Meetings, Beer and Creating Art

Today I was really productive. I made a list of classes I am going to attempt to sneak into when school starts next week, and I did yoga, meditation, jogging, then fell asleep on the living room floor repeatedly for about 20 minutes before I had to be at a meeting for work.

The meeting was per usual. I don’t know what it is about me, but I just really don’t get invested in things. Especially my jobs. Everyone cares so much about figuring out better ways to do business, etc. But I really don’t care much about anything that goes on in the store unless it directly affects my pay or significantly alters what I do at work.

So I just sat quietly and took ridiculous pictures with everyone. I realized I was the quietest one out of everyone- and that everyone had a lot to say. And they loved to hear themselves saying it. It reminded me of the cooperative Sunflower house.

My boss was telling us about the new coworkers joining us, and said one of them is an introvert. And to be careful with him and watch him, since we are all extroverts. I don’t know if I felt good being included in a group of such vocal extroverts, or a little separated from them.

I mean, we are all a little of both. And we all have our moments.

But yeah, I think in general I gain energy from people. I just wasn’t in the mood to do so tonight. And that matters.

My boss bought us Chipotle burritos for dinner, and my other boss brought us a massive homemade chocolate cake which we all consumed. ’

And then there was a big can of popcorn as big as my torso.

Never work at a bakery/cafe if you are trying to get in shape.

After the meeting I met up with Lynda- and we went out for drinks.

It was really nice catching up, and we are becoming more and more similar as we grow up. I mean, we were always pretty similar but religion and politics got in our way for the majority of highschool/college. But now we are both seeing about the same thing. Just open to everything and learning as we go.

We walked around the park a few times after drinks, and then drove home. On the way home, we saw a praying mantis on the roof of the car- about as big as my hand.

Now I’m home and am debating netflixs or continuing on my to do list.

I haven’t felt like jogging or blogging in quite some time.

I’ve been forcing myself to do both, but I just have not been in the flow of either.

I haven’t felt like doing much of anything honestly except eat potato chips and watch bad tv shows late at night by myself.

Today I made coffee and spent the whole morning reading a book which I began yesterday. A book which is probably in the process of reshaping my life, to my surprise and excitement. After four hours of straight reading and coffee on an empty stomach I ran out the door and went running.

And a loping bird almost grazed my forehead.

Then a mile up the trail I almost tripped over a bird refusing to fly, running perpendicular across my path.

And then, at the intersection to the main road off the trail, I had a revelation and hit my stride. I took off around the corner at a tremendous speed, only to look up and see a bounding dalmatian running at me with full, aggressive force. Barking and snarling and seeming to have enough momentum to knock me off into the traffic a foot away.

I slowed down, and welcomed the dog to me.

And it slowed down, and surprisingly and thankfully, quit flashing its teeth in a threatening manner. And all of the sudden I was petting this dog, and shooing him away from the traffic. A little five year old girl comes running over and apologizing profusely for her dog’s behavior. And the dog pees all over the sidewalk.

I say, no worries. And finish my run.

At work this morning, I saw a few people I graduated high school with that I hadn’t seen in at least five years.

The first one was a girl who was in my high school geometry class. And she basically hated me because I sat in front of her and was always talking and never paying attention in class. Then asking her what was going on halfway through class when I had finished whatever careless escapade I had spent the majority of the day pursuing.

She’s graduating from nursing school this coming year. And I’m happy for her. And I think she was actually happy to see me, too. Geometry years behind us. And I might have calmed down a little bit since 15.

Then an hour later, all my coworkers were looking out the door, and commenting on the super hot, ridiculously hipster guys walking up.

And I realized I went to high school with them, too.

They were the fraternity bound popular guys in our grade, and it was absolutely crazy to see them not in polos, but in raggedy t-shirts with odd strings attached for casual dramatic effect.

One of the two, the nicest guy in our class, was still exactly the same. So friendly and engaging and excited to be wherever he was with whoever was around. He played college football, became a model with homes on both coasts and is now filming a movie in London.

Nice guys don’t always have to finish last.

Went to get lunch yesterday, and knew both the workers behind the counter as they always come in my cafe to get coffee.

And they remembered what kind of burrito I get, and then gave me my eight dollar meal for free with a smile.

I was so shocked, and left feeling very good about human beings in general.

Having Deb here was wonderful.

Tuesday night we went to a house party.

We brought a bottle of bad wine, and then we were confronted with Angry Orchard mixed with various substances once we entered the door.

I drank a bit. And Deb was a patient and hopefully not bored designated driver.

