thank God for Kohls

I’ve worked as a chapel assistant on weekends, and some random weekdays, since July.  It’s a perfectly ambiguous title, because it sounds as though I should be assisting the couples getting wed or the families christening their babies, but in reality I work for the chapel.  I turn the lights on, set the temperature, make sure it’s clean and that it stays that way.  I see the patrons as they come and go (speaking of Michelangelo), cleaning up any remnants of their ceremonies and pocketing my own sometimes practical, sometimes funny keepsakes.  I rarely get a chance to have an intimate interaction with the chapel’s guests.

Wooden hangers, lint rollers, ring boxes from Jared’s, a revised wedding day version of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”, a program that specifies a Boyz II Men song will play at the end of a wedding ceremony and a few good stories.

There was a young couple—probably no more than two years older than me—who quietly stared in opposite directions for a few minutes before the newlywed bride finally said: “So, can I get a ride with you to the reception?”

It was like watching Michael Cera play a groom AND a bride in an indie comedy.  I sincerely enjoyed their awkwardness.

I can’t imagine the other awkward phrases that will be exchanged between those two and for that I thank God.

This next one is the type of story you always hope to hear but are always kind of afraid to tell for fear you’ll mangle it:

The couple had lived in Lawrence their entire lives and had attended rival high schools.

They both went to KU.

They both were in the School of Fine Arts—he was a Music Comp. major and she was Music Theory.

They were probably in the same place at the same time many, many times but they never met—at least, not until their junior year.

They met at Kohl’s.

She was working and he was returning something.

He left with her number and now they teach music in Texas.


day 280. posts with the “f” word in the title are inappropriate.

Yeeeah, what she said (in the heading.)  Oops!

Um, let’s play with some definitions here:

Anxiety–that feeling you have when you have to pay for something and you’re trying to remember whether or not you have enough money in your checking account to pay for it.

Elationrealizing that you do have enough money in your checking account to pay for your what you need, and also have more than enough cash left over to horde like a Scrooge-inspired maniac.

I’m registering for my Spring classes soon and one class that I’m hoping to get into is a fiction writing course.  It’s set up like a workshop and you write around three 12 page stories.  I am full of stories that I’m dying to share.  I’ve been thinking about one in particular for the past couple of months.  I thought it was fictional, but, especially with the events of last weekend, I’m starting to see it more as autobiographical.  There are two main characters and once I get the gist of their story figured out I’ll write more about it.

And because I am the girl who buys the shoes, then finds the outfit, I do have a tentative title for the story: “Worst Case Scenario: A Survival Guide.”

day 273. avoiding.

For my Films class, we have this midterm paper that we were supposed to do by last Tuesday, but whose due date got pushed back to next Tuesday, thanks to a discrepancy between the syllabus and what the instructor told us all.  We have to analyze this scene from Boogie Nights, which has actually been pretty fun to do.

When I took my Introduction to Fiction class last semester I had this revelation that most people probably realize very early on, and it was the simple realization that when a great writer sits down to tell us a story they’re not exactly trying to tell a story about a porn star, for instance; they’re trying to tell a story about whether or not it’s possible to escape yourself, or whether you can change your entire life just by willing something to be.

I’ve been having a lot of fun analyzing different films and trying to understand the different stories being told.  Also, thanks to the inspiration of the Cities of Love films, I’ve been falling in love with Lawrence all over again.  Friday night, we stayed out late and went to a 24 hour cafe downtown, where I drank hot chocolate, and another guest watched the original Pink Panther in another room.  Then, last night, we hung around the Student Ghetto, a neighborhood of houses in town that is filled with students, walking around to different places, then ending the night with pizza from The Wheel, which is the greatest bar purely because they sell pizza next door.

This weekend was a winner.  Now, I just have to actually write that midterm paper.

day 240. because.

Because I can only think about how much my ass is getting kicked by school right now; because I’m sitting in the ARC trying to print off PDF files that apparently cannot be printed; because apparently the printer is broken?; because I have to write a four page paper and study for a Psychology and Spanish culture (of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela) exam; because that all takes time; because of all this I give you one really long, run-on, incomplete sentence in lieu of an actual post; becaaaaaaaause the world is round, it turns me ooooooooo-OOOOOOOOOOO—-oon; beeeeeecaaaaaause the world is roooooooooooo–ooooooooound; aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh; love is old love is new; love is all love is you.

Don’t tell me that wasn’t the perfect segway into “Because”.

day 238. quick! let’s panic about things that we have no control over!

