Particularities

I moved in with my boyfriend a few months ago, and it’s true what they say. You really don’t know a person until you live with them. (Since Chewitt and I are planning on living in a flat in London together and having tons of whacky sitcom-worthy adventures, this worries me a little.) BUT the most interesting thing I’ve realized is that you don’t know yourself until you’ve lived with someone.

I knew before we moved in together that I am kind of messy. This remains true. I also knew I was a control freak. However, I had no idea to the extent I am a control freak. I knew that when we watched Netflix on a computer together, I had to be the one holding the laptop. And that if I’m in a car/bus/vehicle and not driving, I will stare out the window and clutch something until my knuckles are white. (Even though I myself am not that great of a driver, I’d prefer to die by my own mistake than someone else’s.)

But guess what else I need to be in control of? No– don’t even try. Because you’ll never guess. It’s the most ridiculous thing, and I know it, but that doesn’t stop me from freaking out about it every time I open the freezer.

That’s right. I need to be in control of the ice tray. And not in the stereotypical, “Did you use all the ice from the ice tray and not fill it up again?” kind of way. (Although seriously, if you don’t refill the ice tray, you are a douchebag.)

It’s that my boyfriend fills the ice trays up the wrong way. Yeah, in my mind, there is a wrong way. To fill an ice tray. With water.

I’m as disgusted with myself as you are.

Anyway, the right way to fill an ice tray is to fill it lightly with water. I don’t mean like sprinkle the water in daintily like a water fairy or anything, I just mean you can’t fill the water all the way to the top of the plastic. Because then when you break the ice cubes up, they’re rough and it’s harder to break them up. Also, you’re much more likely to lose a cube or two when you have to wrestle the tray more roughly.

But my way, the ice cubes are “too small,” according to my boyfriend. But the thing is, even though I can admit that I’m really irritated by the way he fills up the ice tray and sometimes I rush through a tray so I can be the one that refills it, it still bothers me. But with my boyfriend, he’ll make fun of me, but it doesn’t bother him at all.

That is how I realized how particular I am about almost everything. So, yes. When you move in with your significant other, you will learn a lot about them. And you may or may not like the things you learn. But you’ll also learn things you don’t like about yourself. Which is much more frightening.

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Research

Today I had training for a linguistic-y research assistant position. It was absolutely terrifying. But the second-scariest bit was the fact that I thought it was super interesting and totally didn’t want to. I am interested in a million things as it is, I don’t need to be anymore interested. Please, brain of mine, find everything else in the world boring.

(List of things I am super interested in right now: Doctor Who, art, drawing, pottery, sleep, writing, guitar, tea, music, sleep…. Linguistics? Oh, and Tumblr. I can’t tear myself away from Tumblr.)

Anyway, the first scariest things was… I’ll give you two guesses.

…?

The fact that the training involved prolonged social interaction with a stranger! Woo! Who got that?

Yeah, it was even more awkward because she wasn’t sure how familiar I was with Macs, so she went over a little of that. And the fact that we had to keep switching the mouse between us. And the headphones. And everything.

But she was really nice. She kept assuring me I was doing a good job and that the system we used was really intimidating to everyone at first. I wasn’t sure if her repeated “you’re doing great!”s meant that she was actually lying or if I was really doing that good of a job. I will likely never know.

Birds.

As a celebratory 100th post (what the fuck? Yay!), I will share with you the story of my latest “am I going to die?” driving moment! Yes, I have a lot of these, but this is the only funny one.

I was returning home with two baskets of laundry and a 38 pack of green tea, driving on the highway and appreciating life by yelling along to songs that no one else likes. So pretty much I was driving just like I always do. Speeding, also. I’ve a terrible lead foot. A huge, very loud truck decided to pass me in the left lane, because I still wasn’t going fast enough for him. And then it happened.

A huge, very endangered looking* bird took a dive right at my car. Like, its beak was on a collision course with my face. I was so confused– this bird looks like it could eat me why is it suicidal help me– I was paralyzed from the knee up. The only thing I could do or could think to do, I’m not sure which, was to slow down a little. There was a car behind me, so I couldn’t just stop, and there was one beside me, so I couldn’t get over. I could’ve swerved onto the shoulder, but that thought didn’t even occur to me.

The only clear thought I can remember is this bird is playing a motherfucking game of CHICKEN with my car. 

The bird must’ve come to its senses or something, because it looked like it cackled and then it pulled up, gliding over my car. It wasn’t a close call by any means, but before the bird pulled up, I already had a “vision” of the bird diving into my car, cracking my skull, and my car driving itself into a terrible wreck involving myself and five others (I’m not sure why five) dead in the wreckage. Plus the fucking bird.

But the suicidal bird was actually just a comedian or jerk, so instead we get to laugh over the craziness! And I get to write this post about the weird happenings instead of putting away my laundry or unloading my dish washer! Thanks, crazy bird!

