Wednesday, April 29, 2009

*plants flag*

I appreciate frankness. In high school, I had a crush on a boy named Alex, and I was baffled by the way he treated me. He  sometimes told me I was cute, and he sometimes sent me texts that said things like, "Do you like fire?" Needless to say, I couldn't tell if he A) had a crush on me, too, or B) had heard I would be a good accomplice in starting a forest fire.

Sara: I'm just going to ask him if he likes me.
Friends: No.
S: No? Why? 
F: It will scare him off.
S: Really? Wow. He's really going to need to grow a backbone before we embark on our life of crime.

In my experience, even frankness is too subtle for some people.

S: Did you send me a text asking if I liked fire?
Alex: Yeah. I have a fire-pit in my backyard, and I wanted to invite you over to make S'mores.
S: OH. I didn't respond to it because I thought you were criminally-minded. You can invite me some other time. I love S'mores. And I also have a crush on you. Good combo!
*two weeks later*
S: Are you ever going to ask me out?
A: Wait, what? You'd go out with me?
S:...I sort of thought that was obvious after telling you I liked you.
A: I thought you were joking!

At this point in my long, wisdomous life, passive aggressiveness is my least favorite thing. You can imagine that I was somewhat stunned to find myself engaged in a long, drawn-out, passive aggressive war, then. The concealed, subtly expressed hatred my nemesis and I have for each other was discovered the first day we met in math class. He was sitting a few rows to my left. I was chatting quietly with Casey. Our ears perked up when he started discussing our college, and said, "I haven't met a girl who goes there who's actually intelligent."

Sara: *glares*
Opponent: *feels it*
S: *keeps glaring*
O: *ignores it*
S: You realize girls from the college are in this class.
O: It occurs to me, yes.
S: Well, then.
O: Well.

And thus our romance began. Things got more heated when he transferred into one of my English classes. Aside from one full-blown argument in which neither of us looked at each other while we insulted each other from across the classroom, we've generally pretended the other doesn't exist. Actually, we had one impromptu staring contest. But other than that, nothing. Until today.

Today our English teacher was gone, but had left a video for us to watch. Since he informed us in advance that he wouldn't be there and that there wouldn't be a sign-in sheet, there was an astounding turn-out of three. I was the first one there. My arch-nemesis, looking especially size zero today in his skinny jeans and oversized shirt, walked through the door next. When he saw I was the only other one there, he was so overcome with joy, he hardly knew how to express it.

O: Are you fucking kidding me?
S: Yes. This is all a joke. 
O: No one else is going to show up, are they?
S: Aside from the girl who's supposed to bring the video, no.

We eyed each other, and then he took our You Aren't Even Here Right Now policy to new heights.

O: Are you in my math class?
S: I don't know. What math are you in?
O: Ninety.
S: Oh. Yeah. You sit in front of me, don't you?
O: I don't know.
S: Hm.

After a few moments, I heard him mutter something.

S: Are you speaking?
O: Yes.
S: Oh. I couldn't quite tell.
O: I said, "Nice to meet you." *sticks out hand*
S: *eyes warily*
O: I have no idea what your name is.
S: *shakes hand* It's Sara.
O: Great.

We didn't say anything else to each other, and we ignored each other on the way out of the room. 

But is it just me, or did I just totally win whatever argument we were having?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This must be how sugar cookies feel all the time.

My energy level is through the roof today. And I live on the bottom floor of a three-story building. It has to go a long way to get to the roof. The reasons for this, I believe, are two-fold:

Fold One: Following my erratic, ADD post yesterday about INTENSITY and LITERATURE and ACCIDENTALLY HARMING PEOPLE, my English class this morning had a class-long discussion about what makes literature valuable or worthy of anthologizing, and why do we read the things we read, and why do we enjoy them or dismiss them, and why is it easier to say why a piece is bad than to explain what makes it good, and if our civilization ended, and a new species found our planet and exactly one piece of literature remained here, would we rather they find Paradise Lost, or Harry Potter? And it reminded me, yet again, why I love this major, and why it's okay if I fail math. And now I am ALIVE with PASSION that needs CAPS.

Fold Two: I had coffee for breakfast.

