Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They call me baby driver...

...and once upon a pair of wheels, I hit the road and I'm gone.

I'd like to tell you about the day I got my license.  My big bad 17 year old self drove in my friend, Chris's car down to Salem county for my test.  Chris jabbered in the back seat about his driving test and how I would have no problem passing, while I gripped the wheel at 10 and 2 with white knuckles.  My mom interrupted my friend's 60 mile-an-hour talking to coax me to speed up my 35 mile-an-hour driving (on a free-for-all stretch of country road). Wanting to compensate for my timidness, I floored it the rest of the way and proudly walked in to the testing center.  In an effort to boost my own confidence, I told the woman at the desk that I had scored a 100% on the written exam to which a scruffy looking man behind me replied "That don't matter." I could only reply with nervous laughter.

My actual test was uneventful except for the occasional distraction of the 70 year old instructor hacking up a lung with his smoker's cough.  Most importantly, I passed!

I celebrated by taking my mom's giant boat of a Mercedes to the school to pick up my two friends, Rachel and Grace for lunch.  I felt so cool and independent...and nauseated. My mother's car felt too big. There were too many other cars on the road. I was already violating the terms of my Cinderella's license by having two friends in the car at one time. It was all just too much. Mercifully, we arrived at the Hollywood Cafe Diner (isn't that a redundant restaurant name?) I felt much better and surprisingly less nauseated after scarfing a cheesesteak.

Backing out of parking spots had been a tricky task for me during my driving lessons, so I always tried to be very cautious.  I slowly reversed out of my parking spot, checking my mirrors, and having Grace and Rachel monitor my blind spots.  No one, however, was monitoring the front of the vehicle.  Just as I thought I was home free, I heard a "screeeeech crunch!" My mother's headlight had scraped the side of the poor unsuspecting vehicle next to me. Stunned, the three of us simply sat in silence. Then we all yelled "DRIVE! DRIVE! DRIVE!"  I peeled out of that parking lot like I had just robbed the place.

Trembling with guilt and picturing the poor senior citizens' faces when they saw their vehicle's wound, I didn't think I could continue my journey. Knowing I couldn't return home in this emotional state, Grace suggested a trip to the Dollar Store, which always resulted in delightful treasures and lifted spirits. (Looking back, I wonder if I should be proud that we could find joy in such simplicity...or if I should be embarrassed that we were so lame. I'm going to go with proud.)

I pulled into the most remote parking spot on the whole lot (a practice I continued for many months after that day), cried a little, then pulled myself together and walked toward the Dollar Store with my friends. On our way across the vast deserted parking lot, we spotted a Polaroid picture face down on the asphalt. Curious adventurers that we were, we skipped over to the photo, bent down and picked it up. To our shock and horror, the photo was of a man engaging in masturbation. Yes, a very erect penis was front and center. I only saw the picture for a second before screaming in terror, but that image is burned into my brain for all of eternity. My eyes! My innocence! What is this world coming to?!

After the terror wore off, we broke out into laughter and ran for the store to buy trinkets that would reclaim our childhood. I then dropped my friends off at their homes, pulled into my driveway, walked into my house, and burst into tears, crying to my mother that I was a failure. She comforted me, gave me some birthday cake, told me not to tell my father, and sent me to bed.

My adventures on the road continued to be rocky for a while and thankfully ceased during the blissful months I spent riding NYC's public transportation. Now that I need to be on wheels again, I hope I've finally got the hang of it.
an example of a "rocky" park job

Friday, May 21, 2010

The awesome doesn't fall far from the tree.

I was going to post about the amazing trip to the Finger Lakes wine country, but my parents were too funny today that I needed to write about them instead.

