Things Are Happening

28 05 2012

I’ve been a college graduate for just over a week now, and it’s getting kind of crazy.My brother graduated from high school last week, so my parents have been putting the graduates to good use. The past week has been spent cleaning. I’ve swept, scrubbed, power washed and power blown a deck, scrubbed down furniture, washed windows (it’s really scary hanging out of a second story window to wash the outside), shampooing carpets, Orange-Glo-ing cabinets, squeegeeing garage floors, dusting shelves and cabinets that haven’t been properly dusted in four years, picking up dog shit in the rain, and narrowly escaping staining a deck, thanks to a freak rainstorm. I’ve managed to find some time for reading and watching my brother play soccer, but most of my time has been spent doing all sorts of chores. Graduation=mass cleaning. My brother’s graduation party was this weekend, though, so hopefully the chore list will stop being so intense. I guess doing all these chores is better than sitting around pining for my dorm room and friends, so I won’t complain too much. It’d just be nice to have time to unpack my room.

Anyway, the point is that in the midst of all this cleaning, family visiting, and babysitting*, things have started happening. Like, Real Life is creeping up on me really fast. The Universe is at work in my life, and all sorts of crazy things are happening.

It started on Wednesday when my dad came home from work and told me that the Lacey Project was back on. This is something that my dad’s boss has been trying to get going for several years. At the beginning of the 20th century this guy from my town, John F. Lacey, was a US Congressman. He was pretty much the father of conservation and the National Park movement. All the National Park stuff you associate with Teddy Roosevelt was actually legislation written and promoted by Lacey. The Iowa Historical Society has roughly 287 boxes worth of documents, diaries, and other things pertaining to him. My dad’s boss wants the stuff organized, digitized, and archived in some sort of online database. It’s now my job to make this happen. Since I kind of want to be an archivist/work in a museum, this is perfect. Of course, I have absolutely NO IDEA what I’m doing or how to build a database/storage software and I’m the only person working on this, but STILL. It’s a start, and if I can do this right, it’ll be awesome. I get to be a real historian! So, that is something I wasn’t expecting to happen. I went in for an interview on Friday and came out with a summer internship pay and the prospect of an extended contract and REAL SALARY if, at the end of the summer, I’m still around.

Then, I was talking to someone at my brother’s graduation party who offered me archive and library training at the local college library. There’s a chance I can connect this with my job and actually get paid for a training course, and then I’ll actually know how to be an archivist! Things are happening, guys.

THEN, Sunday afternoon, my brother and I went to visit our elderly neighbor lady. We’ve known Mary for years. We used to go over to her house sometimes when our mom was busy. We haven’t seen her for awhile, so we sat and chatted for awhile. Her daughter and good friend were also there, and they were doing housework and hanging out. I have to say: when I’m old, I want the kind of friendship that Mary and her friend, Emmy, have. I feel like Emmy practically lives there. Twice, the phone rang and it was for Emmy. They were laughing, teasing each other, and talking about some of their crazy college days. They went to college together and, before that, played Robin Hood in the vacant lot (which is now where my house is). They place bets on whether or not the substandard paper boy will deliver their papers, or how close he gets it to the front step, or whether or not he actually puts it in the right bin. They discuss books, literature, 60 Minutes, and sports. I want that. It’s cool. But. That’s not the point of this story.

The point is that Emmy mentioned she’d met the new lady living in the Frank Lloyd Wright house in my old backyard. She’s from Vienna. Emmy talked to her for awhile this morning and got her business card and cell phone number. It turns out that she’s a program coordinator for the Goethe Institut. For those of you who don’t know, it’s, like, THE way to learn German and study German culture. I’ve been really interested in the Goethe Institut since I studied abroad last summer. I’ve been looking at taking German classes there and getting involved with internships or volunteering. Now I have this woman’s card and cell phone number, and Emmy is meeting her for coffee later this week and she’s going to tell her about me. I might even get introduced. I guess she’s doing some recruiting for interns or language exchange partners or something of that ilk. So, the Universe has sent me another connection to a place/program I’ve been all but lusting after for nine months. THANKS, Universe! Help a sister out and get me a meeting, please!

