Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not Always Greener

I find it fascinating to know how many people would swap lives for a taste of something different. I have always been a person who thought the grass was a whole lot greener on the other side, but I'm slowly learning that that is not always the case. In fact, the life I have is pretty darn great, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who would love to trade me places for the joys of snowy springs, literature obsessions, and antisocial tendencies (these might sound negative, but I promise they're not... okay, maybe some of them are). This week, my roommates have a friend from England staying with us and enjoying all the many adventures that Logan, Utah has to offer. I would never ever pick Utah as my vacation choice, especially if I were from somewhere as beautiful and diverse as the UK. That must be just my personal opinion, because this girl seems to love the bounties of Cafe Rio, Coldstone, and American Eagle. She actually offered to switch me identities so that she could enjoy the comforts that I take for granted, and so that I could have a taste of her life in Kent. After thinking about it for just a split second, I had the realization that my life here in snowy Cache Valley is the only life I would want to live. I would not choose to be anywhere else, doing anything else than what I'm doing now. Granted, I'm not planning on being here too much longer, but I am planning on making the most of it while it lasts. I guess that means that the grass really is green where I am (if you remove the 4 inches of snow that are currently covering my front yard). Not too shabby, if you ask me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

San Diego Splendor

I have never done something like this before. I have never traveled 1000+ miles to take part in being a "groupie." Yesterday I got home from my 24-hour stint in San Diego, and I must admit that those 24 hours went so well that I wished they were 48, or even 72.
We got in to SD at 3:30-ish, and we had the pleasure of riding a shuttle van to our hotel, which was fifteen or so minutes away from the airport. Our driver was really nice, and we chatted it up about music and other random topics. He even suggested that we come see him after the play, and he would suggest something "fun" for us to do for the evening. Who knows if he was flirting or not, but we enjoyed the company. We never got his name, so he was dubbed with the title "Drover" (not because he was a hot Australian, but because he had an Aussie tag hanging in his window, and because he drove us). The hotel smelled like stale sheets and musty air conditioning, but it was nice nonetheless.
After we got settled in, we decided to mosey on over to the train station and head downtown for the evening. We walked through the beautiful Town & Country Inn, asking people where we could find public transportation. The first lady told us it was on the other side of the "behemoth" building, and her directions proved to be most useful, especially her naming of the grand building that was the hotel. We passed large black ducks and "mallard and girl ducks" as we made our way to Brooke's first encounter with public transportation. I'm happy to say that she wasn't too scarred by the experience, and I might have even sold her on the subject that "white people like public transportation when it's not buses."
We got downtown with plenty of time to spare, and we decided to check out the mall food court to curb our hunger. Brooke went with the vegetarian option of a baked potato the size of your head, and I went to town with my second panini that day. We mostly enjoyed our dinners because we could people watch; there are many attractive males and many annoying females that walk the malls of San Diego.
RENT was amazing!!! Even though we sat at least 1,000 feet from the stage, I was amazed and inspired by the words and lyrics of that play. The people might have been tiny, but I knew that one of them was my love, Anthony Rapp, and that made everything top notch. During intermission we hit up the souvenir stand, and I spent nearly all my money on RENT paraphernalia. Oh the joys of being a RENT-head. After the show, we staked out a place amidst screaming fans, and we waited, and waited for Anthony Rapp to show up. Unfortunately for us (and the girl who was dressed in an identical Mark sweater), he made a sneaky escape to his hotel, and we never saw him. It was then that I made a vow to myself that I would meet him in NYC... someday.
Our post-RENT adventures served to be almost as memorable as the show itself. We walked and walked and walked (in circles, might I add) around the Gaslamp Quarter, trying to decide whether we were hungry, and which of the many bars/clubs/restaurants would serve our hunger needs. After a couple creepy encounters with homeless/drunk people, we decided to hit up Dick's Last Resort for some good ol'-fashioned ridicule. I started off the night well by ordering just a water, and the waitress told me that I should stay home with a baby bottle if that's all I wanted. After we had our drinks, we sat around talking with our pregnant waitress about making customers cry; you know, the normal restaurant experience. She was hilarious, and the pin-up girl matchbooks she gave us definitely topped off our time at Dick's.
As we made our way back to the hotel, the clock steadily moved toward midnight, at which time all public transportation ceases to serve the general public and instead moves to the nightime habitation of the city's homeless population. We made it onto two of the final trains, but while we were on the second train, we realized that we would not be able to make it back to the hotel. Fortunately for our scrambled schedule, we were able to find a cab just outside of the Old Town transit center, and we split a taxi with an extremely good looking male who was in our same predicament. As we drove back to our respective hotels (he was staying at the "behemoth" Town & Country Inn) we discussed all of life's deepest questions: namely, his job in Connecticut and our mutual disdain for Utah. You might say that our souls connected during that 10-minute cab ride, and Brooke can attest to my late night ramblings about the "hot cop." We even tried posting a "missed connection" on San Diego's craigslist, but it wouldn't work on Brooke's cellular device.
Next day: our quest to find "hot cop" is unsuccessful. It could just be that we meandered through the parking lot, hoping he would jump out at us with fistsfull of hydrangeas and love verses, but we didn't spot him again for the rest of the trip. He is now added to my list of "people I'm going to meet when I move back east." The list grows each day.
Instead of waiting around for a man, we decided to do the next best thing: we went shopping! The Fashion Valley Mall, across the street from the transit center, had everything we could possibly want, from Tiffany & Co. to H&M. We were happy girls wishing we had a lot more money to spend. I walked away with only a book and a pair of earrings, and Brooke held fast to her minimal purchases, choosing instead to encourage my deep pockets to give up their free-flowing cash. Not really.
After one mall, we decided to do some more low-key shopping, and we took our tourist selves to Seaport Village, one of San Diego's premiere port attractions with pigeons and Ben & Jerry's galore. We enjoyed the bookstore, pausing to reflect with such literature as Stuff White People Like. After our hunger pangs grew loud enough to distract others' reading, we decided to scope out somewhere for Brooke to get a "homemade tortilla," since we knew that San Diego must be abounding with such flatbread wonders. Our search ended with each of us ordering a cheese quesadilla at Margarita's Cantina, and we were sorely disappointed with our child portions, even though we ordered off of the kid's menu. The best part of the meal was definitely the Orange Bang! and the refried beans stain on my skirt.
With only an hour left before our trip ended, we decided to finalize our shopping at the same mall where we ate dinner the night before. This time, we hit up Nordstrom instead of Cinnabon, but the results were generally the same. We walked away having made a good friend in the Coach store, and realizing that we were much too poor to ever shop seriously at a mall with Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors boutiques.
(You're guessing correctly if you're thinking that I fit into the female generalization of "loves to shop.")
As we made our way back to the hotel, our sense of time slipped into oblivion once again, and we wound up with no ride to the airport and only minutes before our departures. Fortunately for us, we were able to plead with the hotel shuttle driver, and he sped us to the airport for much less than it would have cost to call a cab. This trip truly revolved around our ability to finagle our way out of stupid situations. (I never mentioned the crazy lady in the wheelchair, did I?) Luckily, our problems were never too big to solve, and we made it back with only blistered feet and windblown hair.
There you have the 24-hour adventures of Brooke and Emily in San Diego. Who knew that so much excitement could fit into only one day! And writing this only proves to me that I hope to be able to further extend my travel writing someday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

