Ferociously Observant

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. -Anon.

A Contradiction in Intelligence 27 December 2007

Filed under: Career,Randoms,Rants — ferociouskater @ 3:20 am

One of the reasons I like my job at BN so much is that a lot of the people that I work with have had or are working on the same level of education as I have had. This might not really make a lot of difference in the long run, since they are not any nicer than the people I worked with at the clinic, but being drawn to them as co-workers is a prime example of something I tend to do in my life. Something that I just realized I have always done.

My very best friend since childhood has been Kat. I have always known that in so many ways, she is leaps and bounds smarter than I. This would bother me, a lot of times when I was a kid, especially when her brains brought with them talents that I longed to possess. I don’t think I would have enjoyed drawing as much if I hadn’t been trying to be as good as she was (is). And the same went for other subjects. Being with Kat actually made me strive to become smarter/more talented.

Tonight I realized that I am, again, doing the same thing – I have been surrounding myself with super-smart friends for the past few years because they make me strive to become more intelligent. We sit around the dinner table and they talk about current events, or classic movies, or history, and I don’t know any of it but by the end of the meal I damn sure want to learn. I go on a poetry binge after B posts a blog post about poetry. I read more after he takes me to the used bookstore. I really think that by surrounding myself with such smart people I am bettering my own intelligence.

The problem is that without meaning to, my smart friends make me feel really, really stupid. Tonight I feel really, really stupid. And it wasn’t just because we were playing Trivial Pursuit (I won, in fact), it was because so many ideas and concepts were being thrown around that I had never heard of before. And everyone else seemed to get them. It didn’t help that I was the only one at the table that hadn’t completed or was working on a professional or Masters-level degree. It also didn’t help that I was the only one whose degree subject is probably worth less than the paper it’s printed on. Doctor. Mechanical Engineer. Doctor. B, who I won’t even talk about, and me. English Writing. Whoop de doo.

I need to somehow span the disconnect between these two things. No, I’m not going to become a news junkie and suddenly understand world politics. And no, I’m not going to stay awake through Carl Sagan’s The Cosmos. But I need to do something useful enough to stop this feeling that my purpose in my group of friends is to make everyone else laugh. I am the cute pet. I am their entertainment.

Sometimes I like to be the entertainment. But sometimes I want to know that the biggest hole in the ozone layer is in Antarctica, and be able to name all the major heads of State, and not only that but care that I know these things. I’m not even a real fountain of knowledge on grammar and syntax. I know a little bit about the ozone, a little bit about politics, and a little bit more about grammar. And a lot of times this quote sums up how I feel about my specialties in life:

“A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.”  -Samuel Johnson

 

A New Christmas 21 December 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:10 pm

For the last couple years, fueled by the craziness of travel, commercialism, and neverending stress, my mother has been talking about creating a new day to celebrate Christmas. She favors January 6th, traditionally the 12th day of Christmas. Usually I shrug her off, saying that it’s impossible for everyone to get off after they’ve already had holiday break and it would be a bit of a letdown to sit around by ourselves on Christmas when everyone else is celebrating with their families.

This year, however, as we are still waiting on loan money that we were supposed to get over a week ago, January 6th is looking pretty good. I wanted a quiet Christmas with our friends, sleeping in a little bit, waking up to our tree and opening presents in our PJs. And now Tom’s family will be here in two days, we have not bought anything for anyone, and we haven’t even mailed our Christmas cards. Not that I mind Tom’s family being here, but in terms of everything else I could use the extra 12 days. If we celebrated Christmas on the 6th, for example, my presents wouldn’t be really late. They’d be on time. Plus you could shop really good sales right after *Christmas* and you wouldn’t be cheating or cheaping out. Plus you could be kinda cool and kinda different, still wishing people a “Merry Christmas” after the fact.

Getting a whole family on-board might be a little difficult. But just think, you could get a really cheap Christmas tree out on the curb.

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Inifinite Moments 16 December 2007

Filed under: Ponderings — ferociouskater @ 2:01 am

Ever have a moment that you know will end up being one of your favorite memories of all time? You have such a wonderful time and you know that whenever you fill out those silly little surveys you will list this moment as one of the best, if not the best, times you’ve ever had.

