Last week, as aforementioned, I went up to Rutgers for a seminar. It was called Soils and Site Evaluation for Septic Disposal Systems. Doesn't that sound exciting? I actually sort of thought that it was. It was all about soil. I took Soils Mechanics in school (which isn't nearly the same thing, that's for building structures on top of, not septic systems within) and a Soils Lab (which was mostly not really the same thing), but this was more useful, and it sort of felt nice to be treated like a grown-up, and to be taught things that are relevant and practical. And applied, not just theoretical stuff that we should know, but don't really need to to complete a project. Though there was some of that, too.
And on the second day, we went out in the afternoon to do test pits. See, when you have a site, and you want to put in a septic system (or a stormwater management basin, but that's another seminar altogether), you do test pits. A test pit is a big ol' hole in the ground, made by a back-hoe. You go in and look at the soil and identify it and yadda yadda yadda this belongs in its_what_i_do, not here, so I'll shut up. But the end result is that my hands got dirty, absolutely filthy, and I loved it. I squeezed and rubbed and mushed a LOT of wet soil, let me tell you.
And then afterwards, I shot the shit for twenty or so minutes with one of the only cute boys my age in the class. He's a little too clean-cut for me, and lives an hour away, but still, it's nice to talk to a cute boy for a while, 'specially a geologist. And I was thinking he was older than me, but he JUST graduated! OMG! A younger man!
And I must talk about Cook a little. Cook College is one of the colleges of Rutgers University. Its campus is south of the College Ave. Campus. Cook has . . . agriculture-type studies. And animal sciences, and food science, and environmental stuff. Anything that's GREEN, you probably have to go to Cook for the degree. Lot of hippies. It's an amazing campus, though. There are cows and horses and goats and sheep. And pigs? I don't remember any pigs, but you'd think they'd have pigs, right? And fields, one of the test test pits was dug in a corn field. And there were flies all over, because they had recently put some manure down. I think that's great. Not the manure, but the goats and such. Goats! Tons of goats! Small animal studies. Something like that. And cows, tons of cows! I mean there honestly are a LOT of these animals, it's not like a petting zoo or something. And Cook and Douglass campuses (Douglass is the stupid women's college, they sort of share a campus, they're squished together) has a MOUNTED PATROL as part of Campus Police. Mounted patrol! And students get to ride! That's hot.
But of course the fun part of this seminar was hanging out at Dave and Mambo's apartment. They're both graduated, but they still live in an apartment a few minutes from campus. I came up Tuesday night at around ten. And Steve, Mambo's roommate from my senior/their junior year, came all the way down from Manhattan to see me! Just for a night! That's what they told me, anyway! Well, and to see Michelle too, but she didn't end up coming because I got there so late and she didn't feel like waiting around. It was great! Me and Steve and Mambo and Dave and Sarah hung out and drank wine or beer and played Uno and talked. Oh and Kaiser or William or whoever, Dave and Mambo's Kenyan roommate from last year. We were up til after three in the morning, just shootin' the shit. I never get to see these kids, so . . . you know. I wish I could think of something clever we talked about, but I can't. I'm sure we said many, many clever things, though.
On Wednesday after class I came back to the apartment and played video games with Mambo, and then Ill came home from work and we went to TGIFridays, also with Sarah and her friend/roommate/something Matt. At first I was like "aw man, who's THIS kid?" but then at dinner I decided I liked him and was disappointed when he didn't hang out with us for the rest of the night. He complimented me on my impression of Henry, as he was after I returned home from five days in Seattle. I love a man who compliments me. Flattery will get you everywhere, as they say.
We hit the hay early that night, 'round midnight. I was very tiode.
Then I went to class again, and then I came back again. I was only going to stay for a little while, but then I realized that I should wait out rush hour, because rush hour out of New Brunswick is suicide-inducing. Ill was at work, so it was just me and Mambo, listening to music and drinking Jim Beam and Pepsi, and gin and tonic, respectively. The great thing about Ill and Mambo's place is that they're too poor to afford cable. Which means a) no teevee, and b) no internet, really. I mean, not fast enough for it to be all that fun. So there are video games, but that's it, and man. That's sort of a really great thing. It's too easy to not use your brain in those activities, and if you don't have the tv/intornet options, all there is are reading, and talking. Reading and talking! So good for your brain! Mambo and I listened to music and talked and had drinks. I was going to leave at seven, and then at eight, and then at nine, and then I couldn't really leave, due to Jim Beam. We kept adding songs to the playlist, "you have to hear this." We talked about music, I haven't talked about music for such a long period of time in ages. I got tipsy and philosophical; Mambo is always tipsy and philosophical. One of the amazing things about Mambo is that he has such an incredibly open mind. Some people I know (cough, cough) are somewhat elitist about music, which is fine, but I don't think Mambo is at all, and that's more fun. Especially when you're feeling tipsy and philosophical. He let me say twelve million different things about Elvis Costello. And I gave him my copy of When I Was Cruel.
We talked about love, and sex. We talked about Halloween. We talked about physics, a little. We talked about illscientist and etherealruffian and ziggurat. We talked about my senior year, when Mambo and I dated for a while; mosty I did the reminiscing, I have a great memory and I'm a sentimental fool to boot. I would say "remember when . . . " and he would smile at the computer and nod. And we talked about music. And what we'd both been doing the past year or two. And my visit to Seattle. And I ate my leftover steak on a steeck.