So, really exciting things are happening. I’m rambling about them, so I’m sorry. But there are two sets of cousins watching three different movies, giggling, eating junk food and then throwing up, and they’re all keeping me awake. Also, it’s just really cool how so many things are starting to happen. I have a strong belief that life/the Universe will take me where I need to go, and that I will wind up being exactly who/where I need to be at the right time. In my first week in the Real World, it seems like the Universe has been reinforcing this idea. Again, thanks, Universe!

*I’ve basically spent the weekend hanging out with my 6-year-old cousin Lillie. She’s ADORABLE and absolutely hilarious (“Know what would be crazy? If while you were having a graduation party, you had a RUMMAGE SALE too!” and “Bro, we need a secret bro handshake.” [Yes, Arta, I taught my cousin to be a bro]), but incredibly energetic. I have spent countless hours playing Cops and Robbers/Spies/Escape the Crazy House. I can’t keep up!

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Forever Yours

19 05 2012

So a few weeks ago I ignored this envelope that I got in my SPO, but it turns out that the basic idea was that evidently I’m graduating tomorrow. How did that happen? I have things that I wanna reflect on, but I’m just popping in for a few minutes before I head out to more celebrations and just generally being with friends and soaking up all the Luther and Decorah I can before tomorrow. There’s been a lot of crying. Or rather, there’s been a lot of almost crying but waiting until I get to my room to do it.

Oh, god, here comes the almost crying again, because I realized that in 24 hours I won’t be here.

Anyway. Here are some graduation-related links and stuff.

THIS is, hands down, the greatest commencement speech ever given. It’s the reason I’m in love with David Foster Wallace.

And part 2, as well.

This is what I’m taking with me into the real world. This advice. This stuff.

I’m excited about the future and about being an adult and facing new challenges and all that stuff. But on the other hand, I love being a student. I love learning. I love taking classes and doing readings and, yes, even writing papers. I like talking to professors and researching and listening to lectures and having discussions. And I love Luther and Decorah. I love Dunning’s Spring, and all the great places to hike. I love eating peanut butter cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries at T Bock’s. I love getting drinks at La Rana. I’m going to miss how beautiful Phelps Park is in the fall, when you walk into the woods and the leaves are just the right shade of yellow, so it feels like you’re in a golden forest. I love making fun of how ugly Main is. I love laying on the library lawn. I love going on walks to the prairie and sitting by the river. I love Marty’s cookies and Sunnyside cinnamon rolls. I LOVE Oneota’s Turkey Bacon Stackers. MY GOSH. How am I going to get through my Tuesdays and Thursdays without those? And it’s not going to feel like Monday anymore, because I won’t spend all night sitting in the Valders pit with Arta.

This place is home. All that stuff I described and so much more. Most of all, I’m gonna miss the people. I’m gonna miss walking downtown and running into professors. I’m gonna miss saying hi to them when I pass them on campus. I’m gonna miss how, if you work it right when you’re in line behind them in Oneota, they might by you a cup of coffee. I’ve made a life here. I don’t want to go home.* I don’t want to leave. Part of me really really wants to wail about how it’s not fair, this is my home, they can’t make me leave. It will probably take considerable self-restraint to stop myself from doing that. I mean, I’ll be fine and I am kind of excited about a fresh start and new adventures, but it’s just so damn hard to leave all this.

Mostly, though, I am going to miss my friends. Some of them have been gone all semester. We’re all going to faraway places like the Republic of Georgia or China or Saint Cloud, Minnesota. We’re becoming teachers, teaching in foreign countries, going to grad school, finding jobs. We’ve always had this place to come back to. And now we don’t. It scares me more than anyone knows to think about this. I love my friends. I would not trade them for anything and I hope they know that I am going to fight tooth and nail to maintain our friendships. I’m never going to forget singing Cee Lo’s Fuck You at the top of our lungs on the way to La Rana or Mystery Beer Night, and flailing all over in the backseat to Forever Yours on the way back. I’m going to miss watching science fiction (or How I Met Your Mother) and Finding Bigfoot on Sundays.

