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There have been times where I’ve seriously doubted my memory. Why I can’t remember the names of every single terrorist I’ve read about, for instance, or why I can never remember all three names of Columbus’s ships (I wikipedia-ed it just now). I’ve read dates and times and names and I wish to God that I could remember it all like this guy.
To digress a bit, I got to spend some time with some old friends this weekend. These were some of my closest friends for two years, a boyfriend and his gaggle of lost boys. I loved these boys, I loved them like brothers (except for Joeybones, of course. I didn’t spend THAT much time in the south.) And admittedly I’d been nervous to see them again; the last time I’d seen Tommyboy and Johnnycake was a bit before I started college (or maybe a bit after? Again, with the memory). And Joeybones, my first love, I’d seen once or twice since our horrible breakup. And it was horrible, so much so that I spent the next two times we’d seen each other trying to be back together (Did I end that one? I’m fairly sure I did).
The point is, I’d been fretting for the past week about seeing them again. After all, I’ve changed quite a bit. I don’t have my old black hair, and I’ve lost the studded belt. It’s true, I had them. Along with a heaping pile of anger and teenage angst. I lost them somewhere in the transitional college years, and this was the first time that I’ve been nervous about the change. Would they think I’ve turned into a haughty bitch? I didn’t wear my pearls.
And of course I overreacted. Seeing them felt exactly as it should; the matured version of what we used to be. Actually, the only mature parts of it were that we’re all now legal to drink and were at Jonnycake’s apartment. We’ve all come a long way from where we used to be, but it felt good to relapse into old memories. We’re able to joke about the time we had “car trouble”, and every time someone threw out an old memory, we’d laugh and add to it.
With the exception of one memory. Joey and I, having dated for a few years and having been fairly serious (as serious as first loves go, sans pregnancy and gunshot wedding) found ourselves bickering over one specific memory regarding the more intimate side of our relationship. It started with me mentioning something that we’d done, and him swearing it had never happened. This lasted the rest of the night, with his drunken butt not able to remember it (it happened dear).
And then I took it to the next level, and asked if he remembered our first time. Now I’m not sure if this is a gender thing or not, but every girl I’ve met can remember her first time down to the exact details. Not to get too personal (Who am I kidding? I’m already there), but I can remember the movie we were watching beforehand. The boy? Remembers nothing. Not the day, not what it was like, not what he said after. That became my weapon for the rest of the night- if you can’t remember one of the most important nights of your life, how can you remember one not-so-important nights?
The moral of this long-winded and overtly intimate piece? I’m right, he’s wrong. No, that’s not it. The moral of the story is how absolutely great it feels to reconnect with old friends, even if it is just to watch movies, eat pizza, listen to music, and drink.

…to sit in bed while a spring time thunderstorm rages outside.
…to move somewhere new, somewhere far. Djibouti, Cairo, even Oregon.
…him to stop seeing me as just another girl, to see me as his girl the way I see him as my boy.
…to hop on a plane to Texas to see my Meredith.
…to hop on a plane to anywhere warm.
…an apartment with white molding and walls painted blues and greens. And a purple bathroom, with hydrangea by the sink.
…a library with bookcases stuffed with books, and a warm leather chair in the corner.
…a flight to Denver to see my love Brizzle before she moves to Thailand next week.
…to be able to travel to Boston this weekend with my rowers.
…to get over this flu, and be able to run more than three miles without feeling nauseous.
…a pair of J. Crew Fulham heels from several years ago. I have dreams about those shoes.
…to never, ever be hit on by a married or relationshipped man again.
…to rock my interview (my third call back!) with this agency on Monday morning.
…a sunny, warm day so that I can get to water practices already.
…a pot of lilies of the valley in my bedroom.
…to end the fighting and arguing, him calling me crazy and me calling him a jerk.
….me to stop being crazy and him to stop being a jerk. In essence, for us to work out.
…a weekend in Atlantic City with all of my friends from college.
….the Phillies season to start up already! I’m impatient.
…a bowl of pomegranate seeds, fresh and cold.
…that brown sweater dress that fit me like a glove, and the gold belt on top.
…all of my favorite bloggers to stop going on hiatuses (I miss them!)

