Tuesday, October 31, 2006

OMG. We are turning into my parents.

Yesterday Shanmugam and I went grocery shopping, and I had the deeply disturbing revelation that I am my dad, and Shanmugam is my mom. I clandestinely used my phone to take pictures of Shanmugam in various action-grocery shots [examining nutritional content of econo-sized jug of Juicy Juice "Only 15% real juice. No good", figuring out which bottle of ketchup was the best deal "This one comes with a rebate!", thoughtfully perusing the multitude of different salsas "You see, Chichi's is the superior dipping salsa, while Pace goes better on a burrito." People are really funny to watch at the grocery store. We'll spend $12 on a drink at a bar at the drop of a hat but AGONIZE over whether the brand name chocolate syrup are worth 80 cents more than the generic.] but forgot how to operate my phone correctly evidently because I came home and found no pictures. I was buying big plastic cartons of iced tea [they were 2/$6] until Shanmugam asked me why I was buying 2 and not just 1. I insisted you had to get both to get the deal, until Shanmugam said [and I quote verbatim], "It's a little known secret of grocery shopping that you in fact don't have to buy both to get the deal." Walks away muttering and shaking head. "That's just embarassing."

And...Happy Halloween! At some point I'll get off my lazy ass and go scan in pictures of myself dressed as Gangsta Bitch Barbie from like 4 years ago. I used to be young and fun.

Currently: booking flights for my interviews. Ohmygod ya'll. Flights are expensive.

Celebrity Gossip Update: Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon are OVER. Oh my land! This is sort of sad actually -- I really liked them, what with the having of the babies, and him supporting her very successful career.

Monday, October 30, 2006

And...

I got my first rejection yesterday. Rejected on a SUNDAY. That's a little painful. Like, I suck so bad you couldn't even wait until a business day to tell me? Weird.

TATTOOS LAST FOREVER.

In order to commemorate my impending (Let's cross our fingers and knock on wood here. I can totally see them withholding my degree because I forgot to return a library book 3 years ago.) graduation from medical school, I have made a very important decision. PEOPLE: I am getting a tattoo! [I mean besides all those OTHER decisions like WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE and AM I REALLY SURE I WANT TO BE SOME UNIVERSITY'S BITCH FOR THE NEXT 7 YEARS and HOLY FUCKING SHIT I DID NOT REALIZE IT WAS EARTHLY POSSIBLE TO BE IN SO MUCH DEBT AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE (k, that's not so much a decision as a rage-filled sentiment) and whatnot. I mean, I guess those might be "important" too. But this one's more fun!]

Gaya has agreed to embark on this journey of self-mutilation with me, and it's a good thing we've started this early (graduation is May 18th) because it will take me that long to decide

1) What to get.
and
2) Where to put it.

I know I want something Indian and with some element of "female" in it, but I can't think of anything that's not either blatant exotification or just too openly sexual. Because that's kind of gross, and not really what I'm going for.

Examples:

Lotus flower. Anytime I see flower, I think sex. I don't know why. But it's gross and therefore not an option.

I guess something like this might be ok, it's a little less...flowery.
When we were growing up and learning about the Gods and Goddesses I was OBSESSED with Durga. [She rides a tiger and IT IS AWESOME.]

But this might be a bit much for 1-2in tattoo. [I could, as Gaya pointed, get a HUMONGOUS Durga on my entire back, but that doesn't really fit into my plan to continue my stable relationship with my mother.]

As far as location, I have a few options. I have already ruled out the lower back. It's totally cliche for a woman to have a tattoo there, and ever since I saw Wedding Crashers [""Tattoo on the lower back... might as well be a bullseye."] I am deathly against them. Also, Indian clothes bear a lot of back and belly and while I do plan to tell my parents [AFTER I have gotten the tattoo and successfully graduated from medical school. "Ha! I'm a doctor! And I got a tattoo! What now? WHAT NOW?!"] there's no need to freak out my other relatives, so I've got to be careful.

I'm left with
a) Shoulder. I'm not really excited about this because it looks kind of trashy when you're dolled up in a nice dress.
b) Front hip. I like this option a lot because it's pretty private but not gross. Only downside is it's right over the iliac crest so it'll hurt like hell going on.
c) Ankle. Meh. Too exposed.