 

*By ‘very endangered looking,’ I mean it was majestic as fuck.

A Job? and Writing. And the Job Again.

Today, I was supposed to get a call from the store I interviewed for on Monday, but as the “supposed to” indicates, I’ve gotten nothing. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. Because she did say she’d call either way, and I’m not really interested in the job so much anymore. (There’s a job fair not this coming Monday, but the next, and I’m praying for a job in our library’s coffee shop. Being a barista was my second ever real ambition in life. First was bartender.)

So, since I don’t get to regale you all with my awkward phone-job-acceping-denying/being-rejected skills, I’ve decided to do a post on my NaNoWriMo progress.

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It stands for “NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. It takes places in November, which is the national writing month, but they have a summer camp version, Camp NaNo. The November goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, but for July you get to set your own goal. Mine is 65,000.

I’m really close! I’ve been doing pretty well about getting ahead on good writing days so I can slack off a little on the harder days, which seems to be the best strategy for me. And last night I realized that the world of the book I’m writing now is the world that the book I wrote three years ago needs to be in. That’s why I was having such a rough time editing that book to my desires.

So this post is just kind of celebratory and anxious. And trying to distract myself from being anxious.

Because what if I get this job? Do I just accept it, until the job fair, and then if I find a better one, quit during the training period? That’s my biggest worry. But then, what if I don’t get accepted? What if I’m not even qualified to press buttons on a register, stock drinks and make food occasionally?

I’m not sure what to want right now. Besides mozzarella sticks.

Double Dose

Sometimes, I go weeks without feeling awkward or socially incompetent. I even start to build up my confidence in my abilities to relate to others like everyone else.

I never realize these good feelings aren’t because I’m actually improving my social skills until it’s too late. A day like this strikes, and I realize that the only reason I’ve been feeling better about things is so the world can crash down all my hopes and good feelings back to the point where I’m a blabbering mess.

My conversation with Chewitt today after Dose 2 of Kiersten cannot function in society:
Kiersten: Fuck
Kiersten: Fuck
Kiersten: Fuc
Kiersten: Fuck
Chewit: Whattttt
Kiersten: Fuc
Chewitt: Message me later, you incoherent Kiwi.
Kiersten: fuck

But let’s start with dose one.

I had a job interview today, my second interview for the same job within 3 days. I am not good at interviews, because they make me nervous, which makes me dumber, and they’re with strangers, which makes me nervous and dumber. But generally I can get through them.

But today, my interview was at 9:30 am. I am not at my best until 6-7 pm, so at an ungodly hour of the morning, I am practically a rock that can make sounds. And she kept saying, “Okay,” to everything really quickly. Which made me feel like she was actually saying, “Kiersten, that was the dumbest fucking answer.”

And she asked me, “I have a lot of other applicants for the job”– the way she looked here made me think she didn’t really– “What is different about you that means I should hire you?”

Now despite my belief that she really didn’t have 30 dozen others vying to be able to kiss customers’ asses and flip lettuce and barbeque sauce onto burgers, I still hated that question. I hate it when people ask me for something good about myself. Because there is the problem: I don’t like myself.

So I spit out some garbage that tasted just like the rest of my answers to her questions. I said something about liking hectic, changing work conditions. Which is totally true, but it was something I’d been saying and leaning on throughout the interview, mainly because I was working at 15% capacity. She said she’ll call Thursday. I’m not even sure I want the job.

Then I went to work. That was fine. I just had to help an English as a Second Language doctoral student with his thesis. It wasn’t that hard, but it was a bit dull. I’ve never cared much about the intersection of religiosity and economics. The initial idea is interesting, but reading about it on and on and on, after waking up at 8 am… It wasn’t the best thing. But it wasn’t the worst either.

What was coming next was what I dreaded the most.

You remember that professor who I have the worst crush on and who I had the brilliant (fucking brilliant) idea of asking if he needed a TA for next semester? I had to talk to him about money and scheduling stuff. I am the last person who will talk about money. I worked at the writing center for almost an entire year before asking someone how much money we got paid. I just feel too awkward to talk about it. But I had to.

So I go in there, pull the chair out from a desk and sit in front of his. And oh dear God, I did everything wrong. I could just tell he thought I was super awkward and dumb and stupid. And at the end of the meeting, I stood up and decided to put the chair back where it was when I got there, only that was even more awkward and I left and he was looking at me like I was the least socially adjusted creature he had ever seen on two legs.

So here I am, at the bottom of the ocean, sitting among the pebbles (I bet there aren’t pebbles at the bottom of the ocean, just coral and those vents that are really hot) and debris of sunken ships and just waiting for the water pressure to crush my lungs.

Fuck.

