2

Christmas Casual

It’s been a busy month, but now that I have a moment to breathe, I would like to take this opportunity to record an observation. Not really a rant, if you will, but more of a “why?”

So, today, I flew from Baltimore (where I spent 6 days visiting my parents) to Dallas, TX and then on to Austin, TX for APO Nationals, which start in 2 days so I have no idea why I am here other than a cheap flight. Well, that is a pretty good reason. It’s also Christmas, as most of the world knows (and if you don’t believe me, just go to http://www.isitchristmas.com) and I feel like every year, it gets a little crazier.

I’ve flown on Christmas Day before, but let me tell you. Once I cleared security (wearing my brown coat, gray quarter-zip sweatshirt, and jeans) all of a sudden, everywhere, it was…

RED. GREEN. RED. GREEN. SHINY. SHINY. PLAID. FLANNEL. CANDY CANES. RED. GREEN. SHINY. GREEN. RED.

It was like stepping into a bizarre world where everyone wears one color and looks like idiots. I saw flight attendants with floppy Santa hats, parents and children in matching onesies, and other items of clothing that would look more appropriate in an L.L. Bean catalog than an airport. I mean, there’s festive, but then there’s ridiculous. Do you really need that shiny hat? When you are wearing red plaid pajamas in public, what are you really telling the world? Are you an adult, a child, or just trying to fit in? Children get a pass on this one; under a certain age, they don’t get to choose what they wear for the most part, but seeing entire families marching around the airport in matching flannel hoodies with reindeer antlers makes me wonder if any of these people looked in a mirror before entering the house.

When I got off the plane in Dallas, it was the same deal, but once I left the airport in partly cloudy and 71-degree Austin, it was back to summer winter and Christmas who. At least I got to meet up with Sarah for dinner at a vegan place, and took a walk down 6th Street in attempt to find an open store (which I did!) to purchase a Coke, a pastry, and a comb.

But for all of you out there who wear matching flannel plaid Christmas pajamas outside of your house…please, reconsider. Freedom of religion good, freedom of fashion choices even better.

And that’s why we should all go back to dressing up in formal attire for air travel.

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8

Only Human

This might just be among the weirdest posts I’ve ever made, but I’m wondering what it is that makes you feel human.

Call me materialistic, but for me, there’s something about sensations that makes me feel so much…like me. None of these things are too shameful in and of themselves, rather they’re indulgences, but for some reason, they make me feel like a person. I don’t know how else to explain it, but maybe…that feeling when you do something wrong, but it’s something that doesn’t really matter in the long run (nobody is hurt, no one died), and you shrug and say “I’m only human,” and you’re right. And then you go back to feeling like yourself and wait for the next thing to happen.

For me, it’s my favorite scents:

  • Most anything from Crabtree & Evelyn
  • Nautica Aqua cologne (or whatever it’s called)
  • A brand-new bar of soap (tonight I opened a bar of Waterlily and Jasmine by Asquith & Somerset
  • Lavender
  • Orchids
  • Coffee

It’s certain sounds:

  • Rain falling at night
  • A dryer
  • The clicky sound whenever you download a new app on your iPhone

And certain sensations:

  • Scrubbing with a loofah
  • Getting into a warm bath
  • Picking up a piece of garbage from the ground (this is probably the weirdest one)
  • Putting my nose inside my shirt, counting to ten, and then the cool sensation when I take it out (okay, this might be weirder)
  • Rayon
  • Quilts and duvets that are slightly on the heavy side
  • A fan blowing lightly on my skin
  • Other things I probably shouldn’t share in a forum as public as a blog…

What about you?

0

Just A Quick Update, Random Stuff, and Things

Well hello out there, readers of the Internet.

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I feel like I don’t even know where to start anymore.

What I’m not going to start with is my life right now; it’s kind of chaotic and stressful. Even though I’ve got a relatively fun and exciting summer planned, it’s going to be a summer full of work. Work on my writing, work on my reading, work on…finding work. Basically, more work than Rihanna can sing about.

As I look around my apartment right now (I guess I’m staying in and getting real, in a way, even though I was out until about an hour ago), I see remnants of my semester, just strewn around. A pile of papers on the floor, along with some books from sales and the dollar store. Some plastic bags, my green scarf, and my red jacket. Folded clothes, folded towels, unfolded clothes, unfolded towels. All my winter gear, lying in a heap on the futon, like a coat room at a party. A small air conditioner blowing lightly because it’s really hot in here. Receipts, dryer sheets, bandanas, dust. Stuff that belongs to me and stuff that does not belong to me.

What’s great about life? Hard to say in certain moments, but as I think about it, the answer is time. I have now and I have later. This random thought might not make sense in the morning, but basically, I’m just feeling like the last line of Memoirs of a Geisha, “even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.”

1

Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 7

I haven’t had the inspiration to write much recently (either here or on my dissertation), so I decided to look back, and the last time I did a post like this was exactly one year ago today.

