Monday, April 27, 2009

Not all who wander are aimless

When I was a minor and thus still under the organizational genius of my type-A mom, I was made to sort through each year’s worth of homework and mementos for future keepsake purposes. At the end of every school year I’d experience a mixture of joy and dread; joy for the upcoming freedom and swimming pools and late-sleeping provided by the structure of summer vacation, and dread for two very memorable reasons:

1. Impending summer homework (as generated by my mom’s aforementioned organizational genius)
2. Categorizing my mounds o’ crap into an easily filed folder of the most meaningful assignments of the year

I hated it…hated having to sort through page after page of Geometry homework and sight-reading practice sheets and color-coded maps of America and what have you. Sister and I would sit down together and proceed with our sifting, and absolutely every year she finished first; partly because she saw it as a friendly competition that she WOULD NOT STAND TO LOSE, and partly because I’d get so distracted reminiscing that I’d become sidetracked and forget my objective entirely. Ahh, ADD.

But. I am now thankful for my 14-color-coordinated folders (one for each year from preschool through 12th grade). My mother’s meticulous foresight has provided hours of nostalgic remembering, and yesterday provided one such incident of looking-back. Instead of writing my 20 page literature review or searching for summer employment or seeking more freelance work, I chose to go through my Complete Education History: Abridged. The ADD of my childhood follows me still (and also does the laziness).

So I started with my countless craft projects from Peace Lutheran Preschool; there were finger-paintings and construction paper cutouts, but most of all there were drawings. I loved to draw from the first moment I held a pencil (left-handed, of course), and I still find myself doodling when I should probably be paying attention in class. The creative mind must not be stifled. My parents love to recount the day I drew every scene of The Nutcracker from memory, and in my preschool folder I found the infamous collection of sketches. I was 4 years old at the time (and quite a bit awesome, I might add).

Then I filtered through 1st grade, and found a letter from my teacher saying that I was an excellent writer. 6 years old and already a master of the written word…my school folders were proving to be an unexpected and welcome ego-boost.

I went all the way through high school, which helped replant my feet firmly upon the ground…I knew I was obsessed with *Nsync in the 9th grade, but I’d chosen to forget that I signed all of my assignments as “Frankie Timberlake.” I am dead serious. I’d also chosen to forget that my vocabulary sentences revolved entirely around *Nsync members. Example:

“Joey hoped a friendly smile and wave would help appease his adoring fans.”


One such assignment (which also included a darling little sketch of Justin with an unidentified blond girl (what do you wanna bet it was Frankie Timberlake?)), was graded with a 95% and an “ugg!”. Dear Mrs. Spain had written “ugg!” next to my drawing…not because it was bad necessarily, but because beneath it I’d also written “Justin is my baby!!!!!” I kid you not. 11 years have passed since my wayward years as a teenybopper, and yet I still felt mortified upon seeing that.

But by far and without a doubt the most appalling part of my walk down Memory Lane came in my 4th grade folder. On a poorly folded piece of notebook paper (as I was never one of those girls who could fold paper into a triangle or a bird or the Taj Mahal), was a list:

10 things I want to do before I’m 20

I was immediately enticed. What could my 10-year-old self have dreamed for my future? What great goals of grandeur did I wish to attain? I anxiously read through the list, mentally patting myself on the back upon each aspiration achieved. Go to college…check. Get a puppy…check. Go to high school……they were a little out of order, but check! I was 10 for God’s sake; when you’re 10 college can come before high school. The only goal I didn’t meet was to become a professional dancer, which I discovered at age 14 was not something I really wanted to do. Socializing, having functional toes, and eating were far too important to me. But then, just as I was feeling good about my life’s achievements as of age 20, I got to number 8…and I stopped.

Because the list stopped.

I made a list entitled “10 things I want to do before I’m 20”…and I stopped at number 8.

At first I just laughed, because it is so very like me to get distracted and quit mid-project. I can’t tell you how many short stories I found yesterday that ended suspensefully with “and then,” a doodle of a butterfly, and several pieces of blank paper. Following through was never my style. But as I let myself ponder the list and my mindset as a 4th grader, and as I took note of the carefully written “9.” and “10.” that had no Life Dreams to accompany them, I came to a very real, and very depressing, understanding.

I was born without the motivation gene.

