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Before moving to Rhode Island, I lived half my life in Minnesota and half in North Dakota– exactly, but I know nothing about either state beyond the day-to-day and the Minnesota fun facts that were on my single-serving milk carton in the Hallock Elementary cafeteria.  The problem is, that I first moved from MN to ND three days before the first day of 7th grade (also on my birthday).  My MN school taught state history in 7th grade, my ND school in 6th grade.  I completely missed out.

Naturally, I didn’t care because I was in 7th grade and had more important things on my mind.  Interestingly enough, two of my best friends won the North Dakota Know Your State contest, and I’m not 100% sure what the state bird is (flickertail?).  None of this ever really mattered because I lived in ND or MN and no one was asking me about the states because they were from one or both of them as well.

Now I live 1,800 miles away and people are fascinated, albeit in kind of a freakshow kind of way, with where I’m from, and I have nothing to really say about it except that it is flat and cold, I have heard of the movie, and no we don’t all talk like that.  Once I tried (foolishly) to bring up Lewis and Clark, about whom I know shockingly little, and the person was like “Really? Lewis and Clark are significant in ND, why?”

I then had to admit that I wasn’t quite sure, but I was basing the statement on the fact that Lewis and Clark were names of schools and were on license plates so there must be some reason.  I now know that they built Fort Mandan, and picked up Sacagawea there– thanks wikipedia.

I had a hunch that if I moved away I would start to care more about where I came from, and now I do for reasons other than hating having nothing to say when people ask about North Dakota.  So now I’m going to turn into that asshole student from “somewhere else” who only does assignments related to where he or she came from.  I may want to kick my own ass, but if I have to do the research anyway…

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The Quest

Summer is not a good time of year to evaluate carby, cheese-landen food.  People seem to want salads and lighter fare when it’s hot out, and that’s the reason that I haven’t managed to write a mac & cheese review in quite a while.  I’m hoping that this delightful dish will crop up on a few other menus this winter, otherwise this may be a very short-lived experiment.

What has happened now, is that I’ve had the macaroni & cheese that everyone has been saying is the best in Providence– and I agree.  Still, I will not stop seeking!  There are still at least two restaurants that I haven’t tried, and there may be more out there that I’m not even aware of.  That said, La Laterie really is the best.

I actually tried the mac & cheese once before actually visitng the restaurant because their smaller, downtown location is where I’ve been going to get my overpriced gourmet sandwiches at lunchtime (I’ve since had to cut back on that).  One day I was in there, and while the friendly man was grilling my Cheesemonger sandwich, I glanced into the cold case and saw that there was the famous Cheesemonger’s macaroni & cheese. I rather foolishly got both, and ate both for lunch– I knew it was wrong– even before the guy who sold them to me said “here’s your cheese and cheese.”

This macaroni & cheese is apparently made with magic, because even when re-heated, it tastes amazing; it’s so delightfully cheesy that it slides off the fork sometimes, and there’s some kind of creamy goodness that makes it decadent and delightful.  I guess Jewish Friend was right about the whole “molten center” thing.  It’s interesting because it’s made with penne pasta rather than macaroni or corkscrew, which I found a bit different at first, but I ended up liking a lot.  The penne tubes get filled with cheesy goodness and it’s easier to get a full-sized bite rather than stabbing a bunch of smaller noodles at once trying to get a mouthful– maybe I’m just greedy.

The restaurant experience was very good as well. My Russian stout was the perfect compliment, Jewish Friend got her macaroni and cheese burned just like she wanted, and the server noticed that our table was wobbly and fixed it without our even needing to ask.  The only complaints I have are that it took a long time to get our bill, and the lighting was so low that we both got a bit sleepy.

My god that mac & cheese was good, there really are no words.

Decor/atmosphere: 9.5 Cute, cozy, classy. We were given our choice of seating bar/high top/window.  We took the high top, which felt private even though it really wasn’t. The only drawback was the fact that it did get very noisy at times.

Service: 9.5 Our waiter was attentive without being annoying, he fixed the table, and he seemed genuinely concerned about whether or not I was happy with my beer. The food came out in a timely manner, and the food runner knew who got what without our having to tell him.  It doesn’t get a perfect 10 because it took a while for the bill, though I hadn’t finished my beer yet, so the server may have been waiting.

Food: 10 The biscuits we had before the mac & cheese were excellent, the mac & cheese was amazing in a way I can’t have previously imagined.  I can’t quit thinking about it.

