Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for June 2008

The waiting game is on. But it’s one in which I’m happy to be apart. There has been a feeling I’ve been waiting for, not a feeling of belonging but one of just being me. And I was. I made some mistakes and laughed at myself, I was met with helpfulness and they laughed at my jokes. I never had to explain anything further from my own train of thought because they appreciated it. And my personal philosophy of transparency is a value in which is lived.

I guess I win no matter what because I at least know a place like this exists. But I would walk 5 miles in 2 feet of snow just work with those people.

In the meantime, I’m going to try my best to distract myself with other things. Most notably, preparing for a conference in Nashville starting tomorrow.


I think this fog I’m in might be lifting. I have a tendency to find fog, when I think I need time, and pull it over like a warm security blanket. I fall off the grid a little, keep to myself but moreover operate within my own head until I can put words and thoughts to the feelings I’m going through. I’ve always done this and the solitude is something I seek. I excel at finding the fog in the midst of normal perfectly every day activities, working, seeing friends, being at a party. I find the fog briefly and then return to it when I can have time to sort it out.

I don’t like to share the fog with anyone else. It’s not that I don’t think other people might have their own fog too, it’s just my fog is so familiar to me, it is my comfort. I dare not let anyone in under my blanket as it only feels like room for one.

I had two really great phone calls this weekend. The first was with my best friend, the sister I chose for life. We’ve always been on the same wavelength, never have I felt such complete acceptance and understanding from a friend before. Lately though, we’ve just been off. Our wavelengths not far away from each other but not synching either. Yesterday during our two hour phone call, we found it. Both of us going through similar job hunts (of course) and her relationship concerns I went through a year or two earlier. Neither of us found the solution to what was aching us but I think the conversation gave us that warmth.

Then one of my favorite people I’ve met at grad school called. He worked in my office, was a senior and recently graduated. We gravitated to each other since we started our jobs in August. For whatever reason, he asked me questions about his life and plans and I just told him what I thought. Soon after he asked me to be his mentor. He’ll be leaving at the end of the summer to start graduate school in the same field as I. He is an amazing human being and I’m so glad we became friends. He called me tonight to tell me he missed me and that he was talking about me to a neighbor who happens to be a Chancellor of a college in his town. (Oh, and he was cast in his local production of High School Musical, naturally). We spent an hour catching up in the three weeks since we last saw each other. The last time I saw him was our farewell lunch, he was leaving a few days later. As we were saying goodbye, I realized I didn’t know when I’d see him again as our paths were taking us into separate directions. We hugged each other and I got choked up and told him I wasn’t saying good bye because I’d see him soon. He whispered, “I hope you know how much you meant to me this year. Your future students are so lucky.”

I am almost a month from graduating with a Master’s degree. I am no smarter than I was a year ago, although my brain does process differently. While I did learn a lot in the classroom, and I made APA style *my* bitch, the greatest things I learned had nothing to do with my profession, but rather with myself. I’ve learned that my gut instinct is almost never wrong, that my worth is greater than I know, friendships are not to be taken lightly and that I cannot continue to be so private and expect them to be healthy, a loving relationship must not overpower my own individuality and my biggest accomplishment is finding my own truth, and having faith in that truth.

I have no idea where my next path will take me. I will never admit this to my family and friends but it breaks my heart that I will not be going back to Chicago, I am devastated my life did not take hold while I lived there, like it’s done for so many others. Yet, I have gotten everything I’ve ever wanted for myself, and I’m not so sure Chicago was what I wanted, deep in my soul, I think I knew something would be waiting elsewhere. I think it could have been the easy way out, the perfectly wrapped gift, perhaps the one that looks pretty on the outside but goes unused in the corner of my room, collecting dust. Perhaps, I’ll never know. But in life, given the option of choosing safe over the unknown, I choose the unknown, always have.

My new life could be down the road, in a fantastically cultural and healthy city in Indiana. It could lie just over the Appalachian mountains, in a burgeoning metropolis with an university experience completely opposite of my own but with great vision. Or just maybe it lies in the East Bay, off of the San Francisco Bay, in a studio apartment, without a car, and truly forcing me to shed some of my own baggage and taking a risk.

