Friday, September 26, 2008

This is why they don't let me out in public.

The hazards of coming back to your Small City are numerous. Many of these hazards can really be boiled down, for me, to "YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S EYES ARE EVERYWHERE" or, for the goy, "why aren't you married yet? I CAN SEE YOU! I CAN SEE YOU WILLFULLY NOT BEING MARRIED OVER THERE."

Other hazardous situations: running into old high school teachers in the grocery store but not being sure if they remember you. Not being as motivated to find Cool Things To Do because you're already So Over This Town. Feeling like you're 12.

Or, as tonight illustrated: going out and seeing random people you grew up with but with whom you now have a murky and difficult to define relationship that you feel should maybe be a friendship but it's not like you know each other or anything it's more, "Holy crap! We did high school theater together!" or, you know, "holy crap - I HAD A CRUSH ON YOU IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! You were so rebellious!" or even, "holy crap - I had a crush on YOU, TOO in elementary seriously. I think I dooodled your name with a heart around it. I hope you cannot see that in my expression. This one time, I took YOUR school picture and ANDY'S school picture and I taped them to different soccer statues and pretended that they were you guys and you were my boyfriends which, REALLY, was kind of creative for a second grader...and also sort of like I built a freaky shrine to you.'s that tattoo coming along now...buddy?"

These, my friends, are the hazards of moving back to your small town.

In other news, when we accidentally ended up at this hole-in-the-wall-barbecue-resturaunt-turned-bar tonight, I was pleased. I was doubly pleased because the dude playing SOULFUL ACCOUSTIC GUITAR was totally square-jaw-perfect-teeth-ed and smiled at us. Then he played some more. Soulfully. I bought his CD and we talked about how he met his girlfriend at a college hypnotist's show and then his shirt was a Shakespeare reference and we are totally going to be friends, you don't even know, guys! You don't even know.

Soulful. Acoustic. Guitar.

So, sometimes when my friend Will plays guitar while sitting under trees in quads and things, I go up to him and say stuff like, "Oh, hello ladies. I did not even notice you standing there, ladies, listening to my soulful guitar. I suppose, ladies, if you so choose you can, like, you know, stay and listen. Whatever. I don't care, it's all about the music. I was certainly not playing for you - but more for my soul. You may notice I play the acoustic guitar - I feel it expresses me...soulfully."

This is not exactly the emotion I feel towards Adorable Russell Howard. ARH does not appear to be a douche at all, really.

I think we should, you know, hold hands and talk about our feelings.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jacket weather, AHOY!

I never know how to write electrified posts - posts that I sort of want to just...emit. Virginia's been smelling like fall off and on since a few days before the last time I went up to visit Kate and talked with that guy, Rick, on their back porch. I can't remember exactly which weekend it was, some time in August and we, being good party guests, were attempting to talk about the weather. It was just starting to get chilly at night - the way Virginia can tease you with fall weeks before you're ready for summer to be over, charging the nights with something that only dances around the subject in late afternoons. I love these seasons.

Happy first day of fall is, in essence, the moral of that story.

Mary and I began meeting with students last week and so far it's an exercise in hoping I actually know as much as I pretend to know. While there's part of me which says, "honey - you're doing your best, and you've been through this process, and you're reading. You know as much as you can, don't fret." There's this other part of me that can't shake the feeling that I'm playing ball with these kids lives. And that's the thing - they're kids, they're four years younger than I am and kids. I just want to wrap them all up in hugs and say, "don't you dare forget a minute of the next few years of your life - you're growing so much faster than you realize. Don't you dare take the hardship and the heartache for granted. It's pretty rad, all things considered."

The first kid who came to see us, all of his own accord, (let's call him "Matt" - and understand from here on out, all students will receive pseudonyms) will still probably always be my favorite. His enthusiasm and his complete trust that we knew something he didn't, he couldn't, were just so enchanting - he is the reason I'm in this job, in so many ways. He's also (one of) the (many) reasons this job petrifies me. What do I know, really? I still have huge doubts about my own college choice, delighted as I was with the experience. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I have no 5 year plans. Matt has a plan up through the PhD - and, yes, I know his Sparkly Little Plan (full of life and twinkle guys - you have no idea. These kids twinkle like none others, they all do - just full of sparkle in this mischievous and excited way) will probably change between know and the English PhD + masters in teaching but, geez, at least the kid has a goal!

