31 August 2006

A Room Of My Own

Despite the occasional moment of quarterlife crisis, I’ve had very little trouble adjusting to life as an adult. I show up for work on time, pay my bills, appear in places I said I would be, remember to feed the cat, buy milk, change the oil in the car, take out the garbage, buy city stickers, mop the kitchen floor, and even occasionally call my little brother. It has been a fairly easy transition, likely because there are very few obstacles of this ilk that I couldn’t have handled at the age of 14.

Still though, there are certain events in the life of a twenty-something that never fail to make me feel like a child. One such occurrence is finding a new apartment. I’m honestly appalled that I could be allowed to decide on a place to live without the approval of at least one other person. I would guess that having a child feels the same way.

On top of that little insecurity, I had possibly the least helpful agent at Apartment People “helping” me yesterday. They didn’t really have much in their listings that fit my criteria, which is fine. I know they get new apartments every day, and I’m still a little bit on the early side. Instead of politely suggesting some other neighborhoods I might think about and telling me to call back next week, he gave me a frown and a frustrated sigh, made a big production out of showing me a couple of places that he knew weren’t even close, and said, “I can’t find anything. I think your budget’s wrong. What do we do?”

I don’t know what we do, you jackass, but it might help if you had an iota of kindness or at least a working knowledge of the city to go on. I’ve been checking Craigslist and asking other people what they pay for months, so please don’t dismiss me with “there aren’t any apartments in the city like that.” I know you’re just an insensitive jerk who would give anything for a real job, but you make me feel like I have no business trying to be an adult. As a friend says, thanks for being not nice for no reason and ruining my day.

*also, to whoever wrote me about blogging on the golf site, I'd be happy to help you, but as you didn't leave an email address, I have no way to contact you. Leave me a comment with your email (no one else will see it if I don't publish it) and I'll write back.

27 August 2006

Concessions Revisited

Thanks for all of the comments, both public and not, on Oh, The Concessions We Make. They made me think a little more about it and I’ll be excited to hear your thoughts on part two:

I remember a lot of complaining in college that there was no middle ground between being essentially married and simply hooking up. I see the same problem here in the (semi-) real world. There’s an idea that someone who wants to and is able to really see you has the potential to be a spouse (or at least a long term relationship) while everyone else is “just for fun.”

That creates a huge problem for me, since I’m wholly uninterested in any kind of close relationship with someone who doesn’t have a clue who I am. That goes for friends as well as boyfriends—if I talk to you regularly, you can be sure it’s *your* company I want and not just company. I don't have much, if any, experience in long-term relationships, only in short ones where I'm fairly uncomfortable being with someone when I have a nagging feeling that he could have the same experience with any other girl on the street. I tend to read people fairly well, and I’m generally not willing to give the benefit of the doubt to someone I think isn’t trying.

That leaves a small window of time for the “getting to know you” part (and likely explains why I rarely date people longer than a month), but there have been people with whom I felt a very quick, very real connection, almost like we were transparent to each other. Right from the beginning, we had a baseline, a backbone to our relationship. Three were female and two were guys who were taken (and still are, as far as I know). One of those flamed out rather quickly (she wasn’t the person I thought she was, which brings up another list of questions, I suppose) and I only keep in regular contact with two out of the five, but I’ll recognize that connection when it happens again.

(For the record, I have had that kind of connection emerge later in a relationship, but the difference is that we weren't trying to force so much one-on-one time--or anything physical--in the meantime. It grew before we became close friends, which seems more natural to me.)

25 August 2006

I'm Hoping For Sons

There’s an article in the New York Times today about how fashion designers are starting to aim their advertisements at girls from 4-9 years old. Among the examples are a four year old getting a pedicure and a nine year old who says that Seven jeans are “pretty much the only ones she wears.” If this isn't a sign of the coming apocalypse...

It’s interesting that it comes up now, since I have the following story for contrast:

I’m pretty sure I saw someone I went to high school with on the train the other day. She would be hard to miss because she was born very premature and the bone structure in her face is a little off and very noticeable. She had some developmental delays too, from what I remember.

She didn’t recognize me, or maybe she didn’t see me, but she sat down across the aisle slightly in front of me on a middle-of-the-afternoon, empty brown line. I watched her look out the window for a few minutes and I started to feel gradually happier. Happy for her, that she looked healthy and was headed somewhere, and happy for me because I had one of those moments where everything seems a little more clear.

Suddenly, I see all of the ridiculousness surrounding appearance anxiety and body image (particularly for American women) for exactly what it is—ridiculous. It’s totally self-centered, ignorant even, to worry about having a certain look or to judge others accordingly. What if we could all be satisfied with being happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and supported by our families and friends? Can you imagine that world? I did for about one minute…

24 August 2006

Oh, The Concessions We Make

A friend's date tried to hold her hand after just two minutes of date #1 (sorry, hope you don't mind me stealing your story), and I think I've figured something out.