I’m going to miss the look on Arta’s face when I make her try my disgusting draws at Mystery Beer. I miss sitting on the grass and talking (FOR HOURS) with my Twin, or sitting on our couch by the fireplace in the Union and doing the crossword. I’m going to miss looking at pictures of Ben’s cats, and giving him shit about taking forever to get his food at dinner. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with NOT eating dinner with Arta every day. I’m going to miss trying to guess what’s going to happen to various Deep Space Nine characters and singing Let’s Go To The Mall and poking her when I’m drunk. I’m going to miss repeatedly telling Kristi that she’s pretty, and laughing at private jokes with Liz, and, Cassie telling me all sorts of stories about camp, or her day, or her family until I fall asleep. I’m going to miss…well, fuck, all of it. I can’t keep going because I’m gonna be sad.

The point is, these have been the best four years of my life, and my friends are making it so damn hard to leave. But, on the other hand, they’re making it easy. It wouldn’t be Luther without those people and those things. I think that if I was coming back, I wouldn’t REALLY want to, because none of these people would be here. I would be sad and lonely.

So really, I want to end with ANOTHER video. But it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I’ve been listening to it constantly over the last few days. This is our song. I feel like I should have a better lead-in or whatever, but I don’t, because it’s hard to think of things when you’re sad and crying.

*This is incredibly accurate and it makes me sad.





Tough Love To My Underclassman Self

18 05 2012

Because I did some stupid things and it would have been nice to have someone bitch at me about them. Except that I was really lame back then and would have just been really upset at someone talking to me this way.
Just because a guy shows interest in you doesn’t mean you’re obligated to hang out with him. Especially not when he’s a fucking creep. Seriously. What the hell are you doing? Get away from there, you fucking moron.

Don’t drink all that whiskey. What the fuck is wrong with you? You’ve got nothing to prove. Also, have you even had alcohol before? Yeah, that one time. Why the hell do you think you can handle 4 shots of whiskey and 3 shots of vodka? My god, you’re stupid. Enjoy puking all over yourself and laying in the middle of a field.

Hey, genius, just because you can stay up until 4:30 every morning doesn’t mean you should. You have 8:00 class. What the hell? Also, you’re a freshman. How do you have so much homework that you can’t possibly get it done without pulling several all-nighters a week? You don’t even have that many friends yet, so it’s not like you’re up late hanging out with people. What are you doing with your time that you need to be up super late working on homework? Pulling all-nighters does not make you a hardcore student. It makes you a half-asleep moron who does subpar work and can barely function in class. Go the fuck to bed. Save the all-nighters for senior year, when you have like 8 huge papers due within 10 days of each other.

Answer that girl’s post-its! Sure, you’re living in a tiny closet-room and the last time people “reached out” to you, you got kicked out of school, your room, and your dorm and were forced to move to a whole new building where you don’t know anybody, but what are the odds of that happening again? She probably isn’t out to fake-parent you and then turn you in to Student Life. In fact, I know she’s not. She’s actually a pretty cool person. She’s an English major and she likes coffee. Also, she’s your twin. Answer her goddamn post-its!

No one gives a shit about your vague/angsty/song lyric facebook statuses. Stop posting them. They aren’t getting you any attention and they aren’t actually saying anything. You’re making a fool out of yourself. You’re so much better than this. What the fuck are you doing?

 

DON’T drop that awesome-yet-intimidating 300-level Slind class to take African Diaspora. You don’t want to write a 10-page research paper? Man up, you weenie! It’s only 10 pages. This kind of thing is gonna be routine soon. SERIOUSLY. Dropping a potentially awesome class because you “don’t wanna write a research paper?” What the hell is the matter with you? And choosing AFRICAN DIASPORA? WORST DECISION EVER. Enjoy routinely skipping the most boring class you will ever, ever, EVER take.

