Archive for April, 1996

BONSAI!

10 April 1996 at 10:07 pm
by Jonah

(date unknown)

I saw kanji today leaving his political science class today. He has the same class I do, only on TT instead of MWF. “I love Schaefer,” he says when he sees me. We talk a bit about Red Dragon. “What time do you get on each day?” he asks. I tell him about 4 or 5. “Cause I wanna kill somebody. Everytime I get on there, everyone’s dead. Except for Agamemnon.” Then he picks a piece of yew or juniper or whatever that bush around the Fine Arts Building is and hands it to me. “Have a tree,” he says. “It’s a hyper bonsai.”

“It looks pretty staid,” I say.

I walk into the building to go through it to get to my car. Two guys are
sitting in the hall engaged in earnest discussion. I go up to one of them
(never seen ’em before in my life) and say, “Here, have a tree,” handing him
the twig.

He accepts it and says, “Thank you,” without thinking…

Something funny happened to me today. I went by the bank to deposit the
remainder of my AL student grant and chose the drive through since it was
raining. A lot of other people had evidently chosen it for the same reason,
and there were at least two cars in front of each vacuum machine. Except the
last one. It had only one car. Cool, i thought, and I pulled into that lane,
suddenly, a van that had just been sitting over to the side dashed in RIGHT in
front of me to that place. I thought that was rather rude, but i wasn’t in a
hurry, I was in a relatively good mood having just completed my last final,
and I was enjoying listening to the radio. So I just pulled into another lane.
The front car in the lane beside me opened up then. I looked over to see a
whole line of cars waiting for the window right next to the bank to become
available. I thought one of them might want to pull over into this newly
shortened line, but none of them budged. i guess they all needed to use the
drop or something. After waiting a couple of seconds more to make sure that
what had happened to me earlier did not repeat itself, I pulled over into that
lane and put the car in park while I waited. After quite a while, the car
ahead of me pulled out, and I filled its spot quickly. I opened my door
(since my window doesn’t work), grabbed the vacuum tube when it emerged from
the machine, and was about to put my check, driver’s license, and deposit
slip in it when I remembered that I hadn’t signed the deposit slip for cash
removed. I rummaged around for a pen and hurriedly signed it before slipping
the tube back into the door of the machine. Then i waited. The machine did
nothing. The tube just sat there. Cars around me came and went as i waited
for the machine to react. Someone behind me honked their horn. I opened my
door again and hit the button marked SERVICE. I tried shutting the machine.
Nothing. So I waited some more. The tellers inside were swamped. Finally, a
lady in a truck got out and came up to my machine. She hit the SERVICE button
several times and tried to force the door shut. I just gazed out of my window
and smiled. She walked over to the window where the tellers were just as the
machine shut its door, swallowing the vacuum tube. I could hear her yelling
at the tellers through the window. The teller responded through my machine’s
speaker. After a while, i convinced the impatient lady that the machine was
indeed working and the teller that everything was okay. After a couple more
minutes the vacuum tube returned. After making sure that my driver’s
license, my money, and my receipt were all there, a pulled out quickly to let
the lady in the truck up to the machine. I didn’t even stop at the stop sign
leading out of there.

Post-present apparitions

10 April 1996 at 5:51 pm
by Jonah

I’m searching for a string of characters to describe the way I’m feeling
right now. I suppose I’ll just have to use English words.

Sara Fitzgerald from Americans for Tax Reform called this afternoon at three,
just like she promised. She asked me questions like, “Would you consider
yourself a conservative, moderate, or liberal?” “Do you think the current tax
system is fair?” “Why are you interested in politics?” “Why do you want an
internship?” I answered each one in my deliberate way, saying what I really
thought. I didn’t tell her I had Libertarian leanings, however.

“Okay, Joanna,” she finally concluded, “we’d like to offer you an internship
at ATR this summer.” She went on to say that they had people come from May
to July 8, from then till August 14, and others that stayed the whole summer,
from the end of May to August. The pay is 100 dollars a week. I asked her
about lodging availabilities. She gave me the numbers to a couple of
colleges within walking distances to the Metro that offer housing, one of
which costs $210 a month and has a cafeteria. I also asked her what she
liked best about ATR. She said the connections. The president of the
organization evidently knows lots of people up there and is even an advisor
to Newt Gingrich [grin]. Then Sara told me to think about it for a couple of
weeks and call her back on April 24.

So right now I’m sort of shaking inside. I’m terribly excited. This is the
sort of thing I was hoping I’d get. And then at the same time, I’m
terrified. Is this what I really want to do? Not just the offer, not simply
this summer. Is this the field I want to explore? Is this the future I want
to have? Do I really want to focus my life toward politics and government?
Do I want to meet people in power? Make “connections”? Part of me screams
to run away. The other part sees the potential for great things if I follow
this path. This might not only hold good for me but for what I can do to
benefit others, benefit my country.