Clothing

They really need to make less sheer shirts and tank tops for girls. Seriously. And if they are even a little bit transparent, they need to look like they’re transparent. Because this “opaque until you put it on over a brightly/darkly colored bra” shit is really getting on my last nerve.

I think everyone hates me. I feel like I’ve probably talked about this before. Throughout middle and high school, when I got home and talked to my mom, she would ask, “How was your day?” I would say, “Good.” Because it was. And that seemed like the right answer to me. If you’re going to ask me something that can be answered simply, that is how I will answer it. But apparently she thinks of my returning home from school as a teeth pulling experience, with her in the role of both dentist and  patient.

So she would finally get more than “good” out of me, and she would ask me how my classes were going. “Mr. HistoryTeacher hates me,” I’d say, chomping on my afterschool snack and thinking about my day.

“Him too, huh?” she’d ask, completely sarcastically. Sometimes I understood this, sometimes I didn’t.

“Yep.”

I was convinced every teacher I had hated me. Then my mom would go in for a parent-teacher conference (she only went to a few of them, because she thought they were boring– imagine how I felt! I had to stay in those damn schools for days on end for YEARS) and they would all tell her they loved me. Great student, quiet, quiet, and I was apparently so quiet.

So I’m convinced my boss hates me. She probably actually does though. Because of these damn transparent shirts!!

I work at a writing center. They’re not super professional– I don’t have to wear business professional or even really business casual– but that doesn’t mean girls come in wearing belly shirts or guys wear gym shorts. There are standards. We’re not savages.

Well, today marks the second time I walked into the writing center believing my clothes to be completely normal. Jean shorts, a tank top, with a breezy “fly away” I guess they’re called.

 

I figured if anyone was offended by bare shoulders, they would be placated by my half cardigan thing, without condemning me to a sweaty, miserable shift at work.

I went through ¾ of my shift completely unaware. Then, I ran to the bathroom before my 3 o’clock appointment. Upon washing my hands, I realized.

Through my dark green tank top, you could somehow tell very clearly that I was wearing a black bra.

Now, not the worst wardrobe malfunction in the world.

But on top of my boss already hating me– I can give you reasons. Do you want reasons? I can give you heaps of reasons– on top of that, it is rough. It’s like, thanks, world of fashion designers. You thinking that women WANT to layer their clothes ALL THE TIME has completely ruined my ability to function at work. And looking back at the two appointments I had before I ran to the bathroom, they definitely noticed.

Ugh!

 

Hi, There!

Today I woke up at 5:50 am (6ish hours earlier than I’ve woken up for months) and I got on a bus to drive seven hours to sit and listen to a few people talk a lot about the same things they talked about last year. It sounds really boring, but it was only a little.

So since I don’t have Chewitt to pick up the slack anymore, this is going to have to be a “sorry I can’t post” post. I’ve tipped the exhausted wheel past… Okay that metaphor ran out more quickly than my sugar high. I gotta go sleep so I can wake up early tomorrow and stress about my presentation on Saturday, but I promise a better, fun packed post Monday!

Sorry again! Enjoy your weekend. Or else. (I don’t know I’m really tired.)

Phone Conversations

I will be the first person to admit I know nothing about how my car works. I feel like I’m in the majority here. But it’s not because I’m female that I don’t know about cars, so I’d appreciate if men working in the auto industry would quit treating me like an idiot. (This was more of a rant-y, venting paragraph than anything else.)

When I woke up for work this morning, I did not expect to notice my car steaming from the back as I drove to work. And this was not just like a sliver of steam. It was a cloud. A gigantic one.

So I pulled over and called a bunch of people and finally puttered my way down to the mechanic down the street. He told me that maybe something in the rotor was wrong or something, and to call somewhere else. I called the place he gave me a number for. They told me they don’t do internal engine stuff. So I called the place 40 minutes away that is the only Suzuki dealership nearby.

“Hey, my car started steaming up from the back today? I took it to a mechanic and he said he thinks the oil is burning and that it has something to do with the rotor or so-”

“Wait a minute,” the man said, grunting. “The rotor has to do with the wheels turning. If it’s something in the engine, it’s probably a ring blah blah blah.”

“Oookay,” I said, immediately forgetting all the technical things he threw at me. “But I was just wondering…”

So we went on, and he said he’d have someone give me a call in about an hour. So he needed my name. “Kiersten,” I said, already preparing myself to spell it for him.

“How do you spell that?”

I told him, and then came the awkward part. “That’s a pretty name,” he said. “I knew a couple girls named Kiersten. They all lived up in [a state that borders both his state and mine]. None down here.” I chuckled nervously and my boyfriend, who couldn’t hear the conversation, laughed at me.

When I didn’t say anything for a few seconds, he moved on to my last name and phone number. But the rest of the conversation I was still thinking about him commenting on my name. I know it was him filling in silence with small talk, but I had absolutely no idea how to respond. I guess I could’ve said, “Oh I’ve never met another Kiersten.” Or, “If you’ve known so many Kierstens, why didn’t you know how to spell the name?”

