Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Spring

Growing up, my commute to school for eleven years was along Sunset Boulevard, and the part of Sunset in the middle of Beverly Hills is one of my favorite stretches of road. You pass by fantastically large (and, for the most part, beautiful) houses, green grass and trees line the street and fill the median, and there are a couple locations notable for their flowers. One is a gorgeous house that goes all-out in decorating itself for every major holiday, and the other is the Beverly Hills Hotel. The latter goes to the trouble of planting flowers in the center divider, and bears the expense of replacing them every two months or so. And in all those years of passing by, I've merely considered such replacement to be run-of-the-mill.

Here in Evanston, things work a little differently. Climate constrains such excesses (given the wealth of this town, they would probably exist if it were otherwise, though), but in their place is that wonderful leap in your heart when you notice green shoots poking through the ground. Yesterday I saw fully-bloomed daffodils, and the hedges and trees in my apartment courtyard are covered in green buds. Until now, I considered the odd 60-degree day to be a symptom of the wild swings in Chicago weather, but now it seems spring may actually be here.

Of course, the thoughts that gives rise to are those of summer, when I can walk to class in flip flops again and curse my coursework because it's just plain cruel to have to suffer group meetings in late May and June when we could be hanging out in the shade in a beer garden and people-watching. I was always glad USC let out in May and began again in late August, because that lets you enjoy the best part of the summer. To have free time in September makes me feel like I'm just wasting it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts of the day, now that I finally have the energy to write. I got back from my cruise on Sunday (yes, it was wonderful, and expensive, and self-indulgent, and so worth it) and have been exhausted ever since. So has the rest of my class, strangely enough--I don't think spring break was long enough. About half the class was falling asleep during our afternoon lecture yesterday, and I don't think the professor (a somewhat less popular one) is entirely to blame. A vast change in sleep schedule probably is. A big change in everything for me personally: now that I'm back, I have to a. begin exercising again and b. eating less (my new tan does a good job of hiding those extra pounds I put on, but doesn't change the visceral fat feeling), c. sit still for long periods of time, d. wear clothing, e. readjust to an environment that isn't constantly rocking (well, I haven't got my land legs back yet entirely, so I have to endure mental rocking every so often. Very distracting while learning a new computer program, by the way.) and f. start making use of my brain again. No wonder I'm tired. That baby in the room above me that cries every ten minutes isn't helping, either.

In line with f, I've started trying to follow the news again. I'm disillusioned with March Madness since, as one might have expected, my bracket really sucked, but baseball season begins in a week, so I'm looking forward to that. The usual depressing stuff that I ignore is going on, but I've always been a fan of the articles on social trends anyway, both because that's where my interests lie anyway and because that's the kind of journalism that I find to be more impressive. Anyone can write about the latest tragic death (they don't really have to, that's what AP and Reuters are for), but to be on the ball detecting social trends is a lot harder simply because it's such a fuzzy idea to capture. You can only interview your friends so many times. Anyway, I found this article in the LA Times and while it was interesting, I think some of these people are really stupid. I've never understood martyrdom in the name of some social ill (in my experience, the idea is only useful in getting one through the "I'm so misunderstood" teen years, and beyond that it's just immature), since you're only hurting yourself and honestly, who else cares? I'm mad at the paper for making these people think they're right and inspiring hundreds of others to mimic them in some misguided attempt to make government officials feel bad. Being active in a cause and donating money is one thing, but to give up the advantages of a marriage license and pay extra to insurance companies that don't give a shit is another.

And with that, I think I've worked up enough energy to go for a run. Ciao!

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