STOP being so stressed out all the time. You’re being ridiculous. Everyone likes you fine and no one is taking advantage of you. You can stop being all angsty and hoping it’ll get you attention because IT WON’T. Know what will? Being a good friend, talking to people, enjoying yourself, and ACTUALLY HAVING FUN instead of “being miserable” so that people will take pity on you. Just because your “best friend” needs to always have some sort of problem to get attention doesn’t mean you do. People are going to like you a hell of a lot better if you just enjoy yourself and are actually happy. STOP BEING A FUCKING DEBBIE DOWNER.

DO YOUR GODDAMN FINAL. I know you hate the class, I know you think you’re smarter than everyone else in the class but guess what? You’re NOT. You are not above actually doing the work. I know you hate the class and you think you’re never going to use it because who the hell minors in museum studies anyways, but YOU’LL REGRET IT. You’ll wind up wanting to work in a museum and wonder why you dropped the minor. Well, that’s a whole other thing, but WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU NOT FINISH THE FINAL? That’s just shooting yourself in the foot, you dumbass. Don’t you care about grades? They’re sort of important. If something as simple as spending a day finishing an essay can get you a better grade, WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU NEGLECT TO DO IT? You are stupid.

 

Why the fuck do you keep caring what these boring, lame people think? Have you noticed that they’re losers? Have you noticed that they kind of tend to drag you down and make you sort of miserable a lot of the time? Maybe you should stop hanging out with them. Have you noticed that there are these two kind of awesome people who you love being around that actually like you? Forget about these other losers and get some real friends. Stop not going on exciting adventures and walks with people who could become your new group of friends, just because these other people might do something with you. These other people, the ones who keep inviting you to do things? THEY’RE ACTUALLY COOL. DO THINGS WITH THEM. They’re more fun than these other people anyway.

 





College Is Over

17 05 2012

I just finished my last final. Like, I literally finished it 15 minutes ago. I described Hannah Arendt as “Judaism’s resident badass philosopher.” But then I had to resist being like, “But wait, Maimonides. But wait, Spinoza. …FUCK. Mendelssohn. Moses Mendelssohn was a motherfucking badass.” Since the essay was supposed to be about language, society, and the self, it didn’t seem like the place to discuss the different merits of Jewish philosophers. But I mean…seriously. Just look up Moses Mendelssohn. Dude. Also. Baruch Spinoza. HOLY. Shit. Wow, I’m getting off topic. Hey, it’s just like the essay on my final! But it’s okay…I didn’t draw a picture. Once I drew my professor a picture because I was almost out of time and I was majorly failing at expressing my point in words. Kind of like right now. Can you tell I was unable to sleep?

Anyway, college is over. I feel like I should address this, since I’m graduating on Sunday. I feel like I should be happy, excited, and scared…but mostly excited. Instead, I’m mostly scared and only a little bit happy and excited. Actually, I’m only excited to go home and see my dogs and eat good food again. I really don’t want to leave. I mean, it feels like it’s time to not be here for awhile, but I want to come back. And I won’t get to. Saying goodbye at the end of a year has always been hard for me. Last year I guess it wasn’t really because I was going straight to Germany, so it was another adventure. But sophomore year I spent the last two weeks of the semester crying and dreading going home. I counted down the days until I came back. It’s just so weird to be sad about leaving and to know that this time, I’m really not going to see a lot of my friends again in September. It could be months before I see them. I’m not going to come back to Decorah and sit by the river or walk through the prairie or eat a peanutbutter cheeseburger at T-Bock’s. I remember how much I love campus in the fall, and I think about how I won’t be here to enjoy it.

The overly emotional, irrational part of me is saying, “You can’t make me leave. It’s not fair. This is my HOME.” The other part of me is saying that I need to leave. It’s time to grow up and start contributing to the word instead of just learning about it. I know this is true. Sometimes I get excited about the future. Usually that’s when I’m apartment hunting or entertaining the idea of going to grad school.

