Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I should really consider decreasing the frequency at which I listen to Brit-pop.

As far as the opposite sex goes, I am terrible. This year has been one fiasco after another. It seems that I am excellent at finding out that dudes are in relationships, too late. Ugh. Later I think to myself, why didn't I ask? Because I shouldn't have to ask. Because if someone is in a happy relationship they will rub it in your face. They will make it known to everyone. They will wear it on their sleeve, because they will be proud and feel lucky to have found someone that cares enough to share their life with them in the same capacity they are interested in being in that person's life.

And the more I become acquainted with the opposite sex, the more I realize that they are all perpetually seventeen with major mommy issues, but idolize their daddies (despite their fathers' obvious flaws that they themselves have inherited). Or, they are the opposite - Mama's Boys. I deal better with mommy issues than mama's boys as the former is not looking for someone to replace their mother.

Their personality traits aren't the only things they have in common, no, I like guys that have the same name, or better yet the same birthday as previous boys. It started with the Spencers and has just snowballed since I was fifteen. Davids, Billys, Pauls, - though I have found that all my friends named Mark (none of whom I have been involved with romantically) are much better people than the others. I currently have three very good male friends named Mark. Perhaps I should date a Mark.

Anyway, my older women friends have given me no hope.

I once told my aunt that I would almost prefer a Sunday-dinner-daddy to a husband, and she told me I was on to something. I was joking, sort of. The Sunday-dinner-daddy is a dude whom I would be good friends with, who would be down with having a kid with me, but never getting married. The kid(s) would live in an apartment and we would each live in our own apartments and do a week on and a week off and have Sunday dinners together. It's not like people don't do this already, I mean, half of married couples end up getting divorce anyway, and why not save some grief and allow the children to think that this completely fucked up situation is normal? I mean, there would be no fighting, no parent worrying about the other's infidelity - you have to admit, as cynical as it may seem this idea has potential!

Especially after hearing about a dude's harem fantasy - a house with oh, maybe, three women all of whom are faithful only to him. I had to inform him that that's called polygamy, and if you're into the Fundamentalist Mormon church or Muslim, you are welcome to practice it. I then shared how ideal that would be for anyone, but let's be realistic, humans just don't function that way.

I used to be an absolutist regarding fidelity. I used to feel that if someone was cheating that the relationship should be over - the end. And then I grew up and realized that there is so much more to a relationship, and that if someone were to cheat on me, after punching them in the face, I would want to know why. And what's worse, is that I probably wouldn't care so much about the cheating as I would the lying. I would just want them to communicate in a healthy way with me. Unfortunately, I think that whole idea of communication is dying. No one wants to talk anymore, no one cares to make plans more than an hour in advance that could possibly lead to speaking in person - not skype, not texting, not emailing.

I'm a terrible romantic attempting to be a pragmatist. And I like writing letters and postcards, and if I must the longest emails you will ever read.

I need to move to Stokholm, and soon.

on being a girl

On Sunday I wore one of my favorite dresses and as I left one friend to meet another - oh, a walk of about six blocks - a couple of men on bikes made comments and/or whistled at me. The bike part is important.

When I got to the restaurant, I removed my messenger bag that I always have slung across my back. Except this time when I removed it, I felt the back of my dress fall. It had ridden up significantly and those dudes on bikes were kind enough to not tell me. Awesome.

I need to invest in a new bag. Recycled rice bag messenger bags unfortunately don't go with everything. Especially that dress.

Actually that dress doesn't really go with much. When I was in San Francisco I wore it my last day there and as I was walking around Haight Ashbury it repeatedly blew upwards - I had many Marilyn Monroe moments that day. And it was on my way back to my friends place just before I was to leave that a man said, "Nice titties" to me. This dress is in no way provocative, I've had it for two years, and I really like it. But I may need to take a break from wearing it for awhile.

Though, the most important lesson to be learned here is that you should always wear cute underwear. You just never know who may inadvertently be seeing them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

excuse the sappiness

I am an exceptionally social solitary creature. I love going out and I enjoy crowds, but I often go out by myself. It has developed from not appreciating the group experience. Growing up I had a fairly close group of friends at church, and we were mostly the leftovers from our older siblings group of friends plus some other miscellaneous misfits.

