Thursday, August 04, 2005

Eggs and Lufia

And now, an examination of how I feel about my place in the world today that verges on the wistful and melancholy — plus (!) an apparently unrelated anecdote about high school.
[ the examination ]
Spence had an optometry appointment today so I drove him there and got breakfast at Cajun Kitchen while they put drops in his eyes and all that. I sat on the patio. By myself. This is notable because I rarely sit at restaurants by myself. To use the dramaturgical metaphor, I get stage fright if I'm up there alone, before a audience that I just know is mean and judgmental.

What I ate: hash browns, turkey sausage and two eggs, over easy. Bland breakfast. Typical breakfast. I tried to drown it in Cajun spicy sauce, but the effect was ultimately not as enlivening as the bottle's label led me to believe. Furthermore, I was easily the youngest person sitting outside. And the only person wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops. In fact, I was surrounded by two clusters of indoor desk types, all with cell phones clipped to their Dockers. Yikes. But I realized this whole situation, however unpleasant, was entirely indicative for this stage of my life. Me and the adults. The adults and me, conspicuously non-adultish in my appearance.

Whether I want to be or not, I live in a grown-up world. I'm not in college anymore. I need to get a job and some sense of stability. I'm finally finishing my Flash project today and will turn my provisional A into a real one. I'll have no other responsibilities from my college life holding me back, no excuses, no other alternatives to figuring out what I'm supposed to do with myself for the time being.

I live in a grown-up world now. I just need to find my place in it.
[ the unrelated anecdote ]
In my art class senior year, the teacher had the class sit at tables. Every few weeks, she'd shuffle the seating arrangement so that by June you'd arted next to just about everybody in the class. Partway through the year, I sat next to a girl named Lufia. She was tiny and Hispanic and I think a freshman who had been bumped up from beginning art because she had actual talent. She wore caked-on make-up — chola raccoon — but was outgoing and chatty and nice.

One day, my curiosity got the better of me. "So that's an unusual name," I told her.

"Yeah," she said. "I've never met any other Lufias before."

"How did you get it?"

"Well, my dad's name is Luis and my mom's name of Ofelia. So they decided to take the first part of my dad's name and stick it on the end part of my mom's."

I processed this for a second.

"Well, then shouldn't your name be 'Lufelia,' then?

Lufia was quiet for a second. "Oh," she said finally. "I'd never thought of that before." She was quiet for the rest of the day, quite possibly because I had pointed out that her name amounted to a lifelong typographical error.
[ super surprise bonus third section ]
When I took Prof. Corum's short story class, he told us that whenever authors write a collection of short stories, there's a reason why he or she groups together those given works of literature. He said the author might not even be conscious of the theme, but it's always there. I don't know if I agree with Corum. Frequently, I didn't, in fact. But when I decided to write this post, this grouping seemed like the most obvious one in the world. Now I don't know why I've yoked these two together.


  1. Anonymous10:29 PM

    Let's analyze. You may no longer be in school, but I'm afraid summer will rot my brian, and that cannot be a ggod thing just before taking Waid's faulkner class. Anyways, I'll assume for the moment that you are transgressive, and ignore the third section for now (but I will return to it).

    The first section details an act that you performed that led you into a set of circumstances you'd rather avoid, namely eating by yourself in a resturant, and confrontation with your own adulthood. The uniqueness of yourself is made to be a bad thing in this ancedote, as you are in a situation where you'd rather blend in, and instead feel isolated and "the other."

    The second ancedote is about how a class set up to make everyone feel homogenized, ironically an art class, instead just makes sure that no one forms any real connections with anyone else because no one gets to know one another. Lufius is a freak among freaks (to paraphrase Nancy Mairs) as she's a freshman, a chola, AND has an unusal name. Your sole attempt to get to know her (in the story) only serves to further isolate her, as you basically point out that her parent's grand idea was poorly executed.

    I think that this pairing forms a statement against being "in the middle." All attempts to have the best of both worlds or sit the fence or wait for better options wind up becoming annoyances or disasters. They seem to say one cannot afford to be indecisive, desicions have to be made, and made now, or bad things will follow. If we add the third section, even deciding if one is going to be a part of whatever herd calls loudest or a steadfast individual would be a step in the right direction. Arguing with Dickie's painting of creative writers with a broad brush was fine when you had the fire to back up your opinions, but now your confidence in that earlier estimation is crumbling. Wrong seems right, what seemed like a good idea wound up having bad consequences for others, where will the topsy-turvy end?

    Or it could just be that you wanted a story about sounding smart to negate an incident where you seemed stupid and/or childish.

  2. Anonymous5:43 PM

    This may seem completely unrelated, but Prof. Corum sleeps with his students. no joke. Oh, and hi. I miss having you around. You and Spencer should come visit me in SD. My mother will cook for you and buy you copious amounts of alcohol.