18. The Elladan Show: 7
I am back in my dorm room, all alone, by myself. It is more than a little depressing after a holiday spent at home in dad's spacious house with all those very active people, but at least it is quiet. And I have a few activities to occupy me and take my mind off how boring it is here. Those should last me at least another half-hour, so provided something very exciting happens at the end of that time, I'll be set for tonight.
I've already unpacked everything and rearranged my room, deciding that I'd rather have my bed under the window and my desk along the wall by the door. That took some manoeuvring, since there was nowhere to put the one when I was moving the other. My bed spent a good few minutes out in the hall. I hope nobody was trying to get past during that time. Then the telephone rang while I had my desk sideways and I was sort of trapped in the corner, and when I tried to answer I knocked the phone off the table where it was precariously balanced and it disconnected. It was probably Aerthos on the line. I should ring him later.
When Elrohir stopped by after supper, he was quite impressed that I had taken the effort to rearrange my room. Apparently he considers such creative endeavours to be above my meagre talents. He approves of the bed by the window, even if it does block six inches of the closet. His own bed is currently wedged between his desk and the wall, on a slight tilt, to give him two square metres of floor space to lie down and play Nintendo in comfort, though he is considering getting rid of the bed altogether and just covering the floor in pillows so he can simply fall asleep wherever he ends up at night. I'm sure that's against dorm regulations, but apparently he's been elected the new floor monitor so nobody's going to call him on it.
How is this possible? Elrohir the floor monitor? Is the building supervisor insane?! He could have at least picked somebody responsible, somebody who has memorised the list of what's against dorm regulations, somebody who knows the fire safety code, and maybe even somebody who has intentions to become some sort of leader on a larger scale. Somebody like me, for instance. I am a Poli Sci major! I will be PM of Rivendell one day! I am meant to be floor monitor! Apparently all these classes are a sham if politics is all one big popularity contest anyhow.
Speaking of classes, my first one of the semester starts at noon tomorrow. It is my Poli Sci 486AE directed study, focusing on modern leadership strategies and goals. Afterward I have conversational Quenya 400, with Elrohir. I'm dreading that stupid class already. Tuesday at 10 is Kinesiology 310, more commonly known as phys ed. I signed up for the badminton class in hope that there won't be too much lap-running involved. Then after that comes Poli Sci 442, Elven Governments in Middle-earth. My fifth class is just an elective to fill time and get the final three credits, so I chose the easiest thing I could think of. Elrohir's in it, which may or may not be a good sign, but I signed up for Theatre Design 120: prop making. I'll have to see how that goes. I'm really hoping it just involves making things like fake swords and break-away chairs, and that I don't have to do any actual research.
I am the only person in my 486 class. Nobody else wanted a directed study in modern leadership strategies and goals, so it's just me and the professor, sitting in her office and talking about stuff. The first thing she did was ask me why I wanted to go into politics. I said, "If I'm not elected PM of Rivendell within the next three years, my dad will kill me. He wants to retire in Valinor and needs me to take his place." She didn't seem to think that was the right answer. We talked for a bit about what politicians do and if that sounds like the right career choice for me, and then she asked what I would do with my life if dad didn't have any plans for me. I told her I wanted to be a flight attendant. I have no idea what made me say that, but it was the first thing that came into my mind and out of my mouth. She gave me a funny look and steered quickly back to the topic of politics. The class is supposed to be an hour and a half, but we only met for about forty minutes. At the end of it she told me to write a six-to-eight-page report on a politician I admired, due next Monday. She also said not to bother coming to class on Wednesday, since there would be nothing to do. This sounds like it might be easy.
In Quenya I sat across the room from Elrohir, hoping that would prevent us from being paired up for assignments. It seemed to work. I was paired with a girl who had very large eyes. She blinked far more often than a regular person- at least once per second. It was distracting, and I kept screwing up our conversation about the holidays by saying "hendu" instead of her name. Elrohir was stuck with Nova. I think she wants him back now that he's a movie star.
Then when I got back to my room I rang Aerthos. He wanted to come over, but for whatever reason I wasn't really up to seeing him. So I told him that my room was in a bit of chaos due to poorly-thought-out reorganisation (which was true), and that I was tired and had an early class tomorrow (which was not). We agreed to meet for lunch before Poli Sci 442, though, which we have together. He sounded a bit antsy. I felt a bit dreading-ish. I think I might be going off him.
Also, after further consideration, I have decided that I really don't want to be a flight attendant at all. I hate airports, the stuffy dry air inside planes makes me sneeze, I can't stand doing things for people, and I've never gotten along with children. And one must be fully trilingual in Sindarin, Quenya and Westron to work for any of the major airlines in Rivendell or the Grey Havens, which I am not. I could be a flight attendant in Mirkwood, since one only needs to speak Sindarin there, but then I'd have to live in Mirkwood.
We played badminton in P.E. as per the syllabus, and ran no laps. If the rest of the semester stays just like this, I will be happy.