My life plans include:
- Being happy
- Maybe writing along the way
- Interacting with people
- Never aging because I cannot fathom this kind of indecision in anyone much older than I, but can also not fathom any sort of decisive action. Also I don't like that the pop icons keep getting younger. WHIPPERSNAPPRERS!

Just FYI: I also need to write an entry about TEENAGE VAMPIRES IN LOVE but, you know, I'm getting tired. And I can really only listen to that one deadlines song a few hundred times a day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The rumors are true!

Yes, Dear Readers, the rumors are true. It is safe to say that I spend a good 10-20% of my life with this song stuck in my head.

No. Joke. Any time you seen me, there's a greater chance that I'm secretly singing this song than almost anything else. (With my carrots, and my celery!)

In other news, I was just remembering this time my good friend "Fauxarly" "lost" this submission to a publication she was working on. At the time, I was upset by these actions - but just the other day I was thinking about it, and I was suddenly filled with the Warmth Of Being Loved. In other news, I was just remembering that Fauxarly is pretty much a Rad Friend, 2damax.

There are lots of updates about The Job - which is auspicious sounding indeed, but I am exhausted 24/7 these days, and haven't really made topical-and-relevant blogposts the number 1 priority.

(Captain Vegetable, however, IS always with me. Always. You don't even understand, dudes and dudettes. You don't even understand.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Did you know those "shake it" boys are (1)boys (2)in some way related to Miley Cyrus?

I'm hesitant to write this entry because I kind of like the last one, and I don't want it to be overlooked. It is full of ire! Serious ire! It's not that well written or insightful or anything - but it's full of ire! So, yes. There you go.

You know what else I like? Love, even? Country and pop-punk songs written for teenagers.

L.O.V.E. I am a sucker for unadulterated emotion. I will make fun of it 'till the cows come home, but I love it with a part of my heart reserved for closet-unconditional-love. I love songs that sound like the accompanying music video should feature Young People Just Like You riding in a car at night with the windows down. I love that Taylor Swift song, "Our Song." I love that Boys Like Girls song, "The Great Escape." I love much of the Guster, Better than Ezra, and Eve 6 canons. [For the record, my father fussed at me the other day for this use of the word "canon." First and foremost, I think it's technically a grammatically acceptable use of the word - I am talking about the entire collection of an artist's work. Secondly, I know that it's not a traditional use of the word - helloooooooo iiiirrroooonnnyyyyyyyyyy. Le duuuuuhhhhhhhhhh.]

I love these songs for the same reason I love many things - their heartfelt passion. Of course it's cliche, that's why it's so damn good. Cliches get a bad rap, all things considered, the reason that they're cliche is that they're true. Cliches don't develop around things we don't all individually (secretly) feel we Feel More Truly Than Anyone Else In The History Of Ever. Cliches develop around things that are, time after time, essentially real and true to all of us.

I challenge the most mature, zen, Above It All person to tell me that teenage love wasn't a roller-coaster of a bitch that they hated but probably wouldn't give up for the world. Pop punk and sweet little country songs just hit that nail on the head - the "oh shit, teenage" nail.

It's cute. I like it. It means something real, even if it doesn't mean something original.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dudes who think cat-calling is funny, listen up.

Dear Dudes of the Universe,

I am displeased with you. For realz, yo. Sure, Dudes, I guess it's a little lame to blame you all for the actions of One Dude (or One Dude and ACCOMPLICE) but - dems da breaks. The way we culture you is exceedingly displeasing to me right now.

Dudes, you may be asking yourselves, "what did one of our number do?" I will gladly illuminate. As I was walking Georgia today, one of your number pulled up to a large intersection where I, too, was waiting to cross. He rolled down his window and yelled (across three lanes of traffic), "hey sexy!"

I was kind of freaked out. Cat calling is weird - I used to find it kind of flattering, but now I just find it degrading and like it's mocking me. I am always positive the Cat Calling Dude was triple-dog-dared right before he yelled at me, and THAT doesn't make me feel awesome. It's alarming, it's intimidating, and it makes me feel like by merely existing in the world I am somehow being Too Provocative. It also makes me feel unsafe and like you're really super duper making fun of me. Dudes -Cat Calling is not my favorite. Just, keep that one in mind.