I have been very productive since I replaced my blood with caffeine (and PASSION). I caught up on all my correspondences (facebook wall posts), I went on a walk, I did my Italian homework, and ate some white bean and basil hummus with naan bread and watched an episode of House. When that was done, and Casey was busy, I had to find something else to do. So I went on a quest to find the answer to a question I've had for weeks.

What are the lyrics to Erika Jo's "I Break Things"?

First of all, if you haven't heard this song, go listen to it now. I don't care how you manage it. But this song is a work of genius, and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't tell you so.

Second of all, WHAT ARE THE LYRICS? Casey and I have been singing it for weeks, very loudly, while driving on our various Errands of Importance to find ice cream, or hummus, or grilled cheese(s), or french fries. The lyrics are very straightforward and awesome until one indiscernible line.

Casey: What is a nanvil?
Sara: I don't know. It sounds like a prescription medicine for headaches.
C: Why is it in this song?
S: Nanvils are in this song?
C: Yeah. She goes, "You say I'm nothing you can't handle. You're tougher than a nanvil."
S:...I think she's saying, "an anvil."
C: Oh. Yeah. That makes more sense.

Except then we stopped to think about it, and being tougher than an anvil actually doesn't make sense. Heavier than an anvil? Sure. More likely to fall on a cartoon character's head than an anvil? Okay. But tougher? We think not. 

We started rewinding the song so we could listen to that line over and over again.

C: Enamel? Is it saying enamel? That would make sense!
S: But I hear a "v" sound! Listen. *rewinds*
C: I hear it, too. But...what would a "v" be doing there? *rewinds*
S: Canville? Is she saying Canville? Is that like a really tough city? That would make sense, too. *rewinds*
C: Is "inanvil" a word? Maybe that whole phrase is just one word. *rewinds*
S: Ganvil?
C: That sounds like Gandalf.
C: Except that it wouldn't.
S: Right, except for that. *rewinds*

I know country songs don't always really care about the sense thing so much, but seriously. What is this line? I've been trying to figure it out for, like, half an hour. It's nearly pathetic.

And maybe Nanvil is an extra-strength medicine, and E.Jo is tougher on headaches than they are.

Help me. Or tell me you've horribly misheard songs, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's personal story day here at Pinking

So most people I know who major in English have a very unique take on why they've chosen that particular educational path. They are not good at anything else. Today, in fact, I got a four-page email from a high school senior who's thinking of coming to my college and majoring in English, and she had oodles and bundles of questions about the English classes here, the professors, and my personal opinion on whether or not the program has fulfilled my interests. And I was like, "Shit, are you not good at anything else either? Trust me, you have found your people. All our interest(s) are very fulfilled. I like how you stretched one thing into four pages, though. You will write wonderful essays." 

You hear an author or a student or something go, "Yeah, I had to do this, I'm not good at anything else," and every other literarily-minded person laughs. But that's totally a joke. The thing is, we're just obsessed. English is a very broad thing, and we've decided to major in all of it and then also really study Medieval Literature or Creative Writing or Women Writers in Renaissance Italy. We don't have time to be good at other things. We usually don't really care about other things. We're totally weird people.

So in high school, I realized this about myself. I was one of those weird people. And I decided to become a writer and also either an editor or a literary agent. Something with books. Anything with books. I started interning for a literary agency last summer, and I'm interning with a publishing house in New York this summer. I get hate mail from authors when I give them notes on a full we requested and then passed on. I read them out loud, and usually in an accent. It's fantastic.

When I was interviewing for this internship in New York, I realized I had an actual problem.

Interviewer: Well, it seems like you'd be a great fit for our company, but we can't hire you without meeting you. How do you feel about coming to New York?
Sara: I feel great about it. I shall board a plane at once.
I: Really? It's a long way. And we can't pay for your flight.
S: That's fine. I have student loans already. I don't think a few hundred extra dollars makes a difference at this point.
I: Um. Well, I'd feel really badly if you came down here and it didn't work out for some reason. You know, we've had people who sound great over the phone, but then in person we--
S: Shut up. I'm perfect. I'll be there next Friday.