After I showered and changed back into regular clothes I went to meet Aerthos in the food court for lunch. I found him standing in front of Pizza Pizza, looking unenthusiastically at a congealed slice of pepperoni. I was feeling a bit devious right then, so I snuck up behind him, grabbed him around the waist, and spun around a few times. He made a great squeaking sound, and his hair smelled like peaches. Unfortunately he then punched me in the arm for scaring him like that, though it was followed by a hug and many affectionate insults, so everything worked out alright. I think I do still like him after all. Especially when he smells like peaches.
I got some sort of stir fry noodle bowl and he took his congealed pizza, and we sat in the corner of the food court. Everything was going perfectly normally, with us talking about Fiommereth and new classes and so forth, until he had to go and bugger it up by asking if I want to move in with him. Move in with him! We've only been dating for two months (or less than one and a half if you subtract the time I was away at home), and already he wants this big commitment thing! I didn't know what to say. Which was good, because he said, "You don't have to answer right away. Just consider it." Then he told me that his roommate got married over the holidays and moved out to live with his new wife, and now he's trying to find a replacement and would like that replacement to be me. I told him I would consider it, even though the prospect was a bit frightening.
During class I made a list of the pros and cons of living with Aerthos:
* Would force me to take this relationship more seriously
* Would get me out of tiny crappy dorm room
* Would have space to put things, not to mention own bathroom
* Would greatly increase probability of getting lucky every night
* Would probably make me sick of Aerthos within a week
* Would make Elrohir jealous
* Would force me to cook and clean
* Dad would certainly not approve
Aerthos invited me round to the house to check things out after supper tomorrow night. I think he expects me to have made a decision by then.
Couldn't concentrate in Quenya today for worrying about moving in with Aerthos. Or maybe it was because we were learning technical vocabulary. Either way, I accomplished nothing and will have three sheets of fill-in-the-blanks work about occupational health and safety to do for next class. Afterward I asked Elrohir what he thought, and he didn't seem too thrilled at the idea of me leaving him alone in residence. Just like I suspected, he was jealous. Then I rang dad to ask what he thought, hoping he would forbid me from leaving the dorm and thus making the decision very easy. But instead he told me that he was happy for me to finally be part of a decent relationship, and that he thought it would be a step in the right direction. Happy for me! And he's all for it! This is certainly a conflict of interests. Not to mention no help to me whatsoever. I might have to flip a coin. Or ring a psychic hotline for advice.
I ended up telling Aerthos I would be unable to move in with him, due to Elrohir being jealous and lonely. He very unexpectedly replied, "There's another bedroom in the basement that Elrohir is welcome to have if he wants to come too." The room was unfinished and had concrete floors and no door, but Elrohir probably wouldn't mind.
Now I really don't know what to do. I have lived in a non-supervised house with Elrohir before. The result is not pretty.
Also, we had to run laps and play basketball in PE, and some dunce hit me in the back of the head with one of the balls. That just put a damper on the whole day.
Elrohir is not up for moving. Now that he's been elected floor monitor, he has real power (insofar as "power" means "the ability to tell people to keep it down and stop running") and isn't about to give that up. Not even for the prospect of a real bathroom and lights that aren't fluorescents.
But still, the more I think about it, the more I think I want to move out. Not specifically to be with Aerthos, but to get away from Residence.
Last night the yob in the next room was playing 50 Cent until half three, and somebody was talking loudly in the corridor. I would complain to the floor monitor, but I'm highly suspicious that he was, if not a perpetrator, then at least a participant in both infractions. And said infractions are starting to bother me more and more the longer I think about a good night's rest in a nice quiet house away from the uni. I can hear people getting up to brush their teeth or go to the biff. Every shuffle outside my door brings me closer and closer to taking Aerthos up on his offer.
I rang Aerthos at 8.30 a.m. to say I would be moving in sometime in the coming week. The entire building was awakened early this morning by a fire alarm, which caused us all to trudge outside in the slush until the problem could be addressed. The problem was a bunch of first-years having a séance and burning strange concoctions in the girls' lavatory. I will not be sorry to leave this place behind.
Aerthos said, "Oh." There was something of an uncomfortable pause. I said, "What?" He said, "I thought you chose not to move in here. I told my old roommate's cousin he could have the room last night."
For all the worrying and dithering I did over the stupid room, I am more than a little disappointed and upset. Now every blaring stereo, every video game, and every toga party is going to seem twice as annoying, since I had the chance to move out but missed it! I should be kicking myself. Should be, but I just remembered I have homework. How does this stuff creep up on me? I have to write that dumb report about a politician I admire. Really, I don't admire any of them. They're all equally dull. Except Maeglin. I ought to write about him, just to see what would happen. Apart from getting kicked out of school and sent to a therapist...
I wrote my paper about Glorfindel. He isn't really a politician (yet), but he's the only politically-related person I can think of whom I admire. Even if he is a knob half the time and ingests too many controlled substances. Glorfindel has stood as an admirable opposition to every boring Noldorin political regime since Fingolfin, and has even been arrested because of it. It is probably through his friendship with Thranduil alone that Mirkwood hasn't become alienated from Rivendell completely. And now (at least according to his latest email) he wants to challenge Finarfin's poor social record as well. All that and he claims to have been born in a one-room hut in one of the poorest areas of Valmar (I'm not sure if that's true, having been unable to contact his mum to verify the claim, but it makes for a good story).
