Friday, January 29, 2010

Hello? I Exist Even When You Don't Look at Me

I talked about this last semester. For some reason, people assume that as long as they don't look at you and you don't look at them, you don't exist. It turns out you don't even need to draw for this to happen.

The most exciting thing I overheard this week was a girl on her phone in a crowded elevator. She said something along the lines of "Last night was really, really bad. He was totally drunk. One of his friends died a few days ago and then another friend offed himself yesterday because this guy died. Listen, I gotta go, I'm in the elevator and you're breaking up."

Ten people in this elevator and no one was looking at anyone else.

That's not the only conversation I've overheard. One of them was in the library. One of them was a phone conversation that someone was discrete enough to take around the corner but not smart enough to remember the sound goes around corners even if sight doesn't.

Most people are on their cell phones constantly. Speaking as someone who uses her cell phone for about a minute twice a week, I have to wonder what they talk about. If you're on the phone, texting or talking, you don't see what's going on around you. Neither, presumably, does the other person. What is there to say?

Maybe there's a kind of game world in the telephone lines that sucks your brain out through your ears, so all these people on their phones are actually semi-vegetable brain-dead zombies living in a simulator world the non-cell-phone-dependent population can't access. That would explain why they don't run into things even though they don't look up from whatever they're texting.

Although me walking around them probably helps with that.

Eavesdropping is when you go out of your way to hide and listen to conversations. What do you call it when other people's conversations (no matter how interesting) are shoved in your face?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Does Anyone Else Do This?

The Teacher wants to teach me to run her blender.

I don't want to learn.

This is because I glory in my ignorance and the sure knowledge that as long as I can claim not to know what I'm doing she'll make her own smoothies in case I break it. It's a nice blender.

But if she teaches me to use it then I KNOW that first once a week, then twice a week, then every single day, she's going to ask me to make her smoothie for her. I won't be able to say no because 1) I'll know how, 2) she'll know I know, 3) her smoothies are essential to her continued survival, and so 4) if I refuse I'll feel like a selfish, small-minded git.

(I don't know what a git is. I read it in Harry Potter. I'm assuming it's a blood-sucking insect related to the common mosquito, but bigger and bright blue with a tiny head. If you know what a git is and I'm wrong, please don't correct me. I have learned from sad experience that I always like my definitions better than the 'official' ones.)

You could argue that I'm being selfish now, and you wouldn't be wrong, but this way I only feel slightly bad about it, instead of very bad.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happiness is an Upside-Down Question Mark

It's true.

I'm studying Spanish. I love Spanish. I don't really love how much time studying it eats up, but I love it anyway.

Last semester I couldn't write upside-down question marks at all. They were puny, scraggly, sick looking scribbles with a dot on top. Next to the graceful dancers that are my right-side-up question marks, they were sad and sorry creatures indeed.

Today in class I wrote out a bunch of questions in Spanish. Which, if you were unaware of but probably weren't, begin with upside-down question marks.

What happened? My upside-down question marks are beautiful! They're like abstract sculptures. Their grace takes my breath away and makes me dizzy with happiness.

They must have had a growth spurt during winter break.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Encounter With An Unfamiliar Species

On Saturday there was a dance with a speed-dating activity. I attended. After all, why not?

(Attention to anyone who has known me during the ages of, oh, five to fifteen. Do not choke on your tongue. Restrain your hysterical laughter from frothing forth into the comments section. Believe me: I know. Oh, how I know.)

My group went to the Room of Dating Peril last, at the end of the dance. Which is too bad because otherwise I would have just ditched the rest of the dance. Very few people were there. Apparently they heard I was coming.

First of all, I got there late. That's always a good start, right? There's no point in making a Grand Entrance if no one is there to see you. There were about thirty people crammed into the Room of Dating Peril which doubles as the Primary room on Sundays. Each couple had a table. I did not have a table. I had a chair wedged into the only open space left: the middle of the room.

My first 'date' was named M and he was blond. Or maybe his hair was brown? Something like that. I said four words to him: "Nice to meet you." And then the bell rang and he escaped to a different girl.

My second date was T. His hair was somewhere between brown and black and blond. Or something like that.

Did I mention that we were tightly packed? The first time the bell rang to rotate, he stood up and looked around helplessly. Every time he leaned towards a table like he was going to go there, someone else was already sitting down. So he sat down. We talked. The second time the bell rang, he stood up, looked around, shrugged helplessly, and sat down again. The third time the bell rang, he didn't stand up. The fourth time the bell rang, we both just ignored it. The problem was that there was no way for him to get to other tables without climbing over me, which solution I did not encourage.

