You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Normal Activities’ category.

For five short years I was an only child.

Then one day my mom and dad called me into the living room where they sat, shoulder against shoulder, and said they had a surprise for me. Immediately I ran giggle-screaming to the front porch where I expected to see a shiny new bike complete with pink ribbon. I trudged back to the living room looking like I’d just been asked to donate money to some pointless cause. Mom and dad sat smiling, mom rubbing her planetary belly (at school I’d been cutting back on Goldfish after seeing mom swell up as she had begun eating more and more recently).

“What’s the surprise?”

They looked at each other adoringly.

“You’re going to be a big sister, Julia”

Silence.

cricket, cricket

I wish I had a tape of my face at that moment. Expressions must have crossed my face like facebook pictures cross the screen of a procrastinating student.

random baby demonstrating my initial reaction

Blank. Confusion. Glimmer of understanding. More confusion. Astonishment. Disappointment. Glee.
“COOOOOOOL!” I yelped and danced around.

But, as with the receipt of most life-changing news, this still had to sink in. My half-decade-old brain had some serious shit to sort out. So, of course, I took my worries to kindergarten art class.

“I see you’re working with clay, whatchya makin’ there, kiddo?”

(Wait, was this bug-eyed teacher reinforcing the name of the material to try to get it into my skull because I was slow or something?)

“Some chairs”

“I see that! Wow, they look fantastic! Why are you making those, sport?”

(She seemed to be addressing me as a dude, probably because I looked like a dude)

little older five-years-old here...in my chunky-punk stage

“They’re for my new little sister that I’m going to have”

(If I was her, I would’ve been like ‘Oh you’re pregnant? You’re not even showing!’)

“Little sister! Wow! You’re going to be such a great big….sibling!”

(That was it – I hiked up my skirt to show her my lack-of-a-penis and screamed “I’M A GIRL!”)

“Thanks, I know”

So I made 100 tiny clay chairs for my new baby sister that I was going to have. She was going to need somewhere to sit, right? I don’t know what I was thinking, but now we have a bag of grey dust in our cellar that I’m told used to be my 100 chairs…

prints for sale - 8.5 x 11 or (new!) POSTER SIZE

You must be wondering if I persevered with art and clay in particular.

Here is my most recent clay creation:

yep. from chairs to bras. both man-made luxuries that hold our cumbersome weight. bam.

You know something that’s true? I do. Just one thing. Looking forward to something is better than when it eventually arrives. And I’m not talking about you waiting to find out the one true thing that I know, because that last sentence was it. Yea, the one that begins “Looking forward to something” and ends with “is better than when it eventually arrives” that’s the one. Oh dear me, I reckon I’m stuck in the habit of  blabbing to try  to achieve my word minimum for school work. Guess that means I can stop quoting myself.

Well. Since we last spoke (I think that was when you told me about your boyfriend’s odd use of adhesive products, Aunt Maude, and thanks again for volunteering to be my blog reader. They say one devoted audience member is all you need to keep your thoughts relevant) I was cast in the Vagina Monologues! My parents call them the Virginia Monologues, or just ‘the play’. So if you’re not comfortable saying the medical term for a body part, I completely understand.

Don’t get upset, but ‘the play’ went up last weekend. I know! No notice! But it went amazingly. My monologue was “Reclaiming Cunt” and I wore a cape and a yellow scarf tied around my head. The cape was worn in the traditional cape fashion, only the scarf was tied around my head. I realize that I could have simply reworded that sentence instead of writing all of these subsequent words. But then I wouldn’t have had the chance to use the word subsequent! You understand.

Since I didn’t really have a character at all for my short monologue, I made up a crazy one. I learned heaps about myself, I must say, as cheesy as it sounds, and as good as cheese sounds. I realized that my awkwardness and insecurities pretty much vanish when I take on the role of another character. Anyone but myself. Because if it’s not me, then I can do whatever I want, whatever feels right – it’s not me who will be embarrassed, I’m just playing this character! Grossly elementary discovery, yes, but inspiring nonetheless.

