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Nadia – part one.

3 Apr

Oh wow, a Monteverde Invincia Stealth Ball Point! she thought as she picked up the rare pen. She admired it with trained eyes, I can’t believe someone abandoned you, she spoke, wordlessly, to the exclusive pen. With a routine glance around the room to be sure no one was watching, not that anyone ever was, she slid the Invincia into her bag and rushed off to fifth period sociology.

As much as she loved discussing the performative nature of masculinity, Nadia Talbot was not fully present in Ms. Humphrey’s ordinarily engrossing class that day. She was distracted. She wondered who the pen had belonged to prior to fourth period. She imagined scenarios leading to the pen’s abandonment. Had it been lost? Forgotten? Intentionally left behind?

She returned to Earth when a stack of papers suddenly appeared in front of her nose.

“Here you go, dreamer.” he said with a cheeky grin.

“Oh, uh, thanks.” She awkwardly smiled back.

Nadia, feeling bad that she could never remember his name, took the papers and looked down, “Excerpt: Undoing Gender by Judith Butler”. She took a copy and passed the rest along. Come on, Talbot. Pull yourself together. She was glad they were going to be reading Butler; she’d already read Undoing Gender in the summer and had found it most inspiring.

“I know that many of you are going to have a lot to say about this piece, so while you’re reading this excerpt over the next ten minutes or so, I want you to make note of thoughts, questions, comment, insights, anything that comes to mind as you read.” Ms. Humphrey instructed. “I don’t care if it’s squeezed in the margin or on a page ripped from your notebook, just write it down.”

Normally Nadia would have been all over this. She always felt a frenzy of excitement when engaging in conversation with the author on a subject she felt passionately about. She loved writing about their theories and making connections to her own experience of society. Today, however, she felt a mild pang of anxiety. She was in a predicament. A dilemma. She was torn.

She wanted desperately to use the Invincia Stealth, to get to know it, but she feared it’s former owner could be one of her classmates and if she pulled it out now, he or she might want it back. It isn’t exactly a pen you see just anywhere.

“Finished already, Talbot?” chirped Ms. Humphrey with a tone of sarcastic surprise.

“Sorry, I guess I zoned out for a minute.” she replied, cheeks turning a slightly pinker shade of their usual olive. I am ridiculous, she shook her head slightly as if to shake away her distractions, and pulled her old standby from her backpack, a 0.7mm Pilot Greenball Refillable–89.2% recycled material (excluding replaceable parts).

When the bell rang, she quickly made her way to the north bike rack, unlocked her yellow beach cruiser, Sara, and set off for home. She named her bike Sara not because because she was particularly  fond of the feminine name, but because it was short for Frelsara, the Icelandic word for saviour, and in her mind, if the world is to be saved, bikes will probably play a pretty important role.

She loved her ride home. Six blocks of busy streets with lots of people and places and stories, then a shortcut along an old railroad track that was no longer used, and lots of time to think. Normally she liked to watch the joggers and business women, the homeless men and the young families, the couples in the cafes and the hipsters proudly sipping their overpriced lattes outside of them; she liked to watch everyone, and she liked to imagine their stories.

Nadia was fascinated by the complexity and uniqueness of every individual’s unwritten, personal narrative. She loved to ponder where that woman was going as she loaded her luggage into a taxi, or why that man ordered three cokes, or what happened to that teenaged girl leading up to her sitting alone in that bookshop with a forlorn look on her face. She liked to listen to these stories, as her imagination told them to her, following the subjects from afar as the fantasized events of their daily lives unfold before her mind’s eye like a silent film. A series of looks, emotions, fights, hugs, days on the beach, cries in the car, exciting secrets behind closed doors. No two people ever had the same or even remotely similar stories. It was this fascination that lead to her reverence of pens.

Condoms for all.

10 Dec

This morning I had to present some form of media construction in class. I opted to do a print ad because I knew it would take me the least amount of time. I started thinking about condom ads, and then looking them up online, and found ad after ad of more or less the same thing: Straight dude is the god to a slim, sexy, scantily clad, subservient female. There’s also the recurring theme of vulgarity which I will sum up in two images:

So, in typical Meg fashion, I get all annoyed that these advertisements seem to cater to the same dominant audience again and again (I mean honestly, why wouldn’t they cater to the biggest audience?), so I decided to create a condom ad of my own, with a bit of a different agenda and audience. It went over quite well with my class, so I thought I’d share it with you. 🙂

What do you think?

Dream a Little Dream of elephants, boogers, and Felicia Day.

2 Aug

It was a slightly more enjoyable day than usual. We were all just hanging out in the various classrooms within my apartment building, but as it was summer we watched movies and sitcoms on the trolly-housed television sets. I passed by one room where some friends and a few of my favorite teachers were laughing as Janis Ian announced on the screen “Yeah, I’m gonna call you Cady.”  As much as I adore that film and those people, I didn’t stop to join them; I was about to leave for an amazing trip. To Africa.