It was a party at my coworker Tennery’s house, and her boyfriend Andrew. The house was complete with different colored walls, tapestries, colorful pet frogs climbing people’s faces, a boa constrictor being passed around people’s necks, a majestic cat and a sweet dog. My other coworkers Molly and Stu were there, as well as one of our favorite regulars: Nate. Stu and I played on a team during a beer pong game, and Molly and Nate got the whole thing on camera. Which (surprise!) I might have been caught using multiple expletives at multiple times though the night.

Deb and I left around 3, and went to Taco Bell in a sad delusion that they might be open just for us. Then we waited in a Sonic drive until the voice came over the speaker telling us to please vacate the area. So we ended up going through the line at McDonald’s- and getting a extra large size of fries. The choice to go to McDonald’s might tell you an estimate of the amount of alcohol I had consumed.

The next morning I woke up starving, and got three burritos at Dillons on the way to work.

Star player.

Ben has a friend who is a writer and is new to town. Ben is leaving town next week, so I am currently in the adoption process of such friend.

Intrigued.

And terrified.

Hanging out this week.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Yesterday I was in the grocery store, went down the international aisle and picked up a box of fortune cookies and started reading the ingredients.

As you do.

An elderly woman down the aisle walks over and announces, “You look like an informed shopper!”

Pause.

Then she asks if I know which kind of noodles go in this certain type of Chinese dish.

And I say, sorry, I wish I could help.

“Go with the thin ones?”

And then told her good luck and walked away- far too proud of myself for having the look of a cultured Chinese chef.

Today I accidentally set Deb up on what turned out to be a three hour date.

Dinner at home after work, and tonight we’re going over to my friend Tennery’s place for a few drinks.

Last night we went out to the bars with an odd collection of people: my coworker Molly, a cafe regular Nate, Ben and his girlfriend Liz, and Deb and I.

We spent the night discussing just two topics. And we covered them thoroughly for the next three hours or so over pitchers of Budweiser.

x

Last Wednesday as Molly and I were getting off work a soldier walked in in uniform with a middle eastern man in street clothes.

“Doesn’t he look like he’s going to blow the place up?? His hair is so ugly, and this beard! What can he do to look normal?”

I swear to god.

And Molly is like, he’s fine. But here’s a slightly more hipster trim you could try.

And then we learn that it’s his second week in the US. He’s 22. He was this soldier’s translator in Afghanistan on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He translated the enemies’ messages to each other for the US army, a lot of times under heavy fire. Crazy shit. He’s 22 goddamn years old.

Molly and I were planning on going on that night after work with a regular named Sawyer, who was going to treat us to expensive drinks at the posh restaurant in town. Because he makes bank doing computer programming or something.

But, it’s now an hour later, and we’re still talking to this soldier and the guy from Afghanistan.

And they end up walking out the door with us and driving downtown for dinner.

It’s Ramadan, so A was fasting. We stuffed our faces in front of him like true Americans, and the soldier kept asking waitresses if they were worried A was going to blow up the place. And “isn’t it crazy he’s never tried alcohol? Or doesn’t do these other explicit things that I will not write on my blog and were completely inappropriate in casual conversation and are not a way to introduce someone to American culture.”

And A just laughed at it all. He was just happy to be here, regardless of how dumb we must have seemed to him.

But as much as the soldier was a die-hard Christian conservative, he kept repeating the fact that A was his brother. And A had saved his life multiple times. And he went to the Islamic society with him. And “We are a COUNTRY of immigrants. Everyone at this table, all of us Americans at one point had someone cross an ocean so we could have a life here. That’s what we do as Americans, he help people.”

And he told us he took A to the cafe because it’s the liberal oasis of the town. Even though he wants to be a CEO and be conservative as shit about his business when he gets his degree.

SO MUCH.

I know this writing is scattered, this whole night could be turned into a short story. There is so much I’m leaving out or not writing justice to, but at least I’ll remember it.

The soldier told us about his time in South Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Then he launches into his marriage. We find out the reason why he’s out with us right now is his wife told him not to come back. We learn later that his wife is a regular that comes in every afternoon. We learn this only after he has relayed all these intimate details about his marriage.

So I’m sitting in the middle of everyone, and Sawyer and A start talking about religion, and then Molly and the soldier start talking about relationships. And I’m like, guys I have to peace.

And I do.

And I get home slightly buzzed and confused, and eat a whole chocolate cake.

And then I go to bed.

So that’s been my week in social.

Bring it on.

Was having a moment of existential angst as I left my second job today. Always feel a bit of a void when I am transitioning between work and free time, or hanging out and free time, or really anything and free time. I am a very goal oriented being, I’ve realized.