Maybe I’m just a cynical idealist.

I hate decisions. I mean, I love having the freedom to make them, but to
actually choose… to make a judgment… to set my mind and course of action
in a specific direction with no real option of turning back… that tightens
my stomach into knots.

So now I’m faced with something that has the possibility of being wonderful,
and I’m scared. I’m caught between beaming with pleasure and staring aghast
into the face of the future. The fork in the road is looming ahead, and I
must chose a path.

I’ve asked God to guide my path and have pretty much always known that he
does. I’ve been amazed to see the perfect way he has orchestrated things so
far. He seems to take delight in dropping opportunities in my lap. Instead
of pursuing, I’ve been captured by my destiny. And have had nothing to
complain about thus far. I’ve made overtures in other directions, just to
see what’s out there, and had doors slam in my face. Perhaps this is meant
to be.

When Sara asked me, “Why are you interested in politics?” I didn’t really
know how to answer. “Why is anyone interested in anything?” I began. I
can’t really explain it. All I can guess is that the Lord put this desire,
this love, in my heart for a purpose. The fun, and perhaps frightening, part
is finding out what that purpose is. But life really isn’t worth living
without him, and what he wants for me is truly what I want for myself.

In any case, I’m getting pretty excited. I asked mom if I could take the
synthesizer keyboard with me if I went to Washington this summer. “I
dunno…” she answered slowly, “Maybe God will provide a family for you to
stay with that has a piano.

The Triumph of Evil (the irony of disappointment)

9 April 1996 at 10:35 pm
by Jonah

Naps are good.

Except when my mom wakes me up suddenly, demands I do something and then
starts telling me something important while I’m still not even sure where I
am, what’s going on, or even who I am.

That happened early this evening. I was taking a nap because I went to bed
sometime around 11:30 last night, got up at 2, procrastinated for a couple of
hours before buckling down on my paper on Shakepeare’s _Henry IV_, finishing
around seven something. Dad was proofreading it this morning and noting,
“This is your personal philosophy, Joanna.” Mom read it and asked, “Are all
your papers autobiographical?” I reminded her that my last paper was “The
Irony of Evil” in which I discussed two of Shakepeare’s greatest villains,
Iago and Edmund. “I didn’t include it in that last paper,” I told her, “but
I was originally intending to ask how someone could be that evil and then say
that to find the answer all I had to do was look inside myself.” “I didn’t
mean it like that!” she exclaimed.

I called ATR in Washington and set up an appointment for a phone interview
tomorrow at three.

Functioning merely on caffeine and ginseng tea, I made the final alterations
to my paper and headed out the door, getting to school about 20 till nine.
With some time to kill, I wondered around the fine arts building looking at
the “Art With a Southern Drawl” exhibit and then returning to my classroom,
only to find it entirely empty. It was then that I remembered that class
starts at 9:30 on Tuesdays, not nine. I can’t seem to function in a timely
manner unless I set my alarm for one hour and 15 minutes before class starts.
And last night I got up at 2.

Feeling pretty stupid, I went to the snack shop with Elizabeth and read some
of my world religions text for the quiz we had today. The rest of the day
went fairly normally. We’re discussing Christianity in WR, and specifically
the sermon on the mount. When we got to the part about, “You have heard it
said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that any man who looks
lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart,”
the question of what lust is came up. Andy, sitting behind me, said, “Joanna
will have an opinion on the matter.” I somehow became the spokesperson for
the females in the group on how women think. I was hoping very hard that
what I said was what they thought. But all the girls nodded when we came to
statement we agreed upon, so I felt a lot better.

I found a couple of books on the National Education Association in the
library and paid a huge fine on a book that was due about a month ago. Then
I purchased a tall cup of coffee and a pint of whole milk from the snack shop
(caffeine protein–a winning combination; kept me awake too) and went over to
Shakespeare, where one of the theater majors insisted I sit down and play the
piano. People kept asking me, “What song is that?” “Sompthin’ I made up.”

At the end of class, Allums said the papers weren’t due till Thursday. I
handed in my paper anyway. I didn’t want to work on it anymore. I suppose
the title was fitting–“The Triumph of Disappointment.”

Then I came home, ate a plate of spaghetti, and crashed. Couple hours of
sleep last night, five the night before (thanks to you), four the night
before that. I’m going to bed for real tonight.

Jonah (seems to be truly able to operate without much sleep)

Oh, got another letter of rejection today. From the Pew Younger Program.
Guess that’s the end of that chapter [grin].

Cara said I didn’t want an internship at Heritage. They’re boring, she said.