I’ll know soon enough. But for right now, I’m going to enjoy this period of not knowing, celebrating the accomplishments and dreaming of the possibilities. Whereever I end up, I know my fog will join me. But perhaps I won’t need the fog as much as I thought.

Hi. I’m currently typing from a computer on a campus in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have an interview here in about 3 hours. My suit is packed in my carry-on and I smell. Also, I paid for my own flight here to interview. (which, in this biz of higher ed, is UNHEARD of. My professor, who I advised on whether or not I should, told me I was the first person he’s heard of that did not get their on campus interview paid for. Awesome. If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m the first in a some other categories, more health related, still nothing to be proud of, so being the first, in this case, again just is par for the course).

The job is one I’m interested in, had a great phone interview, and basically people, I just want OPTIONS. So last week in the span of 24 hours I got one phone call to ask me to interview, hours later I did over the phone, hours after that I was trying to find flights – 5 days before. My professor said to look it as an investment. I prefer to look at it like the haircut and the Wii Fit I had saved up to purchase. Whatev.

Except for the fact that when I called the day after to confirm the interview was do-able on my budget, the boss guy told me it would be ONE HOUR. I booked a 6am flight (why, god, does EVERYTHING have to go through Atlanta?? I just dont’ understand it) to get home by midnight tonight for ONE HOUR. Also, I have no idea where I’m going because they didn’t tell me and it’s a good thing I’m so gosh darn nosy because I pretty much stalked the boss-man to find out where his office is, memorized the campus map and will show up at 3pm.

I realize that if this is indicative of how the place runs, it may not be the right place for me. But I like adventures and I especially like adventurers where I can rent a car and explore/look at stuff off the main road I need to be on – it’s cool. So I’m here.

However, the recent events of this morning made me realize I am a stubborn little b*tch and actually I’m sort of asking myself: This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. Am I right? Am I wrong? MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE??

(and yes, I recite Talking Heads whenever I’m super confused, I find it makes me laugh, and then feel better)

And you would too if you had to go through the National Lampoon’s goes to Charlotte trip I went on this morning:

1. I had to wake up at 3am to leave the house on time to drive the hour and a half to get to the airport

2. I left at 3:45am

3. I went “to bed” at midnight but I actually fell asleep at 2:50am. YUP. I worry because I’m awesome and therefore I don’t sleep when I’m worried/excited.

4. There was a typhoon hitting Indiana early in the morning and mother effing 18 wheeler trucks going at least 75 on the highway. I only went 60-65 even though it’s a 70mph zone b/c well, I was EXHAUSTED and I didn’t want to DIE but I thought I might because everytime one of those stupid trucks past me it would kick up so much water that it literally was going OVER my car.

5. Totally got IN the airport at 5:20 – my flight was at 5:57am – but I have made it to the Indy airport with literally 10 minutes to spare and made the flight so I wasn’t worried.

6. Until I got to the 500 person (no joke) LINE for security. It wrapped around two corridors. Except if you paid membership fees in to the “club” – then you could go into the retinal scan and get in, in like 30 secs (having the gov’t own a picture of my retinas… uh, no thanks) However it went by kinda fast.

7. Until I got ready to put my bins on the cool roller things into the conveyor belt and the guy in front of me had to empty EVERYTHING out of his bag one by one into separate bins. If he was building legos, he would have gone faster. Then everyone started cutting in line in front of him (and me). That was AWESOME. I LOVE PEOPLE.

8. I had about 0 minutes left till my plane left but I had faith. Man did I have FAITH!

9. Then I got to my gate, in about 2 seconds and I see a couple standing at the counter. And then I see my plane pulling away from the gate. People, I can NOT reiterate this enough. I have flown a lot. I was a chapter consultant for my international sorority (whoo! Canada!) – I went to 33 different chapters and between going home on breaks and flying from one end of the country to the other every 5 days, I flew about 75 times in 9 months. Plus some other flights here and there in years after. I.have.never.missed.a.flight. NEVER.