It occurred to me the day before I left that this was not the wisest choice I could have made, and that I should tone things down for the actual interview. "DON'T TONE THEM DOWN," a man selling me interview heels told me while I explained the situation that had brought me to his store. "Keep them at this exact intensity level. RAISE THE INTENSITY LEVEL." I'm easily impressed by loud, passionate statements. "OKAY," I said. 

I still don't know how I got that job, really.

Anyway. None of that is really the point. The point is I successfully talked Casey into ditching a class today for the first time ever, and while we were eating ice cream in the eight billion degree weather, she was explaining to me why she hadn't ever ditched a class and how she felt dedicated to them and then, somehow, how she wished she could Google stuff for a living because she's really good at it, and I was like, "I think I only get along this well with people who are as weirdly intense about crap as I am."

Victoria is, too. You should have seen her in high school. There is a blog post floating around somewhere on the internet about watching her check to see if she'd gotten into her top choice college. She and I spend days and days having panic attacks over our careers (which haven't started), and obsessively winding and unwinding plots (for books, not world domination).

But my intense love of intensity was driven home when, after explaining to Casey how I had once accidentally dropped a billiard ball on a girl's head and how badly I felt about it and how the girl hadn't graduated from high school and I always wondered if I was responsible for that, she went:

C: I once gave a girl stitches.
S: How?
C: I hit her. 

There was a whole story, of course. But that sentence was magical.

So what are you passionate about? I think everyone is secretly super intense about something. What's that thing for you?

Monday, April 20, 2009

I've reached new heights of laziness

On Friday, Casey and I decided to take the weekend off from work. Since neither of us have weekend jobs, we had to find a new way to do that. We packed our bags and made extravagant plans to go blob at my house and do as little homework as possible.

I was impatiently sitting with my suitcase in my room, sending her Skype messages.

Sara: Are you ready?
Casey: Almost.
S: How almost?
C: Five minutes.
S: That seems like an unreasonable amount of time.
C: To pack a suitcase?
S: If I come help, it'll be two and a half.
C: If you come help, we'll be here another hour.
S: I'm coming over. I'll show you how to stuff everything into your bag without folding it and still be able to zip it without sitting on it. You'll have to carry all your toiletries, though.
C: Can you distract yourself for three minutes please?
S:...I--I can try. I have a funny taste in my mouth. Should I brush my teeth?
C: Yes. Definitely.

I got my toothbrush and my toothpaste, walked out the door, and thought, "I feel so weird walking out of my room without a purse. I wonder why I always bring it with me." I had just pulled the door shut with an echoing click when I remembered, "Oh, right. Because I keep my keys in there."

"NOOO," I said, clinging to my door. But it had locked behind me.

Casey came upon me a few minutes later, plastered between the doorframe.

S: Yep.
C: What are you doing?
S: Nothing.
C: Did you lock yourself out?
S: Perhaps.
C: And how many times have you done this now?
S: *holds up four fingers*
C: Yeah. No more. Start locking your door yourself.

See, when this first happened, I complained bitterly that my door locked behind me in an unfixable way, and I was victim to its evil design. Then Casey found the button on the side of the door that lets me lock it myself when I get outside. But this takes an extra four to six seconds of effort on my part. Which is just too much.

Apparently, I'd rather wait for half an hour while a campus security officer finds the keys and lets me in.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'll let you know as soon as you can pre-order them on Amazon

Victoria and I are generally baffled by the book Twilight. The male lead, Edward, defies all kinds of logic.

Victoria: Wait...on page twenty it says Edward's voice is musical, but on page twenty-three, it's velvety.
Sara: I didn't know velvet could be musical.
V: I once saw this fake velvet Christmas tie at the dollar store, and when you hit, it played Jingle Bells.
S: Well, I guess that's what they're referring to. That hardly seems appealing, does it? "His voice was like a dollar store tie that played Christmas songs"? Can that be right?
V: Unless we've missed a category of singing velvet, I think it must be.
Apparently he is all kinds of sexy, but we're having a hard time understanding the appeal.

Victoria and I have rather lavish plans of becoming best-selling authors ourselves, so whenever a book becomes as vastly popular as something like Twilight, we feel more or less obligated to read it. We're pretty sure each author has some sneaky, diabolical plan for how to get people to read their book, and we intend to discover this plan, and then use it ourselves. Hijack it, you could say. But with less implication of violence. What's the word for that? Commandeering? The not nice way of borrowing? I don't know. Let's just stay with hijacking and add some violence in there so it fits.

