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Clouds to Lauren: "I will kill you, sucker!" Illistration from http://school.discoveryeducation.com

The other day I got caught out in a rainstorm. No, let me correct that. I got caught in the middle of a monsoon. I could feel the static tingle on my skin and each flash of lightning momentarily blinded me. I don’t think I’ve ever actually felt the heat of lightning before; I don’t think you’re supposed to actually, but I have now. Within seconds, I was soaked through my clothes and my shoes pooled with water. Then another flash, and there I was in the middle of the street, over a mile from home. I always thought my death would have been something more glamorous than “struck by lightning and then drowned in a puddle” but alas, it looked like my fate.

After 20 minutes of breathing water, I was done. I was glad I hadn’t finished my homework yet; it would have been such a waste to spend the last moments of my life contemplating classical philosophy. Then like a gleam of light in the distance, I heard the sweetest sound that has ever met my ears, “Hey, you want to come up on the porch and wait out the storm?” Handing me a towel, a group of wannabe storm watchers introduced themselves. They offered me a beer (which I politely declined) and showed me the storm tracking on their phone. I played with their dogs until the rain ended and realized at some point, I’d lost my headphones to the storm.

Walking home with my soaked clothes clinging to my skin, I got three honks, four waves, and single head nod. When I walked into my house, a pool of water collected around me. I poured the water from my sneakers and stepped into the most glorious shower the world has ever known and said a little thank you for the random kindness of strangers.

Trip Home Highlights

This past weekend, I finally did it. It was a difficult choice, but I knew there was no way around it. I went home to visit my parents. While my once a month visits in college seemed like more than enough for all of us, my parents now treat me like a first-born son coming back from war after three years as a POW. In every conversation, my parents made a point to tell me how glad they were I was home. When I told them I needed to leave early get some class work done, my father’s disheartened look was enough for me to realize an early departure would only leave me feeling guilty the entire trip back.

Trip Highlights:

Mom: Is it okay if we just put a mattress on the floor for you?
Me: I can just sleep on the floor in the living room like before.
Mom: You said you didn’t lke that so we put the bed together last time.
Me: Dad did that without you knowing. You told me to sleep on the floor.
Mom: Oh, like I never do anything for you.
Me: It’s only one night… I need to go back early to get school work done.
Mom: Oh, be quiet. You’re staying two nights. We’ll make up the mattress.

 

 

Mom: You have no ass. Your pants are sagging.”
Me: “Do you think I need a smaller size?”
Mom: Examining me and grabbing my thigh, “Not with those things.”

 

Sister: In Boston, after a group of girls cut in line to be with their friends. “People have got no manners. It’s not okay.” Then proceeded to try to knock them down on the dance floor with limited success.

 

Me: Mouth full of chocolate chip pancake.
Mom: “Are you eating down there? I’m afraid you’re not eating. Are you anorexic?”
Me: Still chewing… “I just had four pancakes…”

 

Mom: “Lauren has the best nose of all of us; your father has the worst.”
Sister: “Lauren’s nose is better than mine?”
Mom: “No, no. That’s not what I meant.”
Sister: “How is her nose better than mine? Her nose is smaller than mine?”
Mom: “No, your nose is smaller… They’re both very nice noses.”
Sister: “I can’t believe you said her nose was nicer than mine…”

 

Mom: “Older men love young girls. They can’t help it.”
Dad: Rolls his eyes at mom.
Sister: “Dad hates you.”

 

Me: “I forgot to buy soup and shaving gel…”
Dad: “Do you want my shave gel?”
Me: “I’m all set; I’ll stop by CVS.”
Mom: “Make a list; we’ll come down next weekend.”
Me: “You’re not coming down next weekend.”
Me: “Wait, are you coming down next weekend?”
Dad: “Your mom just wants to go to the beach; it has nothing to do with you.”

Get Warped, Nana

You know that saying that kids say, "If it's too loud, you're too old"? Yeah, I'm officially too old. Picture from farm3.static.flickr.com

This past week, I dragged SLJ to the Warped Tour, because it really just isn’t summer until you’ve spent nine  hours in the blazing sun surrounded by a cornucopia of shirtless, sweaty high-school boys rocking out to punk covers of Taylor Swift songs. Yes, a cornucopia of them.

Before going, I had already come to the realization that I was too old for this. While guys seem to attend Warped Tour well into their late 20s (and a few well into their 40s), the average girl looked to be about 15. But the moment I really knew I was too old was when I looked into the mosh pit and thought, ‘oh holy heck I am not going in there.’ I used to thrash with the best of them, taking shoes to the head and getting hit in the face, and just completely rock out drenched in other people’s sweat. And sick as it sounds, I lived for it; it was my favorite part of going to the show. But then this week, I looked into that rolling glob of people, so hot that you can feel the humidity come of the mass, and thought, ‘yeah, no, I’m good over here by the seats, thanks.’

Then SLJ and I looked at each other, and as if only to confirm that we were both getting a little too old, we looked at the speakers, then back at one another and agreed that it was just a little too loud.

And that was it. There are moments when you realized you’ve changed, that you are no longer the person you once were. At that moment, it was clear, I am getting old. I already knit, have poor eyesight and terrible hearing, and bruise like a peach. I’m like a 22-year-old grandma.

My parents are holding my phone hostage until I come home. Maybe next time I call, I'll tell them I don't negotiate with terrorists. Probably won't land well.

