Friday, May 27, 2011

This Small Town Girl is going to bed for a little while ...

In the midst of a dating hiatus, I’m taking another hiatus … one from blogging.

Stephen King once said: “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” In other words, the best writers are typically those whom are well-read. This is a statement I agree with. As in all things, there are always exceptions to this rule. Although, I can’t say, even knowing a few of these writers, that my mind is changing. Just like an athlete who studies tapes to improve, or the student who follows a mentor to learn – if the goal is to be a better writer, the only way to get there is to read the work of great writers.

Luckily, reading is a favorite past time of mine. Every year I accumulate book after book for my summer reading list. Reading for pleasure is always reserved for the summer, and since school is in the cards for me for at least another four years … this is just the way it has to be. Why only the summer? Have you ever been an English major? Try being an English grad student. Reading is what you do. This past semester was one of the easiest reading semesters to date, and still I read 21 books and over 25 scholarly articles.

As this summer marks my twenty-fourth year of life, this 2011 edition of my summer reading list has a minimum requirement of twenty-four books. This is quite do-able since I’ve acquired approximately thirty books from January to May from Book Buyers, my favorite used bookstore in Plaza-Midwood. If you get some time check it out, beware of the cat.

And inside all that summer reading I’m working on my own passion project, hence the momentary break-up with blogging. If I feel compelled to blog, it’ll happen. But for now, it’s time I worked on a project that’s been spiraling in my mind for years.

My question for you is this: what is your passion project? To steal one remarkable tweet from my friend, Bobby DeMuro - what is the one thing you want to accomplish in the next 365 days?

It’s a fascinating concept; a goal like any other, a passion project is the rupture of the self. So I challenge you to embark upon your own passion project whether it’s writing a business plan, running a marathon, originating a charitable foundation, volunteering, writing a screenplay or a book, tackling photography, constructing the menu for a future restaurant endeavor, or merely creating something meaningful – what are you waiting for?

In e-mail conversation today with a friend, and classmate, he asserted that for too long his life had been lived in the form of a question, instead a statement. Like I do with all e-mails from my friends, I printed it out and read it in it’s tangible form. When I read this sentence I paused, re-read it, and with my pencil I drew a gray line beneath his words. I’ve been contemplating my own life ever since. It is so easy to live your life in question structure. Will you profit from a particular venture? Will you make ends meet? Will you get a call back? When will you know something? Will you be ok?

Questions are an inevitable part of life; they are the reoccurring, resurfacing influences surrounding our lives. However, do we allow ourselves to be dependent upon the answer - or do we answer our own questions? This is an observation my friend is ready to transform. And he will; I’m sure of it.

That idea that is pulsating through your body - engage it. No matter how simple, if you’re passionate about something it’s no longer mundane, it’s profound. You have the ability to change someone’s life, and then there’s the chance you’ll change your own along the way.

To everyone who reads anything I write, thank you. I can’t express how much it means to me. When the appropriate time, or blog, presents itself - I’ll write it. Until then, you can read me at Creative Loafing with Night Reviews or the occasional guest blogging appearance at Brittney Cason’s “Love, Brittney” blog. Happy creating everyone!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Creeping, the New Flirting?

Guys, you have a lot of explaining to do.

Ok … that’s not totally fair, I’ll give you that; but for the record, pick up methods have hit an all-time low. Now, I’m not referring to myself as the attempted pick-up; I apparently give off the “walk away from me” vibe. My friends do, too; even if they won’t admit it. But if you catch one of my girlfriends when she’s not in the right state of mind … well, she may be more open to participate in your conversation.

And last night on our girl’s night (plus Jeff and Daniel), in the midst of strobe lights, fog machines, and Whisky River’s Bartender Competition hosted by F’ … things got a little out of control. Well, for one of us anyway. As it happens, the 6:30 a.m. wake up call labels me as the designated driver. Which is fine by me, I’m pretty protective of my friends and staying the sober one means I get to keep a watchful eye on them all.

That is until I lose one of them … Hey, it happens.

Nick Swardson said it already, as females we just tend to lose each other when alcohol is involved. It is as detrimental as it is inevitable. And last night when one group of my girlfriends were called into the VIP area by some unknown gentlemen I tagged along. From the upper level I peered down like a hawk watching our other friends still fighting off the 18 year old procession surrounding them. Ah, College Night – I don’t think I loved you even when I was you.

I can see my other friends clearly, but one … we’ll call her Ole Miss, started weaving her way through the crowd in a direction I couldn’t quite see. In the swarm of people, I lost sight of her bright turquoise dress. By the way, bright colors on Ole Miss are the equivalent of a runner wearing a neon vest at night; subconscious move on her part? I’m going to go with … yes.

In panic mode I gathered my Very Important Friends and made moves to follow. Ole Miss called repeatedly, but when you’re in the warzone of teenage mating i.e. grinding to techno music, it’s rather difficult to communicate. Eventually, though, we did manage to gather up all our friends sans Ole Miss. We texted her “meet us at the Bull” … something I never thought I’d say to someone.

Only she couldn’t find it, so we texted her “meet us at the bar,” positive that she would know that location well, even intoxicated. However, at this point Ole Miss had given up on texting all together. Phone calls only, despite our tricky environment. When finally contact had been made, we learned Ole Miss had made her way outside the bar. Thank God. The others still had tabs they needed to close at the bar I headed out to find our lost friend solo.