So right now Front hip is in the lead. G and I are going to go to some tattoo shops on Belmont and look at their artwork and take a book of Indian artwork with us. Hopefully we'll be inspired by something! This thing is going to last forever, so I want something I won't feel stupid sporting as a 45year old mother of four.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Yesterday afternoon Gaya, Grace and I went up to Devon Street (Browntown!) for the Sepia Mutiny meet-up and also to fetch some movies and fixin's. Udupi Palace: I had a giant masala dosa and it was AWESOME. I also ate part of Gaya's utthapam and someone else's chaat masala. [I eat a lot in general but I have been particularly hyperphagic lately...I have a small fear that I may have a tapeworm.] I'm a lame-o and forgot to take pictures at the actual meet-up HOWEVER I did manage to commemorate other events!

When I was waiting for the girls by that church at Superior and State I noticed a wedding going on, and I annoyingly tried to take several pictures until one of the church security dudes gave me a mean look and shut the door.


We walked by Sher-e-Punjaab twice afterwards, as we did some grocery shopping and picked up movies. I am ashamed to say that YES I have been known to indulge in the Sher many a time. S-e-P, allow me to give you some free advertising!
What a deal!


Because that Yoy, I hear he eats a SHITLOAD.

We went by the World's Grocery Mart to pick up fruits and vegetables and Ennis came with us. I should have warned him that my friends and I have ADHD when it comes to shopping especially when it's for food, and we often get sidetracked talking about how bananas are Proof of God [Trust me. Go watch it. You will not be disappointed.] or how symmetric these parsimmons are or how the smell of guavas reminds me of the time that my younger brother tried to flush all my clothes down the toilet, and what this amounts to is that it takes us 20 minutes to pick out 3 tomatoes.

We also went to Videovision so I could rent me some movies and there I saw advertised the first Bollywood action-hero movie, Krrish. Gaya and Grace REALLY wanted me to get this one, and I so wanted to make their dreams come true, until I saw the poster.I know.

And also, it's apparently a sequel to this movie, which, if you’re unfamiliar with it, allow me to summarize for you!

"An Indian scientist creates a computer that can communicate with aliens from outer space, but he is killed in a car accident. His pregnant wife survives but their son is born developmentally disabled.

His mother raises him with tender care and he grows up to be a young man of limited intellect, strange physical tics, and childish personality, yet with a loving heart. He befriends a young woman named Nisha, after a few misunderstandings about his behavior (some of which included accidental spilling of food over Nisha and chewing gum on one of the seats of her vehicle). Nisha feels sympathy for him and humors him as one would humor a child. Because of his limited intellect, he is often ridiculed by other children for his behavior, but has a group of young friends.

They find Rohit's father's alien-contact computer and summon the aliens by accident. The visiting aliens leave quickly and one alien is left behind. Rohit, Nisha, and Rohit's group of young friends find him, befriend him, name him Jadoo (meaning "Magic" in Hindi), and hide him from the authorities, who would like to imprison and investigate him. Jadoo senses that there is something wrong with Rohit and uses his uncanny powers to fix Rohit. Rohit not only becomes normal, he becomes superhuman. He is super-intelligent and super-strong. He and Nisha fall in love.

However, the government has not given up. Police capture Jadoo, who is rescued by Rohit. Jadoo flees in his spaceship and apparently takes Rohit's new powers with him. Rohit is again mentally retarded—which saves him from prosecution by the government. But this is not the end. Jadoo restores Rohit's special abilities—permanently. Nisha and Rohit can now lead a happy life together."

Yeah! Because the only shot MRs have at being loved or happy is by being “fixed” by an alien, DUH! I ended up picking up some other ones, and am now struggling to decide between watching movies and studying for the boards, which I am supposed to take in 3 weeks. Also, my next interview is this Friday here in Chicago! I have 14 interviews so far, including all 5 in my personal top 5, so in my head I am over and done with all of this, which is a little dangerous.