What do you guys want on this dreary, snowy friday?

I read an article about two weeks ago in the New York Times that through me for an absolute loop. What with my life being a mess lately (flu, crew, classes) it slipped from my mind. But the other night driving home from class, I heard a piece on NPR about the same topic. I usually listen to NPR to calm down when I drive but the topic came up, and the next thing I knew my knuckles were white on the steering wheel.

The topic? Hurricane Katrina tours. Tours that, for a heady price, will lead people through the demise of a once beautiful city. I googled it the instant I came home, the first link reading “Hurricane Katrina- America’s Worst Catastrophe- Bus Tour Through New Orleans: An eyewitness account of the events surrounding the most devastating natural disaster on American soil!” For around forty dollars, you can take a bus to see the absolute destruction and turmoil that still sits in New Orleans.

I know that America is all about capitalism. We’ve gotten to a point where a celebrity’s private parts are exposed, and the next day the picture is being sold on a t-shirt. We capitalize on destruction; we thrive on violence. I’m so disenchanted with this side of America, this perverse obsession of finding monetary gain in something so horrible.

Maybe it’s just too soon, maybe it just doesn’t seem to have the depth of respect that I feel it needs. After all, we’ve turned Gettysburg and Chattanooga into historical landmarks. I’ve personally paid to walk where thousands of men were killed in battle. So where does the line get drawn?

I had really wanted to write a collection of Valentine’s Day story, but there was one big problem: I really can’t remember most of the Valentine’s Days that I’ve celebrated. I mean, I can remember the guys that I’ve spent them with, and I remember exchanging gifts with the Fiance on ours (I had gotten him a tie from Hermes, his present was, well, private)

Only one Valentine was shockingly clear to me: my very first Valentine.

In fourth grade, I was a scrawny tomboy who hadn’t even had an inkling towards relationships. My friends, on the other hand, were well into the crushes and the notes, and even some into mascara (side note: you can guess at where those girls are now). I’m one of the few that still has my first note from a boy- at first I’d kept it because of its meaning, now I keep it because of the humor. The boy, Harry, had written one of the typical box notes:

                         do you like me? check one
                                  [ ] yes
                                  [ ] no
                                  [ ] i feel awk

Ok, not so typical. It should be noted that the phrase “awk” was popular in our grade at this point- a substitute teach fresh out of college had used it once and it caught on quickly. I obviously didn’t send it back; instead I kept it. More than likely I kept it because, as a usual troublemaker, the teacher had hawk-eyes on me.

In a rather serious manner, Harry approached me during some break in lessons and asked me to meet him in the back of the classroom. He held my hand- I was embarrassed knowing that my friends were watching- and asked me to be his date for Valentine’s Day. And then he kissed me on the cheek! This was my first brush with romance, so of course I had to relay every single word to my closest friends.

And, being middle school, of course there was a giant sleepover the next night for another friend’s birthday. She lived three houses down from Harry, and my friends deviously started planning a midnight meeting (in fourth grade! I can hardly imagine what kids are doing these days!) And then the heart-breaker came.

“Take Lexi with you! And Colleen! They’re his Valentines too,” one of the girls chirped.  I was crushed- how was I to know that my first Valentine had a polygamist outlook? He called me that weekend (my first phone call from a boy that was anything other than a friend!) and I refused to answer it. But I made him a card anyway, and I remember drawing baseball bats and soccer balls on it.

Valentine’s Day that year was a heartbreak- he’d gotten the three of us matching teddy bears and chocolates, with each of our cards signed “Love, Harry”. I’m fairly sure I hated him then, especially when he started dating Colleen the next day (and probably Lexi the next week).

