Every kind of special

Today’s post has many themes.  Embarrassment, individuality, adulthood, confusion, and anxiety, to name a few.

Recently, I have begun telling the world about stupid things I do on a regular basis.  The other day, for example, I fell off a treadmill.  I was running (which is already strange enough), then looked down to change the song on my iPod.  It wasn’t working.  Naturally, my instinct was to hop on the stationary sides of the spinning rubber mat of death to steady myself and collect my bearings.  And, as every single comedy movie ever could have told me, this was a silly idea doomed to fail–which it did.  I missed the sides, ending back up on the moving mat, panicked, got caught in my headphones, panicked some more, and then oh-so-gracefully lost my balance and stumbled into a sideways-fall.  Luckily, my sister and a mystery man were both there with me to make sure I did not crack my skull open (I didn’t, thanks for asking).  My first reaction was to cry, then laugh, then run out and apologize to the security guard watching me on the camera above my head, and then finally to post this on Facebook.  Thank you to the 32 people who gave me a “like,” which I choose to believe was a virtual pat on the back telling me it was perfectly fine to be as clumsy as I was.

Well world, I did it again.  This incident is far less severe, yet far more public than the last.

Today, I tried to walk up a down escalator.  Yes, you heard me correctly–the stairs were clearly coming down and I ignored them.  As I move about my day in the adult world, I’m realizing things I’m not good at–judging time, understanding distance, and multi-tasking while walking, to name a few.  The latter was my downfall this afternoon.  Engrossed in a text message (a whole other issue of my generation), I tried to walk up the middle of three escalators (IN my defense, it is USUALLY going the upwards direction), I stepped onto the first step only to be brought right back down.  But no, this didn’t stop me.  I didn’t get it yet.  I tried again.  I made it a few steps, then realized I was at the bottom again, and quickly turned around in anger.

I know we all have a purpose in life.  Perhaps mine is to give security guards, policemen, Metro staff, and all other public servants a hilarious break in their day courtesy of my stupidity.

Here is the point of all this: sometimes I wonder how I make it through the day.

Do you ever just stop and look around at the people walking past?  There are days when everyone else seems better dressed, more confident, funnier, more attractive, and generally more suited to life.  And on those days, I can’t help but wonder how all these people got to be as alive and adult as they are.  There’s a secret, right?  A formula?  Some code with which everyone else was imprinted, except for this directionally-challenged 23 year old with some nasty treadmill bruises?

But maybe not.  I embarrass myself almost constantly, but I’m starting to understand that it’s probably just fine.  I hope everyone else understands this too.  I mean, it’s in our DNA that we’ll do stupid things.  (It’s not, but please allow me to pretend that I understand science.)  People who don’t do stupid things are lying and perhaps not even real humans.  And, making a mistake doesn’t have a bearing on you as a person.  Yeah, I walked the wrong way up an escalator, but I also got an incredible amount of work done and coordinated a ton of logistics for my job.  Two days ago, I bought myself a mattress and a box spring.  (I didn’t even know what a box spring was until now.)  Today, I’m cleaning my apartment that I pay rent for, and soon, I’ll be paying off my credit card bill.  These things are real!

It’s not even just that, really.  It’s the fact we can get ourselves to work every day.  Or to class.  Or go to the gym, or to the grocery store, or pick up the phone and call our parents because we want to.  All of these things are choices.  You choose to participate in life, even by completing the smallest tasks.  Naysayers and Negative Nancys will say, “Oh, really?  Everyone should be expected to go to work when they’re supposed to.  That’s not a victory; it’s a part of life.”  And to that I say, go eat a brownie and RELAX.  But also, that I don’t disagree.  I mean, yes, if you have a job, you really should show up to it when you’re scheduled to do so.  For the benefit of themselves and society, people should make the choice to do all these things.  But you don’t have to.  Ever have a day where you don’t even get out of bed?  (You’re lying if you say you haven’t.)  That day, you chose not to be a part of the world, and it’s totally fine.  But on a regular basis, you make the important and vital decision to get out of bed, and that right there is a huge victory.

I don’t care if you disagree with me, because I’m going to keep on feeling the way I feel.  All I am saying is that on those days when it feels like you’re just tumbling along like a weed in a windstorm, we should really give ourselves more credit for the tasks we complete.  So embarrassing yourself a little (or a lot) is just a side effect of having a pulse.  And it means you’re participating, you’re doing, and you’re being.  Which is fantastic.