So I stopped by the cafe for a bit more reading. I’d been reading constantly from 9-5 and then decided I couldn’t bear to interact with anyone.

Not sure why I chose to go to my cafe if I didn’t want to interact with anyone. In all actuality it was so that I wouldn’t have to spend two dollars on coffee.

Rushed in attempting not to make eye contact with anyone, then sat down for about three minutes on the couch, very agitated and restless. After three minutes, I realized this wasn’t working for me, and I had to go.

And at exactly that moment Brandon walks in, and begins a conversation with me.

This is exactly what I am trying to run away from.

Let’s be honest though, I’m trying to run away from everything this evening.

I indulge Brandon in conversation, and he pulls up a chair because he can’t hear anything I’m saying from his table. Because I ramble and whisper and laugh all at once and most people can’t tell what the fuck I’m ever trying to say. And that’s okay, because most of the time I don’t even know, either.

Brandon and I have a really relaxing conversation. My feet are on the table in front of me, and I let the awkward pauses linger and they actually seem to cushion my mood.

Really need to let go of this idea that everyone has expectations for me. Sometimes people just genuinely might want to talk to you.

New one to me.

Hard one for me.

Molly walks by, and joins me on the couch. Brandon’s telling me a story about how the last three girls he’s dated have shaved their head mid dating. And if there’s a fourth he’s going to have to write a short story.

Molly tells me about all I missed Wednesday night when I peaced early from our odd combination of a dinner party.

Then Kyla walks over and joins us, sipping on an iced chai latte. She tells us she’s never seen “The Grudge” or “The Ring.”

Then Emily comes by and adds that in Japan, if you die a brutal death, your soul is darkened by it.

And then I give a synopsis of a few movies. It’s like a game of charades, and Brandon guesses them all right while Molly tells me I need a youtube channel for my ramblings.

I ask Brandon if he thinks I’m more of an artist or an academic. He tells me he thinks I should pursue humor. And offers to loan me his Don Quixote book that he’s spent the past half year reading.

And then Emily invites me out to dinner. And I tell her I’ll probably have disappeared by the time she walks back into the room. He roommate is finishing up an internship in Paris.

And Brandon is moving to Washington to grow. And Molly is moving to Poland as an au pair.

And then Molly tells the story of her first memory. Which is of skinning a rabbit in Boston, Massachusetts.

And I tell her I had rabbits for ten years. And Brandon says that’s the animal he associates me with.

And then everyone gets up and leaves.

And then I leave and drive home.

Existential Angst lightened a bit by other people living along with me. Apart and together.

As much as I want to avoid them. And as much as I tell myself they are distractions. And as much as they are different from me. I need them. And they need me.

We’re all in this together, after all.

Zoom out. Some family in Afghanistan is looking at a picture of me and my friends out to dinner with their son right now.

Yesterday at work started off with a strange coincidence. My coworker has had a few unfortunate run ins with the cops in town lately, and thus befriended a young police officer who keeps having to respond to her predicaments. She had told me about this police officer weeks ago, but last night she went out to the bars with him, and had an epiphany. The first epiphany of her life, she claims. And somehow she realized that I knew him. And I do. He’s definitely the exact same cop that I spent hours debating politics with one fall night last year when I happened upon a cop house party. We disagreed fundamentally and superficially on literally everything in the world. But we had a pretty good time arguing. He was the beginning of my learning to accept conservative midwest America this year.

Soon after I got to work my friend Miles came in. He’s heading down to Nicaragua again in a few weeks- him and a friend are connected with this hospital down there and they bring supplies in their luggage that the hospital needs, then they spend the rest of their time there rock climbing and being adventurous. Not a bad combination of things.

A little girl about 9 came in and ordered a bottomless, endless refills, coffee. I looked at her in shock, and then realized that her mom was standing right next to her. She was ordering for her. I asked her mom what type of coffee she wanted to start off with, and the mother just looked back at me. The little girl translated from English to Spanish for her mother, and the mother told her daughter what type of coffee she wanted. I thought this was just the most beautiful thing. And I really wanted to join them in speaking Spanish. It’s so cool how kids are able to learn languages so quickly, and even translate for their parents. I got them their coffee and smiled while my mind was racing back to 4th grade Spanish classes for a few vocab words.