So enough of miserable Valentine’s days. I hope all of you have a wonderful, non-polygamous (unless you prefer that) day with your loved ones.

We have an exam tomorrow for this class and I am the unofficial “go-to” for notes. I take rather meticulous notes, which I transfer to Word after class and email to the people who’ve missed. One guy has missed two classes to travel for work and was severely behind. I emailed all of the notes and a study guide I’d made for the exam. 

This afternoon I received a short email from the guy that threw me for a whirl. In short, it said “Thanks for the notes, can I take you out for dinner and a drink tomorrow to thank you for your effort? I promise not to argue about Duke. Let me know about dinner.”

 This guy, who went to University of Maryland, and I argued on the first day of class because I’d been wearing a Duke hat. It went something like this:

Him: Duke sucks, Paulus sucks
Me: Maryland doesn’t even deserve to be considered a rival. I can see UNC, but not Maryland.

Now here’s the kicker: the guy has a girlfriend! Two weeks ago he was telling us about how they were serious. I think I have some weird way of attracting guys with girlfriends/fiances/wives without any intention whatsoever. I fell for it once, and I’m never doing that again: I’ve learned my lesson.

I waited a bit to email back, mostly because I was way to into the Duke, Maryland game. When I finally did, all I said was “No thanks, take your girlfriend out tomorrow (Valentine’s Day). Just catch me up on notes if I ever miss. And by the way: Go Duke 

On Saturday night, after catching up on “Lost” and turning off my bedside light, I sat in bed thinking about a few things I wanted to write on here, more specifically a few things that have made me angry as of late: Hurricane Katrina, this “recession”, the National Guard. I fell asleep planning on writing them on Sunday morning, except that I woke up and hour later, deathly ill.

This is, by far, the worst case of the flu I’ve ever had. I fell asleep on the bathroom floor, went through fits of ripping off my sweatshirt because I was so hot, and then shaking from the cold in my tank top. I didn’t sleep; I curled into a fetal position in my bed coming close to crying. I’ve literally consumed only three bottles of Gatorade since Saturday.

I’m even exhausted just by typing this much.

So instead of typing some ranting post here, I’m going to link to the Valentine’s Day edition of one of my favorite websites. This website, updated on Sundays, was pretty much the only thing that I even looked forward to yesterday (that and Kanye singing “Hey Mama”, which pretty much brought me to tears).

So, regardless of whether you have a Valentine or not, check it out.

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In one of my undergraduate clinical psychology courses, my professor pointed out how, as human beings, we attach ourselves to materials: to food, to clothes, to books. These things, he told us, were manifestations of love. We replaced love with tangible things, filling an empty void in our lives.

Of course he was a batshit crazy, new-age psychologist. But he had a point. In fact, he compared it to Lent, how people have to sacrifice something on which they are so dependent that it actually pains them to do so. My friends always give up things like chocolate, fast food, cursing. One (a very nasty one with whom I’ve since stopped hanging out) gave up cheating on her boyfriend, a very trying experience for her.

I’ve never been religious, though I love many aspects of religion. Including, and especially, this one. I’ve never actually participated due to the lack of religion (remind me that I need to relay the story of the time my grandmother tried to convince me on religion by taking me to “The Christian Clown Act”, in which I helped to magically build an “Ark of Faith”) But I love the general idea of Lent. My college professor used to try to convince us to fast so that we could understand what a dependency on something material felt like. It never worked on hungry college students, but again I see the point.

I want to try an experiment, though not to the lengths of fasting (how do they DO it during Ramadan?) I’m not sure if I’ve written about this on here, but I’m lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant. Which, when combined with vegetarianism, leads to a well-rounded diet. And being intolerant? Makes me crave it a thousand times more (I have that personality- If it’s bad for me, I want it more). And I’ve started to realize just how much I rely on bread products, rather than being balanced with all of the food groups (sans meat).