Total: 29

During election years, a person hears a lot about parents’ dreams for their children.  It’s generally accepted that parents are supposed to want their kids to be more successful and have more than they did– leave the world better for the children etc.  Maybe it’s because my parents are Republicans, but I’ve never really felt like that was something they thought about. Sure, they want me to be successful, cause it looks good, but the ideas they had– particularly my mother– for what would make me a success, are not only odd, but they really have nothing to do with my likes, dislikes, or talents.

I’ve always been a reader, I spent most of my time growing up, sitting and reading everything I could get my hands on.  Once I figured out, in third grade, that I could write stories as well, I started doing that.  When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said either lawyer, or psychologist.  I’ve been planning to get a PhD since I was eleven, and except for a brief stint in high school when I decided that I would write a best-seller so I didn’t have to go to college– college has been part of my plan.

Unfortunately, it’s never been part of my mom’s plan for me.

My mother had been planning a tech school education for me since I was about fourteen.  First, her plan was for me to be a plumber.  This was an idea that she was very emphatic about, and she pushed it hard for about two years ignoring my protests that I had no interest in being a plumber, and poring over brochures that lay out how much plumbers charge per hour, and average yearly salary.

I don’t know if she had a friend who was a plumber who was making a healthy living, or if she just realized how much it costs her when we have to call on this person, but she was all about it.

“You can charge over $20 per hour, Annie, and you can write in your downtime.” she insisted.

“Yes, but I’d have to be a plumber, I’d come home tired, covered in foul-smelling stuff, and probably end up writing stories about plumbing that no one would want to read.  If I was going to pursue a trade, I’d be an electrician.”

Once she abandoned the plumber idea, she shifted her focus to paint-chemist.  My terrible grades in chemistry class killed that idea, and by the time I managed to ensconce myself firmly in a small liberal arts university with nary a hint of plumbing classes around, she seemed to get over it a little.  She kept pushing for me to get a bank job, and questioning my plans for my BA in English, but didn’t come up with anymore totally strange career ideas.

That all changed after I finished my first masters and still hadn’t gotten a real job.  Throughout that course of study, she kept asking over and over what I was working toward, and I kept telling her that I was going to work in publishing.  Once I finished, and realized that I really didn’t want to work in publishing, she panicked and started seeking out jobs that pay a decent wage but wouldn’t require any more schooling.

Naturally, she settled on the United States Postal Service.

“You just have to take a test, which you could probably pass, and then you’re set for life.  Everytime I go to the post office, they seem very happy.”

I told my brother this new idea, and asked him if she tries to map out his future in this way as well.

“First off, the people at my post office, seem incredibly angry every time I go in, and no, she doesn’t try to plan my future, she just tries to tells me how to eat.”

So despite my mother’s best intentions, I have never taken a tech school class opting instead for advanced degrees which she regards with disdain and impatience; and my brother continues to eat the same five processed foods he has been eating since he was six and getting more and more into the cholesterol danger zone.

Her tactics just don’t work, but she is determined.  It will be interesting to see what she shifts her focus to once I have a real job, or maybe she’ll just stop speaking to me and concentrate more thoroughly on my brother’s diet.

The Brotherhood have now completely taken over my morning walk to work.  They are camped out by the State House, and currently filming across the street from my office building.  There’s a delightful spread at the craft service table that I kind of want to get my hands on, but I’m not quite sure how to make that happen.  Although when I mentioned this to Jewish Friend, she was quick to point out, “I’ve taken food from The Brotherhood before, you just grab some and walk away.  Why can’t I have some food if they’re taking up my entire street? It’s the least they can do.”

So this is now becoming commonplace, but it’s still a little fun (when I’m not trying to find parking).  I was talking to my brother on the phone the other night, and he mentioned that he too has been dealing with film crews lately.  Apparently the Coen brothers are filming a new movie across the street from where he lives in Minneapolis.

“At first I was really confused about what was going on, but then I remembered that we had gotten something in the mail saying that they would be showing up.” he said.

“So, did you see Frances McDormand anywhere?  Did you go snooping around?”

“Yeah, I shaved, put on some nice clothes, and then walked around the block a few times to let them know that if they need an ‘average guy’ I can make myself available.”

I’ve never really harbored dreams of Hollywood success, mostly because I don’t photograph well and am fairly certain I’m not a good actress– but I’ve always longed to be “discovered”.  I imagine scenarios where I’m just walking around nonchalantly and someone runs up to me– “you’re exactly what we need!”  If that actually did happen, I would probably be very alarmed and get away from them as quickly as possible, but it’s been a dream for so long that it’s burned into my brain.

