Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet the Enemy

The bane of all Memphians alike is found in a two pronged attack plan that was tailor made for the area. 

The first pestilence with which we are forced to deal is the cloud of allergens that hangs just as heavily over Germantown and Orange Mound as smog does Los Angeles and idiocy does Washington, D.C. Perfectly healthy people come here and then only a year later are hacking and sneezing and swell-eyed like the rest of us. You know how in Jaws, the wife keeps asking when she'll get to be an islander? You are not a Memphian unless you have laid on a couch in abject misery with only a box of kleenex for companionship and the soft serenade of a vaporizer. 

The Allergen Cloud is a plague, one that must soon be reckoned with or it will undoubtedly be the harbinger of Utter Doom. Maybe the terrorists developed this plan -- it certainly has the potential to be both destructive and long-lasting. The effects can easily be qualified as degenerative and cruel and unusual punishment. After all, allergies are very rarely fatal, but they produce suicidal longings in their victims.

Melodramatic, you say? I THINK NOT!

The second bringer of evil is smaller, faster, and a lot more stupid. It is the average mosquito. 

We in the south have many fond monikers for the little monsters: "skeeters" and "our state bird" to name a few. They have many different hunting tactics which, while being predictable to a degree, are also changeable and had to counteract. This can make them a formidable foe. One must agree that they do have the strength in numbers.

First, they can lurk in large groups, buzzing around in abandon and pricking any and all who get in their way. The most common hangout of the mosquito swarm is the Fourth of July barbecue, a patriotic yet dangerous occasion. I was once the unfortunate recipient of over a hundred mosquito bites in one night as a child, and I was never again the same. I had been scarred and branded as a target by the insect world, a fact which I could never forget.

The second is perhaps not as intimidating, but far more blood chilling (pardon the pun -- didn't even see it until I was proofreading). The rogue mosquito will separate itself from the pack, waiting, observing, learning its victim's habits and moral beliefs so that the moment to strike will be perfect and unsuspected. These are the mosquitoes who come while their quarry is sleeping and then proceed to bite them four times in the same general area. They have no mercy.

This was no doubt the plan of the mosquito that just tried to alight on my arm, but it was careless. I was not to be defeated. Not to mention the fact that it was dumb -- it buzzed in my face barely a minute before coming back and trying to get my wrist. No doubt it was dizzy with thirst, but I remained unsympathetic as I sent it on to its just reward at the Blood Bank in the Sky. They like to party there with the vampires.

However, I know that there are far more where this evening's intruder came from. I will remain vigilant. I will remain focused and never forget the pain they have brought me.

I shall have my revenge. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It really is ridiculous that I should be so addicted to my new cell's pretty much THE ULTIMATE. 

my cell phone
See? Isn't is pretty?

And I have "Into the Night" as my ringtone, which just makes me smile. "Like a gift from the heavens it was easy to tell / it was love from above that could save me from hell! / She had fire in her soul it was easy to see / how the devil himself could be pulled out of me." 

Gotta love it.

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head...

So, the list of catastrophes is ongoing. Evan fixed my fan, thankfully. (We're not going to talk about how it had just been turned off with the remote by somebody else and I never thought to change that. I just kept flipping the wall switch. I'm really starting to doubt my own intelligence.)

But that isn't the worst of what happened. I can't believe I'm going to write what I'm about to write.

I busted...wait for purity ring.

Now, before everybody's minds start going into the gutter, let me explain. In high school, my best friend at the time went to Hawaii and brought me back a pearl as a souvenir. Pearls represent purity, so I had it put into a ring so that I could wear it. However, it's always been a slightly unsound ring, simply because the pearl sticks up and is always easily banged against stuff when I'm not being careful. As you can imagine, I'm not careful a lot. 

I was doing laundry on Tuesday, I think, when it happened. I was yanking wet clothes out of the washer to put into the dryer when my hand brushed too hard against the lid of the washing machine. The pearl went flying, of course. In a moment of sheer Jedi awesomeness, I managed to catch it, but then my usual nature took hold when it slipped out my hand as I was trying to put it on the counter for safekeeping. My beautiful Hawaiian pearl is now caught in the grill/fan thing that we have on our counter and I can't get it out. 


