Plato believed that we lived in a world of
images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one. What we see with our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.
example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists. We carry on everyday with
flawed perceptions of the true ideal form.
Life After College:
Year 3 - In Transit
[Tuesday, November 29, 2005]
I sort of like it when it rains.
I've decided that I rather like my room. And I don't spend enough time in it. It's comfortably disorganized. Not messy, but not overly-neat-so-its-sterile either. It looks lived in. My Astronomy calendar is on the wall, with pictures from the Hubble telescope of new galaxies being born. I have my black and white print of New York on the wall(thanks to Fisher for the most opportune going-away present). My most favorite books are on the shelf, ranging from Asimov, to Faeries, to Roald Dahl, to Alice in Wonderland, to Brian Greene's The Fabric Of The Cosmos. And my journals sit snuggled beside them. I'm sprawled out on my bed, to the glow of two of my favorite lamps (one which I found at an antique store in NY with my best friend Kenmore), and my biochem is sprawled out beside me. Coldplay is playing, it's raining outside, and I have hot tea. I like the sound of the cars swooshing by outside. At times like this, I almost enjoy med school. Perhaps I shouldn't run away after all.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, November 27, 2005]
Thanksgiving with the Brother. We're all grown up!
We had our first Thanksgiving completely fight-less, which is rather unusual for our family. It used to upset me that we weren't picture-perfect, but since then, I've learned to accept my family for who they are. And myself for who I am. No one would ever mistake us for anything but family. Especially since all of us get mad all the time. I get mad at med school, and I equally get mad at my family. And they get mad at me. And we're not the sort to squash down the emotions. No sir, we let them burst out in the most healthy of ways, d-evolving to shouting matches sometimes that sputter out on their own energy. That's just us. My dad and I got in a fight on the way back to school. We almost made it. But me and my brother? Not only did we make it, but we crossed the finish line with flying colors.
He's head of some student activities council at his school in Boston, and they recently brought Hot Hot Heat to their campus. Not only did he get to meet the band and chill with them in their trailer, but he also managed to procure me an album, signed by the band. "To Ink: Where were you tonight?" Taped to it was the EP of We Are Scientists. I was aghast. With pleasure and surprise and suspicion. My brother usually isn't that nice to me. We normally fight, because we disagree on most things, and only agree to disagree after prolonged arguments. He walks me home on the cell phone, but I can write that off to "brotherly duty". Material expressions of affection? Unheard of. But there it was, staring me in the face, and telling me through my ipod. Between the lyrics I can hear the whispers - your brother likes you!. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. I wanted to grab him by the collar and demand, "Where is my brother and what have you done with him?" Instead, I thanked him and wandered off in a daze to my room, where I promptly ripped the cd into my iTunes.
Perhaps we really are growing up. I no longer chide him for being irresponsible (because I've come to accept that he gets his stuff done, however haphazardly), and he no longer wakes me up in the morning by farting on me. Everything has changed. And nothing has. We still have horrible tempers. The only difference is that he now directs it towards individuals who steal his space in the parking lot of Best Buy. And even then, as I laughed and tried to pull him back as he raced towards the guy, my brother surprises me. Instead of decking the guy like I fully expected him to, considering the proverbial steam coming out of his ears, he tapped the guy on the shoulder and said with barely restrained anger (and with fists clenched at his side), "I was waiting for that spot for 5 minutes. The least you could've done was back up into your original spots instead of pulling forward into mine. It's just common courtesy." And stalked off.
And as I stood there with my mouth hanging open, I've never been so proud. And so stunned. And so happy. I think I might like my brother too.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, November 21, 2005]
Bliss in a cup.
I'm sitting in the most divine little coffeeshop. Good music playing, my studies laid out before me (and somehow, they're not irritating me like they usually do), hot coffee in the most darling oversized mug, and a little frosted almond biscotti. Almost makes me forget I have an exam tomorrow. The coffeeshop Tutto il Mundo just opened up a month ago and is down the street from my apartment, between home and school. The owner is a British transplant, and despite the uncomfortable seating, it manages to have a nice atmosphere. Highlighted by his 3 year old son occasionally running through giggling.