My parents are withholding my new cell phone until I visit them (or I make time for them to visit me). They didn’t flat out tell me that was the plan, but when they told me they’d send it to me and suddenly changed their minds (twice) I realized what they were doing…

In college, I called my parents once a week and went home usually one weekend a month. But that was when I had three days of classes a week and a part-time job only two nights a week. Now I’m pumping out over 60 hours at work a week (over 70 this week), and taking almost a full semester of classes. I used to have three-day-weekend every week, now I’m working up to14 days in a row without a break and coming home late at night to a pile of homework for grad school. And as much as I wish I could, I just can’t be in two places at once.

I think my parents think I’m lying when I tell them I literally use up twenty hours a day, sleep for four, and start all over again every day of the week. I suppose I could take those four hours designated for sleep and make the 1 ½ hour trip home, chat for an hour while they tell me I should call more often and how much my grandparents miss me and how I don’t see them enough, and then make the 1 ½ trip back just in time for work. Of course this meeting would have to take place at 3 in the morning…

With my friends living back home, I know my parents are infinity jealous of their parents (my mother has actually told me in not so many words that she is). So until I make it back to collect my hostage phone and explain to my parents I wish I were able to be home more often, I’m stuck with a four year old flip phone that freezes up when I send more than 10 texts in an hour and a guilt trip from my mother that will last me until next Christmas…

Lucky

So it’s been a long running joke in my family that I’m blessed with amazingly good fortune (I don’t necessarily think this is true…). Funnily enough, many of the people I know happen to be amazingly unfortunate (like when SLJ won a ticket for the front row of Rent, but had to trade it in and buy a much more expensive ticket because she was the last name drawn and while everyone else got a pair of tickets, she got a single… or KT, who twisted her ankle on a tour of Europe and had to hike around a camp all summer on the twist when she got back home… Or AP, whose amazing misfortune involves so much of her life that she actually lost her wallet twice in one week, after having her ID and debit card replaced, and it still wasn’t such a bad week for her).

In my life, I got my first car for free from a family friend who I hadn’t seen since elementary school, found $30 bucks while looking for a place to grab lunch in Boston, landed a work-study job my freshman year of college even though I didn’t qualify for it (thank you poor oversight at the financial aid department), passed high school physics with a B- in spite of the fact my test average was in the 40s (although the class average was probably not much better), convinced my landlord to drop my rent by $400 a month, and hold two jobs in the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Lucky.

And the other day, I may have managed the pinnacle of my luckiness. I found a penny heads up; three days later I won tickets to the Warped Tour (yes, I am too old to be going to Warped. But I’m told I look 16 still, so I think it’ll be okay). But that’s really not the part that matters; the part that matters is that I won a jump the line pass for The Rocket Summer. Remember back to the post “The Teeny Bopper Inside” where I admitted that I continue to have a middle-school crush on Bryce Avary so pathetic that my heart actually skips a beat when I see him (it’s actually quite physically painful). Now I get dibs on meeting him first after he plays his set. Lucky.

The unlucky part? Ever since I found out I won, I’ve had “Lucky” by Britney Spears stuck in my head. But I actually really like that song… Lucky?

The trade-off: new dresses means cereal for dinner for the next 2 weeks. I still say it's worth it... Image from http://www.displayfakefoods.com

“So wait, you can’t buy a 50 cent candy bar but you can buy a rack of dresses every week?” SLJ was judging me. Perhaps taking my allotted grocery fund for the month and putting into a few new wardrobe items wasn’t the greatest idea, but there is something undeniably gratifying about new clothes that canned soup and yogurt just can’t compare. I do recognize that unlike living without food, I can survive without that glass bead necklace from that boutique downtown, but what would the quality of a life like that be? I justified my decision to SLJ by telling her that I need to wear dresses and jewelry for my job, and therefore it is a career investment. Then again, I could probably quit my job and quit shopping, and still breakeven in the end…

It’s not that I buy particularly expensive things. Any designer brand in my closet came off a clearance rack or from a discount retailer (embrace the inner Maxxinista). And when it comes to the groceries, a bowl of cereal is a perfectly adequate dinner, and averaging $4.00 a box, I have a week’s worth of dinners for about 50 cents a meal (even McDonald’s can’t beat that).

SLJ will roll her eyes at this post. But I figure for at least two years of our college career, my roommates and I survived on nothing but toast, pasta, ice cream, and cereal (with the occasional pizza thrown in when we wanted to splurge) and we all managed to make it through just fine. Now I still eat like a poor college kid, I’m just better dressed.

A key sign that a date is going to be awkward: You both come wearing brown paper bags over your faces. Picture from http://dreamsotherwisebroken.files.wordpress.com.

On  July 3rd at 11:54 P.M. I received a text from a boy I’d met in early May; we’ll call him Harold. Harold called and texted me a few times a week for about a month in spite of that fact that I only answered his stories and questions with “mhm” and “yeah.” And when he finally asked me to hang out, I told him I was pretty much busy forever, but I’d look at my schedule. When Harold finally texted me again to see if I looked at my schedule, I pulled out a coward move and just didn’t answer him. If I were a noble person, I would have just told him “thank you, but I’m not interested,” but I am a coward and when he stopped calling and texting, I figured he got the point… until the other night that it is.  I chalked up the late night text to a drunken mistake and wrote it off. So when he called me on July 5th to talk about his job and his holiday weekend, I was confused. I mean, it’s been two months… I said I was busy forever. So now, I am an awkward situation where I think I might need to tell this very nice young man that I am just not that into him. Maybe he’ll just read this blog post…

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