Archive | November, 2010

Why I love distractions

11 Nov

Back in September, I met (for the first time) my childhood Austrian penpal in Washington, DC. Above is photographic documentation of  this encounter I wrote about earlier. We are modeling that first letter I sent her. Because of my freakishly good memory, I remember that school picture stuck to the letter is from the 5th grade. Not only do I know that frog outfit I’m wearing is ESPRIT, but I also remember that morning I told my mom it was school picture day and she decided she needed to “do my hair.” I emerged from her blow dryer with a flip closely resembling this:

Kylie Minogue with a little case of crazy eyebrow, another thing we have in common

My parents are searching for one of the letters from Sabine to me, which I will post when they find it. Hers is more glamorous than mine; that whole Alps in the background thing is hard to compete with.

My friend Catherine tagged me in the following little game of distractions and little did she know how much I love these things. I’m a professional procrastinator which accidentally gives me a passion for email forwards inquiring about my favorite beverage/time of day/brand of clothing. So if you ever need someone to respond to one of those, now you know I’m your woman. The woman, in fact. As long as you don’t ask about my favorite movie or band. This question brings me a fit of anxiety that leads to more stress than a mere diversion should ever really produce.

I’ve been needing to get out a blog post (I managed only one the entire month of October. Let’s blame my new job. Or laziness, you decide.) So this was a great little push to get the writing train rolling again. Thanks, Catherine!

Most embarrassing moment?

For more than half my life, I had an easy answer to this question. In second grade, I vomited all over my new pale blue (with a grainy finish) t-shirt in front of my entire second grade class. Now it’s hard to think of any others. But that’s mostly because I don’t embarrass easily anymore. Just recently, similarly to Catherine,  I walked around a Target with my skirt tucked into my underwear until a complete (but kind) stranger let me know. I felt weird for maybe two minutes and then was over it. After all, there was only a five minute window between me exiting the bathroom and her telling me. I like to think it gave someone a laugh who needed it:

Imagined stranger to imagined stranger’s friend: “Today was so awful I just wanted to crawl back in bed by noon.”

Stranger’s friend to stranger: “At least you’re not that poor lady with her skirt tucked into her underwear. Now that’s pathetic.”

[Both laugh  heartily at my expense and emerge from Target feeling beautiful and confident. They later retell the story to others, adding the detail that toilet paper was also stuck to my shoe.]

How did you meet your husband?

It sounds like the plot of a romantic comedy, but I met my husband at a wedding of less than 50 people. I’d known the couple since college, before they were a couple at all. The groom and my husband were childhood friends; they even became Eagle Scouts together. We could have met so many other times; his sister and I even attended the same college for one year. But we had to wait ten years until he approached me at a wedding reception wearing a sport coat with pineapples woven into the fabric and revealed he was a beekeeper. How are you supposed to resist that?

What is the one thing you would change about yourself if you had the chance?

I could only come up with superficial answers to this question which made me feel, err, shallow. My husband says he’d change having (type I) diabetes. I told him my shame over only have appearance-related answers and he said, “I’d also like six-pack abs.”

Banishing cellulite it is!

Now if I got to pick something for Aaron, I’d cure him. That guy from Jersey Shore might have ruined the overall appeal of the six pack anyway.

And the appeal of the word “situation,” which I used to be so fond of that it’s my answer to “favorite word to overuse in conversation.”  Sadly, it’s an RIP kind of situation for me. (See it’s not even funny anymore! I hate you, Mike Sorrentino).

What is your biggest pet peeve?

It used to be people not using turn signals, or leaving them on forever. It’s  infuriating when someone slows down suddenly for no reason without warning; it’s equally frustrating when I’m stuck behind someone with an ever-blinking signal. Are you turning? Are you exiting? Is your music just too loud? End the mystery, people: turn on, turn off. I thank you.

South Florida drivers are the among the most aggressive, most impatient I’ve ever encountered on the road. Maybe it’s that they’re all from New York but these people cannot and will not put up with you following basic traffic laws if it shaves a few seconds off their travel time. Turn signals? They’ve never heard of them. A few examples:

1. I was traveling on a four-lane highway and slowed down (after putting on my turn signal) to make a right hand turn into my apartment complex. The man behind me slammed on his horn because I didn’t make the turn at 50 mph.

2. I was turning left into a major intersection with a pretty severe angle (signal on). The car behind me blasts the horn and passes me in the middle of the intersection,  just before he gets back into my lane to slow down and make a turn without a signal.

3. My husband was traveling  straight (with a green light) through an intersection. A woman turning left into traffic (no signal) pulls out in front of him and stops to give him the finger. How dare he take his right of way–how dare he!

To clarify, I do not drive like a grandma. I am aggressive when necessary and have the speeding tickets to prove it. You pay for a few of those and you learn to slow down. My point is that my perspective is not that of some slow, timid driver who is daunted by interstates. I may have grown up in a small town with few stoplights, but at age 17 when I first drove on the beltway outside Washington, DC, I was rolling in the left lane like a pro. I love to drive. I just need SoFlo to bring it down a notch. Let’s start with signals.

What is your favorite song?

I can’t even answer the favorite band question so this one is even more impossible. So I’m going with my favorite song right now. As in song I would marry if Aaron left me to study Ecuadorian termites (which he promises not to do. Yet.)

Luckily two of my friends both put this song on separate mixes for me; it feeds my obsession nicely. I took a break for a few weeks but answering this question gave me a pleasant reason to fill my ears once again with the swelling inferno that is “Bloodbuzz Ohio” by The National.

I’ve been listening to their 2001 self-titled debut, and am most impressed by their lyrical mastery. The track “Beautiful Head” contains a line that currently lives inside my head: “You’re measuring me lately / and I can tell I’m losing weight.” God bless boys who use their words.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

I’ve been to the beautiful coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the Alp-dropping Switzerland, the gorgeous English countryside, and the olive groves of Spain. I live amongst breathtaking beaches and lush plant life, but my favorite place might have to be Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. I grew up there; I got married there; and here’s what it looks like at sunset :

View from my parents' dock at sunset

If you could rename yourself, what name would you pick?

The child version of me would have strong opinions on this subject. I wanted to be Elizabeth (my middle name) and wrote it on all of my papers in the third grade. I never met another person with my name until I was 13 years old. Over the years, I have grown to love my name and wouldn’t change it if given the chance.

Unless people would accept “Kara the Great.” Then, maybe.