Crowd of Latelies


Sunday. Woke up at an ungodly time in order to cram some studiousness into a day otherwise abandoned to the pursuit of catching up with a friend. Picked said friend up at train station – a new discovery for us both, this place – at noon, and proceeded to show off the gloom of Oxford. As friend is castle connoisseur and lover of old things, he found the city as bizarre and beautiful as I had at first. He reminded me of how taken aback I was, at first, by the strangeness of walking in and out of buildings dating back hundreds of years. It’s a kind of time travel. You get used to everything. At least James Bond does.

Monday. Errands achieved, story written. Majority of the day taken up, of course, in the pursuit of Faulkner’s sounds and furies as well as children’s specific reading disabilities.

Tuesday. I missed my Aba. I didn’t realized until I started vacuuming the apartment that I was channeling my inner Uriel. I love the way I find myself haunted by his thoughts sometimes. I hate how rare it increasingly becomes.
An interview on the subject of being, living and identifying as LGBTQ followed by an international talk with a friend followed by a sub-editing shift at The Oxford Student. Looking at this list, it seems to be so comprehensively communicative. I am not a hermit. I am not a hermit. I am not a hermit.

Tuesday night. Election obsession. BBC was shamed into becoming CNN. The Americans were entirely at fault, or virtue, for that. Those of us who stayed, riveted, to the screens in the Junior Common Room (JCR) were unabashedly nervous, checking our computers constantly, refusing all alcohol until after the results were in. There was a very drunk student near me who was, at times, amusing to watch; at others, I was close to physical violence, asking his less belligerent friend to get him to stop blocking the screen. When we realized, coming on 4:30am, that everything was over, Obama had won for certain, three of us – the three girls who happened to share an incredible literature professor last year – rose from our seats, chests heaving, smiles ripping at our faces. Everyone was cheering. We were hugging.

Wednesday. Lost to Faulkner criticism, I realized that I also lost another pair of black gloves, as well as the first two items of clothing I’d ever knit for myself: a purple scarf and a black and blue hat. I have yet to find them again. I suspect they have been swept into the trash or stolen. If stolen – I hope someone is enjoying them, at least. If binned – damn damn damn the waste.

Thursday. 3am. Almost finished Faulkner paper. 3:30am. Went to sleep. 6:45am. Woke up. Finished Faulkner paper. Went to school in East Oxford to read with a graceful, wonderful child. She was ten, and reminded me of myself at that age. She thought I was cool. I thought she was cooler. We hit it off. I wished I could teach her every day. Making a connection with a child like that – feeling like you’re getting somewhere with them, helping them enjoy and understand and retain a piece of written material – is one of the best, most uplifting, joyous and heart-swelling feelings I’ve yet to experience. It’s a terrifying kind of trust and power dynamic.

Thursday. Night. Danced behind the Sheldonian to the ghostly music floating out of it. Had incredible, romantic and passionate conversation about books at a bar that includes horrendous artwork in glaringly overbearing frames. Danced, danced, danced between sweaty people stuffed between sweaty walls.

Friday. Errands. A realization. I fucking hate thinking about clothes. I hate how they make me feel. I hate needing to think about them. I hate needing to be aware of them all the time. I hate dealing with them. They are not where I invest my money. I will always – always – feel like I’ve wasted money by spending it on clothes that aren’t practical and comfortable and that I can and will wear on a daily basis. I love the way other people wear clothes. I love the way other people have the patience for them. I love the way other people have eyes for them. I love looking at clothes. I am envious of their attitude towards clothes. I am jealous of their ability to enjoy clothes. I wish I had the patience for clothes myself, or the belief that there was a point to them. But I am perverse: take me in my ragged tank tops, my old sweatshirts, and my comfortable jeans. Take me in the same style of clothing, day after day. Or fuck off, don’t take me at all. As usual – I don’t want to be judged, but I am my own worst natural foil. I am not alone in this. I am one of many, a vast majority of us who trip ourselves up. Just one of the crowd.


2 thoughts on “Crowd of Latelies

  1. Sounds like a great, full week! Glad the Faulkner paper is done; hope it went well! I was so relieved when Obama won. XD And I’m so happy for both you and your reading buddy; sounds like a good experience. Very sorry to hear you lost your gloves and knitting, though. I remember being stunned and panicking when I realized that I’d misplaced my Doctor Who scarf somewhere in Paris. It took a long time to come to terms with. O-o

    If left to my own devices I would probably lounge around in sweaters and sweatshirts, too. ;p I’m not fond of uncomfortable clothes, either, and apparently even when I try to dress nicely for work I end up dowdy. Oh well.

    Hope you are doing fine, Ilana. Sending you hugs. Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve been up to. It is always, always good to read. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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