Outside in a sea of smoke I felt my phone vibrating, it was Ole Miss …

“baby, I’m on my way to you”
“hello?” … guy’s voice

My heart sank. Now I’m frantically maneuvering my way through this crowd of smokers looking everywhere for that turquoise dress. And then as if Moses himself parted the sea of smoke, everything cleared and there she was … with two cops.


Once I get up to her I realize there is a third party to these investigating guys. This guy donning flip-flops, gym shorts, and a really tight t-shirt is holding my girlfriend’s arm. I start asking both cops what’s going on, and they ignore me. Standard. Worse yet, while I’m trying to pull any information out of them, this Jersey Shore cat is now holding the hand of my friend and leading her away. Thank you, Law Enforcement. You guys rock, really.

I chase after this pair and take her other hand. I thank him for helping her and inform him she’s fine with me.

Jersey Shore- “She needs to get down the stairs.”
Jordan- “We’re waiting on our friends, and then I’m taking her home”
Jersey Shore- “She needs to come with me; I’m going to help her down the stairs”
Jordan- “I can take it from here”

But this Guido wouldn’t let up if his life depended upon it. Of course, Ole Miss wasn’t helping the matter as she was now leaning on this guy for support while simultaneously calling out “all the cops here love me!”

Something tells me you’re wrong about that, Ole Miss. Just a hunch …

And yes, this guy follows us all the way down the stairs making inappropriate comments to me regarding the intoxication level of my friend, only to then make underhanded ones to himself about my stand-offish behavior. I believe the term he used was “prudish,” I’ve been called worse.

On the ground level I finally see our friends walking down the stairs, or well I see my best friend trip down the stairs (right now she’s more than likely cursing me from her bed, where she has also just popped approximately five ibuprofen). When they reach us I kindly inform Jersey Shore that we’re all here now, he’s free to go. Only he doesn’t budge. In fact, now he’s pulling up the sleeves of his tiny t-shirt so we can see his large tattooed arms. Like I have time for this guy and his antics.

Jersey Shore- “I’ll walk you to your car”
Jordan- “No, no … no need for that we are fine.”

Jersey Shore keeps walking.

Best Friend- “Who is this guy?”
Ole Miss- “Where are the cops? All the cops love me! Are you a cop?”
Jersey Shore- “I am”

Is this guy for real?

Jordan- “You’re not a cop”
Jersey Shore- “Yes I am. I’m undercover.”
Jordan- “Oh yeah, gym shorts and flip flops … you’re an undercover cop. Yeah, me too”
Best Friend- “You’re douche enough to be a cop” Reason 2483938498483829939238 why she’s my best.

But he’s still coming. Only add the sob story of how he found Ole Miss and rescued her from his “co-workers.” Do cops call each other co-workers? You learn something new every day.

Too bad my drunken friend is totally buying this “white horse” bullshit. Does this sort of thing usually work for you, Jersey? Desperately trying, but to no avail, we can’t shake this shady character.

Well, to be fair …

Best Friend: “Hey Marine Corp, got a lighter?”
Jordan- “Not helping”

Meanwhile, Ole Miss is swaying back and forth proclaiming that if this guy hadn’t come along she’d be in jail, only to quickly correct herself since “all the cops love” her. Since the rest of us saw this situation as it was, we got Ole Miss into the car before her white knight could request any further contact.

This entire episode left me wondering, what is wrong with you guys? Is this sort of behavior commendable in male circles? You pick out the drunkest girl in a group and try to pull her away from her friends, making you the creepiest guy on earth. Is creeping the new flirting?

Then I thought of my own guy friends, who seriously rule. You guys are amazing. I don’t have one guy friend who would ever behave this way, so to them I say spread the word. Educate these creepsters on how to interact with a member of the opposite sex. Now I understand why my parents are so anxious when it comes to me. If this sleazy behavior is the future, well consider me the future cat lady.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dating Hiatus

Summer love just wasn’t in the cards.

And when in the midst of the break up war zone yesterday, the white flag was raised.

In life, that’s just the name of the game sometimes. Not everything is meant to stay, not everything is meant to be. When things hit a brick wall, you shake it off and you let it go.

On the recommendation of my friends, I’m taking a dating hiatus so to speak. Oscar Wilde once said “When a love comes to an end, weaklings cry, efficient ones instantly find another love, and the wise already have one in reserve.” According to my best friend, I’ve heeded Wilde’s words too precisely.

To be fair, Oscar Wilde is my favorite.

But she is right; I’m always leaving the crosshairs of one relationship in sprint to another. I never stay single for long, and I seldom let a failed attempt at love stand in my way for very long. And this last relationship is evidence to support the very thing I’ve feared all along.

I tried to add a relationship to my life of multiple jobs, graduate school, writing, and dreaming. This move, in all its selfishness, cost both me and former boyfriend precious time. Yet, the end of something is often not so bad, how could it be when you have friends who text you: “That sucks … Phillies game tonight?”

My friends ask if I’m heartbroken. The answer to this is no, I’m not. Although, I do know heartbreak - who doesn’t? Heartbreak has been the unwanted guest at the end of my dinner table. It’s just part of life, a brutal and ugly part … sure, but it’s also inevitable.

Some time ago I loved a boy in the most indescribable way. It was terrifying. I used to write it on notebook paper in class, or on post-it notes at work, only to promptly erase any trace of it away. I questioned it, fought it, detested it, and I treasured it.

