Men Are People Too

Dear Readership,

Wowzers! Did I ever drop the ball on blogging over Christmas break. I’m sure you were heartbroken, but have no fear! I’m back.

I imagine you’re all tentatively scrolling with your trigger finger delicately posed on judgment blasters, just waiting for a post like this with a title like that to be political (maybe even a #metoo story). It’s not. Maybe it could be, but really it’s more of a writer’s block confession.

I have, for the past two or three weeks, been trying to write a post about my recent encounter with what I am 96.5% sure were alien lifeforms undercover at the world’s most perfect (i.e. too perfect) gas station. I have some pretty rock-solid evidence, but I guess it’s a post for another day because every time I sat down to write it, it was choked out by another story. My story?

I have always struggled with being comfortable around men. I mean, always. From neighbors to family friends, classmates to strangers, waiters to cashiers, even some of my own friends–they’ve all made me uncomfortable at one time or another. All through high-school my palms would sweat and my heart would race if my friend’s dads or brothers tried to converse with me. My freshman year I asked to please be placed on an all-girls floor (which didn’t happen). My sophomore year I had a panic attack every time I went to see my university assigned male therapist (no, the irony of that is not lost on me). And any time a male professor called on me I forgot how to string words into sentences (ask me about how I’ve made a total ass of myself every time my favorite professor has endeavored to speak to me. It’s a real cringer). Somewhere along the way though, it got better. And then somewhere in the last two months it got infinity worse again. I’m jumpy, paranoid, and unsocial. I have opted to stand in long grocery lines to avoid the open registers of male clerks, I’ve walked to class so I don’t have to say hi to the bus driver, and I’ve washed dishes at a party (more than once) so I didn’t have to mingle.

Do I know why I’ve relapsed? No, not really. Am I tired of being afraid? Very. Men are just people. Just half the people in existence. Half of the people in my life. People I have to talk to and interact with.

If I’m being honest, this post is more for me than you. I’m trying to figure it out too. I can trace different threads of potential triggers — going through periods of high strain on my relationship with my father, being in past relationships with guys who needed to be told ‘no’ before I realized I had the voice to say it, being objectified or grabbed by strangers, enduring belittling comments from men I didn’t have the energy to argue with, etc. etc. etc.. I guess those are all valid reasons to explain my anxiety, but they’re not new reasons and they don’t explain the last few months of renewed fear. They don’t explain why I can’t sleep; why I’ve been anxious; why I’m fearful about going outside at night; or why I’m perpetually afraid of being followed. Those are not normal things to feel, and yet they’re my norm. I do feel a little better after having it all written out, but I don’t feel any closer to understanding what’s going on or why.

Anyway, that’s me these days. That’s the reason I haven’t been writing. Every funny or clever thing I wanted to say has been dammed up behind  a whole big lump of fear that I don’t know how to deal with and can’t avoid. I was sort of hoping that if I went ahead and acknowledged my problem then my anxiety would politely tip its hat and amble on its merry way to ruin someone else’s creative energy. Fingers crossed that that’s still what happens and I’ll be back to writing soon. I guess we’ll see.

Until next time,

Adieu

Mucking About

Dear Readership,

As I officially start to unwind after the semester, I thought it would be fun to share with you what a lot of my semester was like. I was lucky enough to get a spot in a very small class on playwriting with my ALL TIME favorite professor (joking-not-joking, if he started a cult I would probably join it). This class has stretched me as a writer and challenged my usual novel-esque techniques and crutches to make me better, bolder, more intentional, and to the point. Long and short, I LOVED it. So I present to you a copy of one of my short plays I wrote this semester. A lot of sweat, blood, and tears went into this project (by which I mean sleep-deprivation, coffee, and actual tears went into this project). I hope you like it!

If you’ll forgive me a small brag, my professor called it possibly the most ambitious play anyone had ever turned into him and used it as an example of my ability to write complexly when he wrote my letter of recommendation for grad school. *fan girl screams* it was probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever been paid by someone whose creative genius I idolize. All that to say, here t’is!