At school I was a wanderer. And over the years I have maintained friendships. I know people who's friends come through a revolving door, and I've never understood that brand of friendship. For me, if they don't stick around, they probably weren't very important to being with. Certainly people grow apart, that's understood, but despite your personal difference one would hope that you can maintain a level or respect and humility for the person that they become and the way the relationship evolves.

I don't cut ties frequently. There are only two people with whom I used to be close that I have absolutely no contact with now. One, I see occasionally, but we don't speak and it make me sad, but they made it quite clear that my friendship was smothering and they simply could not deal. And I do smother - I am decisive and persistent and I can be too much, impetuous even. I call into the double digits over and over to reach them, I text obnoxiously and send emails regularly. They know that I am interested in maintaining our relationship and even if we don't speak every day, or even each week, we know that when we do contact or see one another that we are there completely.

One friend once described my friendship as that of a crazed girlfriend because I don't stop, and I don't give up on someone that I feel I have invested emotionally until it is clear that they have no desire for me to be a part of their life. I have had falling-outs and I have had arguments, and they are resolved because we communicate. And we communicate effectively; it's an effort to understand how others operate, but we make that effort.

When Christina and I were fifteen (or maybe she had just turned sixteen, I may be taller, but she is older and she enjoys reminding me of this especially considering her recent 21st birthday - she doesn't even drink, what a waste!) there was a boy. She liked him, and he liked me, and I was stupid. I went out with him a few times, despite not being sixteen yet - that's the age when I was "allowed" to date. He drove a 1963 red Chevy Impala, and was a bishop's son, and I'm pretty sure that those were the only reason my dad let me go out with him. Anyway, this was the one time where Christina didn't talk to me. She was that upset with me. So I asked her to make a list of all the things that I did that upset her. That list was three bulleted, single spaced pages long. THREE PAGES! Of things that she didn't like about me. I swear she started from when we met at age five to then, and since then we have been able to resolve any dispute in a completely reasonable manner. Guys, she is my best friend, we have been for fifteen years. That's a long time. For anyone. And we are complete opposites about so many things, but we compliment each other perfectly.

Christina and I were talking recently about groups of people, and how we both prefer the type of relationship we - one the relies on those solitary moments together. We are very much one-on-one people. I may criticize everything from someones shirt and shoes to their tacky make up, but I will talk to them, and I will give them the benefit of a doubt. Everyone deserves at least one conversation to demonstrate their humanity - though it is incredible at how many people fail at maintaining the give and take a conversation needs. This is later reflected in their relationships.

I had brunch with my friend Maia today. We were unable to see each other while I was in San Francisco (she lives not too far from there) but she has been in town this week and were fortunate enough to see each other today. We have not seen each other since the inauguration, the day we met. We met while trying to leave the Mall, and we walked from the Capitol all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial, up 23rd street and then to Q and 14 for hot chocolate. We literally spent all day together. She is 4'11" and 48, and we come from entirely different backgrounds, nevermind the different life experiences. And today it was like no time had gone by at all. We fill each other in on our lives periodically, but not as regularly as I would like - I plan on working on this.

Back to Christina and I's conversation, we were discussing groups and how we were not really into them, and how this can be frustrating when one would like to have a gathering. I would love to have Maia and Christina together at dinner, but the likelihood of that happening is slim, as are most gatherings. The people that I call friends maintains to be a very small group. I used to think there was something wrong with this, but the relationships that I have near and far mean so much more to me than mingling. Not that there's anything wrong with going out and mingling, I love meeting new people, but not the way that I used to. I have become more concerned with keeping that friends that I have than with making new ones. It doesn't seem strange, but considering my age, I mean, I haven't met many people yet, relatively speaking. But those that have been kind enough to me, to talk and carry a conversation and dish it right back without restraint are those that I hope to know in another twenty years. For them, I am so thankful.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the closest I've ever come to getting arrested

A few weeks ago I got a ticket for having my front headlight out. A total bullshit offense, right? I mean, I wasn't speeding, or swerving or remotely causing anyone harm. I AM NOT A VIOLENT PERSON. Just because I say "I'm going to punch (fill in the blank) in the face" all the time does not mean I would actually do it. For the record, I have never punched anyone, and I've only slapped two people ever - my friends older brother when we were like thirteen because he was being a dick, and a dude that I was totally not seeing last year for being a dick (after getting into a fight with me, it's best to apologize before making certain other remarks). Anyway, the ticket. I was issued a ticket for something other than being a crap driver, because I am not a crap driver. I am a fantastic driver, aggressive, slightly, but totally safe.

