Well, This is Awkward

29 03 2017

*peeks out from behind curtain*

Hi. I’m back.

Life has changed.

I moved. Flat-out left Iowa. Left the Midwest. Left the Central Time Zone! If there is one thing I just can’t get used to, it’s the news being on at 11:00 instead of 10:00 every night. IT’S. NOT. NATURAL.

(The layout of WordPress has really changed. I do NOT think I like this new text box. WHERE ARE THE LINES?! THIS IS HORRIBLE, I DO NOT LIKE THIS AT ALL.)

Anyway, I live in Boston now. I am doing quite well living on the impressive salary I bring in as an unpaid intern.

Oh, right, I didn’t mention that I’m in grad school now. I’m getting a Masters in Library Science. For Archives Management. Though so far I haven’t managed any archives. I am, however, a mighty intern who spends her time moving folders around and stressing over the exact right way to organize a bunch of documents.

Last semester I “learned” HTML. If you think that means that now I can make do stuff to make this blog look better, or at least different, you are sorely mistaken, my friend. I can’t. I did make a website, though. It is a really, really terrible website. Like, you cannot believe how terrible. Like, think early-2000s era website. It’s like that. The teacher was all, “This website will be here until you graduate! Put it in your portfolio and send potential employers the link when you apply to jobs.”

Hah.

No.

It is awful. I somehow managed to create it, and I am not unproud of myself, but it will not be getting me any job offers. And I certainly do not know how to make it better. It’s been over 3 months since the last time I had to write any code, and I am sure that I couldn’t even replicate the horrible ugly fiasco I made. It’s probably safe to say that I don’t ACTUALLY know HTML.

Did that stop me from saying yes when the job application I filled out the other day asked if I knew how to code?

Nope.

And that is what I have gotten out of one and a half semesters of graduate school, so far. I learned how to code long enough to create a website that is an assault on the eyes, then promptly forgot.

Well, that and I learned that assigning Dewey numbers to books is witchcraft and catalogers must all be witches and wizards. I love Library of Congress subject headings though.

Also, one and a half semesters in, and I am losing my brain a little. Yesterday I was answering a reference question and I couldn’t figure out what to call the person who is in charge of the courtroom. I thought and thought and the best I could come up with was “court boss.” So that’s what I wrote down.

Judge.

The word I was looking for was judge.

Good grief.

This is not even what I wanted to write about. Like, not even a little.

 

I don’t even know what this was or why it happened, but happen it did. I guess I just needed a break from writing lit reviews and seminar papers. I actually had something else I wanted to write here, but then this happened.

Good grief, self, you come to a blog for the first time in 2 and a half years or something like that, and then you don’t even write the idea you had that brought you back in the first place?

Maybe another day.

I’m going to go eat a burrito now.





“The Children of the Dirt” by Simon Rich

20 08 2015

I first heard the following story on NPR’s awesome podcast Invisibilia.

“The Children of the Dirt” by Simon Rich

According to Aristodemus, there were originally 3 sexes. The children of the moon, who were half male and half female. The children of the sun, who were fully male, and the children of the earth, who were fully female. Everyone had four arms, four legs, and two heads, and spent their days in blissful contentment.

Zeus became jealous of the humans’ joy, so he decided to split them all in two. Aristodemus called this punishment “The Origin of Love”, because ever since the children of the earth, moon, and sun have been searching the globe in a desperate bid to find their other halves.

Aristodemus’ story though isn’t complete, because there was also a fourth sex, the children of the dirt. Unlike the other three sexes, the children of the dirt consisted of just one half. Some were male and some were female, and each had just two arms, two legs, and one head. The children of the dirt found the children of the earth, moon, and sun to be completely insufferable. Whenever they saw a two-headed creature walking by, talking to itself in baby talk voices, it made them want to vomit. They hated going to parties. When there was no way to get out of one they simply sat in the corner, too bitter and depressed to talk to anyone. The children of the dirt were so miserable that they invented wine and art to dull their pain. It helped a little, but not really. When Zeus went on his rampage, he decided to leave the children of the dirt alone. “They’re already fucked” he explained.

