Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Open Letter to the Computer Lab Nerds

Dear Computer Lab Nerds:

If it were up to me, I would not be in here right now trying to finish up a report and print it out, but I don't have a choice. I'm here and you're here so let's get used to it.

I understand that the 5 of you are working on some kind of project together, but you're obviously not working on it that hard if you're sitting around your table talking about popcorn and candy bars.

So forgive me if I wish to spend a few minutes getting my friend Emily caught up on my activities over the last several hours, instead of typing on a computer.

But seriously. You can put a clamp on the weird, inappropriate and disapproving stares at us just because we've interrupted your Nerd-Fest. If I want to discuss with my friend the "quality" of my sex life (or lack thereof) and my explosive diarrhea, then goddammit I will. You don't see me hating on your thrilling conversations about peanut allergies and gene splicing.

PS - You guys look like the Nerd Addams Family.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Letting Go (Or: When Throwing Out a Pair of Shoes Isn't Really Only Just About Throwing Out a Pair of Shoes)

[RIP, faithful friend]

I did something Sunday morning of great significance and courage and defiance. I threw an old, yet favorite pair of shoes into the trash.

And right now you’re thinking: Old shoes in the trash? Big effing deal! So what?

Let me explain… It’s true that I tend to hold onto things for too long – feelings, thoughts, possessions, what have you. I just have a hard time letting go. I get ridiculous amounts of comfort from objects that have long since served their purpose. I own socks and pants and underwear with holes in them, but dammit they’re comfortable and make me feel happy. So sue me.

Right now, things are a little rough for me so I look for any small measure of comfort any place I can get it. Sometimes that comfort comes in the form of, say, a comfortable pair of jeans with a bunch of holes, or a pair of underwear in which the elastic has stretched out beyond purpose, or a Culture Club song from 1985 (don't judge, bitches). I don’t care – it gives me a little comfort and helps get me through the day. I’m simple like dat.

This is a problem, I know, because this clinging to the old and familiar also bleeds into every other area of my life, particularly emotions and feelings. When things are bad, I start to daydream about simpler times when things were good - it's only natural. I get sentimental over memories and spend too much time looking back when I need to be moving forward.

Anyway, six years ago I brought a pair of green low-top converse shoes (pictured above) as part of a Halloween costume. They soon became a favorite, and they’ve seen a lot of action. They’ve been a faithful companion to me for the last few years. We've had some good times together.

Last week I was wearing them at the library and I friend, sniffing something suspicious in the air, asked me “Is that smell coming from your shoes?” And the answer was: Yes, yes they are. So I put them away for a few days, knowing that a few days of airing out would freshen them up. (Because better to de-smell a pair of nasty-ass shoes then to simply replace them, right?)

Then on Saturday during my Portland visit, I was walking in the rain and realized that the holes at the bottom of the shoes were sucking up the water, drenching the bottom of my feet. When I mentioned to my friend Shauna that my feet were completely soaked because of this, she asked me a series of completely logical questions, like: “How old are those things, anyway?” and “Why do you still wear those? and “Why don’t we just replace them with a new pair?” I tried to justify the reasons why I held on to them, but as the reasons came out of my mouth (“Because they’re comfortable.” and “They fit my feet really well.” and “Because I love them.”) I realized how ridiculous it all is. What, are these the only pair of green low-top converse available? Can I not afford the $30 it would cost to replace them?

They’re familiar. They’ve been a part of my life for the last 6 years. I don’t want to part with them because I crave the familiar. Familiar is comforting. Familiar is not scary and doesn’t make me anxious. Is that so wrong? Nevermind that familiar sometimes smells badly and makes my feet wet.

So anyway, the next morning as I was packing my back to head back to DC I put the shoes (still a little wet from the afternoon before) into my bag. Then I thought about it: It’s time to start letting go. So I took them back out of my bag and threw them into the trash and walked away. For a few moments, I thought about turning around and rescuing them back out of the garbage. But no, it is time to move on.

Things change. Life, circumstances and people do, too. They move forward, or sideways. Time marches on and if you don’t try to keep up, no matter how scary it seems, you’ll get left behind. And here I am, more often than not, clinging to the past like a lifejacket; a buoy in the sea. This is not a good place to be. I need to spend more time looking forward than hanging on to the past.

So you see on the surface the act of me throwing out a pair of old, smelly, hole-y and just plain nasty shoes is, well, nothing more than throwing out a pair of old, smelly, hole-y and just plain nasty shoes. But really, it is a symbolic act of changing my behavior. Of adjusting my attitude and outlook on life. It is an act of defiance; an act of bravery.

Goodbye shoes. You’ve lived a good life. But if I’m really going to start letting go of the past, it has to start somewhere and it might as well be with you. RIP, buddy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Obligatory Complaint About the Weather

I know it's boring blogging about the weather, but Christ on a Bike I am so effing tired of this heat. It's the fucking end of September -- yesterday was the first day of Fall, for fucksakes -- and tomorrow is going to be almost 100 degrees? Fuck you. This was perhaps the worst summer of my life, and it won't ever end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

10 Things I Learned On My Whirlwind Visit to Portland This Weekend

[Avocado Daiquiri - How I've Missed You!]