On the happiness meter, though, one of my piano students' mom brought me some dishes. She'd just bought new ones and didn't want her incomplete set anymore. I was like, "um, yes, please!" Just another step to being ready for my apartment. *happy dance*

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thanks a whole heap, Abe

Okay, so you know how the bar at El Porton is always an interesting spot for me? Apparently, so is Kroger. Mom asked me to go by there to pick up some ingredients for her astonishingly good onion souffle' stuff. I try to ignore the fact that it contains cream cheese. Cream cheese is the enemy. 

So I round up everything on her list, even being enormously proud of myself when I find how many ounces are in that disgusting block of cream cheese and figure it out accordingly so that we have the proper amount for the recipe. I stroll up to the self checkout lane simply because I enjoy doing that. Don't know why, just do, and life is all about the simple pleasures. When it comes time to pay up, I start feeding dollar bills into the machine. It takes all my cash, and I'm starting to sweat it because I never carry much change. But I stoically push in all of my change when it happens. 

The worst.

I am short by one. stinking. penny.

I glance furtively around for someone to borrow a penny, but the place is suddenly absent. It was like one of those old cowboy movies where the tumbleweed blows dramatically across the screen, except in this scenario it's a coupon for frozen broccoli that's on special for three for a mere ninety-nine cents. In other words, empty. 

After digging desperately in my purse to find the one stinking penny, as well as shamelessly searching the floor for a haphazardly dropped bronze piece. No dice, and by this point, the people at the in-store bank are looking at me suspiciously. Charming. So I sucked it up and was forced to put one penny on my debit card. How lame is that?

Maybe it's all karma....maybe all this stuff is going wrong or on the fritz or something around me because I'm happy. But now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go. The picture on the wall outside my room just fell off the nail and shattered everywhere. I have to go find the mini pieces of glass with my feet. It's a dangerous job, but some clumsy chick's gotta do it! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What does this button do? *zaps* Nevermind.

So, apparently technology hates me. I don't know why that is. Perhaps in a previous life, I beat up some machine's elderly grandmother. Or I could have just tripped over a child-computer's motherboard. It would be difficult to be an orphan in cyberspace, admittedly, but it's not entirely my fault. I can't help being coordinately challenged.

In any case, several pieces of major technology have failed around me at some point this week. Our home phones still aren't working. Personally, I think they've stopped working in protest to their own peculiar case of in-breeding in this household. You see, Alexander Graham Bell is on both sides of my family tree, the Graham from my mom's side, the Bell from my dad's. Creepy, huh? Anyway, don't bother trying to call my house. It won't work. Unless, of course, you need an exercise in futility, and then by all means, please continue.

Then came my cell phone. It stopped sending out texts. I could receive them, but the ones I was sending weren't making it to their destinations. This was highly annoying and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. So I took the phone into the cell phone store today (this was an adventure unto itself -- the store near my house had closed down and I thought I remembered where another one was, but it ended up being a different brand. Yuck. Mom finally reminded me of a different location and was then so kind as to meet me there to help me argue with surly cell phone people) and called customer service. 

I hate talking on the phone, generally, so I was afraid that this was going to be a horrendously awkward conversation. However, I talked to a real person, an actual nice person who talked slowly and used small words. No doubt his suspicions on my intelligence were confirmed when we discovered that the whole problem stemmed from the fact that I hadn't actually turned off my cell phone in months. Apparently they need to reboot. The minute I did that, problem solved. Of course, this meant that thirty-five text messages were sent from my phone at once....sweet. I know all my friends enjoyed that one. 

And then this morning, when I woke up, I discovered that my overhead light and fan weren't working. This problem remains unsolved. I'm not too eager to dig in the wiring and figure out the problem. Knowing me, I'd end up in Oz or something, and I think people would miss me.

There are days in which the Amish lifestyle look vaguely appetizing. But then I remember their fashion sense and change my mind again. Nothing's worth that! 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Maybe the Israelites Weren't the Only Ones to be Abnormally Stupid...