Once he asked me if I had ever listened to Death Cab for Cutie. At the time I had the band pegged as “emo;” and that wasn’t for me. But he was into them, and because I was into him I jotted them down in mental note. Later, when logged into my iTunes I updated my library, which now includes a rather extensive collection of Death Cab’s work.

And no, I never mentioned to him that I had explored his preference in music because I didn’t do it for points or bragging rights, I did it because I was so utterly fixated on this boy, and was exceptionally interested in things he loved. We moved quickly; two young and upbeat individuals with only pure affection in our unexplored hearts. These were among the happiest days of my life.

Unfortunately, this love interest of mine and I were very similar in a number of ways; and the most detrimental: our reoccurring surrender to a sabotage mode. A night of battle stirred a blur of damaging remarks hurling from one to the other. It would be days before we would talk again.

Our destructive exchange left wounds, and in the days that separated us I aimed to piece together my thoughts. When I knew nothing had changed for me, I hoped with every thread of my body that he felt the same. But still I didn’t call. Nearly a week later he phoned suggesting we meet the following day to discuss the recent turn of events in our budding relationship. I agreed.

The day of, I woke in pure dread. In my mind I had already seen the worst, he was meeting me to end it, and I was braced for it. I dressed in silence, no one else home in our tiny apartment. And when I emerged, the sun was hidden behind a sea of clouds.

They say love is blind, but that’s absurd, love isn’t blind at all. Love sees every facet, and I did that day. It was overwhelming. Even now, I can describe in detail the bustling scene around us when he took the seat across from me. He said that this particular morning he had risen with the sole purpose of seeking me out and proclaiming the necessity to restore and mend our relationship.

In my mind, all that’s there: past tense, past tense, he’s talking in past tense …

He expressed the unease in which he dwelled all morning as he prepared to meet me, how he had roamed every corner of his place practicing what he would say when he saw me. In his background, as there often was when he felt anxious, the sounds of music twisting their way through doorways and walls. It was this point when he heard Death Cab’s familiar echo.

The song “Tiny Vessels” filled the room and it was there that he understood that all those things he was feeling were painted perfectly by this song. He replayed it, just to be sure, but he was. And he knew right then and there that when he met me that day it would be with one intention: to end it.

In my mind, all that’s there: Tiny Vessels, Tiny Vessels, Tiny Vessels …

I was braced for this, so I let it go. I drove home in silence; climbed the stairs to my apartment where nobody was home. The room was painted dark from a dull sky when I pulled my laptop onto our living room recording desk, hooked it up to the loud speakers, and navigated iTunes until I found it. I played “Tiny Vessels” on repeat, and sat sobbing in our living room. In the aftermath, all I could do was sit there; and so I did … and I wrote.

I wrote every agonizing and unsightly thing I was thinking. It was riveting. And to this day, if Death Cab’s “Tiny Vessels” isn’t playing in the background, I can’t write.

“Tiny Vessels” has become my muse. It is the most fascinating thing. I’m not referring to writing blogs either, as the majority of these are born at my work desk. I’m talking about creative writing, the things I generate, the things I’m the most passionate about. With every CD I’ve made since my ill-fated relationship, I slip the song somewhere in the midst of the other tracks. Just so when I’m sitting at my desk, or I’m driving in my car, I’ll hear the soft music begin to play and my mind spirals.

The song no longer has the negative connotation it did all that time ago, I no longer associate it with the way I felt that day. The feeling I have when I hear it is inexpressible, but whether it’s a sense of painful memory or merely appreciation for the musical flair I was born without – when it hits, I create.

Life moves on, so move with it. I’m not saying that if I hadn’t found this song I would never write, but I am saying it has given me the extraordinary ability to lose myself in something in order to create.

This guy in all his Death Cab glory is someone I still regard as a good friend. I’m in awe of his talent, and we are fortunate enough to have each other to bounce ideas off of; but I’m under no illusion that our newfound friendship is the sole purpose he entered my life.

No, this guy’s function was to provide me with my muse. In the after effects, I’ve produced more work than ever before. Proving there is a reason every single person who penetrates the walls of your life, even for the briefest moments. And it’s hard to be angry when you’ve discovered that.

To all the people who are giving me so much hell, don’t worry. I’m taking some time to be a friend, to be myself, and even some time to be a wingman. At least until October, that is, when the Phillies are World Series bound, and yes … that was a hit at you Bobby DeMuro.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"No Rest for the Weary"

I caught a glimpse of myself in the future ...         
And it wasn’t pretty.

The saying goes “there’s no rest for the weary.” The wise soul who proclaimed this avowal must have seen something similar to what I saw today. Work and school keep a girl busy, but in this life that’s just the name of the game.

So a short hiatus from school for a couple of months is a relief, but it’s not like the rest of life is taking a backseat. Work doesn’t let it, it just returns to the 8-5 form – only I’m not quite back in the swing of things. Four out of five of my mornings usually include: sleeping through alarm, waking up minutes before I need to leave, running around cursing myself for not buying a louder alarm even though it’s been on my to-do list for months, and sprinting out the door.

Worse yet, my co-workers do not seem to know these issues of mine. By the time I meet these girls they’ve already had their morning coffee and met with their personal trainers for some daybreak water aerobics. So each morning while I’m drowning out the sound of alarm clock church bells, these girls are burning off more calories than I’ll eat that day. These are the girls with carefully applied makeup and hair fixed perfectly straight or bouncing with flawless curls. It goes without saying that their desks are lined with touch-up foundation and lipstick, while mine is packed full of food. How about another expression … I stick out like a sore thumb.