Also I’d like to be friends with famous people.  I imagine that this can be accomplished by me walking down the street in front of Ethan Embry or Jason Isaacs, them seeing me and thinking: she looks like a rad chick, I’d like to be friends with her.

So, like my brother, I wandered over to where the Brotherhood were all set up under the guise that I was getting an iced coffee.  I didn’t see anything particularly interesting, and I didn’t see anyone even moderately famous, but it was a little exciting anyway.  I’m sure that feeling won’t last.

My neighbors have a tendency to throw stuff over the fence separating our yards into my driveway.  Most often it’s garbage, sometimes it’s bottles, which is awesome, and sometimes it’s the kids toys.  Today, I went out to my car to find a bike frame.  Just the frame, no wheels, laying in the tall grass near the fence.  I can only hope that someone brought it around and didn’t throw it so dangerously close to my car, but that seems like a lot of work just to get rid of what seems to be a decent piece of metal.

I asked the man who was standing in the yard talking on his phone if he knew where it came from– this was after I gave him a neighborly wave (I’m not sure if he actually lives there or not), he just shrugged and then shook his head.  I guess I have a new, red bike frame.

I went to the grocery store to buy milk because my morning coffee has been increasingly unpleasant.  I thought that maybe I just needed to clean my machine, but it turns out that my milk was sour.  Who knows how long it’s been sour, since I’ve had a cold all week and can neither taste well, nor smell, but this morning it was decidedly unpleasant– I must be getting better.

One thing that people who spend a lot of time around me can always count on is that I will always have White Cheddar Cheez-its.  I love them, they are the perfect snack and sometimes meal, and when I’m down to my last box, I get a bit panicky.

I got to the store to find that they are on sale, which was exciting, but when I got to the cracker aisle there were no White Cheddar Cheez-its at all.  There were Cheddar Cheez-its a plenty, reduced fat White Cheddar, and the other varieties that always disappoint, but no regular, delicious, White Cheddar Cheez-its.

I didn’t know what to do.

I moved the boxes around on the shelf, I checked the endcaps, I checked the large display area in the front of the store, I looked in the sale aisle– none. So now I’m terrified that they’ve been discontinued, and I missed my change to stock up.  It seems a bit insane to drive all over town looking for crackers, but that’s what it’s going to come to, especially since when I called the store I got no answer.

I was riding along with Jewish Friend a while ago as she navigated her neighborhood.  As we turned a corner right behind her house, I saw a rent-a-cop, a series of white awning-type-things, and a bunch of people sitting around at tables under the awnings.  There was a partial barricade, but the rent-a-cop waved us through apathetically.  I careened my neck around.

“Is this a yard sale, or something?” I asked.

Jewish Friend made a face, “No, it’s that damned Brotherhood ruining my life some more.”

“Is that some kind of weird religious group?”

“No, it’s a TV show.”

Turns out The Brotherhood is a TV show on Showtime.  It takes place is Providence and showcases the city’s colorful, mafia background.  It’s the kind of show that if I had seen it before moving here, I never would have moved here.  I got the first disc of the first season from Netflix and within the first five minutes of the pilot the word niggar had been used about ten times, and someone was killed with a shovel.  It’s interesting enough, a bit talky for my taste, but rather fun to watch just to figure out where exactly they are within the city.

For example, the main character, lives 1/2 block away from Jewish Friend in a fictitious neighborhood known as “The Hill” (there are actually seven hills in Providence– can you name them all?); they shoot extensively within the State House (since one of the characters is a politician), and at various familiar locales around town– there was a scene where a girl and her boyfriend got beat up right in front of my favorite bookstore!  It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo.

This morning I was walking to work and I saw two men standing outside of a parked car.  What first made me take notice of them was the fact that they were white and wearing suits.  This could be explained away as they were standing in front of the funeral home, but as I looked closer at the scene of one man leaning down and talking to the driver of the car and one man standing slightly behind him, it all seemed a bit strange.  The man standing completely upright, had a very deliberate posture, and his skin seemed a strange color.  I’ve been sick lately, so I’m a bit slow, but suddenly it hit me, these men were ACTing.

There was another somewhat official looking man, milling around on the sidewalk, and then I noticed an expensive-looking camera mounted on the car.  I recalled how many shots in the one or two episodes I wantched of this show were shot through car windows just like this, and concluded “many.”