Last night after some lengthy discussion, we ended up going to Quartino's for some Bellini and snacks. We were NOT feelin' the Halloween spirit, as this would have involved extensive participation in some sort of costume effort, so we didn't even bother to dress up, though we did see some cool costumes on the street. I think a lot of people were feelin' our grandma vibe though, because the vast majority of people out last night were definitely not dressed up. I think it also has to do with the weather -- when it gets super cold and windy, I don't get that excited about going out. Because then you have to take a cab because it's too cold to walk, and take your coat, and pay $3 to coatcheck it or stuff it in some nasty wet corner somewhere and keep paranoidly checking on it, or be that sketchy person at the bar wearing their coat, or not take a coat and then be miserable and freezing, and basically, I would just rather be at home in my sweat pants watching TV. There. I said it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Holy. Effing. Shit. I've just returned home from my conference in New Orleans, and feel a real need for some detox time. I delivered my talk, ya'll! And all without throwing up, crying, or otherwise having a bad reaction to public speaking! Though there was a scary moment of nausea about 5 minutes before I took the podium where I leaned over to Chris sitting next to me and confessed that I had a strong feeling I might vomit. He instructed me not to do that.

But it was fun! I went to New Orleans my freshman year of college for spring break and then once for a weekend with my parents my senior year of college, but not since Katrina. We were in the French Quarter and the Arts District, and those places looked sparkling and gorgeous. Bourbon Street .... is Bourbon Street, but it's always looked a little gross and chlamydia-infested, hurricane or not. Fun for the whole family!

On Tuesday night we stayed out until 6am, and I had time for a 45 minute nap before the cab came and got me to go the airport. I had crawled into bed without changing or brushing my teeth and I was totally on auto-pilot when I left because I didn't bother to change or brush my teeth on my way out either. What this amounts to is that I went through security at the airport smelling like an arm pit. New Orleans, everybody! And now I think I could probably sleep for about 3 days straight. I LOVE being an M4. Had I known how spectacularly awesome 4th year is, maybe I wouldn't have bitched so much 3rd year.

Also, I believe I will be staying here this weekend for Halloween, not because I have any fun plans, but because I am still really hungover and the thought of enduring the drive to Iowa makes me a little nauseous. BUT this means I will be able to attend the Sepia Mutiny meet up on Saturday at Udupi!! Yay :)

For your education: I couldn't make this talk because it happened during the same time mine was happening, but some preliminary presented at the conference indicates that sperm production correlates inversely with cell phone usage. Plan accordingly!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Happy Diwali!

Gotta celebrate....by doing Mann-Whitney U tests in preparation for my talk on Tuesday. Yay!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My problems are so effin' dumb.

Over the weekend my mom made some chai and I got really excited to drink it before letting it cool down:

Mom: Have some hot chai!

R: Yay! Lifts cup to lips and pours.

M: Wait!! I just took it off the stove.

R: Experiencing unbelievable pain as chai, at approximate temperature of 917 degrees F bubbles on mucosal membranes of mouth. Seriously, there was probably steam coming out of my ears. HOT!!!! HOT! HOT! Owowowowowowow. Can't think straight with a mouthful of lava and just swallows. Chai sears esophageal mucosa on the way down. Oh my Gaw! Ih ith ho, ho, hoh! Falls out of chair and rolls around in agony.

M: This is why you should always listen to me.

I've diagnosed myself with 2nd degree burns of the oral mucosa of my gums. It hurts to eat, talk, laugh, and generally open my mouth in any way. I'm also having referred pain to my right ear. When I eat I have to make sure to only use the left side of my mouth so I find myself doing this odd bovine-like head-tilted cud-chewing activity. When I brushed my teeth yesterday morning all this blood poured out. This is really, really gross. And really stupid. Also, my swallow function has been severely impaired and I find myself salivating uncontrollably. I sort of want to go the dentist but mommy I'm scared. Instead I'm self medicating with some xylocaine viscous, which basically just numbs up the afflicted area. According to the Internet, mucosal burns take about 2 weeks to heal. That's great! In one week I'm giving a talk at a national conference. I have enough trouble with public speaking without worrying about drooling all over myself.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

P-p-p-p-p-p-P-UNITS!

The p-units visited on Friday night and left yesterday, but not before some Mandatory Family Fun Time (MFFT):
There's some Mandatory Couch Time for Shanmugam and Mama Peg. I really love when my parents visit because we always make these grandiose plans to visit different museums and go to different events, but we inevitably end up ordering pizza and hanging out.

