Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Giraffe For Dinah


Everyone needs a camel, but only Dinah needs a giraffe.

She inspired me tonight. I knew I had one, somewhere, buried deep in the thirty plus years of memorabilia scattered everywhere in my house. I tore my second floor apart tonight looking for this. I searched everywhere---closets, drawers, my filing cabinet. At last, there it was along with a number of other things I doodled in my high school, undergrad and medical school days. Somewhere there are also caricatures of our department chair and residency director, but they may be trapped on the hard drive of my 21 year old Mac Plus.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to put them up on the blog with my posts. On the average they are 25 years old. Most of them are done in pencil on legal paper, overdrawn with black felt tip pen. And I can honestly say I didn't see anything like this last week at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.


Anonymous said...

Ummm, thanks. Be careful or I'll sing.

Steve & Barb said...

Geoffrey would be jealous to look that good.

NeoNurseChic said...

How exactly did Dinah inspire you to dig out the giraffe and post it? Just curious... If I'm just being clueless, then let me know - or if it's an inside thing and you don't want to share, that's all good, too!!

When I was at Penn State, I became best friends with a girl named Laura who was there as a grad student in piano performance and pedagogy. She had gotten her undergrad degree from Westminster Choir College in NJ. She was hilariously funny, quiet, intelligent - and just like me in so many ways. We both had unbelievably bad luck with guys and were both complete hopeless romantics. However, we both were shy when it came to meeting new people (but talked a LOT once we got to know someone!) and didn't really go out to the bars or to parties to drink a lot. She became my roommate during my 5th year (and her 2nd grad year) at PSU. We both spent hours and hours practicing - and after studio classes, I'd give her a ride home (starting the year before she lived with me when she lived in grad student housing).

Many evenings after studio class, we'd go get chinese food and go back to my apartment and talk about everyone in our studio the whole time! (Bad bad gossips!!) We also took this piano literature class together that we both hated - it was torture to get through 2 hours of this on a Friday afternoon at 3:30pm - and we'd constantly talk and joke about that class. There were only like 6 of us in the class, so it was impossible to tune out or do anything other than pretend to listen intently. She loved watching ice skating, so she'd come with me to watch the annual ice show in April at PSU. Now that I'm writing about her, I really miss her! We've lost touch - I totally need to give her a call...

At any rate - one day we had this joint studio class. We had this joke about our piano lit teacher (who was not our private lesson teacher) because he had his 3 favorite pianists, and the rest of us always got brushed to the side. Laura and I even played better than some of the students in his top favorites, but because we weren't his students, we got stepped over. I even competed in a concerto competition and didn't get advanced to the next round when I clearly played better than this one grad student just because she was his student and I wasn't. There were 3 piano teachers, and I honestly believe that my teacher was the best in terms of performing and teaching, but the piano lit guy had been there for years - he was department head and had an ego that couldn't even fit in the room. He would take any chance to slam our teacher, and it was obvious that this made our teacher very nervous and he would constantly sort of kiss the department head's butt about things... This made Laura and I mad because our teacher seemed to be clearly better than the other guy - at least in our eyes! We didn't like that our teacher took on a new personality when we had these joint studio classes where all 3 teachers would be there. Laura and I joked that our piano lit teacher's favorite 3 were called the "Holy Trinity." I know that's totally inappropriate - but it was one of those inside jokes that used to get us through!

In the one joint studio class, we sat next to each other, and we both wrote many notes and side comments to each other on a shared piece of paper. It was hard not to burst out laughing from time to time while others were playing! I started doodling things all over the paper. This was because Laura and I used to say that we both wanted to move to Philadelphia and be roommates after graduating from PSU. We joked, however, that we were going to be broke since I was going into nursing school and she was going to be a piano teacher. Everybody knows that piano teachers make no money really... We joked that we were going to live on a vent in Philly as homeless people! We both had this obsession with chap stick. We also had an inside joke about when we bought this huge boquet of flowers to give our teacher after one of his recitals, it actually looked like a wrapped up if we were giving him this gigantic honey baked ham. So then, I kept doodling pictures of a vent, chapstick, pigs, ham, etc. We would always say our address was going to be, "Laura and Carrie. The Vent. Philadelphia, PA 191xx. Please send ham and chapstick."

Sounds dumb I know - but when you're stressed out, overworked, underpaid (or not paid at all), single, lonely, overtired college students - your sense of humor goes a little askew! What was most important was that we laughed all the time when we'd talk about things like this. We also would spend hours some nights after eating chinese when she'd come over to my apartment - I'd put on all these piano cds in my stereo and kept saying, "You've gotta hear this part in this piece! I love this!! I have to play this piece!" and we'd talk about the emotions it evoked and the various technical skills you'd have to have to play it. We were first class music major nerds!

Sometimes I still come across pages of our doodles and inside jokes. It really makes me laugh remembering those times. I miss having a friend like that! It is nice to live alone because then I don't really have to worry about the days where I don't feel like picking up and it is nice and quiet when I get home. Nobody to get into fights with. Nobody to do a thousand things that annoy me. But on the other hand, nobody to laugh with. Nobody to joke around with. Nobody to listen to heartbreak stories or to cry together and then go out and buy a pint of ben and jerry's. There are pros and cons to living alone - but I do so love coming across our old things...nice reminder of those times!

Sorry to ramble on and on - I've been thinking of writing this comment ever since I saw this post, and finally decided to write about it. The post just reminded me of such warm memories of a great friend! :)

Take care,
Carrie :)

ClinkShrink said...

Thinking about the giraffe pic got me thinking about all the other caricatures and drawings that made the rounds of my undergrad dorm. It was a bit infamous at one point--one of them even showed up in the glass display cabinet outside one of our college labs, god knows how. (It was the one of the streaking auger plate---I leave it to your imagination for those of you who know microbiology.)