As I continued on my route to work, I saw the standard rent-a-cop, trailers with shiny silver signs, and the hateful, hateful white paper signs reading “No Parking, Tow Zone” stapled and taped to poles.  These signs never have dates or times on them, they are just there, and I swear half the time, The Brotherhood forgets to take them down when they change location.  Last time I got a haircut, it took me fifteen minutes to find any patch of street that didn’t have one of these signs, and I was too afraid of being towed to just take a chance.

There was a similar incident this past fall.  Apparently Richard Gere was filming a movie in Rhode Island and needed a few academic looking shots.  An email came out to all URI students telling up that for three days, we would not be able to park near campus.  We were still expected to go to class, of course, but parking would be taken up by movie crews and streets would be blocked off, and we’d best just find another way.  I didn’t have to go to campus any of the blackout days, but still told anyone who would listen to me how outraged I was, and demanded “why aren’t I seeing a cut of the money they must be making from this movie?”

So now The Brotherhood may be leaving Jewish Friend’s Hill to come to my Hill, but I’m really not too bothered by it just yet.  It makes the walk to work a bit more exciting, and maybe if I keep watching the show, I’ll see myself prancing through the background.

I was the last of my really close friends to finally leave Fargo.  My group of oldest friends left right after college, and I stuck around for grad school, and then the rest kind of them trickled slowly away.  I kept thinking that I would leave immediately after grad school, but I had neither a job nor a plan, and so I lingered for another year and a half saving money and making new friends.

It was an odd position to be in because I was ready to leave, but I had to bide my time since I still wasn’t sure exactly where I would wind up and what I would do when I got there.  I felt a little bit embarrassed because among the friends of mine who wanted to leave, I was the last, and that made me feel unambitious in a way.  People remarked over and over how they figured I would be the first one to bolt after college, and how weird it was that I stayed.  Was I all talk?  Would I never finally strike out on my own?  Were the visions I’d had in my head of me bouncing from city to city living life to the fullest not something I actually had the guts to do?

Also, there was recently an article in the New York Times entitled Towns They Don’t Want to Leave, which highlights the five college towns that have the highest percentage of graduates remaining there after finishing school, number two is Providence, number four is Fargo– seriously, what are the odds?  I’m not saying the New York Times will influence whether I stay in Providence or not, but it’s a bit spooky.

I’ve been in Providence a year now, and I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends, but most of us are students and will have to leave to get real jobs.  I actually really like it here and could see myself staying for a while longer, but again, what if I stay primarily because I like my friends, and then they all leave?  I really like Providence as a city, but just like I’d been wrestling with the entire time I was trying to decide where to move: do I really know any better?  I’ve lived a lot of places, probably more than most, but I’ve lived in very few cities, and the fact that I found one I like right away, makes me feel like I can really be happy anywhere.

When I was in sixth grade, I was pretty miserable.  My family had moved about five times at that point, but I had been with the same peer group since kindergarten.  I lived in a very small town, and my dad was the High School principal, which meant that people much older than me knew who I was, and I had no clue why they hated me.  I was tired of all of my friends and their interests that didn’t link up with mine; I was ready for a change.  When my mother told me that they were seriously considering moving, I actually cried because I was so relieved.  I had done all I could do in Hallock, MN and I was ready for a change.

I very much have a tendency to hang onto things until I’m ready to leave them, jobs, towns, etc. I didn’t feel very sad to leave Fargo because I wasn’t appreciating anything about it anymore, I just saw it as a place to get away from.  Leaving my job at Fargo Public Library was actually the hardest thing, because I didn’t hate it and I’ve never left a job without  hating it.

I also don’t hate Providence, but I may have to leave, and that might make it really hard.  I like the idea of being a nomad because one of my biggest fears is complacency, but I don’t quite know what to do with actual contentment.  What if you are somewhere, and you like it, and all of the professional opportunities you need are at your fingertips– that is what I can’t fathom.  What makes a life?  What makes a person say “I’m really happy with my life”? That statement always sounds like a death knell for me, but it seems like a very nice thing to say.

I was talking to a friend last weekend about these thoughts I’ve been having.

“So you’re done in May, and then you move– wherever?” he asked.

“Yeah, except back to the Midwest, but yeah.”

“That’s sucks, man, it would be weird not to have you around.” We sat for a beat, taking this all in.