10. And as I was waiting for the gate agent to finish booking the couple in front of me on a direct flight to Vegas for a $25 fee, (yet they were flying to ATL first, too. What the H?) this happened:

Elderly Lady going to Vegas: Those damn security lines screwed us over!

Me: Unless you had the retinal scan, then you could go through just fine.

Elderly Man going to Vegas: RECTAL EXAM????(!!!!!)

Me: (pause) Yeah… I’d almost rather do that. (WTF. MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE!)

11. Then rectal man and wife left and it was my turn. Now, I wasn’t worried about getting on another flight because I had until about 2pm to get here and make it to my interview (although I needed to write a paper during my waiting time) and when I had checked the airline previously there were like 4 options that would have gotten me here by then but the earliest happened to be the cheapest. Well, the airline that rhymes with MairTran totally lies (Joe LIESSSSSSSSSS, Joe liesssssssssss (I do this too when someone says the word “lies”)). There was only one flight after mine and it would have gotten me in by 4pm. When my interview would end.

This is the point where my stubbornness kicks in, I could have just gone home, gotten some sleep, worked on my project and called here and said sorry. But dammit, I paid for that stupid ticket, and I was at the airport and so I did what anyone else would do. I bought a one way ticket to Greensboro, NC. Double checked with MairTran that my return flight I already checked in on, would still let me fly (the peeps at U.S. Mairways freaked me out). Greensboro was about $1200 cheaper than flying into Charlotte so I did it and consoled myself that I’d have a one and a half hour drive (I freakishly adore road trips) and I’d still make it.

12. Get it all squared a way and enter a new security line, much, much, MUCH shorter. However, the guy that checked my ID and ticket told me I was special. Thinking he saw my birthday (because it is SPECIAL to the point everyone makes a comment about it when they see it special) I said, “Thank you”. Then he goes, “No, honey, you are really special, like special screened.”

Yup, I was the airline security equilivalent of riding the short yellow bus special. Apprently there is some rule that if you buy a ticket within 24 hours of your flight you go on some special watch list. And you have to stand in a special section, that is marked RESTRICTED with a special rope. All by yourself. And although I knew it was just protocol, I was instantly regretting that I watched Brokedown Palace the other weekend.

13. So literally 15 minutes after standing in my special section ALONE, my new plane was boarding. I mean, HELLO, what if I had been a threat or something, you don’t just leave them alone. Anyway, some lady came over and took me somewhere else and I got a pat down. Then some guy went through my bag, my laptop and my carry-on with tampons, which was awesome. I wasn’t even embarassed! Although he seemed more embarassed by my Lady Speed Stick in the pocket. Whatev.

14. I’m clear of my special status and I join the very last group boarding the plane… wait for it… to CHARLOTTE. That’s right. I was flying into Charlotte to get my connecting flight to Greensboro to then drive to Charlotte. I was like, What the HELL? So I asked a flight attendant if I could just leave when I got to Charlotte and not even bother to go to Greensboro, considering that’s where I have to be in the first place, but I didn’t want a lifetime of special watch list. She said it would be fine, so I was excited.

15. Until I got to my seat, where some girl was sitting in between two guys she clearly wanted to sit next to, so I had to ask her what seat was hers so I could sit there instead. She had no idea. Seriously PEOPLE, get with the program. So then while I waited for her to figure out her life, I had to try to find a place to put my carry on in the overhead compartments, which were ALL FULL. Also, I must illustrate the scene. I am tall and I am broad in the shoulders, I also have some pointy elbows. Also, I am not coordinated. I literally just said “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry…” as I was walking up and down the aisles running into peoples’ knees with my carry-on, my bag/purse hit a couple shoulders, my elbow grazed some people’s hair. You get the idea.

16. As the plane was taxiing, the chick finally figured out her seat, 17B. 17B was smack in the middle of two big dudes. One dude  kinda big, the other dude REALLLLLL big. Like so big he set his arms folded on his belly and slept the entire way. When he got out to let me squeeze in, I seriously thought I was being Punk’d, like at any minute Ashton was going to pop out with cameras and then everyone would laugh, and then I’d say to the camera, “haha, I got Punk’d” and then they’d usher me to first class where I’d have the nice flight attendant who told me I could ditch on Greensboro.

