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Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2004 | link
I'm awake! I'm here! In fact in about half an hour I'm off to take my Nabokov midterm, for which I've actually prepared a thick stack of (very hot pink) flash cards. The teacher for this class is notorious for throwing next-to-impossible midterms (of course I never get advanced warnings about this kind of thing because I talk to virtually no one at school, thanks to my nocturnal educational strategy, which drastically reduces the number of potential gossips, what with virtually no one being on campus when I am, shit). One of the kids in my Sherlock Holmes class is in another one of this teacher's classes, some poetry thing, and they've already had their midterm, so I got to at least see the sorts of facts and figures that he expects his students to know. And yay, it turns out he's a big fan of the kind of hyperdetailed questions that only the most obsessive-compulsive reader could answer, along the lines of "what color sock was so-and-so wearing when he felt the first surge of love for meow-chica-meow?" Apparently no one scores a hundred on his exams, and they're graded on the very steepest of curves: my generous friend got, I think, eight out of twenty-five questions correct, and still he landed a C.
Since we've read four novels and eight short stories so far, and Nabokov's writing is so monstrously dense and layered and magnificent, not to mention packed with lots of Russian names (Rodrig Ivanovich is not to be confused with Roman Vissarionovich, Marthe the straying wife in Invitation to a Beheading is not to be confused with straying wife Martha in King, Queen, Knave ... or IS she?), it's difficult to know just exactly what I should be pointlessly memorizing. When I asked the teacher for advice as to what to focus on, he answered, with a piquant twinkle of the eye, "Everything!" Thank you sailor!
So I just did my best. I dug out the facts and themes and characters that interested me most and memorized the living shit out of them. They're almost guaranteed to be all the exact wrong things, but at least now I know that "frass" is the excrement of insects, and the only two, Russian certainties in life are "death and conscience" -- more job interview razzledazzle!
Speaking of which, yesterday I went to go see the career masseuse that Lycos lined up for all the employees it laid off, and it was kind of a nightmare. I promised myself to not even start looking for work until May, when I'm done with classes and Austin-ing and New York-ing and Yosemite-ing, so I wasn't even remotely in the mode for facing, say, the ferociously long list of resume action verbs, not at all. (Maybe I can just use "action verb" itself, like, "Action verbed an internationally renowned and award-winning educational website with over 500 articles and one million visitors monthly.")
Just being there made me tense and crabby. And really, why was I there? Apparently none of the other ex-Lycosians have answered this woman's calls, an option that just never occurred to me so afraid am I, thanks to a deep and complicated varietal of guilt, of making the universe think that I'm not at least willing to try. But rather than uh-huh her and get out of there, stat, I surprised myself by exercising my crabbiness and actually arguing with the nice lady (who had recently switched menopause hormones, a confession that was so very close to the kind of spillage I tend to produce in such situations that I felt both sympathetic and deeply afraid that maybe I was looking at a potential ghost of Evany future) about one-page resumes versus two-pagers (one page! one page! pithiness for president!), whether a bullet point should exist if there is a least one other point to keep it company (no!), and so on.
But then the woman completely silenced me with an anecdote about a "gay friend" of hers (read: creative) who had ideas about the art of the resume that were, she assured me, as firm as mine, despite the fact that his resume was garnering not one callback from the many places he submitted it. "So I said to him, I said, 'Look, do you want a fucking job or not?'"
After treading water in the silence that line produced with me, and presumably him, I said, "Wow." Then, "Well, maybe that's the problem. I'm not sure if I want a fucking job." And then we agreed that maybe we'd have better luck in May, which is when I'll be returning to her, all pumped up on action verbs and ready to list my many quantifiable accomplishments!
Meanwhile, Leisa permed my eyelashes at TV night this week! Now I look really, really cute, and really, really awake. And beaver-eager for some hot, midterm action.