Thursday, April 27, 2006

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Well, my friends, I'm getting more committed to the idea of shaking things up in my life. The lease at my apartment runs out in the middle of July and I'm faced with a couple options. If I want to make a BIG change, there's always moving out state, and that's not a horrible option. If I stay in Utah, I think I'm going to try to move to Midgetville.

Maybe I'm on the verge of what John Mayer calls a quarter-life crisis or something--making all these life-changing decisions and what not. For example, do I really want to go into the Foreign Service? Right now it sounds like a very good idea, but there's no guarantee that a) I even passed the exam and b) that I'll still feel this way a few months from now.

And I think its funny that the reasons for leaving are all at once the same reasons for staying. For example, sometimes I get a little worried because I think I ought to meet new people. BUT I hate the idea of leaving the good friends I have already. And what's more, it seems like the Utah set "gets" me a little more than folks elsewhere. Evidence: The other day I got this cryptic email from Chevron (who I still adore in a non-stalking way) apologizing for the behavior of some of his coworkers. Now, I didn't notice them being particularly rude (maybe I'm oblivious, maybe I'm hardened, I don't know) but I'm just kind of assuming they were having a laugh at my expense. Well, no biggie. As someone who carried a briefcase during the fifth and sixth grade, I'm kind used to it. But with very few exceptions, folks here seem ok with me being who I am.

And the other night I had kind of a nice experience reinforcing this, as well as leading to greater understanding: I went to a housewarming party for a fella I know through work. I went with a couple of gal pals from the office (note to self: why wasn't I hanging out with these girls socially ages ago? We had a blast!), and it was seriously fun. Was it a loud, boisterous event? Not unless you count our friend's 5-year-old niece demonstrating her myriad gymnastics talents. No, what made this nice was the epiphany I had while I was there. All the people I was hanging out with (aside from the charming 5-year-old) were these smart, attractive, successful, single Mormon people. It was such an awakening to know that they still exist, and that not all the people I know fall into that category of "single for a reason." For my friends not familiar with the LDS culture, if you are 25 and not married (a category I'll fall into in less than three weeks), you're a straggler or a slacker. Heaven forbid you hit the big 3-0 without a spouse. It's a little silly, I know, but I can't help but feel weird about it.

On the one hand, I'm perfectly content as a singleton. I LOVE living on my own, having my own place and all the benefits that go with it. I decorate the way I want. I watch what I want on TV. I don't have to stock the fridge with anything but whole-grain, high-fiber, and low-fat stuff, and I don't have to worry about anyone else feeling deprived. Of course, it's more than that. More often than not I'll opt for an evening of crocheting or reading or painting a trash can or taking a walk over being with people. This individuality and independence may be the biggest hurdle keeping me from meeting somebody great, but I choose to believe that if the right dude came along I'd be ready to give up the single life.

Then again, I may be the worlds most dense girl, and it could possibly take that ton of bricks falling to get me to notice if someone's interested. Recently, I had an opportunity to go out with this guy, but I didn't really recognize it until it was too late. Sad, but true. Basically it's only a matter of time before I start going to my siblings weddings and having everyone yell at the bride tossing her bouquet, "Aim for Rachel! She needs all the help she can get!"

Anyway, I think all this just amounts to random rambling. I'm healthy, I'm happy. It's Thursday. Things are copasetic.
PS. I just want to add that I like drummers. They're multi-taskers.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Love Story

Ahh, young love. This morning I was privy to a lovely courting ritual on TRAX, which I'm happy to share with all of you.

Picture it--8:30 a.m. in Salt Lake City. Business people commuting to their downtown, workaday lives. And who should board the train but two very young teenagers (probably 15, if even that old), both with THICK southern accents. Are they brother and sister? No, but they are the picture of young, trashy TRAX love.

Let me describe them. The girls name is Alyssa. She wears short shorts, a pink, terry-cloth hoodie, and a wife beater with a lovely (not) lime green bra peeking out. She has greasy blond hair and garish pink eye shadow that makes her look like a dead body.

Alyssas shoddy companion is PJ. Peej (as I've decided to call him) is snaggle-toothed and super skinny. His clothes are huge--the blue sweatshirt hes wearing could fit at least another two PJs. At this point in my commute, I'm struck that they really ought to be in school at the moment, and I can't figure out where they might be headed. Fortunately, they speak so loudly that I'm able to understand each word, despite the insane accents.

First, Alyssa complains because the sun is in her face. Peej tries to act as a gentleman (though the attempt is more weird than chivalrous) and stands up in front of his seat to block the Eastern sunlight brightening the shiny face of his beloved.

Alyssa doesnt seem impressed, and tells him to sit down. Obviously graciousness is not the way to win her heart, so Peej tries to up the nonexistent sexual tension by taking a page out of "Cutting Edge" and employ some competition. Their conversation:

PJ: Ya got any games on yer phone?
Alyssa: Oh, yeah. Something 21, Tetris
PJ: Hey, I got an idea. You play Tetris and then let me play and well see who gets the best score.
Alyssa: OK. But I gotta warn you, I'm great at this game.

