is an avid Trump supporter.

This town is largely white and largely aging, which is perhaps why the sight of newly arrived South Asian families has been so startling. And so pleasant. It provides an answer to questions I've often asked the youngest. Most residents our age have moved out, eager to leave what I imagine to them was a suffocating place. You go to Newington High, then you head about fifteen, twenty minutes away to Southern Connecticut State University, and maybe you make a life for yourself in neighboring New Britain. Maybe you migrate to Windsor. But there is and has always been, since we moved here in '98, the exodus.

The heroin epidemic that currently ravaging much of the Northeast, particularly rustic, small-town New England, has skipped us by, and I wonder if the plague hasn't it caught simply because there is no longer anyone around for it to latch onto. The jobless here are invisible. The library is more a place of refuge than any sort of hub of job-searching activity, as it very likely is in other places, and those that haven't yet retired, it seems, are nearing the sunset period.

Nature abhors a vacuum. It was only a matter of time before others discovered this idyll nestled quietly and unobtrusively between New Britain and Hartford. It is anyone's guess what this place will look like in 10 years. Hell, in 5.

This isn't the only locale like it. I wonder if the dynamic is unique to New England. Aging, politically blue and largely white, unlike in many ways from their Midwestern counterparts but alike in so many more ways. No illusions of agrarian lifestyle here, but maybe head a little bit north on I-91 and in Massachusetts maybe the cobblestones speak of some of the same racially fraught history. It is still, however, the North.

This type of place doesn't get written about; at least, not where I can see. Even where cosmopolitan publications whose articles normally blanket my Newsfeed and Facebook wall write about small-town America, the perception is limited largely to the derisively-dubbed flyover country or the South or the Southwest, blood-red political communities. If small-town New England has been written about of late, it has been to discuss our newly acquired opiate crisis, with a nota bene for how hypocritical it is for both the governmental and social response to be of such a different tenor as what has faced communities of color held in the thrall of heroin.

I attended none of the local schools here. Most of my contact has been with the lovely older women who work at the library and the folks largely from New Britain who work at the spa on the other side of the gun store from the Chinese restaurant. Them and the black lady who I see sometimes behind the counter at the post-office. This is my permanent address on paper. But since my return from Paris, I've been bitten by the desire to learn this country more and occasionally dreams of cross-country road trips and ambling train rides and odysseys-by-bus will steam between my ears and behind my eyes. Yesterday, though, a pang of desire shot through my heart regarding this small town. I wanted to learn it more. And not remain within the bubble of my comfortable, circumscribed experience of it.

It is transforming. I don't know that the things I love about it are leaving, and I don't know that things I will love about it are arriving. But for once in my life, getting older hasn't made me less kind to change.

There is no real point to this rambling; it is only the product of my recent attempt at clearing my head after disastrous practice question sets by taking walks in temperatures below freezing. And it seemed worth the time it took to write it down.
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - The Kill
 
 
treize64
10 February 2016 @ 09:19 pm
By this time 2 weeks from now, I'll be done with this.
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Current Location: Home
Current Music: Simulated MBE Analysis Day 2 Lecture - Torts
 
 
treize64
10 February 2016 @ 07:07 pm
Nice of the Justice Department to finally show up.
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Current Location: Home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - From Yesterday
 
 
treize64
10 February 2016 @ 12:21 pm
The bag has been retrieved. I repeat, the bag has been retrieved. I still stand by my French bank account comment.

In other news, today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the official beginning of Lent and, had I not decided to exercise prudence in another area of my life, the beginning of my vacation from Facebook, in repetition of last year's fast.

I've written before on the therapeutic effects of this online vacation, and that was very much what I felt last time. I hadn't given much thought to what else I might forego this time around, as I hadn't given much thought to really anything other than the Bar Exam, but I'm discovering that this religiously-inspired deprivation kink of mine is a healthier, more evolved, more focused form of formerly self-injurious impulses. Many of the same forces are at work. Much like how outside anguish can be channeled into art, this particular impetus is being similarly directed. It also powered my desire to participate, in my own minuscule way, in Ramadan back in 2013 while stationed in the West Bank. A very good law school friend of mine is Hindu but participated in Ramadan a few years back, going full-fast. When asked why, he simply shrugged, but I imagine it was more out of shyness and reticence to divulge perhaps overly personal motivations than out of any carelessness or insouciance.

Getting older has softened my view of asceticism. I wasn't antagonistic towards it before, but I saw it as some stark, sharp-edged, full-bodied ideal. The glow of self-inflicted emaciation, as though willful starving led inexorably towards wisdom. I'm relatively sure, at this point in my life, that such is not my path, having been forced in times prior and against my will to let my ribcage show, but the admiration remains.

Giving up Facebook for a period of time, particularly at this juncture where it has become the space it has become for me, seems doubly beneficial with regards to this particular goal of Lent, as it furthers the isolationist aspect. It forces introspection. The profusion of entries here of late is enough evidence of that. It slows me down. It quiets me.

In many ways, this is how I imagine retirement might feel like. A slowed down, quieter existence with so many noisy, extraneous, stressful things stripped away, so that I am surrounded mostly by the things that make me happy and that expand my spirit. That isn't to say that such a lifestyle will be completely devoid of hardship or challenge or acrimony. It is only to say that the gray hairs I will have accumulated by then will gather no further siblings.

During 2011, when deprivation colored so much of my life, desert occupied a large space in my writing. It was the setting for the novel I wrote during those summer months. And it was the setting for its screenplay adaptation. It was the setting for the stageplay that preceded it. And it is the setting for much of the book I wrote in the middle of last year.

While my naivety with regards to what can be found in the desert during those 40 days and 40 nights is abating, and while I stumble into the realization that hurting for hurt's sake is unproductive, I still do believe there's light and fulfillment and growth to be found there. That the things one discovers there are unique and cannot be found elsewhere.

