Sunday, January 18, 2009

Faux Pas and Other Things to Think About

I’ve been feeling domestic today. I finished washing the dishes that have been rinsing since Friday night, I did laundry, I made water, I scrubbed the bathroom door with bleach, and I took down the fabric in the living room because it was too much. All of this work (particularly laundry) grows tedious and my mind wanders, and here are some more debates I’ve been having in my head.

  • After using the internet yesterday, I went and sat in on Erik’s radio show again. It was pretty awesome. He was having friends over to make Mexican food for dinner, and he needed to make salsa. So he turned control over to me for the first half of the show. I started off with a geeky, inoffensive rock mix—Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes,” Asia’s “Heat of the Moment” (a la Guitar Hero), Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” and Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life.” I feel like listening to "Walk of Life" right now. That’s good.

    Then I went into a mid-90’s mix: Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in my Pocket,” Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So,” Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” and Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do.” Yes. It was almost like Monica Corrigan was there. Ha. Wow. I’m way off on a tangent.

    After Erik finished making his salsa, he called the people that were supposed to come over, and they had decided to forego Mexican night and to instead go out for food. Erik was low on funds for the month, so he opted out. He said he was going to get some taco seasoning anyway and go all out.

    Then Cale called me and asked if I wanted to go to dinner with him and Sara, and I accepted the invitation. It wasn’t until I got off the phone that I realized that Erik may have been implying that I would join him for a small but serious taco night, and that I was therefore ditching him by going to dinner with Cale and Sara. I immediately invited him to dinner, but repeated that he was low on funds.

    I felt awkward. No one wants to be a ditcher. Looking back, I think the best plan would have been to invite Cale and Sara to Erik’s for Mexican food. This would have been cheap and inclusive. Next time.

  • My living room no longer feels like a 24-hour Hibiscus Festival, but now the one wall is back to being distractingly bare. The nakedness is accented by the couch now sitting across the room and the fluorescent light fixture that makes the living room feel like a Ralph’s produce section (Cale about his living room lights: “Maybe a little less light in here? I promise I’m not going to do any surgery.”).

    The bare wall will hopefully look a little better when I get the cinder block shelf in here, and that should give me some idea of how big any wall-hangings will need to be. But where am I going to get stylish wall hangings? Yeah, that’s right. I have style.

    While we’re on the subject, I think I’m going to take one of the single chairs out of the living room. It’s too crowded for 3 chairs plus the couch. I think I’m going to put it in my room. At first I felt like this was a silly idea. Why do I need a chair in my room? But given that, besides the bed, I have no furniture in my room, I think a chair might accent the piles of stuff on the floor quite nicely. People keep chairs in their bedrooms, right?

  • I’m uneasy about the battle it’s going to take to get a whiteboard in the computer lab. In what I’ve experienced so far, it’s difficult to know how to get things like this done within the culture of doing business here. And then I feel weird asking for things because where does that end? The Congregationalist school across the street has a projector in their computer lab. Should I ask for a projector? I could certainly use a projector (also, I could take it home, and put my big, empty white wall to use in the evenings).

    But getting back to the whiteboard, I’ve barely seen whiteboards in Samoa. The language teachers had small portable ones that they propped up on easels during our training. That shouldn’t be that expensive. Ideally I would get one bolted to the wall. But that seems like it will take time and a fight, and the thought of that makes me tired.

    I do feel like, as far as the Peace Corps goes, my experience so far has been served on a silver platter. Fancy computers, flat screens, broadband internet 2 blocks away. Maybe I should shut up and fight for a whiteboard.

    That’s all I’ve got for now. I feel like I’ve been thinking about other things that were more funny/interesting, but I guess part of why internal conversations are internal is because you forget them before they can be external. Oh well.

    My laundry didn’t dry, and thick clouds have moved in that will almost definitely be here for the rest of the afternoon. Sucks.

    Hope things are well. A couple pictures below.

  • Cale, Sara, and Me (whitewashed by the flash) at Chinatown Restaurant. I made them take this picture after dinner was over. I felt awkward asking, but I feel like my blog is content-hungry. But I'll tack it up as another faux pas.

    My front room with the bare wall.

    I was bored today, and I made this floor plan (to scale!) of my front room to plan it out better. It's just so hot, and moving around furniture for experimental purposes just doesn't seem worth it. Not sure that I can justify/fit the swivel chair.


    Anna said...

    if u turn the chairs so they dont face the wall then the bareness will go unseen! ha :) u should write more on the culture-

    Unknown said...

    I was just reading an article in a magazine that was giving interior design tips/suggestions. They suggested using a chair instead of a bedside table. Wala! There you have it.
    Possible future blogs for you:
    I would love to know more about Samoan food and food culture. A typical breakfast, lunch, dinner? Do they snack? What kind of tea is used?

    Also, another thing I am always interested in is about health/healing in other cultures. Who are the healers? Do they even sell medication there? Is there a pharamacy or drugstore? If there are no hospitals, where do sick people go?

    Barb Carusillo said...

    You know Matt, you have a talent of making the most mundane things of life seem utterly fascinating. If most of us expressed our internal conversations while cleaning, others would be bored senseless. Not so with you!
    Of course folks have chairs in their bedrooms...where else will you stack all your clothes you are not currently wearing but will again tomorrow, or sit to put shoes on?

    Anonymous said...

    you wouldn't have needed some bullets with butterfly wings for monica to have shown up.