About a minute passes.

Alyssa: Well, that's it. I got a 612.
PJ: That's all? Yer going down!

Two minutes pass.

PJ: Here, ya can have yer game back. I'm not even done playing, but I already got 1100.
Alyssa: Wow, how didya do that?
PJ: Well, ya suck.
Alyssa: Nu-uh. I used to be really good. I used to play on my mom's little phone all the time.
PJ: Duh, Tetris is a skill ya either have or ya don't. I used to play it all the time on Nintendo 64 and that was forever ago. Ya clearly do not have the skill.
Alyssa: Oh.

Of course, it seems PJ now realizes that pointing out Alyssa's lack of skills didn't get him anywhere, so he moves on to ogling her and making comments about her legs.

PJ: Ya sure have some hairy lower thighs!

Is he kidding? Poor Alyssa, who granted is not the sharpest tack in the bulletin board, tries to deflect the criticism by putting her legs up on the seat (and kicking me in the process) to talk about her recently lotioned-up gams.

Alyssa: My legs are greasy.


PJ: Holy cow! I can see the grease on yer legs!

Can someone please tell these kids to take a bath--or at least Alyssa. It appears PJ still would do well to take a cold shower.

PJ: Ya only have two scars on yer legs.

Um, hello! Peej, can't you talk about something else? Fortunately, he then tries to show Alyssa how popular and studious he is by borrowing her cell phone and calling one of his friends.

PJ: Hey Goat. Wake your ass up and meet me at the library.

WHAT? They're going to the library? Peej can read? Poor Alyssa keeps saying that she wants to get a job at McDonalds but can't seem to remember to pick up an application.

Peej proceeds to tell Alyssa about his close circle of friends, including Goat, Sloth, and a guy named Geoffrey Jackson who goes by Goja. Its some weird Halo reference, but at least I can gather he's cultured enough to not limit himself to Tetris.

Along with all his foul language to prove his machismo, Peej covers all his bases by showing off his sensitive side.
PJ: One time I bawled because I cut my foot open on a broken beer bottle in my yard. I was running out in my underwear because my sister had stolen my shirt.

Um, Peej, here's a hint. You don't have the kind of body that will inspire any degree of lust in any woman--greasy or not--picturing you naked.

To cap off his case for getting some booty later, PJ goes back to his strongest point--and any girls weakness--his all around, bad boy persona.

PJ: I wish today was my birthday.
Alyssa: Happy Birthday.
PJ: No, I WISH today was my birthday.
Alyssa: Oh.
PJ: Don't you wanna know why?
Alyssa: Why?
PJ: Because today is 4/20.
Alyssa: Oh, yeah.

Alyssa clearly does not recognize the significance of such a day.

PJ: I mean, think about it. Your friends would all bring you CAKE.
Alyssa: Yeah.

Still not getting it.

PJ: I love that kind of cake. Hey, I wonder if it's possible to put alcohol in cake. Like, instead of water, you could use vodka.
Alyssa: Or milk.

Poor, clueless girl. Still, maybe when they get off probation, they may be a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Some folks I admire

Something interesting happened at my company today. Without saying too much, the President of the company gave everyone a severe talking-to because of some crazy stuff going on with a few of the people who work here. It was a little shocking that such behavior would happen at our office, but it was mostly inspiring to see the president stand up for something vitally important (not that she doesnt all the time, but this was a particularly moving moment). Afterwards, I was talking to this GREAT lady I work with, Bettyanne, and listened to her take on the situation. It really made me appreciate both women very much. I couldnt help thinking how beautiful and powerful they looked. Theres something wonderful and moving about a woman standing up for truth and goodness.

Additionally, the last few days have afforded me many opportunities to appreciate the good people in my life. Oh, there are the usual suspectsmy parents, my brother, my sister. Id be nowhere without them. But I just feel extraordinarily blessed to have an additional network of friends who buoy me up and are there to lift up the hands that hang down.

Specifically, Im grateful for my friend Mike. Hes such a positive, brave, and kind person. Spending time with him makes me feel like Im recharging my batteries. Then there are my friends Melissa and Casey, who are always kind enough to listen to my stories and draw me into innocuous mischief. Without them, Id sit at home crocheting every night. Similarly, I have my friend Sokphal who is simply an inspiration. No one travels more, no one dreams bigger, no one takes the world by storm quite like this girl. And Reuben, if you see thisyou treated me like someone important when I didnt feel I was. Seanwho else would be kind enough to write me sonnets when Im nervous about going out with someone?

Clearly, I couldnt begin to tell everyone I know why I love them. Just know that I do, and I appreciate you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Just Like Everybody Else Does

OK, I just realized something the other day: The next time I'm at the Today Show (being interviewed this time, of course) its probably going to be old, wrinkled Meredith Vieira interviewing me (we could hope for Matt Lauer, but that might be asking too much). Oh well. Depending on what it is that I do to get myself on the Today Show, I may very well be talking to other media congloms as well, so it'll work out, I'm sure.

