It was a slow day at CST; nobody showed up for English conversation practice, so I sat and brainstormed future conversation topics. A flicker of light or some such movement near the door caught my eye, and minutely I was startled by the vague idea, ‘rodent’. Since the minor trauma of having a rodent in my closet (is he in fact gone or just quiet?), peeking out or leaping out and scuttling off as I read or surf in bed, little movements caught in the corner of my eye have connected to the unease of having a rodent in my midst. A tiny, irrational tremor. Because I was at the Center for Survivors of Torture and had been reading about the treatment of PTSD, I reflected on how the fact that such a minor, benign event as having a rodent run across my bedroom floor instilled in me this little skittishness/expectation of an unsavory encroachment. So, I wondered what it must be like for people who are beaten and abused in sustained and creatively cruel ways. The reverberations must be intense, difficult to escape. I’m not sure I would be functional enough to learn a new language after enduring some such horror.

Another example of synchronicity between my life and what I choose to read: Last night I started Malamud’s “The Tenants” because I have been intending to since I encountered a mention of it on a New Yorker acquaintance’s Facebook wall, and I just finished the amazing “Americanah”. It’s about a conflict between a writer struggling to finish his third novel, who is now the lone occupant in a NYC apartment building, and the landlord who is desperately trying to get him out so he can start over and become profitable. Then, on my way to volunteering this morning I get a text from my roommate saying that he speculates that the landlord is being negligent about fixing our sink because he has raised the rent on all the tenants, who are leaving, and we remain, remnants of the old rent. Gosh, we better keep my presence well-concealed from him, as I’m not on the lease. What an untimely and unpleasant mess it will be if I have to move out now, considering I don’t know if I’ll be in Austin from another two months or two years…..The sink situation is an embarrassment because when I shave my hairy water lingers for a day or so. I texted back to Cass, “Bastard. We should kidnap him and dunk his head in my dirty shave water.”

Speaking of texting, I generally don’t think much of it, but it sure is nice to get a vibration-causing morsel from an affectionate other. My text connection with Shane is unprecedented (a reflection, of course, of our actual affection-tinged interaction). We texted furiously back and forth last night; it was exhilarating, and I want to save our dorky wit, our propulsive rhyming, our table tennis of frolic and flirtation.

I’m not sure I have felt this way about a dude before. He not only accepts but encourages my dorky humor. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m a heathen, and I don’t mind that he chose a Christian university (in OK) or that he goes to a (progressive) Church regularly. In him it is endearing, not threatening.       Oh, and add to the list of things I discovered about him while having falafels, then ginger concoction cocktails, his skill at spelling (hey, I’m a word nerd, it’s a big deal), which he revealed when I complimented him on being a rare breed that didn’t need assistance spelling my email (it’s phonetic but still people seem to trip over it).

I’m smitten. I’m spittin’ and shittin’ ardor (and the hard-on is nearly superfluous). We’re going to watch Les Blank’s “Gap-toothed Women” tomorrow night, which I have been meaning to watch for years. Maybe pick up some biscuits or hush puppies (where does one find those in Austin?). I love that he’s happily a Southern boy (native Texan) and a progressive with stellar taste in music. It’s a really appealing duality. Neko Case (oh yeah, we text each other her lyrics as greetings). It’s ok to be dorky when someone appreciates it.

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