At 10:30 Jofus called, and Mambo talked to him for a while. He was drunk too I think, states and states away. They talked about Physics. I've always been a bit envious of that, of having a brother so close to your age, and certainly a little fascinated at having a twin; what must that be like? I think my brother and I would be pretty close friends, if we didn't live six hours away from each other. And we're five years apart. As it stands, we're friends, real-live friends, but we don't hang out often enough to . . . I dunno, to just hang out. I wonder what that must be like. I like how much Mambo and Jofus care about each other, I like how they just seem like . . . brothers. They're very lucky.
Eventually Dave came home from work, around oneish, and not long after, Mambo decided that he had had enough to drink and so was going off to bed. I stood in the kitchen with Ill while he ate his Chef Boyardee. We talked about the Halloween party a little bit. Hey, did you know that Ill is my oldest friend? He is. Henky used to be, but I haven't spoken to her since March, or seen her since Christmas, and she didn't write back when I sent her some email on her birthday last month. So . . . I guess she and I are not as close as we once were, which bumps Dave right up to the top spot. I was sixteen when we met, and I liked him and he liked me but we were both shy so didn't find out til after camp was over, and we lived too far away and nothing ever really came of it and I'm so, so thankful for that, because I'm glad I can love him and depend on him and talk to him without having to worry about anything else getting all mixed in. And you know how people say "oh he's like a brother to me"? Well that sounds cheesy and stupid and is the sort of thing that would make me roll my eyes, but the other day etherealruffian wrote something about having sex with him (Dave, not my brother) and I kind of went "eek!" so I guess maybe that really is true. Eek.
So we talked in the kitchen and I got a little sad, even, because I was tipsy and philosophical and I don't get to see him enough. We lived an hour away and hardly ever visited, and then we went to the SAME FUCKING COLLEGE for two years and NEVER hung out. And then my last year at Rutgers I was over at his house all the time because of Mambo, but he had this stupid girlfriend who stole him every weekend and he was never home and we NEVER HUNG OUT and we should make more of an effort, more. I'm glad that I still love him as much, though, even if our in-person visits are sporadic. And we get to hang out on LiveJournal, which helps some.
Oh and also, he was wearing a sweater vest over an untucked button-up shirt and looked HOLY COW ADORABLE seriously. It should be illegal to look that adorable, especially when you work at a bookstore. I imagine him walking through the stacks, ladies swooning and dropping to the ground behind him, as he obliviously checks inventory and ISBNs and whatever else he does (and don't tell me you were working the music section that day, Ill, it's not as romantic).
Then Dave left to go to Sarah's house to have sex, and I slept over again. I feel very, very lucky to be on such good terms with Mambo, to be able to hang out with him and talk about stuff that's not personal, and some stuff that is. I'm much much better at opening up to boys. (I'm also better at making out with them, fyi.) I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized that I'm on friendly terms with pretty much every guy I've dated since high school. Some I talk to more than others, and there are one or two with whom I've fallen out of touch, and it's been really up and really down with some, but for the time being . . . good terms. I'm so lucky! See, the thing is -- I mean I'll sleep with just about anybody, I'm easy like that, but when it comes to actually seeing somebody, and having to spend time with them, I'm very very picky. I'm not willing to put up with much. Which means that any guy I deign to let woo me, is one spectacular human being. So after I've dated these guys, it would be such a crime to not be able to see them again, you know? To not be able to hang out and get drunk and be funny and talk about physics. I'm very grateful.
But then, the other day when I was thinking about this, after I was congratulating myself at being so mature as to be able to hang out with my various past-whatevers, I rememembered that Dave is my oldest friend, and I didn't meet him until I was sixteen. I have had fallings-out/breakdowns in communication with all the important women in my life, practically (oh man I'd best be careful with Michelle). Why is that? I'm hoping that it's just because I'm terrible at keeping in touch, and girls seem to care a LOT more about that than boys do. I fear that it's because . . . that it's because I like to think, somewhere in my head, that these boys still like me. But hey, you know what, that's okay too, because I still like them. I mean nobody CHANGED, no one became a different person, or turned out to be a different person from whom I thought; things just don't work out sometimes. All times, in my case. You know? Why would I suddenly NOT like them? That doesn't make any sense. I still adore these guys, I still think of them with affection. There's nothing wrong with that, I don't think. Though I have a hard time envisioning a (future) boyfriend who would put up with that . . . Wow, sidetracked again. So why do I neglect my girls? Am I too careless? Too judgemental? Am I more honest with people I'm not fooling around with? Or less honest? I have a sneaking suspicion that this inability to hold on to my girl friends is indicitive of a personality flaw of mine, but I'm not sure what it is, yet. Let me know if you think you have it.
I got up at six Thursday morning and blearily drove an hour and a half or so home; I only ran into traffic at the end. And I forgot to go visit the grease trucks! How stupid of me. And I left my Jim Beam there; I'd tell Ill and Mambo that they can drink it if they want, but I'd wager it's already gone . . . Man, what a great few days, though. It was like a weekend, right in the middle of the week. Fan fucking tastic.