Also, see my palm tree back there? It got crushed when I moved back from Iowa, so my mom and I performed an emergency closed reduction on it:



My dad spotted my guitar and really just wanted to hold it and play with it. He's never played guitar before but he really seemed to be enjoying himself just picking at the strings. He also said something about how this weekend reminded him of during his residency, when he would come home on a Saturday post-call and my mom would be home with us little babies, and we would all lounge around and nap all day and it was like, something he always looked forward to. My parents are classic 1st-generation parents; they love you and they're proud of you and vice versa, but sometimes you feel like you'll all never exactly understand each other. They rarely talk about their past so I like it when my dad shares stuff like that.

After they took off yesterday Shanmugam and I sat around watching Game 3 of the Cardinals/Mets series. The Cardinals have a player named Albert Pujols (pronounced Poo-holes), and everytime he comes up to bat, I have the great satisfaction of saying his name over and over again.

R: Poo-holes!!! POO-HOLES!!!!

S: Silence.

R: POO-HOLES!!!!!

S: You must stop that. Right now.

R: POO-HOLES.

S: Speaking of poo-holes, I just saw Jackass 2, and there was this scene where--

R: Ok, Ok, I'll stop!!! Just please don't tell me about it.

Later that night Maria, Jeannie, and Gaya came over and we watched the Project Runway marathon and ate a whole bag of Hint-of-Lime tortilla chips. Ahh..salty, limey, crispy corn perfection. After that Maria and I were feeling particularly motivated so we walked down the block to try out a new club, DeLaCosta. I have a feeling I'll be going there a lot, just because it's so closeby. It seemed like a fun place that kept its kitchen open late, which I love. Afterwards we were still hungry so we went by White Hen and got a pizza, which we then prepared and ate. Shanmugam and his friends got home just as we were making our pizza and said he needed "Buffalo wings. Stat." Hee. Also, DQ and I are back on good terms with each other again and had an excellent, if not completely intoxicated, late night conversation last night.

Currently thinking about: Product Red. I guess the idea with this campaign is that consumers are going to spend their money on unnecessary crap and corporations are going to keep raking in billions no matter what, so if celebrities put their publicity to a brilliant use for this campaign, maybe we can exploit this consumerism to raise some funds and awareness for people needing anti-retroviral therapy in Africa.

I completely understand this and think Bono is awesome for using his celebrity and talent for good, not evil, [ahem, Paris Hilton, I am so looking at you] but I feel so jaded on the idea of a multinational corporation being motivated by anything other than its own greed. They've got Gap, Motorola, Apple, and Armani, among others. I guess it's supposed to be a win-win: they'll continue to make money [even more money] and some of it will go to benefit someone in need. I personally am really turned off by all of it, and can't help but feel like in the end, consumers are just being scammed, and will Product Red really significantly alter the mortality rate from AIDS in Africa? Honestly, I'd rather donate my money to the NIH than buy some stupid overpriced t-shirt from the Gap made by some Maldivan sweatshop worker who got paid 11 cents to sew it together. How much actually goes into buying the drugs? Will there be an infrastructure set up to educate people on appropriate usage and monitor adverse drug reactions? Is this going to be like what happened back in 2004 when Dubya vetoed a deal agreed to by 143 WTO members to export generic HAART drugs from India in favor of far more expensive patented US versions? Are we totally playing into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry (Dubya's #1 campaign contributor) if Product Red money is used to buy their expensive drugs? Sometimes I hate being such a fuckin' cynic. Why can't I applaud this as an excellent cause and just be happy that it's getting attention? Probably because it feels so damn good to be right all the time.

Besides, these are some butt-ass ugly jeans.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Early-onset Alzheimers. And other things I have to look forward to.

Today Shanmugam and I undertook a massive cleaning effort in preparation for the parental units visit this weekend. Mainly though, I discovered his collection of DVDs and plopped down on the couch for a marathon movie session, while he vaccuumed and put stuff away. It was all mostly his anyway. There was one big mess I took full responsibility for, though, and that was the rice cooker. A while ago Grace came over one afternoon and we made a delish veggie stir fry and had some rice with it. I usually make rice frequently enough [Seriously. Other kids took microwaves and hot pots to college with them. I took a rice cooker and one of those 10lb bags of Basmati that come in the big burlap sack from the desi grocery store. I likes my rice.] that I just leave it in the rice cooker and finish it over the course of the next few days.

