Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Cave: Valentines Day edition (this is yesterday's lost post)

Eating: Valentine's-Day-colored M&M's
Listening to: the Magnetic Fields's 69 Love Songs.
Thinking about: who I would rather marry, Mr. Darcy or Sydney Carton…right now I'm leaning towards Carton--remember that speech he made at the end of A Tale of Two Cities? I'll have to see if I can dig it up.

(Update: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.” Oh, he’s so noble!)

That's right, this post is themed towards the silliest Hallmark-propaganda holiday there is (actually, I veer off topic later). So bear with me.

There's this tradition at my school: for the bargain price of $1, any kid can buy a carnation (I know, heh) for someone and write an accompanying note on a little heart-shaped piece of paper. Then teachers deliver them in homeroom on Valentines Day, and I guess the idea is that you can declare your undying love for that guy (or girl) who sits next to you in Biology--anonymously.

So I was half-surprised but half-not when I got this little note in homeroom. I was sort of expecting it because I've gotten these notes every Valentine’s Day since freshman year. I'm not sure who it is, but I have a hunch; how?--because the notes are written in Latin. Um, yes. When I took Latin freshman and sophomore years, there were about six or seven boys; only two of them actually learned Latin, as the rest just copied the tests off me and E. And of those two, one is gay. But if it is who I think--let's call him J.--then I'm still rather baffled, because I've never even talked to him outside of the usual classmate friendliness. Alright, lie. I did talk to him once, when I was trying to warm him up because we were working with partners and he looked really uncomfortable... Over the course of this conversation, he told me that he doesn't read novels, he reads encyclopedias. In Russian. So after that, needless to say, I was a bit intimidated. But who else would write a love note in Latin?

Since I have no shame, here it is:

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It's pretty easy to figure out what it says roughly, but when I looked at it I couldn't help but think, Man, I wish I remembered those declensions. But I figure the gist of it is, "As an angel loved in shadow, love is often hidden."

Far stranger than that, however, is the math equation at the bottom. I'm guessing it's the equation for a heart? Aww.

Speaking of Latin and love, the biggest crush I've ever had (on a real person I knew, that is--not oh, say, Aragorn) was on this boy in my Latin class when I was a freshman. He, alas, was a senior then; it was not meant to be. His name was Spencer and boy was I infatuated. He wasn't even particularly attractive--at least by normal standards; to me he was--but he was incredibly smart, very laid-back, and whenever he spoke he said remarkably interesting things. He wore Modest Mouse t-shirts before I even knew who they were, and he did his Latin term project on Roman orgies. Heh. I sat two seats behind him and I would just gaze at the side of his face all class... But then one day he was gone! Off to college--Skidmore, maybe?--and I never saw him again. I keep on thinking that some day I'll just run into him on the street or something... Raging schoolgirl crush, alright--so there's my V-Day reminiscence, brava, bravisima. (I guess I should tell that story about the Valentine's Day death threat later, eh?)

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This morning I woke up at a record late time and had exactly ten minutes to get out to the bus. I had slept in my Wilco t-shirt so I thought, what the hell--I just pulled on some jeans and ran downstairs. I was drinking coffee while I was pulling on my shoes and brushing my teeth with one hand as I snapped this eerie early-morning picture (out the kitchen window) with the other:

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I didn’t even have time to look at the paper--oh horror!--so I stuck the front section of the NY Times under my arm to read on the bus. (I did get some odd looks, but hey, I’m a geek.) Needless to say, amidst all the rush, I forgot what day it was and found myself in school today wearing no Valentine’s Day attire at all. Except those pink cheeks o’ mine.

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Clearly, I’m channelling Christo (albeit with my bedroom curtains).

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And now. Neil Gaiman. (Okay, admittedly this is not going to be paragraphs of Neil-worshiping as I have been prone to do in the past; this has a point.) I should start by explaining that my introduction to Neil came when I read his novel Neverwhere. Neverwhere takes place primarily in the strange world called London Below, a sort of alternate city where Knightsbridge is Night’s Bridge and rats talk…all unbeknownst, of course, to those ignorant inhabitants of London Above.

A little while ago I saw, astonishingly, an article in the Guardian to something of that aspect, but all the stranger of course because this was Real Life. Apparently “police in Paris have discovered a fully equipped cinema-cum-restaurant in a large and previously uncharted cavern underneath the capital's chic 16th arrondissement. Officers admit they are at a loss to know who built or used one of Paris's most intriguing recent discoveries. ‘We have no idea whatsoever,’ a police spokesman said.” It seems that a few days later those intrepid Guardian journalists got to the bottom of this (in a way I fear the NY Times journalists would not have), for there was a follow-up article for which they apparently tracked down “La Mexicaine de la Perforation, a clandestine cell of ‘urban explorers.’” This group of about a dozen people have assembled “rock concerts for up to 4,000 people in old underground quarries; 2am projections in a locked film theatre; [and] art and photo exhibitions in supposedly sealed-off subterranean galleries.”

I suppose I ought to stop quoting the articles here in their entirety—just read them for yourselves. But isn’t it bizarre and lovely that such things really do exist?

(Ahem, while I’m speaking of the Guardian, here’s a review of The Life Aquatic that I finally agree with! Most of the other Aquatic reviews I’ve read have designated the film mediocre; I sense a cult film in the making…)

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And ah me, Spring is in the air. Today the air was warm and fresh-smelling from rain, the sky bright blue, the snow melting and muddying the streets…but in the ultimate sign that Spring is truly here, Chem Corner was crowded with kids playing Wiffleball during the lunch periods! On days like this, I remember why I love living in New England.


Anonymous Jay said...

Wow, that's a rather ingenious and romantic valentine's day message.
I wish that I would have come up with something that cool when I still was in high school :-/

7:39 AM  
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