Completely unrelated: Since getting my front end suspension replaced earlier this year, my car totally doesn't shake anymore when I hit 70. And if I go faster (NEVER!) it still doesn't shake. YAY!

So, today was my court date. I woke up and took a shower and put on a cute vintage dress with cute sandals, and did not have to do my hair because !!! it is finally a length where it looks good when it air-dries! Anyway, I looked really cute today because court, like church, is an opportunity to boost my already extraordinarily inflated ego because I know that the likelihood of me looking cuter than most of the people around me is really high. Most days this frustrates me, I mean why don't people put in a little more effort?

I've been in a weird mood today, and apparently I'm taking it out on everything intangible.

I left my apartment with ample time to find parking, I thought. I was so wrong. I drove around for a fucking hour looking for a fucking parking spot. By the time I finally found a spot, I was half an hour late for court. Then I had to go through security. I had prepared myself for this part. I took everything that I knew was in my purse and not allowed in the courthouse out and left it in my car - my iPod, my phone, the granola bar. Apparently I had a spoon and the hardware from my curtain rod, a bottle of nail polish and my ipod headphones in my purse. And apparently, despite it not being listed anywhere (save the glass bottle of nail polish), those items are not allowed and I had to take them back to my car.

By this point I was really upset, but trying to retain my composure. This is something I am terrible at, what with all the crying I do. And then I read the sign above the door stating what is and isn't allowed in the courthouse, and it did not say anything about extraneous pieces of metal or headphones. Ugh. So, you know what I did? I threw my keys at the sign. At some point or another, I will throw my keys at everything. And if my phone happens to be in my hand, I throw that too.

A cop saw me do this and wouldn't let me go back inside because I was "hysterical." And he was "unsure" of what I might do once inside. Ummm... let's rewind for a moment, I'm a cute girl in a cute dress and I'm crying and yeah, I threw my keys. And this fucko was worried about me hurting someone. Seriously? Yes, and then another officer came outside and asked me what happened and I told him that apparently throwing my keys at a sign is illegal. To which he said "yes..." as though it was common knowledge. They went on to explain that I needed to calm down and that throwing something at government property could be considered vandalism, blahblahblah, and then they told me to calm down again. And Officer 2 explained that if I didn't calm down Officer 1 could arrest me. Arrest me? Amanda Pittman? The crying girl who just wanted to go to court to get her ticket dismissed? And they wonder why everyone hates them.

After this incident I had to go through security again, where I was told yet again to calm down. Like crying is a fucking crime. I cry, OKAY! I turned to the officer and told him that I would appreciate it if he didn't talk to me anymore because telling me repeatedly to calm down was in no way helping the situation. He stopped.

I found my way to the right room and they were on the Gs. Whew. So I pulled out my book and read for a full twenty minutes before another officer told me to put my book away. Seriously. I closed my book, but that wasn't good enough, no, I had to put it in my purse under the bench. I was still crying at this point, not for any particular reason, but because sometimes I just can't stop. Ugh. So I sat there silently making sure that the officer could see every scowl I cast in his direction until it was finally my turn. Though, I first had to listen to an officer and a defendant argue about french fries - true story. The officer said the defendant had McDonald's and the defendant claimed his fries were from Five Guys. Finally it was my turn and the charge was dismissed.


Just when I was kindasorta starting to like Richmond, they had to remind me why I thought this city was stupid in the first place. This is why.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Amanda the not-so-Academic

When I was in the fifth grade I was in every club, every organization, played softball, took piano lessons, was in orchestra, Girl Scouts, participated in a youth choir and other various church related activities. I also was relatively afraid of getting into trouble - I say relatively because I have always been willing to get into more trouble than Christina, but less than others (though this has certainly changed over the years). I typically did as I was told. I practiced the piano for half an hour every day and stayed up until I had done all of my homework and it was all correct. My entire life was structured, down to the minute.

