Sunday, December 16, 2007
I don't really like potato salad, however, I once considered it an American dish. How wrong I was! A few months ago we attended an "International Dinner Party" and Ryan brought potato salad (what's more American than picnic food and BBQ, right?) only to have Katherine, a German, bring another. The more people I meet, the more I realize that potato salad is the international dish.
Last night we were at a small Christmas party at Phillipe and Francisco's house, when I realized that potato salad might be the answer. Americans pride themselves on our differences from Europe; how we refuse to socialize medicine, vote for socialists, pay attention to soccer, and allow unions to gain power. But we all eat potato salad! (minus perhaps Asia, although I think Russia has a version as well). And as I looked around the room at my international friends eating potato salad (a Czech Christmas specialty) it occurred to me how different things could be. Currently America has a bevy of political candidates vying for who can be the most Reagan-esque or, alternately, liberal but not dynamic. And above all, we are afraid of other countries and becoming like them.
What's wrong with France sitting on the couch, hitting on the Czech Republic? Or Spain, Bolivia, and Australia debating the responsibilities of Europe to the post-colonized Africa? Why does America pride itself so much on its Americaness that it sacrifices learning from other countries? We need to accept their potato salad might be better than our own.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
I woke up at 3am Monday, as someone was trying to force open our bedroom door. (Our house is shared and there are locks on individual bedrooms as well as the front door) I grabbed Ryan's arm and he went to the door. The knocking/shaking continued for a moment, then we heard slow, heavy footsteps down the hallway. Ryan waited a moment, then lifted the latch and cracked the door. He saw a large, heavy-set person standing on the landing above the stairs. "Dorothy?" he called out "is that you, Dorothy?" The figure stood there, not responding. Ryan groped for the hall light, keeping his eyes on the figure. But when he switched the lights on, no one was there. The hall was completely empty-- not even a coat rack to confuse the eyes.
Visibly shaken, Ryan closed the door, turned on our lights and climbed back into bed. "I think I've just seen a ghost." I told him there was no way, but I was scared too. We hashed and rehashed the situation for a few minutes, all the while hearing slow, heavy footsteps coming back toward our room, then past, upstairs to Dorothy's room, then stopping. We lay in bed quietly. No more sounds came. After about an hour, Ryan fell asleep. I was drifting off when I heard the downstairs door open and two people rushing up the stairs. One was talking loudly on a cell in the hallway. They walked in and out of Tekla's room next door, carrying on all sorts of activity. It sounded like moving furniture, music on and off, walking up and down the stairs, banging on doors, ringing the doorbell, all sorts. Although they were loud, I was a bit relieved to think that if there was some ghost, those boys would be scared off. After an hour or so, I fell asleep again, only to be startled awake every 30 minutes or so by another loud noise.
When the alarm finally rang at 8am, there was another knock at the door, this time a visibly upset Angel. She was ranting about "Tekla's friend" who apparently banged on her door, came into her room, and stood over her bed in the middle of the night. He was now sprawled out in an arm chair in the living room. We agreed to talk to Tekla. After she left, Ryan asked "do you think it was the ghost?" The figure had not spoken when Angel screamed at it to leave. Also, she did not have her contacts in. Either way its pretty weird-- who goes into someone's room in the middle of the night?
The boy, who I think is Tekla's brother, had his legs sticking into the middle of the living room. Ryan and I walked past to make breakfast, not taking care to be quiet. After banging about in the kitchen I went back upstairs to get my stuff together for work. As I was leaving the boy was banging on Tekla's door, but she wouldn't let him in, only cracked it to tell him to go back downstairs. The boy followed me down and begged me for a fag. I told him I didn't smoke and left for work.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
One Boyer Street has a revolving door for loonies. Last week our semi-normal roommate, Erica, moved out, and in her room now lives Tekla. I met her a few nights ago when Ryan and I were fixing the internet connection in her room. From her belongings I gathered that she is a fitness buff with a passion for Eddie Murphy movies. Also, she has a copy of the Kama Sutra displayed by her bedside. She's going to be a fun neighbor, I thought.
Two nights ago she came into the kitchen when I was cooking and I asked her where she came from. She has moved from southern England to be near her boyfriend, which is always a fool-proof idea, especially when he gives you the choice: move here or I'll break up with you. Tekla has my sympathy for her misfortunes of living at this property and from having an asshole boyfriend, whom I later met.
The boyfriend parked his bike in our minuscule entryway and came in while we were eating to ask us about "a lighter, you know, for fags. I want to have a fag." I told him we didn't have one, but offered up our bounteous supply of kitchen matches, which are our only means of lighting the stove/oven. He promised to bring them right back.
An hour later I was reading in bed whilst Ryan worked on a lab report. We heard shouting and banging on Tekla's door; she had, for some reason, locked him out. He cussed at her and she eventually opened up. The smell of pot leaked out of her doorway and we heard a loud chanting for the next hour or so. We didn't get the matches back.