When I was younger, I never got the Israelites. 

There they were, wandering aimlessly around the wilderness that wasn't even very big ("Mom, I know I've seen that rock before!" "You have, son, we passed it a year ago...and the year before that and the year before that...Remember, Grandpa Mishtu sat there while we were haranguing Moses about something or other? Probably about something really pesky, too, like water or rest.") because they had gotten their freedom handed to them on a platter and just couldn't accept it, so they had to whine like babies being put down for a nap instead of getting to play an extra hour getting excessively messy in the sandbox with little Billy down the road. I mean, honestly, they annoyed the hell out of me. They're hungry? Bread from heaven. Thirsty? Water from a rock (even though that one came back to bite Moses in the butt). Big ole sea? Parted. What in the world were they thinking, not trusting God after all that He'd done for them?

But here's the thing. I'm no better than the Israelites. I have been no better at trusting God with my life despite the obscene number of times that He has saved my butt and guided my sorry self to something far better than I could have ever imagined. I've been so busy erecting golden idols made out of old earrings to a calf (seriously, why did they pick a calf of all things? Cows, in general, are loathsome and disgusting. I'm sure there was cultural significance, but I have no idea what that could have been.) that I've totally missed the divine setup. Here's a run-down of events:

Stupid businessmen and bureaucrats and missionaries kill my school in the name of "doing God's work." 

Katie is pissed.

God provides a school to go to, a school where Katie and Shelby fortunately already had many friends and where Shelby had a boyfriend.

Katie doesn't think she can get into really great school. She whines about having to try and finish in one year at her now deaded school.

God provides teachers and an admissions department that are willing to help Katie. She is accepted.

Katie doesn't know how she will pay to attend really great school.

God says, "Don't worry about it -- you won't have to pay anything because these people are going to take care of you. Paid in full."

A place to live becomes a problem.

God provides an apartment that is sneezing distance from the campus.

Affording place to live is now an issue.

God provides a roommate for Shelby and Katie in Aubrey, a roommate who doesn't even mind the fat little tootsie roll of a dog that Katie refuses to leave behind. 

Katie begins to doubt where her life is heading. She doesn't trust God and doesn't mind saying so. She's still praying, but nothing's coming, apparently.

God provides awesome friends and then God goes another step further. God provides Zack.

I met Zack several months ago through my friends at Union, particularly Courtney. She and Zack have been friends for quite a while. This guy walked in and I thought, "Hmmm...." Attraction, bada-bing. But I was being stupid and ignored it. 

We started to become friends, just chatting on facebook and stuff, and then I was even more stupid. I told him I thought we should just be strictly platonic friends. He agreed. 

*bangs head against wall*

However, despite the stupidity, it worked well for us. I guess God loves a fool. We were able to talk a couple times a week for quite a while, just becoming friends. As time went by, the similarities added up. Similar senses of humor, beliefs, interests, values...

I start to hate the platonic vow. Vehemently. 

I build a couple of idols and think that God will never grant me the desires of my heart. I concentrate on getting ready for the apartment and keep bemoaning the fact that I can't trust God. Feel free to hate me now.

And then after some drama, Zack looks and me and says, "I want to date you."

I stop banging. Stop building. Stop bemoaning. Stop being stupid and say "yes."

So, as a recap, if God hadn't killed my school, hadn't developed my friendships with the Union kids, hadn't gotten me into Union, hadn't provided me with an apartment, hadn't kept me from having other relationships in the first place, I would have missed out on Zack completely. 

Thank God for bureaucrats and absurd missionaries and stupid businessmen.

It is a sobering thought to realize that everything in my life has led to this moment, just as this moment will lead to the next. And looking back, I would go through every bit of pain, every moment of abandonment, every self doubt that I've had to just get back here again. They're all worth it, because God was leading me to something better than I could have ever imagined. 

Anybody got a refinery? There's this stupid golden calf I need to melt down...and a wilderness in which to stop wandering aimlessly around.