Bran, this guy my age that comes in daily and reads mountains of books and smokes mountains of hand rolled cigarettes, asked me if I was reading anything good when I walked by his table. I was a little off my game, hadn’t quite gotten into my social groove for the day yet, and it was hot in the cafe. Therefore, I immediately turned bright red, and began to sweat visibly and profusely. And then proceeded to ramble on about how I’m reading a bunch of different books right now, a little embarrassed of some of them but aren’t we all, and no I’m not reading that just because it’s a feminist book. Even though it is and I should be proud that it is. But I don’t want you to think I only read feminist books because for some reason that still feels shameful to be. And have you heard of Dorian Gray? I just finished it. It’s written by a man.

And then I walked away. And wondered what the hell that was. And the rest of the day I was charming as fuck. Just had to get that little 5th grade Annie moment out of the way so I could begin living as a 23 year old person again.

The rest of the day, anytime anyone we knew came up to the counter, Mol and I immediately perched ourselves- elbows on the counter, face on our fists- and looked up in a way that says “Entertain me?” It was pretty hilarious. And even more hilarious when said customers would start talking to someone else in line at the counter, and we would continue to perch there, staring at them both, being part of a conversation we are not even part of. I pointed this out to Mols and we both cracked up. We get a little unhinged at work as the afternoon drags on. We are ready for anyone to talk to us. Or, at the least, we’ll just listen to your independent conversation with someone else and delude ourselves that we are a part of it.

I was telling Mom about this earlier, but I wanted to blog about it so I didn’t forget. But so often, people literally reach across the counter and pull my hamsa necklace toward them. “Let me see this..”

And I just shake my head in astonishment. We have all achieved enlightenment in this moment I think, as all personal boundaries have disappeared. I am here for your entertainment. You are here for my therapy.

Today I worked the morning Sunday shift. I open with Em on Sundays, and we lean against the counter, sip coffee out of ceramic mugs and talk about politics, feminism, people.

We either end up getting really zen and chill, or else really fired up with anger turned to productive potential activism.

The other Em came in mid morning and helped us as the pace picked up. We spent the rest of our free time discussing tattoos and the Shins. As all of your local baristas will do.

After work I fell asleep for four hours. Then ate dinner with the family and applied for multiple credit cards. Surreal sequence of events, eh? Denied for multiple credit cards due to student loans. Who knew?

Then I went for a jog, and then spoke with Debolina for awhile. We are helping each other make sense of our oddly parallel lives.

Right now I’m in pajamas blogging and listening to the new second album of one of my favorite groups- Broken Bells. Just came out last month. I just found out about it today.

Yesterday I spent way too much time reading news and studying world politics. After I got off work I was completely spent, and a little depressed. On principle I try not to watch tv, but I watched the new season of Friday Night Dinner and laughed out loud by myself. So tonight we are all watching it together as a family.

Have been in a bit of a funk lately, but resolve to get out of it as of tonight.

Blogging everyday always seems to help me feel better, so expect a blog post a day from now on.

Here’s my dirty little secret that goes against everything that I strive to be:

I just fucking love people.

I push intellect and logic to the front of my life, I value ideals above interaction and I say that I believe everyone is out to get their own, so get yours first.

But then, I go on a night run to Dillon’s.

And then I speak with a stranger.

And my mood changes dramatically. And suddenly I don’t feel so alone, I feel surrounded by the world. A part of it.

At the mechanic’s earlier today for my car with mom. This lady in the other line looks over and smiles at me. I smile back, even though I’m not in the best mood because I’ve not eaten all day.

At Dillon’s tonight, eight hours later, my mood has dropped again. Grabbing brown rice off the shelf, the same woman from the mechanic’s walks past me. And we recognize each other instantly.

“We meet again!” she says.

And I smile, realizing life is ridiculous and so much fun.

And when you find your groove, you always bump into the right things.

When you let yourself be inspired by the world, the world is abundant with inspiration.

And you never know how much you can positively impact another’s life, or how much they can impact yours.

Remember to get out of the house when you are feeling out of touch. People pull you back.

Dumped. I’m pretty sure getting dumped was the most empowering thing that could happen to me at this point in my life.

It’s brought me full circle.

I feel like I finally found what I was looking for.

The thing I have been running from for most of my life, and especially this past year, has not broken me.

It has just made me a more powerful person.

And a more fearless person, because now I know I am not as breakable as worried. And a more secure person, because I realized that I am a lot more in control of myself than I realized.

I am also as smart and determined as I hoped to be. Still stumbling and growing, but seeing progress.

And that is fucking awesome.

And now I just get to focus on how I want to view the world. And share that with the world.

And I can be absolutely sure that a relationship is just not for me yet. And I have so much life I want to live for myself before I can even think of sharing a direction with another.

So, fuck yeah to 23.

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