Laundry List: A Retrospective

1) I realized today that my Director of study is probably the single best lecturer I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen so many. He leaks tangible passion out of every pore and effortlessly holds us rapt with his insight, knowledge, and lateral thinking in the field of History. Why do I keep getting stuck with the models of what I want to be, of how I want to live? And how nice is it to watch the undergraduates squirm uncomfortably while I sit back and enjoy the sagacious wizard-of-what-came-before weave his craft, only taking notes relative to my area of focus?

2) The department is under twenty people, so you can bet there’s a certain level of intimacy present within the Georgian halls. A few of us sat in the annexed Scottish History library and worked on our respective projects, chatting quietly amongst ourselves by the heater as the Caledonian climate pattered a morose dirge outside the window. We joined a seminar given by a visiting professor from Dundee, and enjoyed his hour of comparative history regarding the remnants of the Spanish Empire in the New World and the attempted grab of a thousand Scottish settlers–their very own Roanoake. After comments, questions, and insights, we retired to the offices upstairs for wine and snacks, chats with Uni chums and professors all. The Family, so to speak. We’re all geeks, here.

3) I finally joined the University of Edinburgh Boxing Club today, stopping in for a good workout before the end of a very long day. The ring was small, but everyone’s welcomes were large, and it feels so good to beat the shit out of some faceless leather bags once again. Next week signals the return of my sparring, I suppose. Looks like most of the patrons are beginners, but there’s a few I’ve noticed with sound skills. I eagerly look forward to it. One of the trainers worked on the mitts with me; knew I was a fighter. This was one of the last pieces of the puzzle, so to speak. Because…

4) On the way home, with bagged gear slung over my shoulder, I treaded down the Cowgate skirting puddles of collected precipitation and the potential embarrassment of jutting, loose cobbles. Sore from my efforts and minty-elated from the comfort that endorphins incur, I stopped for a second and looked around. No big deal, just realized I was following the path of Cameron of Lochiel’s regiment to the Merkat Cross after they had stormed the Netherbow Port to take Edinburgh in 1745. It was a fall day, not unlike this one, albeit earlier and in a bit fairer weather. Charlie would herald the return of his family’s line that morning, his aging father still in France, but quite willing to make the journey after his foppish boy did the dirty-work of cleaning a straight path to London. He almost made it, too.

5) And right before I stepped onto the street that lead to Home, I passed the Grassmarket spirit-manse of Archibald Stewart, Lord Provost in charge of Edinburgh’s defences during the invasion. He had a rather nice abode at the head of the Market, right on the bottom of West Bow under the shadow of the Castle. The house is no longer there, and hasn’t been for centuries, but I knew it was there at one time. For a second, I believe I can see it. And I wonder what he saw.

6) A particular song of a particular mix from a particular time in my life happened to be lilting through my headphones and offending my hearing, right before I opened the door to the flat. I made the compilation to remind me of something I thought I needed reminding of, but I realized right then that I have no wish to do so anymore. I ‘m embarrassed by what I put up with for so long. And all of it is gone, with so much beauty to replace the endless destruction that self-doubt and insecurity brings. It’s all different now. But who told Her?

Totally happy now, and fulfilled on so many levels. Everything I’ve dreamed, now tangible in front of me. Every walk is an adventure, every smell a treat and a remembrance of what may have come before. All my senses are engorged with their respective charges. Good luck on making me leave. How lucky? SO lucky.

It all makes sense now I’ve calmed down,
I should’ve seen it coming for miles down the road.
But at the time we never think
that it might have been ourselves to blame at all.

You’ll shudder and beat your chest
but you’ll never warm yourself up believe me.
Where were you? I’d made it through
but only God can judge me now I hope he’s in.

Why do hearts break
when we are on our own
just when you need to
pump the life back in yourself?
Why do earthquakes happen miles away
when I only want the open ground to swallow me?

Who told you I’d not come through
before I could speak to you in my defence?
Who made you the righteous one
when I had only turned around for half an hour?

Why do chalk lines tell an empty tale?
Surely it’s bad enough to end up on the floor…
And you can scratch your chin
and think you understand
but how can you know
what’s going on inside my head?

Maybe I’m better off alive and in my bed…

7 Responses to “Laundry List: A Retrospective”

  1. lilitufire Says:
    October 10th, 2003 at 2:16 am

    Passion is often what makes a good teacher, no?
    It's interesting reading your responses to Edinburgh – my own knowledge of Scottish history is minimal, so I have no feeling of walking in others footsteps in that same way… Still love the city though!
    And glad that you seem bouncy and life is good for you. It was nice to meet you on Saturday.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 10th, 2003 at 8:26 am

    I think it's passion that *defines* a teacher, not just the ability to collect and synthesize information. Presentation and countenance is certainly most of the occupational description, as far as I believe.
    Because you live here is all the more reason to embrace the city's history, culture, and gestalt. Unless, of course, you're not that interested. 😉
    Thanks for your pleasant tidings. It was a pleasure to meet, and surely we'll be running into each other around town, yes?

  3. lilitufire Says:
    October 10th, 2003 at 8:33 am

    Hmm – want to educate a historically challenged person about her city sometime? It would be kinda fun to wander around it with someone who actually knows their stuff *grins*

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 13th, 2003 at 6:46 pm

    You're asking a *Yank?*
    You so crazy… 🙂
    Yes, I'd love to. That is, if I can find some sort of respite from classes, libraries, and stinky gymnasiums where people sock each other in the mouth all the time.

  5. lilitufire Says:
    October 14th, 2003 at 2:07 am

    I'm asking a Yank with a thing for history – that's different 😉
    Perhaps when things settle down a little for you? Sounds like a nice way to spend, say, a Sunday afternoon at some point?

  6. velvetdahlia Says:
    October 10th, 2003 at 7:29 am

    I found your journal while trolling my interests, and your username came up several times.
    I've added you to my friends list because I like reading your posts. I hope that is OK.

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 10th, 2003 at 8:31 am

    Well, of course it's okay!
    I should thank you for reading!
    I've added you back, also tickled that you have Anji on your Friends list. Been following her work for a while in Bitstream Dream, et al.
    Glad to meet you.

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