Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Let me start off by saying this: I never see anything cool. Ever. Like, whenever there was a fight in school, I was just around the corner or in the bathroom or something so I always missed it. I’ve only ever seen the aftermath.
So imagine my excitement when I’m walking into the Dollar General at about nine at night, and the woman behind the counter yells to the guy trying to leave “HEY, what’s that in your pocket?!” and the guy is forced to stop and reveal a three dollar candle he’d been smuggling out.
Totally worth it.
Okay, maybe that’s not that exciting, except for one little detail – I totally stopped the robbery.
As I was approaching the store, I started digging in my backpack for my wallet since they don’t allow backpacks in, to prevent people from stealing. I stopped in front of the glass doors and kept digging and fumbling, totally oblivious to the fact that there was a guy trying to leave.
He was forced to stop and wait for me to finish what I was doing – forced to stop JUST long enough for the woman to notice his theft!
As I perused the shelves of the store, eavesdropping shamelessly on the manager berating the guy and the guy trying to pay for/beg his way out of getting arrested, an idea dawned on me, like the sun after a long, cold winter night: I’m a crime fighter.
I singlehandedly stopped a crime from happening.
I am the night.
That moment in my life was as intense as Batman’s parents getting shot, or Green Lantern getting his ring, or when all those chemicals fell on Wally West. This moment is the dawn of a new hero.
I realized that if I can stop one Dollar General from being robbed, I can stop Dollar Generals from all over the country from being robbed.
I could stop all the Dollar Generals in the world from being robbed.
The possibilities are endless.
Through a majestic blend of coincidence, destiny, and my actions, I was officially entitled to don a mask and stalk the town of Bloomsburg, ready to fight any ruffians that disturbed the civil peace.
So, if you read anywhere that somebody in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania is running around beating up and/or attempting to beat up potential criminals…well, that’s probably me.
No need to thank me. I’m just doing my job.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Every English course consists of a certain group of student archetypes. Every one. And, most of the time, that’s a bad thing.
1. The Idiot Girl Who Won’t Shut Up
Emphasis on the “idiot.” This chick does not know when to stop talking. The problem here is that she doesn’t know she’s a total moron, so she’ll go on and on about her take on the material and it’s either completely wrong, or totally irrelevant to the conversation – or both.
The idiot girl is also notorious for stories about her life that nobody wants to listen to. For example, we were talking about poems about family and she went off on this tangent for at least five minutes. And I know I wasn’t the only one irritated by it.
“Yeah, this poem really spoke to me because my dad one time read a story to my sister’s son, and he added my sister and her husband, the son’s parents, into the story. It was obvious they weren’t actually written in the book but I could tell it really made an impact on him….”
And it went on. And on. And on. Honestly, the idiot girl who won’t shut up is my biggest weakness – she has the ability to almost instantly send me into a rage.
2. The Pretentious Contrarian Who Challenges Everything Anyone Says, Including the Professor
See also: hipster.
This guy is in college. He’s a true writer – like Kurt Vonnegut and Sylvia Plath, the pretentious contrarian is deep and world-weary, and thus has an emotional connection to the text that you, as a normal, everyday college student who just doesn’t understand, can never have.
But don’t let him fool you. If the professor asks about what something means, he will never be the first to raise his hand. No, what puts this guy on the list isn’t his supposed vast knowledge of the world – it’s how he utilizes it.
He will wait, patiently, like a starving wolf stalking its prey, for somebody else to answer. He will listen intently, and the entire time the other person is speaking, he will either nod in approval or shake is head and just essentially make faces to show that he knows what’s up, and everyone else needs to know it.
Then, the second the other person is done speaking (or, if he’s a really dedicated offender, he’ll raise his hand the minute he hears them say something he doesn’t like), his hand shoots up and he goes off about how wrong they really are. But he doesn’t do it aggressively. The way in which he speaks, a lazy, sort of thoughtful diction, is meant to show that he’s above all this, and he’s just making things up as he goes along because he’s that smart.
*sigh* “Now, I didn’t see it that way. *looks up and around, possibly tapping his chin* See, I saw it as her saying that, *insert hand gesture* because her heart was broken, she saw the world in a different light from everyone else, and nobody else could understand. *narrows eyes to look pensive* She wasn’t writing this to the guy who broke her heart. *nods in approval at self* She was writing this to the world.” *leans back in chair to show how relaxed, confidant, and comfortable he is about what he just said*
Yeah, he’s that guy.
