Thursday, October 06, 2011

The world beyond the apartment

-Princeton, NJ, seems to contain a university of some sort. I had seen it before, and assumed it was still there, but today was my first time on it since moving here. So, to whom it may concern, I have finally been to and gotten books from the legendary Harvey Fierstein Library. To preempt the 'OMG how could you have only just now done this?', there are some fairly mundane but crucial reasons why it took me until October to begin exploring a library that has, if not everything, a ton. Still writing up research I'd done in Paris, still reading/rereading books I have out from NYU and have here, still reading/rereading books from Gallica/Google Books, still with more than enough text to keep me occupied without so much as leaving the apartment. Trips to the great outside - beyond the apartment, that is - have been mostly about Bisou eliminating or, if further afield, about procuring wet and dry feed for the three of us. But ooh, stacks! I may have to get out more often.

-Today, at a bakery in town, the cashier (and, I suspect, proprietor) asked me if I wanted a bag. I said I did if it would be a plastic bag - a not outrageous suggestion, given that the bread I'd just gotten sliced was in one. I could have used the same type of small plastic bag for the pastry, since I needed to put it in my backpack - along with library books and whatever else - to get it back by bike. "We only have paper bags," she replied, showing me a large-ish paper shopping bag far too large for my order, and in this tone that was so clearly intended to make an eco-point. (I have a witness!) Meanwhile, my only reason for demanding this most gauche of industrial conveniences was that I'd gotten there without a car.

-Unrelated to life amongst the preppy intellectuals, a small suggestion to improve discourse: Can we please stop referring to journalists and other mainstream sorts who criticize the current Israeli government as "brave," "courageous," or any such synonym? Not that I disapprove of all or most of their criticisms - there's a good bit there to criticize - but if even yours Zionistically and truly is saying this, maybe it's not so out-there at this point to say that the Israeli right is bad news. Maybe those who criticize Netanyahu are not risking their reputations and livelihoods.

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