If he could strand someone else on a desert island it would be his mother. If he had to choose to be sick with something he would be insane so that he could be in an asylum and bully the nurses. He wants to join the Marine Corps Infantry (I'm pretending that's supposed to be capitalized). He wants to go on a road trip from coast to coast on a motorcycle. When he goes to college he's going to study pharmaceuticals. He would like to run a shop that does custom work on motorcycles.

The Principal pointed out that I must not have done too badly because a) I know something about him (for a given value of something) and b) if I had been doing a bad job he would have found a way to move on. But here's my question: When, exactly, does he (or whoever; I doubt we're going to see each other again) get to know me? Getting a guy to talk is like dragging rocks uphill in the mud and wearing iron boots. Yes, I really didn't know that. I was so busy getting him to talk that I never threw in any information about myself into the conversation and he was too shy (I think he was being shy) to just ask.

My overall conclusion: I really don't know how this dating thing works. At all. But it's probably not going to be that hard to figure out. Apparently, you just ask questions. And more questions. And try as hard as you can to be interested even though you know nothing about motorcycles.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

...Maybe You're Just Demented

The Teacher, for the first time in I don't know how long (what, you think I monitor her every move?) is writing in her journal. Unfortunately, we're currently experiencing something called winter, which is known for being cold and wet. The things that make the Teacher hurt most? You guessed it.

Finally it was all too much for her poor over-worked mind and she snapped. She held up her journal from across the room and showed it too me.

"Look at how bad my handwriting is! It's so baaaaaad!" (I may have taken the liberty of adding a few extra vowels there.)

I looked at it. It looked like her handwriting always does, irritatingly perfect and completely illegible. She learned cursive on a different planet.

"I mean, look at it compared to this day," (imagine a page of identical writing), "Except that day wasn't very good either." (She never has a good day.) "Okay, how about this-" (more identical handwriting) "-No, that's not it either.... Okay, here's before I got so sick. Look at this compared to this."

I looked at it. I looked at her. I looked at it again. I thought about how my handwriting, while usually very legible, resembles earthworm tracks in mud.

And guess what my suggestion to soothe her troubled mind was?

I swear it will be a miracle if I survive to be twenty-one. At some point she's going to decide that no jury will convict her, and then I'm in trouble.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So I Was Thinking That Government is a Lot Like Sewage

Seriously, hear me out.

Like sewage, there is nothing you can do to keep government out of your life except stop eating and die. However, you will never meet people who wearing a t-shirt that says "I heart sewage!" When you meet someone who makes a living handling sewage, either as a plumber, or... as a plumber (I have not spent much time learning all the different professions that revolve around sewage disposal) you do not jump backwards and cross yourself to ward off the evil eye (if you do, shame). You find out that a plumber is an interesting person with likes, dislikes, and a job that pays almost 40,000 a year. (Okay, the comparison isn't perfect. Politicians get paid more than that.) You do not, however, consider plumbing a pleasant or desirable job. You pay plumbers to deal with what you like to pretend does not exist.

Sewage, as previously stated, is part of our lives. We spend lots of money making this unpleasant fact as pleasant as possible. Hence indoor flushing toilets, porcelain sinks with shiny fixtures, pleasant lighting, mirrors, bathroom rugs, and perhaps most important, deodorizer in a variety of scents.

BUT (this is the important part) we do not like sewage. We do not want it in our water. We do not want it in our food. We don't want it in our medicine. We treat it as toxic and rightly so. We teach our children as early as possible not to paint with it on the wall, eat it, or rub it on their face. We make up long fancy words about it so that we don't make our mouths feel dirty. We consider conversations about sewage juvenile and crude. We go out of our way to avoid contact with sewage as much as possible.

Politicians are plumbers. They get paid lots (too much) money to do a very unpleasant and contaminating job that no one else wants (except other politicians; go figure). You really don't care what or how a plumber does his job so long as he does it and you can rest secure in the knowledge you won't end up with a stinking flooded house. If you're like my dad, you go to Home Depot and handle your own plumbing, but since I'm not sure how this applies to my government analogy- people usually frown on it when you try to write your own tax laws- skip it.

When the sewage does get into the rest of the house, the plumber should expect to lose the job and his reputation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gone Shooting

There are rumors abroad (because rumors are always abroad, not drinking lemonade in your living room; after all, we're all far too kind and wise and whatever to let rumor into the house) that my father, the Principal, is taciturn.