Best of all, I was able to write a nine-page paper about Glorfindel without consulting any books or legitimate academic sources whatsoever. I think I'm finally getting better at this university thing.
Tryouts for the Orc Killing team were announced in P.E. today. There was a murmur going through the locker room that there aren't enough orcs about to kill any more, and some blockheaded environmental studies student said they were becoming an endangered species, but still tryouts are being held on Saturday afternoon. I'm torn between wanting to try out and knowing that it'll take up too much of my free time, especially now that all events will have to be held further north up in the mountains due to dwindling orc populations. Travel time alone will be ghastly. I asked Aerthos what he thought while we had lunch in the food court, but all he said was, "You're not serious, are you?"
I tried to explain that orc killing is actually one of the few things I'm still good at (now that my computer pinball skills have gone completely down the drain), and besides, it leads to fresh air and exercise. He only made a face and said that it's messy. He didn't understand why an "archaic, barbaric pass-time" like riding around on a horse with a bow and shooting "some poor orc" could be considered a sport. Some poor orc my heinie! He has obviously never met one in the wild. They are awful, miserable things, and smell worse than the bears at the zoo.
As can be expected, the remainder of lunch was coolly awkward. I will have to remember not to mention orcs around him again, and not to wear my GHU Orc Killing Team jersey from two years ago when he's looking.
While hot-gluing felt and styrofoam packing peanuts to a plastic dinghy paddle in the prop-making class today, I asked Elrohir if he was going to be trying out for the Orc Killing team. He said no, he was trying out for the theatre group instead. This year they're putting on a new play that's never been performed before. He wouldn't tell me any more than it's a rock opera, but he sounded unduly excited and full of beans so I know there's something more going on. It's probably a rock opera about iguanas. Or maybe it just has lots of foul language and nudity. In either case, I should probably worry about it.
There has been an Incident.
Erestor left dad this morning after a row over an unwashed porridge pot. My telephone started ringing at eleven sharp, first dad, then Erestor, so I got to hear both sides of the story.
Dad is fed up with Erestor's porridge habits. Every morning, dad gets up and makes himself a breakfast of toast and either scrambled eggs or Corn Flakes. Erestor gets up slightly later and makes his breakfast as dad is leaving for work. He always makes porridge (or sometimes Cream of Wheat or Sunny Boy), and then leaves the porridge pot on the stove to get crusty all day. Dad, who leaves work before Erestor, always comes home to the sight of the dirty porridge pot on the stove. He has had enough.
Erestor claims he doesn't have time to wash the porridge pot before he leaves for work, and that he washes it when he does the supper dishes. He could leave it to soak in the sink so that it doesn't get crusty, but that would result in water spots on his good pots. Erestor prides himself on shiny kitchenware. He doesn't see any problem with leaving the crusty porridge pot out if it's eventually going to get washed.
However. This morning, dad was pushed to the limits of porridge pot tolerance. Being Saturday, Erestor didn't have to go to work, and therefore had time after breakfast to wash the porridge pot. But still he left it to sit on the stove. So dad, fuelled by years of pent-up frustration, set the dirty pot prominently on Erestor's pillow. Chaos erupted when Erestor found it as he went to get dressed after his shower. Erestor left in a fury and now resides in Lindir's spare room. Lindir, he says, has a new Teflon kitchen set, so crusty porridge residue won't be an issue when it comes time to do the washing-up.
I tried my best to sound concerned and sympathetic, really I did.
It is my experience that the world grows narrower in direct proportion to a person's age, so that by the time you're 6000 or so the most pressing issues in your life revolve around things like offensive porridge pots and annoying habits of the significant other. I know grandpa's main worries are that grandma will forget to clean the lint trap on the dryer, which will start the ducts on fire, and that she'll leave the car parked out of the garage where birds can poop on the windscreen. Judging from his example, dad and Erestor are only going to get worse.
Then Glorfindel rang. He said had stolen Finarfin's mobile and was currently standing in a large crowd at the base of the Mindon Eldaliéva in downtown Tirion, waiting for Ingwë to appear so Aralindë can take her oath of servitude and be properly converted to the Vanyarin religion so they can get married in twelve hours. He also said it was raining. I had to ask him to repeat the first part, so he explained in a bit more detail that since Ingwë was in Tirion for whatever reason, this was their one chance to have Aralindë make her promises of Valadáva so that their Tirion civil marriage becomes valid in the eyes of the Vanyarin religious nuts and they can travel to Valmar this afternoon for their proper Vanyarin marriage without being arrested for unlawful sexual congress. At least that's what I think he said. I didn't really understand most of it, so I just made interested "huh" sorts of noises and said "Sounds good." I think he also might have mentioned something about Aralindë having to pretend to be a virgin.