My whole life I’ve felt a little without. People all about me seemed to be chasing fantastic dreams - dream jobs, dream houses, dream cars - while I plodded along, happily but carelessly with my head permanently stuck in the clouds. I had aspirations, sure…but the central theme to my aspirations was that they changed. A lot. The only reason I stayed in Oklahoma for college was that I simply couldn’t make up my mind; one day I wanted to go to New York and study fashion design, the next I decided to head to Stilly for Vet school (until I realized Vet school required loads of math, and then it was promptly back to fashion). And as the years have progressed and my search for a Life Passion has improved with no statistical significance, I’ve really started to wonder if I’m destined to be a wanderer. A flake. A lost soul.

Then I found my list of 10 things I want to do before I’m 20, and I’d only filled out 8. And yeah…that pretty much sealed the deal on that whole debacle.

It seems I’m never going to be chasing the dream, as it’s hard to chase something you cannot see. Where’er I am, I’m this much happy and that much looking for bigger and better things. True, I go through better times and worse times, but I’ve never felt like I reached a pinnacle and could thus sit back and congratulate my awesomeness. Maybe it’s because I’m still young…or maybe it’s because my life isn’t defined by achievements.

But then, what is it defined by?

I think I was born in the wrong generation. I’m sure you’ve felt that way at times too; everyone learns about a certain period in history and thinks “damn, I would’ve made a fabulous Viking.” But it’s more than that for me; the ideology of 2009 just doesn’t fit my genetic make-up. I should’ve been a hippie, I tell you. I could’ve been happy protesting Nam and reciting poetry in the back of somebody’s VW (plus, I can rock bell-bottoms with the best of them).

Sister is well made for modern-day. She’s the perfect blend of nurturer and career-woman; she’ll dote on you and hold you when you cry, but if you go up against her for a job she will absolutely kick your ass. Yes, Sister will do fine in this new millennium. She’ll have a PhD, 2.5 kids, far more stress than she can handle and a house on the good side of the tracks. But as for me, I’m afraid I’ll always be one of those people who doesn’t quite fit. Others will look at me and think, “huh…such potential, and yet she remains a drifter. Tut tut.”

(We should all really start tut tutting again.)

I suppose I’ll stick with the old adage that my existence is not defined by the acquiring of tangible things. I will not be pacified by a house on Newport Beach or a Mercedes McLaren (although GOOD GOD I’d love to have one of those). No…my life - the life of a drifter, apparently - is about self-improvement, growth, learning, and a constant effort not to be a prat to those who love and care for me. And who knows; maybe someday I’ll discover a hidden dream that the gods of motivation have been leading me towards all along.

But until then I’m going to focus on the present. My newest goal (which is infinitesimal when compared to Aubrey’s goal of becoming a novelist or Chris’s goal of going to Dental school) is to get a dog. In a year, I’ll have a master’s degree and will be a far more matured and responsible person (and if you laugh I will cut you). So, my reward to myself will be a dog to call my own: a companion that will love and adore me and think me a god among men, simply because he won’t know any better. This plan is indeed flawless.

And, I’ve even decided upon a breed! I want a Bernese Mountain Dog. A Bernese Mountain Dog named Bernard. Yes, it is decided. It’s a small step, but for a dithering flake with little ambition and diagnosable ADD, it’s a start.

In one year, I will achieve my newest life goal: I will get a Bernese Mountain Dog named Bernard.

(….or maybe a German Shepherd named Lupin.)


Much love.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stupidity: the new little black dress?

So I’m sitting in the library, talking Muse and Mormonism with my friend Chris, when in walks a sorority debutant princess and her friend the frat boy. They seem to be headed my direction, and I know immediately what they want: laptops. (The guy has been in before and wants nothing to do with books, research or the like, and the girl is giggling so manically that I’m pretty sure reading is not yet a skill she’s mastered.) So I begrudgingly withdraw from my conversation and smile politely-if-not-warmly at them. And the girl, idly twisting her meticulously straightened hair through her recently manicured fingers, opens her eyes scary-wide and says to Frat Boy Friend (even though I’m sitting RIGHT THERE),

“Omigaw, wait…I dunno what to do.”

“What?” he says, confused. I’m confused too. All she needs to do is ask me for a laptop…there’s not a secret handshake or anything.

“I dunno what to do; I’ve never done this before. Do I just, like….ask for one?”

(Sweet mother of God.)

