Monday, September 14, 2009

Take Two

It's been almost two years since I've blogged... For shame.

I'm not exactly sure why I stopped. I think I started growing and changing and didn't know enough about myself to write clearly in a journal, let alone express things to the world [wide web].

But it's recently hit me: I'm never going to know everything about myself. And that's the point. But writing a blog can help me figure it out. (...and, to be embarrassingly honest, seeing Julie & Julia might have given me the nudge I needed.)

So... I'm back!* Older, wiser, snarkier. I may not know everything about myself or life in general, but I'll have a heck of a good time trying to work it out. I hope you'll join me!

*Julia Child recipes not included.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I've Been Really Bad at This Blog Thing

Note to Self: Get better.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Delightful Barry

There is nothing in this world that makes me more uncomfortable than pulling up beside a homeless man standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign. Not because I'm nervous about what he'll do, but because I simply feel awkward and...helpless. Helpless because as much as I want to help this man, I know that my handful of odd change truly won't make a difference in his life.

So I tend to get flustered. Do I busy myself with my cell phone in an attempt to ignore him and therefore feel like a bitch? Or do I stare out at him from the comfort of my car like he's an intriguing museum exhibit? Neither option feels right.

This constant dilemma causes 90 seconds of red light to feel like eternity.

But as trite as it may be, to every rule there is an exception, and my exception is Barry.

Barry is an older black man who roams a three-block area near my office building. With a single glance, it's apparent that he's suffering from some kind of mental illness. All day long, he lopes up and down the sidewalk and grins like he hasn't a care in the world. But he doesn't just stop there.

I haven't figured out how he does it, but every few days, Barry has a new prop. One day he'll be dancing on the corner wearing a motocross helmet, the next he'll be happily sqweeging people's windshields while they're stopped at red lights. I've seen him wear a cut-open rubber chicken, an old-fashioned bowler hat and rubber gloves with a surgeon's cap. (I'm still waiting to see a lampshade...)

Because I pass his intersection several times in a day, Barry now recognizes me. Most of the time, if I'm stopped at the light, he'll tap on my window and wave enthusiastically to me. His genuine, smiling face can truly make my day.

Barry delights me. Despite his hard circumstances, his upbeat attitude never seems to waiver. To Barry, the world is a party and he obviously sees himself as the life of it.

Barry makes me feel both blessed...and ungrateful for my blessings. No matter what petty worry is on my mind—credit card bills, work stuff, relationship problems—it takes a single smile from Barry to snap me back to reality. Strange to say, but I honestly wish I was more like him.

Minus the rubber chicken hat.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pops Rocks

Last night, I called my dad to vent about adult responsibilities (read: car maintenance) when we somehow got on the topic of youthful tomfoolery. And he started telling stories.

When my dad was my age, he played in a popular local band with none other than Dennis Haskins of Mr. Belding fame. (It's true. I've seen the pictures of Mr. Belding sporting bellbottoms and hair.)

Their band apparently had quite the cult following and they therefore "had an easy time with the ladies" (I didn't ask for specifics). Since the band members lived together, the party usually moved to their place after the shows ended and the bars closed.

Sometimes they'd legitimately be tired and want the groupie roadwhores to just go home. So instead of being upfront and simply asking the ladies to leave, they came up with hilarious schemes to discourage any more partying. My personal favorites are 1) drooling beer out of their mouths and then pretending to seize, 2) dumping buckets of water into the toilet while making horrible vomiting noises and 3) setting off the fire alarm.

No wonder I've been a troublemaker since day one. It's in my blood.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Balancing Act

The thing I’ve struggled most with in my twenties is faith.

There. It’s been said.

I realize that while religion isn’t exactly the coolest thing to blog about, it’s probably the most controversial. Honestly, I respect whatever your feelings and opinions are on the topic. Maybe you have the fire of the Lord in your soul and want to tell the world. Or maybe you think the Bible is an out-of-date book that fits better in a library than your lifestyle.

I personally fall somewhere in between.

Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve balked at religion. I was the "bad girl" with skinned knees who talked too much and laughed too loud during boring Sunday School lessons. I snuck random things (hair clips, artistic doodles, etc.) into the offering plate and made faces at friends when we were supposed to be praying. I loved asking teachers impossible questions I knew would make them flustered. (How do we know the Bible really is the word of God? And if God really created the world in seven days like it says, why do we have dinosaur bones?)