Then I heard a large cheer, which I assume meant Ingwë had shown up, and Glorfindel passed the phone off to Aralindë. I didn't have much to say to her. I asked how the ceremony was going so far, and she said it sucked and that the Mindon was stupid because it didn't have any awnings to stand under and get out of the rain, which was ruining the fancy Vanya costume Glorfindel made her wear. Then she started off on a tangent about how she really wants to move to Valmar, where Glorfindel claims the weather is always perfect (even though he's not been there in 7000-odd years), though she still really likes Tirion, but not Formenos because the people there are rude and ignorant, and how come it's considered racist to say you hate, say, Vanyar or Teleri, but perfectly fine to say you hate people from Formenos? And of course she's not racist, because she's marrying a visible minority, even though the Vanyarin population in Tirion is steadily on the rise, so will they really still be a minority in another thousand years?
She briefly stopped talking right then, so I took the opportunity to say, "I don't know." Then there was an awkward pause. Then she started talking again, about everything from lychee nuts (which are spelled "laici" instead of "lychee" in Aman, she found out) to being sort of rich vs. being incredibly rich, and everything in between. And I mean everything. That girl talked for at least half an hour while Glorfindel was off tying to discover Ingwë. She only stopped when the batteries on Finarfin's mobile started running down. I told her to remind Glorfindel that he still has not answered my latest email. She disconnected, and I was left to sit on my bed for several minutes trying to sort out all the information and get hold of my thoughts.
Of course all the excitement made me completely forget about the Orc Killing Team tryout. I looked at the clock, saw it was nearly three, and panicked. I pulled on the first exercise-type clothes I could find, bunched my hair into a truly awful pigtail, and went to grab my bow from the closet. Curiously, it was missing. I KNOW it was there because I just PUT it there specifically the other night, having fetched it from the storage locker knowing that I'd need it for today. But still I looked everywhere else: under the desk, under the bed, between the closet and the desk, behind the door. There are only so many places a four-foot-long bow can hide in a small college dorm room.
At three I had to give up and run over to playing field eight, which is about as far from the Mindon as a person can get without actually leaving university property. I was just in time to find out I'd missed the endurance trials. The equipment manager allotted me a substandard fibreglass bow and told to stand at the far left with the first years. The coach even sneered at me. I didn't even get to take any practice shots to get used to my substandard fibreglass bow before it was my turn at the target.
Now normally, I am good at archery and can hit most any target without a problem. Today, however, with my substandard fibreglass bow, my arrow fell two metres short of the target-like straw bales. Even the first years laughed. My second shot fell a few inches short, and the third shot hit the white part of the paper surrounding the bull's eye. I was easily the worst one there, so it came as no surprise when none of the thirty names called to advance to the next round of tryouts (the riding part) was my name. I headed back to my dorm room, disgusted with myself, and changed back into clothes that didn't remind me of anything to do with teams or tryouts or physical activity of any sort. Then I sat in front of Elrohir's door in a murderous rage and waited for him to come back from wherever he had buggered off to.
Sure enough, when Elrohir came back, he was carrying my bow. And his own. I politely asked what the hell he thought he was doing. Sensing nothing wrong, he casually explained that he was practising for theatre group tryouts. I couldn't see the logic in him needing two bows for that, or even one. He said he was trying out for the role of Gil-galad. I still couldn't see the logic in him needing two bows for that. He said he thought he remembered reading on the internet somewhere about Gil-galad using two bows at once. I told him such a thing was not only impossible but also the dumbest thing I'd ever heard, smacked him on the head, and locked myself in my room. He didn't seem to get the part about me being angry with him. Ten minutes later, he was knocking at my door, asking if I'd seen his Floor Monitor badge. He thought he might have left it at a party on a different floor.
I can't believe I lost my place on the Orc Killing team because of Erestor's porridge pot, Glorfindel's religion, and Elrohir's sodding rock opera about Gil-galad. What sort of idiot writes a rock opera about Gil-galad?! And who would ever think Gil-galad could use two bows at once? Just to make sure, I looked up all the information I could find regarding Gil-galad and the number two (some of which I could really have lived without knowing). But the only even vaguely relevant story I could find was about Gil-galad occasionally using two spoons in order to eat stew more quickly.
I can't believe I lost my place on the Orc Killing team because Gil-galad occasionally used two spoons to eat stew.
Dad rang again this morning. I think he's already lonely without Erestor.
I asked him what his plans for the day were, but he had none. I told him he should go shopping for my birthday, which is in only two weeks, since he needs to allow the postal service ample time to deliver large packages. He asked me what I wanted, and I took that as a good sign. It's likely he'll try to compensate for his guilt over the fight with Erestor by buying me something really spectacular, so I told him I want a DVD recorder. He said he'd look into it. I'm keeping hopes up.
Then I asked him if Gil-galad ever tried to use two bows at the same time. He said, "Don't be ridiculous. That's physically impossible." I asked about the stew spoons. Dad made an irritated sort of noise, as if recalling a frustrating memory, and said, "Oh... that he did all the time." Then he suspiciously asked me about the sudden interest in Gil-galad and twos. I told him it was just something to do with Elrohir. Which, now that I think about it, likely made me sound even more suspicious. I hope he doesn't get the wrong idea.
