Parts of the ever increasing whole

by Jonah

1-11-97

Well, here it is, a little after midnight, and I’m sitting here at Boris again because we’ve got company down in the computer room. I wrote Myrrh saying I wanted his modem. He wrote back, “uh, are you ever in the Saraland area on a weekday?”

I shot back, “Honey, I go to UM. I’m in the Saraland area EVERY weekday.”

It’s just as well, I suppose. I have to be downtown at 9 tomorrow to help move theater stuff out of a warehouse and to the school. But if I do, I get to go to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, so I think it’s worth it.

Elizabeth and Karen talked me into it. I was sitting in Russian class, after sleeping through my first class of the day and reading the assigned story on the drive to school (I try to pick the route with the straightest roads), when the two girls walked in.

“Jonah!” cries Elizabeth.
“Joanna!” echoes Karen.
“You have a part!” Elizabeth continued.
“You got a part in the play!” came Karen.
“You’re in _Doctor_!” Elizabeth finished.
“You’re in _The Doctor in Spite of Himself_! rejoined Karen. Even if this fusillade had contained a pause, I’m not sure I would have been able to fill it. I was, to say the least, happy. Very happy. I got a part! And not only that, I was in the play by Moliere! And to top it off, Mrs. Kellum is directing it. Mrs. Kellum, the woman everyone in the theater department loves, the professor every theater major worships, the director they would lay their lives down for, picked ME!

We only got through the first part of the story in Russian Lit, which was good since I hadn’t finished it in the car. Liz had to run off somewhere, so Karen and I started off toward the theater department, discussing the American Myth class I sort of created. We had barely come out of the classroom when we spotted Dr. Allums at the other end of the hall.

“Hold on,” he shouted to us and turned to talk to someone else. Both Karen and I froze instantaneously.

“Should we stay like this?” asked Karen. I grinned without turning my head.

“We look really funny,” she observed but didn’t move. Dr. Bilbo, one of the science professors, made his unhurried way in our direction, looking at our frozen forms quizzically.

“Hi there, Dr. Bilbo,” I said.

“Hi, Joanna,” he remembered my name, though I’ve only had one of his classes, and that was a while back,

“Protesting something?”

“Yes,” I answered, “We’re protesting apathy. By standing still.”

“We’re ‘holding on,'” Karen corrected. Nicki came up and stared at us, walking all around. Allums eventually ended his far-hall conversation and joined us.

“Joanna, you’re such a literalist,” he complained, good naturedly as we finally came to ease.

“Yes, I even believe in a six day creation…”

“Oh, hush!” Karen turned on me.

“Is that a mock? Are you mocking me?” he laughed.

“I’ll mock anyone,” I answered, “Equal opportunity amusement.”

He told us that the class had grown to 5 professors and 5 students,
Dr. Buaas wants in too.

“Ah, Dr. Buaas,” I made the peculiar hand gesture, extending my thumb and curling my forefinger, this professormakes unceasingly.

“Have you seen the smiley?” Karen asked him proudly, “Come see!”

We ventured into the chemistry lab–without safety goggles–to look out the window onto the quad.

“It’s growing a beard,” I complained, indicating the new grass growth around the mouth.

“What is this,” asked Allums, who’d never seen it before, “Who did that?”

“I don’t know,” I lied. Nickie and Karen giggled.

Dr. Allums, who I think is a dean by now and at least a department chair, turned to me and asked, “Did one of our honor students do this?”

I looked at him blankly, “What’s an honor student?”

The giggles collapsed into guffaws.

“Let’s get out of here,” Allums turned to leave, “This place gives me the creeps.”

We left him and continued the trek to the theater department. Sure enough, my name was on the cast list… at the very bottom.

Elise, [someone’s] niece.

At the bottom was added a note that all of the female actors had parts, but they weren’t really sure which ones yet. Rehearsals started, [gasp] MONDAY from 2-4. Not wasting any time. Just as well. The play opens February 13.

Elizabeth was coming out of the department, so we all agreed to meet over at Barnes & Noble. Karen and I needed to get books for the class, and I needed to get a birthday present for my brother. I found a bunch of cheap, reduced computer games and selected four of them. Then I searched for Go Down Moses, Democracy in America, Moby Dick, and The Doctor in Spite of Himself. Inside the front cover, I didn’t find a character named “Elise” that was anyone’s niece. It seems I have been assigned a part created from thin air. I also found a copy of Sea Wolf by Jack London, which I’ve been listening to on tape in the car. I flipped through, checking the spelling of character’s and rereading confusing parts. Karen picked up whatever book looked interesting and added it to her dad’s Book Allowance.

“Let’s go to Old Navy!” Karen and Liz suggested. “It’s like Gap except cheap,” they explained to my confusion. I wasn’t against that, so we dumped the books in the car and walked down to the next storefront. I made myself at home in the flannel shirt section, getting one for my brother, and two for me and my sister, since I couldn’t decide whether to get the red and green one or the green and red one. They were all on clearance. That was the most important part. Karen spent the rest of her father’s book allowance on clothes.

“Which should I get?” she asked, holding up two small black shirts. I shrugged helplessly and mumbled
“flannel” occasionally. Whatever one bought, the other of the two roommates said,

“Oh, I’ll borrow that then.” I merely clutched my shirts.

“I’m heading to the checkout,” I told Karen, “My breathing is beginning to constrict.”

“But you have to help me decide which one!” she insisted. I grabbed my throat and wheezed. “Oh, all right.”

Liz called later tonight to tell me it was okay for me to show up at work day. Maynard got a hold of the phone to tell me how to get to the place. He was drunk, but he gave okay directions. I’ve been there before. Besides, how big can downtown be?

We watched Fargo at Nathan and Andrew’s place. Andrew and I attempted to make a fire in the fireplace with the free (and wet) wood provided by the apartment complex and some Thrifty Nickels he’d picked up earlier. The movie was a bit more successful. Steph and Denise said it was terrible, though Denise and I thought it would rock to have a cool husband like Norm. I thought the film was great. They made me leave at midnight, since I was driving home, though Mark and Shocka had just walked in.

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