As I said in my girliness post, I got my hair cut at Blu on Saturday morning. The stylist (Erin) washed my hair and mmm, head massage. She must have used some styling product in my hair because my hair does not have that much volume naturally, but I couldn't actually feel it, so big yay for high-quality product.
Afterward I had brunch with Nicole and Laura at "The Other Side" near Hynes Convention Center. (Amusingly, when I came into lunch the following Thursday with my California Pizza Kitchen Box, Eric commented on it and I said that we'd gone there for dinner 'cause I'd vetoed Tapeo and when I said Tapeo he literally thought of the sign -- like you do -- and got talking about Newbury St. area eateries, and "The Other Side" was one of the ones he recommended.)
I got a brie&apples&pears&honeymustard sandwich, which fell apart a bit as I ate it but which was yummy. Nicole asked if Brie was my favorite cheese and I explained that I'm not really into cheese, but a fruit-based sandwich was what I was in the mood for.
One of them asked me, "What was your favorite food as a child?"
me: "I was a very boring child."
Nicole: "I don't believe that for a second. Foodwise, maybe."
We had lots of interesting discussion including family economics and Nicole telling me I have v. good teeth. We also talked about books. I'm awful at naming authors/genres/eras I like. I've even gotten bad at naming specific books. However, this time I named A Tale of Two Cities and Catch-22, both of which they both loved; yay. (They even shared my beginning>end opinion of Catch-22.)
I started bleeding that afternoon. Which I'd been kind of expecting since I'd been kiss-craving earlier in the week (though not as hardcore as last time).
I got back to South Station with plenty of time to spare. I napped intermittently because they loudly announce all the stops, multiple times.
Sarah and Lindsey met me at the station no problem. We went to Aladdin's for dinner. They do Middle Eastern and pizza and we all got Middle Eastern food. I didn't eat much of my spanikopita because it was like all onions. I did eat a stuffed veggie slice, though, so I was sufficiently full.
It's funny, Lindsey and I hadn't interacted much on LJ, but interacting with her in meatspace didn't feel awkward (or particularly new).
We saw Eurydice. I wasn't impressed. (Though damn, we got good seats -- center, third row. At BCA when I've ordered student tickets recently they've told me I can't get center section seats period -- which is fine, 'cause I'm getting a discount, and the shows in question have been ones where they play to all three sides anyway.)
We open with Orpheus and Eurydice and I totally wasn't sold on their love. They almost took turns being distracted from each other.It turned out Lindsey had parked in the 2nd oldest parking garage in America, so we had to get the attendant to maneuver the car out of its space because we were boxed in by like SUVs. It occurred to me later that I think of old cars as long, so I'm not quite sure how that logic follows, but probably I'm just wrong.
Orpheus tries to make her memorize a melody he has created for her, and I was so sure this would turn out to be a big part of her recovering her memories/him recovering her once she was in the Underworld, but it totally didn't at all, which disappointed me.
They're on the beach, and she keeps wanting to go into the water, and water turns out to be a huge prop in the play, primarily the unnamed River of Forgetfulness (Lethe).
We see Eurydice's father in the Underworld, writing a letter to her on her wedding day. He says he doesn't know how to deliver the letter to her, and he puts it on the wall, at which point I realized the wall didn't have colored tiles but rather was plastered with letters (on colored paper).
We learn that both Eurydice and Orpheus don't like crowds, and she says she had always wished there would be more interesting people at her wedding day. She goes outside to get some water and this guy comes and talks to her, emphasizing interesting in nearly every sentence.
I had seen in the program that the same guy played "Nasty Interesting Man" and "Lord of the Underworld," so even before he tells her he has a letter from her father I suspect the guy was Hades (though it's never made clear in the play itself whether these two characters are in fact two aspects of the same entity or whether they're just played by the same actor).
Nasty Interesting Man totally sleazes on her, and after she kinda tricks him into getting the letter from him she slips and falls to her death from his top floor apartment building.
I have Nirvana's "Come As You Are" in my notes, and I think that played during her arrival at the Underworld
Googling for the lyrics... I hadn't realized its music video contains water imagery; nice synchronicity.
One arrives in the Underworld in an elevator in which it is pouring water. (Arrivals are usually carrying an umbrella.) The staging is v. cool.
Eurydice doesn't recognize her father, thinks he's a porter.
He builds her a room out of string! This is absolutely one of my favorite bits of the play.