Bear with me, the last six months have been tough and I’ve got the battle scars to prove it. Regrettably, these aren’t the “cool” scars you get from dangerous feats. Nope, my scars are the unavoidable dark circles permanently painted under my eyes. But since those aren’t going away anytime soon and no amount of concealer hides them for long, I’ve decided I might as well embrace them like my own beauty mark. Unfortunately, the beauty mark concept only works for Cindy Crawford and a selected few others.

But I’ll get with it … eventually. For the moment I’m still living in the unattractive aftermath of the semester. And if I needed reassurance of this, it came today in the midst of eating lunch alone. I really enjoy our weekly colleague lunch dates as a department, but sometimes I just want to indulge myself with a bowl of soup and whatever book I’m reading in peace and quiet. For those of you out there who don’t mind stepping out solo on your lunch break, heed my warning.

On a side note to myself, on days when peace and quiet are the goal, avoid any table in proximity to the one of women with pink binders stretched in front of them, praising each other on how stunning they look.

I had literally opened my laptop and turned it on when one intrusive female was hovering over me asking if I minded if she interrupted my lunch because, and I’m quoting here, she’s “been trained to pick out professional women.” Well-played lady, well-played

She introduced herself as Vickie, and went on to tell me that she owns her own beauty consultation company. Vickie “would love to offer me a free microdermabrasion.” A micro-what? Vickie says she’s certain that I have “a few glamorous friends who would love to join me at her home studio for a makeover.” “Beautiful people run with beautiful crowds,” Vickie says to me with a wink. Oh Vickie, you’re good.

And “as a professional woman,” she’s “sure that I know the importance of a professional appearance.” Clearly Vickie is not so sure of this. But not to worry, my new friend here is more than happy to help me “by simply accentuating my natural features.”

In my mind I say to this woman: “Look Vickie, I’ve been living in a world of hell for the last few months working seven days a week and going to school full time. Yes, I know I look tired, that’s because I am tired. 8 am is brutal, I used to sleep ‘til noon and now they want me to be at work, looking professional and functioning like a professional before the sun rises. While I’m buried under a mountain of paperwork, my friends are poolside or day drinking, enjoying their summer vacations. And all I want right now, at this exact moment, is for you to return to the Pink Ladies over there and let me write in peace. This is the only break I get until 5. Ok? Thanks.

But instead, I smile and say “That sounds wonderful”

And make a mental note … tonight set more than one alarm, and at least an extra hour early.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Being a girl ain't easy"

May 13, the day I submitted my final Literary Theory paper I’ve been agonizing over for months. How did I celebrate this triumphant day?

With my annual visit to the OB-GYN


(What? I’m really in a cartoon mood these days …)

I mean, who wouldn’t want to celebrate the end of the hardest semester of life to date by lying back on a table, legs spread with someone feeling around down there? Wait, don’t answer that.

I truly wish guys could experience anything remotely close to these infamous “girl-doctor” visits, but hey “being a girl ain’t easy.” Since I’ve read Tucker Max’s I hope they Serve Beer in Hell, I’m familiar with how the guy STD testing works. Insert large rod into penis hole; sounds horrible. But guys, if you’re careful, you only have to experience this gut-wrenching experience a few times in life. As for girls, we’re not that lucky.

We get to live this exhilarating episode on a yearly basis. So in my book the score:
Guys- 1 Girls- 0

And because my mother is still more active with the scheduling of doctor visits; she’s been hard at work for over a month making appointments for both my sister and I. This is no easy feat for two reasons: 1. Jen and I both lead hectic lives, and 2. we both live in Charlotte … and our OB GYN is back in Winston-Salem. This is unfortunate, since I’ve lived in Charlotte for over four years now, but stick with what you know; and my gynecologist, Dr. R, is great.

Oh, and by the way, Dr. R … is playing for the guy’s team.

Some may think the fact that I’ve chosen a guy gynecologist is slightly unorthodox. I beg to differ. What is unorthodox; however, is that this is the same man who delivered me to my mom and dad (almost) twenty-four years ago.

Being sisters, Jen and I do things as a pair. Even when we don’t mean to, we like to do things together. Like the time we were roommates, or the time we bought our first pairs of TOMS at the same time. Or like this week when we each picked up nasty speeding tickets within forty-eight hours of each other. Add girl-doctor visits to this list, and since she had the more fortunate - or unfortunate - exam schedule, she made her way up I-85 two days earlier than me.

So this morning I geared up for this awkward experience. After changing into the distorted sheet disguised as a gown, they ask you to sit your bare ass onto a freezing table. There is a sheet there, but who are they kidding? There is no escaping this brutal coldness.

This charming affair is then followed up with a series of questions:

Nurse- “Do you smoke?”

Jordan- “Nope”

Nurse- (Eyebrows raised, accusatory voice) … “You don’t smoke, at all?”

Awesome, pegged me for a smoker. I’m in my freaking work clothes lady, do I smell like smoke?

Jordan- “Nope”

Nurse- “Ok then, what about drinking? Do you drink?”

Jordan- “Yes”

Nurse- “How often do you drink?”

What an awful question, can I pass?

Jordan- “Ummmm”

Nurse- (Slightly annoyed) “How many times a week?”

Jordan- “Maybe a few times”

Nurse- “So, three times a week?”

Jordan- “Yeah, let’s go with three”

Nurse- “How many drinks each time?”