For those of you keeping score and keeping up, I took the Foreign Service exam this weekend, and it went really well. Who would have thought that a 6-hour exam could be so enjoyable? Dont worry--there was PLENTY I didn't know, and I'm pretty sure the State Department isn't going to be pounding at my door anytime soon, but you never know. Maybe I'll become a diplomat after all.

In the mean time, I'm dealing with a pretty severe case of Spring Fever. I find myself acting with new abandon in regards to my interactions with the fellas. Na przyklad: The other day I was talking to my little friend Travis (sorry, Trav--you are clearly not diminutive, and you've made it abundantly clear that youve dated girls older than me--I promise its a term of affection). Little Travis recently buzzed his head and all his crazy-beautiful curly hair appears to be gone for the summer. But as all the ladies who know Little Travis will attest, the boy can do no wrong--he looks simply amazing no matter what (and if you are reading this, Travis, please don't let it go to your head). Well, of course being Rachel and having zero filtering capabilities, I expressed this very opinion to dear Lil T. Knowing me as well as he does, he took it in stride, and I appreciate it. But a girl can't just let stuff like that fly out of her mouth like that, right?

Chevron as well has been *lucky* enough to listen to my musings. Don't ask me why I feel compelled to hang out at gas stations when I go to fill up, but you learn so many great things spending time in convenience stores. Like if your credit card won't read on the machine, you can put it in a plastic bag, and somehow that does the trick. Or if you look mean enough, you don't get carded. Or that cigarettes are rather expensive, even if they cost only half what they are ringing up for--smoking is an expensive habit. Or that the sandwiches and hot dogs are supposed to be thrown away periodically. Or that if you make friends with the guy who works behind the counter, he'll offer you hot chocolate (because you've spilled it all over yourself) or doughnuts (because he's nice, or because they are old and nasty--I'm not sure on that one). I like that Chevron, though, because he counts himself among the racy population. Or at least the weird (his word, not mine). I just think he's precious, even if he didnt quite approve of the T-Shirt I wore last night (one that read "I'm a sucker for guys in eyeliner"--by the way, I'm getting good mileage out of that shirt but I actually think that deserves its own paragraph). Anyway, I like Chevron, and I want to kiss him in full view of some security cameras sometime, for the heck of it. (And Chevron, if you are good enough to be a Rachel blog reader, then you're even cooler than I thought.)

So about my shirt--heres the story. On Friday night I was a little nervous about the Foreign Service exam. I knew there wasn't much I could do to study for it, though I read over the amendments and what not. But in my first Polish class a little boy named Joel had said something that's stuck with me over the years: Eat Good, Sleep Good, Look Good. Well, I needed some pencils for the exam and so I went to Sanrio (the store that sells all the Hello Kitty stuff--a nod to my personal hero Lisa Loeb--and smells like plastic and my childhood) so I could at least write in style. On the way, I got sidetracked and found the Boys in Eyeliner shirt. I had to buy it. It's not often one finds a piece of clothing that expresses ones' feelings in such a precise way or at least what one's preferences were in high school. So I also thought that wearing it would help me, in case I ran into the former love of my life at the test (he didn't show up), so he'd know he isn't my type (I'm sure he'd never wear eyeliner, though he did let me put a mud mask on him once). Instead, I had many, many men tell me that they were going to run out and get some eyeliner, and I watched a security guard in the mall trip while reading my shirt (or looking at my chest, whichever you prefer).

PS. I hate MySpace and the fact that I cannot seem to get apostrophes to stick in this blog (I don't know if I am an idiot or what). Obviously, some work, but it's kind of hit or miss. Don't be a hater.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Some thoughts for the day--

Today we must take a moment to mourn the loss of Katie Couric. NBCs Today Show will not be the same without her perky personality. Its fortunate that a) they still have the one true love of my life, Matt Lauer, as host and b) I (Heart) 60 Minutes so Ill at least see Katie every Sunday evening. Im really glad I got to stand in a hallway with Katie back in December. Between her and Dr. Maya Angelou, I was kind of in a waiting room full of legendary folk. I loved it. I hope its not long before it happens again.

Im also loving Salt Lake more and more these daysworking downtown, I mean. Especially now that Ive become an old hand with TRAX. I walked around the corner the other day to pick up my April pass, and I was struck that SLC is kind of a real city. It was a happy discovery.

Another lesson recently learned: a productive social life seems to have quite a bit to do with momentum. Im pleased to announce the ball is rolling steadily along in my life, and I expect it to continue. No major breakthroughs, exactly, but enough of those happy little experiences to make it all especially worth itthings to keep me up laughing when I should go to sleep, things to tell my coworkers in the morning during the Rachel Update.

And on a completely unrelated and random note, men in short bathrobes are disgusting.