I also told him about the Orc Killing team fiasco and how it was all Elrohir's fault. But all he said was that it was probably for the best, since I ought to be focusing my talents on political studies. He's probably right. Who needs to practice killing orcs anyway? If they ever cross my path in the future, I can always bore them to death with detailed accounts of how democracy works. I'm sure that'll do just as well as a quick arrow to the neck.
Spending time with Aerthos is getting to be a challenge. Not because the actual spending of time with him is difficult, but because spending time alone with him has become a rare pleasure now that he has his new roommate.
The new roommate is omnipresent. No matter where we go or what we try to do, he's always there. When we were making snacks, he was in the kitchen stocking the fridge with beer. When we were watching a movie, he was beside the stereo organising his CD collection. When we gave up and retreated to the privacy of Aerthos' room, he was vacuuming the carpet just outside the door. Also, he has an irritating habit of yelling things that are either blatantly obvious ("THE TV IS ON!") or that nobody needs to know ("I GOTTA GO LAY A LOG!"). I don't know how Aerthos stands it.
Therefore we have decided that all togetherness activities henceforth will be conducted at my place. I'm fine with that; I prefer my bed to his anyway. His blankets are inadequate and his pillows are all lumpy and old. Also, his DVD collection seems to consist mainly of musicals and low-budget religiously-themed productions. Which brings me to another point: half the religious paraphernalia is still prominently displayed at his house. Should I believe him when he says his old roommate "forgot" it, or should I be suspicious that he might be a closet Valar devotee? I think I need to ask him next time he comes over.
There was no need to ask. We went out last night to something called "7-55 Alive", which, despite its precise title, started at three minutes past eight. It was in the Education Auditorium. It looked promising when we first arrived, since there was a band setting up on stage and some burly-looking electricians were wiring coloured lights. We sat down in the back row, which I thought was a good idea, because then we'd have a better chance of making out once the lights were dimmed. But no sooner had we sat than a very white-bread-looking fellow in a suit and tie urged us to move down closer to the stage, since only losers sit at the back. I told him we were fine where we were, thank you, but he kept pestering us to move until I got fed up and told him to piss off. Then he looked at me as if I were Morgoth Incarnate. I was about to ask Aerthos what was going on, but right then another boy in a suit, this one looking like he was barely out of high school, got up on stage. An obviously pregnant girl of about the same age stood beside him, smiling brightly.
The boy introduced his wife, announced they were expecting their first child in two months, and started talking about how only ten years ago he was ashamed to be open about his faith since his peers thought it was uncool. But now he has Seen the Light, and realised that there's nothing cooler than being devoted to the Valar! Everybody except Aerthos and I cheered, and I suspect the only reason Aerthos wasn't cheering was because I was sitting right there giving him a "what have you brought me to?!" sort of look. The suit boy kept talking about how important it is to See the Light (everyone in the auditorium said "See the Light" with him whenever it came up), and then his wife took over. She talked about how Elbereth gave her inspiration for her paintings, and gestured to some pictures at the side of the stage. She does oil-paint-by number scenes from the Valaquenta. Her plan tonight was to paint while the band played, and hope that their spiritual energy would bless her work.
I turned to Aerthos with a nervous laugh and said, "Wow, this is sure crazy, isn't it? Ha ha, what a bunch of weirdos." He smiled and said, "Yeah, it's really lame," but the insult wasn't convincing. Just because he wasn't lifting up his hands and saying "See the Light" along with the boy in the suit didn't mean he wasn't into the whole thing. I asked if we could leave, but he said he wanted to stay and listen to the band for a bit. He hastily added, "That's when it gets really wacked." We ended up staying for five songs. The lyrics were Power Point projected onto a screen above the stage, so we could all sing along like a big happy family. Aerthos didn't sing or wave his arms in the air like everyone else, but I think he wanted to.
We went for coffee after we left, but the situation was a bit awkward. We talked mainly about schoolwork. Then he went home and I went back to my room, and I was left lying awake well into the night thinking that there's a very good chance my boyfriend is one of those sketchy religious people I always make fun of. I hope this doesn't damage our relationship.
Neither of us has said a peep about religion since Tuesday night. I think we're trying to pretend it never happened. I'm perfectly fine with that. As long as he doesn't suddenly decide that gay sex is morally wrong, I don't think I'll have anything to complain about.
I rang dad this morning to see how he was doing. He sounded perky and one of his Juice Newton records was blaring in the background, so I think he was doing fine. He had dug out the old wine-making kit Glorfindel gave him for Fiommereth one year and was getting everything cleaned up and ready for a new batch. I asked if he and Erestor had resolved their differences yet, and he said no, Erestor was still at Lindir's and they weren't on speaking terms at work. Then I asked if he had sent my birthday present yet, and he said yes, he took it to the post office yesterday. I was pretty happy with both of those answers, and dad didn't have anything terribly exciting to say, so I ended the conversation on a good note and let him get back to his wine-making. Then I rang Erestor at Lindir's.
