A Portrait of a Woman Having Tea

I wrote this in the spring of 2009 while I was living and working in Kolkata, India, a few months before leaving for Peace Corps. I reread it recently and wanted to share it here. ______________________________ On a muggy, still, Tuesday morning, Mangal and I walked through a Kolkata slum called Boro Ghati. We met a woman; her image is still with me. She sat in a chai stall off the side of the road. The little hut was all woven and collected. Its structure was a tight bunch of crude tethers and brittle strips of bamboo. The dinted tin…

busted

So, on Friday I stood up.  That’s all. ___________ Well, that seems simple enough, standing.  Except that it seems I must have aged or something because unlike most occasions of acting out that evolutionary miracle, this time it hurt.  I stood up, and my knee screamed at me. Its horrible commands were clear: “Down, you! Down!”  And down I went in a flurry of unmentionable speech and frantic claspings of the knee.  I was out of town for The Europeans’ going away party.  And there in Kristine’s room I had fallen and could not get up. Calls were made.  Drunk…

knit-hate

I knit, right?  We’ve established this. And I know, I’d like to pretend that everywhere in the States this is standard, that we have arrived as a nation to a place where knitters can be knitters. But let’s be real, you see a dude flailing his needles and trailing a wad of string, and most anyone still has to suppress that urge to think him queer.  James Franco, can you just let some paparazzi snap you with your half-finished hand warmers?  It would do a lot for the XYers with a proclivity towards small time productivity.  And also for those…

cold

This will not be the happiest of updates.  Last night, still sick, I actually stabbed my journal while writing because I couldn’t get all my angst to quietly come out on the page.  Then I scribbled a big “F—!” on the bottom of the page and called it a night. I’m sick.  I’m worried.  I’m cold.  And I’m emotional.  Oy.  But let’s just take stock of what’s going on today: I can be positive, see: The snow is dancing in flurries.  Huge white snow bits are swirling outside the glass and laying themselves down on the ground, quiet and unassuming. …

another new year in armenia

On the last night of 2009 I was sitting with my best Peace Corps friend, Zoë, talking late into the evening about New Year’s resolutions.  We almost missed the New Year, and with moments to spare we ran outside with pots and pans to ring in the new year with a metallic clamor. This year I was invited by my friend and co-worker, Gayane, to spend the evening of the 31st with her family.  When I called to confirm the plans, I found out that they had already prepared a room for me to sleep in after we had toasted…