Truthfully, despite growing older, I haven't gotten a lot better. (See: perfect example.)

In it's simplest form, most religion spouts that in order to achieve an idyllic afterlife, our worldly lives must be lived piously and according to specific guidelines. Yet youth tends to laugh in the face of authority, whether from worldly parents or a heavenly God. When you’re young, life is intoxicating. It fills you up so completely that you can barely fathom a future where excitement isn’t enough. Your life revolves around new experiences and instant gratification. Life isn’t meant to be lived by rules; it’s meant to be explored—boundaries pushed, limits tested, self discoveries made.

Needless to say, I am NOT a religious person...I never have been and probably never will be. But as I've gotten older, my faith has become increasingly important to me. Yet my mid-twenties oftentimes causes my faith to be an elusive thing. Right now, life is wonderful. It's invigorating and exciting and it makes me feel invincible. As a result, my faith sometimes falls to the backburner...yet even when dim, it's always there.

Honestly, young people who are uber religious tend to scare me. (You know the ones. The kids who stay in and do Bible journals on Friday night when the rest of their peer group is playing beer pong.) I'm not saying it's wrong, just...odd.

I think there should be a healthy balance. Your twenties should be raucous and thrilling. You should be a little selfish and make a few mistakes. You should question things, including your religion.

In short, my faith serves as a guide on respecting myself and respecting others. It's always there to buoy my spirit when I stumble and lose myself. But will I still occasionally be found beer in hand, dancing on stage somewhere on Broadway? All signs point to yes.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Singleitis, Part II

Marrieds setting up non-marrieds is a never-ending cycle of awkwardness. I swear.

Last week I received a random email from a friend of my aunt (different friend, different aunt) saying that she works with a guy who she thinks would be great for me and wondered if I'd be interested in meeting him.

Sigh.

I knew she was just trying to be nice so I hesitantly told her that I wasn't completely opposed to the idea...but that if it was awful, she'd owe me.

The next thing I know, she's copied us both on an email saying, "Rachel...meet Clint. Clint...meet Rachel. Happy chatting!"

Fuck.

Luckily, we both seem to have good senses of humor because our subsequent emails to each other joked about where our situation would fall on a scale of 1-10 on the awkward meter and whether it's better to be a pro-wrestling fan or a Pacman Jones fan. (Thoughts?)

The most recent email I received was a request to actually meet in person. Which is a whole different ballgame...possibly a whole different sport. All I know about this Clint person is that he's tall, blonde, does triathlons and (based on his emails alone) is intelligent and quite witty.

But he could be a train wreck in person...

I'm leaning towards meeting him. Maybe for drinks after work (strategically planned because if it goes well, we can stay for dinner...but if it's horrible, I can beg off early to do laundry or some such mess).

And looking on the bright side, if it is a train wreck, I'll have a fantastically awkward story for the history books.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Early Bird Gets Firm

Let me start off by saying that I am not a morning person. At all. My alarm is often proceeded by cursing and thumping of pillows. If there were such a thing as sleep competitions, I'd be a world champion.

But (woe is me) my evenings have gotten so chock full o’ social activity that my options have been whittled down to 1) work out early or 2) get fat. And considering that I lean more towards "vain" than "lazy" on the personality barometer, option #2 really isn't an option at all. Therefore, I’m revving the treadmill before the sun is up at least three days a week.

The first two weeks of my lofty early morning exercise regime were hell. My alarm would go off and I’d honestly decide I’d rather be dead than dragging myself out of bed. The drive to the gym and the first few minutes spent there weren’t much better.

But now that I’ve surpassed a month of sweating my ass off pre-sunrise, I’m actually starting to enjoy it. Especially the peaceful drive to the gym on silent, deserted roads.

The morning gym is a completely different place than the evening gym. The people who work out in the morning gym are no-nonsense, get in, get your shit done and get out types of people. They don’t wear cutesy matching spandex outfits and parade around the weight room like it’s a runway. They don’t spend half their time flexing in the mirror and talking to their buddies about supplements. They don’t force me to overhear their inane cryptic letterspeak conversations (OMG! WTF?!) as their grossly exaggerated implants heave in indignation.

Every once in awhile, the early morning non-gym-bullshitters are infiltrated by what I like to refer to as the “The Vains” (who stick out like Dennis Rodman at the Alabama State Fair).