Well, I rolled my eyes and turned to cross the road in the other direction, and Cat Calling Dude shouts, "Don't roll your eyes at me - all you have to do is say 'hi' or something." I, feeling guilty (and threatened! Dudes Who Cat Call - you have loud voices and cars! You have the position of power!) said "hey!"

Cat Calling Dude, "Now was that so hard? You know if I had been a white guy, you would've loved me to say something to you."

Let's pause here for a collective W.T.F.!? For starters, I think you should know - Cat Calling Dude was BY FAR the cutest guy to ever cat call me - except for his jerkitude, he was an attractive guy. So, really, if we're talking about guys I'd respond well to - this guy is topping the list. I responded badly not because there was something empirically physically that I responded poorly to - BUT BECAUSE HE WAS FUCKING HARASSING ME WHILE I WAS TRYING TO WALK MY DOG.

Just because I DO NOT WANT YOU YELLING AT ME ON THE STREET does not make me racist! I want to drop the jokey tone for a second because I'm really fucking offended. The more I think about this, the more offended I become. I cannot control the global gaze as it pertains to my body - I accept this. I can, however, control how I respond to that gaze, and I don't have to love it. To assert that there's NO way I would want to respond positively to any guy who sexualizes me on the street unless I had some more nefarious rationale is positively sickening.

I yelled back, "No. Sorry. I have a boyfriend."

He said, "Oh. Sorry."

1. What the fuck was I supposed to say "Hey - wanna fuck? You just yelled at me on the street, so I'd like to hop in your car and have sex with you now." Huh? What would he have accepted as the "proper" response to something like that?

2. I should not need a make believe boyfriend in order to deflect creepazoids on the street. How the fuck do you make me feel so frightened and guilty?

Gah. GAAAHHH. So freaking obnoxious.

Dudes - do not be like the dude who yelled at me today. You're better than that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day three of Actual Time In The Classroom (not sitting in training meetings or visiting colleges) and the to-do lists are starting to look pathetic.

By noon we're struggling to stretch our last few activities into hour-long ordeals and surfing the College Board and ACT websites for New And Exciting Information for Students that we didn't know we needed to know.

There is a cricket living in the far corner of our office here at Fleming and the melancholy call of an insect who has come inside at the first brush with fall to die here in the warmth is the ideal soundtrack to our activities. That sentence is in desperate need of more punctuation but the depths of my despair are such that I cannot even think about semicolons or commas right now; the writing, it must flow from my despairing fingers! (That semicolon was okay because it was an organic semicolon, not one imposed after the fact. That semicolon was okay, because I am fickle with my punctuation - like I am fickle with my use of the word "despair.")

We want to be productive. We want to be helpful. We want to do this job about which we are so excited. We are, however, but two young women - we can create but so many tasks for ourselves before we're finally allowed to meet students and speak in classrooms and actually talk to our advisers. I know that the beginning of the school year is incredibly stressful for the heads of guidance - it seems like every third student needs his or her schedule changed - but it's also stressful for us if we can't do anything because everyone else is too busy.

Some day...some day we'll have a real job with students and everything.

In the mean time...we wait. We take online assessment tests we will (hypothetically) one day offer to our students. We learn that when we're paid, it's going to be a very small sum and sent to our schools where no one knows who we are or that we have post boxes.

Our cricket chimes in with the sounds of a Spanish I class being taught down the hall. The bell rings so loudly we jump involuntarily. The school day goes on, despite us.

Here's some clip art!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spread the word, this is Big Time News

If there was any doubt before about my status as A Person Who Works In The Schools it is now official.

I, School-Faring Woman that I am, just created a document with clip-art to jazz it up. There's a woman with a big question mark and a dude with a graduation cap and EVERYTHING.

I even searched the online clip-art data-base for "question mark" and almost used a stick-figure silhouette doing triumph arms.

Check back - in a few days I bet I'll be super into power-point slide transitions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Read this entry with a Bye Bye Birdie-esque voice in mind.

Dear Diary,

Wow! It's been a wild time, this last week! Diary - there's so much going on, I haven't even been sure what to write in you (no! don't worry! I haven't forgotten about you!)! I just don't know where to start, Diary! Since I know how much you love pop-culturally-relevant organizational structures, let's categorize this entry into the good, the bad, and the ugly, shall we?