That being said, I want to see how long I can last without bread or bread products. No Cheerios for breakfast, no pasta for dinners. My own little non-religion version of Lent (is that sacrilegious?) I actually talked about this with my grandmother on the phone today (who, by the way, is a stoic Episcopalian, pearls and all), and her response? “Maybe it will help you see the light on God.”

I’ll bet she’s voting for Huckabee.

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Let’s talk about three amazing points from my day yesterday:

The Duke v. North Carolina game
I get a lot of slack for being a Duke fan, but I’m used to it (being a Philly fan and all). I was raised with Duke, have been watching Duke basketball games since I could sit up straight (and even before that, my mother probably held me up to watch). And the rivalry against a team that is less than eight miles away has been going on for years before I was even born. Thannnnnnnnk you, God.

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The Puppy
My brother, the chef, got home from work during the middle of game. He waited until a commercial to bring up the fact that his coworker is looking for a home for a chocolate lab puppy. My parents have a tough time turning down dogs, especially ones that look like this:

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“Name it Duke!” I shouted, before realizing that I hate that name for a dog. So, if things turn out, we might have a new lab puppy in the household by this weekend. Which means that this site will be flooded by videos of Willa and the new puppy romping, Rios growling maniacally.

“Lost”
I refuse to listen to anyone who says a bad word about this show. Because I love it. If “Lost” were a man, I’d write it love letters and introduce it to my parents. And no, I’m not one of those creepy people that has websites or crossword puzzles devoted to it. But yes, I was fuming when I realized that my Homeland Security class was on Thursday nights, exactly when new episodes of “Lost” air. It’s the equivalent of taking away a cocaine addict’s stash and telling them that they can’t have it back until, oh, say, next week when they have the available time. And that’s not nearly as good, is it? So last night I had my personal catch up (which was made better by the fact that I had my windows open to warm air and a steady downpour).

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We’d been reciting it since we had first learned to talk, had spent years of school learning to shape them, form them. It’s been embedded in almost every person’s childhood, sung sweetly as a chant.

But I sat there listening to him recite the alphabet to the police, overtly turning his mouth at an angle so that his beer on his breath wouldn’t go straight into the officer’s face. A-B-C-D-E-F-G! I thought angrily, willing him to remember the song from childhood. My thoughts raced from thinking about whether I knew anyone that didn’t know the alphabet to my bank account. Did I have enough money to bail him out if it came to that?

“A-B-C-D-F,” he said, and instantly realized he’d made a mistake. “Sorry officer, I’m just nervous.”

“He gets like this when he gets nervous,” I promised the officer, collaborating some story I didn’t even know. In fact, Country and I had only been dating for a few months. Our lives foiled the others’, and in some sense that made it romantic. He, as the name suggests, grew up in the country, and was raised on hunting and recklessness. He was a Conservative, and in the many times I struggled to understand why I was answered with “Because my dad and his daddy are.” And then there was me, the bleeding liberal who had been a vegetarian for more years than I have fingers. I would never, ever understand hunting, not the kind for sport. Not the kind where children learned to end the life of an animal and to have their pictures taken holding up the necks. And I grew up in the suburbs outside of a city, a life he would never understand.

“A-B-C-D-E-F-G-I, Fuck!” He knew again, and my worry grew. Why had I allowed him to drive? Why had I gotten in the car? My mind flashed back to a time when, in high school, my boyfriend had flipped the car we were in while drunk driving and speeding. I thought to how time had slowed down as we hit the curb, as the car had rolled and rolled, to suddenly us hanging in the air by our seat belts. I had been dumb enough to make the same mistake again, by why? Did I think that they wouldn’t care for me if I didn’t get in the car with them? And why would I care enough for some guy who was willing to risk our lives?