I'm feeling very generous tonight, so I'm going to give you a sneak-peek at some of the many titles we plan to soon make famous:

The Perilous Passions of Penelope
The Billionaire Italian Cowboy's Virgin Mistress's Secret Baby
High Seas and High C's: A Pirate's Quest to Star in Cats 
Jake Johnson and the Giant Geranium (critics say, "Like James and the Giant Peach, but better, because of the alliteration! Your kids will really appreciate that.")
The Day the Earth Kept Turning as Usual

We can hardly decide which one to write first.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I made an important decision today. If I ever release a very specific kind of genie, whose only power is to allow me to morph into an animal of my choosing, I will pick a lamb. There are many reasons for this, but the top ones are mostly that lambs' legs are stilt-y, and I would enjoy that for a change, and they snack all day and sleep in the sunshine. Also, they grow their own clothes. I would save a fortune. My wardrobe would be a bit limited, but I think it's worth it.

You know what's even weirder than that? I think about stuff like this all the time. Like, if I'm eating some really good pasta, I will say to myself, "If I ever release an evil genie who forces me to choose only one food to eat for the rest of my life, I will pick pasta." Or, "If I ever release a genie who will let me pop in and out of one book, I will pick The Golden Compass." Or, "If I ever release a genie who will let me own an endless amount of clothing in one color, I will go with a staple color. Like a dove gray. I won't pick pink. I CAN'T PICK PINK. I'll get sick of it. Gray. Dove gray. For the love of God, please don't come at a moment of weakness, One Color Clothes Genie."

I have no idea why I do this. I can't decide if it is one of those things everyone does in some form or another, or if it's just me. Casey and I play a variation of it called Three Things, where you ask a question like, "What three place would you like to be able to teleport to?" or "If you could only wear three kinds of shoes for the rest of time, what would they be?" And more recently, we've been playing a variation of *that* over on Musing's blog Three Words (, very cool). 

Anyways, the point is I was thinking today about all the genies I have theoretically released, and I wondered what other people would pick. So let's go with my latest creation, the Can Only Make You Morph Into One Animal Genie. What animal would you guys pick?

P.S. As a lambkins, I live in Tuscany, and roam free in a countryside free from all lamb-y predators. It's a good life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm Stunned

My college has a multitude of awesome things, not least of which is the on-campus, student-run coffeehouse. I love this place. When I came to visit the campus, the cookies they sold were my deal-sealer in deciding which school I would grace with my august presence.

So at the beginning of this year, when I heard they needed to someone to run the student cookie bakers, I jumped at the chance. I was officially named President of Cookies, and the title wasn't even my idea. It came with the job. It's actually on my resume. And it's pretty much the only reason I'm still doing it.

Managing people you cannot control through sheer will, or even stern talks, is rather more difficult than I thought it would be. I know, I am young and stupid. However, I set up a fairly stellar baking schedule and a flawless system. Or at least it would be flawless, but for whatever reason, practically everyone I hired seemed to immediately suffer some sort of neurological condition that impacted their memories. Some people forgot it was their day to bake (despite having an online schedule that emailed them when it was), and other people forgot to tell me when we ran out of ingredients (despite increasingly desperate emails from me and the manager of the coffeehouse), and still others forgot to buy ingredients on the rare occasion we knew we needed them (despite my pleas to please just DO THE JOB WE PAY YOU FOR). 

You read that parenthetical statement correctly. This is not volunteer, or just some fun gig we expect people to do for the four hours of super fun baking time in the small kitchen. We pay them. And still, they forget. I know it is just the nature of the beast; when you set up a system with college students that relies entirely on their own drive and motivation, you're going to have to go through a few rounds before you find people who do actually want to do the job.

My favorite story happened one day with a girl I'm going to call Marie. That's not her name, but I'm not nice to her in this story, so I feel like I should change it. Marie did her job. She was there every time she needed to be. And for that, I loved her. But whenever I saw her or talked to her, I was struck with the impression that she seemed too stupid to live.

