Monday, September 24, 2012

This piece of writing will never go on an application, that much is certain.

My diet coke intake has been erratic of late. I think this confuses my body chemistry, cause my brain is all wonky.  But I do have a lot of things running around in there, so this is what you get, world.

Preoccupation Numero Uno:
Steinbeck. John Steinbeck. As in, I have been reveling in the pages of American Literature, specifically East of Eden. But I am not taking five lit classes this semester and this is the only big thing I am reading, so.... new brain phenomenon. My author schizophrenia has lessened and somehow transformed into a bad case of Professor Schizophrenia. Like, I wanna go write a paper about the many diverse female characters presented in the Trask family as foils of each other and most notably, of Eve. And then I want to go speak rapidly about it with Crawford and Dr. Smitten and really really Dr. McCuskey. Because they are all shouting at me in my brain. I can see Crawford spilling his coffee and pacing the floor yelling about the comparison of these women to Faulkner's  slightly twisted presentation of female gender roles. I can hear Dr. Smitten asking me to dig deeper, to analyze why exactly the point of view keeps randomly switching from limited omniscient to third person and how that helps us better understand Cathy Ames as a freaking psychopath. Most of all, I can hear McCuskey ranting about the meaning of Adam's feelings and how we should compare this to that one creepy poem where the guy murders his lover because the reversal of gender roles is fascinating. He would then invite us to bring our Bibles to class next time so we can pick apart genesis line by line and then  wonder, "Is that allowed? No one tell Dr. Jensen!"

I miss my crazy professors. (Also. Throwback to last week. Notice how they are all men. Did I ever bond with my female professors? Heck no. I barely survived Dr. Jensen, and Parkinson makes me want to jam a spoon in my eye. Someone tell me why this is!)

Let me see, where was I? Oh, yes, the pretty sky!*
Aka, the leaves are starting to turn colors. Which is a big deal here in the Carolinas, folks! Seeing as how everywhere you drive, you are walled in by forty foot trees, it is kind of awesome. It makes me feel like praying and singing all at once.

More Brain emissions:

Seventeen days til Daxx comes! I'm counting, I'm counting.....

 We are going to the fair. It's gonna be the bomb.  I love that boy, and I love frequent flyer miles and fall breaks, and I love airport reunions, and I love that we won't have to have a piece of electronics between us for four whole days. Heaven. Basically.

And speaking of airport reunions, even though I won't be there for this one...

Less than three months until Elder Nathan Hansen comes home! Oh, Snap!Remember two years ago when we talked on the phone for the last time and I cried my way home from campus, and he wrote me a letter three days later in Spanish like a champion and I thought I would not last for two years because "We are nothing without each other!"?* I am super excited for him to come home. I am excited to see who we turned out to be without each other.

Also. It is three thirty three. Make a wish, world.

I feel less hectic in my brain. The diet coke must be kicking in.

Love you. Kay bye. 

* Name that song for 376542 points and a prize. For reals.

Monday, September 17, 2012

In which I have a Revelation

There are some basic facts about me which will never change. My inability to expose my neck, a near-constant desire for diet coke, how I get excited to eat pizza I didn't make myself, you know. One of the strongest of these inexplicably odd personality traits is my overall preference for the company of males over females. Don't get me wrong, I have four sisters who I love and many dear female friends and it isn't that individual relationships with women are difficult. But throw me in a room full of women and I won't know what to do with all the estrogen floating around. Throw me in a room with boys and that I can handle. You all remember that time I was the only girl in the boys dressing room and Caleb Jones told me I was "one of the guys"? For better or worse, he was kinda right. The vast majority of all my best friends have been boys. Whether this tendency was the result or the catalyst, my time spent in these friendships have resulted in lots of bug smashing, furniture building, set lifting, and power tool using, among other activities which are generally acknowledged to be testosterone driven.*I was even given a "man card" over the summer. Which I kept consistently by eating a really huge hamburger, roofing a house, and "rubbing some dirt in it," among other things. I've even been known to chronically overtake the male role in potential dating relationships when the boy decides to be whiny and needy and use manipulative communication styles.  (Another epiphany in the middle of the night, this time with my siblings during a laughing fit. We're cool. Anyways....)

But when I came to North Carolina, something weird happened. Maybe it is living in a house that is overwhelmingly female, or maybe it's that I somehow project this innocent little white girl image at work and it is sticking, or a thousand other things. Maybe I'm just not as cool as I thought. But I have lately been reacting in uncharacteristically female ways.