Happy gay couples descend from the children of the sun. Happy lesbian couples descend from the children of the earth. And happy straight couples descend from the children of the moon. But the vast majority of humans are descendants of children of the dirt, and no matter how long they search the earth they’ll never find what they’re looking for. Because there’s nobody for them, not anybody in the world.

It’s August. It’s not hot, but it’s still August. I feel stuck. I feel restless. It’s a Thursday night and I’m facing a Friday that won’t be very TGIF because it just means a whole weekend with no one to see and nowhere to go. I’m alone tonight, just like all every night. But I remembered this story and smiled, because I’m a child of the dirt. and, apparently, so are lots of other people.

Just ten days until September.





Dear August, Go Fuck Yourself

6 08 2015

August is the cruellest month, breeding
Dullness out of the muggy days, mixing
Boredom and stagnation, stirring
Nothing in the dead air.

– “T.S. Eliot” (though altered, because he was wrong, April is perfectly lovely)

Dear August,

Go fuck yourself. I am over you and your bullshit, and we’ve only just begun our annual grappling match from hell.

I know it’s not your fault that you come at the end of summer. As a kid I was always going stir-crazy by the time you rolled around. June was great – school was out and it was my birthday and summer was just beginning. July was awesome. The dog days of summer and the Fourth of July and homemade ice cream and pool parties and bonfires and chasing lightning bugs and staying up too late. But you. Often too muggy to go outside in the day. Sleeping in has lost its luster and day after day of doing nothing has gotten old. The heat never seems to end and summer has become interminably long.

August, you’ve always bummed me out. I hate heat, especially when it’s muggy. And muggy heat is what you to best. It’s not just boiling; the air is so thick it could drown you. There’s no breeze and nothing moves. All you can do is sit. And wait.

I should never make decisions this time of year. Stupid, stagnant August makes me feel like I’m stagnating. Nothing is moving, I’m not moving, nothing is changing, we aren’t making progress. There’s always been the promise that newness – new classes, new teachers, new friends, new TV shows, new jobs, new weather – is around the corner. But for 31 horrible days we’re trapped. Nothing is happening. Everything is the same. We’re stuck.

It’s easy, during August, to make snap decisions. You’re scared of staying still. Things seem awful, and rather than pushing through or waiting it out, you just want to do something to get out of there. If you’re not careful, you’ll make decisions you regret once September rolls around and you can think clearly again. Once the heavy air becomes crisp and breathable again, things don’t seem so bad. You realize you were making progress and you suddenly see ways to continue moving forward. But if you acted during August, it’s too late. You might have made a mistake.

So, my “dear” August, go fuck yourself. I’m through with you and your mind games. I’ll endure, because I have to. I’ll try to avoid making big decisions until September cools me off a bit. But I’ll leave you with this letter. Fuck you, August. I can’t wait until you’re over.





The Music I Like.

28 02 2015

Keep your Justin Bieber and Kanye and Jay-Z and Beyonce. And even Taylor Swift, though I do like her new album and I think she treats her fans right.

Keep your hip hop and rap and EDM and Electronica.

Give me The Beatles.

Give me Paul McCartney.

Give me George Harrison.

Give me Elton John.

Give me Roy Orbison.

Give me Tom Petty.

Give me Bob Dylan.

Give me America and Jackson Browne and James Taylor and The Eagles and Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty and and The Traveling Wilburys.

Throw in a little bit of Blue Öyster Cult.

That’s where it’s at.





My Dog Died.

15 09 2014

We had to put our dog Sheba to sleep yesterday.