After visiting New York this weekend, I've begun to appreciate the finer points of Philadelphia. Being a student in New York is hard, because it's difficult to ever find study space. Anything that is remotely nice or cool is always overwhelming crowded. Here, aka "home", coffeeshops are pleasant, uncrowded, and Starbucks has only just begun its infiltration. Within a 5 block radius of my apartment, I have Stellar coffee (small, with cushy benches) on 11th and Spruce, The Village coffee on 11th and Locust (beautiful little wooden tables, and outdoor seating with heat lamps), The Last Drop (come here for an artsy, but smokey atmosphere) on 13th and Pine, and Tutto il Mundo on 10th and Locust. I never have trouble finding seats at any of them, they allow me to loiter as long as I want, and I idle the day away there, with other people sketching quietly or reading their books. Tutto il Mundo allows dogs, as long as they're quiet and well-behaved. Having a dog lying on the floor a few feet from me, with the occasional thump of a tail makes even biochemistry that much more bearable. As far as the free art classes being offered at Fleisher? It'd be overwhelmed with people in New York. But here, the classes still remain small and you can get individual attention from the artist. Too bad I haven't had time to actually attend that regularly.
Part of me thinks it might be wrong to feel this relaxed when I have an exam tomorrow that I'm utterly unprepared for.
Posted by ink |
[Friday, November 18, 2005]
Is it a bad sign when...
...I feel a sore throat coming on, and I'm menstruating like Hurricane Katrina's fury, and I picked at my zit absently-mindedly until it bled?
I had to put toilet paper on my forehead in the bathroom.
And my tummy keeps rumbling ominously. It might be from all the black licorice I feverishly ate in a sudden fit of nervousness.
442 pages over 3 weeks, that will be tested in 4 days (on Tuesday) over a period of 4 hours. I need a 70% to pass, which means I need to know slightly more than 300 of those pages like the back of my hand.
The back of my hand, which right now has pen marks and little phrases all over it like - Wee1 - inhibits CDK/cyclin complexes via Phosph... ( the ink fades out here ) cdc25 - uninhibits cak - activates chk1 - inhibits p27 degradation
Then below everything is a little cartoon of an evil alien. Obviously, I'm distracted.
And I had a dream last night that I was breastfeeding.
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, November 17, 2005]
Distressed Jeans on a Distressed Girl.
Note I write 'distressed', not 'diseased'. I sent the following Mayday call out to my friends this morning:
--------------------------------------- I've stopped going to class because I realized that per lecture, it takes me on average:
1 hour to read it and process it first-time 1 hour to go through it again and make notes in the margins 0.5 hour to memorize the details (like that the repeat interval of alpha DNA is 1.4 angstroms)
that's 2.5 hours per lecture. we have 3 lectures per day. that's a minimum of 7.5 hours of mandatory studying PER DAY, assuming that I never waver, never take a day off, never take a study break, and never take longer on some lectures because they're more difficult. Let's not talk about reviewing in case we forget anything. Attending class is out of the question (an additional 3-4 hours).
I'm behind because one night, I passed out at 7 pm and slept for 13 hours straight due to exhaustion, and didn't get to study at all. I'm -still- trying to recover from that oversight. My exam is in 3 days, and I'm about to give myself an inguinal hernia (that's one of those fun things where you get a lump in your pelvis region from straining). To top it all off, I have to waste all afternoon at this mandatory simulated medical interviewing session where I get to ask a fellow student about his anal bleeding and then try to find a diagnosis for it. Does no one realize that I'm not going to be interviewing any real patients if I can't pass biochemistry?! And somehow, I'm finding it really absurd that all this is happening because I didn't study for one night because I passed out instead.
My menstrual cycle has shifted from a 28 day cycle (normal) to a 56 day cycle (abnormal). What this means is that I get bloated on my regular schedule (at the 20 day mark), but then instead of becoming un-bloated on day 28, I remain bloated for another month! I'm growing monster pimples, and WHY ISN"T ANYONE EMAILING ME????? The only good news is that I'm not constipated. Though according to my professor, if you're not going 3-4 times a day, you -are- constipated (does that sound like an abnormally high number to anyone else?).
Besides that, things here are great.
Your friend, Ink --------------------------------------------
My friend Montreal told me that I shouldn't have sent it to my friends. She says that this sort of stuff should only remain between med school people. They won't get it, she said. They'll be like, whatever. I scoffed at her. -My- friends are better than that. She shrugged.