For example:
 Yesterday, Libby was brushing her teeth and discovered a roach in the bathroom. (Good old south!) I was immediately called upon to "smush it!", which thing I fully intended to do. That was the ugliest bug I've ever seen, and I fished up the first shoe I could find and went after the thing. Once there, however, I realized that I wasn't sure which kind of roach this was and Erin would inevitably want to know. Accordingly, I cornered the thing and told Libby to go get Dad, who was closer than Mom. That's right. I was confronted with a bug, and I sent for a boy. ( Sound of a thousand heart breaking, right Brogan?) I did this with no intention of pawning off my bug smushing duties, and yet, we see here a fine example of giving an inch and taking a mile. Ben came, saw, and declared it a wood roach. He then seized my shoe and went after it, stealing my job like the chivalrous man he is. And that's not even the worst part! The big ugly sucker came running  away from the shoe-wielding man and straight at my bare feet, and I instinctively jumped on a nearby footstool and let my brother do the dirty work. The shame I feel whilst typing this is of great magnitude, I assure you.

It gets better, or worse, or whatever. More extreme. Ongoing.
Today, I was mowing the lawn. ( Redeeming factor? euhhh...) I have yet to get used to the fact that spiders wind thick webs, strung with a surprising strength between adjoining trees and fences. This happens in my backyard. I also tend to mow straight between them, an action which consistently brings huge spiderwebs into direct contact with my body. So there I was, mowing along minding my own dang business when I suddenly thwapped a spider web with my EYE. BALL.

Thus commenced a dance of desperation, an odd mixture of repeatedly slapping myself in the face  and trying really hard to keep a hold of the lawnmower. I eventually calmed myself, at which point I glanced ashamedly at the living room window I happened to be standing beside, hoping really hard that no one saw that.

And then it happened again. Only this time, the spider web was wispily and yet somehow fixed firmly around MY. NECK. That's right. The thing in life I am most unreasonable about. Somebody's face in direct contact with my neck is intolerable, but I didn't know until today that foreign substances, especially the sticky and determined substances kind such as spiderwebs, are even more so. The dance of desperation commenced once more. You know in the Hunger Games when the one girl dies whilst flapping desperately around trying to ward off the tracker jackers? That image. I think, I think I looked like that.

Guys. I'm being a girl.

Something must be done. 

Solutions? Causes? Too much relief society, not enough apartments full of boys across the way to buffer all the estrogen? Should I start a subscription to Car and Driver? I just don't know.

*Once, we were redoing my Grandpa's bathroom, and dad handed me a sledgehammer and told me to knock out a wall. That hour of my life definitely makes the top five list. So maybe there's hope?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Smiling Indulgently

My Father and I recently drove across the country. Adventures ensued. In this, the epic roadtripping extravaganza, I have been getting to know myself and my dad on a whole new level.
For example: Who the heck knew I would have such an extreme and irrepressible desire to put my feet in all large famous bodies of water? Not me. But there we were, in Nebraska, driving past and over and beside the Missouri River a whole bunch of times and I suddenly knew that I would never be satisfied with life again if I drove past that river and left the state without putting my feet in it!

And so my long suffering father walked with me over a seriously charming suspension bridge that started in Nebraska and ended in Iowa. He took pictures while I stood over the state line and shouted with glee, and he hiked down a dirty and dusty unfinished, concrete half-poured type of  parking lot area down to the banks of the Missouri. He smiled indulgently while I burned my feet and danced in the smelly wonderful waters of the river. He even held my shoes while I washed my sanded, dirtied feet in a fountain over on the Nebraska side.

Before we continue, a word about said fountain. This is the kind of fountain that is actually a bunch of jets shooting up from the ground in only semi-predictable ways. This floor of shooting water  (also known as pure joy, hello!) was occupied by a whole heap of little people, surrounded by a whole heap of big people yelling things like "Jimmy! Don't hold your sister in that water!" Or, " It's time to go home and have a nap now!" Guess which sphere I chose. Absolutely I played with the little people. Only I was really a big person, and the other parents surely thought us an odd duo. Dad was my big person, standing on the outside of the circle, but instead of telling me to come in for a nap or to stop drowning my sister, he informed me that I am the sort of person who will inevitably find trouble, always. This observation might have had something to do with the fact that I was standing over one of those spraying holes trying to aim the spray at a small child with my foot but only really succeeding in getting wet while dad dodged my circle of potential wetting.  It is perhaps one of my more cherished memories involving my father. Ahem. Tangent over.
The adventure continued on a freeway somewhere in Iowa when I decided once again that I would never be satisfied with life if I drove past the Mississippi river without putting my feet in it. So when I yelled, "Dad! Do I take the Davenport exit?" he said dryly "I don't know." But then dug out a map and confirmed that I should take the Davenport exit, like a champion. And then he smiled indulgently once more while I climbed up and over the levee to put my feet in the river, saying as I sort of bouldered my way down in flip flops, "Just don't kill yourself, okay?"