Nope. First big dude stared out the window like he’d had a long lost cloud for a pet as a boy and REAL big dude slept with arms folded on his belly. It worked out fine until REAL big dude started snoring and then later was speaking some language (I think Portuguese?). I thought he was on his Bluetooth, he sounded so demanding. Nope. Just sleeping.

16. So I finally got off the plane with some sleep a full hour and a half before I had originally planned to arrive.

Also, I got insurance on my rental car, just in case.

This thing better BE worth it!

And also, this might be the DUMBEST of dumb decisions I have ever made.

But new story, BONUS.

Except this.

So I’ve got this neighbor guy. (not what you think, although that would be nice/awkward but not with this one). I’ve seen him on and off in the 9 months I’ve lived here. Our garages share a driveway.

Friday night was the start of Extreme Weather ’08. Where every rain cloud somehow ended up as a tornado and the weather guys on TV surely felt like rock stars because they broke into regular programming from 8pm until 3am straight to report on things like wind velocity.

Anyway, I went outside to do something and I saw him, I said hello and asked something about where we were located (I know where I’m located but I have NO IDEA about the counties around us in Indiana) and the tornado warnings. So then he shares his info on the weather and then pulls out his GPS/Blackberry to pull up the radar and SHOWS me. I was like, uh, you could just said “no, it’s not coming towards us.” Felt invasive a little. But I’m sensitive to personal space, so I’m sure it wouldn’t have bothered anyone else.

Since Friday night, I probably see the guy at least 10 times a day. When I’m leaving go to go work, come home to work, go to class, take out the garage, have a stress induced cigarette, you get the idea. He’s either out there smoking or just sitting in one of the two chairs they have inside his garage. (I thought only old men did this?). Definitely get the gay vibe though and not attracted in the least if he’s not.

So I just go out to my car because I left my phone in there and I see him AGAIN. Seriously. And my thought was “This guy totally likes me.” WTF. Where did *that* come from, egotistical much? Then I had the most random memory:

A week after graduating college, I flew alone to meet up with 3 of my friends from high school in Europe. The four of us backpacked together for 2 weeks, and then 2 of them flew home leaving my other friend (well call her Lindsay Healey) and I for the remainder of the month.

Lindsay and I were definitely friends but I didn’t know her as well as the others. Still, she was easy going and so was I, so it worked well. Until about a week into our trip with just the two of us.

We were in London at a really busy/touristy cafe near Buckingham Palace. The place was fricking packed. Lindsay and I were sitting at a table across from each other – she was facing the entrance and I was facing a mirror, so obviously I could see an entrance. At the exact same time, both of us looked up, we spotted the HOTTEST guy ever walk into the cafe. Clearly, because the entrance was where it was he was facing Lindsay, he could have been looking at himself in the mirror, for a hostess to get seated, for friends or anything. I mean it was crowded and confusing and loud. Lindsay goes, “That guy is totally looking at me, definitely checking me out!” I was like, WTF, over? Seriously??

I mention this because that was the strongest memory that came back to me, but also it was not the first time, she had said something while we were backpacking. Our group of friends always joked that “Everybody’s in love with Lindsay” because she was so insistent about it. I didn’t know her as well as the others so I didn’t think she was actually serious about it. The last day of my trip, we were in Munich, leaving a pub, and a guy I had been making eye contact all night, followed us out the door shouting in English with a German accent, “STOP!!” to LIndsay and I. Being smart girls, we just kept going and out the door. He followed. “Girls!” he said. We turned around. He walked up me and asked, “What’s your name?” I told him. He smiled and went back inside. On our way back to the train, Lindsay exclaimed, “OH MY GOD!! I can’t believe that guy actually stopped me! He had been looking at me all night!”