One thing that I did not expect was the way it got so many people’s gears turning about the issues it brought up and other related (or unrelated, depending on your level of intoxication while being exposed to it) dilemmas and quandaries. I had some riveting discussions afterwards and saw the barricades in people’s minds crumble more and more, until they were able to think about things that they had not allowed themselves to consider.

I hope you’re down-wind so you can catch my drift. Sorry if it’s stanky. There was a burrito bar tonight in one of the dorm dining halls. But I got salad. There were brownies for dessert. Their new recipe is great. Moist.

If you haven’t seen the Vagina Monologues you should. Don’t listen to penis-bearing men who say that it’s about ‘women whining about their period’ because that is false and vagina’s rule.

I would be okay with this becoming a well-known, widely-used meme picture for the witty people of the internet to write big, white block letters over.

I went on a cruise with the fam and it was alright.

The best part was probably the buffets of food that seemed to be open constantly but always had the correct meal in accordance with the hour of the day which I rarely was informed of… it wasn’t great food obviously, they had to pick quantity due to the three and a half grand people on board. (Can I do that? Is ‘grand’ a synonym for ‘thousand’? Must be.) All of the swimming and dancing helped me in the fat department.

There was a guy who went on the loud speaker every 10 minutes and always began by reminding us that “Hey! This is your cruise director Butch!” incase we had forgotten. He told us some dumb stuff about ‘goings-on’ around the huge-ass ship. Did we want to go to the casino and lighten our load? Or were we hungry (impossible) and did we want to go to the chocolate buffet? But, either way, we couldn’t miss the show tonight at the Venetian Palace, where crappy performers would strut around and then change their costume in order to strut around some more. The men liked it, big surprise there.

What I was really scared of the whole time was being bombed. I mean, yea, there’s always sinking, but they had some decent equipment in case we started going down. We were assigned ‘muster’ stations and I kept telling everyone I only wanted ketchup, but the muster station had our lifeboats, and those life boats had their own life boats, and one more time and that’s enough. But as I was saying… I was anticipating the sound of a whistle getting louder and louder rather than water coming under the door. And the reason for this, which you may or may not be wondering, is that these cruises are the epitome of what the terrorists hate about the good ole USA. A butt load of fat, lazy (mostly) Americans practicing clogging their bowels. I felt like we were sitting ducks who also looked like fish inside a barrel that could then be easily shot at…

We went to four beautiabulousazing beaches.  For the most part, a beach is a beach.  Even though that last statement can’t be dubbed ‘true’, I believe that there is some truth to it. We spent a whoooole lot of time sailing (or whatever the verb is) just so we could lay on a disney-world-like, spotless beach.  I dunno…seems like a lot of knots to travel to not see a lot. Oh yea I can rhyme wherever, whenever.

Before we left, I had to embarrass myself at least once, so after exiting the elevator I told my sister that the dude who had ridden down those two flights with us was cute, to which she replied ‘yea, I hope he’s behind us’ and because we haven’t been going to mass, there he was two steps in our wake. I guess you had to be there but we ran off scream-laughing and forgot about it 10 minutes later.

Isn’t it weird when you look forward to something for a long time and then BAM it’s over. Why does that happen, huh? I guess I know. It’s cuz of time, time moving. That’s what it is. I think. Well it’s sad. Now all I have to remember that week of my life are the quickly fading tan lines that I occasionally see when I decide my sweatshirt is no longer containing my stench.  Now I feel like writing a song… time, you are so cruel, life is like a duel, I feel like a fool… and curtain.

So I’m in a creative writing class here in higher education world.  I’ve been asking the professor of this course about writing comedy so she suggested I attempt humor in the ‘special’ (fewer guidelines) assignment we had coming up, using our English: Creative Writing 203 class as the targeted audience (sounds like I’m selling Cool Whip) because, and I gesturingly quote, knowing your audience is the key to unlocking the vault where you will find the keys to comedic writing.