Frat Boy Friend laughs, and says “yeah, you just ask.” And Sorority Sister giggles, and asks me sweetly if she can um, have a laptop maybe? Please?

So I give her a laptop (and one of my token “oh child I pity you” looks), and send her on her way. And as she turns her doe-like expression back to Frat Boy Friend, I hear her say, “So wait, can you help me? Cuz I dunno how to get on D2L."

Let me explain something to those of you not in the know. D2L is OU’s website for All Things School: grades, assignments, syllabi, announcements, course requirements…if you want to have the slightest prayer of passing a class, you have to use D2L. So when I hear Sorority Sister say she doesn’t know how to get on it, I’m understandably taken aback.

Then Frat Boy Friend, who is smiling at her like one might a slightly retarded puppy, says, “but you’re a senior. How can you not know how to get on D2L?”

She giggles and giggles (and giggles), and I ogle them both in sheer wonderment of how she could possibly be a SENIOR without ever having used D2L. How is it feasible? How can this be? And then, as she bats her pretty eyelashes and makes her way across the library with Frat Boy Friend, it hits me:

She’s faking it.

No one is that stupid, and no one could pass 3.5 years at OU without using D2L. It just can’t be done. A few minutes later she waltzed up to me (alone this time) and asked with confidence and far less sweetness to use the Marketer’s Guide to Media. And as I handed her the book she looked at me intensely, not a glimmer of the Dumb Donna left in her eyes, and said “will the ID I gave you for the laptop suffice for this too?” !!! She was faking it! This was a smart girl, playing the part of Stupid Sorority Sister.

But why?

When I was 19 I brought home my latest Epic Fail in dating: an ex-crackhead with a taste for speeding tickets and marijuana (though I didn’t know that at the time). Despite his questionable past and his even more questionable upbringing (his father used to fight pit bulls…oh PS, that’s a FELONY), my biggest concern about introducing him to my family was this:

He was not the sharpest crayon in the box.

At one point during the evening he managed to interject “I got a 20 on the ACT” into our dinner conversation. My highly achieved parents and my 34-ACT-sister kindly showed no reaction, but I was simply mortified. I remember blurting out “I thought you got a 22!” (yes…because that’ll make it better), and my ex-crackhead boyfriend just laughed and said maybe, but that he didn’t remember.

Didn’t remember…and didn’t care.

That’s when I knew I had to break up with him. Not when he got his 17th speeding ticket (but it was the police’s fault, you know…the bastards) or when he made me pay EVERY TIME we went out or when he smelled suspiciously of pot and refused to let me see in a certain closet of his house…when he said carelessly that he got a 20 on the ACT, I knew we were through.

And here, finally, is my point: stupidity is not an attractive quality to me. In fact, it’s a deal-breaker. So why then was this girl so carefully portraying a dumb blond persona, seemingly to attract a mate?

In this world of Equality Now and women’s rights and female presidential candidates, I always assumed girls no longer felt the need to be vacuous of brain function. I was raised believing I had the ability (and the responsibility) to do whatever I wanted in life, and it never crossed my mind that others might think intelligence was less than virtuous when paired with tatas and vajayjays. But now, after a year in Sorority Debutant Princess Land, I’m starting to wonder if we’ve come a long way, baby, after all.

Every single day I encounter beautiful girls with vacant expressions. I kid you not, Stepford Wives could’ve been filmed on campus corner. These chicks have perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect teeth, and men on their arms; the only thing missing is the ability to add 2 and 2. And as I near my master’s degree and witness the increasingly small pool of People Like Me, I can’t help but wonder if the two aren’t intrinsically related. And if this is true…if getting smarter means distancing ourselves from companionship and romance and happily ever after…is it all really worth it?

Female intelligence: friend or foe?

For better or worse I think it’s too late for me to reconsider life as a Valley Girl. I’ve been in school too long and know too many big words to ever pass as a harmless Southern Belle, and with my proficiency for sarcastic wit few would believe I’m a damsel who needs a Big Strong Man to show me how to check out a laptop. That’s not to say I’m brilliant; the past two weeks I lived woefully without television simply because my cable box was turned off. That a genius does not make. But I can’t play stupid. I can’t toss my hair and smack my gum to make a man want to take care of me…and I don’t think I should have to.