“Well, when are you leaving?” I asked him.

“Two years.”

When my parents come out for their most recent visit, they had a very full itinerary to complete on their drive.  My dad and brother were both history majors, and my dad used to teach High School history, so the two of them would take annual “male bonding” road trips where they visit historical sites, and then immediately get back into the car and go to the next one.  They are both of the philosophy that one should cram in as much history as possible, stopping only to eat and pee.  I’m more of the “fly there and do things at a leisurely pace, without over itinerizing a thus missing those magic moments that happen while on vacation that you cannot have predicted” philosophy, so I never went on these road trips, despite persistent begging from my father.

One of the stops on the way out was Gettysburg.  The night before that stop, my mother woke to find my father staring at the ceiling wide awake.  “Is something wrong, Wayne?” she asked.

He looked at her, “I’m just so excited.”

He had been to Gettysburg six times before this most recent visit.

Naturally, all of the excitement and lack of sleeping meant that by the time they got to my house, my father was sick.  When he’s sick he becomes whiny and immature, and seems determined to make everyone else as miserable as he is.  At home, he takes a bunch of Ibuprofen (the reason why he relies exclusively upon Ibuprofen, continues to baffle me.  Mom thinks it’s because he gets body aches from the cold and it helps with that, I think that he always takes Ibuprofen when he’s sore from running and therefore assumes it’s some kind of cure-all) and settles himself into the recliner in front of FoxNews, which means that no one else can watch, and everyone has to tread carefully lest he wake up.  At my house, it means that he watches Book TV (no change there from usual, and I don’t allow him to watch FoxNews), and craps out at 8pm instead of his usual 9.  Then we all have to tread carefully lest we wake him up.

Since being at my house means being on vacation, he did try to rally a little bit, mostly because the main reason for the visit was so he could go to Maine, and finally check that one off the list.  We drove three hours there, spent three hours on the DuckBoat tour and having lunch, then drove three hours back during which time he felt worse and worse and really let us know about it.

Finally, we saw a sign for a Target store and decided to stop.  “Do you want us to get you some cold medicine, Wayne?” My mother asked.

He just made a grunting noise.

“What would you like?”

“I don’t know anything about that.  Just get me some ibuprofen.”

“Wayne, that doesn’t make any sense.” I told him, “we can get something for your cold.”

My mother was more patient, and after much prodding, managed to get him to list his symptoms, then when we presented him with Tylenol Day/Night Cold, he couldn’t figure out the blister pack and became enraged.  He pouted in the back seat for the rest of the drive, and upon arriving at my place, immediately turned on C-Span.

My father has always been a moody guy, but the older he gets, the more child-like he becomes.  It’s bizarre.  One positive about this trip is that my mother seems to have put him on some kind of diet.  There were no cookie-gorging incidents, despite the fact that they still went to Tim Horton’s more than anyone should.  Their first night in town, Wayne asked me for some of the ice cream in my freezer.  “Sure, you can have some,” I told him, “but it’s kind of old and probably freezer burned.  I’ve actually been meaning to throw it out. I’m sure it’s not very good.”

“He waited patiently for me to finish talking and then repeated, “I can have some?”

“Sure, have it all.”

Five minutes later he was without a mug of ice cream microwaved for 10 seconds (always a mug, not sure why), and I asked if he had changed his mind.

“Your mother told me I couldn’t.” he told me, and looked rather devastated.

The State House was pink last night.  They have special light filters (I assume they’re filters, but I’m not the State House lighting director), and they change the colors monthly (?). It’s pretty cool, makes driving around at night an adventure.  Also, everything available for purchase lately seems to have a pink ribbon on it, or it’s a Halloween, or Christmas (already?!?!?) decoration.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about raising money for breast cancer, and I stopped hating the color pink a while ago.

Let’s take a step back, though, October is obviously the month of Halloween, Breast Cancer Awareness month, the month of Oktoberfest etc.  It’s also DINOSAUR MONTH, which I will be calling Dinosaur Awareness Month.  Poor dinosaurs are always getting lost in the shuffle, and if I hadn’t been at the library yesterday, I wouldn’t have known about it either. In celebration, I will now list a few fun dinosaur facts that people may or may not know.

There is no such thing as a Brontosaurus.  Remember growing up, that giant long-necked herbivore of the sauropod genus was always called a Brontosaurus?  Then, I stopped paying attention for a moment, and it became Apatasaurus.  I feel that not many people know why, because when a friend of mine was wearing a t-shirt with an Apatosaurus on it, and I correctly identified it, he was wildly impressed (dinosaurs are super-awesome).

