the eye of the beholden

January 19. 2001

used for the new hejira page (coming soon):


haven't been a visual mood lately



As Vanessa and I drove downtown, Philadelphia put on its best face and rained a cold, hard rain. Warm mist rose from the subway grates. My hands became clammy and numb as I gripped the wheel. I don't know why Philadelphia natives complain that movies like "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" make our fair city look depressing and rainy. People, this town is depressing and rainy. We have a reputation to keep up, after all.

I decided to drive, mostly because I didn't want to walk through the rain from the subway to get supplies, and also because Vanessa is afraid of public transportation. We left at 2:30, early enough to beat the rush hour traffic. However, it ended up taking us a good 45 minutes to get downtown. Pedestrians and drivers in Philadelphia have to be the most massively stupid people on earth. People dart out in front of cars, or stroll casually across Broad Street, oblivious to the fact that there's traffic coming at them at 50 miles an hour. And then the goddamn SEPTA buses, and the schmucks who park in the turning lanes...god. It's ridiculous.

Pearl was very crowded with students stumbling around with supply lists in hand. I joined the fray, looking for oil paints, and Vanessa went up to the third floor to get paper for her printmaking class. I found what I needed (goddamn Chuck for making me get professional grade yellow ochre - $8 a tube), and joined Vanessa upstairs. She was himming and hawing over what paper to get. Cold press? Hot press? I love looking at paper. Seeing those big 50x40 inch watercolor sheets had me drooling.

The lines for getting checked out were horrendous, but we finally got out in one piece. It was only after that and a trip to Auntie Anne's to get a snack that we realized that the cashier had severly undercharged Vanessa for her paper. It was originally something like $131, and marked down to $57. The cashier asked Vanessa what the price was, she replied $57, and then he proceeded to take half off the half off price. So. She got 25 28x36 inch sheets of 100 pound cold press 100% cotten rag paper for $28. If this doesn't impress you, you've never been a starving college student.

I really like Vanessa, I think we'll have to hang out more. I was actually very nervous to see her this semester, because I knew she had gotten a nose job over break. I remember her cheerfully telling me last semester, "You probably won't even recognize me, I'll look so different!" Her reasons for getting her nose fixed weren't entirely comestic,however. During the first week of school she had fainted in jewelry class, and fell into a display case made of half-inch think plexiglass, her nose breaking her fall. The break made the distinctive bump on the bridge of her nose even more obvious, but not to her detriment, I thought. To be honest, I thought her nose was very beautiful and distinctive, very strong, not one of those cute little skip jump noses or something large and straight and boring like mine.

When she told me she was getting a nose job, I was rather sad and wished she wouldn't, but I never told her that. She's one of those people who, despite being beautiful (she has long, dark curly hair and is very tall and graceful), is very self-concious and is convinced she's ugly. When I looked at her and saw someone very attractive and distinctive looking, she saw something awkward and ugly. I guess it really is in the eye of the beholder.

John tells me he thinks I'm beautiful. He's the first person that's ever told me that, outside my family. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder just what he's seeing in me that I'm missing. He says it's in the way I carry myself, in how I smile and laugh, and sometimes I catch glimpses of what he sees in me. More than anything I wish I could see myself through his eyes. I wonder if it would be a shock or a revelation.

One Year Ago:
"I was rather intrigued by the prof, he had an accent that I spent most of the class trying to identify. I think it was some kind of Boston accent meets Russian accent. He pronounces art "ought", which was amusing."