I’m having a lot of feelings about it. It’s stupid that you can’t really mourn dogs the way you mourn people. I’d love to have a nice cry about it and go out for a drink and talk about her and talk to all my friends about how great my dog was and how much I miss her, but of course, you feel ridiculous because “it’s just a dog,” even when it’s not.

So I’m gonna write a few posts about it to process. I’m probably gonna write two. I might publish both or one or none. But I just need to deal with this a bit. I’m starting with what happened instead of how great she was and how much I loved her, because it was awful and horrible and I don’t want to end this mourning time of thinking what happened. I’d rather finish (tomorrow or whenever) reminiscing about how amazing she was. She was honestly the greatest dog ever. She was special. There might be a select few dogs out there who are as good as her, but there will never, ever be a dog that was better.

So. Sheba. Look at how beautiful she is.

Sheba1

For the past year or so (really, since I’ve been back from Prague) we’ve all been dealing with the fact that this awesome dog who’s been part of our family for the last 12 years won’t be with us much longer. She was 14, but she was remarkably healthy for a 14-year-old dog. Really the only thing wrong with her was some arthritis and weakness in her back legs and a bit of an issue with her nasal passages that made her breathing labored occasionally.

It was hard to see a dog who used to love going for long walks suddenly have trouble standing. She started slipping on stairs and having trouble standing up. It never held her back though, up until the end she still wanted to go for those long walks, play with our other dog, or chase the lawn mower. She’d often slip and fall trying to bound around the house like she was 10 years younger.

Last week, my parents went on vacation. Sheba’s breathing issues had been worse, but were improving. We didn’t want to put her in the kennel because she seemed to be recovering and we wanted her to be somewhere calmer. She loved going to the kennel — we called it “camp” — but we figured it would be better if she and her “sister,” Sasha, stayed home and I watched them. Looking back this was a bad idea.

We spent the week together going for walks, cuddling, and sharing popcorn (she used to sit near me, I’d throw pieces to her and she’d catch them in her mouth). She ADORES my mom, so she was pretty bummed that she wasn’t around, like usual, but by Friday she’d adjusted to the fact that I was taking care of her and the world wasn’t coming to an end. I’d been sleeping in my parents’ room to keep her company and that last night, she slept on my side of the bed, right next to me where I could reach down and pet her. We went for a walk that morning, just the two of us, since Sasha wouldn’t let me put a leash on her. We walked to the end of the street, less than half the distance she usually walked but further than she’d managed in a long time.

We came back and I let her outside on our deck. Our deck has two stories. We used to let the dogs go downstairs and go to the bathroom underneath the deck, but Sheba had been falling on the stairs a lot, so we blocked them so she wouldn’t fall. I was sitting inside enjoying coffee when I heard a lot of thunks and a yelp. My heart sank because I knew she’d fallen.

Somehow she had pushed the barrier to the side, gotten down the stairs, killed a rabbit that had gotten trapped under our deck, and fallen trying to bring her prize – a rabbit head – up to show me. Sheba has fallen before and usually after we sat with her for awhile and helped her get her legs back under her, she’d be okay. I sat on the step with her, petting and reassuring her, for close to 15 minutes before I tried to help. She weighed 70 pounds, so I tried to urge her to stand. Her back legs completely gave out and she fell again. She didn’t seem like she was in pain – after that first yelp she wasn’t whimpering and she let me touch her and wasn’t growling or even agitated. If it hadn’t been for the fact that we were sitting awkwardly on the steps underneath my deck, it could have been like we were just sitting together and cuddling. It didn’t SEEM like she was hurt, other than the fact that she couldn’t stand up. But somehow, I knew it was over.

I panicked. My parents had been fishing in Canada with most of their friends. Everybody left in my town who could help me was out of contact. I called the vet, who informed me that she was busy and there were no techs or anybody who could come help me. Sheba and I were trapped. I sat with her for almost an hour waiting to hear from somebody who could help me – the vet said she’d call me back, my parents came back in cell phone range and were trying to track down someone who could help me. We just sat there, Sheba and I, keeping each other calm and breathing.

