Saturday, August 30, 2008

I hope they serve beer on Mega Bus.

I do not trust Sarah Palin's eyebrows. But I guess that's sort of a non-issue.

I'm seriously considering reading I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell out of pure curiosity. I'm positive I will hate it. I'm sure I will ultimately be worse off as a person for having read it, but the time I've spent mulling over the mere possibility of reading is infinitely greater than the time it would take to find the corner of Borders least littered with empty Frappucino cups and subscription cards and just. read. it. Maybe not even cover to cover. My younger brother, who fits squarely into Tucker Max's intended demographic, couldn't even give it two complete thumbs up. That either says a lot for the caliber of my family's general intellect or not much for the book. I'd like to think it's a combination of the two.

(Note: I just took a ten-minute hiatus from writing to peruse Tucker's Flickr account. But I was making fun the entire time! In my head!)

I decided to dip my toes into the lukewarm pond of discount domestic travel last night and take Mega Bus home for the first time ever. My bus was supposed to leave Chicago's Union Station at 11:55 and reach St. Louis's Union Station at 5:25 this morning. However, it was an hour late, so I ended up spending the end of my Friday night and the beginning of my Saturday morning talking to an...

(Gross. I can't stop, and these pictures aren't even interesting.)

...older woman about her grandchildren and watching a drunk couple stop kissing and stumbling long enough for the guy to board his bus to Toledo. Due to recent events (aherm), I was a little nervous about taking a bus. At night. Next to strangers who may or may not feel it necessary to harm me or at least just stare a lot. However, once the bus started moving, and I began to doze, I realized it was the people around me who were in danger... at least in danger of being made to feel uncomfortable. I've been having nightmares lately, and it's not unusual for me to wake up saying something nonsensical (confusing) or crying (awkward). I would sleep in five-minute increments and then spend the next half hour trying to discern whether or not I'd done anything crazy in my sleep.

The guy sitting next to me looks fairly restful and unfazed. Check.
The woman in front of me is still scraping the cheese off of her Egg McMuffin wrapper. Check.
I'm not drenched in sweat or covered in cryptic messages written in Dr. Pepper Lipsmackers. Check.
We're good to go.

By the time we rolled into St. Louis this morning, just half an hour over our original ETA, I hadn't made any lasting friendships on the Mega Bus, but I hadn't burned any bridges either. And for a $16 ticket and a chance to get home, that's the most one can hope for.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I listen to when I am alone.

What I will deny if you approach me about it in person.

Man Singers
Depressingly uncreative, overly sentimental... They fall in love with their best friends and sing about staying in bed all day with a girl I imagine to be Rachel Bilsen. They sound like I should be paying them $250 of Creighton's money to play in our campus coffee shop. Their lifeblood is Zach Braff. I buy their songs in $1 increments from iTunes in the hopes that the next one will break my addiction. I listen to them on repeat. Current unfavorite: Josh Radin

Country Music Videos
I discovered the music video channel on On-Demand the other night and chose to watch two hours of country music videos instead of taking a shower. In the process I learned that Keith Urban is pandering to some non-existent mainstream country music-loving hipster audience. His videos are full of kids in skinny jeans fighting in laundromats. I'm going to be honest with myself and you as well; I will probably do the same thing tonight, this time with wine. Current unfavorite: Anything Rascal Flatts

Flavor of the week: Dave Matthews Band
Sometimes you have to go with whatever feels right at the time. And since I'm working late and deserve a number of things, including sleep and the discontinuation of the janitor's whistling, I owe it to myself to satisfy my ears. Current unfavorite: Anything that reminds me of boy-girl parties and sounds good reverberating through the hollow halls of an empty office building.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I get the picture.

In the small corner of the apartment that I inhabit, which happens to be smaller than the other parts because I would rather save a few bucks on rent and sleep in a twin bed, with all amenities (desk, bookshelf, alarm clock, entire wardrobe) squarely within my cramped reach, there is one window. The window looks directly across the driveway into the corresponding window of the building next door. I have noticed, out of the corner of my unassuming eye, that their extra small room is used as a computer room (probably more suitable). There's a chair, a phone, etc. I haven't let my gaze linger long enough to glean any further details.


I've made a concerted effort to keep my shade all or mostly closed when I'm in my room, especially when I'm... oh, I don't know, getting ready for work, checking my email in a sports bra or hosting The Saddest Dance Party Ever, featuring me, my ailing laptop and my roommate's cat, if he stops eating long enough to show up. Long story short, I do my best to keep my bedroom behavior, however sordid (more often pathetic), to myself.

I returned from St. Louis on Sunday to find a potted plant in my room - a gift from one of my roommates. I think it'd been sitting there in the dark, unwatered, for a week or so because it looked dead and smelled like hummus. I immediately rushed to the window in an attempt to resurrect it with sunlight when something caught my eye across the way. A 10 x 14 framed picture of two little boys, propped up in the window, facing me. And while I could've seen much worse (looking out the window into the lives of others is always a gamble), the portrait's presence was pretty jarring, as it unleashed the assumptive floodgates of my imagination. Why did they put that there for me to see?

Well clearly...
They have seen me wearing a towel tucked into a pair of Umbros, drying my hair and singing misquoted Mason Jennings lyrics into my flatiron.
They have seen me lying on a pile of shoes, reading Parade magazine and picking my nose with a tweezers.
They have seen me staring at nail holes in the wall, taking dusty, apprehensive sips from a month-old glass of red wine.
They have seen me completely unedited, and it's scaring their children.

So they put their picture up to remind me that just nine suspended feet away, young minds are developing. I have been passive aggressively warned to keep my blinds shut, and I will oblige... minus the ten minutes a day when I give my plant sunlight.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In my time here.

Last night, after watching 3/4 of The Hottest State* with Mary Clare, I woke up alone on the couch, in front of the blue TV screen. It was that in between place in sleep where waking thoughts are mixed with sleeping ones, and I was momentarily convinced someone was breaking into the house. The quick feeling of severe panic was magnified by the fact that we're now short the stereotypical protector, and even though my dad's presence has probably never been the best defense against possible intruders, it took a split-second nightmare to finally realize he's gone. A week and a half later...

But in the midst of all of this, a few key learnings:
When you are sad, people like to feed you. If I never see another coffee cake again, I will be lucky.

I now know a multitude of ways to respond to "I'm sorry," "How are you holding up?" and "Take care of your mother."

Even if I thought it was just a cheesy plot device before, the urge to look for signs is irrepressible. The cardinal that lingered in the tree as I ran by panting, showering it in a cloud of sweat. The butterfly that landed on my knee while I sat in the backyard, feet propped up on the trampoline, reading an old issue of Glamour and smoking borrowed Parliaments.** What were before just overly friendly (possibly rabid?) creatures are now sources of comfort.

Even though I've spent the past week doing nothing particularly exerting, I am tired. So ridiculously tired. Sleep until 11:00 and then take a nap at noon tired. The bags under my eyes are beginning to obstruct my vision.

I could not have designed better friends if such a program or robot existed.

My brother Paul is my hero. Number one on the list. To surpass Bill Pullman and Richard Carlisle*** at just 17 years of age is a feat to be admired and a well-deserved achievement.

I am not ready to be normal again.

We**** are rockstars.

*Do not waste your time.
**Grief smoking doesn't count.
***Inventor of the coin-operated vending machine.
****You know who you are.


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