Friday, August 26, 2016

If you could leave tips over the phone...

Greg from Progressive would be a richer man. That was the most helpful and patient insurance agent I have ever encountered. And I hope he gets to go home soon cause he sounded tired. And I don't know if I believe in blog karma, but Greg, you deserve good things.

Good people get stuck in really crappy phone jobs late at night and have to answer questions from crazy people like me. Four phone calls and a Herculean effort on his part later, I have new car insurance.

The Illusion of Man

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman of four and twenty in Logan, Utah must justify singlehood. All. The. Time. (Also, not being a True Aggie. People are shocked to hear that I've gone six years without making out with a stranger on a ritual cement platform at my college campus. "You're missing out!" they say. "The horror!" I reply.)

Singlehood can be awkward here. I am no longer a tiny freshman who is clearly too young to marry regardless of absurd cultural standards. I'm about to enter my third Senior year of college, just shy of done. I live in a Young Single Adult ward which is fabulous and filled with good friendships, but the boys also scatter reliably and consistently when they discover my age. While 24 is clearly not spinsterhood, I live in the midst of many, many, young men whose average age is years younger than mine. 

I guess their thing with the age is pretty comparable to my thing with height. There's my comeuppance for being shallow!

The past couple years have been filled with uncomfortable, sometimes painful, albeit hilarious dating experiences. I focus on the hilarious because what else are you supposed to do? We all know about awkwards hands by now, right? I am trying to own the awkward and revel in the "double hands way in the air" storytelling moments. 

Like the time a friend of many years and I decided that we should maybe, actually, try out that dating thing that everyone has been teasing us about since we were sixteen. And then he dated someone else and didn't bother to tell me, instead opting for the "radio silence for months" option. We finally figured out that mess, and it was fine. He is married now. I was in the wedding party. This wedding day was a truly happy occasion wherein I felt not a shred of jealousy for his gorgeous wife, who I actually really like. But the principle of the thing stung a bit, if I'm honest. 

Or the time my boss tried to set me up on a date with her husband's coworker, twenty miles, an entire canyon, and a different county away. What are the odds he would live in my apartment building and attend my ward? They were slim, but they won out. I had private intel from the husband that the coworker was pretty excited and intended to call. And then he figured out he knew me and proceeded to never call. Instead, we've spent the last year in a silent mutual agreement that we will never speak on the bi-weekly occasions we are in the same place, doing the same thing. Awkwardly avoiding eye contact. 

There was the pride-shattering and unexpected deep discomfort when Facebook informed me that my ex-boyfriend was dating somebody new. Three years later, you'd think that wouldn't matter. I thought it didn't matter. But, sheesh. Nothing like an innocent photo to knock the wind out of you for a bit. 

Or the other time my boss tried to set me up with this guy we both know, and then asked me about it every day while I tried to list all the evidence that nothing is going on with this guy. When dating came up in a group conversation yesterday, I said something about being single and she looked at me wide-eyed; "Are you single?" I'm confused about what part of  "never been on an acutal date with this man" makes her surprised that we haven't made it official. 

There's the whole family demanding details about the man I met on the internet before I go to meet him in a very public place. After a few minutes of the Spanish Inquisition, I finally said "This is sort of humiliating anyway. I'm done answering questions right now." Mom did not understand why internet dating would be humiliating. My sister understood, and said "Yeah, I can see how you wouldn't want to talk about that." I appreciated her backup, but I'm still not sure which of their points of view is less flattering. 

Anyway, we're done with the internet's input. 

The thing that is sticky about this point in life, see, is that the first thing people ask when we see each other after a long while is "Are you dating anyone?" Then they get upset when I laugh involuntarily. My mom is offended on my behalf."Why is it funny that you would be dating?" But everyone also gets happy, wide-eyed surprised, and actually literally "proud!" when I tell them I am going on a date. That expression is always the same, and while I appreciate my mother's argument on my behalf that it is not ludicrous to suppose I might be in a relationship, there are some mixed messages going on here. In the past year or so, when people ask me if I'm dating and I say no, there is also an added "Well, that's okay." 

Which really means, "It's a little weird at this point, so I have to reassure you that it's not weird." Nobody reassured me at twenty one, but here we are. 

I live in a place where I am encouraged to date and to marry. Our Bishop is famous. The year before I moved into my apartment complex, more than half the ward got married and moved out, and the Bishopric is proud of their success. Tithing settlement is called "dating settlement" here in the 27th ward. We spend all of 12 seconds on tithing and the next questions are, consecutively, 
"Are you dating anyone?" 
"Do you want to be dating anyone?"
"Who in the ward do you want to date? I'll tell them." 
(Cause there's not enough awkward avoidance of eye contact in Sunday School.)