I guess I forgot all about it and hadn't made any rice since then [and that was back in August, friends] and so I very innocently decided to give the rice cooker a wipedown as part of our kitchen cleaning and WHOA HOLY SHIT there was a thriving ecosystem in my rice cooker. Ok, I'm being dramatic. But there was some serious fermentation happening. Shanmugam walked in as I was dumping out the "Make Your Own Alcohol in Prison" experiment and thought I had opened a bottle of wine. I've never had rice go THAT bad on me. Like, it's gotten hard and crusty before, but this was to the point of unrecognizable. When I dumped it out it was all mushy and beige and I couldn't even distinguish between the individual rice kernels. Gross.

Also, later I was eatin' some Sour Patch Kids and readin' my magazines and went looking through the cupboards for this bag of honey-roasted peanuts [Along with beverages and condiments, the residents of Casa Peg like their snacky foods. There must always be snacks.] I bought a few weeks ago so I could have sweet, sour, and salty altogether in one harmonious tasty treat. I found the peanuts and brought them into my bedroom, then left to go answer the phone. When I returned from my phone call [My mom wanted me to talk to Reflux. She would hold the phone up to him all "Bark! Bark! C'mon, bark for mommy!" and Reflux, being blind and deaf, would just wander off and walk into a wall or something. Not a very productive conversation. Our conversations usually end up in a similar, hilarious place.] I was still having my honey-roasted peanut craving so I went through the cupboards again looking for them, completely forgetting that I had already taken them out and put them in my room. I was getting so agitated looking for the peanuts that I actually called Shanmugam, who was diligently studying in the library like a good student, asking if he had polished off the entire bag of honey-roasted peanuts and HOW DARE HE. He had no idea what I was talking about but promised to stop studying and return home immediately to help search for the fugitive peanuts. I got excited and hung up before realizing that was total BS. A little while later I finally re-discovered the peanuts, right on my desk where I had left them 2 hours prior. It was a strong moment for my neurons. Should I be concerned about this? I feel like this happens to me a lot; I just go on auto pilot and can't remember anything later. Whatever, I'm not too worried about it. I have my peanuts and I'm placated.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's getting better, better all the time.

Back in Chicago and feeling v. happy and normal again! I'm happy to be away from "the guy" [or "the drama queen"] and really v. excited to see Shanmugam again! I got back around 10pm right as he was getting home from his friend's apartment, and we were both starving so we poked around our cabinet to make something to eat. We found an old can of black beans, a frozen bag of corn tortillas, and an economy-sized jug of salsa from Cosco. [Here at Casa Peg we like our condiments. And our beverages. Shanmugam and I both like having a wide selection of beverages available at all times in our fridge. It's fun being related to your roommate because then you can pretty much eat/drink all the food they buy too without any consequences.] After brief discussion and some collaborative effort we whipped up some rather tasty black bean enchiladas, which we then summarily consumed. I do so cherish the time we spend together.

You may be wondering what happened with the shoes the drama queen [DQ, not to be confused with Dairy Queen, drama queen's distant and far more enjoyable and tasty cousin. You may also refer to DQ as "stupid-pants" or "assface."] was holding hostage. Fear not! The shoes have been returned to my care safely and without incident. After I summoned my inner bitch and demanded my shoes back from DQ, he wrote back saying he was stuck in the lab all day so couldn't get them back to me before I left for Chicago but he'd make sure my friend got them to give to me. I just stopped by his house and picked the damn shoes up myself. I did sort of want to see him and say goodbye [ya'll, we ended on a REALLY ugly note. I don't think I've ever ended a relationship with anyone so painfully. Honestly, I do value him as a person and didn't want that to be my lasting memory of him.] but he wasn't around.