It was as if no time at all had passed and I found myself riding on the back of an elephant up a narrow road through a seemingly Grecian cliffside village–although the buildings were unfortunately art deco, which destroyed any anticipation that I was, in fact, in a cliffside village in Greece.  The elephants felt surprisingly less out of place.

After our lovely ride, we hopped into small, bright-blue and white inflatable tubes and began paddling into the Indian Ocean. I couldn’t say for sure how long we’d been paddling in our humble donuts but we must have reached an archipelago or another dimension because all of a sudden it was like watching the real-life version of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” (and I’m NOT talking Broadway style). There were pairs of giraffes and zebras and elephants and lions and ostriches and countless others nuzzling and playing in a massive display in front of us. It was truly incredible.

After appreciating the absolute beauty of the whole experience, we continued on to our destination. We arrived at the white stone building and were greeted by some friendly folks who looked just as happy as us to be there. On the way into the main room where the service was to take place we each cut off a small lock of hair and tossed it into a small pen with three or found young rabbits. They used their hind legs to kick repeatedly which rolled the locks into small bundles and left them neatly tied in tidy stacks. We repeated the procedure with an even tinier lock of hair–just a few strands really–at the back of the room and dropped them into a small terrarium with two miniscule flat-bodied arthropodal creatures with four tiny mosquito-like legs. We marveled at the abilities of these animals and were content know that somewhere, someone without hair of their own would soon have a nice new mane.

We took our seats on the white stone pews and waited for the service to begin. The speaker, Felicia Day, calmly walked up to the space at the front of the room; she walked to smoothly it was almost like she was floating in her white, gold-coined, hindu-esque dress and head piece. She spoke as a guru an love and peace and happiness and after the service, as there were only about twenty of us there, I was fortunate enough to just hang out with her.

As we were chatting she laughed and said “Oh, you’ve got something there” and used her hands to clean off whatever it was that was on my face. I blushed and thanked her and she quickly interjected saying “Oh! And there’s something in your nose.” and immediately, without hesitation, to save me the embarrassment of anyone else noticing, she proceeded to pick it out.  I was so shocked by what had just happened that I didn’t really know what to say, but she shrugged it off as an it-happens-to-best-of-us kind of thing.

We hung out for a while longer until we each headed our separate ways. My immediate thought was to text my friend to say “FELICIA DAY just PICKED my NOSE!” but as I was on a remote African island, my phone’s capabilities were rendered rather moot. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I had service again, so I put my phone away and headed back to the water for the trek home. I really couldn’t wait to tell the boys about this one.

Untitled. For now.

4 Jun

“Is he serious?” she texted from the other side of the table.

She was the only female at the table, shootin’ the shit at the pub with the guys. They were celebrating the return of one of their own from a stint in Afghanistan.

“About what?” came the reply.

“About killing!”

A couple of the guys had been formulating the plan for the remainder of their slutventurous evening. The gay bar was always crawling with straight girls who, according them, were suckers for emotionally dramatic life stories. “Tell them you saved a girl at a bar in Cypress!” “Nah, I’ll just tell them I killed people to defend our country, haha.”

Norah froze when she heard this. She knew Liam was in the infantry, and that he was in recon as well, but she had never actually pictured him shooting anyone.

“Was he serious about killing people?!” she sent again, without waiting for a response.

“Dunno. Woulda been shooting thru a smoke screen, so hard to say.”

She chewed her onion rings as loudly as she could, in an attempt to avoid hearing the rest of Liam’s story. She thought maybe if she didn’t hear, she could shrug it off and pretend it never happened. But she couldn’t. She was present at the table, but wasn’t really there for the next five minutes or so. Could’ve been more, she probably wouldn’t have noticed. She tried her best to look like she was paying attention, but it was all she could do not to throw up. She couldn’t stop trying to imagine his situation. Would he have been in a helicopter? On foot? In a truck? Didn’t matter, really. She envisioned a sandstorm, or fog, or smoke all around, and tried to imagine aiming a gun, of unknown type and calibre, in the direction of the “enemy” and just…firing.

She thought about the young Afghan man on the receiving end of the fire. She thought about his little sister, and his pet dog, and his grandmother’s recipes. She thought about his intelligent mother and his stern father. She thought about his academic dreams, and about his worried lover, lying thinking about him in their bed.

“But… he shot at people?” Questions were really in vain at this point.

“Apparently.” She knew that already.

Norah didn’t know how she should react. A normal person would probably be thankful, or have huge respect, or buy him a beer, she thought. The best she could do was to not cause drama at the table. She felt selfish. She kept her mouth shut, stared awkwardly at the floor, needlessly adjusted her hair. Norah is a pacifist. Norah doesn’t believe in war. Norah doesn’t even believe in national government. She wanted a change in subject. She listened for her first opportunity. Thankfully it came post-haste.

“Ooh! What was that about the gay bar?”

She smiled.

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