Stefanie just made a fantastic dinner and we briefly discussed my blog topic and to this she adds: “The 20s are a period of floundering.”  She also added some arm movement to drive the point home, which I wish I could capture in film and post, but it looks a little like this:

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Only faster and more desperate.

Anyway, that’s that.

Some brief life updates:  I went to the Pentagon for work the other day.  It was awesome.  There’s a casual mall hanging out inside.

I really did buy a mattress, which is going to be a huge upgrade from the air mattress I’ve been sleeping on since the end of July.

I went to the RedBull Flugtag at the National Harbor this past weekend, which was hilarious and wet.  (We had a giant rainstorm halfway through, which sort of kept going until the event was over–hilarity is watching two Beaumont sisters try to huddle under one umbrella for three or so hours.)

Buenas noches.  Quiero hablar en espanol con mas frequencia.  Claro que si.

Here’s to a lifetime of embarrassing events and small victories to make every day totally weird and worth it.

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Bystanding

Well, as I predicted, it’s getting harder to write these blogs.  I’m doing that writerly thing that many of us do–get really excited about a project, write a lot, then write a little less, and finally, give the fuck up.  I feel it coming, but I swear I’m pushing back with all my might.

This post began as a series of sassy commentaries on recent events in my life or things that have gotten under my skin.  These topics have included:

-Quiet people, and why the rest of the world needs to learn how to talk to us.  Titles in question were “We’re Not Afraid Of You,” “Stop Asking If I’m Okay,” “Seriously, I Just Have Nothing to Say Right Now.”  That one was a long one.  I’m happy to provide a Reader’s Digest version of that particular rant, but I figure it’s best if I don’t unleash that section of wrath upon the world.  I’m not mad, I guess, just annoyed.  No, I don’t want to have to explain myself to you.  Okay, okay, the rage is bubbling again.  Moving on…

-My cat.  Seriously, she’s really cool.  For anyone interested, the kitty herp has calmed down.  Also, she really likes pumpkin.

-The annoyingly short-lived battery life in smart phones.  What are you, a damsel fly?  (Yeah, I may have just watched a few episodes of Life…what of it?)  I admit, this post was stupid, hence it’s inevitable tossing into the pile of other silly post ideas.

And more.  Please believe me when I say I’ve had a bit of a dumb brain week.

I was about to just throw up my hands in resignation and hit “Publish post” on my quiet person blog, when the tragic events in D.C. today began to unfold.  For those of you who live in lava pit under some layers of crust under a hole under a rock, a shooter went on a rampage in an office building in D.C’s Navy Yard this morning.  Thirteen people are confirmed dead, including the shooter himself.  No motive has been announced.  Etc etc.  I will not pretend to know more details than that, although I’ve been glued to the news all day at work following the story.  And, my gut reaction has been to just cry about it, all day long.  I don’t know anyone who was in the building, injured, killed, or directly affected by the incident.  I and my friends/family have been very fortunate, as many others have not been.  I want to know why, I want to know how, and I want to know the steps the victims and families of the wounded/killed can take to start to heal.

I mean, this shit is ridiculous.  And the worst part is that in some countries, this is the norm–people across the world wake up every morning probably sighing, like, “I wonder which one of my relatives will be killed today?”  There are so many things about that kind of hatred and resentment that I just can’t understand.  And of course, there are too many reasons to count that explain why people do the things that they do.  Perhaps I shouldn’t judge some of them.  Perhaps I should.  I don’t know the answers; all I know is the pain I, an almost entirely un-involved civilian, feel after the effects of the actions of one (or possibly more) man rip through the city.

It’s exhausting, right?  I know I’m not the only one who has spent the day wracking my brain for an explanation.  I survive on logic, which gets me into trouble 90% of the time, and today it is entirely failing me.   Why does a man kill twelve people? ——————–> sorry, I didn’t understand that.  Can you repeat that?   Why does a man kill twelve people? ——————–> sorry, I didn’t understand that.  Can you repeat that?   Why does a man kill twelve people? ——————–> sorry, I didn’t…..okay, okay, I get it.