Maybe it’s because I’m in the Bible belt. Maybe Oklahoma is still so ass-backwards that we need our men to be men and our women to be non-threatening, and maybe I’ll just have to deal with it until I can move away from the Land of the Lobotomies. But until then I have to stand for what I believe in, and I believe in girls who can cross the street in their Dior pumps alone.

So to my fellow females I make this plea: never hide your Smart Lamp under a bushel. Never feel embarrassed for having a brain, and never believe intelligence to be a masculine trait. I promise you it’s not (as evidenced by my aforementioned former boyfriend). If a man is threatened by your intellect, then he’s not a man worth having. You can do better (and probably smarter) than that, so just give him your copy of the Wall Street Journal and move along.

And to you men out there: I challenge you to value women who can read and write and do ‘rithmetic (or at least 2 out of 3, as we writers don’t do math). I challenge you to seek smarts and not to be intimidated by girls who know their sh*t. I challenge you to be MEN and to suck it up and stop being scurred by women of substance. I challenge you, kind sirs, to grow a pair.

Girls are smart. Boys are smart. It’s all relative, and it’s all irrelevant. What matters is what we value in each other, so we need to up and realize that intelligence is redeeming for all.

But alas I’m in the Sooner State, where a smart woman is still just as terrifying as a gay minister or black president. So until I escape (or until Oklahoma yanks itself out of the Dark Ages), I suppose I’ll go it alone.

For they say no man is an island…but the good Lord knows I ain’t no man.

Much love.

Monday, April 13, 2009

“I am in a financial cul-de-sac.”

-Carrie Bradshaw

Mmkay kids, I’m going to be real honest with you right now.

If you call me within the next few months and my life is largely similar to how it is today, and you ask me to go have dinner or drinks or take in a movie or an Il Dolce gelato…I gotta tell ya, I’m going to have to say no. No hem, no haw; just a good ol’ fashion, cut to the chase, grow-a-pair-and-just-say-it: NO.

It’s not you though. It’s me.

And I’m not breaking up with you I SWEAR; it’s seriously not like that. I just think I need some time alone to think about where I am…you know, in life. Don’t say I’m bullsh*tting you, and don’t think my feelings for you have changed. This is simply a matter of personal need; a sabbatical from dating if you will, and when I say “dating” I mean “hanging out in any capacity that isn’t entirely and absolutely free.”


Frankie is in the Poorhouse.

(Le sigh.)

I am using this blog-post to turn a private matter public; to make all y’all who think pestering me to order another Riesling or join you at Benvenuti’s is a harmless pastime feel dreadfully bad right now. I know you mean well. I do. Especially all of you who took to kidnapping me following the Demonic Day of Doom; I truly appreciate it and probably needed it (though I did not need all those Oreos). But from this point forward, it’s over. This madness of spending - this constant hemorrhaging from my savings has GOT TO END. I just can’t take it anymore.

I’m a graduate student, people. A Full. Time. GRADUATE STUDENT. And yes, OU is paying me to go to school, but let me assure you they aren’t shelling out 6-figures for me to sit on my ass in the Gaylord library and Facebook all the livelong day. Life ain’t that sweet I’m afraid. And yes, I have enough money to pay rent and purchase groceries and buy my 18-bajillionth lip gloss when I’m feeling blue (or frisky). But that is the extent of it; that is where my fountain of funds runs dry. Theretofore, this seemingly unbreakable relationship between socializing and spending money simply cannot continue. It’s just not good for me (and it’s not good for you either, as I’m apt to completely lose it one day and snap you and your Chase Rewards Card in half).

In case you need proof, Example 1 of my Poordom:
As of last week I was so financially strapped that I actually considered selling my blood plasma. My LIFE JUICE, for God’s sake! I got my latest hospital bill for the Boobotomy from Hell (another story for another day), and I thought to myself “yep…selling my bodily fluids.” That is just SAD.

(The only reason I’m not doing it is because of this right here. Be forewarned; it’s heinous and will make you want to tuck your fists up under your chin and never unbend your arms…ever, ever again.)

In case you need
more proof, Example 2 of my Poordom: I was standing in the seemingly endless line at Victoria’s Secret, just itching to spend money on unmentionables for an upcoming lingerie shower. (When broke and newly single, it is a sheer delight to buy expensive panties for somebody else’s eminent marital-romps-in-the-hay. There’s simply no greater pleasure.) So I was standing there, and I heard the cashier say to her customer “did you try on the What’s-Its-Face bra today? If so, you get $5 off your purchase!” And I stopped, and I thought “hmmmm…what was the name of that bra again?” Because even though I’d stood in line for 7 years, and even though the last thing I wanted was to endure a personalized Victoria’s Secret bra-fitting (Satan!), I was actually considering popping out of line to try on the What’s-Its-Face bra. To save 5 dollars. FIVE. DOLLARS.