Three tests in three days—Spanish grammar and culture exams and a biiiiig Psychology exam, which is apparently going to be the hardest one of the year. And to top it all off I have one well written, four-page paper over Antigone and Sophocles due by Friday, along with whatever assignment I have to finish for my Films discussion on Friday.

Skip ahead in the video to :41 and that, my friends, is how I feel.

day 220. chronic.

I am chronically late to my mid-afternoon classes. Technically, tardiness doesn’t actually matter unless you’ve missed the first fifteen minutes of class. Still, it’s annoying to be the last person ambling in, swinging your bookbag around, trying to maneuver into the one free seat–which just happens to be in the center of the crowded classroom, kind of towards the front. Yeah, it’s not fun being that person.

My 2:30 classes are pretty much on the other side of the universe (read: across campus), and since it’s the midday rush, it’s almost impossible to get on a bus, and even if I do find a spot, because of the aforementioned rush, kids are frantically crossing the street at any given spot causing the bus driver to have to make frequent stops or pauses on his route. No matter how early I leave for this class, I always end up getting there are 2:29. My professor is always getting the Power Point slides queued and I am always swinging my g-damn bookbag around, excusing myself through rows and rows of people who somehow got there before me.

Then there’s my 2 o’clock Spanish classes. I have an hour off before this class, so I either eat lunch on campus or sometimes go home and grab something. I always arrive outside of Lindley Hall right on time, but then I always run into someone I know, or my phone rings and then five minutes later, I am that asshole ambling into class, five minutes late and excusing myself through rows of crowded people who do not appreciate my tardiness.

Resident Asshole, Dr. Phil, once said that people who are chronically late are inconsiderate and are communicating that they don’t care about the people they’re inconveniencing with their tardiness. And I kind of agree. Except in my case, because I do care about my classmates; I don’t want my professor to have to stop talking because she can’t be heard over the commotion of scuffling chairs, I don’t like that attention–it’s uncomfortable. And I guess I don’t really have an excuse for my lateness, I could probably just turn my phone on silent until I get out of my last class of the day and then deal with the messages then, and if I really care about being on time to my 2:30 class, experience has proven that this isn’t going to happen when I leave 20 minutes early, so it looks like I need to start leaving 25 minutes early.

And, all I can say to that is UGH. But this is still an upgrade. Last semester, I had an hour and fifteen minute class then an hour class, a short lunch, a long walk, and then another hour and fifteen minute class, followed by YET ANOTHER hour and fifteen minute class. And on Thursdays, after that last hour and fifteen minute class, go ahead and add an hour long discussion. The agony, man, the agony of getting up every other day was excruciating. I would hear my alarm clock go off and think, “Again? This is happening again?” Every day was Groundhog’s Day.

To get through my first semester last year, I would tell myself: “If you can run a 400 (M Dash), you can get up and go to these classes.” It seems like those two things aren’t related, but they really are. It all takes effort, nothing is easy. But once you get through it, you can look back and say, “Man, that was pretty hard. But, if I got through that, then …” So, while tardiness may seem like it’s become my thing, I think it’s time I start telling myself “If you can get through a full day of classes from 9:30 in the morning until 5 at night, with only a 30 minute break, you can get your ass to class on time.”

And so that’s my new mantra.

day 207. I want to like “” BUT…

I have just read the stupidest blog ever.  Well, technically, it’s not the stupidest blog ever, it’s just the stupidest blog I’ve ever read.   Alright, just the stupidest blog I’ve ever read in the past five minutes; I’ve read more stupid things.  And this isn’t actually a stupid blog, I guess, it’s just sometimes she throws some stupid shit out of left field and I’m all “Wow, that was really stupid. I resent that you wrote that, because it makes me think poorly of U and UR blog.”

It’s this chick from California, who is apparently famous for her “b l o g” (she always writes it like that when she talks about her blog, and I wonder if she’s actually spelling it out in her mind, or just making it look “cool”) in her parts.  And by apparently, I mean she actually is “famous” in some sense for her “b l o g”.  I found her through Interview Magazine—the purveyor of all things of The Coooool.

She is someone my friend Luke would refer to as “the hippest motherf–ker on the planet”.  The only ads she has on her site are for American Apparel, she sometimes hosts events for Urban Outfitters and in one of her posts on “American Apparel babes” she ends with this: “besides, i haven’t visited the new one in malibu yet! omg, American Apparel beach babes? i can’t wait! xo”  And she does this thing where she rarely capitalizes anything after a period.

Then again, that’s just good marketing on her part.  She is speaking to a specific audience; an audience that I don’t totally understand, because I don’t get the whole hipper-than-thou-sell-my-soul-and-pledge-my-allegiance-to-American-Apparel-on-a-daily-basis thing. But that’s just me.