I’m 23 years old, and I know nothing.  (No, I’m not too vain to admit it.)  I know nothing, but I feel a lot, and that’s what I’m going to go with.  So, here’s what I’ve decided.  I’m going to feel the fear and the pain, and I’m also going to feel the relief and luck with which I’ve been blessed.  Hey, my family is a-okay.  My sister used to live down in SE D.C., and she doesn’t anymore.  We live together, and she worked from home today, and we’re both doing really well.  I work in NW.  I have a job, which is more than many people can say.  I had a really awesome weekend, and some incredibly cool things are happening, and I’ve met a lot of lovely people recently.  I’m excited!  and for once, not trying to convince myself to press down the excitement in case it doesn’t work out.  Some of my best friends live really far away, and I can’t see them more than a few times a year, but I know they’re happy and healthy and that keeps me going.  My cat is great and super weird.  In fact, here’s a photo of her.  This is her favorite bag, and I guess she decided the floor is lava tonight.

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Other cool things include the fact I just accidentally closed my Chrome tab and WordPress saved my draft.  Hooray!  That would have been a pain in the booty to re-type all of this.

Before I go too crazy, let me clarify that I’m not implying we should just be happy and grateful for everything, at all times, always, regardless of the situation.  I’m not so delusional that I think that’s possible–and I’m always a fan of the occasional day o’ pouting (oh, come on, you are too).  I’m not going to stop writing sassy blog posts.  There are days when it is therapeutic to feel bad for yourself, and I think that’s okay.  As long as you don’t make it a character trait.  You know, like, “Oh, Kelsey, she’s always angry about something…today I think her bread didn’t have enough olives in it.”  Yes, that is something that would bother me, but hopefully not for an extended period of time.  So no, I’m not saying hey, I think the world would be a better place if we all fought the urge to have negative feelings.

I don’t know why this, or any other tragedy, has to happen. But I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for the good things in our lives.  There is always time in the day to feel good about SOMETHING–hey, give yourself a pat on the back, you made a delicious breakfast.  Or, look, the sun came out during the rainstorm!  Because I think we get too caught up in the negative, and then we become the negative.  Or something like that.

Coffitivity gave up on me for some reason, which is probably a sign that I should finish my wine (good old Two Buck Chuck) and do something far more productive than talk to myself.  Stefanie and I went for a walk in Rock Creek Park and it was lovely…..and…….to everyone’s great surprise, or I guess, everyone that knows me well enough……I’m going to do yoga tonight?  Isn’t that so weird?  I don’t even know who I am anymore.

I called my mom tonight.  Just needed to hear her voice.  Sometimes that’s enough.

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What Never to Do on Public Transportation

Alternate title:  Everyone hates you.

Alternate, alternate title: Everyone’s thinking it, and everyone’s saying it, so why are you still doing it.

As a daily frequenter of D.C.’s public transportation system, I, like each of my fellow commuters, encounter situations every day that make my crawl itch with indignation.  Did you really just sneeze in my face?  or, Sir, I can hear every word of that song, and I’m not impressed with the artist’s [lack of] vocabulary.  or, my personal favorite, the “why did you have to sit next to ME” conundrum.
Anyone who has ever ridden any form of public transportation can understand.  Our fellow passengers are smelly, loud, rude, and seemingly oblivious to the effect their lack of manners can have upon our day.  So, as a public servant and terribly concerned citizen, I decided to make this handy-dandy list of “Public Transportation Definitely Don’ts.”  The first part will be fairly one-sided, and not ultimately un-biased; many arose from situations I’ve had to deal with.  Three of these happened just last evening on my trip into SW to visit my good friend and fellow Bughuul fan, Sir Sandford Bass.

Keep in mind, I ride WMATA almost exclusively.  But, as a traveler very familiar with SEPTA, and after a three-month stint living in London and riding the  Tube/Underground to work/class, I can confidently say these annoyances are sadly concurrent in each system.  I would imagine the Chicago L, the San Fran BART,  the Orlando Lynx buses, and every other public transit method in the world share the same occurrences of rude, rude, rudeness.

Without further ado, here are my tips for the conscientious public transit rider:

1. If you’re a 10 year old boy, you don’t need to be yelling loudly to the rest of the passengers on the train about how you want to “fuck the girl in the corner.”  [The girl in the corner?  Yours truly, just trying to listen to my music and quietly play my game of Klondike.]

2. Stop staring through the window at the conductor and yelling.  Do you want the train to crash?  He/she is the only thing between you and an accident, and you’re playing with fire.  Get off.

3. Don’t ride public transportation if you have alcohol poisoning.  Seriously, do not.  Your fellow passengers do not want to deal with your unconscious, vomit-covered body while you snooze off obliviously.  That probably sounds harsh, but maybe it needs to.   [That being said, DEFINITELY don’t attempt to drive if you’re drunk.  If it’s between the two, take the public transportation.  Otherwise, find a quiet corner and sleep it off.]