Sheba has always been able to sense people’s emotions really well. She was calm until I started to panic once I finally got my mom on the phone, at which point she became agitated until I soothed her and got myself under some measure of control. She could always tell when I was upset, and she would just sit with her head on my leg and let me pet her. She’d look at me with quiet understanding in her eyes. Sometimes I’d talk to her about my problems and I swear she understood me. I would see sadness in her eyes when I cried to her, and she’d nuzzle my hand like she was trying to say, “Hey, I’m here. Don’t be sad.”

I sat on that step, fighting tears, and Sheba shifted, just slightly, until her head rested against my knee. She looked up at me. Her eyes didn’t look that afraid. They didn’t look like they were in pain. They looked like she wanted me to be calm and pet her. Just like always.

Eventually a neighbor – one of my sister’s friends from childhood who grew up loving Sheba too – came running. We got Sheba up and to the van. I took her to the vet.

The vet took one look at her leg. Her femur was broken. Her hips were possibly damaged. Fixing it would require surgery. Wires and plates and braces. Surgery on a 14-year-old dog with breathing problems. Months of rehab for a dog whose two back legs couldn’t hold her before she broke one of them and messed up hips. It was unlikely we’d find a surgeon who would even attempt it.

It was over.

They carried Sheba into the office and put her in a crate. I tried to pet her through the bars, to reassure her one last time, but I couldn’t reach her. I was trying to keep myself under control while the vet told promised that nobody would do anything until my parents had gotten home and we’d talked to them. When I called my mom on the way home, she said we’d look into what we could do. She said it wasn’t over.

I knew it was over.

My parents got home Saturday night. Sunday we put the best dog anybody will ever have to sleep.

I was not anticipating being this upset.





Work Is Weird

4 09 2014

This probably isn’t news to anyone who’s been in the “real world” work force for more than, like, a year, but I’ve figured out that no one EVER reads emails. Even if they open them and reply to them, I don’t think anybody ever actually reads them.

Almost every time I send an email update about my job, I’ll start with the sentence, “We are on X far and this is what I found.” Nine times out of ten, the only response I’ll get is, “How far are we?”

I really want to be passive aggressive and respond like, “As I said in the first sentence of my last email, X.”

I’ve also asked questions before like, “Should I do A or B with this?” And the response will be, “Yes, do that.”

HEAD DESK.

Lately none of my bosses seem to even be READING my updates. I feel like I’m just throwing nonsense out into the void.

I want to do an experiment to see how far they actually read into my emails (or if they read them at all). I’m REALLY tempted to start signing off with:

“My mother is a fish,”
Kelly

Instead of:
Thanks,
Kelly

Juuuuust to see if they actually notice. I’m betting they won’t. I don’t think I trust that assumption enough to actually make that bet though.





Lonely

1 03 2014

I’ll probably never post this, but I’m writing it here just in case. I suppose I could just write it in a word document, but I think I need to feel like someone’s reading it.

I’m really lonely. I moved to a new city about 2 months ago. I like my job and I’m living in a pretty neat apartment in a cool location. The problem is that I don’t know anybody. It’s weird that I now live in the state where I grew up, an hour away from my hometown, but I have fewer friends and less of a social life here than I did when I lived halfway around the world in Prague.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to meet people and make friends. It feels really pathetic to google search “how to make friends,” but that’s where I am. It’s just so different from being in school. I don’t have that day-to-day interaction. I can go days without speaking to people now. And in Prague I started out taking a class that had a huge alumni network, so not only did I have my 15 classmates, but I had a built-in social group of around 100 people. There was always stuff going on and I was always free to join or not join as I wanted. I tended to not join, but I at least had my roommates (one of whom was wonderful, one of whom was awful) to talk to and hang out with, and I had a couple other close-ish friends I could hit up if I wanted to go for a drink or hang out.