Given the rather dramatic way DQ and I ended our relationship, I decided to send him an email asking him to put this behind us and let's just try to be friends again and leave the rest out of it. DAMN GMAIL AGAIN. Does Gmail read my emails? Because I sent off that email and then the following ads popped up on my sidebar:

Not Into You? Here's Why

Learn "Secret Reason" Why You're Attracted To Jerks & Players
TakeBackYourHeart.com

Hee. I really like this one. Take Back Your Heart!

Think Like A Guy

Learn How to Understand Men - Tips Get Your Instant Download Here!
www.DatingWithoutDrama.com

I guess we're done with the jerks and players. Now you've met your soulmate, and you've got to understand him! And finally...

2006 CuteKid of The Year

Easily Submit Your Baby Photos Win One Year College Tuition & More
www.TheCuteKid.com

Alright! In case it works out and you get knocked up! Swell!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I heart gmail but unlike most other email programs, when you're replying to a message or continuing a long email thread, you can't readily see or edit the subject line without finding the "Edit Subject" button and clicking on it.

Normally, not such a big deal, except in the case of a relationship that quickly soured from one of lighthearded good-naturedness to angry, angry bitterness. Uh...yeah. This would also explain my premature departure from Iowa City back to Chicago. Anyway, in that case, when you're sending that party a bitchy email ordering him to bring your shoes that you forgot on his porch over to your friend's house where you're now staying and leaving them on the porch at a time when you won't be around, it sort of defeats the purpose of the caustic email content when the subject line is a very chirpy, "can't wait to see you again!" Damn. [Although, even in my current pissed-off mood I recognize and appreciate the profound humor of it.]

Monday, October 09, 2006

Interview invitations are slowly trickling in, and while I'm really excited, I'm also a little annoyed because one of my darling programs INSISTS on referring to me as Mr. Peg, and I'm unsure of how to remedy this. Through the Document Tracker on ERAS I see that they have indeed downloaded my photo. I'm not particularly photogenic ya'll, but I don't look like a man. My confusing ethnic androgynous name has enough testosterone to overrule the photo, apparently. I'm wondering if there's a subtle way to slip the fact that I'm female into one of my email correspondences without looking like a total a-hole.

Update: I ran into CNG again on campus! This time we managed to have a very nice, only mildly awkward conversation about some upcoming research conferences and CokeWorld in Atlanta. Conversation with CNG where I managed to avoid being completely intoxicated, pathetic, or crying: check! FINALLY.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Greetings from Iowa!

I'm currently sitting at Panera getting really hyper on free refills of iced tea. I'm supposed to be "working on my MPH thesis" but this has so far entailed googling myself and everyone I know and shopping for shoes on Bluefly. And now I can't find an outlet to plug my laptop into so I'll just keep typing until my laptop dies. Hi!

I was home in Centralia for a night a few days ago and got to visit with Reflux. Apparently my parents noticed him walking around in circles and hiding under the table and barking at a table leg nonstop, so they decided to take him to the vet. Reflux is now the proud owner of the diagnosis of senile dementia and, on top of Detrol for urinary incontinence, Tylenol Arthritis, and baby aspirin to prevent heart disease, he now also gets Benadryl PRN for uncontrollable barking. I do believe this is more for my parents' benefit than anything else, because once he gets his 1/8 tablet of Benadryl, he passes right out. [As a side note, this is much like what meth addicts do when they come down off a high -- they give their kids Benadryl so everyone passes out together. It's about the FAMILY, ya'll.]

Also, last weekend at a bar in Iowa, somebody called me "a dirty Mexican" right after I turned down his proposition to teach me "how to dance American." [This prompted a huge reaction of disgust from me; like first of all at least use a race-appropriate slur on me, and I am an American and probably contribute more to American society and the economy than you ever will YOU IGNORANT RACIST FUCKING ASSHOLE. Anyway, I'm over it. Let's move on.] I was relating this lighthearted story to Nikki on the phone this morning at my friend's house in Iowa City when somebody knocked on the door. I was the only person in the house so I answered the door thinking it was one of my hosts who forgot his keys or something. It was actually a young rough-lookin' white dude.

R: Uh...can I help you?

Rough lookin' white dude: Supreme look of confusion on his face. Are you American?

R: Oh. No. He. DI'ENT. Bitch, you came knocking on my door! I don't speak retard. [Ok, I totally stole that from A N N A and intend to find a way to incorporate it into every one of my conversations from now on.] Well, no. That is what I would have like to say, but instead I was sort of caught off-guard.