3. The Group of People Who Have Had This Professor Before and Thus Think They’re Above the General Population
I had the misfortune of sitting next to this archetype on my first day of class – a group of three girls that the professor casually greeted when he came in and asked about their personal lives because he’s had them before.
They answer with the confidence that the whole class should listen, or care, and they speak with a sense of superiority because they’ve been in this class before – they know how this works and we don’t.
The thing is, once class starts, they sometimes don’t even offer any discussion – they whisper, chat, and write notes amongst themselves, knowing full well that the professor will be less apt to say anything to them because they’re tight with him.
They’re pretentious, and often just plain mean. If someone raises their hand in discussion, they’ll make knowing faces at each other the entire time that person is speaking or, in the case of the group I had the luxury of sitting next to, straight-up laugh at what that person had to say (in a way that’s obviously trying so hard not to be disruptive to the professor. Except not at all.).
When they’re early to class, they sit together and silently judge/exchange looks about every person who walks in. I dealt with that when I first got to class – they stared shamelessly and followed me all the way to my seat with their eyes. When I was writing in the middle of class (ironically, about them and my ideas for this entire article), she was obviously trying to look at my paper and kept staring/looking at her friends because my damn pencil deigned to make noise in their domain.
When they’re late, they’re disruptive about it but they think it’s funny and cute and, unfortunately, so does the professor.
In essence, it’s usually girls, or a mix of guys and girls, and, in essence, they’re all stuck-up bitches.
(As you can see, this group bothers me almost as much as the idiot girl. Almost.)
4. The “English Majors” Who Don’t Know Anything About English
There are often a large number of Herd members in English classes, and I always wonder why the hell they’re here.
They never raise their hand so the professor, in an effort to save their participation grades, will call on them. They’ll smile stupidly and shuffle in their seats and mumble something that’s usually just a summary of what we just read. The teacher will pause and, instead of calling them out on it, just let it go because they know it’s a hopeless cause.
They can’t analyze text to save their lives and they don’t even know general information about the English language – plot, message, canonized authors, books we’ve read at least four times between high school and now – ask a member of the Herd about any of that and they’ll smile uncomfortably and give a weak “I dunno.”
Why they’re even English majors is beyond me, but since they don’t actively harm me, they don’t really bother me.
5. The Smart Ones With Something Thoughtful and Intelligent to Add to the Conversation That is Actually Relevant to the Discussion
6. The Guy With His Hands Down His Pants
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This is a new one. I thought I’d seen and recorded it all, but no. This was a specimen I’d never before encountered.
Chillin’ in my periphs was a guy. Just sitting. With one hand in his pants.
When the professor called on him to answer, he just casually spoke and did his thing like there was totally nothing inappropriate or awkward about your hand just like resting in your pants.
I proceeded to spend the entirety of my class making a conscious effort to avoid making eye contact or basically any contact at all with this new species of English student.
Color me disturbed.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I have never, ever in my life taken a dance class, or even something like Zoomba that kind of resembles a dance class but with a stupid name. I don’t know gymnastics, and in gym class my flexibility was always sub-par.
Yet I know I can overcome these obstacles and do back handsprings and plies and jetes and other French dance terms that I literally just googled for the sake of this article. I can do this.
Every time I hear a song I picture myself doing choreography for it, like spins and jumps and acrobatics.
I was made for this.
So, I figured the first step to doing all that fancy stuff is to become more flexible.
This being a modern age, I hit my new tablet, went straight to the app store, and downloaded a Yoga app.
Boom. No mats, no comfy yoga pants, no annoying flighty instructors and psycho, new-age fellow yoga-goers to judge me. Just me. My room. And my tablet.
I booted up the app (speaking of, it’s kind of weird that ‘app’ has become part of everyday vocabulary nowadays…perhaps the makings a future post?) and hit the program that sounded the coolest: Mountain.
I selected 30 minutes and the soothing voice walks me through the steps. Breathe, lay on the floor, tuck your legs in sometimes…easy stuff.
Well, apparently the blood rushing to my head started affecting my thinking because, next thing I know, I’m twisting in different animal-named positions that I’m pretty confidant the human body is not meant to perform.
Downward-facing dog, for example. My legs and my calves are not meant to be at that angle. That’s not how the human musculature works, okay?
I tried. My calves were tighter than the cables on a bridge and they felt like they would snap at any given second. It was awful.
