At work today, I spoke with a young woman who was the very embodiment of classical beauty. With her defined chin, well-proportioned forehead, and noble expression, she would definitely have been stolen by the British if she had been carved in marble. While the extent to which her appearance matched that form was incredible, it was impossible to tell if she was fourteen or twenty five. Her voice, tinged with a British accent, didn’t help. I saw her for less than two minutes, directing her towards the hanging file folders.
Tonight, I am trekking across a rainy Vancouver to Commercial Drive, in order to meet Sarah P. Alongside whatever else we discuss, I hope some of the more theoretical aspects of the NASCA report will come up. She is one of a handful of friends that I would really like to get a conceptual edit from, though asking for one from anyone is excessive, given the 9100 word length of the present document. While based on observation, analysis, and conjecture rather than extensive research, it is nonetheless almost 33% of the length of my eventual thesis at Oxford.
Speaking of Oxford, the Tutorial Office Administrator at Wadham College emailed me today. To quote: “I felt I should point out that Wadham needs documentary evidence that you will be able to cover both fees and living expenses for the full duration of your course – ie BOTH years of the MPhil. .. We are, I’m afraid, not able to confirm our offer of a place unless you are able to give us these guarantees.” Suddenly, “I really need money, please give me some” has to become: “It’s all cool, I have one hundred large just sitting in an account waiting to transfer over to you.” Hopefully my vague promises of loans and, hopefully, scholarships to come will be enough to keep them from pulling the red carpet out from under my feet.
Suddenly, our summer weather seems to have been replaced by the pervasive grayness of Vancouver in fall and winter. The change of seasons is marked by the move away from quad iced espressos, as documented on my financial spreadsheet, towards caffeine-laden drinks that are actually hot. More importantly, the shift has a psychological counterpart. In my case, it’s mostly a double reminder of how soon I will be departing and just how well-understood a place I am leaving. While Vancouver is beautiful, temperate, and well-stocked with friends it is not a mystery to me. Racing towards a place that is endowed with that most intractable of qualities is both thrilling and slightly intimidating.
While walking home up Capilano Canyon today, in the mist and rain, I thought about Karen. It doesn’t happen to me overly often, but I suppose it was just the kind of circumstance where I would formerly have given her a call. From the beginning, the whole tragic matter has been incomprehensible; it is not becoming less so with time, though the poignancy is diminishing and changing into a more wistful kind of sadness.