Saturday, October 23, 2004

A home at the other end of the world

I've been really sick for the last week, or maybe more. I'm not sure. I know I'm getting really damn tired of all this snot and coughing. Walking over 4 miles to uni and back in generally cold and wet conditions probably wasn't helping much, so this last week I decided to take the bus or just stay home.

I gave my presentation on Birchwood yesterday, and it went pretty well, considering they couldn't get a computer in the room so I had to do without my PowerPoint presentation, which contained a lovely photograph of me drinking straight from the bottle as an answer to the stories shared by the professor in his Tuesday lecture. And so it happened that the class never even knew the comedy they were missing. In a more pleasing turn of events, I was allowed to remain seated for my talk, albeit it at the head of the class. When I speak in front of large groups, my knees actually shake. They still shook, as did my hands, but I don't know if anyone could tell. My mouth also went completely dry and a few times I totally blanked, but I think I was generally coherent so I consider the whole affair to be a triumph.

Seriously, though, thank fuck that's over and done with.

Even though I haven't been feeling well, I went to a party on Wednesday night because, well, I don't think the American fob with no friends is in a place to turn down any invitations. It was a really, really good time though. I wasn't inside the door more than two minutes before a friendly guy who had already had half a bottle of gin (he was nice enough to acknowledge the possible connection between these two things) struck up a conversation and hung out with me for most of the night.

For the gazillionth time, I'm going to start a sentence with the phrase, "Before I got here, Marianne told me..." Well, before I got here, Marianne told me that everyone would mention Frasier when I told them I was from Seattle. For the first month or so, I didn't encounter anyone who said that to me, so I thought maybe Marianne just had an unhealthy obsession with Frasier and liked to project this onto other people. But lately, yes, that's everyone's immediate reaction when I tell them where I'm from. They also like to mention Sleepless in Seattle, Kurt Cobain ("Ooh, grunge! Is that still going on?"), Boeing, Starbucks, and oddly enough, Microsoft. Microsoft was supposed to be what put Redmond on the map, but apparently they didn't get the new map over here, so everyone thinks Microsoft is in Seattle.

Not that I really have a problem with any of this. It's nice to know that people all the way over here have ideas associated with my city. It gives me a swell of pride to think that my beloved city contributed great comedy like Frasier to the world (even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't filmed there), and is a place that made Kurt Cobain want to kill himself. Maybe I should just start telling people the wrong shit so I don't have to shatter as many illusions. "Well, after the show was cancelled, Frasier had to get a job at Starbucks -- that's a grunge band... Everyone in Seattle takes turns living the Space Needle... Yes, all of us..."

Really, it just makes me want to hug someone with gratitude if they think something about me is interesting, even if it's just the place I come from. I haven't managed to completely shake the feeling of being a fish out of water living in this country, but there are days when I feel further from shore than others, so if lots of people here happen to use the same opener on me, I definitely don't have a problem with that.


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