So, I did that to the best of my ability and things picked up. I was doing pushups and bridge-backs and cat-positions and rapidly working up a sweat.
Isn’t yoga supposed to be zen and peaceful or something?
I was this close to giving up, but at the same time I paid $2.99 for the app, plus, if I gave up, I’d never be able to spin on one foot like a ballerina.
So, I stuck through for the entire 30-minute workout, plus or minus a few stretches I thought were stupid or got sick of repeating over and over again.
Day one down.
I’m one downward-facing dog closer to becoming like my idols: the 10-year-old girls from Dance Moms.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic, but in the few days I’ve been living on campus, I’ve noticed that most people walk in at least groups of two. There aren’t a lot of loners out there, especially at lunch and dinner.
And then there’s me. Friendless, alone, and, as much as I say I hate people, kind of sad about it.
I’m so used to Maine, where I was surrounded by people at all times. I always had a friend at my hip. I’m not used to being alone, and I don’t like it.
Now, I have three roommates, and they’re super nice. They make sure to talk to me and invite me places, but they’re seniors so they’re kind of busy with senior stuff and while I can talk to them about other things, I can’t really share my love of Magic and cosplay with them.
Anyway, seeing everyone walking around with friends and stuff really upset me. So, when I woke up this morning, and wrote my agenda on my hand, I made sure to try and fix that:
- Change major
- Change address
- Make friends
I was a woman on a mission. I marched around with fervor in my step, staring down every group of people and looking for “one of us:” a guy in a fedora, or with unnecessary facial hair, heavier set, with a graphic tee on (preferably of a comic book or video game character); a girl with hair in a ponytail, comic book or video game shirt, not a lot of makeup. As much as I hate the “slobby nerd” stereotype, there’s definitely some truth to it (from what I’ve seen).
Each person I passed I eyed up and down with meticulous scrutiny. I watched each group at a table, tilting my head to glimpse a Magic card.
Unfortunately, I was SOL.
I saw some likely candidates, but, in typical Lauren fashion, once I spotted potential nerd friends I didn’t really know what to do.
It would end up extremely awkward if I just came up and said “Hey, you look like a Magic player!” and even worse if they didn’t actually play.
In the end, I realized that for all my hard sleuth-work, my inability to see or plan things past the here-and-now kind of screwed me over and I was right back to where I started, except maybe even worse off because now I was that girl who stared everyone down like a creep instead of just that random girl with red hair.
I’d have to make friends the old-fashioned way –cue shudder-
I went to my scriptwriting class and sat down in the first empty chair.
Nervous, I whispered to the girl next to me “Is this scriptwriting?” and she says, totally stone-faced,
“No, this is Dinosaurs 101.”
I was so nervous, my brain couldn’t really process her sarcasm and my heart sank. When I realized she was joking, I knew I’d found a kindred soul.
She ended up inviting me to dinner with her and her friend, who’s into cosplay and anime and stuff, so…
I think I found a new friend group!
Today was the first day of classes. That’s all fine and good, except for the fact that I actually didn’t technically have classes because I was in the process of switching majors.
And by that I mean all summer I’ve been trying to switch my major and they’ve consistently been all “Wait until the first day of school.”
So, bright and early, with not a friend to my name, I get up, shower, and take the shuttle to the school to go get things straightened out.
First, I go to the Student Advising office because I’m a student. That needs advising. Thus, it would make sense that I go to Student Advising.
I sign in and a woman comes out asking if anyone needed to switch majors. I stood up, along with another girl, who was also an education major looking to switch out. Well, instead of waiting my turn, I eavesdropped and the woman told her you need to go to your current advisor because, until you’re officially out of their department, you’re still their responsibility.
So, I rushed to the education department only to find out that nobody worth talking to shows up until 10. On the first day of classes. Hell, if I’d have known that I wouldn’t have been to their office, which SAYS on the website that it opens at 8 am, bright and early in order to get in line first.
Well, I make an appointment with the department head for 10 and head to the English department to talk to them. They promptly told me that, since I was still an education major, I wasn’t their responsibility, and to go back to the education department.
Steadily becoming more and more frustrated, I marched back to Student Advising and tattle on their lazy asses to Michelle I-never-learned-her-last-name. She brushed me off and said "No, tell them they need to help you. I'm busy with the undeclared majors. If you have a major, go talk to your current department head."
So, I head back to my room to eat and cool off, then back down to the Education department at 9:45, nice and early for my appointment.