The storyteller in me, the writer, cannot help but note the irony in the idea of desert-land providing the most fertile soil for self-realization.
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - A Modern Myth
 
 
 
treize64
10 February 2016 @ 08:05 am
This morning, I dreamt I'd already taken the February Bar Exam.

The despair that attended my awakening and realizing I hadn't was untold.
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Current Location: Home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - Here, There Be Monsters
 
 
treize64
09 February 2016 @ 08:47 pm
I swear, setting up a French bank account is easier than retrieving a lost bag from Greyhound/Peter Pan.
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Current Location: Home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - Capricorn (A Brand New Name)
 
 
treize64
09 February 2016 @ 03:33 pm
 
 
Current Location: Home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - Here, There Be Monsters
 
 
treize64
Yesterday's trip marks the second time I've made the acquaintance of an (aspiring) actress on the Greyhound/Peter Pan commute home from New York.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Music: Vitamin String Quartet - Capricorn (A Brand New Name)
 
 
treize64
08 February 2016 @ 11:04 am
Because I couldn't concentrate enough this morning to review answers for yesterday's milestone exams, I read a piece on the enduring necessity and accidental poetry of Greyhound buses. At 4.30pm, I will board one.

They've been a fact of life for my entire adult life, long having supplanted too-expensive Amtrak trains and unfeasible drives. The sharp edges of the routine have very much smoothed in the intervening years since that first 3-hour college-era trip. If I'm home and allowing myself to be dragged back to New York, I walk to a local bus stop on Main Street near where it intersects with Cedar, and the 41 bus rounds a corner and slides to a stop. 45 minutes later, I get off in front of the Wadsworth Athenaeum where I used to go on field trips every Christmastime during elementary school, and I walk another 10-15 minutes to Union Station in Hartford where a Greyhound or Peter Pan bus will spirit me to NYC in a promised 3 hours. Occasionally, adventures have turned that 3 hours into as many as 7. Sometimes, traffic forgives previous slights and allows us a swift 2 hours and 30 minutes.

There was a time when my biorhythms were so tightly wrapped around the trip that I would fall asleep as we pulled out of Union Station and awake precisely as we turned into Port Authority, same for the reverse trip. A similar thing had touched me when, for a year and a half, I commuted along Metro-North from New Haven to New York for graduate school.

Public transportation has, for a long time, been one of the features I've found most virtuous of cities, the way I judge establishments by how well they make a Shirley Temple.

The return home, particularly during law school, was especially emotionally fraught, such that I could feel the very shape of my personhood change once we crossed the border into Connecticut. The world's edges were sharper, the color clearer, the mind less fogged by stress and grief, the heart lighter for having the weight removed from it. The very quality of the air changed.

In the piece mentioned above, the author writes of the terrestrial wonders to which one can pay witness during one of these rides, and I'm fortunate to count myself among those privileged with witnessing a naturally beautiful thing unfold, operatic, celestial turnings.

The commutes where so much of my own movement and impulse towards forward motion slows have also provided opportunities to track personal growth, particularly useful at a time in my life when I was little more than a comet on speeding towards total immolation and with less interest in averting my course than trying to leave something beautiful behind.

An inquiry into the "why" demands its own post, but on Saturday as I took the 41 to Union Station to board a bus to New York, I was listening to old Eminem, The Slim Shady LP. I'd fallen in love with the beat production again, but I was also pushed into contemplating once again the alchemy at work. The horrorcore on that album, much maligned and dissected and picked apart and blamed for the ills of the world, is certainly something to be reviled if that is one's inclination, but, for reasons obvious to anyone who knows me beyond a certain extent, my immediate impulse is to look beyond that and try to figure out how fury can be molded into a coherent piece of art. I've written before about the ties between anguish and art using Eminem as a lodestone, and this is the first time I've done it with my faculties intact (more or less). A drier rumination, perhaps clearer for it.

I thought about him and "Guilty Conscience" and "Role Model" for the duration of that ride on the 41, then on the Greyhound I got some work done, both for the Bar and for another, less odious project, and as soon as we breached Manhattan, my thoughts turned to Paris. We'd been gliding down Museum Row when I realized what ease accompanied my going to museums back in Paris, whether on my own or with a copine. That year wasn't without its trials, but it was certainly without tribulations. I'm led to wonder, however, if it is the very first time I appreciated a place while in it. Surely, my longing for it has piqued my love for the place and sanded the rougher edges of that sojourn so that the whole episode seems like one glorious, musical stream cutting through the city's center like the Seine. But maybe I only appreciate Connecticut as much as I do because I'm not trapped there. It is always a place I can go back to because I'm always coming from somewhere else.

My best friend is moving to Texas this summer to prepare for medical school, and she was one of the biggest reasons for my frequent returns to Connecticut, especially in law school. The narrative-maker in me wants to mark this as the end of some sort of era, but maybe this is simply what attends growing up. Pieces fall away or branch off, planets create their own orbit and the illusion of being the center of the universe is further strained.

There will come a time when I have no family left in Connecticut. Mom may retire somewhere with more forgiving weather, if retirement is in any of our contemplated futures. The others may remain in Massachusetts and Texas. And yet another reason for making the NYC-CT commute will have vanished, perhaps the biggest reason of all.

And solace becomes something to be created on one's own rather than something sought.

Which is perhaps why the Greyhound piece spoke to me the way it did this morning. The author rides without destination. She's not on her way to welcome back a son from service overseas. She's not off to school or coming back from it. She's not in search of a job with a truck driving outfit. She's simply riding.

She's simply riding.
 
 
Current Location: Sugar Hill
Current Music: Skindred - Proceed with Caution