I have mixed feelings about leaving. I’m going to miss the hell out of my friends, and I’m probably going to be really homesick for Luther and Decorah. But I love adventures. As amazing as these four years have been, and as much as I love it here, there aren’t that many more adventures I can have. I’ve explored this place pretty thoroughly. I remember being a freshman and finding new parks and trails every weekend, and how fun it was to explore and be in Marty’s at 10:00 at night. Now I just enjoy the easy intimacy that comes with being totally at home and familiar somewhere. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s just that there is so much more of the world that I have to see.

And I can’t do that if I keep coming back to a campus that I can walk across in five minutes.

I think I just convinced myself that life after graduation is going to be okay. It’s just another adventure. And this one is big because I have absolutely know idea where I’m going, what I’m doing, or what’s going to happen. I’ve been craving a big, awesome adventure and I guess I’m getting one. I wonder why I’ve been dreading it so much.

Okay. Sunday can come. I’m okay with it now.

 

 

[No I’m not. I’m still pretty depressed about leaving forever, not being a student anymore, and not getting to see my friends. But at least now I’m also excited about the prospect of a super cool new adventure! It’s just really freaking scary, too. So…this has been pointless.]





Long Live Harry Potter

8 05 2012

I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve read all of the books multiple times, seen all the movies, read all the Wikis, etc, etc. I’m not one of those “rabid” Harry Potter fans who, like, dresses up all the time and lives and breathes ONLY Harry Potter, but I still try to reread the books every summer (I missed last year because I spent most of the summer in Germany, and my Harry Potter books were still in Iowa). When I turned 11, I waited for my letter. I remember sitting on the swings with Chutney one day, distraught because my 11th birthday had come and gone without any sign of an owl. We determined that it probably takes longer because they owl has to cross an ocean.

Almost 11 years later, I am still convinced this is true. You’ve got the jet stream, airplanes, thousands of miles of open water…can owls swim? What about sharks? Maybe they could island hop, but still…that’s a long way. And then once you’ve crossed the ocean, you’ve got to get to the middle of IOWA. That’s a long way. This is a big country. Also, midwest farmland is probably fairly interchangeable. No wonder it hasn’t found me! I’m getting off topic.

I’m not really a “Potterhead,” so to speak, but I went to every midnight premiere I could. I read about Dumbledore’s death when I was in a car, somewhere between home and Yellowstone Park, just before we ate at a Culver’s. I remember sitting in Culver’s, completely devastated and wondering how my family could laugh, eat, and talk when something so awful had happened. It felt like someone in my family had died. I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t real. Except it was real.

I thought I was going to have to miss out on seeing the movie in theatres, because I was in Germany. Nope. A bunch of us flew to London to watch it the weekend it came out. I didn’t watch it right at midnight, London time, but I saw it at three in the morning on Britain’s largest screen…so that was pretty cool.

Normally, I reread all of the books before a premiere but, like I said, I didn’t have that option. I did manage to watch all of the movies and a bunch of interviews from the actual premiere.

When J.K. Rowling said, “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” I cried.

Seriously? How am I supposed to go on without more Harry Potter?, I thought (and sometimes I still feel that way, if I let myself think about it). I know it’s silly, but it felt like my life was ending. It felt like a relative was dying, or a good friend was moving away.

I didn’t want to go. The whole way to London, I was excited, but reluctant. If I didn’t see the movie, there would still be something left. Sometimes, when I’m reading a really good book, I’m tempted to stop reading a chapter or two before the end so that I never have to finish it. That’s how I felt before the movie. I kind of wanted there to always be one piece of Harry Potter that I didn’t know yet that I could save for later. I thought that watching the movie was going to break my heart.

I survived. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. There was only one other huge Harry Potter fan in our group (one of my companions got mad at me for giving away the ending: She hadn’t even read the books! Apparently only three out of the 10 of us had read them. GTFO!). We worked it out so we could sit by each other. I knew that he was the only other person who was really going through the same thing. We hugged at the end of the movie, and it was okay.