(I didn’t do it…I never could remember the name. Probably for the best though, because I used to work at Victoria’s Secret and those bitches are FIERCE. If they had figured out I was playing them, it’s likely they’d have strangled me with their hot pink measuring tapes.)

So I beg of you, comrades: don’t make fun of your friend Frankie the next time she orders a diet coke at The Library. And don’t get fussy when I have water on our coffee dates…and don’t glare at me and think I’m on a starvation diet when I order chicken broth for lunch. I’m not trying to be inconsiderate, and I’m definitely not aiming to be the next MK Olsen. I’m just poor. POOR, I say! Broke, impoverished, in need, without. POOR.

I have high hopes that my cash flow will pick up shortly; I landed my first freelance gig (PRAISE THE BABY JESUS!), and I have several summer job applications currently underway. But even if I can’t get out tha po’ house anytime soon, I assure you I’ll be fine. I’ve got this covered, so be cool bitch…be cool. As long as you’re willing to hang out with me in superawesome, no-riches-required capacities, my life will putter along happily as usual (just with a little less Chipotle and fewer new shoes). I love you, my dears. I truly do. But I believe in Dave Ramsey, and I’m going to try my damnedest to keep my 6 Month Emergency Fund alive. So please understand that I never meant to hurt you, but something’s gotta give. For I was born a poor black child…

But I have no intentions of dying that way.

Much love.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Demonic Day of Doom

Firstly, I’d like to say how thrilled and indeed blessed I feel to be here today, with you people, on planet Earth. For it is no exaggeration to declare that I very nearly died last week.

Not because of a failed attempt at jaywalking or because I ODed on Nyquil (which I swear I’ve almost done before), but because I quite nearly had a complete meltdown: an emotional, psychological, mental, physical, Total System Failure.

April 1: Day of foolery for most, and Sister’s birthday to my Beloveds and me. [Momentary aside: the morning started off a little rocky as I signed onto Facebook (damn you, Stalking Machine), and found that my then-dating-partner was in cahoots with…well I’ll just say it…America’s Next Top Model. Now, in my defense I’m not usually the jealous type. But things between Manfriend and I had been damn confusing for a hot minute anyway, and at 8 in the morning my judgment is generally skewed. My logical brain immediately spoke up with a resounding “be cool, bitch…be cool,” but my illogical brain (which is far louder and more outspoken) began hollering “does he like her?? Will they date?? ARE THEY GETTING MARRIED??! WILL THEY HAVE BABIES???!” What can I say; I’m blessed with an active imagination.]

Lucky for me I had bigger fish to fry that day, and so I powered through and pushed past my suspicions that my dating partner was betrothed to a younger Giselle Bundchen. (Let posterity note that the aforementioned manfriend and I are no longer dating. WAH wah. Relationships are fun, no?)

But the real issue at hand, the true ticker that was causing me ulcers and clammy palms and blurred vision and impaired driving, was one I had been anticipating since the start of this semester. For April 1 was my personal day of reckoning. My day in Satan’s grasp…my day of 1.5 hours of public speaking.

I hate public speaking.


If you know me well, you probably know that I’m not a fan of talking in front of large groups of people. If you know me very well, you know I’ve loathed presentations since age 4 (when I had to be bribed with popsicles to be in my preschool play), and that I avoid such scenarios like an outbreak of Ebola or the Bubonic Plague.

So needless to say, the day was doomed from 12:01 AM. But God, being the kidder that He is, decided to have some fun with me…and see just how much torment I could take before losing it completely and cackling about like Archimedes from Sword in the Stone (which I’m told I did most of the day anyway…yeah thanks, Aubrey).