At the time of "graduation" I received more awards than everyone in my class. I made the honor roll, I was even "orchestra student of the year" - and my parents had never heard me play the viola before. That was also the only year that I played the viola. I also got a perfect score on my writing SOL (the Virginia standardized test) - the prompt was "write about your favorite place" and I wrote about going to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's school in Arizona. Do you see what type of kid I was? I was a nerd to the umpteenth degree. And I had manners and I would rather stay in during recess and read than go outside and participate in whatever games were taking place. The aversion I have towards my peers started pretty early.

This kid that I was, she got everyone's hopes up as to what my future would look like. I was on this path headed towards greatness. I wanted to be an architect more than anything and I was always in advanced classes. I started taking French in sixth grade and then took algebra in the eighth grade, and instead of taking art or music for my electives I took engineering courses that were weighted (basically AP elective courses) in the Project Lead the Way program.

It was at this point, my freshman year of high school when my parents could no longer help me with my homework, and all of the activities took a toll. And whatever sheltered world my parents had created around me shattered. Suddenly going from volleyball practice to a piano lesson to a Girl Scout meeting and then staying up all night to do homework wasn't working. So, I quit Girl Scouts. And then softball. And then piano. And then volleyball. And with each activity that I gave up, my parents became disappointed and I began to avoid conversation with them as I knew it would most likely result in their desire for me to be that fifth grader who was capable of, and did, everything. And by the time I was fifteen, I didn't want to do everything. I wanted a life, something unstructured. But all that really resulted from that desire was my disinterest in doing anything academic.

I was in the gifted program, and I was in the same classes as everyone else whose parents had been as involved as mine were their entire lives. There were about thirty of us, we all took French in middle school and we were put in most of the same classes through our senior year of high school. It was during my junior year of high school where I spent the first semester really not doing much of anything in my AP English class. After I scored the highest on the mid-term in the class my teacher took me aside and told me how frustrated she was that I wasn't performing at the level she now knew I was capable of. My cover was blown by some essay about a sarcastic orchestra conductor - apparently the rest of the class didn't catch the tone of the piece we were supposed to analyze.

My senior year, we had do a project for AP Government that required we volunteer for the political campaigns and then write a paper about it. My teach wrote "flippant" next to my grade. I think it was a B, but that's all he wrote.

I recently came across an interim report card from that year, I had a D in English as a result of not turning things in...yet. I got them turned it before the actual report card went out. I'm still amazed at English teacher's willingness to let me turn things in late. I swear I didn't do half the assignments at the end of my junior year, and I went to school even after it was out and my teacher was still there because grades weren't due yet. I would sit at an extra computer in her classroom and do the assignments as she was grading others. She may read this and correct me, I may be wrong, but I swear she would ask me if I was going to do something and if I said yes she would just give me the class average.

Every year it was the same. Every teacher I have ever had that has talked to me for more than five minutes has told me to stop being such a "slacker." By the time I got to VCU, I had gotten by because I knew my teachers and for the most part, they liked me, but more importantly, they put up with me. Except for The Don - whom I will write about later. Anyway, these teachers, mostly English teachers knew I was capable and they did what they could to encourage me. And I'm still in touch with the important ones. When I got to VCU I had to take this awful class that was what they had instead of English 101. It was taught by people from various concentrations and I got stuck with this dude who was working on his Theater PhD or something, anyway he was an actor and we did not get along. He was always telling me that I need to expand things and that I needed to change my attitude and then he made the mistake of telling my class that he graded us based on what he thought we were capable of. So, when we got grades back and I knew that I had written something that was helluva lot better than the girl from Martinsville, Virginia who didn't know the meaning of ambiguous, but she got a better grade than I did, I was furious.

I'm fairly certain that this is why I flunked out of VCU, well part of it anyway. When you're depressed and motivated by liquor and crackers, and then you are getting your lowest marks in the subject that you are used to getting your highest marks - it's frustrating.