Untrue. Just this last Saturday, I heard him and a friend from church, who is also 'taciturn' talking like girls. Chatter chatter chatter. The small talk questions came, fast and furious:

"Is that what I think it is? I've read about those. What's the range like? Where/when did you get it? How much did you pay? What are they laws on those? What do you think of Gibberish model? My son is in Iraq, and he's using a Technical Gobbledygook; when he was home on leave I got to try it out, and I'm telling you, it was sweet. You want to try mine? I've got an extra clip. It's lots of fun, you'll have a hard time stopping once you start. Did you hear about so-and-so's slide-bite? He had a big chunk torn right out of his hand. Yeah, I saw it the next day; it was quite impressive. That's a good grouping you've got there. How much do you keep in your clips? It holds seven but I stop at five on general be kind to the spring principles. When do they close? How much is membership? Such-and-such an amount for the whole family, but you have to belong to Acronym. I've had this for twenty years. It sounds like a staplegun." And as we drove away from the range: "We shot three times as many rounds as anyone else there, and it probably cost four dollars to do it. We should do this again sometime."

So you see, my dad is not taciturn. They talk more than I do when it's about guns and related subjects. And that's a lot of talking.

If anyone ever holds my dad up at gunpoint he'll probably compliment them on the make and ask what dealer they got it from and how much they pay for ammo.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I have found a calling.

(It would be really nice if I could believe that this is my only calling, or the best calling, or the most important calling, or the one I'll enjoy most, but I know better than to make statements with superlative words when I'm talking about myself.)

During opening exercises in YW's yesterday, I told the person conducting that I had an announcement. (In a loud voice.) She said, okay, what is it. I stared at her. "It's a secret until I announce it. I just wanted you to know I have one."

She said: "Okay." And went on to do her other conducting things. Which proves that I've thoroughly broken in this YW group. My work here is almost complete.

When it was announcement time, I stood up and said in my sweetest voice, "For those of you who don't know me, my name is Peaches," and I wrote it on the board. Then I wrote my email and my home phone number.

"I am advertising," I announced. (It's fun to announce. I want to do it more often.) "I've got my Personal Progress finished already, but as so-and-so said, they're coming out with something new called the Honor Bee, and I really want one." [Note: These are not exactly my words, but this is the gist of it.] "I am looking for people who want/need a mentor. As a mentor, my services include encouraging you, reminding you, nagging you, helping you, finding ways to do more than one goal at once- leaders, if you didn't want to hear that, just close your ears- cornering leaders to sign things off, and general mentoring. If you're a Laurel and you want to rush your Personal Progress so you don't have to work on it during your Senior year- that's what I did and I can help you with that. If you're a Beehive-" Here I looked at the back of the room- "I love you guys! I'll help you too! I don't care if I know you or not. I don't care if you don't know me. You will know me by the time we're done, which may or may not be a good thing, but we'll take care of that when we get there. And that's all."

And then I sat down.

Advertising is fun.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Was Thinking

...which, as you know, is always dangerous for those around me or at least within throwing range.

[WARNING: This post is completely unrelated to the ones before it and will most likely have no effect on the ones after it. If you are in any way, shape or form subject to mental and emotional whiplash, consult with your doctor so that you won't feel guilty about skipping this post. In fact, if whiplash is a problem for you, just skip my blog altogether. Go watch something predictable, like CNN, and feel warm and fuzzy inside that other people are supplying the necessary weirdness to keep the earth from wobbling.]

[If that last line didn't make sense, be aware that 1) the stories on CNN and every other news channel carry basically the same stories all the time with only names, dates, and places changed and 2) it's my personal belief that if everyone on earth was reasonable, sane, and normal ALL THE TIME the earth would crack under the strain, half of our world careen into the sun, half would rocket off to find out how far it is to Kolob anyway and the core would stay in orbit as a throbbing broken heart, mourning our folly. Oh, and we'd all be dead. Don't you feel better for knowing that?]

So I've heard that mothers always think that their first baby is absolutely perfect and the best baby ever born. Hence the phrase, 'a face only a mother could love'. This makes sense to me. Newborn babies are so ugly there needs to be some insanity involved or procreation and continuation of the human race would grind to a stop.

I normally avoid mothers with new babies so that when they say "Isn't she/he CUTE!" I don't have to lie. They get upset when you say something like "He/she will be. I guess. Most likely."

I like kids. I like teenagers. I like old people (defined as the ages between twenty-one and a hundred). I like babies, once they're no longer bright red and wrinkly. In fact, I'm willing to befriend anyone who isn't bright red and wrinkly. Red and wrinkly, for me, sends a message: Uncute: Interact At Your Own Risk. With some sirens thrown in.

Before you start complaining about how narrow I am, or point out in a smug voice that when I have children they will be red and wrinkly and I'll be totally besotted with them, let me mention that there is no expiration date on the red and wrinkly warning. I have seen four, six, ten, thirteen, eighteen, and seventy-five year-olds turn red and wrinkly. It is always uncute. It always means Interact At Your Own Risk.

Ah... the earth feels steadier already.