I'm having a small soiree tomorrow.  I've had many of these types of gatherings in the past, so it's almost like second nature to throw a "Colna Party" together.  Bagel bites? Check.  Alcohol? Check.  Hot tub? Check.  That's pretty much all my friends and I need to have a great time together.  For some reason though, my parents always get super freaked out right before I have people over.  My dad suddenly thinks I'm throwing this party to convince everyone to like me: "well what kind of food are you going to have? Are there enough tables? Are the speakers set up? Are people going to come???" My mother is worse in that she obsesses about the cleanliness of every room in the house. "Did you dust the pantry? Vacuum the attic? How does the fridge smell??"  I brush off these questions and remind them that I've been friends with these people for 10+ years and that everything will be fine.

But honestly, I owe it to my parents for making our house one of the frequent party destinations in my friends group.  My favorite question they ask: "Do you have enough alcohol?" After all, what else will ensure that everyone likes me and that no one will care how our house looks? My dad makes killer margaritas and keeps a well stocked beer fridge.  Today in the grocery store, my mom picked up a watermelon and said, "we definitely need on of these."  I assumed she intended to cut it up for fruit salad and said, "you don't have to cut up fruit."  She looked confused and replied, "I was just gonna put vodka in it."  That's my mommy :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Amen to NYC

I'm extremely melancholy today.  I moved out of my apartment, away from my wonderful roommates and away from the city I love.  Hamna says my room is echoing and my heart.  Melodramatic?  Maybe, but it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to.  I will start Teach For America training in June and officially move to Philadelphia in August, but in the meantime, I plan on lying in the sun, drinking, and soaking in every last bit of friendship I have near me.  I'm lucky to have so many wonderful folks in my if you're one of them, THANKS!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Allergy Sufferer ≠ Animal Hater

Last night Cary and I were looking for suitable pets for me.  Turtles and fish seem to be my only options.  I have very bad allergies.  If it's fluffy, cute, cuddly, or just simply mammalian, I am allergic to it.  It's not just that I get sneezy around dogs or cats - I break out into hives, my throat starts to close, I wheeze, I sneeze, and my nose runs like a faucet around any animal that people typically enjoy.  I went to Amish country once and took a nice horse and buggy ride: ALLERGY ATTACK.  I went to the circus: ALLERGY ATTACK.  Renaissance fair: ALLERGY ATTACK.  You get the idea.   The sad part is that I really like animals.  I would love to cuddle with a kitten or play with a puppy (whoa, alliteration) but my body won't let me.  Pet lovers do not always understand this.  Oftentimes, when I tell people that I'm allergic to their beloved pets, they look at me as though I just said I wanted to eat Fido for dinner.  They look offended and skeptical: how could this girl insinuate that my adorable kitty would hurt anyone?
I am not insinuating that.  I love your pet, but I'm simply trying to save you a trip to the emergency room.  These are some of my favorite responses from people when I tell them I have allergies and can't stay long in their house.

"It's OK, I just vacuumed."

Oh vacuuming! Why didn't I think of that? Unless by "vacuumed" you mean shaved and genetically re-sequenced your pet, then it is not OK.  You may have bought me 5 extra minutes of breathing time in your home, but if you think that you are the genius that realized the cure for allergies was vacuuming you are in for a world of disappointment.

"It's OK, Fluffy is hypoallergenic."

I have said this a million times: just because your pet doesn't shed as much as other pets does NOT mean that he is hypoallergenic.  I don't care what the dude at Petco said, I will still break out in hives if that animal comes near me. 
"It's OK, Rex is such a good dog, he won't bother you."

I would like to make this perfectly clear:  I do not blame your pet for my allergies.  I blame my overactive immune system. I blame God. I blame bad luck. Don't look at me like I accused your pet of murder. I know it's not its fault, and I'm sure its lovely and smart and does awesome tricks, but I'm still allergic. If Rex is really such a good dog, then he will understand that it's nothing personal, but my body hates him.

"It's OK, my dad has allergies and he's fine around Gloopy."