The reason the hand-holding bugs me (and I assume her) is because it just isn't legitimate. It's one thing if a guy grabs your hand in the middle of a flirty conversation at the end of the night, but if he does it two minutes in, it isn't you he's into--it's the idea of having a girlfriend (or the idea of having sex...). And maybe he'll eventually see you and want to be with you, but maybe he'll always be dating his fantasy of you or maybe he doesn't even care all that much what you're like.

And you know what? I have these doubts a lot. I'm continually suspicious, particularly with relatively young guys, that he honestly has no idea who I am and worse yet, that he doesn't really care. That the idea of me, a physical relationship, and the occasional funny joke is enough for him.

Now, of course if that's what you're looking for as well (namely, a nice enough, presentable, reasonably-enjoyable-in-bed guy to call your boyfriend), that would work out well. But I can never escape the feeling, sane or not, that I want a whole lot more than he does out of this, or any, relationship.

I hate to say it, but maybe this is just one of those differences between men and women. My mom often teases my dad that if he ever ran into her out of context--on a crowded street, in the airport, etc.--he wouldn't recognize her. And I can attest to the truth of that, having actually run into my dad on Michigan Ave. and had to literally step into his path to keep him from walking right past me. It was certainly a funny occurence (and I love and respect my dad tremendously), but just how abstract is that example?

Whether it's your boyfriend or your husband, does he really see you as you are? Do you really see him? How much does it matter?

20 August 2006

Yardstick Cupcakes

L. (new co-worker): Did someone say something about cupcakes? I make really good cupcakes.

E. (also co-worker): Really? Great. We were talking about the cupcake issue for K.'s baby shower.

Me: K. always makes the cupcakes for our baby showers, but now she's having the baby, so I guess we can't ask her to make her own cupcakes.

E: And she always decorates them all cute, with little baby faces--

Me: And pastel frosting!

"K. always makes the cupcakes for the baby showers"...
Isn't it weird how things can get normalized so quickly? We've had so many new babies in our office (5 out of 14 women in about a year and a half) that we now have a baby shower routine. Which nicely feeds into our other routine of having parties approximately every other day...

Disturbingly, or not, the rather frequent baby milestones at work are providing me with a telling yardstick for my maturity. The first two babies, born 18 months ago, were (and continue to be) very cute, but I couldn't really get too excited about them. What I felt was mostly 'it's neat that you made that, but I sure don't want one.' The next one, born nine months later. totally captivates me. I can't take my eyes off of him when he's around. I still can't really imagine having one soon, but hey, I used to think I didn't want children at all because of their unfortunate 0-6 years old stage. And now, I'm making sure someone's in charge of the pastel frosting for the baby shower cupcakes. Oh, how times (and working with nearly all women) have changed me.

Side Note: Can you email me if you wrote the comment about having the preemie veins?
Just so everyone knows, if you choose 'Other' as your identity when you make comments, you can leave just your first name (and just leave the 'web address' part blank).

18 August 2006

Top Three Annoyances of the Week

3. Car insurance
So, my auto insurance was up for renewal this month, and I finally got around to grabbing a quote online from Progressive--turns out I can save over $500 per year. Which is great, except silly me, I actually feel bad about leaving behind my AllState agent, who has been wonderful to my family for a number of years and is just generally an all-around nice guy. So I wrote this long, involved, apologetic goodbye email and then felt slightly better. I seem to have so much trouble with (even mild) confrontation with strangers, which is funny, since I have no problem when it's people I know well.

2. The cat, who made me eat my words the other day. I was at a co-worker's house--somehow, we bought a digital recorder that is not compatible with MACs, which is funny, since all of our computers are MACs--and she has two dogs. They're very sweet dogs and all, but as you may have previously read, I hate dogs. They're clingy, loud destroyers of important property. I was congratulating myself on the way home for owning the greatest pet known to mankind and then I walk in the door and my roommate is on his hands and knees cleaning up his rug. A certain furry friend likes to play with hair rubber bands and occasionally gets so excited that she eats them (which makes sense, since I occasionally get really excited and eat baseballs...). They are undigestible, of course, which necessitates the finding of the only non-hardwood floor area in the apartment and the subsequent unloading of foreign substances. If anyone sees a 'sorry my cat puked on your rug' card, pick it up for me, will you?

1. U.S. Cellular, who has decided to advertise the fact that their customers can now get cell service in the subway tunnels. My mornings on the red and/or blue lines will no longer lack that guy arguing with his girlfriend about who really gave her the clap. So, yeah, thanks for that.

15 August 2006

Sorry, Baseball Again

I've been to two Sox games in the past week, one a much-awaited 5-0 drubbing of the Tigers on Friday night, and the other a rather lackluster 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals (apparently it possible to lose to the Royals). The former I watched from the second row with my Tigers fan friend M., and the latter played out from the upper deck to the soundtrack of a bizarre combination of my baseball teammates and "somebody's church friends" (that's how they were introduced to me).

When did people decide that 'the Cell' (yeah, I bought in) was an extension of their living rooms? People are getting up six and seven times a game for ever more ridiculous kinds of food ("Kid, are you seriously trying to put dippin' dots on an elephant ear right now? I'm calling security."), chatting in the aisles in the middle of an inning when they should be taunting the opposing pitcher, and text messaging friends instead of noticing that 5 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball has come to an end. Even M. spent the top of the second chatting on his phone. I miss the time when your living room and the ballpark really were different.