Highlighting the dysfunction of our class and other classes I’ve been in, I threw some words together. I incorporated dialogue and employed the ever-useful third person…you know what, just read it:

 

Shattuck Room 306

The ritual taking of attendance reminded some of the college students of middle school while others relished the chance to report their presence. As the professor called out the last few names on the roster, side conversations died down, notebooks were opened, ink levels checked and silenced phones were stashed where their screens were still visible.

“Jillian?”

“Here, Jill please.”

“Sorry, Jill. Jill, Jill, Jill…Catherine?”

“Catie.”

“Catie! Right, I have that written right here…hm, Naoogee Shwa…?”

“Megan, you can call me Megan.”

“Megan? Are you sure? I-”

“Yes.”

“Ok, and, lastly, Rachel, Rachel? Rachel is right next to me. Hi Rachel, hello, ok today we are talking about our descriptions of a stranger. You all followed some unsuspecting Jane or John Doe for fifteen minutes and wrote a real physical description and then you put this person into your own story – Yes? Question?”

The owner of a pink velour sweatsuit, a girl sitting across the table from the professor, held one flat palm in the air, elbow resting on the table. She frowned, scanning a piece of paper as she spoke, “Yes, um, I’m sorry, I don’t understand, I don’t know who those people are, I didn’t know we had to do this on a certain person, I don’t know who John Doe is. It didn’t say anything about that on the assignment sheet…”

The professor, Dr. Alba, nearly hid her smile, “Ok, no, my fault, I’ve clearly been watching too much SVU. Forget about what I just said, it’s just what’s on the sheet. Ok, now I’m passing around a stack of grading rubrics. Please take one and use it to grade the paper of the person to your left, so pass your own paper to the right. Everyone get it?”

The still-warm pile of photocopies shrank as it was passed around the table, murmurs echoed, “Wait, am I passing mine to you?”

“No, I think I’m giving you the paper from the person two seats to my left and then taking yours and crawling under the table to put it in the lap of the person directly across from me…right?”

Dr. Alba intervened, “Guys, are we playing telephone here? What’s going on, just pass your own paper to the right. And you should’ve gotten the pile of rubric that’s going around…everyone have that?”

“I didn’t get that…”

“Yeaa…I think this is it.”

“No, I still need that.”

“What’s a rubric?”

“The pile’s gone.”

A bird perched on the windowsill shivered in the wind and watched the people in the room shuffle through and spread around all of their white sheets, wondering if they had, in fact, lost their minds.

The professor, chin on her hand, opened her mouth to speak, then closed it along with her eyes.

Just as the thought of pulling the fire alarm to end this misery passed through a few people’s minds, someone cheerfully shouted, “Got it! Here’s the pile, I was sitting on it, oops.

Summoning all of the patience she had saved for waiting in line to receive her complementary Winter Scent candle, Dr. Alba calmly addressed the class, “Please, now, take a moment to read your neighbor’s paper and fill out the rubric.”

Ten minutes later.

“Is everyone all set? Ok, Alice, why don’t you start us off.”

Alice resembled a shrew. No one really knew what a shrew looked like, but everyone came to the conclusion on their own that she was very shrew-like. That, and her last name was Shrew.

With her eyebrows trying to reunite with her head hair, Alice began her editorial critique, “Well, first off, plot development. The paper I read only has six sentences and I’m pretty sure we had a 1000 word minimum, so there isn’t much to work with but, anyway, she talks about a milkman and some sort of carnival ride operator going scuba diving at the Guinness factory…I don’t really get some of the imagery there… I was supposed to circle clichés, right? Well here I circled ‘the night was black as a crow as the crow flies’, which is actually my favorite line because it is so poetic and cryptic-”

Dr. Alba had not been listening. She was captivated with a dash of horrified watching Tara slowly wave her hand in the direction of Lucy who had zoned out staring at Tara’s chin. Both the professor and Lucy were brought back to the classroom when Pita interrupted Alice to ask a clarifying question.