It turned out that the Universe had more Harry Potter waiting for me. Over spring break I got to go to Harry Potter World in Universal Studios.* I was nine years old again. I’ve definitely had my whole “I’m a kid again!” moments, but never like this.

I was dancing around like a kid. I was at Hogwarts! I flew a broom and escaped dragons, I drank a Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, I visited Ollivander’s, I touched the Hogwarts Express, got fitted for robes, and even met Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom. The magic was back. I never wanted to leave.

It still made me keenly aware that this is all there is, though. I could walk around Harry Potter World all I wanted, and I can reread the books as often as I want,** but this is really all there is.*** When we left at the end of the day, I was ready to offer J.K. Rowling all of my limbs, my firstborn child, my dog, and a lifetime of servitude for just one more book. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I was definitely willing to give her my firstborn (and any of my other children) for another book.

Heck, I’d still give just about anything if J.K. Rowling would just keep writing Harry Potter. Sometimes, like now, when life’s moving way too fast and I can barely cope with the idea of graduating and trying to figure out the Real World, I don’t want to live in a World With No More Harry Potter.

I remember walking to our hostel after we saw the last movie in London. We wound up in King’s Cross Station at 6:20 in the morning. It was still mostly empty, and the sun was coming up: it was the first day in a World With No More Harry Potter. A major part of my childhood was done. All the nights I stayed up way past my bedtime reading Goblet of Fire by flashlight (because it was the scariest), the hours I spent yearning for Hogwarts, wallpapering my room with Harry Potter playing cards and writing letters to J.K. Rowling: it was all over. But it was okay. I could (and can) do so many more things now. I finally stopped crying, grabbed a Tube map, and helped my companions figure out how to get back to the hostel. I knew what I was doing. I knew where I was going and I could help other people get there.

All really was well.

 

* Yes, I know that’s not its official name, but THAT’S WHAT IT IS, OKAY??
** Let’s be real, why the hell would you rewatch the movies when you can read the books?
*** Yes, I changed tenses during that sentence, but come on. This is how I still feel and I don’t like writing about it in the past tense, but I’m writing about what I thought in the past, so I had to…ughghhgh tenses.

Random Things About This Post, Some Of Which Are Highly Mockable:
I wanted to write this about my thoughts on joining Pottermore and my Sorting. It wound up being something different, so that will have to be saved for another time.

I’m graduating in less than 2 weeks (#$&#$#), and I now know that the first thing I do when I get home will be to run to my bookshelf, grab The Sorcerer’s Stone, and start reading. At least there’s something to look forward to.

Here’s the thing that people *cough* ArtaandmyTwin* will mock me for: The entire time I was writing this, I was listening to “Long Live” by Taylor Swift. Mock away, ladies, IT’S APPROPRIATE AND IT MADE ME TEAR UP. (mockable thing part II right there)





Old Friends Are Awesome

6 05 2012

I’m really excited about how some things never change.

I saw my oldest best friend yesterday.

I’m going to call her Chutney, because we went through a nickname phase back in second grade and that was hers. I was Scarlett, as in Scarlett O’Hara, if you’re interested. Apparently when I was 12, I didn’t quite understand that you don’t want to be Scarlett…all I knew was that she didn’t get to be with the boy she liked and I could relate. I spent a year of my life trying to be like Scarlett O’Hara. I tried to reread Gone With The Wind a few years ago and was kind of embarrassed about that. I don’t quite remember why she was Chutney, other than that it was a nickname her entire family gave themselves (they called themselves the Chutney family at reunions…I know she explained why at one point, but I’ve forgotten).

Anyway, Chutney and I have been friends for basically our entire lives. In fact, if our friendship was a child, it would be a sophomore in high school. When Chutney and I first met, my sister was only two. Isn’t that wild? I was still wearing size 6x jeans. I was proud to be as tall a yardstick. I couldn’t wait for school to get over so I could go home and play with my model horses. Her brother, the one who’s now married with a baby, was a Kindergartener. She still liked mermaids, unicorns, and Polly Pockets. The worst thing that could happen to her was that her mom would forget to videotape Sailor Moon. We hated each other at first. She was that bitch who always hung around my best friend Elizabeth, and I was that jerk who was trying to steal her best friend Elizabeth. Soon enough, Elizabeth was that annoying girl who followed us around. The rest is history.

