Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hey, it smells like my birthday!

This morning while I was in the shower, squeezing out the sweet action Tressemme conditioner that Lauran recommended (it really DOES make my hair smooth and silky, thanks Lauran!) I realized that it smelled like my birthday. Not my birthday every year, but a specific birthday, around when I was six and I got that doll that had ink stamps in her boots and pink iridescent stickers in her hair bow (there's nothing like hair bow iridescence that makes a six year old "want that").

I have a theory about birthdays and smell. Most of my theories revolve around smell, and if you've read my blog at all, you have a pretty good idea why. But my theory is that on our birthday, especially as kids, things are just...different. It is not a usual day to us. It's like the Tressemme shampoo system compared to every other Pert Plus day. Everything is somewhat magical and every sense is heightened. It's like we know that at 12:01 the magic will die off and we'll be left with only the memory and it's all we can do to make sure that memory is as absolutely poignant as it possibly can be. So we remember the smell. It's like new toy mixed with ice cream cake, mixed with the smell of a freshly vacuumed carpet because mom was afraid of what the other kids would tell their parents about the way we lived.

But anyway, the conditioner smelled like my birthday. For two seconds I got to relive a magical day...And then I rubbed it around my head and rinsed it off and it ended. Oh well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

People are not always what you expect them to be...

Journaled 6/21

There was a man at the gas station. There were several, but this one fit a mold. He got out of his rusty teal pickup and went inside, limping. He was wearing a blue t-shirt. It was greasy with hard labor and had a full pocket over the left breast. His hair was shaggy and his beard was cut from the same mold. He wore dust like it was his friend. He came out and yanked a bag of ice out of the outdoor freezer. He hauled it to his truck, opened the tail and smacked it against the truck bed four or five times. After securing his ice, for who knows what purpose, he started unwrapping something. It was a chocolate ice cream bar. He threw away the wrapper and drove off in his truck with his seperated ice bag and his ice cream.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The End

You're on the second to last page. There's a whole book in your left hand and in your right hand: one sheet and a flap of chip board. You've gotten this far. And you can already tell how it's going to end but there's nothing, absolutely fire alarm, no Panera buzzer, no phone call that's going to keep you from finishing. It's not going to be pretty, you can tell by the way the rest of the Joads haven't re-surfaced and the way the family's still wandering around. You know 1.5 pages won't heal the world.

But then you finish. Carefully, gently, you let the one loose page join the rest of its family and you tuck them all back in. You close the book. It ended kind of the way you were afraid it would...yet it was so much more. You can't move. You can't breathe. But you can't help but smiling. Your life will never be the same.

And for the rest of your life that book will be on your top five. You will sing its praises in the streets. You'll buy the t-shirt. You'll nail together a soapbox, ready to whip it out if anyone...I mean anyone DARES to slander the name of the book, the story that has become a part of your life, wedged between strands of DNA that make up who you are.

Where are all the books like this? These are the books I want to read. These are the movies I want to watch. These are the stories I want to find. This is the story I want to write.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It has come to my attention that I am boring.

Perhaps I should have realized this earlier given my all-too-usual response to requests to hang out. That would be "No" in case you were wondering. It would seem that I should be concerned about this rare phenomenon in a person my age. I think it did bother me somewhere toward the end of my college career but then I got over it.

Surprise time. I actually quite enjoy being boring. Not to say I don't enjoy my friends and spending time with them. I don't think I would enjoy being a hermit all the time. But I am saying that I can't deny that empty boxes on my social calendar makes me happier than the alternative. And most of my friends seem to feel the same way. Take for example, Laura and I last summer in the apartment. A good day was looking for cheap furniture at the thrift store and spending the rest of the day watching whole SEASONS of Bones. But Laura was even more adventurous than I.

Maybe it's because I spent most of college sitting on my bed doing homework and reading. People always click their tongues in disgust or apologize at my cruel lot when I tell them about that. But, surprise again...I enjoyed it.

I think it comes down to the fact that God makes people differently. Most red-blooded humanoids would find my existence mundane and comparable to prison-life. Well, Shawshank, here I come. God made me this way, and I can't help it.