This was confirmed one day when, by some measure of divine intervention, one my bakers remembered she had a job, and went to the kitchen to do it, only to discover we were out of oats for the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I initially told her this was impossible, as we bought oats that came something like 30 cups to the container, and the whole thing barely fit in a cabinet. She assured me that she had torn apart the cabinets, and that it wasn't there.

Now, I was so happy she was thinking about doing her job that I would have crab-walked to the grocery store to buy more oats if it just meant she would do it again sometime. Before making this extravagant offer though, I told her I would call Marie, who had baked the day before, and see if she knew anything concerning their whereabouts.

Marie: Hello?
Sara: Marie, hi! This is Sara.
M: Who?
S: Sara. Sara Kendall.
S: I run the cookie bakers.
S: Hello! I have a weird question. One of the bakers can't find the oats. Do you know what happened to them?
M: Yeah.
S: You do? Great!
M: Mm-hmm.
S: And what happened to them?
M: I have them.
S: With you?
M: Yeah.
S: In your dorm room?
M: Yeah.
S: Um. Why?
M: I was hungry yesterday when I finished baking, so I took them with me and made oatmeal.
S: Marie. Honey. No.

She kindly let me come to her dorm and pick them up from her roommate, as she was heading out to class.

Well, this semester, Marie asked if she could be in charge of finances, since our finances person was going to be writing thesis, and this would give us one less person to pay. I had several doubts, but despite her relative lack of judgement, she'd always done her job, and in the end, I handed it over to her.

That was in January. It's April now. No one has been paid.

I was alerted to the situation in late February, and tried to contact her. And tried. And tried. And got management involved. And tried with them. And sent her emails marked IMPORTANT. And left her forty-two messages. And went to her dorm. If I knew her class schedule, I would have become extra-creepy and waited for her there.

But we never heard from her. Since my bakers were a bit less than driven when they were being paid, you can imagine how they got when they weren't being paid.

Right before Spring Break, out of the blue, I got an email from her.

"Hi Sara," it says. "I got the checks picked up (finally). I'll put them in the mailboxes."

That was the entire email. I kid you not.


And I never heard from her again.

And we STILL didn't get the checks. Together, the bakers and I are out literally thousands of dollars. Okay? Thousands. This is not something I or any of the management have taken lightly. We actually DID go the registrar eventually and try to get her class schedule. 

I sent her another email today, fairly used to the daily insanity in my routine now that means contacting her and never getting results.

Well. She emailed me back. When I saw it in my inbox, I actually froze. I read the sender's name eight times before I realized yes, she had responded.

"Hi Sara," it said. "I actually left the school. I forgot to tell you, I guess. I gave the money to this girl in the mailroom. I think it should get to you."

Word for word, that's what she said.


Please, guys. Tell me you work with people like this. I don't want to be alone with all the crazy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Very Threatening Birthday

Once upon a time, there was Sara. The time she was at was college, and she was approaching her 21st birthday with much rapidity. Well, with the usual amount. She can't speed time up, after all. It just seemed fast, what with midterms happening, and finals around the corner, and trying to find a place to live this summer. By the way, does anyone have a recommendation for where Sara can live in New York? She--oh, wait. The story. Right.

*ahem* So time was slipping away from her faster than she could keep track. "My goodness!" she thought to herself, but with less polite words. "How is it already April? I must plan my celebration!" She took a break from her homework to plan a get-together with some friends, and then took another break to decide what her first legal ever drink should be.

But before she could make too many plans, the Mob found her.

They said cheerfully, on a card they had all pitched in for. Then things got ugly.

"That is some classic mob threatening," Sara thought. "It's right there with other famous threats, like, 'We hope you keep your mouth shut, Mr. Smith. It'd be a SHAME to have to break your pretty legs.'" 

She's not totally sure what kind of mob that was. Not the point! She was being tracked. From the image included, she could only guess that her end would be met at the hands of an intoxicated fish. THAT'S NOT HOW SHE WANTS TO GO, GUYS. 

The Mob offered to meet her at a secret location and exchange the card for a frozen yogurt gift certificate. Should she risk it?

