June 10th, 2003

i do it for the joy it brings

Made my day.

So, on Friday Don Andrew, Coordinator for Fellowships and Grants, Office for International Study, e-mailed me saying "You were given a grant and our records show you have not claimed it by handing it in at College Hall 21 as per blue form p. 1 # 2. Please advise." The blue form said no check would be issued until they had received receipts from the trip (which annoyed me) so i had assumed i would submit the blue form with the receipts after i came back from the trip. I wrote back saying as much, very apologetically, silently praying i wouldn't end up getting denied the money on account of this. One line reply: "Please liaise with Susan Zachary." So i e-mailed her, and her e-mail arrived this morning and made my day:
Hello Elizabeth - sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday - our office was closed all day for a meeting.

What I need you to do is to send me your complete blue form (the form you applied for funds and which Don Andrew filled in an amount and returned to you [snip]

I will then process the form (i.e., request a check) and send it to the controller. Bear in mind that check requests received by the controller by any given Friday will result in checks being prepared for mailing the FOLLOWING Friday. So if you can get me your blue form this week, you'll get the check - well, not the Friday after, but probably the Monday or Tuesday following, depending on the mail. [emphasis mine]

I look forward to receiving your blue form.
Susan
Made. My. Day.

Am working until 5 today, but that form will be sent out at the post office before i start work at 1pm tomorrow. Should arrive before i leave, which means i won't have to borrow any money from my parents.
i fight fire with words

"so you met a girl who thinks really deep thoughts - what's so amazing about really deep thoughts?"

This morning Mary K. was asking if we’d seen the story on the news last night about the little 9-year-old girl who was kidnaped, raped, and then dropped of in front of a convenience store. I always say that i don’t listen to the news because it’s depressing and sensationalistic and makes you think that the entire world is evil and horrible and out to get you. Listening to her i started thinking about the fact that i have a friend who was sexually abused by a father figure when she was little, who self-injures and is anorexic/bullemic and sometimes suicidal. My first thought was, “I don’t need to watch the news; i’ve got quite enough to deal with / worry about in my own life.” Then i got to thinking about how the kind of caring i do for friends and the kind of caring involved in being upset over what’s on the news are very different. It’s much more painful to have a friend who was abused than to hear about a kid who was abused, even if you’re watching the mother cry in front of a shrine of photographs of a blonde darling. I started thinking about how when you watch stuff on the news there’s this distance, as well as this simplification, and i have now lost where i was going with this train of thought, so i’m stopping.

Jane got me a reprieve from what was possibly the most boring project ever because i’m tech savvy and she’s not and clarified an exchange i don’t even remember having. Yesterday i had been talking about how i remembered Dan being a jerk to me in junior high. I remember Marcia said i was horrible (she’s one of the sweetest people i know and used to be a kindergarten[?] teacher) and that she didn’t want me giving her eulogy and i told her i thought she was wonderful and didn’t have anything bad to say about her. Anyway, Jane must have told me to stop saying stuff like that (about Dan being a jerk) because today she was explaining to me why she had said that. She said, “Once you die, you’re a saint” (and i was glad to realize that she was just explaining the common feeling, not actually saying she felt that way). Regardless of what that kid did in his life or what kind of a person he was, he was somebody’s son, and it was all mothers there. I said, “I’m an insensitive brat,” and she said, “No, you’re not insensitive, but you were making make people think you are, and I wanted to stop you from digging yourself deeper.” I told her that the whole once-you-die-you’re-a-saint thing frustrates me, and i think i ignore the social graces when they frustrate me like that. I also told her about Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead, the idea of telling someone’s life, the good and the bad, at a funeral and how the characters talk about it being painful but important and how that was in my head while i was being frustrated with the glorification of this guy. She also told me that she related what had happened to her husband and he said, “You know, he might have been really mean to that girl [me], might have really hurt her feelings.” And she told me that he was probably “cock of the roost, struttin’ around, captain of the football team,” and that he probably was mean to some people, and i thought the strutting thing was a really apt descriptor and was really appreciative of the fact that she acknowledged that he was not a perfect angelic person. It was also sweet that (A) she had been concerned that i was making myself look bad when i'm really not a bad person and (B) that she wanted to clarify a comment which must have been so subtle/common/simple/casual (probably something like "don't speak ill of the dead," now that i'm trying hard to remember this incident) that i didn't even remember it five minutes after she said it.

The Speaker had done a monstrous thing, to lay those secrets before the whole community. They should have been spoken in the confessional. Yet Peregrino had felt the power of it, the way the whole community was forced to discover them again, and then again; and each revision of the story forced them all to reconceive themselves as well, for they had been part of this story, too, had been touched by all the people a hundred, a thousand times, never understanding until now who it was they touched. It was a painful, fearful thing to go through, but in the end it had a curiously calming effect.
-Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
"Sometimes I hear my voice, and it's been here, silent all these years. Years go by will I still be waiting, for someone else to understand."