Project Meridank

Ah, Lent.

Forty days of fasting, prayer, and penitence culminating in the ressurection of Jesus on Easter – and indulgences not enjoyed for over a month. It is the ultimate period of sacrifice and dedication in the Christian faith. But how is our muse handling Lent? For this, we must go right to the source.

As we join our muse in her daily struggles dealing with her remedial french, public transportation, Germans and a shortage of pinot, we find she has encountered a new conundrum of the categorical kind. It seems as though the lack of sustenance has led to a complete mental breakdown, culminating  in a discussion of eggs. Eggs. Specifically those of a chicken. Simple? What could be simpler? Evidently even the most rudimentary form of nourishment has caused our mused some confusion. 

Meridank: “I have a question…”

Your narrator: “yeeees?…”

Meridank: “Are eggs a meat?”

Your narrator: “……………………………………… Huh?”

Meridank: “It’s Friday. I can’t eat meat and I want to know if I can make an egg.”

Your narrator: “………….I’m speechless.”

A quick trip to the food pyramid has it confirmed that our heroine can indeed eat an egg. Or two. Or three – but that’s “pushing it” according to her.

Nevertheless, it seems Miss Meridank’s diet has expanded from baguettes and booze to included nutricious supplements in the form of protein.

However, it seems some things never grow old. Like a clingy one-night-stand whose number you didn’t remember to block, cookies still call to Meredith on an hourly basis.

“I also thought I had cookies but apparently i dreamt that i bought them because i do not in fact own cookies.” “That was the saddest part of my day – when my 5 minute search for cookies failed”

And an epic fail it was.

Next time we’ll be discussing Mereidank’s affinity for questionable life decisions. This should get interesting…


The day has arrived. We say bon voyage to the heroic Tort Mason as he journeys across the pond to Paris to reunite with his beloved Meridank. Luggage in tow, deprived of sleep, iPod at the ready, he departs on the six-hour flight Air France flight.

It seems our Mr. Mason has put off an important disquisition on copyright law in lieu of his travels. With hours to spare until a deadline, we find our hero frantically typing away as he carefully explains his position. Words slowly ooze out of his fingertips as he mentally prepares for departure. Millions of things run through his mind as he hastily completes a draft of his dissertation. His parents have voiced their displeasure with their son’s decision to  gallivant across Europe with his belle and put academics to the side for a week. He knows that ditching his travels is not an option. Oh no. Meridank has waited too long for this day to arrive. All hopes for caloric survival are hinged on his safe arrival.

 *Sigh* It seems Meridank’s beau will be spending his first 24-hour stretch in Paris completing his academic obligations.  Will these two star-crossed lovers survive for the day? Time will only tell.

But I digress.

Mr. Mason has recently acquired a $40 stipend provided by Meridank’s mother, the Donna-nator, to provide her beloved daughter with some comforts from home.

Tort Mason brings with him the proverbial “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.” Let us recap. These are a few of Meridank’s favorite things:

A few of her favorite things...

A quick once-over of the manifest shows us that valiant Mr. Mason has spent his allotted $40 wisely. Ooh-la-la!  

Peanutbutter, jelly and fluff – most likely to spice up Meridank’s daily baguette ration. A sea of Goldfish.

Smartfood popcorn – guaranteed to sure any white(or red)-wine hangover.

Salt-and-vinegar Pringles; Undoubtedly used to obtain an odor similar to that of her French compatriots.

Oreos. Double Stuffed. Delicious.

Pop-Tarts: The breakfast of champions.

Oh my word! What a feast. What an American-processed sugary, buttery feast! We await to hear the phrase, “Mr. Mason has landed” to ensure the precious cargo has arrived at its destination in one piece.

We check in with our muse. Excited to have reached the expiration of her week-long countdown, we find her quite forlorn. Have the confectionery comestibles not arrived? Has Air France lost an entire duffel full of delectable treats? Alliteration aside, we find it is something else that has her perplexed.


Meridank: “Today Tort Mason told me the best decision he ever made was the day when he realized he didn’t have to pay for me when we did things together and i wouldn’t break up with him for it….that was my least favorite day.”

Oh and what a day it was.

Elsewhere in the land of love and lollipops (well, not really lollipops – Tort Mason neglected to purchase those…) we have discovered the resolution to the transportation quandary. Listening in, we find what has transpired over the past several days.

**For those of you just tuning in, Meridank has accidentally purchased a bus ticket for the wrong day. This was due to her misreading a calendar. Yes. A calendar.**

Meridank: “speaking of the story.. i went to the bus station today”
Meridank: “i had to travel 45 minutes to bumblefuck Paris
  (i’m actually going to kill Mr.Mason for making us take this bus, i swear)”

Meridank: “and then i got yelled at by a German man because i didn’t move to the open window fast/efficiently enough”

Our other narrator: “Mr. Mason made you take the bus?!  what other options are there?!”