Here there’s nothing. I work in a windowless room with a scanner. By myself. There are people around who I talk to sometimes, but I’m by far the youngest. The next-youngest is the same age as my mother. The others are all retired volunteers. I don’t work for the same company as them, I just happen to be using their space, so there’s not really a built-in conversation. And since I have to have the light off when I’m scanning, I spend all day by myself in the dark, and they don’t really do much more than wave at me from the doorway occasionally. Meeting people in my building is even worse. It’s practically a retirement home. The average age of the residents is around 58. There are a couple families with young kids, but for the most part it’s retirees. If you want an idea of my building’s demographic, I’m given to understand that the junk mail most people get is stuff like takeout menus or coupon sheets. I get fliers for assisted living communities and AARP mailers. I’m told I’m the youngest person living in the building. Not exactly going to find people willing to go out for a drink or play Card Against Humanity with me here.

So between work and home, my odds of meeting anyone even within a decade or two of my age are pretty much nil. And I don’t go anywhere besides work and home. Sometimes the grocery store or a coffee shop.

I’m lonely. I’m a homebody and an introvert and I like keeping to myself. I enjoy spending evenings alone reading, watching TV, or playing video games (I got hooked on the Assassin’s Creed games). But on occasion it’s nice to have people to hang out with. If I’m alone too much, I tend to get stuck inside my own head. I need to hang out with people who aren’t me at least every once in awhile. Plus, it’s just fun to hang out and be around people sometimes. Even for a crazy homebody introvert.

The trouble is that I don’t have anybody. And I don’t really have any tools for meeting people who can become friends. All the resources I’ve read are like, “Talk to people at work, ask them out for a drink!” or “Join a club!” I will address these things.

1. I’ve already talked about the people at work. There’s Dale, who’s in his 60s and married; there’s Gloria, who’s also in her late 60s and married; there’s Diana, who’s in her 50s; and then there are the volunteers, the youngest of whom is 78. I don’t think any of them are going to want to go to happy hour with me after work. I’ve chatted with all of them a bit at work, but we probably aren’t ever going to hang out outside my dark, windowless room.

2. I’ve googled clubs, classes, and social groups ad nauseam. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right spot, but I’m having a lot of trouble finding clubs and classes to join. Most of the stuff I have found is mid-session right now, and a lot of the stuff I’ve found involves intramural sports. That’s fine, but to even sign up, you need a team. We’re right back to the problem of I DON’T KNOW ANYONE. Most of the stuff I find, too, doesn’t really interest me. I found ballroom classes that seemed cool, but you had to sign up with a partner.

I know that meetup.com is a thing, and I have an account on there. I’ve looked at social groups in my area. Most of them are either “Party girls!” or for moms or “foodies” or the like. I’m not ever interested in partying, I’m not a mom, and I’m not a foodie (or at least not one who has any cooking skills, which is what that group is about). I found a couple groups that looked interesting and joined. But the problem is still that I’m very introverted. Just walking into a meetup by myself, without knowing anybody isn’t in my nature. I’ve tried that once, and I wound up standing in a corner hoping someone would approach me. I just can’t go into a group full of people I don’t know, strike up a conversation, and get to know people. It’s just not the way I operate.

You may as well put me on the diving board of an Olympic pool and say, “Go win the gold medal.” I can swim and technically know how to do all the strokes, but no way can I just jump in and win a medal. It’s not going to happen.

I’ve looked up advice on how to meet people when you’re an introvert. Most of it says something to the effect of, “Grow up and learn to be more outgoing,” or “Get over it and learn to be an extravert.”

