your face has faded but lingers on

Another night of nothing accomplished. It will be past one when I finish this post, and I’ve barely touched my readings in two days. Instead I’ve traded my focus for 24, baking, talking to friends online, coffee with a boy, and reading Galatea on the bus.

Today in lecture we talked about the ways wireless technology – specifically mobile phones – has become integrated into our day-to-day life – and the challenges and excitements inherent therein. We talked about the blurring boundaries of personal and public spaces. I stood on the corner waiting for my bus and a girl passed me by, messenger bag thumping on her hip, phone clutched to one ear while she brushed tears out of her eyes with the cuff of her denim jacket. On the other side of the street, students walked with phone in one ear and iPod in the other, animated anonymous convos in the midst of a crowd. While we sat at the coffeeshop, his phone rang and mine vibrated. How is it that this technology with the potential to be so unifying instead makes us marginalized?

He said when he first moved to Urbana it was like moving to New York City – so many new people, so many cool new places, the anonymity of not knowing. Now it has all grown familiar. For me this landscape is still being written, but it does seem a place out of time, or at least out of place – this hotbed of technology and thought in the middle of the fields. Every day a reminder that we’re not the norm, and that’s strange to me after years in a city that embodied the status quo.

I’m rereading Galatea and listening to Iron & Wine’s “Each Coming Night” on repeat – both about memory, being remembered, what we keep and what we lose. I’m imbued with this quiet thoughtfulness, with this apartness. I am – still.

Today is the birthday of one that I love, and my own has just passed. So often I feel as if I am living both the past and the present at the same time. My beloved friend, true brother of my friend and love of my sister, has married without telling us, those for whom he is as close as blood. My heart is full, full to overflowing, and I am quiet.

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I just feel – weird these days. I dunno. Maybe it’s Paxil withdrawal. Maybe it’s too much randomness. Maybe it’s the transition back into the school lifestyle. I feel – restless a lot, and uncertain, and a little disconnected from the whole thing. Maybe it’s reading Galatea again, which has had me crying at the bus stop more than once. It’s like everything and nothing have changed. My friend Neil likes to sometimes withdraw completely from other people – I’m starting to see the merits of that lifestyle choice. I’m not depressed – no, nothing like that – just, out of sorts. *shrugs*

and it begins

And tomorrow, after three and a half years out, I go back to school.

I am so many things right now – cold, anxious, tired, confused, panicky, cold (mainly cold), excited, thrilled, scared – in a word, terrified. Terrified because that entails fear and delight. I’m afraid I’ll fall flat on my face. I’m afraid it won’t be what I thought I wanted. I’m afraid I won’t have the skill to keep all my juggling balls in the air on this perfectly laid out schedule of mine. I’m excited to be a part of a department that is doing such cool things. I’m excited that my whole life has changed yet again. I’m excited that doors are finally opening.

Tomorrow morning, for the first time in my entire life, I will stand on the corner with my lunch and my book bag and take the bus to school. I’d say that’s very 25 of me.

I may actually be dying of love for Joy Division and New Order. Seriously. I had no idea.

On an unrelated note, tomorrow is my birthday. In previous years I have been granted the right to be a princess or jump up and down or simply be fabulous. I intend to do all of these things, along with having a swanktastic dinner with my dear friends, and then drinks with more of the same. What else should I do, friends?

Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity… – Gilda Radner

and now…

i ride the bus with my umbrella and my handbag.
i walk the stairs between my workspaces.
i read about synchronous learning.
i play with educational software.
i walk down the block for coffee.
i read documents and make revisions.
i meet new people.
i walk the stairs and try not to get lost.
i ride the bus and read million dollar grants.
i love my job.