“Please step out of the car,” the officer said, and Country slowly complied. He refused to make eye contact with me, and I wasn’t sure if it was out of embarrassment or anger. Just before we’d been pulled over, I’d made him promise to be careful driving the few short blocks from the bar to my apartment. And Country, in his own fashion, decided to speed. “But this is where all the cops are!” I’d protested, as we raced down the main street of town on a Friday night. And of course, as the words spit out of my mouth, flashing lights went off behind us. Country had tried to pull over and, in doing so, had driven onto a curb and barely missed hitting a telephone pole. Why did I think we had any chance of getting out of this one?

I tried not to show anticipation on my face, and instead sat calmly against the leather seats, arching my back so that I could watch in the side mirror. Country was doing surprisingly well, walking the narrow line without a single misstep, and, in his comic fashion, bowing before the police. He must have practiced these things, I thought. I knew he’d been pulled over many times before, always narrowly evading actual trouble. I tried to think back on how many times he’d been pulled over for this before, always told in humorous stories at the bar: the time he got pulled over in the golf cart, the time he drove into a ditch and through his neighbor’s fence, the time he flirted his way out of a ticket. He was devastatingly charming, and before these stories had always been the cause of uproar amongst our friends.

Really though, he must have practiced. Every step was precise, and his coordination was impeccable. My window was cracked slightly, and I could hear the break in the silence, “Ok, you’ve passed.” My stomach finally calmed momentarily, and they came back over towards Country’s car. I relaxed my face, set it so there was no trace of surprise.

“We should breathalyze you,” the officer said. I pounced: “But you can’t, you’ve already passed him on the physical without choice. You’re not allowed to administer that.” My thin amount of knowledge regarding the state’s law came from the fact that my thesis was being conducted using breathalyzers, though it must have seemed to the officer that I knew more than I’d presented. He hesitated a moment, but then asked me on what I’d drank for the night. “One beer, over four hours ago.” It was true; I’d been more interested in playing pool and watching basketball than going drink-for-drink with Country. The officer advised me to drive home and I did so. I hadn’t realized just how drunk Country was until he was trying to get his clothes off to go to bed. I had walked to the kitchen to get him a glass of water, and came back to find him sitting on the floor, pants around his ankles. The morning would find him back on the floor, this time in the bathroom, sheepishly promising me that it wouldn’t happen again.

Country and I broke up soon after, but I guess that this all stirred in my memory the other night. I had met a guy at the dog park last weekend when his lab started romping with my Willa. We fell into step, and found out that we have a lot in common. He’s an avid kayaker and runner who had rowed in college, and, like me, had a fondness for drooling labs. “I’m here every day at this time,” he said slyly. “Come meet me later this week?” In my usual way I was already looking for an excuse not to. “Just so that the dogs can play,” he finished. I ran into him two days later, and despite the fact that I was wearing huge sweatpants and a guy’s undershirt, he asked me to get drinks that night. We picked a bar and time before I left the park.

By the time that I met him, I could tell he had been there for a bit. I had walked the few short blocks to the bar and wasn’t late- he must have gotten there early. The server cleared his three glasses and took my order. We got along great, talking about how we had both gotten our labs from shelters and what it was like having an older brother. He made me laugh, but I couldn’t help feeling wary as his glasses lined up against my two beers. “Looks like you’re not much of a drinker,” he joked, eyeing my empty glasses. “Oh no, it’s just that I have to get up early tomorrow, and I don’t want a hangover,” I lied. In fact, I had nothing but a run in the morning and, to date, have never had a hangover.

He walked with me out into the parking lot, and I said goodnight. “Wait,” he said, grabbing my hand, “I’ll drive you.” And then I got the images of Country in my head. His face as he stepped out of the car. My fear as we almost hit the pole pulling over. “That’s alright, it’s only a few blocks.” I turned around before he could protest, but then flipped around to speak. “And you should call a cab.”

Perhaps I should have done more in the situation, perhaps I should have insisted that he get a ride home. But regardless, it felt good walking the few blocks home, even in my two inch heels.