*Disclaimer* there is some language, especially towards the third scene. My deepest apologies if you find it distasteful.

~~~~

 

Mucking About

 

Cast of Characters

HARRY WELLINGTON:  32 years old, irritatingly pragmatic operative

WILLIAM FITZHERBERT:  29 years old, emotionally impulsive, Wellington’s partner

DEBORAH GEITZMAN:  45 years old,  The boss at Radar HQ

MAGNOLIA FLETCHA:  35 years old, the person in the chair at Radar HQ

ELMER MORRIS:   22 years old, the twitchy intern

Setting:  A Baltimore alleyway, early fall, 1855. Laundry hangs from lines overhead and various heaps of unwanted materials sit in the background — crates, pallets, a few garbage cans, and an old rug among them.  

At Rise:  The cobblestone streets are awash in the dim flickering glow of recently lit lamplight. There are two men onstage, neither of whom are moving. One, dressed rather raggedly, sits slumped against a wall with his eyes closed and head lolling to one side. The other, dressed much nicer, lies face down center stage in a pool of blood. Two more men enter in conversation. Both are well dressed, but beginning to look a little bedraggled.

WELLINGTON   

Quite frankly there is very little in this world I wouldn’t do right now for a hot meal and decent bed. Do you know I think I am actually getting fleas?

FITZHERBERT

I daresay you’ve always had them. But I agree! If I do not get a plateful of pork chops and gravy soon I may very well kill–

(both men see the body and stop short)

WELLINGTON  (sighs)

Not again.

FITZHERBERT  

Well, dammit all. This does complicate things, doesn’t it?

WELLINGTON  

What an imbecilic thing to go and do.

FITZHERBERT  

To die? That seems a mite unfair.

WELLINGTON  

Well he hasn’t just died now, has he? The idiot’s gone and gotten killed.

FITZHERBERT  

He couldn’t possibly have known it was coming, could he?

WELLINGTON  

Couldn’t he?

FITZHERBERT

Oh, I don’t know.  

FITZHERBERT  

What are we going to do?

WELLINGTON  

Well we can’t leave him here. He could ruin everything. We’ll have to find somewhere to hide the body.

FITZHERBERT  

Oh, no. This is a new waistcoat! I don’t want blood all over it.
(WELLINGTON gives him a dirty look)
No, of course. You’re right. Let’s get him out of here. I think the easiest thing to do is– I say! There’s someone else here.

WELLINGTON  (whips around frantically)

What?! We’ve been compromised. We’ll have to kill him.

(FITZHERBERT approaches the sleeping man and takes a deep whiff)

FITZHERBERT  

That seems hasty, this man’s drunk.

WELLINGTON  

Are you sure?

FITZHERBERT

I’d bet my life on it. I know the smell of spirits better than I know the smell of my own mother.  

WELLINGTON  

And?

FITZHERBERT  

And I don’t think we have to kill him. He’s intoxicated. From the smell of him, very intoxicated. I doubt he’s been aware of anything for quite some time.

WELLINGTON   

Things are complicated enough without overestimating his intoxication and creating a new loose end to deal with.  

FITZHERBERT

This is a human being, you know, not a loose end to be “dealt with.”

WELLINGTON  

Look at him! Does he look like much of a human being anymore to you? We’d be doing the poor wretch a favor by sparing him of the burden of living any longer.

FITZHERBERT  

Somehow I doubt he’d feel that way. Why don’t we just leave him while we deal with the body. If he wakes up and we are forced to do something differently, we will.

WELLINGTON  

I suppose that is a compromise I can live with. But if things go amiss, the paperwork is your problem.

FITZHERBERT  

As I recall, you always make the paperwork my problem.

WELLINGTON  

Shut up and help me think of something to do with this body.

FITZHERBERT

What, like put him in one of those rubbish bins?

WELLINGTON  

Unless you have intentions of hacking him up a bit, no full grown man is going to fit into a rubbish bin.

FITZHERBERT  

So, what? Should we stick him under the crates then?

WELLINGTON  

That is possibly the worst idea I’ve ever heard. You know what, here, help me grab that rug.
(the two men grab the rolled up rug and spread it out next to the body)
There. Now you grab his feet and lay him on the edge.

FITZHERBERT  (grunting)

God, he weighs a ton.

WELLINGTON
(also grunting but trying to seem fine)

Just lift him, you idiot. There! Now roll.

(both men roll the body up in the rug, struggle to carry it back to where it had been originally propped, and nearly drop it. They step back to examine their work, breathing heavily)

FITZHERBERT  

Somehow I feel like a body shaped lump in a rug isn’t really better than a body smushed under a stack of crates. It’s still pretty, uh –what’s the word — eye-grabbing.

WELLINGTON

