I woke up Sunday morning in a borrowed T-Shirt and shorts, last night' hair turned into this morning's bird nest, makeup under my eyes and a matching girl beside me, hair all over, scary makeup, matching shirt and shorts. I got up and leaned on my elbows as I looked out the window and waited for her to wake up so we could go get croissants at the French baker's. We also had the requisite run-through of the night's previous events to match up memories, fill in gaps and soberly appreciate the comedic value of our exploits.
I am going to miss sleepovers when I move away. I will miss crashing at my best friend's place after a night of twentysomething folly. I will relish in them when I make visits home to Ottawa, but the associated and forced sanctity intrinsic in a visit will mean the randomness, the spontaneous sleepover, will be a thing of the past. Laughing at boys that didn't get the hint, the one who drank too much, the cab driver who performed elaborate card tricks while driving, the crazy dancer who had no idea how hilarious she looked. The late night poutine trips and popping into the Irish pub after closing for just one more drink. The phone calls to our friends who don't answer their phones. Are they hooking up? Lost? Sick? The next morning greasy spoons to soothe our nautical-feeling stomachs.
My friends are the cat's meow and leaving them will be difficult. Pulling apart the bonds that have been tightening for 13 years, in some cases. Email and phone calls won't be the same as getting ready to go out, watching chick flicks and painting toenails. Well, there's three months more of that and seize it I will.
Another blogger posted about people who don't seem to outgrow the high school clique mentality, who continue to berate others based on such things as suggested promiscuity-even though they are lawyers, professionals. (See Opinionistas.com post entitled Sad).
We talked about how unfortunate this is. I related to her that this was my experience with people as well, and she returned that indeed, some people are not socialized beyond the locker hallways while others have successfully breached adulthood and maturity. (Maturity is in the eye of the beholder of course. I hold that maturity can still be maintained while making fart jokes wearing over-sized slippers and eating Trix, so long as it is succeeded by academic discussions of Foucault).
"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."
That's Eleanor Roosevelt, she told me. I remember reading that before, albeit in the context of a lame high school seminar about achieving your dreams. Her words return to me quite timely and have become a mantra as I again reaffirm my resolution not to get caught up in the drama, the gossip, the high school-esque clichéd cattiness. It does follow us, oui?
All to say, I am in a stage of redefining, evaluating, and adjusting-although what twentysomething is not? In the spirit of this blog's title, I find myself (my self I want to be) more apt to seizing opportunities and moments and joys rather than capitalize on openings, weak spots, entries into unproductive, soul-stifling gossip. Seizing the day, however, is quite hard to do when one is up to her cerebral input maximum equivalent of essays, presentations, papers. Lord willin' I'll get to the end of March with sanity intact, and, I pray, a little colour in my face, even if it is achieved waiting for the bus on the way to class.
Running in the Rain
The title is meant to be sung to the tune of "Robin in the rain." Ah, this morning's weather report surprised me with a prediction of shorts weather during the afternoon. So I packed them up along with the rest of my warm-ish weather running gear and tucked it away in my backpack until lunchtime. I waited until my morning snack felt digested and left to change.
As soon as I opened the door to Mackenzie King Bridge outside, I was surprised still to find the weatherman was right-it was indeed not too cold on my thighs. What a treat!My legs had been hibernating under thermals for too long! I passed by my favourite homeless guy, "Red." I call him that in my head because his hat and face are always red. I hadn't seen him throughout my hibernation as I took a different running route when it was warm enough to go outside. I gave him my hello wave as I ran by and down the stairs through the park to the canal.
Then it started sprinkle raining. "Yay!" I thought, because rain runs are my absolute favourite, and in spite of the snow-covered landscape, I knew I'd keep warm even if it poured. On queue, pour it did. It was the big fat rain, as Forrest Gump describes when relating his adventures in Vietnam. I took out my iPod and tucked it in my pocket so it wouldn't get too wet, and this left me to be entertained only by the sounds of rain, my breath and the occasional car.
I participated in one of my favourite running rituals, the "runner's salute." It requires you to raise a hand or at the very least smile and make eye contact with runners as you pass them by. Today's salutes also communicated, via smiles and eyes, what a great day it was for a run. We shared the glory of looking like fools, smiling in the pouring rain as others hid in doorways and under umbrellas. Not us, though we were soaked through and through, we knew it was a positively glorious run day we'd been waiting for through the winter coldness.
Back in the office now, no one knows if my wet hair is a result of shower or the pouring rain. No one is privy to how joyful and giddy my lunchtime was. I hope I'm not grinning like I had lunchtime nookie, but I just might be. If they ran today, they'll know too: Run rains are the best!