Erestor was in a foul mood. He has nowhere (or at least nowhere good) to park his car. For the past week he had been parking between Lindir's house and the neighbours'. Lindir has a tree right in his front yard and Erestor doesn't want to park under the tree, as it tends to drop large quantities of snow from its branches. So the nose end of his car stuck out across the property line onto the street in front of the neighbours' house. Now, the neighbours have two cars, and like to park them both right in front of the house. This drives Erestor crazy, since they have a garage but don't use it. They always park as far back as they can to prevent Erestor from nosing his car across the line in front of their house. Therefore, to get back at them, Erestor had been leaving work early just so he could park as far in front of their house as he pleased.
Two days ago, the neighbours had the city come and install a handicap parking sign in front of their house. That means nobody without a handicap plate can park within eight metres of the sign. They have managed to procure handicap plates, and Erestor is now prohibited from parking in front of their house on pain of a very expensive ticket. Now he has to park under Lindir's snowy tree, which he also suspects will drop sticky leaf pods in the spring and caterpillars in the summer. He is considering moving back to dad's just so he can reclaim his garage parking space. I don't think dad will take Erestor back. He is having too much fun single, being able to listen to his bad music as loud as he wants while making bad wine.
Third, I rang grandma and grandpa. Grandma wasn't available, but grandpa was. He sounded a bit tense. Grandma had gone out to one of her ladies' charity club parties last night and come home at two in the morning, "tight as a hoot-owl" (grandpa's words, not mine; in fact I don't think I even have any idea what that means). He thinks she will be spending the entire day recovering in bed, which is rather unrespectable at her age. He will be spending the entire day supervising the two neighbour boys, whom he has hired to clean the garage, sweep leaves and plums off the talan, and haul garbage to the dump. Tomorrow he has plans to dig up the compost and get a new layer of mulch ready for spring gardening, and maybe go to Home Depot and get a proper bird bath so the chickadees quit using grandma's mirror.
Finally I rang Rúmil. He wasn't home, so I left a lewd message on his answering service. I hope I had the right number.
After the telephone conversations I went down to the cafeteria and had lunch. Then I visited with Elrohir for a while, where by "visited" I really mean "played Nintendo", and by "played" I mean "watched". He told me that he'd been given the lead in the rock opera. He will be playing the role of Gil-galad. I snarkily asked him he got to use two bows, but he said no, he only got a spear. He gets to make it in prop class.
I got my Glorfindel essay back today. The professor gave me seven out of ten. I think that's because I did a crappy job on the essay, but she has no idea who Glorfindel is and has no way of proving that I did a crappy job. Then she assigned another essay. This one has to be 12 to 15 pages long, and on the topic of innovative political strategies implemented within the last fifty years.
Have any innovative political strategies been implemented within the last fifty years?
My knee hurts and I don't know why.
And I'm bored. I might invite Aerthos over for a while. I haven't left my room all day, and it's nearly six. I'm getting sort of hungry too. All I've eaten so far today is two packets of complimentary pretzels from Northwest Airlines that I found in my backpack.
Maybe I should start on my application for convocation. It's been sitting on my desk for a week and I've not touched it yet. But it's asking all sorts of unreasonable questions, like how tall I am and how many people I'll be bringing to the auditorium.
Aerthos did come over yesterday. We sat around being bored together for a while, then went over to Elrohir's room where we listened to CDs and played with the Jenga set Elrohir had lifted from the common room. Elrohir's friend Finerven from Lórien was there and we hunted down a Mirkwood representative (a girl named Eirien) to round out our World Cup Jenga tournament. Rivendell took gold. Elrohir is surprisingly good at Jenga. Grey Havens came in last. Aerthos gets too nervous under pressure.
We are considering making this into a weekly event, with actual prizes. Granted the prizes would likely be soft drink tokens, but that's better than nothing.
I think I'm going to have to start working with Elrohir in Quenya again. The last few marks I've gotten back indicate that I have the Quenya-speaking capacity of a sock. At least when I work with Elrohir I can hitch onto his glory and absorb some of the residual greatness. And he tends to do all the work, which is always a plus. I'm certain the prof is about to give us another dialogue assignment on Friday, so I'd better make certain to sit beside Elrohir in class.
Everybody else had the same idea as me about sitting next to Elrohir. I think they've all caught on that he's by far the best, and before class even started he'd been asked by six different people if he'd work with them. He ended up choosing a blonde girl in tight jeans and a skimpy top. He has no sense of familial loyalty! Now I am stuck working with Nova.
Also, today is the deadline for handing in my convocation application. I'd better get it done. Surely dad and Erestor will want to come to the ceremony to look proud of me and take hours of video that nobody will ever watch because the damn thing was deadly boring the first time around? And what about grandma and grandpa? And I'm assuming Elrohir isn't convocating. In fact, I don't even think he knows what degree he's trying to get. Aerthos still has six credits to go, so I'd better get a ticket for him too. That's six so far.
I had Elrohir measure me for the height question, and he said I was 191 centimetres long.
It was my birthday yesterday. And it was Saturday. Technically, this should have made for more fun than the proverbial barrel of monkeys. However, I had to spend the morning driving Aralindë's parents to the sea port.