Perhaps, but we’ve dealt with it as best we can. Now, back to the issue at hand – Elijah Knollwood was last seen in this general area. If we didn’t waste too much time here we may still be able to catch him and get home before supper.

FITZHERBERT

Right, of course. I think our best bet is going to be heading–

(WELLINGTON cuts him short by pulling his gun. He points to the drunk man who has roused just enough to retch on himself)

WELLINGTON  

Look! He’s waking up.

FITZHERBERT  

Stop! He didn’t see anything. You don’t have to do this!

WELLINGTON

Stand back! He could be the killer.

(WELLINGTON aims his gun at the bum, but FITZHERBERT jumps in the way and tries to take the gun from him. The two men fall to the ground and wrestle over it vigorously for a minute before a gunshot rings out. FITZHERBERT jumps back, surprised)

FITZHERBERT  (shaking his companion)

Wellington? Wellington! Oh no… It was me. It was my fault the whole time. I’m the killer.

(FITZHERBERT makes eye contact with the bum for a long second before bolting off stage. The bum looks around him bewildered. He looks at the body then at the audience, then passes out again. The stage is still for 10 very uncomfortable seconds)

(Enter WELLINGTON and FITZHERBERT)  

WELLINGTON   

Quite frankly there is very little in this world I wouldn’t do right now for a hot meal and decent bed. Do you know I think I am actually getting fleas?

FITZHERBERT

I daresay you’ve always had them. But I agree! If I do not get a plateful of pork chops and gravy soon I may very well kill–

(both men see the body and stop short)

WELLINGTON  (sighs)

Not again.

BLACKOUT

SCENE II

(Out of the darkness we hear an unfamiliar voice)

FLETCHA  

On September 22nd, 1855, Elijah Knollwood, a newspaperman and Baltimore socialite, killed his mistress, Eliza Matkins, and their two young children. He shot all three after an altercation in which Matkins threatened to expose Knollwood’s infidelity to the public and ruin his career if he didn’t divorce his wife. As tragic as the event was, the death of Knollwood’s younger son, Peter, was ultimately for the greater good. At age six Peter was no threat to society, but by age thirty-one he would travel to New York to meet, seduce, and eventually marry Jennie Jerome…

LIGHTS UP

Radar Headquarters, 2095.  There are no windows in the fluorescently lit room to indicate season or time of day. The insipid white walls and a long line of monitor screens give the overall environment a feel of government-issued sterility and high intelligence. FLETCHA sits at a desk with a file open in front of her and GEITZMAN stands behind, looking on.

GEITZMAN  

It’s been a long night, Fletcha, drop the theatrics and remind me why I care.

FLETCHA

Right, sorry. Well, Jennie Jerome –or as you probably know her –Lady Randolph Churchill is remembered by history for being the mother of Winston Churchill.  She was never meant to marry Peter Knollwood. The implications could be catastrophic.

GEITZMAN  

Wait, so you’re telling me this Peter kid doesn’t get shot in the head and suddenly Winston Churchill is never born?

FLETCHA  

Sort of. It’s not really that simple, but short answer  yes.

GEITZMAN

And why am I just now hearing this?

FLETCHA  

We had two operatives on the case already. Only, something’s gone wrong.

GEITZMAN  (sighing)

Doesn’t it always?

FLETCHA  

Somehow they’ve come across one of their own bodies.

GEITZMAN  

And?

FLETCHA  

And I’m not exactly sure what’s happening, but they’re stuck in a loop. If I’m reading these heat signatures correctly, they’ve discovered the body four different times now and each time they are unable to move past the anomaly without recreating it.  

(Enter MORRIS)

MORRIS  

Sorry to interrupt. One fat free latte — extra hot, and one large black coffee with two espresso shots and four pumps of sugar-free french vanilla.

GEITZMAN  

Geez, Fletcha, that’s a lot of syrup.

FLETCHA  

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize my coffee order was offensive to you. Besides, what’s the point of an extra hot latte?

GEITZMAN

They steam the milk longer.

FLETCHA

Okay, but ask yourself — do they really? Do you really think the barista on the fourth floor takes an extra 30 seconds on your steamed milk?

(GEITZMAN peers suspiciously at her cup)

MORRIS  

I — uh, I can take it back if you want?  

GEITZMAN  

No, actually, I have a different job for you. Listen, we need a new variable in a situation on the field. Someone who can mix things up and change the inevitable so that we can get back to changing a different inevitable back to what it was supposed to be in the first place. God! Can you believe they thought the Cold War was tricky back in the day? What’s an atom bomb compared with trying to keep humanity from unraveling itself at the source?  