Four hours and an empty inbox later, I owe her ten bucks.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, November 09, 2005]
Motorcycle asked me on a date today. A real date. Which I suppose is an improvement from the "non-date" (to quote him) he asked me to last week. The "non-date" consisted of walking around the city for 2 hours while he complained every time I wanted to go into a store. I could already see that this wasn't going to go anywhere good. This time, he asked me to go "grab something to eat sometime." I hesitated. After he came over last Thursday, I decided I was no longer going to make out with him. I just didn't feel that great about it, and I still wasn't willing to do the "fun stuff outside of sex" he kept implying. I also found out he has an extraordinarily hairy butt, which really put a damper on things. I'm okay with chest hair, and belly hair, but I can't handle butt hair. But this was a date - not really a make-out session. And I had my Equal Opportunity Dating policy to think about.
The Equal Opportunity dating policy was implemented this year as New Year's Resolution #1. My friends always accuse me of not giving guys enough of a chance, so this was my response to it. I will go on one date with any guy who asks me out. Because if someone screws up the courage to actually put themselves on the line, the least I owe them is an hour of my time. And I get dinner. If the first date doesn't go well, then I feel perfectly justified in turning them down, conscience-free. However, if the results of the first date are inconclusive, then I may agree to a second date. In case the guy was nervous the first time around. The only thing that will lead to a third date is if the second date has a positive outcome. I think this is pretty fair.
This would be a first date for Motorcycle, since making out doesn't really count as a date. After all, there wasn't much speaking involved. Quite frankly, I'm not feeling too positive about it. Especially since (as my roommate reminded me) as of last Thursday, I had sworn that I was not only going to never make out with Motorcycle again, but I was also never going to hang out with him. But, he said he'd look around for restaurants after I agreed to "grab something to eat." That actually sounds like a real date. I like to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that maybe he actually is interested in my personality.
That and, I would feel kinda shallow rejecting him based on unfortunate furriness on his rear end that he probably can't help. Thursday night is to be the awkward night. I have no intention of letting him past my front door afterwards. Unless he's spectacularly charming over dinner.
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, November 05, 2005]
My mom apparently thinks I'm getting a lot more action than I actually am. She sent over a load of clothing that she'd purchased for me. I sifted through them, tried things on, and sent the things I didn't like back. Then I opened up the box of underwear, and lifted out little lacey things, one after the other. Somehow within the span of two years (which was the last time she bought me underwear), she had gone from sensible cotton panties, to Ralph Lauren lace panties. I hate to disappoint her, but lace underwear isn't going to help her get grandchildren any faster. Especially since the pickings at med school are pretty slim.
Well, except for one individual. Maybe. We first talked over a cadaver, when I peered into the one he happened to be looking at, and absent-mindedly cracked an extremely inappropriate joke. He looked surprised, and then laughed. On Wednesday, I ran into him after class when he was heading to lunch with a friend of his. He invited me along, I went, and over lunch - realized that he's actually quite a cool guy. And sort of cute. Thursday night, I called him to meet me at a bar near campus since I had friends visiting from out of town. He came. Last night, I dropped by the bar he was at to say hello, before I met up with the rest of my friends. The night ended with a textmessage from me, telling him my friends and I were hungry, and whether he knew if the pho place was still open this late. He responded with, "Going to bed, but I'd love to get pho tomorrow night. Give me a call."
This prompted a flurry of traditional female rituals this morning, as my friends from out of town discussed in great detail what "Give me a call" meant. Especially since a flippant verbal "Give me a call" uttered through the phone is different from a "Give me a call" sent through txtmessage, which is quite a long phrase for your thumbs to undergo. They liked him a lot. They like the way we talk, and claim that he totally digs me based on their observation of our interaction. Considering that most of my girlfriends have been single for the past few years (like me), I'm not sure what to think of their expert opinion on attraction between individuals. They chided me for never 'striking-while-the-iron-is-hot', claiming that I always dilly-dally too long. And they pointed out that next weekend, we're getting back into exam-time. A call to my brother always puts me back into the world of reality though. I recounted what had happened, to ask for his expert male opinion. And as I talked, my voice started to falter, and I started to see how silly this whole thing was. All this hullabaloo over a simple phrase. I decided that if he wanted to eat, he'd call himself.
Posted by ink |
[Tuesday, November 01, 2005]
Wasn't it Wedding Crashers that talked about that?
