Apples and Oranges

In the world of figurative language, there exists the time honored and tired simile of “it’s like apples and oranges.” In the past few weeks, some stark contrasts in life have been illuminated for me, and it’s gotten me thinking in dichotomies, ratios, and contrasts.

Wednesday, one and one half weeks ago, I set of for Philadelphia, for my last visit to Haverford College this year. I hung out, read books, slept in, ate in cafeterias for a few days and divine resaturants for a few more; generally speaking, I forgot all about life in Miami. People drove like sane persons, there was actually a “downtown,” nobody spoke Spanish (except for my professors, but then again, I hardly speak Spanish any more so what’s the big deal?), and nobody called me “Ms. Williamson.” That’s the apples.

Now the oranges. None of my friends were there, it wasn’t my Haverford, few people really understood what my life has been like this past year, and it definitely didn’t feel like home. No cat, no real shower (oh, right, we didn’t have one in my REAL home either, so it was fine. Not.), no comfortable bed.

But Dave was there (apples), along with his extended family, whom I was genuinely glad to finally meet. They took us out all over the town: brunch at Bleu, dinner at Taquet with salmon tartare and divine orange roughy; molten chocolate cake TWICE (once with gold leaf. swoon.); Valrhona gelato at Savona, white chocolate and earl grey mousse; amouse bouche, amouse dessert; champagne and bubbly conversation.

Life in Philadelphia, with its chilly skylines and One Liberty Place, is apples and oranges. It is familiar and strange, and old friend and new possibilities, dinner at a long-anticipated restaurant, but not with my friends, with a new one of Dave’s.

There are apples, there are oranges, and then there are mangoes. Right now, I’m living the mango. I mean, with apples and oranges, you’ve got at least a couple of things going for you: they’re readily available in the grocery store, have radial symmetry, and are often eaten in segments. With mangoes, you’re pretty much stretching it. Oranges and mangoes have a lot of vitamin C? That’s stretching the comparison pretty thin.

It stretches even thinner, because right now the mango is rotten. It’s waaaay past ripe, and it’s pretty putrid. My mango returned with a debacle of an airport pickup which involved me leaving my cell phone in the restroom, exiting security, pleading with TSA to let me back in, then being stuck on two different airport levels running around like a frantic hen trying to find Virginia, who was only 12 feet below me, through 6 feet of concrete and steel roadway.

From there, life pretty much as beat the shit out of me until this afternoon, in various fashions. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I left my house at 6:45 am and did not return until 9:30 pm from class at FIU. We had a group presentation on Thursday, some state visit at Central one day, and much to my chagrin I’m still not even REGISTERED for my Wednesday class yet (see very bellicose post of last week). My mother is worried about me living in sin with my “friend” DDH at the family reunion this summer, and as much as admitted this on the phone while pestering me about trip logistics for July. Are you insane? I can barely make it to Saturday, let alone an entire other season of the year. Our shower broke, turning into a pathetic trickle, nicely mimicking the way my brain felt like it was flowing out of my ears as the week went on. Then, the lake from our air conditioning unit reappeared in the kitchen, flooding everything, AND we heard that our slum landlords are going to raise the rent $200 next year. This brings us to roughly Wednesday. Shower is finally fixed circa Thursday afternoon, and by then I’m done. I’m pissed, I’m tired, and I haven’t been planning for school.

Friday rushes by in a whir, Prom after school (and an awful dinner at a lame ass restaurant), but even that couldn’t be just normal. For some reason, when I went to get gas, I picked up a pen on my dashboard without thinking. Said pen had exploded in the nuclear heat of Miami midday, leaving huge, dark purple splotches all over my hands. They are still there. “Hi, kids, this is your freakish teahcher. She has some odd sort of tropical disease.”

Then, after a relatively stress-free Friday, I woke up at 7:00 this morning to drive an HOUR to motherfucking Broward County for our Saturday class. I didn’t believe Mary and the rest of the TFA contingent when they said he was the worst professor ever. Is should have known better. The man threw a small object at a student because he was talking in class…about educational theory. He asked Amanda “Do we need to move your seat?” because she and Mary were being a little chatty BEFORE CLASS STARTED. He is the rudest, most idiotic man alive, and he’s a horrible teacher. Did I mention three FIU students offered to buy him a gift today? Right. What is this universe I live in, because clearly it’s not normal. Oh, right, and I’m probably going to fail his class because I have to miss two lectures for a family function.

I spent 10 minutes after class crying in the FIU restroom. Low point of the weekend, most likely. Life is very angry at me right now. Virtually pelting me with rotten mangoes.

So I ran off to Aventura, the land of artificial perfection and stadium-seating movie theaters, to have some sushi and a large glass of plum wine before StarWars Episode III (I swear it was after noon before I started drinking). George, ye hath redeemed thyself for thy sins of Episode I and II. Yet, after the delicious escapism of alcohol and movie popcorn, I returned to my life at Design Place, and my mildew-flavored, ant-infested kitchen.

dPlace really is a special establishment, emblematized by this delightful vignette: they think that by painting decorative stripes on the gym walls, it will make the 5 broken workout machines function better. Hey, guess what, they still don’t work. I know, because on my way over there this evening to check it out, I stepped in a huge pile of dogshit, c/o my happy neighbors.

This is beyond apples and oranges, this is beyond fruit. It has got to be something in the cosmos; some starry pattern has misaligned, and I am suffering the wrath of the Force.

But as Jedi Master Yoda might say, “Helpful it is not, to dwell in the dark side.” So I made a huge batch of summer happiness in a pitcher (gazpacho a la Carmen), and fixed a large glass of liquid joy (tinto de verano), and here I sit, merrily typing away. There’s a movie on the docket tonight, and I think our soup might be just about chilled, so I’m going to try and get back to what is left of my life.

I can’t *wait* to see what the Citrus State has in store for me next week. I don’t think my life could get any harder.

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