MORRIS  

Wait, you want me on the field? But-but I’m an intern.

GEITZMAN  

Right, and one they won’t recognize. You can’t directly confront someone who’s stuck in a time loop like that, it gets… complicated. You just need to be there once to observe what happens and once to change it, got it?

MORRIS  

But… how? Won’t they see me?

FLETCHA  

I’ve been thinking about that. They’re in a pretty unpopulated, rundown part of town. I’m pretty sure we can plant you somewhat inconspicuously. Say, as a bum? If we put you in period dress, rough you up a bit, and I don’t know, douse you in a fair bit of rum — they won’t suspect a thing.

GEITZMAN  

Perfect. What’s your name again?

MORRIS  (wounded)

What? I’m–I’m Morris. Elmer Morris.

GEITZMAN  (sighing)  

Right. Okay, well, come with me. I’ll debrief you and take you back. I don’t know how long we have to fix this and complete the original mission, but it needs to happen before the historic lag wears off. I’m not really interested in seeing the implications of a world without Churchill play out.

(both Exit)

BLACKOUT

SCENE III

Back in the original alley as we left it. MORRIS is passed out in a pool of his own vomit on the back wall and WELLINGTON is lying dead on stage. Enter MORRIS and GEITZMAN in conversation

GEITZMAN  

(looking at a hand held monitor of some kind)

Okay, hurry. We need to get you in place before they make their first appearance. Let’s put you over here against — shit. Is that already you?!

MORRIS  (whimpering)

Oh my god, am I — am I dead?

GEITZMAN  

Dammit. I guess we’re not the first versions of ourselves to think of this. Now what? God, I hate this job.

MORRIS  

Wait, if he’s me and he’s dead, why am I not dead?

GEITZMAN  

This is basic level stuff, Morris. If you die in your own current time on your own timeline, you’re dead. But if you die in the past, then only the you of that exact moment stops living. “You” as an essence continues on because technically you weren’t there for your death, you don’t overlap with yourself. Other alternative versions of you live your life and get up to the moment when you decided to go back in time and can decide whether or not to go back, whether or not to put themselves in the same position, make the same choices, etc.

MORRIS  (still whining)

Wait, so like alternate versions of me in alternate universes?

GEITZMAN  

Now’s really not the time for this lecture. Short answer yes and no. You are a never-ending stream of conscious beings making distinct choices, but on top of yourselves. You are all distinctive, but also not separate. Think like a stack of transparencies. Separate seethrough pages containing different information but overlapped into a single complex image. Now multiply how confusing that is by a million and you’ll have a glimpse into my job.  

MORRIS  

Oh. Um, okay. (to himself) Please don’t let me be dead.

(The two go over to examine the vomit covered MORRIS to determine whether or not he is dead. Once they get close, another MORRIS creeps out from behind some crates where he had been hiding and hits the newest MORRIS over the head with a brick, thus knocking him unconscious)

GEITZMAN  

WHAT THE HELL! Morris? How many times did we send you here?

MORRIS  

Too many, Geitzman! Too damn many.

GEITZMAN  

Why did you hit yourself — er, him?

MORRIS  

I’m not supposed to interact with other versions of myself, right?

GEITZMAN  

What? No, that’s not a real thing. Who told you that?

MORRIS  

Seriously? I don’t know who told me that! No one’s really told me anything!  You’d think for a department that is dealing with such highly sensitive material you guys would have a budget to, I don’t know, maybe train the interns? Or here’s a new thought — NOT SEND THE COFFEE BOY ON A LIFE OR DEATH MISSION. You do know it’s my fault Wellington is even dead, right? Or at least, it has been the last two times he died. Whatever happened before that is beyond me.  

GEITZMAN  

You were supposed to change the outcome. What happened?

MORRIS  

I did what you told me to — I sat here and I waited for them to discover the body. They did. And then they thought I was the murderer. I had to sit here and pretend to be unconscious while they argued over whether or not they were going to kill me. I was freaking out, right? And yeah, I lost my nerve and vomited. It happens. Then trigger happy Harry here tries to kill me, his friend gets in the way, they wrestled, and I don’t know… Maybe he accidentally shot himself? Maybe theother guy got the gun and killed him? I didn’t see, but boom. Mystery solved. I was all set to do a do-over when, wouldn’t you know it, you come walking in with another version of me. I thought I wasn’t supposed to see myself — thanks for nothing — so I hid and got to watch the whole thing happen again from behind a heap of trash. If that won’t mess a guy up, I don’t know what will.