Our story continues next week on, The Very Threatening Birthday, Part 2: Sara Meets Finny "Drunk-Pants" McFish.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You Learn Something New Everyday

I am very bad at understanding what people want. I hardly know what I want. I spend fifteen minutes everyday at the dining hall going, " I want ice cream? No. But maybe. But it's cold out. Is ice cream better in the cold? I should find out. Yeah. I want some. Oooo, look! Brownies! I want a brownie?" 

So I have an understandably hard time magically inferring what other people want. Most of my conversations go like this:

Guy Waiting in Line for Vending Machine: Do you have an extra quarter you're not using?
Sara: Yep. I also have two dimes and four pennies.
G: Great, thanks!
S: What for?
G: The extra quarter. 
S: You're thankful that I have one? 
G: Yes.
G: Um.
S: Do you--? OH! Oh, I see. I'm sorry.
G: Ha! That's okay. It's just one of those day--
S: You have OCD. You must compulsively find out what loose change everyone has. Well, sir, I have forty-nine cents.
G: I'm just going to go stand over there now.

I often don't realize my mistake until it's far too late to correct it. For instance, over the summer, my family bought a new car. This may sound very fancy and exciting, but it isn't. The last time we had needed a car was when gas prices started to go through the roof, and we needed something more economical. While we were purchasing a hybrid from a Honda dealership, a salesman cleverly noticed that my father was middle-aged, and was therefore due for a crisis. He offered my dad a "great deal, really great," on a second, sporty car if we bought it with the first. Without consulting the rest of us, he went ahead and bought a bright yellow S2000 convertible. 

This is the most out-of-character thing he's ever done. Considering this is the same man who refused to let us paint the walls any other color than white for the first eighteen years we lived in our house, and who was driving a white 1990 Volvo station wagon, and was purchasing a white Hybrid Civic because the gray was too "garish" and the other hybrids we looked at were too "flashy," we were just a tad shocked. He came back to himself soon enough, though. The convertible sat in our garage, with a car cover (yes, it was covered while in the garage), and we weren't allowed to walk past it. I'm not joking. If we were in another car that needed to be pulled up next to his car in the garage, all people who were not the driver needed to exit the car while it was still on the street and then walk into the house through the front door, not the garage door. We were not to touch it, remove the cover, or under any circumstances, emergencies included, dare to drive it.  This would make slightly more sense if he had very young children. But his kids were nineteen, seventeen, and sixteen.  

He drove the car a grand total of three times in the years he had it. During that time, we all became licensed drivers, and since his car was off-limits, it left his four family members sharing the Civic. Which did not work so well. So finally, over the summer, I convinced him the car was causing him more stress than it was worth, and he needed to turn it in and get something with a bit more room, and most importantly, something we could all drive. I accompanied him to the dealership to turn in his convertible. While he was signing paperwork, an apprentice car salesman, who was a bit older than me and fairly cute despite having braces, kept me company.

Apprentice Car Salesman: So, do you go to school?
Sara: Yeah, I do. I'm an English major.
A: Are you? Have you read Jack Kerouac's On the Road?
S: No, is it good?
A: It's wonderful. I have an extra copy, actually.
S: Really? With you here? Can I borrow it? I'm bored.
A: It's not with me, but if you want to come back with your dad when he turns in *random thing I have no clue about* I'll bring it for you. You can keep it and everything.
S: That's so nice! Thanks!
A: Sure thing. You'll have to call me when you're done, of course, and let me know how you like it.
A: Erm--sure.
S: Yay! It needs a name.
A: And maybe after--
S: The Roadsters. It refers to the book, but in public, people will think we're in a motorcycle gang. 
A: Uh-huh. And maybe after, we can, you know, apply our favorite parts of the book to our lives.
S:...Are you asking me to take a road trip with you? Because I don't know you well enough for that.
A: Um.

Well, as it happens, I completely forgot about our book club the next day, and never saw him again. But today, in one of my classes, a short story we read referred to On the Road, and it made me think of him. And not in the best light. I still haven't read it, but our teacher summarized it briefly for us.

HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW MUCH SEX IS IN THAT BOOK? DO YOU REALIZE WHAT HE WAS ASKING ME TO DO? And it's FAR too late for me to go back to the dealership, give him a piece of my mind, and slap him dramatically. I had no idea. And I am much offended now.