The Anatomy final is over, I got my grades back (I passed!), we started BioChemistry on Monday, and I hooked up with a guy in my class last night. It happened after the memorial service for our cadavers. I brought Delores three gerbera daisies, in red, orange, and yellow. Most people brought white lilies, but I felt like Delores was probably quite a spunky lady in her time, and I thought she'd appreciate them. After all, considering that I peeled her face off, ripped her skull off her spine, and then sawed her head in half, I felt like that was the least I owed her. I'm a little surprised at how unaffected I was by the entire thing. The only other people who do such things to dead bodies are psychopaths. Most normal people would be horrified at being forced to perform such actions, but not only was I un-horrified, but I was annoyed ("Hold her head still!" while I tried to saw through her skull), impatient ("Why is there so much fat in her eyeball?! Has anyone found the middle meningeal artery yet?"), and have a remarkable lack of post-traumatic stress. I slept like a baby every single night. Not one nightmare. My peace of mind makes me worry about my sanity. There was a study done on serial killers in jail. They'd show them pictures of disturbing events like decapitations, and monitor the activity in their frontal lobe. Serial killers showed no change in brain activity when they viewed these pictures. They could've been watching the Food Network. Have I become unhuman? I haven't dehumanized Delores for sure, since I find myself absent mindedly fixing her head position when it looks like she might be uncomfortable, and automatically uttering a "Sorry!" when I drop her too hard while turning her over. Meanwhile, students run around, tapping each other on the back with severed arms and asking "What muscle in the forearm is used to tap someone?". My friends fix the cadaver's hands so it looks like they're hailing a cab or a waiter ("What nerve is responsible for motor innervation of the index finger?"). And I'm digging open a white bucket in the corner of the lab that contains severed heads that are split open ("What spinal nerves run through the foramen magnum?"). Does anyone else think this is weird?
Yesterday's Memorial Service was good though. It gave me closure, and gave me a chance to make amends of some sort to Delores. To apologize to her for all the times I've been short, or abrupt, or rough in my impatience. To tell her that even though I complained about digging through the fat, I'm sure I'll have just as much fat when I'm 90. To assure her that I don't mind having permanent water-stains on my scrubs that are really fat-oil-stains. To thank her for giving me the opportunity to learn from her. For giving this gift to me. For being my first patient. For being so compliant and yielding. And to ask her to think of all the patients I will help with the knowledge that she gave me. Because after all, what is a heart, but an organ that not only beats, but also feels and swells with love? We all know what a heart is. We all know it beats and works in our own bodies. But how many people get to literally hold a heart in their hands? I held her heart in my hands, and her heart had once held her loved ones. Now that she's gone, all that is left is this magnificent structure that we students probe and study. And I thank her for giving me that opportunity.
It was emotional. Students performed pieces, read poetry, and uttered their thoughts at the open mic. I listened. And prayed in the moment of silence. And patted her hand (now skinned, and with the muscles reflected back to reveal the bone) one last time as I left the lab and the smell of formaldehyde forever. Thankfully. I can cross county coroner off my list of future occupations. But Delores lingered with me a while as I crossed the street outside the school building. So when Motorcycle offered to walk me partway home since he was going to the grocery store - I accepted.
Then I invited him in for a beer. And then we were making out. Sort of like funeral sex in the Wedding Crashers. Except we didn't have sex. And I guess our cadaver memorial wasn't really a funeral either. I realized that when a boy is on top of you and kissing you, you don't really notice that he's short or has buggy eyes. He was an okay-kisser. Not great, but good enough to be comforting. And physical touch just felt so nice at that moment. The stress of Anatomy and the memorial just melted off of me. Though, I did tell him that the fastest way to make sure that I would never hook up with him again was to tell people about it. I basically threatened him. And I kept my clothes on, explaining to him that I don't have casual sex.
"That's okay. We don't have to have sex. There are other ways to have fun too." "I'm not going to blow you." "Oh."
I fed him instead to make up for it. We ate dumplings in the kitchen, and then hung out with my roommate and watched Jon Stewart.
I'm not sure why I did that. He's not someone I'm particularly attracted to, and we're not even good friends. He's an acquaintance. Someone I'd run into a few times at bars, but wasn't close enough to to have his cell phone number, or even his AIM screen name on my buddy list. I suppose things worked out well, since he wasn't awkward or strange about it at all. And he didn't get mad at my refusal to have sex. He could've been an ass about it. It ended well. He kissed me goodnight and was on his way.
big change, the choices we make
in life, gut instincts, on-the-whim
hairpin turns, the search for truth, the desire to be happy, the journey to finding out what
makes us happy.
being young and clueless, hoping
that we're not blindly leading ourselves to our own demise with every
tentative step we take, the pitfalls of dating, the trials
and travails of being a young woman in the post-feminist era.