There's interesting stuff about the language of the dead versus the language of the living, and how there are words/concepts the dead have no use for (and thus no understanding of). This didn't entirely cohere, but there were some great lines with her father trying to explain certain things to her.
Explaining "I love you.": "It's like sitting in the shade -- with no clothes on."
Explaining "defunct" : "dead abruptly, all at once, in cowboy boots"
Orpheus is at one point on the phone to the operator trying to locate Eurydice, and I don't quite know why I love this, but I do: "I don't know the city. It probably begins with a vowel."
The Lord of the Underworld seems to want to get with Eurydice, which seemed a bit weird to me since I know from the myths that Hades already fell in love with and stole Persephone (in fact, a lot of the version of the Orpheus&Eurydice story have Persephone being the one moved by Orpheus' music and letting him leave with Eurydice) and I was fairly certain there were no myths about him also falling in love with Eurydice.
He looks like a little boy, and Eurydice doesn't believe he's really The Lord of the Underworld. To prove it he says, "I can do chinups in your bones," which is so absurd I almost kinda like it (except that I am so analytical and consistency-oriented that I can't get past my question of why/how that would be an aspect of The Lord of the Underworld). "Ow," she says; so whatever it means, apparently it's true.
Other lines of his include:
"I grow downward, like a turnip."
"Husbands are for children. You need a lover."
Ruhl (the playwright) really doesn't do Eurydice any favors by giving her lines like "I wanted to talk to him about my notions. I was working on a new philosophical system. It involved hats." [said to her father re: her relationship with Eurydice]
She does have some good lines, though.
"This is what it means to be married to an artist: the moon is always rising over your house [...] but he is always going away from you."
Eurydice follows Orpheus out of the Underworld, and she goes through darkness wherein she's not even sure it is her husband she's following, and when she catches up with him she taps his shoulder and says his name and he turns around. Oops. I loved the idea that she was always ahead of the beat -- in part for the fact that it actually connected the beginning and end of the play. As she gets pulled back, she's totally not focusing on him, is just noticing all the familiar stuff (from the first time she came through).
"Eurydice, we've known each other for centuries; I wanna reminisce."
One of my favorite lines. Though it does raise an interesting concern which the play doesn't really deal with -- the setting seems very modern, and the only connections to Greek myth are Orpheus having a dream of making love to Eurydice atop Mt. Olympus and also the conviction that the living can send messages (physical paper ones) and even themselves to the Underworld, but here he is aware that they're archetypal figures.
Eurydice's father urged her to go to/with her husband, reminding her that he would see her again eventually. However, he misses her too much and dips himself in the river. (Some discontinuity here: when Eurydice finds him, he's lying down asleep, but we opened with the idea that the dead go about their lives like the living do.) Eurydice expresses the idea that it's too hard to lose someone after having just regained them (I love the Stones' complaint that the dead should not be mourning) so she dips herself in the river as well and lies down asleep next to her father. Before she does that, she writes a letter to Orpheus, urging him to remarry because he should be happy, and leaving instructions for his new wife on how to take care of him (it's actually very sweet). Orpheus then shows up, and I worried that he would have (like Eurydice's father) escaped some of the effects of the river, but no. He stands on the letter in his bare feet (as Eurydice first did after she died, the dead not knowing reading or writing). And I knew that this was tragic, and I wanted to feel the tragedy, but I just didn't.
I got introduced to the Shakira Lord's Prayer song.
We watched an episode of The Office -- "Diversity Day."
I saw part of the Office Olympics episode a while back and yeah, I remain so very much not engaged by that show.
Sunday (October 15)
Sunday morning we went to service at St. John's Episcopal Church, where I'm ashamed to say I slept through the sermon. He had Sermon Notes in the bulletin, though (which also disinclined me from paying attention since the information was sitting right there in front of me). Sixth in a series of sermons on "God's Blessing of a Healthy Life and Church," this one was "The Blessing of Faithfulness: Passionate Spirituality."
We lingered at Coffee Hour a bit but didn't really talk to anybody. [I think I'm inclined to introduce my people, but when I'm a visitor I feel weird chatting up people.]
We went to lunch at Yorkside. I got an eggplant parmesan grinder which turned messy quickly; in retrospect I probably should have split the tomato basil pizza that Sarah and Lindsey got.
We got ice cream at Ashley's -- pumpkin ginger snap (containing cookie bits!). It occurred to me much later that we/I should have asked for a sample of the cantaloupe sorbet.