Total System Failure: A Synopsis and Overview

Unfortunate Incident # 1: I drive to campus at 9:45 AM, and begin my usual hunt for a parking spot. Typically I park in the garage so conveniently located across from Gaylord, but today I’m sh*t out of luck finding a free space. So I go to pursue plan B…and cannot get out of the garage. Can. NOT. Some damn Pepsi truck has lodged itself in front of the garage exit, and so I find myself trapped like an ant in an ant farm. (Remember ant farms? Those were fun…though Sister’s ants always made far more intricate tunnels than mine. I may have some unresolved issues from my childhood - but I digress.) So I sit there. And sit there. AND SIT THERE. For twenty effing minutes.

(One adverse side effect of a creative mind is that it often comes with some (to a lot) of neuroses, and I’ll admit to being no exception to that rule. So sitting in a line of jam-packed cars, surrounded by cement walls and pillars and dividers and what have you, did no good things for my claustrophobic tendencies.) So finally, finally the damn truck-driver learns how to drive, and I’m freed from my paved-coffin-of-doom.

Unfortunate Incident #2: I then begin meticulously perusing the nearest-by parking lot (and by “nearest-by” I mean it’s in BFE) for an empty space. Upon finding one I zip Little Red in, open my door with great speed (as I’m now officially late for work), and find myself in a Marilyn Monroe-esque type scenario. My lovely peasant skirt, which I’ve worn so as to feel pretty during my Presentation of Death, lifts itself as if of it’s own accord up around my ears. I’m not kidding you. And I of course have seven different bags in hand, so there’s nothing I can do but stand there and think “which pair of PINK panties am I now displaying to the entire Sooner World?”

Unfortunate Incident # 3: After realizing only a parking-meter-maid has seen my unda-carriage and I’m thus able to regain composure, I take one, maybe two steps in the direction of my destination. And trip. And fall. And this isn’t one of those, “whoops, caught my shoe a bit and now I’m just fine” moments, this is a “OH HOLY HELL I’M GOING TO SMASH MY FACE ON THE GROUND” kind of trips. But I didn’t…instead I flailed about like a drowning cat and merely slammed my torso into the rear of somebody’s (dirty) car. Of course my right boob took most of the fall. Which felt awesome. Then I hear a husky male voice not far from where I’ve landed (grasping for dear life onto the back of said car, my seven bags askew across the pavement) and I hop up to respond to what I assume to be his, “oh darling girl, are you alright?” questioning. So I turn, plaster a “damn I’m a dumbass but I’m okay” look on my face…and realize he’s not talking to me at all. He’s on the phone, and merely looks at me in a disapproving (and perhaps mocking) manner. So I’m sure my attempt at a brave-face read to him as a “hiya I’m a schizophrenic” expression. AWESOME. So I gather my things and start once more for Gaylord Hall.

Unfortunate Incident # 4: I make it all the way to Gaylord without another embarrassing moment, and I’m just about to hoister myself out of my pit of sorrow and self-loathing when I walk through the doors. And trip. AGAIN. Now mind you, I’m wearing flip-flops. Not heels; not stilettos that make one’s ankles wobble or one’s knees bow. I’m wearing the simplest of simple flip-flops, and I’ve tripped AGAIN. This time I’m in the atrium of Gaylord, which means at least 17 undergrads, 9 grad students and 4 professors have witnessed my graceless entrance. So I force a laugh (which sounds just as forced as it is) and proceed to the stairs. OF COURSE the library where I work is upstairs.

Unfortunate Incident # 5: I make it up 2 steps and see my dear friend Chris descending the stairs towards me. I smile at him, begin babbling about how sh*tty my day’s been thus far, and you guessed it…I EFFING TRIP AGAIN. I’m indeed lucky to have Chris there to catch me, as otherwise my shinbones would be irrevocably scarred from the fall. But the only thing more embarrassing than falling in front of strangers is falling in front of friends. So I mumble something about my shoe being broken or SOME nonsense, and being the gentleman that he is Chris goes to examine it. Damn thing isn’t broken (which I of course knew to begin with). I’m just a douchetard.

(It’s worth mentioning that Chris himself tripped on the exact same stair a mere hour after I did. That made me feel better…until Unfortunate Incident # 7).

Unfortunate Incident # 6: I stumble into the library, and my boss greets me with an icy “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN” look. Deserved, I know, but it only adds to my desire to crawl into a ball on the floor and hum “Yesterday” to myself. So I grab a laptop, sign into my OU email account, and find I’ve received an ominous email entitled “Puerto Rico: An Update.”