N: Who is it? What's going on?

R: Ew! This a-hole at the door just asked me if I was American!

RLWD: Uh, I just wanted to know if you had seen this big black dude named Darnell?

N: What is he talking about?

R: I have no idea. To RLWD: Uh, no I don't. Thanks for stopping by. Buh-bye now. To Nikki: I swear it's not usually like this.

N: Laughing riotously. Well what else do you expect from Iowa?

Ok, and that is completely, 100% not true. I have had nothing but very good experiences and met lots of lovely people in Iowa, and the truth is I'm more sort of confused and astonished at these two completely isolated experiences. After careful thought, I have come to some conclusions. 1) The incident at the bar was some frustrated drunk asshole who wanted some booty to rub up on, and if I wasn't brown-skinned, he would have come up with some other way to humiliate me after I said no. 2) The dude at the door wasn't hateful, just really fucking ignorant. 3) I am tired of having to prove to people that I am American! I am Indian-American, that is what I identify myself as first and foremost. I am fully Indian by blood and fully American by my environment. Must they be so mutually exclusive?

I remember after 9.11 I mounted a small American flag on my dashboard, but my parents insisted that I also affix a patriotic bumper sticker to my bumper and display another American flag in my back window. My mom also bought several American flags to hang on the inside of every window of our house in Centralia. I totally understood why we did it, but it made me feel really, really hollow and kind of cheap inside that I had to blatantly advertise a feeling that already existed so strongly inside of me, lest I not be ostensibly "patriotic" enough, because that would clearly mean I was one of "them." It killed me. Did white people assume that just because I was brown, seeing those planes crash into those towers on TV that morning wasn't as devastating, as heartbreaking as it was to them? My family's history in America dates back to 1979. Does that mean the roots of flesh and blood we have here are any less genuine?

I grew up in Southern Illinois and have lived my whole life in the heartland. I love the midwest and I am as fiercely loyal to and proud of where I'm from as I am of what my heritage and ancestry are. I just hate having to explain it all the time, as if to justify my existence here or make my presence here more tolerable. Whew. Sorry to emote all over you, Internet.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Did ya'll see this on PostSecret this week? Poor girl.
I am at home visiting my parents in Centralia today. I spent the weekend in Iowa visiting my lovely Iowa friends, then I drove to St. Louis to catch a flight to California, where I had my first residency interview yesterday. There are many ways to prepare for a residency interview, and you really have to find the way that works the best for you. Going on a 4-day bender beforehand is probably sub-optimal for most, I would say, having tried it myself. Last week I received interview invites from 2 of my top 5 programs and I celebrated by getting really hammered on Wednesday and Thursday nights. [Which: Yay! But the downside is -- now in my head I'm over and done with this whole thing, which is dangerous, ya'll.] Then on Friday I dragged myself to Iowa and we went out on both Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday we went to the Iowa/OSU game, which was sad because we lost, but mostly because it was a night game, and we had spent all day tailgating, and then over the 3-hour long course of the game, which we were losing from the beginning, we were getting tired. And sober. And losing. Everyone was lookin' pretty rough by the end of it.

But it was exciting! Here's a picture I took with my phone:By the end my feet really hurt and I was trying to find ways to occupy myself. I think Liz wanted to kill me because I couldn't shut up about how adorable the Ohio State mascot was.
[See? His head is a buckeye seed! So cute!]

Anyway, the only remedy after that was to go drink some more, which we did. Sunday was extremely painful. My flight got in around 10pm, and I had to go to my hotel. First order of business was to wash my hair and iron my suit. Then I started trippin' about how this was my first interview and maybe I should be taking it more seriously, so I binged on a bag of Double Stuf Oreos and then passed out. All circumstances considered, I think it went well! Er...as well as could be expected. We'll see.

Addendum: I forgot to mention this! I ran into CNG tailgating on Saturday! I was feeling extremely friendly and generous [and probably drunk] so I helped him pay for his ticket into the game! At the bar afterwards he bought me some drinks and we had a v. nice time. I'm happy to report that we are still awkward but I now feel I've sufficiently made it up to him.