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Attempts at Savoir Vivre in the City by the Bay.

Biography

It all starts with an area rug. Restricted by internet filters and deprived of social networks from 9 to 5, she takes to perusing PotteryBarn.com and Craigslist instead, searching endlessly for the perfect 8 x 10. In college, the bare hard wood floor would have sufficed. Now, for the very first time, just enough money is in the bank that she can truly take a place and make it "her own."

This possibility adds an entirely new dimension to the process of self discovery - something she clearly failed to leave behind in academia. Sure, she learned to say no (or yes) to illicit drugs, perfected both the walk of shame and the art of seduction, discovered religion before rebelling against it, and identified on some level with either the likes of Anna Kerinina or Madame Bovary. Yet along the way, not once did a professor ask whether modern, contemporary, or traditional rugs were more her style.

Talk about tuition money poorly spent. The brand names Cindy Crawford, Linden Street, Chris Madden, Studio and Artesia ring as foreign to her ears as Medvedev or Azerbaijan did in Intro to International Relations. With her head spinning, she reflects on whether it would be going out on a limb to introduce animal-prints to her home. And while she's on the subject, do solid or more shiny curtains coordinate better with zebra stripes?

The more she discovers, the less she understands.

With just enough disposable income to support either a shoe fetish or a Whole Foods obsession, but not both, and not nearly enough for diapers or wedding plans, she's officially entered that stage in life where a cocoon of relaxation blissfully distracts from the myriad of more important questions she prefers to keep to herself. Allowing them to surface only occasionally, she puts them on the back burner, just diagonally from the pasta and burnt attempt at a side dish that have become her nightly staples.

It's her "Pre-Maternal Nesting Phase", so to speak, and the only way she knows how to survive it is through light-hearted reflection.

Voilà.

Enter: Alicia l'Américaine, Part 2. Where vaguely introspective third-person posts sprinkled with random observations and the occasional coup de coeur will convey how I may or may not feel, are solely my own, and do not necessarily reflect that of my employer. And where the quest for a perfect area rug is never quite over...

but always taken for what it's worth.