GEITZMAN  

And then what? You knocked that version of yourself out same as this one when we got here?

MORRIS  

(MORRIS points disgustedly to the version of himself still passed out in vomit)

Who, him? No. This guy’s such a pantywaste he got scared shitless and passes out on his own. And next thing I know, you’re here with a NEW me! Any chance you want to explain that?

GEITZMAN  

Shit. Did I explain the process for getting back to your current time?

MORRIS  

NO! Do you think I’d still be here if I knew how to go back?  

GEITZMAN  

I totally forgot that you couldn’t stay here without real-time communication with the present without running the risk that the newest versions of ourselves would make the decision to come here.  

MORRIS  

You are literally the worst director I’ve ever heard of. So, what? There are just three of me now? Are we all separate entities? If I kill them is it murder or just a purging of my own consciousness?

GEITZMAN  

That’s complicated. We probably shouldn’t keep talking about this here. Wellington and Fitzherbert will be here any minute.

MORRIS  

It’s all complicated, isn’t it? But how do I go back to there just being one of me?

GEITZMAN  (distractedly)

Huh? Oh, that part’s not that hard, really. All three of you just need to simultaneously converge on your most current self when you go back. You’ll probably merge seamlessly.

MORRIS  

Probably is not my favorite word in this context.

GEITZMAN  

Shut up. They’re coming. We need to move.

(Both step out of view of the approaching operatives but stay in view of the audience)

(Enter WELLINGTON and FITZHERBERT)

WELLINGTON   

Quite frankly there is very little in this world I wouldn’t do right now for a hot meal and decent bed. Do you know I think I am actually getting fleas?

FITZHERBERT

I daresay you’ve always had them. But I agree! If I do not get a plateful of pork chops and gravy soon I may very well kill–

(both men see the body and stop short)

WELLINGTON  (sighs)

Not again.

MORRIS  (harsh whisper)

I don’t understand, why can’t they see us?

GEITZMAN  

Have you met Wellington? The man’s good at his job but he’s an absolute ass. He won’t take help from anyone. If we directly confront him about being stuck in a loop he’ll become unbearable. It’s easier to redirect him than to deal with his fragile male ego.

MORRIS  

(Pause) … I really hate you.  You fractured me into like four versions of myself and traumatized at least two of them to avoid an unpleasant conversation!?

(MORRIS steps out into full view)

MORRIS  (con’t)

DON’T SHOOT. My name is Elmer Morris, I’m a Radar intern. The two men passed out over there? They’re me too. You’re going to want to kill them. Please don’t. I don’t think I can handle it emotionally. And neither can Fitzy here which is how you end up dead, Wellington, so calm your trigger finger. There are literally four of your dead bodies hidden in a fifteen foot radius of me right now and I’m over it. You’re stuck in a loop or whatever that even means and meanwhile Winston Churchill gets closer and closer to not existing out there. All of you need to get your shit together. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get my selves together– like physically together — get us the hell back to the present, and hightail it to Georgetown University where I will officially be declaring my major as accounting. That’s right, accounting. I thought time travel would be cool, but it’s not. It’s scary and confusing and terrible and I took so many physics classes just to be here right now and let me tell you — not worth it. I quit.

(MORRIS snatches handheld monitor thing from GEITZMAN, puts it in his pocket, and drags both other MORRIS bodies off-stage)

WELLINGTON

Well — I — uh, I’m a little confused.

FITZHERBERT  

I killed you?

WELLINGTON  

Apparently.

FITZHERBERT  

And the intern?

GEITZMAN  

He grows a spine like that every so often. Not to worry. Nothing a little tinkering with his head won’t make him forget. He’s proven himself pretty much invaluable in our research on the effects of times travel on the human psyche. Now, if the two of you could stop mucking about and causing problems, you have a timeline to correct. It wasn’t easy talking Knollwood out of the murder, but if I can do it so can the Russians. They’re only a matter of years away from a breakthrough and we need to have all our bases covered.

BLACKOUT