 Meridank: “to Brussels”

Our other narrator: “you’re taking a bus to Brussels?”

Meridank: “yes.  there is also the train, or a 20 minute flight…. ”

“anyway, naturally the lady at the window only speaks french…”

Our other narrator: “so why are you taking the bus”

Meridank: “because Mr. Mason doesn’t like spending a lot of money on things…
  and he likes to torture me because i don’t like buses?
  my vote was for the train..
  however, we did make a bet that if i don’t complain for 2 hours (of the 5 hour ride) or if i let him sleep for that long he will buy me 2 waffles in Brussels”

 Our other narrator: “WOW!
  what a deal for you!!!”

Meridank: “…..which is probably not a very good bet now that i think about it…”

Our other narrator: “yea, not really. I was lying when I said it was a great deal for you…”

Meridank: “whatever, i will just complain and then make him buy me waffles anyway
  problem solved.”
Meridank: “so fixing the return ticket…
after 5 minutes of me babbling in middle school level french.. she finally told me that it was too expensive to change it there and we would have to try and change it in Brussels…”

  “……..or at least that’s what i think she said?….”

  “it doesn’t make one bit of sense to me….”

“so basically i spent an hour and a half on the metro and was yelled at by a German man for nothing.”

Modern transportation. Creating memories for years to come…

But anyways.

What will become of these two? Leverage lost and sustenance found, will these two survive a potential week-long French fiasco filled with planes, trains, and automobiles? Will a well-nourished Meridank revert to her old ways? We shall see….

And as our muse attempts to navigate the confusing streets of her new yet still foreign home, we turn our attention to those missing her at home.

And missing her they are.

Our story begins with Mr. Mason Tort.  The other half of this pairing of star crossed lovers.  Mr. Mason is a man confused.  Not used to having all of this free time (after all, who wouldn’t want to spend every waking and free moment with the lovely Meridank), he attempts to adapt to life with his better half halfway across the earth.  Mr. Mason does what any red blooded twenty something year old American man would do.

He spends his newly found free time in the library. 

For Mr. Mason Tort is in law school, and law school is a harsh mistress.  Just when you think you have given everything you have to her, she requests even more.   Our muse has engaged in more than one cat fight with the hussy law school, successful in some of their encounters, and broken and beaten in others.  Their most recent battle took place when our Mr. Mason was deciding who he should ask to be his Valantine; law school or Meridank.  There are conflicting reports as to which member of his love triangle won out on that day.

But Mr. Mason grows anxious.  Wishing to break the shackles that law school has thrust upon him, he decides to have just the smallest bit of fun.

And wouldn’t you know that our muse has been concocting the perfect plan for Mr. Mason Tort to spread his wings and fly to fun town.

See our Muse grows hungry.  Her scholastic endeavors have brought her to a place where baguettes suffice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   Though living in a city that most consider to be the food and drink capital of the world, she grows weary of french delicacy.  No there is not nearly enough wine, even in France, to cure the hunger that rumbles in her belly!  Meridank requires American sustinance, now.  Or soon.  Preferably now.  But soon will work too.

Fortunately for our muse, Mr. Mason Tort will be in France in due time.  Perchance, she reasons, he will be willing to replenish her pantry?

Our muse does what any person would do when they run out of food…she gets in touch with her mother.

Because Meridank is sympathetic to the fact that Mr. Mason, while in law school, is not yet rich.  In fact, law school, like the harsh madam of a bordello, takes a rather significant portion of the money Mr. Mason makes before forcing him to turn tricks once more.

As such, she dispatches the Donna-nator to contact Mr. Mason with all due haste to discuss the quickest way that a transfer of funding could occur, allowing Mr. Mason to purchase the food that our muse simply cannot live without for her remaining stay in Paris.

The Donna-nator reacts with Paul Revere-like speed, contacting Mr. Mason and arranging the transfer of funds.  After all, the Donna-nator has experienced first hand for all too long what happens to those who catch the ire of our muse.

Mr. Mason, with money and task in hand, now sets out for the grocery store.  His lover demands only the essential non-perishable items: Kraft macaroni and cheese, as much as can be packed.  Goldfish, the original kind, they are the best, much like herself.  Peanut butter, spread of the Gods.  Fluff, to put with the peanut butter.  And most important of all…sprinkles….lots and lots of sprinkles…Because no bowl of ice cream is complete without this wonderful confectionatory creation.