Two nights ago, after I went to bed, Glorfindel rang. He had suddenly come up with a brilliant idea, he said, and he needed my help. I warily asked what he was up to. He started explaining how he is on shaky terms with Aralindë's parents. They (understandably) want to string him up for stealing their daughter, getting her pregnant, running away to a different continent, and converting her to some sketchy religion that had until recently been confined to National Geographic articles and documentaries on the Vision network and TeleValmar. But he had a plan to win them over. The plan involved me dressing up in my best suit, hiring a luxury sedan, and collecting them from the airport. I would then take them out for lunch at a classy place before dropping them off at the sea port to catch their carnival cruise to Valinor.
I told him to shove it. He said he'd pay me. I said, "How much?" He said, "Whatever it takes." I told him I wanted a thousand dollars, plus expenses. He said, "Done."
So, at quarter past nine yesterday morning I was at the airport dressed in my best suit, looking for Aralindë's parents. The hired Cadillac was stuck in short-term parking. I waited around at international arrivals gate L for twenty minutes, holding up a sign that said "Aralindë's Parents" because I couldn't remember their names. Eventually they found me, walking over with funny looks on their faces. Her mum asked, "Who are you?" I told her I was a driver hired by Glorfindel to buy them lunch and take them on to the sea port. It was mostly true, so I was able to say it seriously. Aralindë's dad looked a bit wild-eyed when Glorfindel's name came up, but her mum perked up at the mention of lunch, so we all headed out to the Cadillac. All six of us. Glorfindel neglected to mention that Aralindë has three younger siblings.
I had planned on taking them somewhere nice to eat, like maybe the golf course on the coast, but the three younger siblings sort of trashed that idea. We ended up going to Chuck E Cheese's. The youngest child played in the ball pit while the rest of us ate a charming lunch of hamburgers and pizza. I got a ketchup spot on my shirt cuff. I tried to keep it tucked into my coat as we drove to the sea port, but somehow it was in just the wrong spot and kept popping out. I also tried to keep saying flattering things about Glorfindel, but in the end I'm not sure if it made any difference in their opinions or not. I hope I still get paid either way. And I think I should demand a bonus, because Aralindë's youngest sister was sick in the back of the Cadillac and I had to spend a quarter-hour with a bottle of chem-dry trying to get tomato sauce and bits of chewed-up bread out of the upholstery. In hindsight, I really should've paid the extra fee for interior damage insurance.
After that I went to the post office to pick up my birthday parcel from dad, but it was closed. I hate this city. Everything closes at 5 and is never open on weekends! Stupid lazy Teleri. I bet in Tirion things are open all the time. I will ask Glorfindel about that when I telephone him to complain.
Since I had it for two more days, I put the car in the underground car park at the uni. Glorfindel is rich; he can afford it. Then I went upstairs to officially start my birthday. I discounted that morning portion of servitude. I knocked on Elrohir's door and woke him up at the ridiculous hour of noon to give him his present (a Batter Master 200 that I ordered off the internet, since he seems to be overly fond of battered foods), and he dug mine out from his closet (actually it was more like the pile of clothes in front of the closet). His comment on his present was, "Now I can make my own fish sticks!" I opened my present while he was taking his out of the box to examine it. He bought me four vodka coolers and a tee-shirt that says "CULT LEADER: do what I say and everyone gets hurt". He is a good brother, really.
I sat in Elrohir's room drinking vodka and playing Nintendo until five or so, when Aerthos came over. He brought me more vodka coolers and a real paper book-type journal. I haven't had one of those since I was little. It should be interesting to try out, though my journal-writing skills might be a bit shoddy without spellcheck and auto-correct. Also, it has a lock, which should keep prying noses out of my very important secret personal writings. My computer is password protected, but I am suspicious that Elrohir knows the password, since sometimes when I log on my desktop icons have rearranged themselves or disappeared altogether.
Around ten the three of us took off down to the uni pub, where everyone we met proceeded to buy me vodka coolers. Do they think I really like vodka coolers? I mean I'm not opposed to them in any way, but still this was a little strange. Do they think I'm an alcoholic and that's why they were buying me so many drinks? Or do they think I'm really boring and need to get drunk to loosen up? I could ponder these points further, but I think I'll just count my blessings and be proud to say that I got roaringly drunk without spending a single penny. It was great. Then I was sick in the gents' toilets. That part wasn't so great. I had to borrow some change from Aerthos to buy a pack of Dentyne from the vending machine and get the taste of vomit out of my mouth.
So, I am now 2911. I wonder if dad got drunk in university pubs when he was my age? Somehow I can't imagine it. I think he always must've been boring. I should ask Erestor and Glorfindel.
For the past several days I've been trying to write in the book journal Aerthos gave me instead of on the computer, but it's just not the same. I can't handwrite as fast as I can type, and by the time I get any thoughts half written down I've already forgotten what I wanted to say. From now on, I'll keep the book on my bedside table and use it to write down any odd dreams I have. Like the one I had the other night when my brain was running in Windows XP mode. I think I was suffering from computer withdrawal.
