Autumn Languages

I left the surgically bright fluorescence of the lab this morning shortly  before 2 am. As I stepped through of the last set of double doors separating me from the night, I realized that it was pouring rain, the fat drops coming down in sheets and bouncing off the sidewalk and pooling in the gutters, daring me to just try to walk through it in my beautiful leather boots.  I stood, umbrella-less, and pondered the rain and my options. In my possession was a laptop, an MP3 player, a smart phone, and 21 lectures worth of other people’s Formal Languages notes–all things I didn’t particularly fancy getting wet (particularly because my own notes are somewhere in Southwest Airlines lost item retrieval limbo hell, having been left on the plane that carried me from San Francisco to Denver a few weeks ago). I could go back in and return to studying for my exam while waiting for the rain to let up–not an attractive option with a class at 10:30 am.  I could sleep under my desk, bathed in the stadium-bright glow of the lab–a restful night’s sleep for sure. Or I could run for it–dashing across the wet landscape, potentially ruining my boots.

I chose to wait for a lull and then run for it, and I was lucky enough to receive such a break quickly. The only mishap, as I dashed for my car, was nearly getting run over by a kid who was apparently oblivious to the red light. While being hit by a car would probably exempt me from Monday’s exam, it would also exempt me from some of the fun things I could be doing this weekend, like not hanging out in a hospital.

The roads were wet, the asphalt a smooth obsidian littered with the leaves pulled somewhat prematurely from the changing trees. The street lights reflect off the black mirror of the streets, and everything is cool.

It is one of my favorite kinds of weather. I hung my damp trench coat on the corner of an open drawer of my filing cabinet, and felt very noir. (Then my trench coat fell off the drawer and onto the feeble remains of the balloon bouquet Zack bought me for completing my thesis defense, and I felt a little less noir. Few self-respecting detectives have deflating mylar representations of cupcakes, ladybugs, octopus, and ice cream cones skulking about around the bases of their filing cabinets.)

Life has been full, lately, if somewhat bumpy. Today was a fairly representative example. I:

  • went to a teleconference with the other principle investigators on my research project.
  • selected a cactus garden, an eyeball balloon, some tea, chocolate, yogurt, and pineapple for Jessie, whose respiratory system has betrayed her again.
  • came home, sulked because Brian had eaten the butternut squash and mushroom soup that I had intended to eat for lunch, and grabbed the blender to deliver to Jessie so she could make smoothies. I also replanted one of the cacti, which had escaped from the cactus garden en route from the store to my house.
  • attempted to deliver Jessie’s bag of goodies, but found no one home and all the doors locked. I left the bag on the porch swing, disguised by a throw pillow, the eyeball balloon thumping against the chain of the swing.
  • dropped by the lab to borrow Zafar’s Formal Languages notes so I could copy them.
  • returned to Jessie’s to remove the yogurt and pineapple from the bag, in case she didn’t arrive home before they perished.
  • returned home to refrigerate Jessie’s perishables and to grab a change of clothes and a book to take to my mother. Brian wanted to go with me to help my mom, so I stuck him in the car as well.
  • bought gasoline
  • drove half an hour into Oklahoma City, to the house I grew up in.
  • helped my mother sort through boxes from my childhood and before, separating out the wheat from the chaff. We filled several boxes of sentimentality (mostly photos) for me to digitize, and filled a dumpster with the deterius of school and church and whathaveyou. Children seem to ooze paper, apparently.
  • ate dinner at Cafe Bella, which served amazing red beans and rice (hello, New Orleans), great paninis (Italy!), delicious croissants (France!?) and boba tea (Vietnam?!?!). Only in America, man.
  • visited Zack
  • dropped off the yogurt and pineapple with Jessie, and had fun discussions with her and her Zack about hipsters and sinus stupidity
  • spoke with Rachel for a while about internet dating
  • sequestered myself at my desk to study
  • made a cup of tea
  • studied for hours by transcribing notes about Chomskian grammars and other intricacies of finite systems and formal languages
  • exchanged kisses for a coke, popcorn, and sour jelly beans from my Zack
  • helped a kid who had gotten locked out of the room he was studying in at 1:00 am
  • lost all of the notes I had transcribed when my computer crashed
  • ran through the rain to my car
  • blogged

Okay, so that last item is a little unusual. I’m working on it, I swear. There is much to say. Not the least of it is thanks to Amber and Abby.  I am sorry! I had written you guys thank-you notes! Unfortunately, they were written in the same notebook as my formal languages notes, which literally flew away on a jet plane. More on that later.

For tonight, I will leave you with a little bit of my past that was unearthed today while we cleaned and sorted. When I was approximately 10, my brother attempted to get into American football (which, you know, is what you do if you live in this part of the country). The rivalry in Oklahoma is between Oklahoma State University, whose colors are orange and black, and the University of Oklahoma, whose colors are crimson and cream (not, mind you, red and white). I felt that I needed to choose a university to support, so I chose the University of Oklahoma. Why? Because I was really into drawing still lifes at that time, and crimson and cream were pretty words that reminded me of the colors of red wine and cheese, things that featured prominently in the still lifes of my imagination. Today, my mother unearthed two still lifes that I had done during that period. For your viewing pleasure:

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Autumn Languages

3 thoughts on “Autumn Languages

  1. Jessie says:

    I like that you are blogging again! I also like that you did not ruin any of your things in the rain, and still grateful for the fabulous treats you brought me when I was sick. ❤

    1. Rachel Shadoan says:

      I like that I am blogging again, as well! Montana suggested to me that I start keeping a garbage bag in my backpack in case of emergency rain situations. I probably am overly paranoid about my boots, but I bought leather conditioner for them this week so now I can care for them properly.

      I am so glad you liked your treats! We have to look after each other when we are ill, since we no longer live with moms who make us soup and spread peanut butter on our saltines. I hope you have made some smoothies–i will probably be repossessing my blender before too long. 🙂

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