From incredibly bad to insanely good.

Sounds something like the title of a Jonathan Safran Foer book (the significance of which will later be made clear). Basically, the past week or so has gone something like this:

Monday: Somewhere west of Ann Arbor, my ahem-ing exhaust system starts to choke in a serious way. I spend the afternoon in a brake & mufffler shop in Battle Creek while mechanics employ a saws-all and a welding rig (I hear, see, smell these distinctly) to get my car back into driveable condition. I get a good look at the undercarriage for the second time in three weeks. It’s late enough by the time they’re done that I end up driving back to Ann Arbor. It’s raining and I’m tired and my driver’s side headlight is out. I pick Paul up at his office, we go to Kroger and get food for dinner, and when we discover that people still haven’t returned Twin Peaks to the video place, I decide that tonight of all nights it is time to watch Roger & Me. Ah, Michigan. I get back to Madison a day late, grateful, and having missed two classes but at least gotten most of my reading done.

Wednesday: I spend the afternoon at the State Historical Society poring over State Board of Health Reports from the early 1900s, and finally come across information I can use for my paper. I take a bunch of notes and head home to write up a prospectus. It’s a late night.

Thursday: I have one of the best meetings I’ve had all semester with the professor for whom I was writing my prospectus. After that, the day practically floats by. I go to Memorial Library to look for Lunar Park end end up checking out two other Bret Easton Ellis novels. I spend the afternoon in the Historical Society again and find even more, better documents. I return some books on tape to the Public Library, then walk around State Street, novels in tow, waiting for Happy Hour to roll around. I go back to the Public Library and finish the Onion AV Club crossword before heading to Frida for drinks and tacos with Fae, Steve, David, and Becca. I tag along with David & Becca to see Jonathan Safran Foer speak at Hillel. Anna and Justin are there. I feel like a total imposter because I have to put my name on a waiting list for a ticket since I didn’t get one in advance; since I haven’t actually read Everything Is Illuminated; since I’m standing in the Hillel lobby feeling very much the Gentile. But David & Becca save me a seat, and the talk is great, and I write some things down in my notebook and leave feeling light and whole. I put myself to bed with some Bret Easton Ellis, which changes the mood, but which makes me thankful to be enveloped by fiction again.

Friday: I sleep in, then get up and shower and get out the door, get a latte at the ERC and a bagel next door and sit in the Lakefront and read Less Than Zer0 (I can’t believe he really spelled it that way) until it’s time for Brown Bag. Gregg is speaking and it’s a good talk, and after it’s over I go straight to the Historical Society Archives and look through the papers I’ve been meaning to get at for weeks now, and they’re even more useful than I’d hoped. I take a lot of pictures and notes. When I get tired, I leave, grab a burrito, and head over to Med Sciences to fill out a timecard; then I walk to Regent Street to pick up my car from the shop. It runs great, and I drive home happy, where I finally get to eat my burrito while watching crappy evening sitcoms. Then I realize that the fellow whose named fellowship I had las year is doing a reading and signing at a West Side bookstore at seven, so at six forty-five I hop in my car and head over. There are a few people from the department there, and we chat afterwards, and I introduce myself to the fellow and buy his book and he signs it. It’s a murder mystery, and all of a sudden I realize I have a whole bunch of novels on the docket, and it feels great.

Saturday: In the morning I read over coffee and Sophia’s croissants; in the afternoon I hit up Wilson’s with Peter to watch the Michigan-Ohio State game (it’s apparently of some import). We get a pitcher of New Glarus, I have a burger, and I learn a thing or two about watching football. The bar is crowded with folks who’ve come from Camp Randall, where Wisconsin won this morning. By the time we leave it’s dark out.

Sunday: Reading, writing, and then I meet Bridget at the coffeeshop to talk about leading discussion in seminar on Wednesday. Co-op, dinner, and more productive work. I’m now on to The Rules of Attraction, and I’ve finally gotten around to listening to the rest of David Foster Wallace reading Big Red Son, which seems somehow complementary.

Monday: On the way to the Co-op with Julie to get some milk, I learn that The Slip will be playing at Café Montmartre on Wednesday. When I get home and look up the details, I discover that the Bon Savants are opening and I have a small fit of joy. It’s like a little bit of Boston on my doorstep.

Also of note: today I cleaned my room, squared away some financial stuff, and fortuitously ran into Scott Burkhardt, who will be around over break, and with whom we will hopefully get together. Martha departs in the morning; Abby’s already gone; Paul arrives tomorrow night. It’s a short week, and I’ve had a productive weekend. Things are looking up.


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