Sunday, June 03, 2007

What can a student do to avoid studying?

I was not in the mood to read today. I'm apprehensive about confronting (nicely) the internship office and turning down the internship I interviewed for on Friday. Every time I sat down to focus on another boring article or textbook, I couldn't concentrate. So I tried to use my time productively in other ways:

I blogged. Also read and commented on friends' blogs.

I made a comprehensive list of summer semester assignments and due dates, which now hangs above my computer monitor where I can't miss it.

I exchanged emails with my Human Sexuality professor about my term paper topic. (That's going to be some interesting research.)

I cleaned the bathroom. (You know I'm trying hard to avoid studying when I get up and clean.)

I had surprisingly pleasant conversations with my mother and Jerusha, who was playing with Oedipus in the backyard while Shira and Malka had softball games, coached by my brother-in-law.

I shopped online, putting items in shopping carts but not actually buying anything.

I traded emails with Malka about who loves whom more (recently she's gotten into the whole "can you raed tihs" phenomenon):

Dear Aunt Ayelet,
(This will be one of the weird emails)
I lvoe you!
I hpoe you lvoe me too!!!

Daer Mklaa,
I lvoe you soooooooooooooooooooooooo mcuh! Of crosue I lvoe you! I lveod you form the fsrit mnoemt I kenw you wree ginog to be bron!
Lvoe, Anut Aeleyt

I updated my collection of wedding powerpoints. When I get engaged, I'll send my sisters and closest cousins a powerpoint with six bridesmaid dress options. I'll send bridesmaids who have daughters the flowergirl powerpoint, with eight options. I'll send my fashion-savvy friends the wedding dress, wedding shoes, veil, headpiece, and hairstyle powerpoints so they can advise me on what to buy and how to wear it. I'll send the ring powerpoint to my good friend on 47th St., so he can tell my fiancé what to get me (and give him a good price, of course). And I'll send the invitation powerpoint, with three lovely and inexpensive choices, to my fiancé, my parents, and his parents. Practically speaking, I'll just need to book a hall, hire a band, and choose a menu.

I searched, unsuccessfully, for my good tweezers. I have no idea where they've gotten to, and it was annoying to use my crappy tweezers.

And I went out to dinner with the Arabian Knight. It was our first real dinner date; we've only gotten together for more casual daytime activities -- bagels, rowing in Central Park, a movie. He's usually busy at night, so I appreciated having the day to myself and the evening with him.

I was excited and apprehensive -- he had seemed to cool off lately, a little, but I'd essentially told him to, so I couldn't assume he was losing interest. We went to La Creperie, where I had a disastrous final date with G.I. Josh nearly two years ago. Alona, Adir, and Batya joined us for Sunday brunch, and when I picked up the check to try to figure out who owed what, G.I. Josh sniped, "Oh, she's not just a psychologist, now she thinks she's an accountant." Nice. From passive-aggressive to openly aggressive. We broke up that night.

But: I like crepes, and it's a lovely but not too expensive kosher restaurant within walking distance of my apartment. I can't go to Darna for every date. Besides, I wanted to wash the last vestige of G.I. Josh out of my hair, since I was so successful at getting rid of Little Marty. So I put on my four-inch platform Steve Madden slides -- like these, but with a narrower strap and taller. I love them because they're the least boring of the comfortable shoes that I now must limit myself to wearing. When I was young and healthy, I wore funky, strappy stilettos; now I can't abide the blisters or the strain on my knees and lower back. I'm a crone.

Off we went. It was drizzling, and then raining. We walked close together underneath his umbrella, which isn't quite big or strong enough to cover us completely. Because we've limited our physical contact, just walking close to him was disproportionately exciting, especially since I'd spent a big part of Shabbat fantasizing about him.

We entered the restaurant and were seated directly behind... my ex-boyfriend Yishai and his child bride. Her back was to us, so I gave him a little wave and then sat with my back to them.

"Guess who's behind us?" I asked the Knight. He was surprised. "You shouldn't be surprised," I said. "I shouldn't be surprised. I've been living and dating in NYC for so long, I can't enter a kosher restaurant without seeing at least one guy I've dated."

"Look at it this way," he said, "at least your date is prettier than his." ZING! Not nice -- not nice at all -- but hilarious and, quite frankly, true. She may be 10 years my junior, but I'm much cuter.

We had a delicious dinner and a sublime dessert -- crepes smothered in blueberries, strawberries, dulce de leche, and a generous dollop of whipped cream. "If we get married," I said, "we have to come back here and order this again so we can feed it to each other." He laughed and held out his fork, piled with berries, cream, and caramel. "No," I said primly. "Not until we're married."

As he walked me home the rain fell ever harder, and I started slipping in my slides. Close to my apartment the street slopes downward, and eventually I couldn't walk at all; the instep straps were practically around my ankles.

"Do you want me to carry you?" he asked.

"You can't carry me the rest of the way to my place!" I said.

"Let me help you," he said, putting his arm around my shoulders.

"That's just pushing me further out of my shoes!" I said.

"Okay, okay -- hold onto my arm," he said, crooking it nicely. Initially that helped, but ultimately I had to take off the shoes and walk barefoot. "New fun date activity," I said, "stepping on broken glass and going to the emergency room." Fortunately the rain had washed away any broken glass and other offal.

And holding his arm, I was able to smell him. Not cologne, and not, chas v'shalom, body odor. (Something that I, alas, actually have smelled on more than one date.) Just a nice, fresh, distinctive masculine aroma. Beat author Tom Robbins says that scent is 80% of love; I wouldn't put it that high, but I'm very responsive to the "strong clean smell of a man," as Anne Rice once put it.

"How about some Connect 4?" the Knight asked me at the door. "I'm not going to see you for a whole week." He's got a job interview, and his students have finals; he'll be too busy to shlep in to Manhattan from Brooklyn. Which is why we didn't celebrate my birthday today -- it falls sometime during the coming week, but I didn't want to acknowledge it any earlier than I had to.

"No." As much because of what I might do as what he might do.

"Just Connect 4? I promise," he pleaded.

"NO. But you can kiss me on the forehead," I said magnanimously.

"It's going to be a whole week. Let me hug you."

"No, you're all wet on one side and I'm all wet on the other," I said.

"So it cancels out. Please let me hug you," he said.

"FINE," I said. He kissed me on the forehead and then pulled me close. I felt... safe and cherished. Does that sound corny? It was much more of an emotional than a sensual experience.

I really feel that the Knight not only gets me but accepts me unconditionally and is not put off by -- even enjoys -- my meshugas. And that's a lot of meshugas to tolerate; I am definitely a piece of work. He's also no pushover; it's not like he accepts everything I do. When he disagrees with something I say or suggest, he lets me know, politely but firmly.

I think I'm starting to really like him. Which is wonderful, and scary, and confusing, and beautiful.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. i like your chasuna power point stuff, that's really cute. it's making a keili for it actually happening.

    i'm not too crazy about you letting him touch you, this is heading for a danger zone! being shomer negia helps us keep our head clear, and helps us make good decisions.

    (how do you like that? you're in a totally different boat than me, but i'm giving you rowing directions.)

    anyway...i used to read tom robbins fiendishly.

  2. Yeah, Maven, I thought I would hold out a little longer with the negiah thing, but I'm being pretty careful. Considering how far and fast I usually go with men, this is pretty remarkable restraint on my part.

  3. :)

    It's good to have someone in your life who makes you happy.