But interspersed between the loads of bullshit and hipster-cool advice, there’s some very entertaining writing, and some interesting, things that make you go “Hmm…” writing.   Yet, as soon as I start thinking “Hey, this deserves a spot in the Cool Shit bookmarks” she writes something completely stupid and elaborate eye-roll inducing.  And getting on the Cool Shit bookmarks is waaaay better than getting on the Interview Magazine “Blogs We Like” blogroll–which she totally is on. WAY better.

Like in her post “sometimes it’s ok to be a loser” she gives us this gem:

We need losers to continue on their loser path to nothingness, middle ‘age’dom, old age, and to keep from getting in our f—ing way! We need them to continue to be lazy, get nothing done, acquiring and spreading stds, snorting peanut butter crank, smoking pot, hanging out, shopping all day with someone elses money, partying too much, leaning against walls, avoiding phone calls/not returning phone calls, borrowing money, putting things off, not making plans, living in a trailer, surfing all day, eating too much, sleeping in too late, celebrating achievements they’ve yet to/and will Never achieve!

I didn’t just laugh at that, I went through a mental Rolodex of people I’ve met within the past year and a half, and then laughed harder.  Because when else will you meet more people that fit into that category of people who are lazy, uninspiring, uninspired, and, this is the best part, totally loaded with somebody else’s money and what seems to be all the free time in the world, than in your first couple of years of college?  Also, I’m guessing you can find those people in the first couple years after college.  Wait, maybe those people are just always going to be around, no matter when, because I keep thinking of more and more people that fit that mold.  They are the people who insist on doing nothing.  At all.  Ever.

The way it’s worded is a little mean, but I think I get what she’s getting at.  It’s that Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living, or get busy dying” thing.  And I’m all about the get busy living thing.

So maybe I do like her.  And maybe she will get a place in the Cool Shit bookmark*.

Here’s the site, when you read something that is elaborate-eye-roll inducing, just keep reading: IMBOYCRAZY

*she did

day 184. an apology is in order.

I was looking through my English binder from this past semester and found a couple of my old essays. It made me cringe to re-read them, they were so awful! The ideas were disconnected, never properly introduced, explained, or developed, and the conclusions always seemed a little off because of those facts. And, yet, my professor never gave me anything less than a B!

I can remember having some great ideas in my head and then getting to the computer and drawing a complete blank. I am someone who needs to outline everything on paper before I can begin to write complete essays —if I want them to be good essays. I know this and yet I avoided using outlines this semester because I thought they were a waste of time. (??????)

I feel terrible for not actually heeding the advice that my professor had left me in the margins, and for thinking, for some self-centered reason, that my she had no idea what she was talking about. Because, universities try to hire people who don’t know shit about their jobs? Another display of my sterling logic!

I owe her an apology, or a thank you. Maybe I need to send her an email, or maybe I need to just be sure to never let it happen again. Never again will I let my ego get in the way of hearing what others have to say. When given suggestions, next time and every time after, I will listen.

The only piece of work that I’m proud to have submitted was the first essay we turned in over the elements of fiction and The Things They Carried. And that’s only because the introduction was f—ing rad.

I’m starting the process of re-packing everything for the move in two weeks. I already feel flustered and anxious thinking about leaving. I don’t know what my problem is, but I figure if I avoid dealing with it long enough it will go away, because when has that not worked for anybody? (Do NOT answer that, leave me in the dark! I like my fake-reality!)

But, really, it’s a feeling not unlike Holly Golightly’s “mean-reds” (“The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.”). I go through phases where I’m completely calm and don’t understand why I ever felt stressed out, then out of nowhere, hours later usually, the feeling comes right back.

I bet I just need more sleep.

day 115. unexpected.

Unexpectedly, a couple of my final grades were posted online this morning. One turned out a little better than I thought it would, and another was a little worse than I thought. I am ridiculously nervous to see how my grades come out overall. Refer back to the post from finals week that consists of different scenes of people screaming. That’s how I feel right now.

day 102.

Tonight is Stop Day Eve, meaning there will be no classes tomorrow. Due to the fact that I’m living in the awful dorms, I have to be moved out by 11PM next Friday night. Between now and then I have four finals and one paper to write. All of my time will be devoted to studying and writing this weekend. LAME.

Tonight I’m going to Applebee’s to play pop culture trivia with Luke, Spencer and Spencer’s boyfriend, Matt. Before that, I’m going to be packing my Lawrence life away…