Every year it seems, we are begged from many and multiple pulpits not to "date through our twenties," but instead, to be serious, and look for marriage. Don't waste time. 

I gotta be honest. I am being begged not to stay someplace I can't even get, because that miles ahead point on the road that is called "dating" isn't good enough, they say. If only I could just get to "not good enough" instead of "failing so miserably." 

Don't wend your way leisurely along the highway, cruising in the center. Get in the left lane. Commit. That's great. I love the left lane. I don't want to wend leisurely in the center. But I don't have a lot of options, cause I'm in the right lane impeding traffic, trying to get up to speed. 

Remember that " focus on the hilarious" thing I'm going for? I realize I just fell of the wagon. But the point of this whole thing, before my accidental venting session, was to tell a story that is focused on the hilarious. 

A few days ago, my roommate Krysta and I were in the Walmart, shopping for light bulbs and various apartment cleaning sundries. We stopped at the aisle filled with scented wax refills and smelled them all. Cause who doesn't, right? We always do. 

There was a lot of  "ohhh, smell this... wow, that is nice!"and "HOLY Cow, that is disgusting!" 
Then Krysta held up a package to me to smell. It smelled really good. 
"Wow!" I said. 
"It smells like man!" Krysta said. "What's it called?"
I turned it over to look. 
"Illusion"

I have never laughed so hard in a Walmart. "That's about right." said Krysta. 
"Yep. Accurate." 

There. I made it back to humor. We bought the wax.



Friday, September 18, 2015

So I was walking with my friend Adam today...

Adam: "Oh sorry! I just spit on you a little. That's awkward."
Me: "Eh, I didn't notice. We've endured much more awkwardness. That doesn't even count."
Adam: "That's true. We almost kissed once."
Me: " Yep.  And then Dr. Kinkead told everybody about it for the next year."
Adam: "Yeah, that was great."




Friday, April 4, 2014

Bipolar, but leveling off

Once upon a time, I had this extremely busy semester. And it almost killed me. Stuff happened. Some terrible stuff.

Aka, last Thursday I found myself sitting in my car, which wouldn't start, trying to do homework on my phone, which wouldn't work, and trying not to panic about my computer, which is broken, or hyperventilate about my wallet, which was lost. "Pure Satan. Like, Comcast Evil."

And I called Erin and she told me to be calm. And that worked, which surprised me. That was a whole week ago, and I have discovered since then that my computer is worse than I thought and I have to buy a new one. And my car isn't fixed yet, so this week has been fun like that. But I don't feel like hyperventilating. Which is a big deal, which you know if you have been reading this blog....

This lack of panic has me wondering some things about myself. It is only one of the many stark contrasts I have noticed between this semester and that last time I was in school full time. These drastic changes are one reason I am really glad I moved away for a whole school year. Now I am back, and I think that huge gap is the only reason I really noticed how different I am. I have been trying to figure out which changes are good and which are not so good, but also why I am different. What changed me?

I have some proposals for this specific and odd "Not panicking" thing.
1. I am way too exhausted. My energy, previously absorbed in being worried and falling off of emotional cliffs no matter how hard I tried not to, seems to have been diverted, in large part, to getting things done that I wasn't getting done before. I am way more productive, and I sleep about half as much, and maybe I am just too tired to panic. Somebody told me once that happiness is, in large part, being too busy to be unhappy. I think I believe that.

2. Maybe I grew up a little bit? Maybe I figured out some bigger things, and I can handle problems more effectively now? I know I have a better idea of what I believe and why I believe it than I did before, but does that influence panic attacks directly? I don't know about this one exactly. I'd like to think this is the reason, but I suspect it's a little bit this and a lottle bit exhaustion.

3. I quit drinking diet coke and started exercising. Could this reduce erratic emotions? I am healthier. That has emotional impact, right? Maybe it is the physical impact and a little bit of the immense battle of self-discipline I had to win in order to overcome what was beginning to be a severe and prohibitive addiction. Maybe self-discipline is the important factor.

Maybe it's this. One of the differences between now me and 2011 me is that I feel differently about miracles. I had a lot of miracles in my life before, and a lot of people willing to help me, but I didn't ever feel like those things came naturally. Even though I was grateful, those things made me uncomfortable. I think I had an odd definition of self-reliance. I think I thought that meant that you never should have to rely on other people. But that isn't true. If that was true, what do we have families and friends and loving relationships for? We aren't supposed to do everything by ourselves. We are supposed to work hard and take help and give help as much as we can, and I feel better about my ability to accept with gratitude and to give. I feel more confident not that miracles will come, but that I can work hard and make things happen with the help of people who care about me, and that is a miracle.