Also, the car we got after turning in the convertible works out much better for our family. We can all drive it; just as long as we have called my dad and gotten his express permission, agree not to drive anyone else in it, and park it in the center of the driveway when we're done so we don't scratch the sides on the garage.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sad Story of Giovanni Marco. Don't Worry. It Has a Happy Ending.

Guys, I'm sorry, I don't mean to brag here, but I am just a fantastic friend. I began to suspect this last night whilst I was simultaneously convincing Casey it would be a good idea to stay up until 2:30 and only get five hours of sleep, AND giving Victoria valuable advice on things she should buy me in China. But the point was really driven home today in my Italian class.

We were learning the conditional tense, which expresses things you would do or should do in given situations. In the last fifteen minutes of class, our professor had us use the things we'd learned that day to construct a few sentences on what we would do to cheer up a depressed friend.

Sara: What is the friend's name?
Professor: Does it matter?
Sara: Yes. Very much.

Good, I thought. I can work with that name. I can see Giovanni now. He's a bit tall, and on the lanky side of things. He's come to California from Italy, and he can't speak English. He forgot to take language into account when he decided to study abroad. As a result, he's failing out of his classes. The one person he could speak to, his girlfriend, Margherita, just left him for someone much better looking. On the way home from being broken up with, tears fill his eyes. No, he thinks. I can't cry. I won't. He's a brave fellow. Unfortunately, the non-tears blur his vision, and he crashes his car into the median. He tries to call a tow truck, but the Tow Truck Man can't speak Italian, and assuming he's being insulted, hangs up on him. Giovanni tries to hitchhike. A group of friendly-looking boys stop their car and ask if he needs help. "Dear, sweet American boys, I can't speak English," he tells them in Italian, "but my heart is breaking, and my soul is aching, and all I want to do is get back to my dorm, buy a pint of ice cream, and watch sad, artistic Italian films." The boys turn to one another. "He doesn't speak English," one of them notes intelligently. "I think he's speaking French," another says. "He is insulting us!" remarks a third. "Get him!" Not knowing how to "get him" though, as the most they've ever fought is shoving each other while half-drunk, the boys settle for pushing him down and stealing his wallet. Giovanni, losing hope in humanity, calls his mother, just wanting to hear a voice who understands him. "You got beat up by frat boys and were weeping in the car over some ho?" his mother asks. "FOR SHAME, GIOVANNI." His family, deeply ashamed at their son's failure, disowns him, and he is now left, for the first time in his life, truly alone. What can save him?

"I would give him a hug," says a girl in my class. LIKE THAT WOULD HELP.

"I would buy him an ice cream cone," says another. Yeah. That might have helped before he was robbed and disowned, but ice cream can only do so much.

"I would take him for a walk on the beach," a boy says thoughtfully. Why? So he can get sunburned and stung by a jellyfish? Great. That'll cheer him up. All better.

Professor: Sara, what would you do?
Sara: What wouldn't I do is the better question. Our day starts at Disneyland. We--
P: Oh, how fun!
S: I'm not done.
P: Oh. Well. Excuse me.
S: Of course. After going on a few rides, we buy churros and lemonade and enjoy them in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
P: Oh, okay. Well-
S: After we finish our snack, we would get a picture taken with Mickey Mouse, and we'd buy princess crowns at the gift shop.
P: I thought it was a boy.
S: It is. But everyone enjoys a crown.
P: Mm-hmm.
S: We stay at the park until nighttime, and leave after the grand fireworks display. On our way home, I make an unexpected left turn. "Where are we going?" Giovanni asks. Guess where!
P: I don't think I want to.
S: A PET STORE. I called the owner earlier that day and got him to keep the shop open.
S: Because I am buying Giovanni a puppy.
P: Oh. Clearly that's why.
S: He picks a puppy, and we go back to my house, where I have bought all the ingredients to make his favorite Italian cake.
P: Name one Italian cake.
S:...The name is unimportant. I've Googled it earlier that day. I know.
P: Great.
S: I make us all a fabulous cake--
P: Who is, "us all"?
S: Me, Giovanni, and the puppy obviously.
P: Obviously. What next?
S: We eat cake and drink milk while watching Must Love Dogs, and You've Got Mail. When we've chick-flicked ourselves out, I turn to him and say, "Giovanni. You can't let your family disowning you stop you from achieving your dreams."
P:It--wait, what?
S: "And your girlfriend was never good enough for you. For months, I've watched how you've given your heart to her, and what did you get in return? Nothing! You can do so much better, Giovanni!"
P: Sara, I think this is--
P:...Are you finished?
S: I think so. That should sufficiently cheer him up. Why? Do you think I should do more?
P: No. I definitely don't think that.