I basically started over last semester at the community college in Richmond. And I like it better. Apparently I do better in small classes where the professors know my name and I cannot hide, and my English professor has a PhD in English and gave me a 95 on my first paper. Fucking finally. I know this sounds terrible, but I don't think I've gotten a mark this high on anything since starting college. This was a three page paper that I wrote in about an hour. Perhaps her standards are just really low because it's community college, but whatever, I finally feel like that stupid fifth grader again. Then I got a 101 (with extra credit) on my first history test of the semester. And then I got an 83 (which is a B, but wouldn't have been in high school) on my first Statistics test, a test that I swear I had bombed.

I'm fairly certain that this is a direct result of my general contentment with where my life is right now. I finally live in a healthy environment. I have a fairly healthy relationship with my parents that was not at all possible when I lived at home, and they have stopped badgering me about my studies. I love my job and I'm writing more. But I still feel like this is a cheap joke and that next week my professors will announce that they graded all of those thing incorrectly and that 95 was supposed to be a 59. So, I'm not getting my hopes up, but I am reevaluating my expectations that I have for myself and have learned how to structure my time in a way that is healthy and not overwhelming, at least for me. My roommate saw my schedule and told me that it was insane, apparently making a color-coded excel sheet and putting it on the refrigerator is "OCD." Whatever, it works.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Abridged Version


I have been away for much too long. Mostly because the past thirty days popped my bubble and then shook the bubble batter and then spilled it all over my favorite dress.

Perhaps a simpler way of saying this would be that the universe took a giant shit on me.

Or, it just kept throwing punches at me and each time I got up, I was right back down.

You get the point (and probably got it after the first metaphor).

In the past month my leasing company terminated my lease which then left me to find a new place to live in a matter of three weeks to avoid paying rent for the month of June. Then classes started. And I had to work. And I went to San Francisco because I had planned that trip well before any of this happened (I had a great time and will write about it later). Oh, and while I was in San Francisco the left side of my head started hurting as a result of an infection in one of wisdom teeth. Then when I got back I missed my first day of classes due to my dentist appointment, and then had my wisdom teeth out and had to move the following weekend - Memorial day weekend, the weekend that NO ONE was in town to help. And amidst the move I lost my computer because someone (Dad!) told someone else to put it under the seat of the Uhaul, but no one thought to tell me and I thought it was in my Dad's mini-van and then well, whatever, I got it back. And then the week after living in my new apartment and getting relatively settled, I dropped a box of stuff off at a thrift store and thought I'd look around for a new couch. I was in for twenty minutes and when I came out someone had left a huge dent in my rear bumper and broken the left side's lights, but there wasn't any plastic on the ground, weird. Like, they cleaned it up or something and didn't leave a note. My car was already shitty, but I liked that it didn't have any defining features. Ugh.

Anyway, all of that happened. And now I am driving my new roommate nuts with all my organizing and rearranging and insisting that our apartment look like two adults live here. Though, I do recognize the fact that most people, regardless of their age, do not care about cleanliness and neatness and orderliness as much as I do. I keep moving things to logical locations that allow all the space to be used as efficiently as I know how, and he keeps asking me where it went. His laffy taffy? On the top shelf of the pantry with all his other junk food - but really that makes up at least half of his diet. It's bizarre. And he is Vegan. And he does not cook or really eat vegetables, unless french fries and potato chips count. His diet aside, he is wonderful, mostly because he is putting up with my neuroses better than most. And he has a full-time job, and responsibility and dogs, and these are things that do not frustrate me, because it means he has a real life, with little free time, unlike my roommates of past. I love both of those girls, but it's kind of irritating living with someone who is unemployed and perfectly content with that because they're full-time students. How anyone is okay with being jobless is beyond me. How anyone has so much unstructured time and doesn't feel compelled to fill it with cooking and cleaning and organizing is also beyond me.

I would make an incredible assistant or secretary or lifecoach. Also, I pull of the hot-secretary look very well.

Also, yes, I live with a boy. My parents are understandably upset and have yet to meet him. He is straight-edge though, and that is something I had to explain to them, and after understanding that he does not drink alcohol they approved, sort of. Still, what are they supposed to tell people!? Nothing, because it isn't anyone's business. And by anyone, I mean everyone at their church that I can't stand - i.e. a lot of stay-at-home-moms who talk too much. HI, CHURCHLADIES!

My apartment will hopefully be done with all the rearranging and storing of excess things in the attic by the end of this week. I hope.