We joined orchestra and learned to play the violin together. We would be stand partners for the next nine years. We played on the swings and pretended to be racing horses. One day during fourth grade, we were playing with small chalkboards. I wanted to pretend that it was Little House on the Prairie and we were using slates. She said, “No. I’m attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” I looked at her like she was crazy. The book sounded stupid. Why would you ever want to pretend to be at a school for witches and wizards?

Eventually I got tired of listening to Chutney talk about Hogwarts all the time, so I decided I’d try to read it. I was hooked. At her house, we would mix milk, food coloring, flour, pepper, and whatever else we could find, together to make potions. We found wands and fought Voldemort. Our swings were no longer racehorses, but brooms for playing Quidditch.

We would sit in art class and come up with ways to sabotage our parents when they were playing Santa: mix up a separate, disgusting batch of cookies, make a huge mess in our rooms so they would trip, hide in the living room under a pile of blankets and jump out at them. We tortured our dolls by making them get chased and attacked by frightening, evil Gremlin-like teachers called Lunchables. We brainstormed ways to horrify my annoying younger sister. We told her that her Kindergarten teacher was a bumble bee and she was afraid to go to school. Another time, we told her that she was caffeine, and that being caffeine was really bad and you could die, and the only way to stop being caffeine was to not take a bath for a whole month. For a few weeks, she’d kick and scream every time my parents tried to get her to take a bath.

Chutney was the mastermind, though. My favorite torturing my Sister moment was this:

The three of us were sitting in the car waiting for my mom to come out to drive us somewhere.

“Where’d Mommy go?” my four-year-old sister whined.

“To the moon,” Chutney snarked.

“Really???” Pie whimpered.

“Yep,” she said, “And she won’t be back for a long time.”
“I’m in charge of you now,” I joined.

“BWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.” I think at that point my mom came out and gave us her famous Death Stare.

Chutney was the best friend an insane child who is destined to be an English major could have. Who else would mix up fake potions with you? Or run around the playground making up silly poems and writing insane stories about the dangerous cosmic cloud known as ‘Alien Galactic?’

I still remember some of our poems:

Oh, woe, woe is me
She has two toes and none for me
Her hair is pink but mine is blue
And she gets a telephone call every year,
But I have a fear of telephones when they are near.

and:
Well I went to Mars to get lotsa candy bars,
And then I flew past Jupiter cause boys are stupider,
And then I went to Saturn because someone sat on my butter churn.

Clearly, we were budding geniuses.

When we were eight, or moms took us on a road trip to Iowa City. We ate at Carlos O’Kelley’s and they talked about how delicious margaritas were. They promised that when we were both 21, they’d take us out for margaritas. That seemed so far away at the time, but we took great pains to remind them of their promise from time to time. Finally, last August after I’d gotten back from Germany, the four of us drank margaritas together. It was every bit as awesome as we’d hoped.

When I was in sixth grade, I got bullied and made fun of a lot. Chutney was the only person who stayed by my side through everything. We were in different classes, but she defended me whenever she could, and was always there to listen to things that had happened to me when she wasn’t there. I didn’t realize how good a friend she was until later.

One day after school, I walked into her classroom. I saw her sitting by the teacher’s desk crying, while the teacher and one of her other friends were trying to comfort her. I backed out of the room. I figured she was upset about getting a bad grade on a test or something. Later I found out that some people in her class were saying horrible things about me, and she was crying because she was so upset for me.

If our friendship was stable and amazing in elementary school, it got even stronger in junior high and high school. We had sleepovers, kept playing our violins, ran track together, and crushed on the same boys. Every day in seventh grade, we stumbled into our advanced literature class room laughing hysterically.

