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2004-01-21 - 11:43 p.m.

So I've been away from here for a while. I went home for Christmas and to Baltimore for the New Year. My semester started last week. I'm taking a travel writing workshop, a fiction workshop, and I'm teaching a 300-level writing class to undergrads. I taught my second one today. I have 18 students, which is a ton for a workshop. I'll be reading six or seven stories a week. I'm impressed by seven or eight of them already. They have intelligent things to say, and have a knack for at least something in their writing. A fair number of them have some talent, I think, and that makes my job easier.

And I met this girl. She's a friend of a friend. An ex-girlfriend of a friend, actually. We got stupid drunk on Friday and saw 'Lost in Translation' on Saturday. The movie blew me away. Beautiful and slow and spooky and nothing much happens, but the two main actors are so good I didn't care. So after Friday, I wasn't sure what I thought of her. She drinks a lot, I think. And she was wildly drunk, ripping all over the place on wild mood swings: now nearly crying, now ecstatic about the music on the stereo. She slept over here. And then we saw the movie on Saturday and my perception almost wholly changed. She was a real person. I thought she was a too cool for school girl. (I really like that expression, also "no sweat.") But not so. We talked and laughed and smoked outside the theater and we walked her dog for a while. We're having Thai food on Friday. Then a party on Saturday.

I'm already involved in some sort of drama. Her neighbor and best friend is dating my neighbor and best friend down here. And her neighbor wants information about my neighbor. So there's drama. This girl, when I met her, the first thing I thought was that she's trouble. But I think I want some trouble.

And I'm feeling the scratch in my throat. I haven't been getting sick, really sick, in years. I credit the raw garlic. It's all stank but it works.

It's been solidly cold here, which is an anomaly. I like that it's cold. I like wearing coats. And cotton hats. It feels right.

I've never had any jokes on hand. In storage, for use in opportune times. All the ones I know are racist and, besides, not very funny.

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