The trouble is that I can’t really. It’s not who I am. I don’t thrive in situations where I’m thrown into a big group and have to just talk to people. It’s just a no go. It’s pathetic, but in Prague the only way I could EVER go to a party or gathering with more than, say, 10 people is if I knew that my roommate or one of my other close friends was going to be there. That way I’d know that there was at least someone I could talk to if mingling got overwhelming. The situation in Prague was pretty extreme, since I had little to nothing in common with most of the people there and had nothing to contribute to their favorite conversation topics – sex and drugs. But still. I can’t just go to a gathering without knowing anybody and strike up conversations. No amount of “getting over it” or “growing up” or “learning to be outgoing” is going to change it. For me, “getting over it” or “being outgoing” is just GOING there and hoping that maybe someone will approach me.

I don’t want to make myself out to be totally socially awkward. I’m a bit awkward, but I’m capable of talking to people and meeting people. I just prefer it to be in smaller settings or, if we’re in a bigger group, I like to be approached first. It’s just easier.

The other piece of advice that less judgmental people tend to give is “learn to be your own best friend.”

I’ve got that down. Believe me. I love all the friends I’ve made up to this point, but there is no one I’d rather hang out with than myself. Sometimes I wish that I could literally be two people so I could be friends with myself (I guess that’s why I’m so lucky to have my Twins, because that’s pretty much like being friends with myself).

When I lived in Prague, I liked to sometimes take a day and go into the city to a cafe none of my friends knew and read and hang out, all by myself. I enjoyed taking weekend trips to different cities alone and spending the days wandering around on my own pace, with my own thoughts, doing what I wanted and not worrying about anyone else. It was refreshing. Once when I was talking to Nica, I told her it felt like hitting the reset button. Teaching and living in Prague was stressful and weird. it was nice to have times where I got to be alone and hang out with myself. It helped me rediscover my center, remember who I was and what I wanted, and feel better about life. When I went back to Prague after those trips, it was way easier to socialize with the big group and stay relaxed.

The trouble is that I’ve pretty much been hanging out solely with myself for two months now. It’s been a week since I even talked to anybody who wasn’t on the other side of a cash register. I’m starting to think too much and get upset and I really need to get away from myself. I’m having a lot of thoughts that I’d rather not have and starting to get quite upset quite often. I’d love to call up a friend and go for a drink and talk. Not about what’s upsetting me or how lonely I am or anything like that. I’d just like to talk and have a conversation besides, “Paper or plastic?” or “Do you want the receipt with you or in the bag?” But I don’t have anybody to ask to hang out.

I know two people in this city. One of them has been a friend for as long as I can remember. We grew up together but drifted apart in high school and, even though we went to the same college, we never really hung out that much. When we had lunch last month, it was the first time we’d seen each other in 3 or 4 years. She’s in med school and really busy with that, and any free time she has is devoted to her boyfriend. It’s totally understandable and I’m not mad or anything. It’s just a bummer and I’m hoping that maybe in the summer she’ll have more free time.

The other person is someone I know from college. We used to be very close, but we aren’t anymore. I think I’ve mentioned the Great Friend Breakup on this blog. She is the friend from the Great Friend Breakup, and it looks like she’d prefer to stay “broken up.” Although we’ve hung out once and texted a few times, it’s obvious that she has no interest in reconnecting or spending time together. This is slightly more upsetting and less understandable than Med School Friend, but it’s still not breaking my heart or ruining my life.

It’s clear that I need to make new friends and find my own social group. The trouble is that my ideal friend likes to stay in and watch movies, play games, or occasionally go to a bar for a quiet drink or pub quiz night. I can’t very well find these people, because they’re all at their own apartments, watching movies or playing games.

I wish there was a way to meet new people where it was just a group of 3 or 4 other people, and you knew they were going to be there and willing to talk, but you didn’t have to just throw yourself into a room full of people and hope you somehow found yourself in a conversation.

At some point, I’m going to probably give in and try to go to another meetup or gathering, and hopefully someone will start talking to me or I’ll find it in myself to go and talk, but until then, this has been me, getting away from myself in the only way I can at the moment, by whining on a blog.