4. Please keep your wandering eyes and misogynistic comments to yourself.  You have the freedom to find anyone interesting or attractive, but if you’re that concerned with getting his/her phone number or taking him/her on a nice dinner for two, your best bet does not involve making rude comments or staring obsessively.

5. If I can spot four rows of empty seats, you can too.  Please refrain from blocking my exit by choosing the one row in the entire car that is already occupied by yours truly.

6. Shower before getting on public transportation.  If you don’t have access to a shower, purchase some deodorant and wet wipes, which should tide you over until you do.  If you can’t afford deodorant and wet wipes, how did you get on this train in the first place?

7.  Ladies, don’t spray your perfume on a train or bus.  If the rest of us don’t appreciate the scent, or are asthmatic, or somehow find the fragrance offensive, we have no way of escaping until the next stop comes.

8.  Don’t make offensive jokes about race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, religion, sexuality, gender, etc.  I mean, you should never do that anyway, but certainly not in a public forum.  You never know who may be listening. And certainly don’t threaten to kill any American that crosses your path [because little do you know the quiet girl sitting across from you is now terrified someone will speak to her and she’ll have to respond, revealing her American accent and incurring your murderous wrath).

9.  Take your stinky food outside.  Many public transit services won’t even allow you to have it, so why do you feel the desire to eat your egg-salad-tunafish sandwich RIGHT NOW?  Everyone hates you.

10.  If you want to stand on the escalator, stand on the RIGHT SIDE.  Never, ever, under any circumstances, stop walking if you’re on the left.  Move the hell over because one day, you’re going to get pushed down/up.  Have you ever been in a vehicle?  The left lane is for PASSING.

11.  Sorry, why are you making out next to me, again?  Why is your hand up her skirt?  You know you’re in public, right?

And now, some thoughts from the outside:

I thought it might be fun to solicit some opinions other than my own about the outrageous behavior they’ve noticed on public transportation.  Here is an abbreviated list of Do’s and Don’ts.

1. If you plan to ride public transportation in different country, and you don’t speak the language, take three seconds out of your life to learn a few key phrases [and please heed the personal hygiene tip above].  Read the map BEFORE getting on.  Have a least an idea of where you’re going.  Otherwise, you will end up stranded on a fast-moving vehicle with no idea where you are, and no way to communicate with people around you who might be able to help.  And, BATHE.  You’re acting as an ambassador for your country, and right now, you’re making everyone want to vomit.  [Thanks to Nicole Smallwood for the story!]

2. If you are drunk, try to take a sober buddy with you on the train.  That way, you’ll be guaranteed to make it home safely, and you won’t try to drunkenly steal other people’s things when your impaired brain convinces you they’re actually yours.  [Thanks to Connor Weber.]

3.  If someone tries to start a fight, just say no.  We all get the temptation to crack a few skulls every now and then, but there is a time and a place–and the place is certainly not next to old women with their groceries.  They can’t get away, man.  Take it outside.  [Thanks again to Connor.]

4.  Don’t follow people when they are clearly trying to avoid you.  It’s probably because you didn’t have the courtesy to clean yourself before boarding, or you’re generally weirding them out.  Tailing them as they switch cars is the second-to-last thing you should do, followed only by intentionally touching other people.  That is the worst thing you can do.   [Thanks to Kimba and Liz Green, and I’m really sorry that happened.]

5. DO practice moderation when imbibing on the train/bus (if that’s even something you can get away with).  If you shotgun multiple beers, you’re probably going to throw up, and your fellow passengers might skin you alive.  So, keep it simple.  Buy a flask.  Put your booze in a thermos.  Do what you gotta do.  [Thanks to Issac Carpenter for the tip.]

6. Don’t throw up in taxis.  The driver will hate you, as will the next rider.  [Well, now you know, IC.]

7.  Making verbal assumptions about your fellow passengers will lead to some awkward underground time.  Sorry you missed out on hot dogs at the Nats game, but you’re stretching it a bit by blaming all the white people around you.  [Thanks to La la LaPorte.]

8. If the bus/train is packed, you can safely assume that your bags do not really NEED their own seat.  See that elderly lady wobbling next to you, because she can’t reach a good handhold?  Yeah, maybe you’re right, your skateboard DOES need the seat more than she does.  [Thanks to Kate Hutchinson aka Mermaniac for the tip.]

9. DO come up with great names for your fellow riders.  It’s a fun way to pass the time.  DON’T, however, say them out loud.  Yeah, maybe that guy IS a bitch ass bitch, but he doesn’t necessarily need to know it.  [Double kudos to KHutch.]

