the summer the grasshoppers ate my will to live

today jared surprised me by buying us plane tickets to boston for next month. jared has been talking about going to boston to begin the research phase of his dissertation for, you know, like a year. i had suggested that i go with at first, hang out for a few days, & then go back home to handle bills, keep the cat alive, & make sure hoboes don’t turn our lovely home into a flophouse. but he kept not making a solid plan & eventually i convinced myself that this whole “dissertation” he was talking about was an elaborate con, that maybe he wasn’t even a graduate student at all, but just spent a lot of time out of the house practicing wheelies on his fixie or something.

but i guess it’s real & now i have three weeks to prepare for spinster summer 2011. the first order of business is to get my driver’s license. i have been practicing driving with varying levels of interest & dedication for almost four months now, but if i am going to successfully drive myself home from the kansas city airport after i return from my brief trip back east, i am going to need the proper credentials. at lunch today, i joked about driving illegally, & jared said, “please don’t drive illegally.” i was kind of shocked that he would think for even a second that i would consider driving illegally even during a zombie apocalypse or something. although i know in my rational mind that i am a reasonably competent driver (which means, good enough to get by, i guess), i know that failing a driver’s test will really shake my confidence that i will be too nervous to get behind the wheel again for a while. no way would i fail a driver’s test & then just drive myself around anyway, like some kind of rebel with no respect for the rule of law. my 22-year-old anarchist self is shaking her head sadly at this & wondering if there’s anyway to avoid growing up to be me. sorry, kid. you’re not that cool now, i don’t know why you thought anything would change in ten years. but seriously. the last time i failed a driving test, i didn’t drive again for fifteen years. sentences like that never fail to make me feel old.

we also need to change the oil in our car & maybe kick the tires a little, see if they feel like they’re likely to explode when i’m going 70 on the highway all alone during a rainstorm at 1am. not that i am likely to go driving in a rainstorm in the middle of the afternoon, let alone on a highway, let alone at speeds that could even be multiplied by two in order to approach 70. but you know. i also need jared to give me the details on our car insurance. i know i pay for it, but i couldn’t even tell you which company we go through. maybe the one with the gecko? don’t know.

when i am feeling charitable about spinster summer, i imagine myself inviting a lady friend over for pesto chicken & mixed drinks featuring expensive rum & maybe we’ll talk about what we’re reading & watch some kind of zeitgeist-y television. i imagine keeping the house nice & tidy & getting one of those sun tea dispensers for the back porch. with access to a car & a driver’s license, i can…i don’t know…check out the sale rack at plato’s closet? plato’s closet is, as far as i can tell, an eastern kansas-only resale clothing store. they actually have locally-produced ads on TV. with a name like that, & with the poor caliber of the TV advertising, i imagine the place is stuffed to the gills with faux-snakeskin purple blazers & vintage stirrup pants actually from 1988. but folks i know that have lived in kansas too long have tried to tell me that it’s actually a cool store, with only the hippest, most avant garde kansans staffing it. you know, the ones who think that rocking baby bangs, sleeve tattoos involving anchors, & below-the-knee pencil skirts is still a really fresh look in 2011. (apologies to any readers sporting this look. i realize there is nothing we can do about our potentially regrettable tattoos. oh, do i ever realize.)

who knows what the fuck i’m going to get up to this summer? maybe i will go so far as to actually write that novel i have been yakking about. i put it on hold a few months ago so i could focus on moving, & then i got all wrapped up in other stuff, like quitting smoking & learning how to drive. but as all the books of writing advice are quick to point out, you can’t call yourself a writer unless you actually write.

my friend jessika rae is planning to come out to lawrence & visit with me for a while, which addresses my major concern: that jared would vanish to boston & by the end of the summer, i will have forgotten how to converse with humans, with no one but a cat for company. i am pretty pumped about introducing an out-of-town friend to lawrence, even though lawrence…kind of sucks. i mean, i could definitely rattle off a laundry list of things to like about lawrence (including the fact that i ate mozzarella sticks for lunch today, & i only had to walk like two blocks to get to them), but they sometimes pale in comparison to the towering pile of suck i feel about this godforsaken pit.

highlights of the last few days: ate a few slices of homebaked pecan pie given to jared & i as a housewarming gift. jared is finally done with school. i joined an airline frequent flyer program. which made me feel very adult. saw “pirates of the caribbean 4,” which which a character directs the british navy’s attention to some spanish ships that are like five feet away, & everyone loses their shit like they had just come out nowhere. i was like, “how did they not see that?” & jared & i laughed really hard.

lowlights of the last few days: everyone at “pirates of the caribbean 4” managed to laugh at shit that was not funny at all, while saying things like, “johnny depp is so special!” also, we were blocked into our seats on both sides for like half an hour after the movie ended by idiots who stuck around to “listen to the ending credit music”. i finally scaled the seats in front of us to escape, but the drop was more significant than i expected & now i have a big bruise on the back of my leg. it’s also hella embarrassing to injure yourself climbing over a movie theatre seat after sitting through three hours of people swashbuckling on top of barrels & shit.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “the summer the grasshoppers ate my will to live

  1. There are Plato’s Closets stores in Richmond too. I vaguely remember commercials for it. They sell juniors clothes here. I’ve only been in one once. I didn’t buy anything, but found a dollar in a pair of jeans I tried on. *shrugs*

    1. well! i stand corrected. apparently they have national coverage, though it is spotty. i had assumed from the fact that their local ad looked like it was filmed in someone’s car that it had to be kansas-only. but maybe that’s how they keep franchise costs low. very clever.i had also assumed they were local-only because kids i know here described them as being a “local business”. i guess that term doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

      1. I think of them as Pawn Shops for suburban teens, serving a similarly sketchy but vital social role in the lives of middle class suburban teens.

        They do give good prices for used clothes, if you have used clothes that were bought at American Eagle within the past year.

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