  1. When you know you’re going to Portland for exactly 39 hours to surprise a friend for her birthday it’s pretty much not worth it to tell most anyone else in town that you’re there. I mean, what’s the point? You won’t get the chance to see them anyway.
  2. It’s a crime to spend only 39 hours in Portland.
  3. I’m too old for the red eye.
  4. Your life automatically gets better the moment you step into Powell’s Books.
  5. Sarah Blasko’s cover of “Flame Trees” is perhaps the best song I’ve heard this year, and totally appropriate for this visit.
  6. The boys here are prettier. True story.
  7. The air in Portland at 7 am is unlike anywhere else, anywhere.
  8. I forgot that an Avocado Daiquiri (pictured above) might be my favorite drink of all time. And yeah, I am aware of how ridiculous this sounds, but unless you’ve had one from Mint you just don’t get it.
  9. It gets harder and harder for me to rationalize why I’m not living there anymore, each time I go to visit.
  10. Team Lulu in 2011. It’s time, bitches.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Complaining is Fun

I stopped blogging for several months. Then Sunday I wrote a post. And then within a few days I get lots of comments to it, mostly from locals. Which is unusual, since I hardly ever get any attention, especially since this blog is pretty much DOA. And then I think, "Hmmm, I must have been featured on DC Blogs or something." Which is cool (thanks guys).

The comments were good and it is nice to see people standing up for DC. I don't think it's necessary to comment on what some people replied, because for the most part everyone had good points. Most people who know me know I have a self-deprecating sense of humor, which is to say that when I say I hate DC, I might not really mean it. I do like it here.

I just like to complain. Complaining is fun. True story.

However, I still stand by my assertion that I think it is pretty shitty that in this specific situation, nobody offered to help. Also: when somebody says to me, "If you don't like it here you should just get the hell out." If it were that simple, I prolly would have. But I signed a legal contract which states that I shall live and work here for three years once I graduate in December. So there.

Moving on. I ate half of a cherry pie for dinner tonight. So I got that going for me. Discuss, I you will....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why I Hate DC: Reason #101

[This was me Saturday morning, minus the track part.]

Saturday morning I went out for my usual run through DuPont Circle and Columbia Heights. On my way back, approaching the busy intersection of 16th St./U St./Rhode Island Ave. (ed note: it was really New Hampshire Ave. - thanks U St. Citizen), I tripped into a small pothole and took a major spill - we're talking an almost-face plant - onto the street.

There were easily a dozen people around/near me who witnessed my fall. For about 15 seconds, I was on all fours because I could feel a strong pain in my right ankle and could not put any pressure on it to get up. Once I did get up, I spent another 30 seconds hopping on one foot to get to the sidewalk to assess the damage. I was bleeding from the scrape on my left knee. My right ankle was already beginning to swell. I was in pain, fighting an urge to start crying.

Not a single person - either walking by, standing at the bus stop, or enjoying their coffee at the Starbucks right in front of me (of course this kind of thing would happen to me there) - asked me if I was OK or if I needed help.

In fact, a woman with her dog
walked around me while I was on all fours in the crosswalk, completely ignoring me.

"I'm fine, by the way, thanks for asking," I said to her as she went past but of course she ignored me.

This kind of thing would never happen in Chicago or Portland. And yet I'm stuck here, surrounded by these kind of people, for the next 3.5 years.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sunday Funday (Or: It's Official - I Am a Binge Drinker)

Sunday was Sunday Funday, the first of the new school year. Sunday Funday is an occasion for me and some classmates and other honorary Cobras to take advantage of the rare 3-day holiday by getting together to drink, catch-up, share stories, drink, have fun and drink. But mostly it is an excuse to drink.

By my recollection, we've had three previous Sunday Fundays, all of which were happy and successful times, but all of which ended in my getting completely shitfaced. This time was no exception. But really, how can it be helped when the day starts off at a bottom-less bloody mary/mimiosa brunch followed by $2 Skyy vodka drinks at JRs? It would be a crime NOT to get completely shitfaced.

To wit: On Monday morning I was talking to my friend Kelley, trying to piece together the blurry memories and activities from the previous day's events when I looked down at the socks on the floor, the same socks I wore for Sunday Funday, and the following conversation ensued:
Me: "Hmmm, I'm looking at the socks I wore yesterday and noticing that they are completely filthy. I wonder why that is."
Kelley: "I'm not 100% sure, but it might have something to do with when you took your shoes off in the bathroom so that we could swap clothes with each other."
Me: "Hmmmm. Yeah. I guess that would explain it."

At one point during the afternoon, Kelley and I thought it might be a good idea to wear each other's clothes. Why? Not sure. 'Cuz we thought it would be funny. Seemed like a good idea at the time. (PS - I am a boy and Kelley is a girl, in case it isn't clear.)

Also, I crawled on all fours through her legs at the bar. Again, not sure why I thought that would be a good idea.

The evening ended with dinner at El Tamarindo and me aggressively making out with a guy in his car, before riding my bike home and passing out by 9:30 pm. 'Cuz that's how I roll.