Disclaimer: by no means do I live my life in a way that resembles Shawshank. Whittling chess pieces out of stones you find in the fenced yard may be an interesting and invigorating hobby, but I'll stick to reading and studying monarch butterflies in the safety of my own home.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I feel Funny.

Three and a half hours on the road. And now we're off. And I'm sitting at my desk and the familiarity of the internet is strangely (and somewhat shamefully) comforting. And I think it's due to the fact that for the past two hours I've been reading "Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz. Before that I finished the last chapter of "The Call of the Wild" by London. Yes! I found a Dover thrift edition in the book store in Lancaster. For months I've been in agony over the ending of the book because I listened to the audio book from and the world's most annoying audio-book reader decided she'd sign on for the last chapter. It was awful. I couldn't listen. So, finally Buck's story has reached a close in my heart.

And I'm excited for when I can say the same about Odd Thomas. I definitely get very into what I read. And this book is just straaange. I appreciate the style it's written in. I like that on-the-nose writing that Koontz works in. But man...give it the first chapter and you'll realize what I'm talking about. I think I'm going to have to watch a few episodes of Spongebob to wash this one off for tonight. It's not one of those books you'd stay up until three reading just to find out what happens. I mean, the story and style are addicting enough, but I really don't want my dreams tainted with the "odd"ities that this book entails. It's a daytime reader.

I finally got John Green and David Levithan's new book.

I completely intended to use this blog post to update you on the incredible dining experience I had on the way home from Lancaster. But this post is already lengthening ominously and I suppose I'll have to sum it up quick.

Starving was the key word for the three of us in the car. The Australian guy on the GPS decided to lead us into tarnation and away from all potential eateries that merited more than half a star. Being the adventurous travelers that we are, we bypassed the shady places and headed for clearer water. But we paid dearly for it in hours. And then, smack dab in the middle of eternity was this little brick diner. And there were only a few cars, which normally would indicate a low popularity, but for some reason (as was indicated by the squeal of the tires as we spun on a dime into the parking lot) we knew this place had class.

And boy did it ever. I'm talkin' booth seating, REAL plants in the window sills, cinnamon butter for the rolls, the fact that there were complimentary rolls at all, fast service, good food all topped of with peanut butter cake. Not to mention the clean state of the bathrooms (see previous post for significance) and the way the radio seemed to play all of my favorites from the 90s and my childhood that I had forgotten existed.

It all reminded me of just the way our God is. We were starving and so I imagine a less than stellar serving experience would've suited us just fine. But in the middle of nowhere we found our Ritz when we weren't even trying.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Everyone's got a Bathroom or Two

We're in Lancaster and so far one of the most poignant experiences (not counting seeing Rebekah!!!) I've had was the bathroom at the gas station. I requested a pause from the driving for obvious reasons. And then I continued reading my magazine until the car stopped. bad idea. When I looked up, I was face to face with the one door. The one door with both genders represented with a paper and sharpie sign below that reads: "knock. if no sound, pull door hard." It was then I knew bad things were in store.

 There's something poetic about bathrooms. I mean, bathrooms are really revelatory of culture, I think. Even the nice ones. But the bad ones are the best. Yeah, I would have to say I'm kind of a bathroom connoisseur and I don't think many other people are bathroom aficionados. But I am.

Anyway, this bathroom was idyllic. For a bathroom aficionado. You know what I'm talking about, white tile on the walls, green-grey rotted grout around the tile, yellowed sagging ceiling tiles...the floor was sticky grey concrete. The soap dispenser was broken and there was a jar of liquid soap on the counter. Yeah...and it was empty. The bottle straw was laying on the sink. That part I wasn't very excited about...especially when I realized I was fresh out of hand sanitizer.

But then there was the illegible writing, and the not-so illegible writing...the writing I would have preferred being illegible. But these are the bathrooms you read about in books. They're the ones that everyone thinks of when they think of "road trip bathrooms."

And I think that's what I like about writing. There are experiences that are universal to all of us. We all know what it's like to smell the first mown grass. Everyone has fought down rudeness on the phone with a telemarketer. And everyone has been inside a bathroom they would rather have avoided. Conversely, everyone has been in a bathroom that made them feel like they were at home instead of at Cracker Barrel.

As a writer, these are the things we try to expose to the public so that everyone can enjoy. Well, I don't know if "enjoy" is the right word, given the bathroom situation.