For instance:
Six people have jumped my car battery in the last two weeks, because sometimes I really need to use my car and I haven't had a chance to put in a new battery yet. Last week my car wouldn't start and I was stranded at Walmart, about to be late for a group project that was kind of a big deal. So I texted my friend Adam from the group to tell him I would be late. Surprise! He just happened to be at Walmart at the time and came and got me. And then Shane took me back and started my car the next day, and Katie offered to take me to buy a battery anytime. My friends are miracles.

And my broken computer? Mark transferred stuff from my hard drive onto his computer so I could take a computer back to school with me and do my homework until I could get mine fixed, and Ben interrupted bedtime to hash out my computer problems with me and find a solution. And now I know that I can't fix my computer because I would have to buy a new motherboard. I just have to buy a new one. But you know when that happened to occur? Two weeks before Black Friday. Miracle? I think so.

And my job! I was worried I wouldn't get enough hours, and then I got a promotion, and a raise, and another promotion within a month. And I got to handpick my schedule for next semester and choose as many hours as I wanted. MIRACLE!

Things are working out even when I don't have the time or energy to pour into excessive anxiety. What a gift! We all know that this hasn't been completely consistent. Sometimes, like a month ago, I have stress attacks, and I slammed some doors and swore a little bit, and I burst out crying in the middle of a room filled with fifteen people because of one innocent comment, and mom sat down and had a talk with me about my emotional health. That all happened in one day. But even since then I feel like I've made good strides in being calm. I have learned to ask for blessings instead of slamming doors and swearing. Progress, right?

Of course right.





Saturday, September 28, 2013

Not always, but sometimes...

...drivers in Logan give me dirty looks when I am in their way. Nevermind that they are the ones driving on the left side of the road. Nevermind that this happened twice in the past three hours. Nevermind that we are not in England.

(But seriously. Let's not think about not being in England. It will make us sad.)

....I want people to do their job, because I am doing mine, and also, you are getting paid. When things in my life depend on you, and I have never met you yet, and the only thing I have ever heard from your employees is how you are pissed off at them even though they are literally doing your job, I get grouchy. Not that that is your problem, but your job description is, actually, your problem.

... I am grouchy. Not always, but sometimes.

....I remember to write in my happiness calendar, and Zane snapchats me stuff, and I make a lot of money in two hours, and I dance on a streetcorner with a new friend, and I get all of next week's homework done in advance for my YAL class, and I find twenty dollars I forgot I had, and I suck up the grouchiness and make my bed, and then I feel better.

...I remember the boy from England who can't pronounce Tater Tots to save his life and also that he winks at me a lot, and I feel better about not being in England, cause he isn't either.


Take away message:

 (Cause randomness has to mean something. That is what they taught me in Lit Analysis, so it has to be true for the sake of my sanity. )

Ahem. Happiness is sometimes a precarious state of things. But we have more control of it than we realize most of the time. Happiness is hard work. Good thing I have a whole lifetime and that's the point of it.

Always. 







*Dear family, I realize this is, as we used to say, pretty rich coming from me, the door slamming cusser with the tiny black soul filled with rage you all spent last weekend with. But I am making progress, so thanks for all the niceness and putting up with that psycho wielding a lawnmower in spite of the rage.  Y'all are great. Love you.




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Library Sleepers

Sometimes I am one of them. Like today. They just put pillows in the chairs lining the east windows, and that was a beautiful thing that turned out to be the arch nemesis of homework time. I had an hour and a half break between classes and sixty pages of Gulliver's Travels and rms errors to study and instead I took an hour and twenty minute nap. And the amazing thing about this is that I woke up and didn't even feel that guilty.

You hear that, mom? Not guilty. Boom. Roasted!

We're making progress. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Word Vomit and Why I Abstain, Courteously

Not in the usual sense of dumping any words on a page you might feel like at the time with no regard for applicability, coherence, or appropriate boundaries.

No, my friends, this is me realizing that I want to vomit because of the textbook that wants to teach me how to be an English Teacher. I just read a chapter on censorship that made me want to vomit. Such self-righteous language as I have never been fed from a legitimate source! Such self indulgent and exclusive Messiah complexes! Wowza!

I understand the point. We believe in the right to read.  I get it. I agree with it. I read a lot of stuff in school that wasn't necessarily 'appropriate' for my age group. I believe that being 'appropriate for an age group' is a subjective thing, and I certainly defined that for myself. That's cool. My parents were fine with it, and they were involved in it and I talked about a lot of it with either my parents or my teachers. Go Right to Read! Yay American Library Association!