Directly after London, we took the train to Amsterdam, a place I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back without being nauseous after the display I put my liver on during my 18 hour stay there. We had arrived with no place to stay (as was the norm for us) and met some girls who had just graduated from UVA in the train station. They told us their hostel wasn’t sold out, so we walked back with them to the hostel and got a room. They came and found us and said they were meeting some friends at the Irish pub next door so we went over to meet them. Couple guys and girls, it was pretty fun after we all drank enough to get over the whole “You people are complete strangers and I’ll never see you again” thing.

Lindsay was sitting next to a guy in this group. He was definitely flirting with her (and she had every right to say he liked her, because it was obvious) but for the first time in history, she had no idea. He had been ordering shots for the table all night. Finally the (cute) Irish bartender gives just Lindsay a shot. Only her and told her in his cute Irish accent, that a mystery man had sent it to her. Well, if Lindsay had only looked to her right, she would have found her mystery man. I mean COME ON! It was so obvious to all of us and I would have just told her, but I didn’t want to embarrass her. Lindsay was convinced it was the Irish bartender who sent her the shot, and HE LIKED her. The guy (and true mystery man because his friend told me, a fact I had shared with her later, which she didn’t believe) wanted all of us to go out dancing. I like pubs and I like Kilkenny, made by Guiness, more so I didn’t really want go and Lindsay decided her goal in life was to get the Irish bartender to acknowledge he, in fact, was the mystery man. The guy finally gave up and the group left to go clubbing.

That left Lindsay and I by ourselves. Correction, that left me by MYSELF at this big table. Because by this point, Lindsay was so far on her quest to get the bartender to admit that he sent the shot, and therefore in fact he liked her, that she was harrassing him at the bar, in front of the bar, she actually got behind the bar to talk to him and about an hour later as he was running back and forth from the basement up to bar, I actually saw Lindsay clothesline him.

But don’t worry about me, I wasn’t by myself for long. Two Australian men came up to me to ask if I knew the crazy girl who at that point was crawling on top of the bar to talk to the bartender. They sat down and the rest is history (and never to be told. but ew, not what you are thinking). God, I love Australia.

Anyway, Lindsay would come by the table every so often saying things like “He is so cute!!” and then my favorite, “Get this! His name is LARRY HEALEY!! How perfect is that??” I was like “Uhhhhh. Lindsay, you could be RELATED! Gross.” That really didn’t stop her because about an hour or so later, one of the Australians goes, “hey, isn’t that your friend making out with the bartender?” Yep, yes it was. And then about hours (time didn’t really exist at this point) later, I realized I hadn’t gotten a Lindsay update in awhile (the last one has been “I think, after you leave Europe, instead of meeting my friends in France, I’m going to come back here to see Larry”). I searched the bar and then asked the Aussies if they had seen her. “Yeah,” one of them said, “I saw her leave the bar with the bartender awhile ago.” SERIOUSLY. Without telling me, and in Europe with a guy/potential relative, went home with him, we had no cell phones. (which I found out was actually a 45 minute train ride away in a house he shared with 12 guys)

It ended up okay/traumatic as she didn’t show up until after our check out time, hours before our train was leaving for Berlin. Thinking my friend was dead, I had packed up our room, all her stuff and my stuff and fortunately found one of the UVA girls to stash our stuff in their room while I was waiting for the pub to open to get the Larry Healey’s phone number. The pub was closed and Lindsay returned, in one piece, just as I was trying to get the number for the US Embassy from the front desk.

The best part was not that we waited for the pub to open to say good bye and for the lovers/relatives to exchange email addresses (very circa 2000) or the Sunday we wasted in Berlin going to every internet cafe possible hoping one would be open so she could see if he emailed her. The best part was after she said her tearful (I’m serious) goodbye, having learned absolutely zero lessons, she looked down at the email address and said, “Oh my god. His name is BARRY. It’s not Larry!”

So yeah… I haven’t thought about that in years, except for the 85 times I told the story to my friends when I got home. Crazy.

If I were to speak in generalizations about an inflated ego, the Moral Story would be this: Friends don’t let friends go to Notre Dame or they might think they are such hot shit that they convince themselves a false reality does exist and end up sleeping with their 9th cousin.

P.S. The journal I kept from this trip is INSANE, hysterical, and really self-involved. It shall burn when I die.


musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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