- ME: I'm so happy that I can spend unlimited amounts of time around you and not need or want to be alone. I've never had that before.
- HIM: It's because I don't have much of a personality.
- ME: I love you.
- ME: the talking in the hallway is distracting, do you mind if I shut your office door?
- PROF: No problem.
- ME: Thanks, I find noise really distracting.
- PROF: Oh, me too, I'm terrible at multi-tasking.
- ME: I can't have a conversation with someone if the radio is on.
- PROF: I can't have a conversation and drive at the same time.
- ME: I can't walk and drink from a straw at the same time.
- PROF: I can't teach a class and train for a marathon at the same time.
- ME: That one is different.
- Student 1: How can you not like Mr. Darcy?
- Student 2: He's a babe.
- Student 1: My whole life I've been trying to find a modern Mr. Darcy!
- My teaching assignment this semester is ENG241, a British Literature class. At my university, graduate teaching assistants don't teach their own classes--they *assist* the professor--and that role changes depending on individual professor needs and preferences. This semester, like last semester, I've been given quite a bit of freedom to come up with lesson plans and lead classes. Yesterday we were discussing Paradise Lost, which for some reason included several references to pop culture, including Freddie Mercury, Star Wars, The Dark Knight Rises, and Jennifer Lopez.
- Professor: [reading from Paradise Lost, Book I] "The mind is its own place, and in it self / Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. / What matter where, if I be still the same." So what Satan is saying here is that the mind is autonomous, independent of circumstance, because it carries with it its own environment.
- Student: it's like saying that it's your attitude that determines how much you will enjoy something--if you go into something feeling happy and optimistic, you're more likely to enjoy it; if you go into something feeling miserable, you're more likely to just continue feeling miserable.
- Professor: Yes! Good. Or like when people say things like money or fame won't affect who they *really* are--which, I mean, I have a hard time believing, but it's something we try to tell ourselves.
- Me: Satan's still Jenny from the block.
- Students: [laugh]
- Professor: [blank stare, doesn't know what I'm talking about]
So, I use Google Voice, which is a wonderful service—it can give you an extra phone line, saves all calls, texts, and voicemails online, transcribes voicemails and sends them to you through text and/or email, makes it easy to block phone numbers, and is free, among other things.
The voicemail transcription service is, of course, not perfect. And it’s not perfect in the most wonderful way possible. Here are some gems:
Hello, This message is for Ms. Cats Mark, This is Jack. I’m calling from Dr. Good, the axe office, just give me a call. In regards to an appointment. You have scheduled.We need to reschedule it. Our number is [redacted]. Thank you.
The message is for Ms. Cats Mark is for me, Ms. Kaczmar. The call from Dr. Good, the axe office, is from Dr. Gudziak’s office. Nice, huh?
Hello Ms. Has my, this is such a good tax office calling regarding your appointment on August the 20th. Unfortunately, the doctor is not gonna be in the office that day and we do need to reschedule all so if you could please give US A call AT [redacted]. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
This message, from “such a good tax office,” is also from Dr. Gudziak’s office.
Hey Dad, it’s, Russ, I’m just trying to get in touch with you and find out if you want to hang out. Phone place somewhere or your mom investments so I will talk to you soon. Bye.
This message is from my fiance.
Hey, it’s Lauren, I am parking right now. I a call back. I hope he of it with you and as soon as I buy Nissan. Talk to you soon. Bye.
"As soon as I find a spot" = "as soon as I buy Nissan." Close enough.
This is your wife paid store. We are calling to remind Ron Kessler, that your order is ready you can pick up your order until. February 28th. Thank you for choosing writing and have a nice day. This message will be repeated. Hello. This is your wife needs store. We are calling to remind Dawn Casper, that your order is ready you can pick up your order until. February 28th. Thank you for choosing right needs and have a nice day. This message will be repeated. Hello. This is your wife needs store. We are calling to remind Dawn Casper, that your order is ready you can pick up your order until. February 28th. Thank you for choosing writing and have a nice day.
Rite Aid would be way more awesome if it really were a wife’s needs store.
Hey Donna it’s Kelley, we’re headed to the I Stossel, Right now it’s just about 5 o’clock. And so, how do I just give us a call whenever you get there. You can call me here on that phone if your that arrested. So either way and I will see you back when you get there. Talk to you later. Bye.
My phone conversations with Kelley are apparently contingent upon my arrest.
Hey Dawn, I, um, I’ve been thinking about your question about popo stuff and I want to say there’s 2 kinda theories for the end of the universe. One that everything just spreads out and cools and until it’s kind of the office. Office is gonna be. Stuff is spread out so far and so cold, everything stop hope to slow death, or uh, cold death or uh, um, Yeah there’s a word for that, cold death. Of the universe. The other theories however relies on both dark energy or dark matter. As the universe gets bigger, dark matter gets more common there’s more of it. And so. Oh your texting me. We’ll talk about this on the phone. Bye.
So, this is a voicemail from my friend Sam. He is actually talking about the end of the universe here, but because the message is from nine months ago, I’ve completely forgotten the context of the conversation and what I originally asked him. Parts of the audio recording are difficult to hear, so I have no idea what “popo stuff” is supposed to be.
Hi it’s me. I’m just trying to call you back. I think you ventured too far into the woods or something. My phone lost you to the trees, but I’ll try again and if not, I hope you have a lovely day and, I think she’s How much and, I think that might be you calling so good bye.
This message is actually pretty accurate, so I’m including it because I think it’s sweet and lovely.
I’m currently enrolled in a graduate course called The Bible as Literature. Because I am excessively inquisitive, I have taken to attending my professor’s office hours before class to deal with a handful of my questions, so as to avoid derailing class discussion over pet-peculiarities.
Yesterday, I brought in a passage I wanted to discuss with him in more detail. It comes from Joshua 5:13-15:
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him, grasping a naked sword. Joshua walked towards him and said to him, ‘Are you on our side or on that of our enemies?’ He replied, ‘On neither side. I have come now as the captain of the army of Yahweh.’ Joshua fell on his face to the ground, worshiping him, and said, ‘What has my Lord to say to his servant? The captain of the army of Yahweh answered Joshua, ‘Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.*
The scene is reminiscent of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6), but also of the many scenes that involve a test of faith before going on a mission (Genesis 32:23-33, Exodus 4:24-26).
During this discussion, I brought up a detail that seemed odd to me—which I then realized was the result of a mis-reading, not a point in the text. I had read that both the man and his sword were naked, instead of realizing that the man wasn’t naked and the sword was unsheathed. We laughed over my error (and possibly wishful thinking) and moved on.
Nevertheless, once I had drawn that image of a naked man with a sword, it was permanently lodged in my brain every time I read the passage. I told my professor, “that image, however falsely acquired, is now implanted in my brain. All I see is a naked man, looking fierce and brutal and barbaric.”
My professor laughed, “I think you’re revealing something about yourself now.”
I shot back, “I didn’t say it was an attractive image!”
*The New Jerusalem Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1990. Print.
[His poems] are kind of bullshit. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean it in the way that *everything* is kind of bullshit.
I found Szymborska when I was a teenager, and she transformed my understanding of poetry and language. I found her poems daring, precise, dark, cutting, brave—but humorous, and I needed to see how poetry could be both serious and light—how I could be both serious and light.
RIP, Wislawa Szymborska.
From “Written in a Hotel”
For everyday purposes I believe in permanence,
in the prospects for history.
I can’t go on munching apples
in constant terror.