I really just couldn't be more helpful and awesome if I tried. So I won't try. Next time YOU'VE been robbed, disowned, and broken up with, you know who to call. And it ain't the Ghostbusters. (On a side note, I have been wanting to make some version of that joke for days. Thanks for the opportunity). 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

People Who've Agreed to Be Friends With Me

When I started this blog last month, I spent three hours trying to figure out how to get that picture of the "BORK" cupcakes up there a size I liked. Computers. My thing they are not. But as I'm intelligent person who can use Google, and frequently finds that other people have her same problems and have already asked for their solution on Yahoo!Questions, I figured it out. 

I have never been able to take victory with good grace. I am hardly able to take it without screaming.

Friends: That's an awfully strong word. We prefer, "Oh, it's you. We know each others' names, I think."
F: Have you? Why, you dear old friend of ours! What have you done? Won the lottery? Inherited a bakery? Figured out a way to call your keys when you lose them so you can finally find both them AND your cell phone?
F: We have just had a meeting, and would like to downgrade our relationship to, "I'm sorry, have we been introduced?"

They're such jokers.

I really do have a hard time keeping good things to myself. My friends from home frequently wonder why I'm insisting they come to know and love my friends from college. I can't help it. They're too wonderful; they should know each other. Good things should be shared. So of course I can't help but tell stories about them here, too. Because you should definitely also know them.

So I've decided to do Profiles. Very professional. They'll pop up from time to time, usually with no discernible reason. Just forewarning you. You'll notice I've included fun facts, like how I'd fare in a fight with them, and what country they would be if they were a landmass. 


Name: Casey
Age: 20's
Why I Know Her: We transferred to the same college in 2007 and were placed into the same suite of six. Thank. God.
If She Had a Catchphrase, It Would Be: "Let's race!" Or maybe, "I'm winning! You didn't even know we were competing, but we are, and I'm winning! YES!"
Why I Love Her (nutshell version): Casey is a mix of fun, thoughtful, and brilliant that I could never have imagined existed. She is like that creepy song, "I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You," except instead, "I Had No Idea I Would Someday Be Making 11p.m. Grilled Cheese Runs With Someone as Awesome as You." She manages to be calming, reassuring, and loving while also being hysterical, tons of fun, and passionate.
Physical Description: Blonde, tall, freckled (a.k.a. effing gorgeous), and very in touch with her Nordic roots. She sunburns faster than anyone else I've ever met.
Two Words/Phrases That First Come to Mind to Describe Her: joy, to-do lists
Thing I'm Most Jealous Of: Casey has the rare ability to have conversations, with every person she runs into, that seem actually thoughtful and interested. Everyone she's met adores her for her attention and patience. This is occasionally hysterical, as it sometimes happens with people she doesn't care for.
Fun Fact: When Casey was little, she wanted to be God's personal assistant when she grew up; she thought He could use help organizing things a bit better. There are not enough words to express how good she would be at this job. Also, I hear she once tackled a man into a small pool of salad. Long story.
Outlook if I Challenged Her to a Fight: Dismal.
Our Current Relationship: We live down the hall from each other, but I've more or less moved into her room. I spend 30% of my nights there, and 60% of my waking time there. I don't really know why I have my own room, actually.
If She Were a Literary Character, She Would Be: Nancy Drew, but twelve times more likely to take you down if you in anyway threatened her or the organization of her mission.
If She Were a Country, She Would Be: Italy. Lots of peaceful countryside, and lots of fabulous cities.

Casey has a very cool photo blog at if you feel you should know more about her. And you should.