This morning, the presence of a platinum-haired lady in FULL makeup caused me to snicker. There she was, amongst the serious exercisers, wearing lip liner. Lip liner! I mean, come on lady. The gig is up. We KNOW that you must’ve gotten up even earlier than necessary to apply a layer of thick makeup that’s just going to run down your face and cause stains on the public towels that we’re all forced to use.

I may be vain in the sense that I’ll sacrifice precious sleep for a toned body, but thank GOD I’m not insecure to the point of caring what I look like in a state of extreme sweat. The world already has one Workout Barbie. It doesn’t need another.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sooie!

Sunday night I braved the Wilson County Fair. (I use the term “braved” very loosely because who am I kidding? I live for the kind of kitschy redneck experiences county fairs offer...)

I sadly grew up in a city that didn’t have fairs so they are a relative novelty. Despite my mature(ish) age, I relate to the bevy of sticky 8-year-olds whose faces light up as they skip through the colorful gates.

The entire fair experience is almost seizure inducing. The sights and smells are garish, yet awe-inspiring all the same.

Within the four-hour time span we spent strolling the fairgrounds, I watched people make fools of themselves under “hypnosis”, cheered for the 4-H kids showing their prize pigs, bought a foot-long corn dog from a midget, counted 17 pairs of jorts (jean shorts…“jorts”), rode two very intense rides and got headbutted by a camel at the petting zoo.

But the most classic fair moment of all happened during the pig race at the “Hogway Speedway”. As they were all coming around the second turn, two of the pigs stopped mid-race and started humping. They were honest to God going at it hardcore with a hundred plus kids watching in complete shock. To the point that the track operator had to step in and pull the frisky lovebirds apart for the race to continue.

I swear I laughed for ten solid minutes.

I know, I know…8th grade called. It wants it’s sense of humor back.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pervy Purvis

A friend recently sent me a link to an online sexual predator database that magically generates every registered offender who lives in your area.

With a little trepidation, I typed in my address and held my breath as the page loaded. I half expected a little red flag to appear on top of MY house as the friendly, animated representation of my creepo landlord/neighbor. Thankfully, my house was clear (I guess the hiring of hookers and attendance at swingers parties doesn't quite qualify you for this particular website's elite).

With my immediate worries relieved, I commenced clicking on the colorful flags surrounding my neighborhood.

Now, I realize that sexual abuse is no laughing matter, but the sexual abusers' mugshots are pure comedic fodder. Seriously. These men are the singularly most strange-looking group of individuals I've ever laid eyes on.

I was happily clicking and snickering away when the mugshot of the man directly south of me stopped me dead in my tracks:


HOLY HELL. This guy is the ultimate poster child for sexual predators.

1) His god-given name is actually (and quite fittingly) Larry Purvis.
2) Did he intentionally make that face or is it what he looks like all of the time?
3) Why the fuck does he have a surgical mask dangling from one ear?

Although definitely disturbing, I have NEVER laughed so hard in my ENTIRE LIFE.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

C-C-Changes

I've officially completed my first week at my new job and couldn't be happier.

I'd been missing a creative aspect in my life for awhile now, so when the opportunity for both a title and salary increase popped up several weeks ago at an advertising agency, I jumped at the chance.

It's been an absolute blast. I work with some of the coolest and wittiest people I've ever met and thankfully for me, my personality has blended right into the mix. Even though we work hard, the office environment rarely resembles a "work place". It tends to feel more like a college dorm hall.

We pull childish pranks and shout good-natured insults across the office like we're punch drunk 19-year-olds at 2:00 a.m. And if the dorm reference isn't clear enough already, there's been talk of purchasing a Wii for the conference room...

My first day on the job, my co-workers installed a Nerf basketball hoop on my office door and set my internet homepage to Playgirl.com. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I've probably laughed more in the past week than I have in a month. Within the last five days, I've shot coffee out of my nose approximately three times and have literally rolled around on the floor, tears streaming down my face at least once. It's out of control.

And with perfect timing, loud farting noises are echoing from the president's office as I type this. He's literally hooting with laughter and yelling that we all need to download the Whoopie Cushion synthesizer to our desktop.

All I lack is a shower caddy and a mini-fridge and I swear it could be freshman year all over again.