Thursday, April 28, 2011


A couple days ago I noticed a weird red spot on my back. It was slightly itchy, so I figured it was just a bug bite. Then it started to hurt yesterday and I thought it was a pimple so I kept putting acne goo on it. Then I made the mistake of asking my mom to look at it last night when I was home and she spent about ten mintues poking and proding it and I kept fidgeting - it was terrible. I get queasy over most things that have to do with my body.

So, I mentioned it to my sister this morning and then she looked at it. Freaked out and told me to go see a doctor, just to make sure it wasn't a staph infection. I spent the following twenty minutes looking at pictures of staph infections (you're welcome!).

"Are you sure you're going to be okay at the doctor's alone?" My sister has no faith in me. "Because you know, they lance it and then they squeeze it and rub a cotton swab in there..."

"Amanda, I'm happy to go with you... you really don't handle these things very well." My mom doesn't have any faith in me either.

I didn't have an appointment and they weren't able to see me, so I went to the emergency room at Fort Belvoir (because my dad's a retired Marine and I'm still on their insurance). There, a doctor did exactly what my mom did, but with needles. And I didn't scream. Or cry.

"I don't think it's staph, yet, it's probably just a boil, but we're gonna treat it for MRSA anyway." That's cool, I guess. "It still might get worse, but just see your primary physician if it does, but it's probably not a big deal."

Yep. Totally not a big deal. Or it could be. I'm not gonna worry about it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Savannah: The Abridged Version

I started writing a post that detailed all the stupid that happened surrounding the trip to Savannah, and then I decided that that was a waste of time. So, here's the abridged version. One friend had terrible allergies, as did everyone else in Savannah, and the other got a terrible sunburn.

On the drive down: Not everyone is going to like all of the music played on this car ride, so you need to chill the fuck out.

Post-Arrival: Complaining to me is not going to improve service at this shitty restaurant.

Day Two: You not bringing a swimsuit, towel, or sunblock is not my fault. Neither is your sunburn. And pointing out every fat person in a stupid t-shirt is unnecessary, as is moaning in pain regarding your burn. Suck it up.

Day Three: You're probably not going to want to walk around in the heat with that burn...can we go get me more allergy medicine?

Day Four, post-drive back: Did I offend your friend? She seems really annoyed with me.

This was at dinner after a bottle of cocktail sauce exploded. I smelled delicious.

And the good, because despite all the stupid, I did have a great time.

Day One: We stayed about two blocks from the beach on Tybee Island, about fifteen miles outside of Savannah. This was fantastic. I could not have been happier with where we stayed. After dinner we were able to hang out with my friend Sam. Savannah is incredible at night, my introduction to the "to-go" cup was probably my new most favorite thing. The ability to just pour your adult beverage into a plastic cup and leave is great. If you've been there, you probably already know this, or if you aren't a drinker, I guess you can't really appreciate it, but it's so convenient. We went to several bars that were loud, and relatively dancey before I asked him why he kept taking us to these places and he goes, "because that's what girls like, or at least girls here." But we weren't really looking for that atmosphere so he took us somewhere more low-key.

After the bars had closed we walked down to the river and up to a couple of haunted houses. I have no idea what neighborhood I was in, but Sam kept telling us about how haunted Savannah is, which I knew, but I scare easy and the entire city is a graveyard and I was freaked out. I was very happy to get back to the hotel that evening.

Day Two: This was the beach day. We encountered jellyfish, and thankfully none of us were stung (that would have been a fiasco). I parted ways after the previously mentioned debaucle to calm myself down and went to the lighthouse and museum on the island. I am really afraid of heights, but I have this stupid thing where I feel the need to conquer my fears all the time, so I walked to the top of the lighthouse (this took a lot longer than it should have) and while the view was gorgeous, I was quick to collect my breath and head  for solid ground. The history of Tybee Island was interesting as well, apparently there's an active atomic bomb somewhere off the coast that's been there since WWII and during the colonial era, it was a haven for pirates.