Tonight, I stuffed myself with sushi and drove around looking at tacky Christmas decorations and singing Christmas carols with my parents and two best friends. It wasn’t fancy. We weren’t at a trendy club or on a luxurious beach. We were just here, just in Saginaw. But as I sat in the back seat between my mom and Kela, I thought of a line from “Perks of Being a Wallflower” – “I feel infinite.” I can remember a handful of other moments that made me think of this quote, and though I cannot recall the details of them right now, I know that tonight belongs with them.

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Holiday Shoppers 14 December 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 5:13 pm

I’m off to battle holiday shoppers today. So far I’ve just been hiding from them from behind a register or customer service desk. Now I have to become one of them. The horror, the horror!

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Instant Messaging 12 December 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 2:26 pm

I am finally starting to realize why my husband never gets online.

While an outlet to be fun, random and flirty, instant messaging is an awful way to have a serious conversation. I have gotten myself in trouble more than once when my messages have been misinterpreted or even missed altogether. And then there comes the aftermath, the calling (if one of you has not turned off your phone in frustration), the apologizing. And as always, there comes the realization all over again that if we had just been sitting down and talking like normal human beings, even if we were on the phone, the awful miscommunication wouldn’t (or would have been less likely to) have happened, and more time wouldn’t have to be spent trying to put the pieces back together of a shattered conversation.

Remind me next time, please.

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Observation Writing is Writing Too 8 December 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 3:29 pm

I made a pledge to myself a little while ago to write at least 1000 words a day. While I have been trying to keep this pledge, I have been failing – horribly. I think one of the reasons for this is that I open one of the several short stories I am currently writing and run into an inability to move the plot forward. I listen to the many doubting voices in my head (voices that, as much as Anne Lamott tries to get me to ignore, creep in there anyway) and close the document. I write maybe a blog post, maybe an e-mail (which I contend doesn’t really count) and move on to other things. Laundry. Dishes. I avoid writing with housework.

Today I am making another pledge to myself and editing my pledge. Observing people and things and writing about them counts as writing. I go into the bookstore and sip on a latte as I ponder the lifestyle choice of the man browsing Hustler magazine in the corner, that’s writing. I savor a giant cookie as I flirt with the cute college student at the table next to me, that’s writing too. As long as I write about it. And he doesn’t see it.

I’m not trying to publish anything here. I’m trying to keep my craft sharp so that some day when I do decide to move from the amateur to the public realm I’m ready. So what if I’ve been working on the same short story since June? Who cares? I just have to keep reminding myself of this. No one cares. No one reads it unless I give it to them. No one is grading me (but me).

So I’m going to try again to aim for 1000 words a day. Even if it’s just a diatribe about stupid people at the grocery store. I’m really going to try.

 

My Point of Reference – Thursday at 3:00 7 December 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ferociouskater @ 2:16 am

I am at work. I am not, however, working. I am one of the only employees here that sincerely enjoys hanging out here on my day off, and I’m sure this is baffling to some of my co-workers. But the truth is that I feel comfortable here. Secure. Cozy. At home. And the discount on coffee doesn’t hurt either.

One of the other reasons I like to hang out here is that it reminds me of this brand new social life I am building after living here a year and a half. I can turn my head and concurrently see the supervisor whose girlie holiday party I’m attending tomorrow night, the bass player of my newest favorite local band, and the co-worker who is coming over for dinner when her shift ends. And best of all I am surrounded by books. Tens of thousands of books. If this isn’t my idea of an ideal place to spend a cold Thursday afternoon then I don’t know what is.

My mother doesn’t understand why I am settling into my life here. She thinks that since I don’t have an opportunity to attend a top-notch university or get a stellar writing job I shouldn’t be happy. What she doesn’t know is that finding a niche somewhere – anywhere – is what is truly making me happy at this point in my life. Someday I’m sure I’ll want to settle down somewhere a little more diverse. But right now, at this point in time, I breathe in the smell of coffee and paper and binding and let out a long, contented sigh. And smile.

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