The Good:

Well, Diary, there's been a lot of good this past week! For starters Mary and I met up with some of my friends from Arlington and trucked down to the beach for Labor Day weekend. Oh, Diary, you would have loved it - there was taboo, and ill-advised-night-swimming, and a hot tub and EVERYTHING. Diary - it was an x-treme slumber party, only...with 20 people in a house many of whom I didn't know and one of whom I accidentally got nicknamed "Hot Kevin." I...I don't believe "Hot Kevin" and I ever actually exchanged words. Diary, trust me, that story is nowhere near as interesting as it sounds - but I like to pretend anyway.

Anyhoo, Diary, after the Fun Times And Constant Adventures of our Totally Radical Beach Bonanza, Mary and I returned to the 'noke for the official First Day Of School. We sat in our office and told kids we weren't the math department and EVERYTHING. The first day was a littel scary, Diary, I'll admit (wait for "the bad"), but we survived. Yesterday and today we spent in training related to our job - we've now got more concrete goals in place, as well as access to student records and official passwords and such. Before long I think we're going to be rolling along at a good clip here, Diary. Before long, we're actually going to feel like we are Real Employees with Real Jobs. Maybe they'll even actually send us a pay check, one of these days. Diary - a girl can dream.

The Bad:
Diary, I have a confession to make: this label is deceptive! I'm just going to talk about things I already mentioned in "the good" but show their flip sides. Diary, I am not good at artificially imposed organizational structures.

While, at the end of the day, I think we were able to make pretty good use of Tuesday at Fleming, amongst the student hoards, things were looking pretty rocky there for a little while. After we spent a good hour cleaning and organizing our office, Mary and I looked around and tried to figure out what our next step should be upon which we came to a series of realizations. In short no one:
  • Knew who we were
  • Knew what we were doing there
  • Knew where we were supposed to be
  • Knew when we were supposed to be there
  • Knew what we needed from them
  • Knew what they needed from us
  • Knew that we really really really aren't interns
This, Diary, could have been scary timez. Similarly, but differently, this could have been Slacker Timez. Thwarting both the scary and the slacker, Miss Mary and I cooly, calmly, and collectedly compiled a to-do list, and went about to-doing it. Furthermore we discovered several of our direct allies on the Fleming campus, the college and carreers sections of the library, that we are in love with everyone we've met so far, and that the class-change bell rings unnecessarily loudly. Diary, it could have been The Bad, but instead, it was The Productive.

Diary, you may feel a bit as if I am tooting our own horn. To that I say merely: toot-toot.

The Ugly:
Diary, I got a little extra sun on my face, and it's lightly peeling these days. This is not metaphorically ugly - but literally so!

Also, Mary and I convinced ourselves that we wanted to watch Drew Barrymore and Eric "There is nothing interesting, compelling, or talented about me - but I do have very nice hair" Bana in Lucky You last night. This, Diary, was a poor choice of great magintude.

Now, Mary and I knew that Lucky You probably wasn't going to be great, and we also have fairly high standards when it comes to our Chick Flicks. We don't like to boast but, well, I'd consider us Chick Flick connosiours. But, Diary, much as even a seasoned fancy-resturaunt-reviewer (those people have job titles, but I can't be bothered to look it up) still probably likes chicken nuggets and jell-o salad from time to time, we can appreciate a truely bad flick of the chick variety. Lucky You wasn't bad in the, "so bad it's good" way, was just bad. Really bad. Drew Barrymore was cute, but also her wardrobe was often brought to you by The Nineties. And, while I know my feelings on Eric Bana are so difficult to decipher, I just do not get why people find him interesting, compelling, or talented. (Dear Cor: I know I haven't seen Munich. BUT I HAVE SEEN Troy, The Hulk, and Lucky You. THREE STRIKES!) Also the writing wasn't great. Also I think they cut out all the scenes where relationships were built believably. Also I do not understand poker well enough to get it as a detailed metaphoric structure. Also, I was too busy whining about how I didn't like the movie to enjoy the good parts, I am betting.

Finally, and non-relatedly, my need to be A Real Grown Up Who Is Older And More Mature Than High School Students during the day has led me to drastic, drastic measures in my off time. Today, I wrote out this phrase: "kute boiz." Yes, Diary, it was in irony - but "kute"?! That's...that's not even actual teen slang. That's just dumb.