That night I went out with Sam by myself. It was Sunday and downtown was mostly desolate, which was nice for us. It's strange, we've known each other since high school because of a mutual friend, but he and I didn't really become friends until we both moved away from Northern Virginia.

Day Three: This can be summed up quickly - Paula Deen's Lady and Sons is as delicious as you would hope it to be. I highly recommend going for lunch and asking to sit in the bar on the top floor, you won't have to wait and the service was fantastic. This was followed by spending too much money on cute things, all of which I have used, eaten or worn, except for this gun shaped ice tray, this I gave to my brother-in-law, and he uses it every day.

That evening we got the car packed up so that leaving the next morning would be a snap. It was, and the drive back was much more pleasant and faster than the drive down.

They say you don't really know someone until you travel or live with them, that's mostly true. I consider myself a fairly cynical, sarcastic person, but I also like to have a good time, and when in Rome, or Savannah, or Tybee Island, do as the locals do. Thankfully, people and cities aren't all the same, and I'm curious enough to be patient with what I don't like to make room for and anticipate the things that I will like.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Savannah: The Prologue

A couple months ago my friend, E, suggested that we go to Savannah, Georgia because she was born in Georgia and wanted to go back one more time before she goes abroad for grad school - because she has no intention (mostly) of ever coming back to the United States. I'm down for most things, so I agreed to go. Her summer plans are still up in the air, she doesn't know where she'll be interning yet, so we decided it had to be in April. We went this past Saturday and got back on Tuesday.

My friend, K, lives with a bunch of my friends in DC. She's from the Pacific Northwest and had never been south of Richmond before this trip. I don't think she was fully aware of what she was getting herself into.

Jesus Waffles

I grew up in Norhtern Virginia, but I spent all of my childhood family vacations visiting family members. My mom's family is from East North Carolina, she grew up specifically in Kinston (it's off 41, close to Goldsboro, yeah...). My dad was born in Memphis and grew up between there and Phoenix. We're Southern. I have been to pig pickings. I can drop "y'all" without noticing. I am fine walking around in jorts without shoes on. There is a part of me that is instinctually Southern. I can't shake it. I used to hate it, but I know my family's history, and there's a lot to be embarassed about, but I understand it, and I can't change it, so I accept it and love it anyway.

I've also written about Fat People here before. And I enjoy making fun of people as much as everyone else, or maybe more than most, but I am unphased by the South. I have seen Confederate flags worn and displayed unironically, proudly. I know that there are still people that refer to the Civil War as the War Between the States, and that those people don't think that race had anything to do with it, it was, to them, a Big Government infringing upon states' rights. My personal opinons aside, I get it.

People are fat, and sometimes people wear shirts with Tweety Bird on them, or relatively offensive racial or sexist slurs, or something five sizes too small - that's a typical Southern beach town. All of that aside, they just don't care. No one can accuse them of being uptight, they're happy with who they are and they own it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dodge City

The more I talk to people in Richmond, the more I want to pack up my car and drive away. I don't hate Richmond. I used to, but I've come to be content here. Content is a dirty word though, it's one step up from settling. I have no intention on settling for anything because it's comfortable or easy. Richmond is comfortable, and cheap, and yeah, easy.

I left Northern Virginia for a reason. In the past few weeks I have run into more people from my home town than I do when I'm home. I'm not into it. I didn't like them there, and I certainly don't like them here.

When I talk to people that grew up here, went to college elsewhere and then came back, I just don't get it. Perhaps I'm not southern enough, or not easily satisfied, but I have no desire to stay in one place. I grew up in the same house for the first eighteen years of my life and was never the new person. Richmond hasn't been much different. People are content to stay here forever, I just can't do it.

I know people my age that live with their parents because they're saving up to buy a house, which I guess is great for them? The only purpose I see for owning property is to eventually fill it with a family, and that freaks me out. That's just where my head goes, house equates "would be happy to make babies and stay here forever." I understand that "rent is a waste of money blahblahblah..." but is it? Having a house comes with it's own problems.