All figured out
The day of the 9/11 attacks, the incubus of dramatically predisposed teenagers in one building meant reactions were running high. I remember some scoffing,"They deserve it," some wondering if their Dad was there because he was away on business that week but they'd forgotten exactly where, and of course most of us were shocked, absorbing it and thinking out loud about what it all meant as we watched the same images on repeat on TV screens.
I wore my army-green "Make love not war" T-Shirt the next day. Everyone's favourite teacher, the one who told us how it "really" was out there, put his fist slowly in the air and said, "right on sister." Fiancé and I were BF and GF then and there had not yet been much talk about growing up, careers or direction. I was free to lament the soldiers who packed up and deployed. I was 15, a naïve sponge who absorbed the arguments of those around me. That included anti-war, down-with-terror, bomb China, and any of the others that followed in the days after.
It was easy to feel bad for military families then. A part of me even thought military wives had been conned into something, that they only followed their husbands around because they didn't have aspirations of their own. I thought soldiers who truly thought the war was unjust would do what my 15-year-old righteous, wannabe activist would do-stay home and refuse deployment in protest, of course. Three summers later, the BF enrolled in the military and spent a summer in basic training.
He has since left the military and is now training for the federal police force. In November, I will be a federal police wife and we will move around the country. I will tailor the household to his weird shift work schedule and be the housewife I once judged as a 15-year-old know-it-all. I was struck today by the turnaround in my ideas. As a disclaimer, fiancé and I have already decided that while he was being a cop, I'd gladly hold down the fort, and then once kids were independent, I'd go to law school and he'd bask in his early retirement. Or something like that, since I know a few wrenches are bound to be thrown in that plan.
I imagine no one stays the same as the 15-year-old versions of themselves. It makes me wonder, though, because I thought I knew it all back then. I had it all figured out, n'est pas? And now, I giggle at how opinionated I was for someone who'd hardly read the newspaper. I also furrow my brow wondering if 30 won't mean looking back and giggling at my twentysomething self, who also thought she knew it all, had it all figured out.
The eye of the storm
I am taking a breather, I'm two weeks in to the last month of my degree (excitement!) with two weeks of hard stuff till the end. This morning was my breather. It went like this:
Wake up when heater makes weird tapping noise.
Make bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats with milk-- cuz I got groceries last night! Yesssss!
Download Google Earth and mind is blown by actually being able to FIND MY HOUSE. Weird!
Look at clock and decide to postpone continuation of cocaine traffic essay until after yoga as 45 minutes is not enough time to "get into it"
Make a cup of green tea, that already has ginseng (something healthy?) and honey in it.
Pick some yoga outfit that is comfy, pour water bottle and begin my out the door routine. (This includes wishing my iPod into being charged for me to enjoy, putting on sunglasses and holding head up so they don't fall off my nose again, looking around to see if I have bag, yoga mat and keys, locking door, unlocking door to get my mittens, re-locking door and leaving)
Arriving cold to yoga with the hilarious Chinese woman who pulls on my arms and says, "See?" and smiles, and I'm never quite sure what I'm supposed to see, so I smile back. Try and remember to keep doing the funny yoga breathing that makes me feel like a dragon.
Hmmm, I didn't brush my teeth this morning. Resolve to do this when I return home.
And thus was my morning.
Now I will write maybe 3-4 pages of the essay, and then hop on the bus to meet my mum for a make-your-own wedding invitation course tonight at the suburban chain craft store.
Then's supper and going out with the girls, guest of honour being C before she leaves to build houses with Habitat for Humanity in South Africa. This is the same C who up and left to teach English in South Korea (from earlier post Ode to C) who escaped from the country in February quite James Bond-student edition style because she hated it there. Good for her, I say.
A Little Dorothy
Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much.
Sculptors and singers and those of their kidney
Tell their affairs from Seattle to Sidney.
Playwrites and poets and such horses' necks
Start off from anywhere and end up at sex.
Diarists, critics and similar roe
Never say nothing and never say no.
People Who Do Things exceed my endurance
God, for a man who solicits insurance!
Dorothy Parker said it best, didn't she? Reading too much of her may drive youto have a Bridget Jones' Diary marathon and require assurances from girlfriendsthat you don't need a man, or that your prince will one day come. But on dayswhen a lady is taking herself much too seriously, a little bit of Dorothy can dothe trick, and help her find laughter in the amount of time she spends readingabout love instead of risking it all to know it, in every one of its dramaticforms.