Saturday, January 31, 2009

Living out of boxes

When I went to the Peace Corps, my father fearlessly agreed to keep my files, receive mail for me and generally trouble shoot any urgent financial or legal issues that emerged. Fortunately, everything was pretty well under control when I left and as I slowly assumed responsibility for my life again I schlepped all my things between North Carolina and New York, a little bit at the time. The boxes with all my papers (tax returns, bank statements, etc.) posed more of a problem. It was in a relatively contained plastic files box, but it was really too heavy to carry as a carry-on on the airplane. Getting things delivered in New York is one of those things that should be easy but in fact always poses some unforeseen challenge. So when my father sent this important box of files, Priority Mail, announcing that it should arrive on Saturday, I thought the surest thing would be to leave a note for the mailman, telling him to just leave the box in the mail room. I would be around Saturday evening at some point to grab it and all would be well. The thing is, the box didn't come. And the next day it didn't come. Nor the next. Usually the USPS leaves you a little beige ticket saying that you have a package and please come and get it, but there was no beige ticket. At this point, I started to haunt the mail room and harass my super with plaintive inquiries and incredulous looks. It occurred to me that this box was an identity theft starter kit, with my tax returns from the last three years, several complete sets of billing statements and all my bank statements, providing all sorts of relevant data about my spending patterns and whereabouts. My living will and my medical proxy form were even in there. Jane helpfully pointed out that this this was the last thing anyone was likely to make use of, but I imagined the worst. For 2-3 days, I was convinced that the box had been left in the building and had fallen into the hands of some interloper who even as I spoke was planning to become me, start several credit cards in my name, buy several plane tickets, and generally create a mess which would take, at the very least, lots of time on the phone with unkind people in call centers to clean up. At this point I hid my blog profile and changed my security settings on facebook.

Fortunately Pop had sent it insured which meant there was a tracking number and when I presented the fax copy of the insurance slip, they produced the box forthwith. I didn't even ask why there had been no beige slip. I have never been so happy to lug a 20 lb. box cross town.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Meeting of friends

I have been introduced to several of Jane's friends in the last week or so and she has been introduced to several of mine, including virtual email introductions in which Jane didn't actually have to utter a word. As far as we know, we both passed our respective tests. I mean, I might be understating it a little bit, (as one tends to do in the blog format.) It's all gone very well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Office space

After yesterday's celebration, today was back to the grind and me staring at the to-do list I wrote Monday, unable to decipher my handwriting. Does that post it say "board" or "band?" And what could either one of those have meant?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today on this day we will always remember

At my church on Sunday we heard excerpts from A Letter from a Birmingham Jail, The Strength to Love, one the speeches written about Vietnam and several of Martin Luther King's sermons. It was much more moving (and as a history geek, more entertaining) than a sermon might have been. The timing Obama's inauguration and MLK's birthday lends itself to the sense of history, the solemnity, as my mom says, the historicicity of it all. King's speech on Vietnam reminded me of how not only did he speak out with regard to the domestic policy but also what he said about how the United States engages with the world, and how much it speaks to where we have been over the last six years in Iraq. We sang Lift Every Voice and Sing, also sometimes called the Black National Anthem, which often chokes me up. We also sung it on the Sunday following the election, when my minister prefaced it by saying, "Let's think about all the people who gave their lives to come to 'a place for which our fathers sighed.'" And that was when I wept, wept about the election.

And so today, when Obama made a speech which I believe has the capacity to get control of the frame of domestic and foreign policy at least for the outset of his presidency and the benediction began with a recitation of Lift Every Voice and Sing, I feel like we are in a very good place, and that it is a very important day.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Can you say "The girl I am going out with?"

I spoke to my mother last night, and she asked me, "Now have you been seeing your Good Friend?"

This is my mother's way of asking me if I had a date with Jane this weekend.

Many years ago, my friend Elliott came to the house for coffee with us and mentioned he had plans to see a young man that we had known in high school. "Now" my mother asked, "Is that your Very Good Friend?" Elliott burst out laughing and caught right on. "No, that is my ex-Very Good Friend."

Inflections indicating capitalized letters. This is how she refers to homosexual love interests. Friend would mean someone a person is casually dating. Good Friend, I take it, mean somewhat seriously dating. Very Good Friend means someone with who are in a committed relationship.

I find the southern gentility of it sweet and amusing, but the euphemistic aspect of it kind of grates on my nerves, even though I know she means well. Its a little bit too love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name-ish for my tastes.

Friday, January 02, 2009

So so distracted

I have checking account statements to dig up for an end of year IRS deadline, an organizational chart to design, bills to pay, a site visit with a funder to get ready for, and oh fifteen other terrifying administrative projects to get ready for in the new year.

And all I want to do is read blog's and leave silly notes on facebook, and send dumb text messages.