Jordan- “umm … maybe 2 or 3?”

Nurse- “So around 10 drinks a week?”

Jordan- my math says 6 to 9, but what do I know –English major … “Sure”

Nurse- “And are you sexually active?”

This question, not my favorite; she was looking for the one word answer. Instead she got my quick and blurted out response of …

Jordan- “I have a boyfriend!”

Nurse- (Slightly more annoyed …) “So, is that a yes?”

Really this should be a questionnaire I fill out and hand back so we can avoid this lovely conversation in the future. Not that I don’t love conversing with the nurse and all that, since we all know in the case of the guy gynecologist the nurse’s real role: the buffer. There’s no fooling this girl. It would be nice though if next to the “Are you sexually active?” question there was room for comments. This way I could write things like: “I have been dating him for X amount of time” or “… And I’ve known him forever.” Can I motion for this? Anybody second it?

So basically I thought my experience was less than enjoyable, but as I was bitching about this to my sister on my drive back to Charlotte she revealed her experiences two days prior, and as it happens, I got off easy.

My mom had asked if I wanted her to meet me today, but I declined. This morning I almost called and asked her to meet me anyway because it would be really nice to see her, I miss my mom every day. But last minute decided I’d already let her off the hook, why mess up her morning. If I had considered exactly what this visit would entail, the idea never would have crossed my mind.

My sister, not as lucky; while the nurse quizzed my sister on her various habits … my mother was posted up one seat over hanging on her every word.

You can imagine how embarrassing this must be for my (almost) twenty year old sister. Did I also mention that our birthdays are five days apart? See, everything together.

And when the nurse turned to my sister and posed the sexually active question it was my mother who beat her to the chase.

Nurse- “Are you sexually active?”

(Jennah opens mouth to answer, Mother interjects …)

Mom- “Yes, yes she is”

(Jennah looks mortified, turns to our mother …)

Mom- “What? Your father and me, we’re not stupid, you know”

(Jennah still looks mortified)

Mom- (to nurse) “She’s been dating her boyfriend for four years”

Looks like we’re not the only ones who need justification …

Mom- (to Jennah) “If you’re anything like your dad and me …”

This is the point my sister stopped the conversation in its tracks. This makes sense, no wonder the nurse didn’t seem overly joyful this morning. More than likely she was disappointed that I showed up solo today. No one entertains like my mother.

In synopsis, or to reiterate, being a girl ain’t easy. The yearly OB GYN visit equates to filing and paying taxes – both equally dreaded and unpleasant; but at least you can pack twelve months of breathing room in between.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"No, I don't need to watch Obama on CSPAN ... I follow him on Twitter."

I have to pick on my friend for a minute … or well, for a blog

The identity of this ambitious friend of mine, of course, can’t be revealed. Henceforth we’ll call him Smart Guy, which is self-explanatory, right? I will, however, expose the meeting place of said friend and myself, our initial encounter: Twitter.

No need to re-read that last sentence, Smart Guy and I really did first become acquainted via Social Media. You see, we’re both Charlotte residents, both follow and are followed by the same people. We even throw up hashtags and trend similar topics; seems inevitable that we would become tweeting cohorts, right?

Somewhere people (mom) are reading this and they’re pondering, “What exactly is a hashtag?” … and to them I say, google it – which is precisely what I did, by the way. Anyway, back to my smart friend and our more recent conversation which naturally landed him here. My smart friend keeps me in the loop with his dating endeavors, which is fascinating. I love to listen to guys discuss the girls they’re into. Girls, guys are absolutely just as nervous, excited, petrified, and sappy as we are – they just conceal it a hell of a lot better.

Just the other day, Smart Guy messages me (yes, via Twitter) to update me on his more recent love affair. He and this new girl of his have already gone down the path of the drunken make-out session, and like any budding romance, flirtatious texts/tweets have been exchanged.

However, soon after, love interest must have lost interest. Twice plans were made, and twice plans were broken. And since the pilot of the last-minute cancellations was a text message and since this is my smart friend we’re talking about – he shrugged his shoulders, and he let it go.

Post this short-lived romance Smart Guy’s love interest threw him what we’ll call a curve ball. And by the time this friend of mine communicated his recent bungled romance, he was already terribly concerned. His pressing concern: the second night she cancelled she “Liked” his Facebook status, and Smart Guy wants to know, “How do I respond to that?”

When I read this, I laughed out loud. Smart Guy – if you’re reading this, I absolutely couldn’t help myself. He followed this up: “Do I unfollow her?” and also, “She’s my Facebook friend” … “Do we stay Facebook friends?”

Being a terrible friend, I honestly didn’t know how to answer this. My first response: extreme laughter. My second response: what a ridiculous question. Who cares about Social Media?

I am so wrong.

And the more I pondered my guy friend’s dilemma, the more I realized this. I thought back to the day my facebook status changed … and with it the world as I knew it. Then I thought about how I religiously check my Facebook/Twitter at work, or in class. Just to see, I conducted my own experiment. Having drinks with a few of my friends the other night I made mental notes (and napkin notes) on our references to Social Media. Below are just a few of the statements that made it into our two hour session:

“Yeah, they’re dating. I saw it on Facebook today”

“She’s disgusting, do you read her tweets?”

“He tweeted they were hanging out tonight”

“Please put that on Facebook!”

“Please don’t put that on Facebook!”

“Oh my God, I’m tweeting what you just said”

“He follows me; I wonder why he doesn’t follow you?”