I need to figure out how to more quickly come up with small talk replies. I just don’t small talk enough to get the hang of it I suppose. Also, strangers keep calling me “dear” today and it’s really strange.

Dreams

One thing that’s always surprised me is the variety of types of dreams I have. I have super realistic ones about the smallest thing: like a towel hanging off of a door, where I can see all the little fibers and the way it’s hanging crookedly instead of OCD straight. But I also have really detailed dreams that sometimes inspire stories: like a guy walking up to me, where I’m working at the cash register for a clothing store and he tells me I’m going to turn into a mouse in a few hours. Then, I do. And then there are the dreams of “the future.” There’s dreams that if I were a character in a TV show would be premonitions, like once I had a dream I was working in a really cool office with bean bags and red ottomans and I was an editor or something. That one was a few years ago, but I still remember it. The “future dreams” are the weirdest because they’re usually really detailed projections of what I want to be doing with my life in x years.

Sometimes the dreariest dreams are the ones I can’t get out of my head though. Yesterday, I took a nap and I had a dream about the word “ghetto.” I’ve recently heard the Elvis song “In the Ghetto” or whatever, twice. I never heard it before that I can remember, so when I heard another song with the words “in the ghetto” yesterday, I wondered if it was a cover of Elvis or a coincidence. Apparently a coincidence. Which is weird.

So during my nap, I was back in high school in a classroom like where I had Spanish 3. All my friends who were actually in the class were there with me, but we were sitting in the back left corner instead of the back middle like we did in real life. Also, my boyfriend was there. He was in Spanish 4 that year. But dreams don’t let those kinds of things get in their way.

A foreign exchange student from China walked in the room and sat next to me and started telling me how offended he was by the posters in the hallway that had the word “ghetto” on them. He wasn’t offended by the word ghetto, but I can’t remember what the posters actually said or if they said anything. I, being the weirdo in my dreams that I am out of them, commented that I had no idea what the word for “ghetto” was in Chinese or Spanish. (Even though if I was really back in high school, I would know absolutely no Chinese at all.) I called to my friend Ted, who was sitting on the opposite side of the room in this dream even though he usually sat near me in the actual class, and asked him whether or not he knew the word for ghetto in Spanish. He didn’t. (And he’s a freaking genius with Spanish.)

That was the entire dream.

My boyfriend’s at a camp working for a few weeks, and he called last night to make sure I was okay. (I had a mini accident with a damn construction fence that was in the road and my rear-view mirror. I was not happy.) I was telling him this story and he fell asleep. I can’t blame him– there’s really no action– but my first reaction was, ‘how embarrassing. My dreams put my boyfriend to sleep.’ Logically, he should’ve fallen asleep before he even made the call. He went to a theme park thing and was puked on by one of the kids he was watching. That alone would make me fall asleep ASAP. So I guess it might not be awkward that I put my boyfriend to sleep with a dream of mine, but still. It’s a little embarrassing.

Mood and Awkwardness Are NOT Related

I used to think when I was in a bad mood, whether sad or angry, I was more likely to royally screw up any social interaction, whether it was with someone I knew really well or a complete stranger.

Nope.

When I’m sad, I am less likely to notice that I’m missing tons of social cues, and later I will hate myself 100% more. And when I’m angry, I’m more likely to pull out the “who the fuck cares? Not me.” card, until later when the self recrimination kicks up again. But today I realized I’m just as likely to be happy-awkward as sad/angry-awkward.

I’ve been having the best few days of my year so far lately. Friday rocked, Saturday was good, and Sunday has been beautiful. (I’m writing this a day early, so it’s not Monday, if I’m confusing you guys.) So I’m driving back to my apartment, settling in for a half hour drive with ice cold water, my favorite songs in my CD player, and no one in the passenger seat to judge me. (My boyfriend judges my singing and my music volume hardcore. Why can’t he just accept me, y’know?)

The whole half hour drive, I am screaming to my music at the top of my lungs, loving every second of it. I haven’t gotten this into music since I was an angsty teenager entrenched in Green Day and Saliva. But even as I’m yelling along to Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care,” which is a decidedly not happy song, I am giggling and smiling a little maniacally.

I didn’t remember until I pulled up to the last light before my apartment that yeah, other people can see me and judge my arm flailing– just one, I promise. My mom drives with her knees, but I am not that adventurous/foolhardy/ambitious/[insert adjective of choice here]. I am a veteran rearview-mirror stalker. If you are behind me at a light, I will figure out what you are doing. Waiting for lights to turn green is not an easy thing for me to do. So I should’ve really realized this before.

But hey, I had fun. I guess I just have to hope no future-possible-employers saw me making a fool out of myself on my way home. Actually, they could probably hear me too. Oh well.