Actualiser (Sunday, 2011 July 24)

July 28, 2011

I never actually looked up actualiser but it seems to mean something like to update. It’s how "refresh" gets translated in technical usages.

I’m writing this from Jenn and Johnny’s apartment as they argue softly in Chinese in the kitchen. It’s one more stop on the magical mystery tour — eating all the foods, reconnecting with all the hive minds, indulging all the old habits. It’s been good; I definitely feel much stabler than when before I left. I’m self-medicating differently than in country. Chocolate soy milk and hamburgers displace a certain amount of booze. Throw in the odd spot of drama to keep things fresh, and an electronics-buying binge, and I’m basically good as new. Newegg has a volume savings section for USB flash drives but, surprisingly, nothing like that for netbooks or digital cameras.

One thing I didn’t expect to enjoy about being home is seeing all my Stuff, my accumulated set of wonderful things. Coming home to a bookcase full of books and CDs made me happy somehow, as did finding my giant fuckoff Dell IPS monitor that I spent hours and hours researching way back when. I’ve added a few things to that collection already in a trip to Barnes and Noble (Rule 34 is basically brilliant, and I bought it in hardcover, plus Flight volumes 7 and 8). The new Bridges and Powerlines album "eve" is also exciting. Bridges and Powerlines remembered me! "Oh, it’s Ethan! Our fan!"

Jenn’s outdoing herself in hospitality; she asked what cravings I had that she could address. This morning it’s pancakes.

I’ve been checking up on everyone. Some people are a little chubbier than they once were, or whiter of hair, or have otherwise aged. Whereas others grew up, or otherwise got way more attractive. I think I might myself be in that category, because lots of people have asked me whether I’ve gotten taller, and others have told me I look like Africa’s treating me well. Stronger, somehow? More confident? Sarah said something about the glow of people who are doing the right thing, so maybe I glow. I’d definitely have tagged myself with "chubbier", "whiter", "aged", so who knows what’s going on. I’m thinking now of another college experience, one where my former housemates took an impressed sort of surprise from the ease with which I swam the subway system, slipping through cars with the ease of the light fantastic. The fact is, I belong here, with such sincerity and specificity that it’s hard to explain. So maybe that makes me look sexier somehow.

This part of the post is for an exhaustive list of all the things I’ve been eating, doing, playing, drinking, etc., but I know at least one Volunteer reads this, so I’ll spare you. The takeaway message is how quickly and easily I picked up my old habits, from my old t-shirt-and-cargoes dress to bitching about the imperfection of common consumer products (versus in Cameroon, where there’s nothing you can do about anything so you may as well suck it up). Everything is going well and it’s going to be hard to talk myself into flying back in a week..

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