~~~~~~

Anyway, this about sums up my semester. This is a work in progress that I plan to expand, so I’d love some feedback!

Until next time,

Adieu

[Insert Adage About Raining and Pouring]

Dear Readership,

You know those days that just aren’t that great and no matter what you do you can’t seem to make them better?

I have a lot of those.

Wednesday was not one of those days.

Wednesday was the kind of day that was so jam-packed with irritatingly bad nuances that it should be expunged from the annals of history (not to mention my life) so I can avoid intense trauma therapy.

It all started with a final presentation (doesn’t it always?) that I had to give right on the heels of a 24 hour throw-up virus. I had been up until about 2am the night before frantically cutting it down because we had a hard and fast 9 minute deadline (speaking of, who the heck makes a presentation deadline 9 minutes? That’s the most maddeningly odd number. Would 10 have killed ya?) and mine was a solid 14 minutes long. I spent the wee hours of the morning cutting out slides willy-nilly before deciding to take the L if it wasn’t good enough and passing out.

Wednesday dawned and I had had about 5 and 1/2 hours of sleep which I know is not that little, but I’m a strict 8 hours kind of gal. Anything less and I turn into a gremlin-like she-monster — malicious and more than a little ugly. I begrudgingly rolled out of bed and began to make myself presentable. It didn’t require a lot of mental energy (thank goodness) because I have exactly one presentation worthy outfit (a gray knit dress, purple tights, and some killer cute heels). Unfortunately, my dress was hanging next to the DampRid in my closet (because, you know, everything I own gets covered in mildew if I don’t hang that water-sucking, chemical-laden bag in there too) and it now pungently reeked of fake floral cleaner. I didn’t have time to scrounge together another semi-professional outfit so I spritzed myself with some extra body spray (as if that would help) and ran out the door. It had been in the 50s for a few days, so I felt like I was wearing a reasonably weather-appropriate outfit; however, when I stepped outside I was dismayed to discover that it was below freezing and not likely to warm up much past that all day.  So I hobbled — half-frozen — to the bus in my completely impractical outfit, and then proceeded to have one of the longest, busiest days on my feet that I’ve had this entire semester. Parts of it were really cool (like attending the raising of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee flag ceremony in the student union), but they were overshadowed a little by the fact that my feet were swollen from marching around a mountain in heels for nine hours, by having hives on my hands and face from the unexpected cold, and by the rash developing on my belly from my DampRid-soaked dress.

All days must end, however, and my incredibly looong day finally did too. I put on my comfiest slippers to appease my poor feet and decided to reward myself by buying a McDonald’s ice cream cone on the way to study at my boyfriend’s house. I pulled into the drive thru, rolled down my window, and *THUNK* it broke. The pane had detached from whatever mechanism roles the window up and down and fallen down inside the door. What was the worst part about all of this?

It was really hard to enjoy my ice cream cone while being pounded by the cold night air.

But broken windows are just a part of the adventure of driving a clunker, right? I could get through this. All I had to do was bundle up and blast the heat whenever I drove until I could figure out a good way to rig a cover. I convinced myself that all would be well and was determined to be an optimist about it.

Little did I know a mini-blizzard was on its way the next day to dump nine inches of snow on Boone town and my lil ol’ windowless car…

If your Wednesday (or any day) was worse, please, do share.