This one is the hardest to deal with.  People suddenly because experts because they know someone who has been "cured" of their allergies by their magical pet. They assume that I can be cured too, or that I'm just faking since allergies can simply be warded off by certain special creatures. I'm very happy for your dad/mom/brother/etc. I'm glad they overcame whatever watered-down version of allergies they had - but my allergies are not their allergies.  Mine are serious, so I'm sorry if I look distracted during your testimony about your miracle pet.  My immune system is attacking me and fighting imaginary toxins, rendering me incapable of focusing on how your dad was cured of his sniffles.

I'm sorry pet lovers.  I'm just jealous and bitter that you get to cuddle with fluffy lumps of happiness. I'm just looking for a little understanding.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is probably in bad taste.

Even though I am about to hold a bachelor's degree in psychology from NYU, this is all I'm qualified to do.  Let's see what's ailing these little fluffy rabbits who just don't want to live anymore.

Oh dear.  It seems this little bunny was suffering from some form of eating disorder, perhaps anorexia.  Unable to cope with her distorted body image, this bunny ended her life and was literally crushed by the weight of her disease.
Ah, it is possible that this little rabbit suffered from histrionic personality disorder.  His crippling need for attention and obsession over appearances eventually spelled his doom.  Blinded by jealousy of his fellow body builder, he failed to see how this sabotage would lead to his demise.
Caught between two opposing forces, it appears that this bunny suffered from rapid cycling bipolar disorder.  The poor thing couldn't handle the crazy highs and devastating lows.  Mood swings literally tore her in two.

I'm really sorry.  I'm feeling kind of dark today.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tiny Disasters


Now that my thesis is done, I've been looking for things to do to feel productive during the day.  I've done lots of unnecessary, but beneficial tasks like pasting all the recipes I cut out of magazines on to note cards, sorting my pictures, and today, I took inventory of all the food left in the apartment.  Yes, an actual inventory in an Excel spreadsheet.

I'm under the delusional impression that this will come in very handy.  Anyway, I realized that we were out of Parmesan cheese and olive oil, which will be key in using up all the food I had left.  I planned on picking some up after the party with my lab.


So I left dinner with my awesome professor and the fabulous people in my lab feeling happy and nostalgic, but not so much so that I forgot my mission to purchase cheese and olive oil.  I stopped by a grocery store and found the items without incident.  I grabbed store brand cheese and the biggest container of olive oil I could get for not too much money and went up to the register.  Due to my frequent meat consumption and love for air conditioning, I try to be as green as possible when I can.  I already had a bag from a CVS run earlier so I put my new groceries in the same bag.  It was heavier than I anticipated and as I was shifting the weight, the bag tore and the giant bottle of olive oil fell to the side walk...and shattered all over my feet.  There goes $8.00.

After a few expletives, I moved aside to pick the glass out of my toes (only one of them was bleeding.)  The olive oil was everywhere.  My feet were soaking in it.  My strappy sandals were covered and slippery.  Being the optimist that I pretend I am, I tried to think of this slippery mess as the ultimate foot moisturizer.  I focused on my newly softened callouses as I literally slipped and slid the 8 blocks to the subway.  I wish I had video.

Once I very slowly and carefully got down to the subway, I got out my Metrocard and went to go swipe when a lady stepped on my very oily foot and somehow managed to get my shoe off.  While I was trying to hold on to my stuff and fix my shoe and swipe into the station, the train came...and left.

By this time, part of me wanted to laugh, part of me wanted to punch someone in the face, and part of me wanted a drink.  I finally got on the train and decide to get off a stop early and go to my favorite wine store to get a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc.  In the process I somehow dropped my beloved iPod and step on my head phones, so now one of the ear buds looks like this:
I slip and stumble into the wine store when I realize I must look like a drunk.  I can't walk straight, I have one earphone in, the cord isn't even attached to an iPod, and I'm carrying a bottle of Parmesan cheese.  If only I had a picture.

On the bright side they sold me the wine, I hobbled home, washed my feet (which do feel softer) and now I'm sitting on my couch about to watch the United States of Tara with a nice chilled glass of wine.  I hope this gave you all a bit of a chuckle.

P.S. anyone know the best way to clean olive oil off of shoes?