And I said, "Please! I'll be fine. Mmm. Except the rocks move."
And then I put my feet in the river and slipped on a scummy rock, like a champion, and thought to myself, "That really hurt. But shut up about it cause dad just told you not to kill yourself."
And then we were driving across Illinois some more and I realized that my foot was sticking to my flip flop with some sort of wetness that felt a lot like blood. And there was this long stretch where we were holding still cause a Semi had a couple tires explode, and I lifted my foot up and saw the gash. Yep. It was blood.

"Oh Good! So you know how you told me not to get hurt? well..."
"Outstanding." said Dad.

(The important thing to remember is that Dad never ever uses this word with real intent. There is a scale for dad's verbs when he uses this word. It starts at "tease" and ends at "wither" or "destroy". But this was the mildest use of "Outstanding" I've ever heard from his mouth. What a pleasantly small and concern-filled reprimand!)

The next body of water I had to put my feet in was Lake Michigan, of course. Of all the things to do in Chicago, we skipped the bean and the L train, instead paying twelve dollars to park by the pier and go play in the water with a sliced open foot, while dad stood on the beach in his dress shoes and smiled from behind the camera some more, and found yet another fountain to wash all the sand off, which was a blessed thing, cause then sand was all in the gash and that felt less than stellar.

(When I told my sister Erin about the plan to continue wading in various iconic bodies of water regardless of an open wound, her immediate response was, of course, "Hhhhaaaaa! Parasites!" Raise your hand if you are surprised. It doesn't even matter that there's an internet between us, I still know with a perfect knowledge that nobody even twitched.)

By this time it was pretty settled that I was gonna put my feet in all the big waters. So we went to Cleveland and got lost for a while finding Lake Eerie. This is when we were sure that we have a gift for ending up in the bad spots of town. Like, dad made me lock my door and we weren't even parked. So that was fun, but then we got un-lost and I climbed down the boulders again.
And this was the point where dad said, "If you go down there, you're gonna get wet."
"Of course I am. I'm gonna stand in it."
" No, I mean wet. Wet, wet."
And I said, "Psh! No I'm not!"

So I got down and was sitting there basking in the absolute perfection of that sunset over that ginormous lake, and I got distractified. Who could blame me, right? Apparently, the huge wave that splashed me all over. Dad told me so. But he was nice about it and got in a car with me, which sounds easy enough but was actually a significant sign of love and patience.  Have y'all smelled Eerie water? I didn't exactly smell like a botanical garden is all I'm saying. Dad simply smiled indulgently and drove on.

And then we went to Niagara Falls. And I didn't so much put my feet in that one. But I did get the best picture of Dad in my whole life. And I saw Canada and took pictures of it for Daxx. And Dad, seemingly disturbed by the unusually high level of coupleness going on there, had this gem of an outburst:
"Is this supposed to be romantic? Niagara Falls is some honeymoon destination, right?"
"Yeah! This is where-"
"Mark and Amy came on their honeymoon here! I just don't get it. Why is it romantic? Why? Why?"
Priceless, right?

Continuing on, I put my feet in Lake Ontario where Dad also smiled indulgently and let me play in the sand and take pictures. That was pretty heavenly. We walked around the docks and I made a sand ball while I was squshing it in my fingers (cause I am very texture oriented. I wonder where I got that, Erin.) which I then did not throw at my father in spite of ridiculous temptation. Mostly cause I made dad pinkie swear me before we left that we would still be friends by the time we ended this trip, and it would have been bad form to sabotage such an arrangement when I made it in the first place. That being said, I mourn the loss of that sand ball joy which was never experienced.

Thus ended the escapades in major bodies of water. I can rest easy knowing that I have bacteria spanning seven states safely tucked inside the now- healed Mississippi gash on the bottom of my foot. The tales of adventuring are not completed, and I realize now that I may have to write a whole lot of individual posts for a long time coming if I want to tell the whole story. But this part of the story is my favorite. The part where Dad smiled indulgently, where I learned that my dad thinks I am distinctly unique, the kind of person that was inevitably get splashed. I learned that he is okay with that, and may even offer to hold my shoes. He will tell me not to get hurt, but he'll let me climb down the levee. And if I get hurt anyway, he'll find bandaids and wait for me to put real shoes on before trekking down to Niagara falls so I don't have to keep limping around New York looking for a bathroom. He'll absolutely let me figure stuff out and take perfect care of me at the same time. He will ask me if I want to stay, and hug me goodbye before he leaves. He may even install a GPS in my car so he can still take care of me via technology while I am figuring some stuff out some more.

Dad is a good sport. I love the indulgent smile even more now than I ever did. I think of it every time I see that empty picture frame, and smile myself knowing that it will soon be filled with a picture of my dad, smiling indulgently in the pouring rain next to a Schenectady sign.