Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Notes from the Field
So, I've been in Smalltown U.S.A. now for almost three whole days, and I've had a few observations to make:

-Smalltown is not, actually, a *small* town (defined as being less than 1/3rd the size of my high school): as the welcome banner proclaims, Smalltown holds about 1500 people (and I kid you not, the sign actually says this) "two grouches". I can only exclaim my surprise that Big Bird is not lurking around somewhere.

-Smalltown U.S.A. is not, actually, a good representation of a *small* town in the U.S. of A. It has a remarkable arts and culture (Southern/Appalachian) scene, a good deal of outsider transplants who come to live and work here, a hip, edgy kind of feel, and not one, but *two* chain grocery stores (not quite BCS-league grocery stores, but mid-major at least).

-So there are four of us supposed to be interning at various locations here in Smalltown, but Lauren and I got here first, on Sunday afternoon. And that has led to some short anecdotes, none of which are particularly entertaining on their own, but which in their aggregate have proven to be somewhat amusing...

[Note: my deepest apologies about the various O-Chem references; I borrowed That Girl's textbook to browse over the summer in the hope that vague, half-remembered facts about the Big O will help me not completely flunk out of orgo next semester, and so random basic chemistry facts from the review chapters in the beginning have been floating around in my head]

Story #1: The Truth about Cats and Dogs (3 ethyl,2methyl-hexane)
So Lauren and I were actually supposed to be up here last week, but Lauren arrived first at the house the four of us interns were going to rent (called simply "The Casa"), and there was a problem: the nice lady who owns the place has cats. 10 of them. Or thereabouts.
Lauren is mildly allergic to cats; this was proven after the EMTs took her weeping, shivering, sniffling, oozing form to go get detoxed*, and so, she was obviously unable to stay at The Casa (note: the "The" must always be capitalized). She then drove back home and we agreed to come back on Sunday to see if we could cleanse the place of cat hair and be able to stay together.
It didn't work out nicely.

METHYL Branch: Lauren was homeless when she got back and had several housing options in the booming real estate market of Smalltown:
1) Live in a bed and breakfast- which had no vacancies. Crossed off the list.
2) Live in a Super 8 motel- not only were there enormous numbers of sketchy angry-unemployed-have-nothing-to-do-so-must-resort-to-urban-violence young white men hanging around, the rooms most definitely did not cost $8 a night. Crossed off the list.
3) Live with a "25-year-old new guy looking for a roommate" (fPendl in 5 years). Crossed off the list.
4) Live in a cottage rented out to tourists, next to a vineyard. Considered excellent, but was in a valley that had no cell-phone service. Crossed off the list.
5) Sleep on her boss's couch.
Guess which option she picked?

ETHYL Branch: Unlike my younger brother, I am not deathly allergic to cats, although I have been feeling really itchy lately after more close contact with cats than I know what to do with in the past 72 hours. But that might just be the toxic heavy metals leached into the water that I shower with (courtesy of Big Coal and Hillary. or something)
All of the cats and dogs that live at the Casa (peaceably...this lady should sell her secret to Jimmy Carter, I swear) are very nice, except for one. Not unpredictably, this cat looks a lot like Laura's Tacas, except perhaps a little grayer.
She (I refuse to believe this cat is an honorable male) was *waiting* for me outside my door when I woke up this morning. She purred, almost as if yawning contemptibly, and rubbed herself against my leg; when I reached down to pet her I heard an adamantine snikkt!!! and felt my leg being torn off by claws. Pain and suffering, gentle readers, pain and suffering like you cannot imagine.
That cat and I are not done yet. Oh no, not by a long shot.

More later...

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