Phew, that was long.  And sadly, these lists barely nick the surface of the problem.  But I will say this.  We have all been THAT GUY on public transportation at some point.  I spilled my ice coffee on the Red Line last week and didn’t clean it up.  Shit happens, we all have bad days, and we can easily be forgiven for these mishaps.  But when you become a repeat offender, you must be stopped, and I hope this was mostly useful to all those clueless PT riders–and only a little offensive.  Because hey, what is life without a little conflict and a few hurt feelings.

Now, I have to go take care of my cat because WOOPS, she has herpes.  No one panic; the kitty herp is not the same as the human kind.  But her eyes are drippy and her face is sneezy and she kind of hates her life right now.  I don’t blame her.

Until next time!  

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The Bloggiest

I would like to begin by pointing out the title of this blog.  It did not arise from a desire to be clever, or unique, or even spark interest.  That is actually what I had for breakfast today, and it’s all I could think of.  Red velvet cake (in this particular instance, red velvet cake cookies).

The next most important topic of discussion (however one-sided): the concept behind this blog.  Why does it exist?  Who do I expect to read it?  Why can’t you have cereal for breakfast like a normal, functioning adult?

I don’t have eloquent, well-thought-out answers to any of the above questions.  I created the blog because I like to write.  I am a writer.  Words get stuck in my brain, swirl around for a bit, shame me for not letting them out more often, and then fly around a bit more.  And with the recent amount of change and upheaval in my life, the need to let them fly their freak flags has become somewhat dire.  So, for the next few months (or weeks, or years, or until I get bored), I’m just going to write some stuff and post some photos and generally provide insight into my life.  Or just share some funny gifs.

Okay, to begin:

New Apartment

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My sister and I moved in together in July!  We now share a large Studio apartment in Silver Spring, MD.  Among its many fantastic attributes, our apartment boasts a giant, almost-wall-sized window, a walk-in closet, fancy-shmancy appliances, and CARPET.  I know people prefer hardwood floor, and to some extent, I do as well, but there is something so homey about having carpet on the floor.  It doesn’t mock me when I walk around in sweatpants, or no pants.  We’re still figuring out the privacy factor, and I’m still sleeping on a queen-sized air mattress, but it could not be a nicer situation for us.  There’s a Giant right across the parking lot, which practically holds hands with a CVS, and the Silver Spring metro is a five minute walk at the most.  And, downtown Silver Spring is the bees knees–there’s even an H&M close by, which is probably actually terrible…for my wallet.

To belabor the point, we’re pretty happy.  I will pay rent for the first time ever today, which is an exciting milestone, and I’m sure a chore I will come to hate.

New Job

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I have talked about my job so much with so many different people that I’m afraid I just don’t have the patience to write a lot about it.  The Readers Digest version is: I now work at the Washington Animal Rescue League in northwest D.C.  I’m the Development Associate, which involves a lot of spreadsheets, database work, check processing, acknowledgment writing, etc.  It’s a very cool job, and I get to pet dogs and cats on a daily basis.  And, for anyone interested, I do not know how to diagnose your pet’s maladies, nor can I give you advice about the squirrels/raccoons/rodents in your attic.  Perhaps one day I will stop getting these phone calls, but for now, I hope this reaches at least someone.

New Cat

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Stef and I adopted a lovely little cat from WARL!  She was originally called Alakazam, but we kind of hated that and decided to re-name her posthaste.  Her new name is Zeta, which is apparently the third title she’s had in her 6 years upon this Earth (though I imagine she’s had more).  Zeta is a Torbie, which means she is a tortoiseshell/tabby mix.  For anyone who knows cats, you will understand how large tortie personalities are, so you can imagine how many opinions this little cat has.  She’s loud, and very proud of it.  We’re trying to train her to be a lap cat, which has so far proven highly unsuccessful–she’d rather lay right next to you for belly rubs.  Zeta’s favorite activities include eating (constantly), and licking things that don’t belong to her (my work bag, dirty laundry, a theatre program I had laying on my bed, her litter, etc).  She’s totally weird and we’re obsessed.

That’s all I can write for now.  I bought tortillas two hours ago so I could make tacos, and instead ended up creating this blog.  It’s weird because I prioritize my to-do list based on the food involved, so I’m not sure where my brain went…but alas, I’m stalling again.

Until next time!

Postscript:

http://www.coffitivity.com. Check it out.

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