Aliens

8 April 1996 at 11:08 pm
by Jonah

I came home this evening, after making a fool of myself at the forum, to find
two envelopes waiting for me on the stairs, where my mom places my “real”
mail. One was from US Air. A promotion, no doubt. The other bore the words
“The Heritage Foundation” in the upper left hand corner. “A letter of
rejection,” I predicted as I, nontheless, ran excitedly up the stairs and
dumped the other things I was carrying on my bed. “Don’t think,” I told
myself in the time it took me to rip open the envelope, unfold the paper
inside, and read, “I regret to inform you that The Heritage Foundation is
unable to offer you an internship for the summer of 1996…” The rest of the
letter was more of the same.

But another sheet of paper in the same envelope caught my attention. I
turned it over and was suddenly surprised to see a copy of a memo “From- Sara
J. Fitzgerald.” I almost jumped. Across the top was the logo for Americans
For Tax Reform. It was about internship oportunities at ATR. I guess
Heritage included the memo in all their rejection letters? It said for
interested applicants to send resumes to their address. I’d already done
that.

Amazed at this, I took the letter downstairs to show mom. “Sara Fitzgerald,”
she said, “She called today. I told her you would be home this afternoon.
She asked you to call her to set up a phone interview.”

“Today?” I blinked.

“Yes. If you’d call home sometimes, you’d find out these things!” mom
answered, somewhat irritably.

So I’m going to call her in the morning. I dunno. This much coincidence in
one day…

Perhaps, as my favorite quote from the movie _Close Encounters of the Third
Kind_ says, “This means something.”

8 April 1996 at 9:19 pm
by Jonah

My friend Cris is absolutely insane. That’s probably why I like her.

We’re running together for Senior Class officers of SGA. We ran last year as
well. She won, and I lost. This year we’re running unopposed, however.
Being sure shoe-ins, we weren’t real concerned about the forum held tonight
for candidates to introduce themselves and make campaign statements to
whoever showed up. Only 15 of us did. Of them, only four were not running
for office. They included the present Executive President, who kind of had
to be there; his girlfriend, who was taking notes for an article for the
school paper; and the two work studies, who were running lights and sound.

Almost everyone was running unopposed. I go to a really apathetic school.
All of the candidates were female (except for Stephen, who won’t go have an
meeting with the Faculty Director of Student Stuff Like This, didn’t show up
at this forum, and won’t be on the ballot). They were all dressed up. As
Cris said, “You wouldn’t want to light a match in this room on account of all
the hair spray.” This was in contrast to the two of us. I was wearing my
usual jeans, t-shirt, flannel shirt, and black high tops, and Cris was in a
pair of cutoffs and t-shirt. Before it started, the two of us sat on one
side of the auditorium singing “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oreo, what’s in the
middle, the white stuff,” as everyone else glanced at us nervously.

Since we’re the only ones running for senior stuff, we went close to the end.
I’d written a speech beforehand after asking one of the tech guys what he
wanted out of SGA. Cris read it and chuckled. “Let’s go up there together,”
I suggested, as our turn approached. She shook her head. “Aw, come on,” I
whined in a whisper, “I don’t want to be up there all by myself.” She looked
dubious. “Hey,” I added, “how ’bout I give my speech while you perform an
interpretive dance?”

“Okay!” she agreed. We walked up to the podium on stage. Cris gave her
little introduction saying what we were running for. Then we switched
places. I gave my name and announced, “I’ll be a senior next year, which is
a good thing, considering I’m running for senior class vice president. I’ve
prepared a little speech outlining my campaign promises.

“As senior class vice president, I will make it my goal to bring about
several changes to benefit the student body and especially the senior class.
First off I would address the issue of security guards. I would work to
make them stop delivering so many tickets and start handing out coupons for
McDonalds. Speaking of fast food, the snack shop should offer a wider
variety of selections such as anchovies on pizza. On the same note, the
cafeteria should make items like Twinkies available. Another problem is the
bookstore. Have you been over there lately? They carry absolutely no comic
books! Chapel is an issue that also needs to be addressed. It’s just way
too boring most of the time. Perhaps we could do something about making more
work study jobs available. Maybe have students dressed up in chicken suits
to be present at UM events. They could even dance on the stage during chapel
to liven things up a bit. Finally, if you vote for me, I will work to give
free Skittles to all seniors. And if you don’t vote for me, that’s okay too.
Thank you, and God bless America.”

The nervous, occasional giggle ceased, and we stepped down from the stage to
a smattering of applause. When everyone had completed their shpeels, all the
candidates gathered up front to have their pictures taken. On the one with
all of us in it, Cris and I knelt facing each other, me peering over my
sunglasses at the camera. In the one of the candidates for Senior Class
officers, Cris and I sat back to back with one knee up, me with my sunglasses
still on. I can’t wait to see them posted out for the students who are
voting