Sarah showed me around Yale main campus and assorted grad school sections.
We caught a bit of a tour.
Apparently it was originally named the "Collegiate School" and was renamed for a guy named Yale, who died of malaria. Apparently he also left them money in his will but it was left to "The Collegiate School" so they weren't able to claim it due to the name change. If they hadn't changed their name to "Yale" (which the tour guide said meant something cool, but which I don't remember and can't find on the Internets) they would have been renamed Dummer.
Clearly we caught the best part of tour :)
All three of us went to evening service at Trinity Baptist.
We got there way earlier than we had intended and the young musicians practicing were very energetic and I liked them and even liked some of the songs -- "Blessed Be The Name" and "How Great Thou Art."
The sermon was Colossians 2: 13-15
I didn't quite follow the minister's idea that we were all dead in sin but Christ made us alive, 'cause he was all "dead men can't do anything" and I kept thinking "Then you have to choose Christ after being made alive," which didn't quite seem to fit with what he was arguing, but maybe I just wasn't quite understanding.
He talked about the law being nailed to the cross, which of course made me think of Donfried's "By no means!" (just about the only thing I retained from Dead Sea Scrolls class).
He said that there are plenty of nonChristians who are better people than he but that good deeds done by nonChristians are repugnant to God because they are not done for God. I couldn't help but think of Aslan talking to Emeth the Calormene in The Last Battle:
I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.He talked about being in some museum that was formerly a Muslim school and sitting where the iman used to sit, he felt a demonic presence. Both Lindsey and I kinda froze up at that. There was talk of Lindsey maybe e-mailing the minister (apparently they've gone to service there before a number of times and usually like it) and I really hope she did.
Monday (October 16)
Sarah's first class was Old Testament. They were doing the Levitical purity laws, and a lot was familiar from the OT class I took, which made me happy.
Then was chapel at Marquand. Reading week had just ended, so the theme of that day's service was "in medias res"
Call to Worship:
One: May God be with you!
All: And also with you!
One: Come, all of you who are wearied from your journey.
All: We come, seeking rest for our souls.
One: Come, all of you who are carrying heavy burdens.
All: We come, seeking the gentle yoke of Christ.
One: Come, all of you facing the middle things of life.
All: We come, seeking the God who journeys beside us
The Opening hymn was "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" which by the end of the introit I had finally figured out shared a tune with "God of Grace and God of Glory." (I knew I recognized the tune but was having such a hard time coming up with the "right" words.)
The readings were Deuteronomy 2:1-7 and Robert Frost's poem "On A Tree Fallen Across the Road."
In keeping with the theme, they did a Time of Fellowship in the middle of the service, which was interesting -- and again with my/our not really talking to anyone.
Time of Prayer -- I was impressed by how much they managed to seamlessly include in "middle" concerns -- "For midterms and mid-semester reports, For us in the middle years of life, For those in the Middle East..."
The Quaker-esque "Members of the congregation are invited to read aloud individually the lines entitled 'Voice' as the spirit moves them. Please feel free to read ahead and choose a line which speaks to you. If more than one person reads the same line, all the better" weirds me out -- though Sarah said it somehow manages to always work fairly well (as it did when I was there).
The Closing Hymn was "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry," which I wasn't into, though I didn't have hate on for it. [The response was "Be Still and Know that I am God," which I found slow and lame, though I can possibly credit it for why that phrase got into my head days later.]
Afterward I met one of Sarah's YDS friends who seemed v. cool though her name now totally escapes me.
I hung out in the library during Sarah's Greek class.
After that was Evangelism class.
There were student presentations for the first hour and then visiting missionaries [spending a year in the States; native to the Asian areas where the evangelize] for the second hour.
I will totally defend the Scriptural basis for going out and proselytizing, and these women talked a lot about how their programs help people with medical care, education, etc., so I can't fault them for only focusing on converting people and ignoring the whole "Whatever you did for the least of these..." aspect. But one of the missionaries said something in her presentation about how so many people they ministered to accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior before they died, and that importance of "being saved" just squicks me so much, even though I understand the theological basis for it.
That night Sarah took me to Alpha at St. John's -- which I've gotta say was one of the things I was most looking forward to.
I was a little worried when we walked in and the dinner spread looked like Thanksgiving dinner. However, there was a sweet potato thing that didn't suck, and spinach quiche, and later there were mashed potatoes (FTW!).