“Oh, his tweets are the best!”

“I had to stop following her, she tweets non-stop”

“I can’t believe you untagged me”

And finally … this one was directed at me:

“Jordan, why did you take down your relationship status with Ben, his is still up … I checked.”

I don’t know that in our two hour conversation we discussed anything else even remotely close to how often we covered Social Media. We literally stumbled into a Facebook or Twitter comment with every topic. It is no secret these social mediums have revolutionized everything. Social Media is our new book, our new magazine, our new paper. It’s our new CNN and our new ESPN, our new chat room, our new scrapbook; Social Media is our new reality.

When we’re not communicating through it, we’re communicating about it. So of course Smart Guy is confused about what he’s supposed to do now. If you have a fight with someone or you break up, or if your friendship ends - is it only appropriate to de-friend on Facebook?

Sadly I admit I have been both the de-friender, and the de-friended. And when it occurs, is it because we’re trying to prove a point or are we just desperately attempting to avoid any information we’d rather not know? Do we feel as if our de-friending action is appropriate, or is it just spiteful?

And more importantly, how did we get here? To this place where in order to be in a legit relationship I have to confirm the Facebook relationship status request, or to let someone know they’ve hurt my feelings in some way I have to click the “Unfriend” icon? Is this modern advancement the culprit behind the demise of face to face problem solving.

In this Social Media world are we marketing ourselves, or are we just marketing our social circles?

And because this idea is stuck in my mind, I did research i.e. I googled Social Media cartoons. What? They’re a good time …

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bathroom Banter

I must have a face that reads:
“Yes, tell me everything you’ve got … no really, what’s on your mind?”

For as far back as I can remember, which is pretty far (those of you who were members of my first grade class at Westfield Elementary know this to be fact), people have felt compelled to divulge even their more personal thoughts and affairs when the only dialogue we’ve exchanged is the simple “hello.”

I’m not sure why people feel the need to do this, or why I’m the candidate deemed worthy of their private notions, but for some reason I’m the dart board for random chitchat. Like the maintenance guy who, when performing his routine maintenance check in my apartment, exposed his boss’ current affair with the “cougar in building 9.” Turns out, the head maintenance guy for my apartment complex is getting more action than I am. Good for him. Not good, however, for the husband of said “cougar.”

I’ve even found that sometimes the “hello” isn’t even a necessary prerequisite for a unique conversation to launch. Take for example the conversation I had three weeks ago while in line to use the bathroom in the downtown area of Disney World. The line stretched for what seemed like miles, and I was close to the end of it. This is about the time the woman directly in front of me in line turned to me and informed me that “all Florida is anymore is immigrants who can’t speak a word of English.”

Apparently this woman had already sized me up enough to know that I wasn’t A. from Florida, and B. an immigrant. More than likely my pasty complexion gave me away. Now if it were my sister standing in my place, I bet this exchange would never have taken place.

Anyway, back to bathroom banter … To this statement I just smiled because really – what do you say to that? But not to worry, my new lady friend was armed with the follow up: “you’re not from around here are you?”

I informed her that no, I was a North Carolina girl born and bred, to which she responded with: “North Carolina, huh? You sure don’t sound like it.”

Now the bathroom line was rather lengthy, but by the time we reached the front of it I now knew the following about my new acquaintance:

1. Her name is Gloria

2. She liked my dress, bought one like it last week at the Dress Barn but her “idiot husband” left it at the table in the mall food court after they had lunch.

3. Lunch that day was Sbarro, by the way.

4. Sbarro is husband’s favorite, although Gloria is not sure why.

5. This place closes at midnight but teenage kids run around ‘til 2 am most nights.

6. Gloria thinks parents that let their kids stay out this late are “morons;” and this is because really “the only thing open past midnight are legs.”

7. The lady currently in the family bathroom has now been in there with her two kids for over 8 minutes.

8. This pisses Gloria off. She was first in line for the family bathroom.

Eventually we make it to the head of this line and a stall opens up. Gloria, as she is in front of me in line, vanishes behind stall door. When the next stall opens up I make moves, and take one guess who’s stall I’ve landed next to … lucky me.

Gloria shouts over the thunderous sounds of flushing toilets all around us: “Jordan? I thought so, recognized your shoes.”

And yes our conversation continued; no bathroom stall wall barrier could hinder this essential chat. And when I was washing my hands directly after, Gloria was washing one sink over declaring that this bathroom “stinks to high heaven,” and the Disney people should really do a better job cleaning this bathroom. Gloria bets the family bathroom is much cleaner.

In synopsis, people I’ve never met always feel comfortable revealing their personal thoughts with me. Maybe that’s why as a writer I feel little apprehension and I tend to “bare all,” as my roommate put it this morning. I keep a journal of these random instances of dialogue, and in 80+ years when I’m long gone I hope that my young-Chase Utley look alike- husband discovers them and publishes them.

They will be great stories for the kids someday.

The Crier

The Meeting: I am -in no way- a sappy, emotional, lovey-dovey kinda girl. So when I met “The Crier,” I didn’t know what I was getting into. This guy approached me while I was enjoying a Guinness. He was sipping on a Woodchuck. This should have been a red flag. Attempting to be smooth he offered to buy me a drink; a Snake Bite, a Guinness/Woodchuck version of a Black and Tan. I found his symbolic gesture both clever and nauseating, but he was cute, so in the end-he won me over.