“Sorry, may I just ask, how are we supposed to know if we are using a cliché?”

Everyone silently turned to face the professor.

“That, Pita, is a great question to ask. Good question. It is definitely hard for non-native speaker, but-”

“I’m from Colorado.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t know why- well to answer your question, a cliché is a phrase that has been so hackneyed, or overused, that it is almost meaningless. It’s all about captivating your reader!”

Rachel’s hand shot up, “Oh!”

“Yes, Rachel.”

“Oh, that reminded me, in my paper I, oh what was it, I’m sorry I forgot where I was going with that.”

The professor clasped her hands. “Ok. Alice please go on.”

“I’m done, professor.”

Some people heard Dr. Alba mutter “me too” under her breath before she announced, “Now, we are going to switch it up, enough of this rubric business. I’d like everyone to put their head down on the table. Heads down, everyone, go ahead. With your eyes closed, imagine the story you just read, your neighbor’s story… and, now, um…. pick a character from that story to, oh, to enter your own story that you wrote. Ok?”

The bird was still on the sill. He saw the people with their heads on the table except for one, who slowly tiptoed out of the room.

 

                                                                                  cheese.

The cheerful, bubbly tone that came pre-programmed into my cell phone exploded into the serene night air.  My body spasmed as it was unceremoniously jerked out of a dream having something to do with store-brand cream cheese and a rhino spelling bee.  Grabbing my phone, I carelessly thumbed ‘snooze’ rather than’dismiss’ and cursed; my sleep voice grumbling a few octaves lower than normal, I drew out the foul vowel.

I lumbered heavily off the cliff that is my bed, which stands about four times higher off of the ground than normal to ‘maximize storage’ as my mom puts it. Then I told her I could open a warehouse under there to rent out storage space and she didn’t get the joke and said I should really just focus on getting settled in before I started to make any big plans.

Tripping over the rug, I loped over to my roommate’s bed.

“Liv” I grumbled.

“Hmmghh” she managed and rolled to face me.

“Elfing” we croaked together.

That was when I began to really wonder why I had signed up to be a part of this marvelous annual tradition.  To welcome newcomers to the school, sophomores volunteer to surprise firsties (no, we don’t say freshwomen) with goodies left at their door, installed in the dead of night so that they will find them in the morning.  Sounds nice, right?Well, it gets creepier.At 3:00AM on the first night of elfing, tradition had us tiptoeing downstairs to our Elfee’s (creative, I know) room with handfuls of newspaper, masking tape and previously-ripped-out magazine pages. Our number one goal was to not wake up the little buggers as we somehow taped the newspaper over their doorjamb so they’d wake up, open to door and (hopefully, with enough momentum) walk into/through the wall of paper.

You wouldn’t believe how not quiet masking tape is when you most need it to be. Pull it slowly, it sounds like the drowsy deflation of a whoopee cushion. Pull it fast, it sounds like the building is being torn open by Reptar.

Lucky for us, our elfees were across the hall from each other, so we were able to help each other out with the installation process.  Once the newspaper was more or less covering the door and we had used up every cringe face in the book, it was time to hang up the magazine ads.

We spent the night before on our salsa-stained rug tearing out magazine ads and altering them in stalker-y ways in favor of our elfees, with whom we are well unaquianted.  Ads that said “Want gorgeous, flawless skin this winter?” became “Stefanie is gorgeous, flawless” … the power of a black sharpie and brute pressure.  A beautiful, toned model man on display to sell some undies is now thinking, “Oh golly, I’m so depressed I can’t even put clothes on ever since Rachel left me alone here after an amazing night” We could’ve shortened that one a bit…  A picture of an orange wearing sunglasses, sipping orange juice from a straw was given a thought bubble: “orange you sad you aren’t Anna?”

Pretty witty.

Believe it or not, the school endorses this rather than fining us for hazing.



In this context, the heart symbol is meant to say: “I hope this past week has been exorbitantly less horrible for you than it has been for me. Lacklusterly,”

Tweeter Twats

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.