Until next time,

Adieu

 

Merry Hanukhristmas

Dear Readership,

Two days ago my Holiday-loving, Mariah-Carry-Christmas-belting,  Jewish roommate (Olivia) and I embarked in search of a Christmas tree. We had received some very Southern directions (repeated to the second or third degree) to a Christmas tree stand “over yonder” that had cheaply priced trees and proceeds that went to a local homeless family. A good deal and a good cause? We were all about that! So we set out! Annnnd made it half-way to the Tennessee boarder before we realized we had probably gone too far. “Go a few miles past Mast Gap Rd” is definitely not an exact measurement, but “a few” also doesn’t usually mean 30 minutes in the car. We continued to wander in search of our glorious cause for over an hour before finally admitting defeat and deciding to buy a tree from Lowe’s.

Our MAX budget was $30, and let me tell you, there were some rinky-dink lil ol scraggly trees for $30 that made Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree look like a robust 7 foot fir. We were discouraged and starting to make our peace with buying an underwhelming tree when we found it. From its base to about five feet it was the fattest, fullest, most beautiful tree I had ever seen. Then it stopped abruptly and had only one lone naked branch sticking up to form the last foot of the tree. It was hideous. We loved it.  We crammed it in the back of her tiny Mazda and then picked up our other roommate (Tori) from campus and crammed her back there as well (bless her heart).

After we got home we braved our tiny, spider infested shed to retrieve the Christmas decorations (and by “we” of course I mean “she” while I stood at a safe distance moaning and nervously rocking back and forth in anticipation of a spider attack). The decorating of the tree commenced the next morning in our usual bickering/bantering style…

Olivia and Tori were going to wrap the lights around the tree (with Tori unraveling and Olivia placing them on the tree itself while I supervised) when I noticed Olivia start the strand in the middle of the tree…

Me: Don’t start in the middle, you barbarian.
Olivia: Oh, I’m sorry.  DON’T JUDGE THE JEW’S CHRISTMAS DECORATING ABILITY
Me: Fair enough

A few minutes later Olivia held up a strand of lights…

Olivia: Wow, this looks like a carbon chain!
Me: ….
Tori: Shut up.

Once we started putting the ornaments on the tree, I sat down to put the hooks onto the ornaments while Tori and Olivia put them on the tree…

Tori: I can take over putting the hooks on if you want to put some on the tree.
Me: Nah, that’s okay. I always put the hooks on growing up because the kids were too small to do it. It’s my own little Christmas tradition.
Olivia: Well, you’re a very good hooker, ur, hook-puter-on-er.
Tori: Haha….hooker.
Me: Thanks guys.

I love my roommates and their love of festivities. I love that Olivia loves to join in on our celebrations and is happy to share hers with us too. I love that we have her menorah and dreidel on the coffee table and that she happily answers whatever questions we can think to ask about how Hanukkah is celebrated. I love the sharing and mixing and observing of different holidays, cultures, and backgrounds. I love how much I’ve learned about Jewish customs since moving in with Olivia and how natural it feels to share and learn and experience with one another. So from our household to yours, Merry Hanukristmas.

Until next time,

Adieu

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A Nation Divided

Dear Readership,

I come before you with a heavy heart. A friend of mine and I recently got into a heated debate over a very polarized topic: does pineapple belong on pizza or not? This is an issue that has ripped our nation apart– pitting brother against brother and friend against friend.  I shall allow my “friend” to remain unnamed so as not to publicly shame him for his blasphemy, and will instead refer to him as The Unenlightened throughout the following exchange. Some context: this man is sassy, he is sarcastic, and he is ruthless (all of which are reasons why I love his company). So if you ever read a line and wonder, “Wait, is that sarcasm?” The answer is a resounding YES. Our conversation started innocently enough, but it went downhill very quickly…

