This past Saturday, Jonathon brought me along to a friend's family farm for an annual weekend party that...well...

Okay.  Jonathon came back from this party last year and told me how he spent his weekend.  "Lies.  All lies," I insisted.  And when we arrived this year, I was so pissed that he was right (and he kept laughing at me in my incredulous wrongness).  Look, I can try to describe it, but it will save us all a lot of time if you just trust that 99% of what you see in this music video actually transpired in real life (somebody else said it was like living in a CW show).  

Oh, but with more fireworks, both purposeful and accidental.

Around one AM, with the ridiculously large bonfire finally losing its novelty and with no tent to our name, Jonathon and I retired to the finished loft above a garage, where several people had already sprawled out on air mattresses and sleeping bags.  At 6:15, I woke up to abundant sunshine and chirping birds.  I thought about grabbing a change of clothes and heading out for a solitary stroll, but more people had settled in around us after we'd dozed off, and I was effectively marooned on our sleeping bag.  My phone still had most of its charge, and I briefly checked email and the news.  I wasn't really feeling it, but neither did I feel like I could go back to bed.  Then I realized I could reach my book* without noisily disturbing the sleeping crowd, so that's what I did.

Sometimes my mind would wander from reading, and I'd stare out into space.  But the hissing of ripstop polyester tossing and turning often crescendoed over the ambient sounds of a rustic morning, reminding me that I ran the risk of creeping people out by being wide awake without any task.  So I'd bring my awareness back to the book in my left hand and the hi-liter in my right.  And every once in a while, another person did wake up.  They'd tiptoe through the maze of flannel-clad humans, go downstairs to use the bathroom, then return to their bedding for more shut-eye.  Eventually I felt my own eyelids becoming heavier.  Because it seemed a shame to stop only ten pages from a new chapter, I willed myself to finish the one I had started.  And once I was done, I conked out 'til midday.

There's a lesson here for times I find myself lacking motivation: read like I'm surrounded by casual acquaintances who could wake up at any moment.

 I'm still a little miffed about the implausible perfection of these outdoors.

I'm still a little miffed about the implausible perfection of these outdoors.

 

 

*Someone asked me later in the day what I had been reading.  It took my a good ten seconds to come up with Marvin Carlson's The Haunted Stage: The Theatre as Memory Machine (an excellent book I've long been meaning to read more of, and not simply because it was written by one of my professors).  Reading may have been the best use of my time in this particular situation, but I don't think I'm at my most efficient at six o'clock in the morning.

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AuthorMaria Cristina Garcia

Jonathon and I regularly reminisce about all we've forgotten from our excellent high school education.  Immersing myself in calculus is one luxury I have no room for (at least not until I've either gotten a terminal degree or realized my dream of being a shepherdess in the Outer Hebrides) but I'm getting reacquainted with history.  Cross training for the First Exam,* if you will.

A wide variety of nonfiction books would be ideal, but I'm text-booking it for efficiency's sake.  Currently, I'm working my way through William R. Keylor's The Twentieth-Century World and Beyond.  This activity is about a seventy-thirty split between refreshing my memory and learning new things, all the while entertaining myself by reading snark into Bill's (may I call him Bill?) writing.  Take these two paragraphs for example:

It was not until the decade of the 1890s that the United States, having become an industrial power of the first rank and consolidated political control of the territory on its own continent, acquired the economic and military capability to project its power to the southern half of the its hemisphere.  The pursuit of American strategic and economic interests in the Caribbean region in particular and in Latin America in general was justified, as has so often been the case in American foreign policy, by a high-sounding moral principle,  Just as the westward continental expansion of the nineteenth century was touted as the "manifest destiny" of a chosen people on the march, the subsequent extension of American hegemony over Latin America at the expense of European powers was couched in two moralistic phrases: "hemispheric solidarity" and the more commonly used "Pan-Americanism."

The ideology of Pan-Americanism was rooted in two myths about the geographical and political conditions of the western hemisphere.  The first was the widespread misconception that the two continents of the new world formed a single geographic unit that stood apart from the other continents of the earth.  In reality the continents of North and South America, though connected by a narrow strip of land, achieved their normal communication by sea in the nineteenth century and by air later in the twentieth.  By sea, Rio de Janeiro is considerably closer to the west coast of Africa than to any port in the United States.  By air, Washington is closer to Moscow than to Buenos Aires.  The myth of political affinity derived from the use of the term "republic" as a label for the governmental systems of the Latin American nations.  As "sister republics," the United States and the countries to the south came to be regarded as joint custodians of a common legacy of democratic government that distinguished them from the monarchical tradition of the old world.  The perpetual tendency of the reputed "republics" of Latin America to lapse into various forms of dictatorship while the nations of Western Europe moved toward democratic rule belied such sentimental invocations of a hemispheric partnership of republicanism.**

It's there, right?  I'm not just imagining the barely restrained snark?

The other thing I like about this particular excerpt is the context it provides for the refrain of the Cole Porter song "The Good-Will Movement" from the ridiculous musical Mexican Hayride (1944):

A super-step
Is the Good-Will Movement,
It's in that pep,
Pan-American mood.

 

 

*When three of my professors will spend six hours over two days quizzing me on all of theatre history ever.

**pp 20-21