Saturday, November 24, 2007

Summer Patriots

I just emailed the biggest batch yet of Revolutionary research bucket o' joy, and I'm done for the night--the last one bounced back because my director's email is full. Oops. Sorry. I spent most of Thanksgiving inside working on research, and eating pizza. Spoke with a faraway friend for almost two hours, and then ate more pizza. The heat in our apartment has gone from "nonexistent" to "oven" so I am a very happy puppy, nice and warm. Today was much the same--both roommates are gone, I have a chunk of research accomplished, and now I think I'll crack open that jar of salsa and watch me some LOTR.

I worked yesterday at LB. It wasn't too terribly crazy, although I did pick out a couple shirts that I'm going to back for tomorrow. My manager got a call late yesterday That the regional manager was going to be making a surprise visit on Saturday—so suddenly we needed to restock, clean and get the back of the store tidy. Naturally we ended up finding this out at four pm, when everyone else had left. They asked me if I wanted to stay late, and I said sure…so I was there until eleven when I finally had to leave or else. On my way to work that morning, a bottle of juice I bought was leaking into my shoe, a fact unbeknownst to me until I had landed at Michigan Ave. Now, my shoes are plastic (thank you Payless), except for a bit of felt on the inside, so I toweled them off and put them on, figuring I could handle clammy shoes for six hours. But then I discovered we were having a heating problem, so the store was cold enough to chill beer—AND I ended up working for fifteen hours. Needless to say, my feet are not happy with me today, which is why I haven’t hobbled any further than the corner store for milk. I was looking forward to the fat paycheck until I started adding up the clothes I found and the GW figure which will be mine in approximately four hours and realized that I had made, oh, maybe $20. Oh well. I needed some new clothes anyway. Easy come, easy go.

Then today, more research. It’s so hard to know what to write when you’re preparing information for actors. Do they want you to extrapolate from the text of the play? Do they want to read primary historical sources? How do you explain to normal, modern people what living in the 18th century was like? Think of all the objects and norms you take for granted, and all the events in your life that have made you who you are. Have you ever said “What was life like before the internets?” How about—what was life like before the telephone? How do you condense that down so it’s meaningful for someone who has maybe two lines in a play? Then multiply that by twenty-two. It’s been fun, but I’m looking forward to going to the reading on Tuesday and finding out if anything I’ve sent over has been helpful—and if not, what would be. I feel like I’ve learned a lot, but that’s not helpful if I’m not communicating it effectively.

More than anything, I’ve learned that the founding of our country was an unbelieveable occureance—even cooler than the lame mythology that’s grown up around (deep rumbly voice here) “The Signing of the Declaration!” “The Winter at Valley Forge!” “The Battle of Yorktown!” Our founding fathers were just guys, you know? and not all of them were quite sure they liked the idea of this independence thing, thank you very much. But they all decided to say screw you to the mother country and try this experiment—and btw (Bush, I’m looking at you here) when it FAILED, they TRIED SOMETHING ELSE. That’s so cool. They were just men, doing their thing (well, except GW, who is, in fact, probably descended from Trojan warriors or something) and voila! America.

The other day at my other job, CNN was on, and they were being jerks by asking hapless passerbys questions from the Citizen’s Test (oops, misspelled Citizin) administered to new immigrants. One of the questions was “Who was President during WWI?” Got it? One of the other workers said “Oh—Roosevelt and Truman” and I immediately became smug because they were asking about world war ONE, where the president was Wilson. But then I felt guilty because I know that I couldn’t answer every question on that test—and that I don’t know if I could have said “AND Truman” in a pinch. I wanted to say something like “yay, Americans together!” but in today’s climate I don’t even know if that would be okay, so I kept my mouth shut. (yeah, for once)

Although I now know that Sam Hutchinson was the first president of the United States in the technically most technical sense of the term. Just in case it ever comes up.

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