Memorable Moments: It was the “The Crier,” who first introduced me to Soul-still one of my favorite Charlotte restaurants.

Pros: He was a late night meal genius, and a girl’s gotta eat.

Cons: The night he dropped the “I love you,”…I was in no way ready for it, and when I couldn’t return the sentiment “The Crier,” earned his name. From there on, every instance in which I didn’t say “I love you” back, I was subject to a flood. And as time went on if I was having a bad day and didn’t want to talk about it, he cried. If I didn’t call him back immediately, he pouted and followed it up with a good cry. But our drenched battles weren’t the only emotional annihilation to our relationship. This guy’s reoccurring dialogue: “What’s wrong?” or “I’m just sort of down today, can we talk about it?” and “what are you thinking about right now?” I’m thinking the next time I buy tampons-I’ll buy extra. Some girls love the emotional guys-but not this one, and this brutal breakup resulted in one storm I needed an umbrella to weather.

Raw Score: 3/10. With my friends, this guy has been “The Crier” so long most of them have forgotten his real name.  And they aren't the only ones.

The Frat Guy

The Meeting: Freshman year. I was young, I was naïve-but lucky for me so was “The Frat Guy.” I met this Mountain Khakis wearing, Wallabee donning, bow-tie loving pledge through mutual friends. He was standing in a group of his collar shirted brothers, but you couldn’t miss this guy if you tried thanks to his absurd height, lanky build, and one big goofy grin--he was too adorable for words.

Memorable Moments: Our first fraternity date function-allow me to paint the picture of boxed wine and solo cups. “The Frat Guy” was still in the infamous pledging period: horror for a pledge, entertainment for the rest of us. The wine was to be served to the guests and who better for the job than the pledges themselves…in their underwear. Wait, it gets better. Not only was my date dressed in only boxers, but the brothers were armed with Sharpies and my cute little date became a cute little canvas. The graffiti process left him bearing the words “tool bag” and “douche,” among others. A lot of Franzia later, I nodded off (passed out) in “The Frat Guy’s” arms. Sweet, right? Wrong. The romance died fast in the morning when I discovered Sharpie does in fact rub off, and I had the remains of a drawn penis on my face to prove it.

Oh, freshman year.

Pros: I was dating the pledge. Therefore this relationship came with my own personal Designated Driver.

Cons: I was dating the pledge. This meant you could throw self-respect and dignity right out the window.

Raw Score: 7.5/10. This guy had two big things going for him. One, the fraternity’s formal meant a rather nice beach vacation; and two, he lived in a house with 15+ guys. What are the odds?

The Clinger

The Meeting: In the aftermath of “The Old Guy,” my friends did what they always do post-breakup: become matchmakers. To be fair, if repairing a love life is your calling in life, consider me your ultimate project. If I had a dime for every time my girl friends said to me, “I know just the guy for you,” well let’s just say my student loans would be non-existent. It is a proven fact that all couples really want one thing: another couple to hang with; and my friends are the ultimate double dating schemers. Thus my life has become the poster child for the infamous blind dating saga. Meet the recent product of this: “The Clinger.”

Memorable Moments: Ironically the most memorable moment was also the deal-breaker. After driving past a pumpkin patch I mentioned wanting to carve one, and he remembered. Days later he was helping me move and asked if he could borrow $20. I handed him cash and he was pumpkin patch bound seeking one, round housewarming gift…that I bought myself?

Pros: Good memory?

Cons: This guy was head over heels, in a matter of weeks. He went above and beyond showing his mother my picture on Facebook. He showed his co-workers, his brother, his brother’s wife, aunts, uncles, cousins, his boss etc. etc. What first seemed harmless, almost endearing-turned full circle. So I ended this budding relationship and went back to living my life sans boyfriend; only “The Clinger,” wasn’t having it. Not only did he post up in the parking lot and refuse to leave until I agreed to a conversation, but he was also a regular commenter on any and all of my Facebook photos. And when my sappy ex’s dedicated attempts came up short, he was quick to inform me that I was cold-hearted and evil…on facebook.

Raw Score: 1/10. “The Old Guy” was actually starting to look pretty good.

The Old Guy

The Meeting: After countless failed relationships with guys my own age, when I met “The Old Guy,” I thought- hey, why not? I was approaching the end of my undergrad years when I met this guy at the bar, where he held regular status. On a side note, meeting guys at places I work under no circumstances ever works out; one would think I would have learned my lesson by now-oh, well.

Memorable Moments: This guy shared my love of baseball, and for my birthday he flew me first class to Philadelphia to see my Phillies defeat the Cincinnati Reds in a 4-game sweep.

Pros: Aside from baseball, “old guy” also shared my deep fervor for books, Quentin Tarantino films, organic food, and Guinness by the pint.

Cons: Think about it-old guy falls for 23 year old girl. How cliché can we go here? I may have landed an older guy complete with interesting conversation and his undivided attention but I had done so by means of walking into the crosshairs of a mid-life crisis. When he wasn’t pounding protein shakes and participating in two-a-days at the gym, he was practicing his new hobby of Tae Kwon Do. This meant two things: 1. Every time we went out he wanted to demonstrate his TKD skills with high kicks aimed at his guy friends, over and over again. His idea of flexibility=my idea of humiliation. 2. There was no chance of walking by a mirror/window without this guy checking himself out: flexing, turning from side to side…you get the picture.