Once we learned to drive, we spent our afternoons with our friends at the coffee shop in town. We were so inseparable that a girl in one of our classes could never tell us apart. We don’t really look alike, but we were together so much that she never learned which of us was which. We did virtually everything together. We talked about political issues and religious views. Feeling cheated out of teenage angst, one day we decided that we were too fat and went on a crash diet. It lasted about a day, until we were sitting on the floor of my kitchen and the idea of a really really chocolatey milkshake sounded too good.

I had my first beer with her. We were in my bedroom with three other friends. They all had been drinking at drama parties and things, but it was my first time. We cut the beer with cranberry juice. It was disgusting. When we got caught, I pulled out some of my best crying and pleading and managed to save my friends from getting punished. For the month that I wasn’t allowed to drive, Chutney made sure to always pick me up if we were going somewhere.

When her “sort-of” boyfriend died our junior year, I was the only one she wanted. Her mom brought her to my house that Saturday and we sat in silence. I would have gone to the funeral with her, if she’d wanted me to.

When I was kissed for the first time (against my will, I should add), she came over as soon as I called her. We bought junk food (chocolate marshmallows, pints of ice cream, more Twizzlers and candy than you can possibly imagine) and watched Casablanca.

We went to different colleges, but we’re both English majors. I visited her a few times, and always made an effort to come back home when I was back for breaks. For our freshman year, we texted and talked on the phone a lot. But it’s easy, once you start developing a life of your own, to lose contact. The Luther Bubble is strong and isolating. I got sucked into classes, assignments, and friends. She was busy being an awesome creative writing major at the University of Iowa. She got friends, an editing position, an apartment, and, eventually, a very serious boyfriend. Around sophomore year, we stopped having time to call each other and, even with Facebook, Twitter, and texting, when we’re at school we don’t talk anymore. I imagine that Real Life will be much the same.

The thing is, though, when we get together for coffee again after weeks or even months, it’s like no time has passed at all. Sometimes, when I get together with old friends I haven’t seen in awhile, it’s awkward. You just aren’t the same, and neither are they, and you both sit there and hope that it can be time to go. Not so with Chutney and I. And that’s refreshing.

I hope I have lots and lots more friendships like this where things never change.

I Sound Like: J.K. Rowling (!!!!! …if only…)
I Wrote Like: A female





Time Passes

4 05 2012

I was reading for leisure in Marty’s (because I FINALLY have time!) and then I had to stop and come back because this passage moved me to tears:

“Thinking back, he realizes now how much has slipped through the fingers of his memory. Everything he still retains could be told in an afternoon, and yet there is so much more. The substance of all those days, which has entirely escaped.

The days of dust drifting in the light shafts. Tea bags put out to dry. Listless newspapers with new dates on them every day. The pipes of grubby gloss that turn from the back of the radiator along the wall. The gradual death of things: plans and machines and animals, furniture and friends. Twisted hairs trapped in a hairbrush. The seasons, and their increasing irrelevance, even if there is still a sense of eternity about the clouds. Cracks in walls, and the refusal of windows to close properly after too many coats of paint. Filling in forms. New buildings whose purpose is unclear. Things that have not been seen for some time: a good pen, a souvenir key ring. Lying in bed, and ceilings. Surprises, such as window glass blown in by the wind. Small changes that appear in routes walked often: a new fence post, or a sawn-off tree. The shocking breathlessness of climbing just a few stairs, and shaving in the morning. Thoughts in the background: concerns about money, and whether he can still be considered good-looking. The cleaning of things just cleaned: cups, plates, bathtubs, cookers, hands and all the other parts of the body. Old-style banknotes discovered in jacket pockets, and the recollection of facts when the need for them has just passed. The relief of television, and its futility. The persistence of shit, and its undue hold on the mind. The stuff that rises through the days: empty food cans, old batteries, rotten fruit and newspaper.

It has all slipped away.”

Solo, Rana Dasgupta (2009)

I highly recommend this book. I can’t describe it very well, so here’s a link to its Goodreads page:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11156921-solo