I get to live in a shoebox and have people clean the foyer for me and I don't have a yard to mow or maintain, and when something breaks, I don't have to pay someone to fix it. It's a pretty sweet deal. And I can buy my way out of me lease whenever, or ride it out, and leave and not have to deal with finding tenants to rent to or someone to buy it. Ideally I'd like to move every three to four years from now until I get knocked up or resign myself to being a spinster - which, by the way, does not sound that bad.

That's another thing about Richmond. Everyone here seems to knock up or get knocked up between 27 and 34 and then they're stuck. Sure, kids are great, I like most, but when there's another parent involved you can't exactly get up and go. All of this is to say, nothing scares me more than the idea of doing exactly what I'm doing now in two to five years from now or beyond.

It's so easy. It would be so easy, but I would regret it and then drink myself into a stupor and try to convince myself that this is the life that I wanted. It's not. Not now, not ever. Complacency to me, would be giving up. I hope to always be yearing for something more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Media Monster

When I was in high school, I had a MySpace page (okay, I still do, but I don't remember the last time I checked it). I frequently got into arguments over the most petty things. Then I started reading blogs and had similar arguments there. Stupid.

I've always been opinionated. This isn't something I've ever tried to hide. But when I go back and see the things I said and the arguments I was a part of, it's no wonder people found me so irritating. I didn't have anything better to do, but wanted to feel involved in something. Feeling involved and being involved are two very different things. Being petty online is in no way being involved. It took awhile for me to learn that.

I wrote for Brightest Young Things, then I started writing for VCU's student publications and then a few other blogs. I was writing before in all the petty comments I made, but I wasn't being constructive and I didn't have a focus. Of course, I was also unhappy and unhappy people tend to be a little nocuous. Finding a focus and realizing that someone could be entertained, or relate to my stupid life changed that.

All of that, the blogs, the "networking" sites, and now Twitter and Foursquare and Flickr, and everything else, all of that is Social Media. It's so weird that three years ago I didn't know the phrase, and now am involved with it all the time (maybe too much).

Most of my friends don't use Social Media beyond Facebook. They might have a blog, but most of them don't. To them Facebook is mostly about staying in touch with people they already know, stalking frenemies, and reconnecting (stalking) people they knew years ago. They are missing the point.

I admit, I do use Facebook mostly for personal relationships. The people I'm "friends" with there are people I know and see and plan on seeing again (or awkwardly running into), and more importantly, would be happy to see again. However, my blog and my Twitter (which I use as a microblog) are available for public consumption.

The things I post in public are meant to be shared. I believe that the internet, but specifically Social Media, allows for us to grow beyond our comfort zones and create larger, more supportive communities. It's not meant for hiding behind a screen to argue petty issues, it's about relating to others, whether through similar complaints, senses of humor, or concerns.

So when I complain about bad drivers, or make fun of people that are (in my opinion) badly dressed, or Sketchers, or Mormons, or hair, or any other thing around me, know that it's a superficial comment. I don't have a disregard for people that drive badly, I'm sure they're fine people, most of my friends are bad (i.e. slow) drivers. When I comment on someone's hair, it's only because I do hair for a living, and in my head I'm thinking of all the things I'd like to do to it. Because at the end of the day, I only notice because for some reason, I care about strangers and feel insignificant surrounded by so much that's bigger than myself.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Richmond Drivers

I'm not sure how your car pertains to a higher being.

I love driving, on highways and parkways and expressways and toll roads and any other place that doesn't have stop lights and stop signs. I am great at driving in those places. I have a tiny car that's relatively low to the ground. It's only a four-cylinder, thankfully. If I had anything with a larger engine I'm sure I would have had my license suspended by now. I like speeding, not because I'm in a hurry, but because I like getting wherever I'm going as fast as possible. I drive as though I have to pee really badly, all the time.