Raw Score: 3/10. Got to give this guy some credit. He did spoil me in unimaginable ways, so why the low score? Did I mention the relationship ended post one interesting evening involving my walking in on “The Old Guy” in bed with one former friend? Former friend who happened to be 24. Imagine that.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jordan Revisits Painful Childhood Memory

Let’s take it back to first grade.

My small hometown divided up its elementary schools into Shoals and Westfield, and I had the pleasure of attending both; which was neat considering they were both brand new schools when I was leaving Kindergarten. My first grade year I roamed the freshly painted red hallways of Westfield Elementary for the first time - this meant I was part of the student body which voted on the school’s mascot.

Naturally my choices of “unicorn” and “koala bear” were ruled out long before the ballot surfaced. What? I was on a Lisa Frank kick. Who wasn’t? Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled with the nearly unanimous winner of “Westfield Warriors.”

On a side note - I would like to note that the following year when I tumbled into Shoals Elementary, where my mom was working at the time, I was also part of the students who were voting on the school’s mascot. Sadly, no matter how hard I petitioned, my personal preference of “Dolphin” didn’t quite make the cut.

So now I’ve unsuccessfully been one “Westfield Warrior,” and one “Shoals’ Mountaineer.” This is more than likely the reason I’m so adamant about names. People who know me are saying to themselves: “ah ha, now that makes sense.”

Back to first grade. I could write an entire book on my only year as a “Westfield Warrior.” It was the year I left behind Kindergarten and my naptime mat was swiped right out from under me. At first this was a tragedy, but my oldest-child syndrome quickly had me relishing in the “Big Girl” mentality. The first grade was very special to me for a number of reasons, one in particular:

My first crush, I can’t believe I’m divulging this information. If anybody tells him or if he reads this I will be mortified. Wait, who am I kidding? Brandon Sisk, the same boy who five years later would make me cry on the school bus because all three names “Jordan,” “Chance” and “Bullington” were guy names, or so he said. Ah, first loves.

Anyway, back to first grade. This boy was IT for me. I’m sure I wrote his name in pencil, only to quickly erase it from my flat top gray desk, a hundred times a day. Unfortunately, Brandon belonged to someone else – Sarah Sutphin. Sarah, if you’re reading this I was utterly jealous of you at age 6. Now you know why.

Our teacher, Mrs. McHone (wonderful, wonderful, wonderful woman) picked a Student of the Week every week. If you were the Student of the Week you got to write the date on the board every day and you got to be in charge when Mrs. McHone left the room – aka – you got to write the names of the talkers/troublemakers on the board. Social alienation begins early in small towns.

But the coolest thing about being the Student of the Week was that on the last day of that week the rest of the class wrote you a letter stating what they liked about you. Most of these letters were generic. I can’t tell you how many “Thanks for being a good friend!” letters I got. When the week finally arrived that Brandon Sisk was the Student of the Week, I sat at my mom’s desk at home for hours every night writing rough drafts of his letter.

I wanted mine to be special. I believe I was thinking if I write the perfect letter it would shine amongst the standard “You are the best speller!” letters. I thought surely this letter would convince Brandon to dump Sarah Sutphin and become my boyfriend right away. I could see it clearly, if I could just get the words right Brandon would read them and feel suddenly compelled to make me his girlfriend. Oh, naivety.

I would write a letter, read it over, and immediately ball it up and condemn it to the wastebasket. No matter what words I used, and they were fancy thanks to my mom’s serious dictionary and thesaurus, I just couldn’t seem to get it right. But on the day of, I had finally decided what the letter would say. I had also hand-written it a dozen times so that the handwriting was perfection.

I wish I had this letter in my possession today, for no other reason than sheer entertainment. I do distinctly remember one line of it though:

“… and I also noticed that you eat those Orange Creamsicle ice cream bars at lunch, they are my favorite.”

Obviously my smooth-talking ways started young …

I slipped that letter I worked so diligently on into the pile of letters from our classmates forming on Brandon’s desk. Later that morning, while we were coloring our whale drawings to hang around Mrs. McHone’s desk, Brandon got to sit in the Student of the Week chair and read all of our letters.

Even at the age of 23, I can’t put into words the feelings I had when out of the corner my eye I witnessed Brandon reach for, and begin reading, my letter. It was a mix of exhilaration, anxiety, valor, and humiliation all fused together - and it was seeping through my pores. I literally felt so overwhelmed with emotion I could burst.

But Brandon Sisk read though my week’s work in a matter of 15 seconds or less and discarded it among the rest.

All those nights of work, for nothing; silently, I sat at my desk cursing myself for using such big words. What was I thinking? I was trying so hard to impress this crush of mine with all those ritzy words from my mom’s dictionary, poor Brandon probably didn’t even know what I was talking about at all.

And worse, at lunchtime my heart might as well have plummeted right into my tray of creamed corn when I looked down our classroom lunch table and discovered Brandon Sisk – sitting alongside one Sarah Sutphin … and eating a Nestle Drumstick.

My first heartbreak. When I left Westfield and entered Shoals I thought I was leaving all those painful memories behind, but I wasn’t so lucky. You see, both elementary schools just so happen to flood into one middle school, and there he was again five years later. But by then I’d already made my place with the “cool kids” from Shoals. As it happens, being the first kid to get braces is elevating. Who knew?

A final note, Brandon Sisk is now happily married. Several years ago, when I was home for a brief visit, I had the pleasure of running into him and his (now) wife. At the time they were just dating, but she was adorable and super sweet, and from what I understand she’s amazing. I wish them the very best!