Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lesson #6: Not everyone had a Red Ryder.

I remember my cousin's eighth birthday. As the only boy in the bunch, he always got different toys from me and my sister. Better toys. He had the Batman cape, the Legos, and on that birthday, the Red Ryder BB gun! I was sooooo jealous of his BB gun, I got one myself when my birthday came around. If I hadn't made such a fuss though, it surely would've been another Tweety-filled holiday.

I come from a family that gives the boys G.I. Joes and the girls Barbies, that doesn't drink or smoke, that goes to church several times a week, and that might not be aware that the South didn't actually win the war. Although not every family member fits this mold, I can introduce you to quite a few who do. And it's how I grew up.

This may be a given, in fact this is a given, but not every family is like that. It's almost easy to forget, but it's important to remember. I was reminded on a recent road trip.

My roommate and I drove through Florida, visiting his family and staying with friends. We spent a lot of time together in the car and talked about everything under the sun. One thing that really resonated with me, though, was something he said about families and our differences: you don't really know what people's lives were like for the first 18 years when you meet them for the first time in college.

In undergrad we don't have the luxury of seeing each others' roots. So when that roommate of yours is absolutely driving you up the wall... Well, chances are their family functioned in a totally different way from yours. And that's kind of awesome.

Matt's family was a perfect example. His parents, liberal hippies that have Grateful Dead memoribilia around the house, were so different! They taught Matt his multiples with a drinking game. He wasn't allowed to play with guns (no Red Ryder for that house!). His Dad even nicknamed me "Herpes Girl" after a few hours (and a story, of course), something my Dad would never dream of doing. I absolutely adored them.

Yeah, our backgrounds are different, but that makes life so fun! I love getting to know other families and their priorities, habits, and dynamics. I feel like I can then understand my friends on a new level. I also realize what I love about my own family and what I want to do better with them. Basically, it's a win-win realization and experience.

Thoughtfully yours,
Herpes Girl

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Life Lesson #5: Don't pick up strangers.

In fact, I think it's best not to touch them altogether. But, I may be a prude.

I feel like I could devote an entire blog (and trust me, I've really thought about it) on guys. More so, their stupid antics they actually think are a good idea while in pursuit of the nearest/cutest girl. Yes boys, I'm looking at you.

Today's winner was named Richard, I believe, and picked the same pool as me to soak up some early afternoon rays.

It all started off innocent enough. My roommate and I were laying off the edge of the pool, explaining our personal theories on love and relationships/dating. Soon, all too soon, we're joined by Richard, who was in search of a partner for chicken fight. I, being a horrible friend and roommate, give the best sales pitch I can for my dear roomie. Don't worry, the karma came around all too quickly.

She's a peach and plays along, meekly going a round with a stranger and eventually switching to bottom position for Richard to take over on top. As soon as she's freed from the game she jumps out to lay on her chair. It's much safer on land.

So there I am, laying on my own, minding my own business. Apparently that made me the next target.

After turning down offers to join the strange boys in conversation, one picks me up and brings me over. I'm not kidding.

So... at what point in his life did this work? What's worse, these guys start pulling out these cheesy lines. I look to Emily for assistance while she soaks up the fact that she actually got off easy.

I may be the size of your backpack when you were in fifth grade, but my portability should not be put into use by perfect strangers. It will not lead to a date. It won't even lead to a last name and potential facebook friend. Yeah, that's right, I said it!

So guys (and socially awkward girls), my advice is this: while sweeping a girl off her feet is easiest done in its literal sense, this will not likely lead to the sappy kind. That "air of mystery" isn't complete crock. Try it sometime.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Life Lesson #4: Badasses have more fun.

I must admit, I feel a slight swell of accomplishment when I put on my tennis shoes. I was slightly upstaged this weekend when my fantastically fit roommate decided to do her first triathlon, which she completed with a smile.

Emily's Top Gun Triathlon was in Ft. Desoto on Saturday. As the loyal number one fans that we are, Charlie and I drove down on Friday to cheer her on.

What was supposed to be a pretty chill road trip turned into a bit of an adventure. Originally, we planned on staying with my friend in Tampa, then driving out to the fort in the morning to cheer Em on. Well, we were just too close to the beach to not go on Friday, so we made a beeline for the shore. We realized that we were extremely close to the race, so instead of backtracking and going to Tampa for the night, I made the wise decision to rough it for the night. Worst decision of my life.

Charlie's snoring, which could rival the cheers on a game day, was the least of my problems. The bugs LOVED me. I suddenly suspected the nearby fishermen were just biding their time until we fell asleep so they could cut us into a million peices. We probably slept a couple of hours at best. Luckily, our 6 a.m. wake-up call came quickly.

We trekked over to the race, beating the sun up. Somehow we miraculously ran into Emily and Jenna before everything got started. We saw them at four different points throughout the race and were definitely there to watch the triumphant crossing at the finish line. They're so hardcore.

I think people earn the most cool points when they do something completely outside the typical. My Dad, for example, the coolest guy around, did a stand-up comedy routine a few weeks ago. Emily joined the ranks by doing more activity most people do in a year before 9 a.m. yesterday morning. It gives me a good push to plan my next crazy goal.