This type of driving doesn't really work in Richmond. People here are not in a hurry to get anywhere, ever. They take their time. They're okay with not honking at people who take more than ten seconds to go at a green light. They also don't mind going ten under the speed limit on heavily trafficed roads. I don't understand it, I'm anxious to get where I'm going, whether it's the grocery store, to meet friends, to get to DC - it doesn't matter. This also applies to drives I take on late nights to nowhere, it's nice to move as fast as my mind is moving sometimes.

While discussing our upcoming trip to Savannah, my friend says to me, "It's supposed to take what eight hours to get there? So, that means you'll have us there in six."

I grew up in Northern Virginia. I know traffic. I know my way around it. And I know like 92473 ways to get wherever I need to go. I have no concept of what a mile is, but I can tell you how long it will take to get somewhere. Since moving to Richmond I don't like driving anywhere that takes more than fifteen minutes to drive to (unless it's another city's limits). If it takes more than fifteen minutes to get to, it's probably not worth going to anyway, i.e. the suburbs.

These are my issues with Richmond drivers:

1. Signals

Every car made ever has two of them. They work when you push a lever up or down. They allow people around you to anticipate your turn. It's a courtesy to those around you, prevents accidents, and when both are flashing they let people know that they should go around you. Anyway, they're really great, and I highly recommend using them.

Though, they can be used improperly, like when you need to change lanes and you do so, but you forget to turn your signal off after your move and proceed to irritate everyone around you. Stop it.

2. Speed Limits

No one in Richmond seems to be aware of what they mean or how they work. Sure, you're not supposed to go faster than they say, but you're also not supposed to got ten under the speed limit. I get it, if you do this you're probably really stupid and not sure where you are (get a GPS) and aren't stopping for directions, or you're really old. I don't care, just think of all the people that have to pee and get out of their way.

3. Abrupt Stops

Oh! Hi! I see that you're a chick my age and apparently a terrible driver. You've stopped in the middle of a main street, cool. You're picking up your friend? They're taking forever? I know how that goes. I also know that you have a button on your dashboard with a little red triangle on it, you should push it. See what happens. Oh, crazy, it turns both your signals on. Thanks! Now I know to drive around you when the other lane is clear. That was like so easy.

4. Parallel Parking

Richmond has shit public transportation. The buses are undependable, and...oh wait, there is no other form of public transportation, so we drive everywhere. That's fine, but we live in a city and there are a lot of us. You don't need six feet between you and the other cars to pull out properly. Really. You are part of the parking problem. Don't complain about not being able to not find a spot if you typically take up two.

If you don't live in the city and aren't accustomed to parallel parking, please stay in the suburbs with your giant car. We live here, and we park on the street and you're wasting space.

5. Cobblestone

There is a particular stretch of cobblestone called "Shockoe Slip." I have to drive down it every day on my way home. The speed limit is still 25 MPH there, and it is still two lanes. I promise.

6. Lanes

These are conveniently marked in contrasting white or yellow on the black asphalt. In most areas there are two lanes. Pick one! Stay in it. And if for some reason you need to change lanes, use your signal!

7. One-Way streets

I get it, you're drunk. We all are. I assume that you know how to read arrows. Follow them.

8. Trucks/SUVs/Other giant vehicles

You (I'm assuming) live in the city. Why would you need a giant car? Do you transport things frequently? If you do, it's probably a company car, in which case there's probably a company lot you can leave it in. Do that.

9. Magnets

Your car is covered in them. They support some really noble cause, I'm sure. But you're not really raising awareness, you're saying, "Hi, I feel the need to advertise everything I'm associated with in public, all the time." We don't care. And I will remove them from your car when I'm drunk. You are welcome.

10. Vanity Plates!

Virginia has an inordinate amount of these because they're really cheap here. Cheap also sometimes (most of the time) implies tacky. It's great that you're "OPNYN8D" or "AWWWSUM" - we all feel this way about ourselves, but the rest of us let other people find out in a personal, less public way.