Side Note: I have been unabashedly excited about my upcoming study-abroad trip to Puerto Rico. I never got to do an abroad program at my lame-ass undergrad school (my life is dreadfully unfair; I know), and one of my top goals for grad school was to do one through OU. So when I found this program, which would grant me 6 hours credit in Travel Writing during a two-week stint in Puerto Rico, I was ECSTATIC. Freaking blissful, I tell you.

And the email reads: We have had several people contact us regarding this trip and although the ones who have shown interest are ready to hop on the plane and start learning and writing, we haven't had enough people sign up to make the trip economically feasible. And, sadly, taking a smaller group would be cost-prohibitive for everyone. We are disappointed, as I'm sure you are.

It goes on to say that I shouldn’t fret, as they’ve already started planning another trip. For next May. WHEN I’LL HAVE GRADUATED. I sit there, staring at the computer, in absolute and complete disbelief. If I was a public-crier, I would’ve cried. Instead I did something worse; I opted to go talk with someone (anyone) about it in the Dean’s office. Which is upstairs.

Unfortunate Incident # 7: At this point I’m literally dragging my feet as I make the slow and agonizing trip towards the third-floor staircase. I run into Man Candy (one of two fellow JMC students Hot Librarian #2 and I giggle about when we’re bored at work), but all I can muster is a “hhmmello.” I begin climbing the steps, grasping tightly to the banister (as I’ve learned my lesson from falls number 1, 2 and 3). I make it juuuuust almost to the top of the stairs, let go of the banister…


This time I stop. I do not laugh, hop up to regain composure, curse at my shoes, or cry (which is becoming a more realistic threat with every passing moment). This time I simply lay my forehead on the banister and breathe. Several people pass me; they look concerned, but I do not care. I’ve lost the ability to walk, my trip to Paradise Island has been canceled, and I have to give a 90 minute presentation in a matter of hours. TO HELL WITH YOU AND YOUR SEMI-CONCERNED GAWKING.

The rest of the day went without notable incident; when I finally regained the will to live and walk I proceeded to the Dean’s office and glared at his assistant Tyler for at least 9 minutes. Poor Tyler has nothing to do with the trip or its subsequent cancellation, but he was the nearest human person when I entered the room and by that point I was nigh out my mind. So I sat at his desk, told him how mad I was and how I’d tripped four times and how April 1st is the Day of Satan and his followers, and then descended (without misstep, miraculously) back to my library to endure the rest of the day.

From 6:30-8:00 (or 8:30 or 9:00 or Eternity - I lose track of time in that class), my dear partner and I spoke on globalization and its effect on gender equality. I was a little apprehensive, but mainly I was numb…the day had quite literally kicked my ass, and I was then on autopilot until I could crawl into bed and pretend none of it ever happened. At one point I snapped at my friend Alex for laughing at one of our videos; I thought I was being funny and sarcastic, but later he apologized so profusely that I realized he thought I absolutely hated him and his gender as a whole. Epic Fail on my part. After the presentation was over everyone clapped and began gathering their things to head home, and I walked up to my fellow Hot Librarian and said quite simply

“hug me.”

In front of the entire class and my professor (who was still obviously mentally deciphering my presentation grade) I asked Aubrey to hug me. And to her credit, she did…she gave me a nice big hug, and she made me laugh by referencing our v-neck shirts and how they were forcing men to stare at our tatas (it was part of the related presentation-debate…you had to be there, but be thankful you were not). But after our impromptu hugfest I realized something disconcerting: I’ve not been that emotionally drained in a very long time. When I’m at my veryveryvery wit’s end I ask random people for hugs, so that just confirmed that April 1st had waged total war on me…and quite obviously and unfortunately, it had won.

BUT. I survived. It is now a new week, I have a new Happy Flower Bracelet I bought at the Medieval Fair, I LIVED THROUGH MY PRESENTATION, and Man Candy should waltz in here any minute now to try and borrow a laptop from me (he won’t be able to do so as they’ve all been checked out for a class, but I’ve conveniently neglected to tell him that. I never said women aren’t manipulative). So I guess I should feel somewhat achieved, if for no other reason than for not letting my day of dysfunction, disappointment, and dreaded public speaking get the best of me. April 1st may have kicked my ass, but I kicked April 2nd’s ass by living to see it…and while I’m at it, I think I’ll go ahead and kick the rest of April’s ass as well.

For what’s the point of living through it if you can’t laugh at it later?

Much love.