Except, when I get there, there’s a huge line. Well, I thought, I have an appointment, so I’m sure he’ll stop taking people at 10.
He didn’t. Apparently, at this school, everyone needs to be equal so up yours, student who got up at 6:30 and made an appointment. This girl who literally rolled out of bed at 9:40 and got here at 9:45 is ahead of you and there’s nothing you can do about it.
TWENTY MINUTES after my “appointment” was supposed to start, I get called into his office and I made a point of saying "Yeah I had a 10 o’clock appointment?”
So he asked what was up, and I told him the situation – I’m changing majors, I need help getting into Writing classes, and Michelle from whatever-it’s-called told me to come to you.
But of COURSE he says “Well I can’t do that. I’m education. Go talk to the English department.”
Poor guy, he didn’t know what I’d been through all morning – the steadily growing rage finally overflowed and he happened to be right in its tracks.
“No no no, I’ve been sent to the English department THREE TIMES and back because NOBODY here wants to do their job and help me. Call. Michelle. She said if you had any questions call her.”
So he calls her, and she, like a two-faced Benedict Arnold traitor, says “I never said that. I’m too busy right now to deal with this, tell her to wait a couple days because she had to wait until the last minute.”
He looks at me and said “Well why did you wait until the first day of classes?”
Well, let me tell you. That little prick of rage in my heart grew three sizes too big and I felt like I was going to punch a wall.
“I’ve been TRYING to all summer,” I replied, attempting but failing to keep my voice down. “But everyone said it was physically impossible until the first day of classes!”
“Well you should have done it last term.”
“I wasn’t here last-“
“That’s not the point. I can’t help you. Go talk to the English department.”
Enraged and defeated, and trapped in a frickin’ Nikolai Gogal story dealing with these snotty bureaucrats, I stormed out of the office and tore through the campus to, once and for all, get this settled.
So I go BACK to the English department, demand to see the head of the department, and explain to him the situation.
“Well I’m not your advisor. You need to go to the Education department.”
I adamantly and furiously refused, telling him exactly what I wanted from him and why it was his responsibility to help me.
“And don’t even think about berating me for waiting until the first day of classes, because I’ve been TRYING and everyone told me for MONTHS to wait until now.” I added.
This shut him up and, finally, after being a human ping-pong ball trapped in the game of their ridiculous laziness, I managed to get into the classes I needed for my new major.
And, when all was said and done, it was only lunchtime.
What a day.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Yankee swaps, Secret Santas, Christmas parties…All these things generally stir up excitement in the social butterflies of the world, where they can spread their wings and bask in the most social holiday of the year.
These images, however, conjure up nightmares and nausea in the socially inept like myself.
And, of course, horrific images from last year’s Christmas party, where I’m awkwardly standing in the back of literally every picture I’m in.
And there I am in the red scarf behind everyone else.
It all started when I walked into work today and was immediately accosted by my coworkers to pick my “Secret Santa” victim out of the jar. I froze and kind of stuttered, “D…do I have to?” They looked at me, puzzled, and I further elaborated. “Uh, to be honest, I wasn’t planning on showing up to the party….I…uh…hate social gatherings…” I said, convinced that I had smooth-talked my way out of that one…I was wrong. Very wrong.
“Lauren,” one of the cooks said, exasperated. “Your name was in the jar. Someone probably already picked you.”
I wanted to cry. My one way out was blocked by cruel, cruel fate (and, of course, my procrastination at telling my boss that I wouldn’t be attending this year, which was my plan)
The thing is, it’s not just the party that stresses me out. I can kind of handle that. But the Secret Santa thing…it’s just too much. I never know what to get the person and I keep going over their potential (negative) reactions in my head and even though I know I’m only imagining it I want to cry because I failed them as their Santa and I ruined their Christmas and…It’s just awful, is what I’m saying.
Now, I’m not saying I’m a total social pariah. I have the capacity to get along with people, but I do it with all the grace of a crippled hippopotamus (that is, not well at all).
My mind just freezes up, and everything gets all jumbled and the next thing I know, people are saying “What’s up?” and I’m responding with, “Pretty well, thanks!”
Don’t get me wrong, I am not proud of this. I’d much rather be one of those people who can literally talk to anyone about anything. But I’m not, and I can’t, and I’ve accepted this.
I’ve also accepted the fact that I will always be that one deer-in-the-headlights-girl desperately grasping her soda cup in the corner, praying no one tries to talk to her.