But here I am, once again on February 19th, once again staying in and getting real, albeit in different apartment, in a different zip code. And I still have trouble concentrating on writing when the TV is on and not muted.

Things here have been pretty normal, I guess. But only here.

Ever since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre last week – a Columbine for the 21st century – things have felt as eerie as they did back in the 1990s. Granted, I was only in elementary school and I did not understand its impact on American life as much as someone a few years older than me would have, but even so, the topic came up in my fifth grade classroom. I remember how it opened up an entire conversation of violence in schools. I remember the images from the news; the low-res CCTV camera footage of the shooters walking down the halls in trenchcoats, the still image of the library window, the video on the news of students in sweatshirts and turtlenecks running away from the camera, their hands covering their ears.

Things should have changed then, but obviously, they didn’t. It’s happened so many times since, at all types of schools, most prominently universities, but something of Columbine-like proportions occurring again – in almost the same manner, just at a different school in a different state – just makes a person feel like they live in an illogical, unfeasible, chaotic world, a world where something like this, which shouldn’t happen, happens. It’s interesting to note that once again, most of the deceased and most of the people speaking out are white, but that’s beside the point. At least this time, social media has captured the unseen angles, the perspectives of the students who were there, in clear and concrete photos, videos, and tweets, and it’s actually done some good for once, helping to spread the word of how these teenagers feel. Who knows what will come of this – sadly, probably nothing – but at least the higher level of visibility is keeping the issue afloat for longer, and reaching farther than Columbine did.

Today, at my office, the fire alarm went off. I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was packing up to go home anyway, so I just hustled a little bit to get my things together and get out of the building, but for a split second, I felt this weird fear, the same kind of fear I felt in the first fire drills after Columbine, and 9/11 (the day which, by the way, the electricity shorted out in my high school and the fire alarm set itself off and everyone went crazy for about ten minutes), and I silently wondered what it would have been like if it was something unthinkable. What would I have done? Hiding under the desk wouldn’t have done much good, at least had I not slammed my door shut first, which is locked from the outside, but who knows if I would have even had the time. All I would have had to defend myself would be a backpack full of books and my students’ work, and maybe two chairs if it came down to it. It’s a thought that now, sounds silly and strange. But due last week’s event, that fire alarm kicked in a reminder, if only for a few seconds, that we still live in a world where things like this can happen and do happen.

Say what you will about guns, mental illness, bullying, but point blank – whatever the reason, there is no excuse for mass shootings.

2

Social Media Saturation

So this year’s been off to some kind of start, on the blogging front…anyway, greetings from Milwaukee, where I just went to an APO meeting at Marquette University and am now procrastinating before I have to drive the one and a half hours home.

My parents came into town on Sunday, and since today was my mom’s birthday, we drove 2 hours north to Stevens Point, where one of my mom’s best friends lives, for a birthday lunch. As is traditional these days, I took pictures with my phone, immediately texted them to everyone at the table and posted them on my Facebook with fun captions. And watched the likes and comments roll in. Fun.

Last week, my wonderful friend Kate was in town from Australia, and I got the chance to sit an have a coffee with her for two hours. We had an amazing conversation, about school, life, religion, friends, everything under the sun. As I was walking down the street after we hugged goodbye, I realized that we hadn’t taken a picture together. Part of me wanted to turn around and chase her down to get one, but ultimately, the part of me that was frozen solid and just wanted to get to the library before my fingers fell off won out. Once I was in the library though, I logged onto Facebook, and was going to post something on my page about it, sans photo, but then I realized…

Who am I really posting it for?

Do I care that people know that we had coffee together? Not really. Do I want to make people jealous? No. Was this a crazy, momentous, life-changing event? To me, and hopefully her, it was, but…who else needs to know? And a photo? I know what she looks like and she knows what I look like. Is it like…if it’s not on social media, did it actually happen?

The answer to that one is yes. Remember the days when we didn’t have cameras at the ready 24/7, places to share pictures with everyone in the world, and even cell phones to know if someone was going to be late/cancel or not? In those days, no one cared if every little event in your life was documented. It says so much about our society today that we need to document every little thing, and hashtag it, and link it to every single platform and profile we have. True, I have a blog here, and I have a Facebook, but I mostly use Facebook because I like its interface, I like to use it to communicate with friends who are cities, or states, or countries away, and I have to admit, the way it organizes photos is neat and clean. Even though I feel like I’m always on social media, I still don’t have Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, or even Twitter. It’s like…do I really exist?

The not-so-much-of-a-point-point (aka whatever-don’t-listen-to-me-I-don’t-know) of this story is:s sometimes, it’s OK just to have happy memories of things, without all the documentation and self-paparazzi. Do what you want, but at the end of the day it’s about your experience, and not what you document of it, that makes it worth the memories.

Anyway. I ended up sending Kate a private message, just saying thanks for meeting up with me, I had fun, and I hope you did too, and then logging off and going back to (attempting to avoid) writing.