48-Hours and Going Strong

I just finished working for 48-hours straight, and I'm actually quite surprised by my emotional state. First off, I've never worked that much time consecutively before. The second-longest shift I've had was over the summer, and I really thought those 40 hours would kill me straightaway. As you can see, I've lived through both, and this past few days was actually one of the more enjoyable times I've been at work in the recent past. Now, to those of you who don't know how it's possible to work for 48 consecutive hours, I'll have you know that I'm no God. I work at a group home with three women with disabilities, and the time I spend with them is usually rather low key. We cook food, go shopping, watch movies, go to church: all normal activities for me, with an extra couple of old ladies in tow. I have a lot of fun, mostly because this job allows me to keep my busy lifestyle while also "working." Don't get me wrong, though, it can be extremely taxing at times. There are emotional stresses with this job that wouldn't be as prevalent in a retail-esque job, if you know what I mean. All in all, it was a good 2 days, and I'm glad that I have the morning off tomorrow before heading back in for another 16-hour shift.
... Then I'm off to San Diego!!!
Snapshots to come!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Am I a Reliable Narrator?

This semester I'm in a class about memory and trauma. With each new discussion I realize that my life has not been impacted with the pain or joy necessary for a truly great narrative. I hope, however, that I can experience something that will provide me with an inspiring (or uninspiring) story. I hope that my life will someday provide the narrative necessary for a unique piece of fiction or memoir. If this blog is all I've got, though, I'll make the most of it.
With the discussions in my class about how our lives are shaped by memories, I wonder to myself about the reliability of my own thoughts. We all deceive ourselves on a daily basis, telling ourselves that our actions are either more or less important than they actually are. I read about people who think that their existence makes others' happiness possible. While their stories might contain inspiring elements, I am ultimately unimpressed by narcissism and haughtiness. I am equally unimpressed by people who think that their role in the universe is to maintain anonymity. God did not make any of us to stand back and watch life pass us by. But still, how do I train my mind to think certain things about how my life is, how it will be, and how it has been? My thoughts sometimes run away from me, and I'm left picking up pieces of incoherency. Other times, I have deliberate control over whether or not I think certain things. I mask insecurities, smooth imperfections, and accentuate my talents in my mind, and even if those thoughts never form into words, my persona is somehow impacted by thinking these things. Is this making sense?
If my "present" is something totally relative, something without boundaries or narration, am I able to create my existence into something arbitrary or grandiose? In my mind's words, I write the story of my days, my life, and create harmony from disjointed fragments of experience. I think we all do this, and it is my goal to find out how my mind's story differs from those of the people I know.
Tell me your mind's story...