To get the computer journal caught up, here is a summary of what I've done the past few days:
February 1st I spent mostly in bed recovering from hangover. Elrohir brought me soup from the cafeteria and spilled it all over my desk, because he was still half drunk and couldn't walk right. He was wearing his floor monitor badge and looking sick as a dog because he had to go to a meeting with the building supervisors to discuss new fire safety codes.
February 2nd saw me falling asleep in class because my sleeping schedule was all screwed up due to having a hangover on the 1st and staying in bed all day. Then after class I went to the post office to pick up my parcel from dad, and then returned the car to Budget (hope they won't notice the stain). I opened the parcel upon returning to the residence, and found inside a 128 meg compact flash card for my camera, and a set of walkie-talkies for Elrohir. I'll have to keep the DVD recorder on my list for next Fiommereth.
I didn't write anything for February 3rd. I'm not sure if that was because nothing happened, or because a bunch of wonderful things happened and I didn't have time to write. I'm betting it's the former.
February 4th I went to the library to get out a book about Vanyarin culture because Glorfindel said something dumb over the telephone and I wanted to see if he was fibbing or not. Of course I didn't write down what he said, and I can't remember now, so I may never know. In the meantime, I have a very boring book to read in the biff. It has disappointingly few pictures.
On February 5th I pretended I had a stomach ache to get out of running laps in P.E.
Aerthos came over on the 6th and, according to my crudely-scrawled notes, we got it on. Possibly while I was writing, if the spectacularly poor penmanship is any indication.
All that's written for February 7th is, "ELLADAN TAKES A WHIZ" and "ELLADAN BRUSHES HIS DAMN TEETH". I remember having a Jenga party in Elrohir's room that night, and drinking a substantial amount of beer, but I don't remember giving him permission to write either of those comments. My whiz is logged at 10.09 pm, and the teeth-brushing took place at 1.44.
On February 8th I did my weekly telephoning to Rivendell. I missed last week, so I made certain to have a thorough talk with both dad and Erestor this time. Dad complained that Erestor called round to pick up more things and take them over to Lindir's, and he ended up stealing all the cleaning supplies from the pantry. Dad was planning on cleaning the bathrooms, but the Toilet Duck was gone so he was left with nothing to do. Erestor reported that he had finally outsmarted the neighbours by having Lindir's dad (who lost the lower portion of his right leg in the Last Alliance) apply for a handicap sticker. Erestor then affixed it to his car, so now he's legally entitled to park in front of the neighbours' house as long as he pleases. I asked him if he didn't think there was something wrong with taking a handicap sticker away from a man with only one and a half legs, but he said Lindir's dad doesn't have a car anyhow, so has no use for it.
Apparently I did nothing on February 9th as well. Or at least I wrote nothing. Actually, I'm pretty sure I did nothing. Nothing interesting, at least. I remember emailing Glorfindel and downloading Windows updates.
Then yesterday a rabbit ran through the revolving door by the residence office and caused a big commotion. One of the security guards eventually caught it with an overturned dustbin. He was later interviewed by a reporter from the school paper, who also got a picture of the rabbit. Then in a completely unrelated but similar-sounding incident, Elrohir won the Chubby Bunny contest at supper. He fit twenty-six marshmallows in his mouth.
And that brings the journal up to date. Nothing much happened today. I found an old brown apple core in a ziplock baggie under my desk, but that's about it for anything out of the ordinary. I put the baggie under Elrohir's desk. I'm sure it was his, anyway.
When Aerthos came over after supper tonight he asked me what I wanted to do for Melevellar. I hadn't thought of anything, or really even considered doing anything. I've never had to think of anything before. This is the first time I've had a Melevellar boyfriend. He suggested we go to a fancy hotel for the night. I said that would be nice, only a bit awkward. I mean, when two people with an in-town address check into a swanky hotel for one night on February 14th, the desk staff is going to know what's going on. I don't think I could stand them knowing. Especially when we could do things much more privately right here. Plus the residence is organising some sort of formal supper that night, so we wouldn't be able to get away until at least eight.
He said that would be fine, since really it was the after-eight activities that were most important, and also ran off a list of special prices at the fancy harbour hotels. We could get a night in one of the luxury suites at the West Coast Plaza, including buffet breakfast and complimentary drinks, for $349. I said I'd think about it. He said he was going to book it. I didn't do much to stop him. I think we're going to the West Coast Plaza on Saturday.
My biggest worry is that I won't want to come back to my dorm room after such luxury.
Aerthos can't come to the formal supper. I went down to the residence office today to get him a ticket, and was told by a surly organiser that only Mindon residents can attend. I pointed to the part on the advertisement that said "Couples Only", and he said that a date would be provided for me. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds ominous. I'm suspicious that I'll be paired off with some single girl. With my luck, a single First Year girl. A single First Year foreign student from Mirkwood who wears low-rise jeans and too much eyeliner, and talks about her favourite hip hop artists on a mobile phone while drinking Coca-Cola through a heart-shaped straw. If I hadn't already spent $12 on a ticket, I might reconsider.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.