May 19th – UGA #1 rank party schools
Got some insider info about the recruitment process from a sorority girl I met, must preserve her anonymity:
1200 recruits, unsure how many more candidates. I’m guessing about 25-50 different sororities?
Recruitment week: One of the exercises consists in talking to a paper plate, in order to learn how to interact and small talk with someone who doesn’t talk much.
– I tell her that this skill is not to be overlooked. I’ve seen it applied in the Real World, and for many people it is the soul (no spelling mistake) engine by which they rise, and sometimes quicker than other ‘brighter’ or harder working competitors. –
(something about writing on the paper plate the name of girls you don’t like, learning how to curtsy, smile, chatter in the most hypocritical and sexy ways we’ve all seen so expertly performed.)
Imagine all 1200 girls lined up on the same street, on the lawns of their sororities to be, talking to paper plates. Quite a sight.
Learning how to walk miles, from morning through sunset, in high heels. And not a whimper.
Also learning how to tear up when necessary, for plethora of reasons, the main one being to of course getting what they want, “not having to be an adult.” Getting out of tickets basically. Getting into jobs. I appreciate the second degree perspective of the girl I’m talking to.
It all lasts a week.
During the recruitment process, very strict etiquette, learning how to be ladies is hard.
Rules as to where you’re supposed to take your Little Sisters, candidates, within the house: Presidential room if you really like them, library is second, the other rooms are reserved for a top-secret dance: a girl and her counterpart can only be seen with another set of given girls at any given time, and in a specific area of the sorority house, so the actresses move around like clockwork until the candidates are subtly traded off (or out) to other Big Sisters, only then: in come new candidates.
In the manner of interlocking wheels, something like that.
During the interview process, candidates must make best possible impression on their bigger sisters, who can show little interest, or be full on rude.
One big sister, who during the interview (and our poor candidate was already, understandably, nerve-racked) kept complaining about how her feet hurt, and eventually took her heels right off (the Southern Cinderella whipping her red and blistered toes out in the open!)
A lot of trash talk, gut-wrenching process. A lot of drama too.
Little hazing though, unlike the boys’ frats, where paddling and near-death are appetizers.
And even more Legacy. That is, about half of the girls whose mothers also were part of the sorority, and who softly bribe the sisters by sending gift baskets and such.
The Peach in the Jar
Spend the night at a family friends’ house. A respectable and kind artist couple. She opens the lid and gasps. There is a perfect, purple peach in the jar.
“It’s the first peach of the year.” He offers as an explanation.
“You weren’t trying to hide it away from me?”
He smiles, doesn’t quite know.
“It would have ripened perfectly.”
The jar has a tealish, almost but not quite turquoise tone. As I learn though, the true art of pottery resides not in its visual patterns or gimmicks, but in its shape and texture, its feel, its tactility. For the first time, I learn to ‘look’ at pottery that way.
And only then do I begin understanding it. Unlike museums, where pottery artifacts are usually presented alongside hundreds of other ‘folk art’ objects, and can only be seen, not touched. I cup the various shapes, feeling the hardened clay under my palms.
I am happy they have shared this with me.
(I wish I could see it done, try it myself though.)
He lived in a chicken coop for a couple years, sleeping in a hammock tied to the roof because he didn’t want to sleep on the floor – a healthy decision. Water freezing in glasses.
Talked about my grandma, who took her and my mother to the Ritz in Paris and had tea there.
Recalled story of when grandma (Popo) told me about glamour.
“It’s about rising to the occasion,” she says after the dinner, while I’m taking my shower. They did bring out the silverware and silver Julep cups (no alcohol but the intent was there).
Will have to see cyclorama in Atlanta, ancestor of animated film.
May 20 – Macro B
I nearly get into an argument with my hostess about the level of urbanization in the US and why I believe cities will have a greater place in the works I’ll produce out of this trip than, say, if I had done this a century ago. More of a confusion, but it got me thinking. More on that in the About page when I finally get to setting in words the details to my approach and the elaboration of the main works.
Learn about macro-biotics, Macro-B, highly praised by my hosts (held to be one of the main reasons of M’s recovery from leukemia, against western doctors’ beliefs). Had macro-B breakfast of cauliflower, carrots, greens and thick oatmeal porridge.
Visited UGA art museum, impressive. Particularly Dali’s series on Dante’s Inferno.
Big Scare driving back into Atlanta, after taking some country roads, as the engine heat gauge soared. Not again, I thought. I was already imagining finishing the journey on foot and so on. Thought it was the end of it.
Did my first oil change, with the help of a black miserly old guy and a younger dude, very nice. (Gave the old guy 2 dollars, one unasked, the other asked.)
Georgia’s motto “Are y’all” – applies to one person or any number of people
(Turn out simply the expression of the South. Ya hear!)
May 21 – How to be Southern
Cyclorama – the Birth of Cinema. Took some notes about the Atlanta Campaign, won’t bother you with them here. But a great idea for a short story / historical novel: the Andrews Raid, a Civil War secret agent story.
“Oh Darling, everybody’s Southern after the second martini.”
Sweet Home Alabama: will spend the next days at a fast pace than I’ve been used to, unfortunately. Stop in Talladega (only inspired by Will Ferrel’s movie, in hopes of getting a picture of the track, no go). Take a picture of a trailer in a field that has the inscription “Office” on it.
An old man greets me on my return to the car.
“You don’t walk on private property and take pictures. You better cut’em out.”
“Yessir, I apologize.”
A biker and bikerette are painfully trying to figure out how to fit 24 cans of Budlight in the knapsack of their Harley.
Placating heat, stop by Brene and nap in a field. First impressions of Alabama the beautiful: the sounds of trees, vibrant, sometimes piercing, or groaning, with the chant of a million critters.