And Tort manages to leave the grocery store and make it to law school classes on time.  Somehow, our epic hero has found a way to please both of the ladies in his life. Knowing he has balanced the scales once more, he retires for the night following a few sets of bench presses.  After all, his suit case just doubled in size and weight from all of the processed provisions.

And our muse, though a world away, coos at the news that her food pyramid will include more than starch in only a few short weeks.  She falls asleep, dreaming of sharing bowls of ice cream and sprinkles with Mr. Mason Tort, who is, without a doubt, King for a day.

“Bienvenue à Paris!”

After months of anticipation we find our muse settling into her temporary chateau. We find Meridank has covered her bases, bringing the necessary sundries from the good ol’ U S of A, neatly packed in two suitcases which had caused quite the dilemma at home. Weeks of waiting had produced boredom and anxiousness which was quickly relayed over various outlets of communication.

*Please leave your message after the tone…beeeeeeeeep

“I don’t know whether or not to pack yet!!!”

*Bleep-blop-bloopybop (AOL Noise)

“I’m sooo boooored – should I pack? I mean, it’s all ready…”


“I can’t watch Bravo marathons anymore – but it’s too early to pack!”

But all of that “patience” had now paid off. Finally.  45 minutes of packing had produced 2 bags, both less than 50 pounds!  Thank God wine can be found in France.

Included we find Meridank’s preferred gourmet cuisine: Goldfish Crackers, Smartfood Popcorn, and boxed Macaroni and Cheese. “Be Prepared” – That’s the Boy Scout motto and Meridank, although not a Boy Scout, has taken that to heart. But alas, her duffels were devoid of a refrigeration system. As happy as she was to be in the city of love and B.O., like an audience at an Oprah taping, she yearned for one of her favorite things to be bestowed on her that she was forced to leave at home: Vanilla Ice Cream with sprinkles. This could prove to be a difficult transition…

Days pass and orientation activities provide respite from the lack of palatable nourishment. Pasta and baguettes have become the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions. Where is the protein? Where is the fiber? Where are the vitamins? It seems our muse has taken to a marathon runner’s diet. It’s a carb party in chateau du meridank. And rare meat, fruit, and vegetables did not make the guest list. To supplement the abundance of grains, Meridank has guzzled white wine. Oh white wine – sweet nectar of the gods. Like Busch Lite at a frat party, Meridank was drinking her sustenance. One would imagine the headache would be quite substantial. Fortunately for our heroine, tolerance is her middle name. And white wine is her slow jam. Trust us – other beverages will absolutely, positively, unequivocally NOT be tolerated. ESPECIALLY not RED WINE. Just so we have that straight.

Wednesday, 11:32 AM EST. Did I miss the memo? Is today Opposite Day? Or is Armageddon really here?

Meridank’s GChat Status: “red wine is growing on me…”

………………… *thunk!*……………….

I have fallen out of my chair. I’ve blacked out. I hear screaming – it could be my own. It seems even the briefest of  forays into one of the world’s best wine-producing countries has taken it’s toll on even the most selective of people. Have the carbs not worked? Is there not enough long term energy stored up to make rational decisions? Is our muse losing it? We can only hope she pulls it together. Personally, it’s a sad sad day. You think you know somebody. And it disappears in a second. Hang in there Meridank – only 4 more months to go.

It seems the drastic change in societal norms has caused our globetrotter to forget the simplest of rules: Double check your order before you hit “pay.” We find our protagonist (or antagonist depending on who you are) diligently planning out her voyages to foreign lands and *hopefully* better food. Flights – check. Trains – check. Bus tickets – ch….*splatter*

Does it smell in here, or has someone shat the bed in the process of booking bus tickets? It seems so. Could have been careless error. Could have been red wine. We may never know. Needless to say, Meridank has misread the pop-up calendar on the bus company’s website. Yep – misread a calendar. For some reason, the French have moved both weekend days to the end of the calendar week instead of having Sunday start the next week. Instead of double checking, Meridank has bought a ticket for what she believed to be Monday. With the calendar format – she clicked Tuesday. Oops. How would one go about rectifying this? 

Perhaps one would call someone in the US to try to fix it.

No, that doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps one would call and ask if the recipient of the call spoke English.

No, too realistic.

Perhaps one would use their mid-level University-based skills in the language to formulate an email to the bus company that our muse has admittedly exclaimed a 4-year-old French child may or may not be able to decipher.

YES! That’s clearly the best choice…

In the following days, we will find out whether or not Meridank gets on the right bus on the right day at the right time or ends up in Kazakhstan mining potassium.

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  • Jeff: So the main reason that our lovely muse has started drinking red wine, was because she has already dranken all the white wine of France, this my frien