 However, one small qualification: I absolutely believe in the right to read, and I absolutely believe in advocating the right to read for other people, especially children. What I don't support and can't understand is that a campaign which claims its purpose is to support the free thinking and trust the intelligence of the individuals they work for also refuses to accept the fact that these people may exercise that free thought and intelligence to choose not to read a work they find inappropriate or disturbing. The Right to Read is valid only when accompanied by The Right not to Read.

 I would like to think that I am not a close minded puritan who hates anything remotely offensive in literature. I read Les Miserables and Crime and Punishment and Beloved, for crying out loud. I had no problem with reading an uncensored text of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I support the sentiment as my Writing Professor expressed it; "If you're gonna be offended about something, be offended that this is rooted in history, that this type of thing existed to be written about in the first place." Truth. There is value in literature that contains things we may find offensive, immeasurable value. There is a reason I have never had an issue with reading the things he assigns. There is a reason we talk about things like racism, and violence, and as abhorrent as it is, there could even be a reason to use the N-word in a book. We should have the right to read.

But what if there isn't a reason? What if vulgarity, or obscenity, or extreme violence, and there isn't a purpose for it? What if there is a purpose but I just know that I'm not ready for it? What if those kids in high school who we hope are learning to think for themselves and make their own decisions actually do just that when they say "I believe that this material is degrading and offensive for no reason and I choose not to participate."? What if their parents decide with them that they are willing to say it out loud and find an alternative assignment? Maybe we should knock down our pride a notch or two, enough to realize that they are applying the critical thinking skills and independence we've been trying to teach them and get over ourselves enough to accept that they are doing it in ways we may not personally agree with. Maybe we respect that, or if you can't, suck it up anyway. 

This is all on a case by case basis, of course, There are absolutely students and parents who abuse that right not to read, who try to impose it on other students who have no problem with what they've been assigned, and that is a shame, and when it extends to the rights of others to read, then absolutely educators should fight such attempts at censorship. But if a student chooses not to read something and has legitimate reasons and cares enough to address them with you, perhaps the respect and open-mindedness you've been preaching could go both ways. Maybe you could refrain from demeaning, belittling, and self aggrandizing vitriol. Perhaps you could recognize that 'censor' is not a term automatically synonymous with 'Beelzebub'.

I never realized before taking this class that the field might involve some things I have deep personal issues with. I didn't realize I might be one of those people they are preaching against in this book they made me pay for. And it makes me nervous. I didn't realize it might be such a difficult task to support the Right to Read and the Right to Abstain simultaneously, but maybe if I can pull it off, I'll have something to be proud of.

Though it is not always an option, and we don't want to be New York, sometimes it is appropriate to abstain, courteously. 





Monday, September 16, 2013

Estrogen

You know how female cops are stereotyped as being horrific and terrifying because they have something to prove? Well, I am going to extend the stereotype to female professors. Like a terrible person.

According to the world of academia, I'm allowed to be a terrible person because I am female. Seeing as how all the female educators preparing me to be a female educator are hateful, its going to take a lot of energy not to be unwittingly inducted into their clan of shrewishness. And that, my friends, is energy I just don't have today. Which we can all tell cause I am venting all my frustration to the internet and I'm going to hit the publish button.

And all my suspicions that I am not at all a feminist have finally been confirmed. Because I have never had any trouble with the men who teach my classes.  But the women are overwhelmingly catty and passive aggressive and elitist and unclear and impossible and vicious.

Also, I hate your reading assignments. I wonder what she'd say if my assigned video posting for banned books week actually supported the parents who cause all those headaches for teachers whose literature choices they despise. Because that book was terrible and also inappropriate and I would never make high school students read something that included that much graphic description of sexual activity.  Maybe I don't want to support all the banned books. Maybe some of them should be banned.

I'm breathing. And I'm going to show up to class and be pleasant. I'm going to!

My High School English Teachers followed the opposite trend. Does that mean I have hope?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Catastrophe of Epic Proportions

Keeping up with the Kardashians and Pretty Little Liars just showed up on my list of Netflix suggestions, just for me. Which means one of two things:

1) Their algorithms are royally screwed up.
2) I need to seriously reevaluate the nature of my media consumption.

Cause guys. They think I would watch that.

Shudder.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nostalgia

Sometimes I have this intense need to go to Walmart with Erin in the middle of the night. And I can't, but I still need change so I can do laundry. So I go by myself and buy the cheapest thing from the day old bakery section. And then I eat three crullers on the very short drive home. And I know what Erin would think about such extraneous carbohydrates so late at night so I pawn off the rest on all the random people who are watching a movie in my living room when I get home. And I feel closer to her, cause that's what Erin would do.


Now if only I had some salsa verde to smash all over the driveway. That'd be good.