The story goes, dinosaur nomenclature dictates that the first name given to a dinosaur is the correct one.  In 1877 Othiel Charles Marsh found a skeleton and named it Apatosaurus ajax.  Two years later, he found a similar skeleton and named it Brontosaurus excelsus, which means Thunder Lizard (clearly, he had been thinking up cool names in the interim, plus this skeleton was larger and more thunderous).  The only problem was the fact that the Thunder Lizard skeleton was incomplete– lacking a skull.  Marsh fashioned one according to what he believed it would have looked like, and wound up creating a massive skull to match the massive body.  The skull created was similar to the Camarasaurus:

Finally people stepped back and examined the skeletons and realized that they were actually the same, or similar enough to eliminate the need for two names.  The mighty Brontosaurus excelsus, actually had a puny little head, and all signage would need to be changed.

Getting away from sauropods, the largest of the stegosaurid armoured dinosaur or Stegosaurus has the smallest brain of all the dinosaurs– size of a walnut.  However, he has another things going for him that baffled scientists for years.  There is a large cluster of nerves in the hip/tail region, that led many to think that it was actually a second brain that controlled reflexes in the rear of the body.  This has been disproved, and Stegosaurus remains just the dinosaur with the smallest brain– although it was chosen as the state dinosaur of Colorado since that’s where it was first discovered.

If you would like to learn more about dinosaurs, I highly recommend The Modern Scholar Lecture Series: Behold The Mighty Dinosaur.

Dinosaurs rule.

*all pictures were taken by me at the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT– you should go there.

I’ve never had head lice. In elementary school, around first grade, we had The Big Lice Scare.  Someone brought the pests to school, and suddenly the coat room was a hazardous area; every itch was suspect; and I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before I was sent home with a tiny comb and a recommended brand of lice-killing fluid.  When it didn’t happen for me, I felt a bit left out, like I was missing some kind of rite of passage.

I feel like getting lice is one of those things that happens to everyone– like getting crapped on by a bird.  That hasn’t happened to me either, and I get very, very nervous when there are a lot of fowl around because as much as I want to get it over with, I really don’t want to get crapped on by a bird.  I just don’t want to have to deal with it even if it means I’m in the clear forevermore and can share anecdotes about getting crapped on with other people at parties.  I covet other peoples’ “I got crapped on by a bird stories” because it’s the perfect blend of pure indignation, and gross.  The the person can conclude with a statement that says how he or she was very upset in the moment, but has since learned that you just have to cope with events like these.  This makes the teller seem like he or she has “risen above” or conquered something, and other people identify and nod in solidarity.

I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking about this.

When I was a freshman in college, I lived in one of the oldest dorms.  We had about six shower stalls for 25 girls which resulted in a ridiculous early morning line of girls trying to get their shower before classtime.  Before I got wise and realized that no one in my 8am Bio class would care if my hair was a bit flat, I queued up in the bovine line and patiently waited my turn.  The one day I actually did this before getting wise, was the day I stood next to this girl, Rami.  She was a giant of a female, with a deep voice, and a slightly dopey expression.  She was nice enough, but I had no interest in extending our interaction past smiling and nodding, and I’m sure she thought of me as one of the two girls who ate too much pizza.

Her shower tote was a white basket similar to the one that my roommate had, but when I glanced at it the only thing I could see was a giant bottle of Nix laying unashamedly on the top.  Rami has lice? I thought as I’m sure I squirmed slightly away from her. Rami has had lice recently, and it still continuing treatment?  Rami keeps something else that she uses in the shower in an old Nix bottle and doesn’t see that that is bound to make people ask questions?  Am I finally going to get lice freshman year of college when actually getting lice would be the most ridiculous thing in the world?

I didn’t get lice from standing next to Rami in the shower line, but I did tell everyone who would listen that she carried around Nix, and surreptitiously watched her to see if she spent more time than usual scratching her head.

Now it is fall once again.  The weather is turning cold; I’m craving stout beer and fish and chips; and my allergies are acting up.  With the allergies comes the itchy eyes, itchy nose, and apparently itchy everything. I have been scratching constantly lately and feel like I’m making people nervous with my twitching and fidgeting.  Naturally, the first thing I thought was that I must have lice, but I don’t have lice, I will never have lice.  I’m perfectly pleased with that, but will always worry.