Monday, March 8, 2010

Soapbox Observations

In the interest of saying things that I notice day-in and day-out and not forgetting them in the shuffle of explanations and exposition, I'm making a list of things that I've noticed over the past week or so in all sorts of bits of my life.

1. The gym is the one place where inappropriate bodily exposure somehow becomes appropriate to the collective. My case in point, aside from the scores of bare chests that flash through your peripheral vision in the locker room, is Tiny-Asian-in-Tiny-Shorts. He's positively indecent. To start from the ground up, my first issue is the ghastly white tube socks. From there, scanty, thin, little black leg hairs pop up in awkward patches along the sides and backs of his calves. From there on up it's smooth sailing - and for quite a long way. There must be at least 3.5 hand-breadths of bare skin before those tiny black shorts begin. Here I shudder and repress the urge to be physically ill when I recall the disconcerting nature of this view when *I'm* on a mat doing crunches and *he* feels the need to stand right in my line of sight to stretch his calves against the wall. I shut my eyes and tried to find a happy place.

2. I hate mess, but a mess left by a craft project is okay. Normally, ever since I broke out of my untidy-but-organised phase in my teenage years, I've been much more at peace when my room was clean and orderly. I could work more productively, I was happier, and found it much easier to relax when I didn't have to engage in a staring contest with the pile of clothes on my chair. That said, with my clothes now living in uncramped luxury on their hangers and shelves (I have no roommate and thus my stuff, like any gaseous substance, can expand to fit its container), I've developed another mess: crafting supplies. My room has become the factory from which all of our wedding invitations will be assembled. I look at all the little scraps and squares of paper lying in their piles on my floor and try not to think of the early 20th century Ford Motors factory, where all the little components are just waiting to be pastiche'd together to make a car. You'd think, with such a small amount of space, I'd try to keep it as tidy as possible, just to maximise living area, but the piles of cardstock, double-sided-tape backings, and the box of half-assembled invitation pieces still sits out in front of the dresser, changing its appearance from day to day as I reach new stages of completion. I have absolutely no plans to put it away until another roommate comes along to claim my precious extra space. In the mean time, the piles of invitation supplies remind me that I *am* and *should* be doing something constructive every day beyond reading about Delaroche, and Michelet, and Ranke, and Soviet rally races. It's an oddly energising mess, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.

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