Additionally, I sat next to a woman who said she'd been going to Sox games since the '60's and apparently ushers used to make you wait until the end of the half-inning to go back to your seat. What happened to that?!? I sure didn't buy tickets to have your butt obstruct my field of vision four times an hour!

A few of my baseball teammates are Cubs fans and came to "cheer against the Sox." Now, I hate hate hate the Cubs and whatever I might say in my living room, I know how to be appropriate at Wrigley Field and I appreciate good baseball for what it is. The Baby Bears don't play too much of it but when they do, I clap. In general, it worked out though, since by "cheer against the sox," they apparently meant drink beer while facing the other way and taking dozens of cell phone pictures.

None of this was helped by the fact that the girl who sang the national anthem said "whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous nights" and no one noticed! Like Krusty the Klown once said, should have taken those cue cards.

I hate to say it, but I think the national pastime has lost the magic. Where's Cal Ripken Jr. when you need him?

14 August 2006

Bush League

An interesting sports ethics question came up earlier this summer. Here's a link for the article:


but if you don't feel like reading, here's the gist. Romney Oaks, a ten-year-old from Utah, was found to have a brain tumor at age four. He survived, but treatment stunted his growth, left him with a shunt in his brain, and denied him the opportunity to play contact sports. He's allowed to play baseball if he wears a helmet in the field, which is exactly what he chooses to do. Almost needless to say, he's his team's worst player and has only managed two weak hits in 12 games. So with the championship game on the line and his team batting with two outs and the tying run on third base, Romney stands on deck with the best hitter on his team in the box. What does the opposing coach do? He instructs his pitcher to intentionally walk the best hitter to get to Romney, who predictably strikes out on three pitches to end the game.

At first I thought, what a jackass. An adult walks all over a cancer survivor to win a fifth grade championship, but then I started to have some doubts. After all, this guy's team worked hard to get there, and they deserve every chance to win. Did they treat this kid like every other player by employing sound baseball strategy--no one wants to face the best hitter if you don't have to--or did they teach these ten year olds to prey on the weakest animal? And when exactly does and/or should sports instruction switch from sportsmanship and all-around positive experiences to playing to win?

In the end, I'm swayed by the fact that it's an essentially watered-down league where everyone bats and there's a four run per inning maximum. In a league with rules like that, I think you shouldn't intentionally walk anyone, regardless of skill level and game significance. Touchy-feeliness aside, fifth grade sports are about making sure the kids have positive experiences and learn sportsmanship and fundamentals.

Part of me thinks I could just as easily make the other argument though.

Fire Signs, Take Your Mark

Though I was born August 1st, smack dab in the middle of the Leos, my original due date was September 6th. So now, every time I read anything having to do with astrology (which isn't that often...), I get all annoyed because I was obviously meant to be a rational, analytical, stable Virgo, not a boastful, center-of-attention Leo who "loves to entertain." Riiight.

But I recently told another handful of people about the blog and guess what? It turns out I'm a huge ham! Everyone's responses, questions, jokes, comments about the extras on the Moulin Rouge DVD, etc. make me so happy! It's like virtual college life (you know, when everyone's always on your bed, eating your peppermint patties, and wonderfully way too involved in every aspect of your daily existence)!

It's also an added motivation to keep writing, which is excellent. I was kind of worried for a while that I'd begin to feel like the subjects were limited, but then I realized (possibly while certain baseball teammates were telling me to keep my opinion to myself two weeks ago), when have I ever censored myself anyway? I don't know why I would start now.

So thanks a million for reading (and commenting/reacting) and if you have any inclincation towards writing, I highly recommend starting one of your own.

*As a side note, I guess this is officially public now. So despite the fact that basically everyone who has a remote chance of being interested and can read English is already privy, feel free to tell whomever you (or I) like.

13 August 2006

West Fest

So we're walking to West Fest (street fest just like every other street fest except this one is in hipster/yuppie--yes, it's possible--West Town) and J., who I guess could only realistically be described as my boyfriend at this point, just went to a wedding of a college roommate. So we're talking about weddings and I mention some friends of mine who are getting married and how though I think they're young, they've been living together in the "real world" for a while, so they kind of have a head start. And just as I'm about to say, "I can't imagine getting married without living with someone first", he blurts out "I would never live with a girlfriend before marriage."

And honestly, I suppose this doesn't matter, because I don't want to marry him. But it did make me turn and look him straight in the eye.

So it turns out his sister basically spent the summer doing missionary work and I seem to have found myself another guilty (if very confident in who he is) Catholic. Which is fine I guess, but not being religious myself, I can't understand how people can pick and choose like that.

That said, we had a great time at West Fest, good conversation, a nice little stop in the courtyard at that amazing Ukranian church on Superior (where there was actually a wedding going on, believe it or not) and an amazing chocolate malt. Mmm...malts.