I sat next to this young blonde woman named Tawnie, who seemed cool. At one point she said that one of her students had come to her all excited about the word "glamazon" and she said it was old. I was expecting her to say he knew it from when she was a kid, but instead she cited an S7 Buffy exchange (which, wow, I totally didn't recall at all) which of course scored her mad points with me.
Seated across from us was a woman named Andrea who went to Smith in the '80s, majored in English, and is now working as a casewriter for the Yale School of Management.
Sarah chatted with their intern Hiu.. something.
We watched the video -- Alpha Express version, due to time constraints, so every once in a while we would get this voiceover saying something like "Nicky talks about the Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled." Yeah, that was a bit disconcerting.
After the video we split into groups for discussion and Kathryn joined our group. My immediate reaction was a silent "Score!" because I love having people who really know the material in discussion groups with me.
I know very little about this topic, and was vigorous in prefacing my complaints with said disclaimer, which frustrated me a bit because I like knowing everything and also because I felt lame that I still haven't done the New Testament research I've been talking about wanting to do for years. However, I had problematics galore with the video, so I wasn't gonna let lack of knowledge stop me from questioning. (And hey, in most contexts it seems like practically everybody is happy to form opinions and beliefs even without very much information)
One of Nicky Gumbel's (the speaker on the video) big things was "Jesus said he was God. Therefore, either he was or he was a Liar or a Lunatic." This three option format is admittedly sullied for me because I first encountered it in C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, whose foundational logic does not work for me, and which was heavily influenced by Chesterton, whose "wit" and "logic" in what I read of Orthodoxy made me feel violent.
Andrea mentioned the Heaven/Hell idea that Heaven is where the person says to God "Thy will be done," and Hell is where God says to a person "thy will be done." I do kinda like this conception (and it reminds me of the stubborn trolls at the end of The Last Battle -- which is a way of expressing how one can stubbornly turn away from God and be kind of past the point of saving, in a way I can get -- though I so like my mom's idea that after death when confronted with the glory of God it is impossible for "every knee to bow, every tongue confess" to not happen... though I also understand the counter-argument that at that point one is not acting with free will, so one should be judged on the decision/s one made before that).
There was other good stuff, like Kathryn said that that the Councils were just a bunch of old guys sitting down and deciding what would be in the canon was something of a caricature because a lot of selection had already been made by communities, saying "This letter isn't true to our experiences of Christ" or whatever, that the Councils weren't acting alone with no context/precedent.
I was thinking at one point how Sarah had commented after the previous Alpha session that having Kathryn in her small group gave her performance anxiety [which I do totally understand], whereas I was like, "Score! Kathryn in our group!" (I also wanted to get to interact with this woman I had heard a lot about, but it was really mostly about the knowledge and discussion.)
In looking back through Sarah's old entries, I noted she commented about Alpha the previous week "I thought we were going to reconvene as a large group before the evening ended, and we didn't, so I felt like that sort of left things hanging a bit." I had forgotten about that entry at the time, but I, too, felt like we should have reconvened afterward.
I was sad that I couldn't stay until the end (had to catch the last train back to Boston) but I ended up leaving right around when they were dispersing (quarter of nine).
Waiting for the return train (It said All Aboard with a track number, but it turned out the train was not yet in the station) I started talking to the one other person on the platform, who was a guy I would guess to be about 30 years old. He's in the Coast Guard currently stationed up on the North Shore (Boston) but has a house down in North Haven.
I was initially worried that he would try to hit on me (because this happens to me A Lot -- this is my 11th usage of the relevant tag, and I don't think I ever tagged Oxford, which had its own specialness -- though it actually hasn't in a while) especially as it became clear that we had very little in common (though somehow we managed without too much difficulty for the entire 2.5hr train ride).
At one point fairly early on he said something about his family, and attempting to not sound too eager I said, "Oh, you have a family?"
Turns out he has a wife and 2 daughters (ages 5 and 7, with upcoming birthdays), happily married. There were definitely moments even after that where I felt like he was kind of Interested in me, but I knew I wasn't actually in danger of being outright propositioned, which comforted me.
He had cheap merlot. "If I'd known I was going to have company, I would have brought two bottles."
We finally exchanged names (Dwight) when we parted ways at South Station. "If I weren't married, I'd ask you for your number." I was aglee. 'Cause yes, it is totally an ego boost.