The Unenlightened: You remember that time on August 5th I texted you and said I was 300 pages into the brothers karamazov? It’s now November 7th and I’m not even to page 500.
Having class is the worst.
Me: TRUTH! I currently have an overdue library book that I have had for about a month and a half (calm down, it’s only overdue by a week) and I have probably read a grand total of 15 pages. It breaks my heart
The Unenlightened: I’m glad you told me to calm down, I was about to absolutely lose my cool.
Me: I’m looking out for ya. Don’t want your blood pressure to spike too high over library book fees.
The Unenlightened: Careful, that thirty cents can be a backbreaker.
Me: You know what I could do with that 30 cents??
Leave it in the carpet of my car for the next 15 years with the rest of my loose change… but still. It’s the principle of it.
The Unenlightened: That’s your thirty cents to do what you want with.
That loose change comes in handy. Like when your campus ministry holds a coin drive for hurricane relief but it also serves as a competition to decide whether pineapple belongs on a pizza
Me: That is an oddly specific scenario
The Unenlightened: But a plausible one
Me: The more important question is did you uphold truth and righteousness? Or did you vote against pineapple?
The Unenlightened: On a related note, UGA ccf is officially against pineapple on pizza
Wait
Tell me you’re kidding
Me: PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA IS A GIFT TO MANKIND
The Unenlightened: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
ADULTERER
Me: Umm, I don’t have boring, old man tastebuds and appreciate complex variety in my food?
and idk… I’M NOT A FREAKING MONSTER WHO HATES ALL THINGS PURE AND DELICIOUS
The Unenlightened: OUR FOREFATHERS DIDN’T DIE FOR US TO PUT FRUIT ON OUR PIZZA
AND DON’T YOU DARE SAY TOMATO, WE ALL KNOW THAT’S A TECHNICALITY
Me: Well, you know who hates pineapple on pizza? Communists… ya frickin commie
The Unenlightened: Communists don’t even have pizza
Me: You’re telling me. I mean, can you even call a pizza without pineapple on it a pizza at all??
The Unenlightened: You know where they don’t have pineapple? ANYWHERE PIZZA WAS INVENTED
Me: Oh, and expanding on a good thing to make it better is now inherently wrong?
The Unenlightened: Revelation 22:18 [NOTE: the verse says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.”]
Me: Who hurt you so you couldn’t love?
The Unenlightened: I’ve tasted and seen the sweetest of loves. Pineapple wasn’t involved
Me: Then what you’ve experienced wasn’t love, only a mere shadow of it. You, my friend, are chained in a cave. You’re stuck thinking that your 2D world of gray and stone is all there is. If you could only break free and step into the real world, you would find the loving embrace of pineapple on pizza and the goodness of truth. ~direct quote from Plato
The Unenlightened: Guess what fruit wasn’t around in ancient Greece
Me: I’m sorry, WERE YOU THERE?

…. It was at this point that my friend and I stopped speaking to each other and haven’t spoken since. Is it too late for our relationship to be restored? Only time (and a major change of heart on his part) will tell.
I would tell you to chime in on the debate in the comments… but you either agree with me or you’re wrong on this one. So keep your hate to yourself. 😉

Until next time,

Adieu

Hear ye, hear ye!

Dearest readership,

Welcome! I am reluctantly pleased to be stepping into the world of blogging. Blogs feel very 2002 to me and I have always resisted joining the the ranks of self-proclaimed internet experts due to the fact that I can only claim expertise in Netflix binges and drowning in exorbitant amounts of social anxiety. Seeing as how I doubt anyone needs counsel in either of these subjects, I’ve drug my feet on chiming in on the world wide web. However, a writing mentor of mine recently advised me to start and promote a blog to prove to future publishers that people don’t hate my writing. As someone who hopes to someday be published (if my poor neglected novel ever gets the attention it deserves), I’m not above jumping through some hoops and kissing some butts to make it happen. So here you are, a blog — to you, from me. It is founded on nothing but selfish, career-driven motives, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

For those of you who are tuning in from Facebook, my blog will mostly consist of the same kind of content that you’re used to — more laughs at my expense due to my poor decision making skills and terribly awkward social presence. There will also be the same smattering of funny quotes and overheard conversations, the occasional short story, play, piece of art, etc.

For those of you who are new — thanks for showing up. How you found me I have no idea, but please, take your shoes off and stay a while. I’m the second oldest of seven sassy siblings, a frazzled college student on the verge of mental breakdown, and an incredibly nosy snoop who occasionally reports snippets of conversations that are none of my business. These are the primary sources for my material. I hope you like it.

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this little anecdote in which my younger sister let her sassy flair shine:

Dad: *says jackass*
Jo (10): Ooooooh, you said a bad word.
Stepmom: The word ass is in the bible you know.
Jo: So is crucifixion, do you think that’s okay?
Stepmom: …

Until next time,

Adieu