Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Imaginary House

About a year ago a friend and I were fantasizing about moving to a beach house or buying a vacation home together when we're not poor, so hopefully in about a decade. At the time I found a house that's about an hour away from the beach in my mom's home town. It's pretty centrally located between several larger towns in Eastern North Carolina.

Recently I was looking at houses in that area again, and found that the same one was still for sale. It's been for sale for about two years, and I doubt anyone will scoop it up anytime soon. My mom's hometown is pretty decrepit. It had a textile mill and a Pepsi plant in the 50s and 60s, but once those moved the only industry left was tabacco, and that's not even as prominent anymore.

The median age in the town is 44 and about 50% of the population lives below the poverty line. The crime rate is close to twice the national average, though most of those crimes aren't violent.

My mom has told me that this is a terrible idea and that I don't have money anyway, though, "If you really want it I suppose you could buy out the owners."

About two years ago I interviewed several of my mom's relatives. I have a bunch of letters and copies of deeds and other similar documents, and have this outrageous idea to write a book based on my mom's dysfunctional family -- she's not exactly stoked about the idea, there were a lot of alcoholics, lots of infidelity, and a few of them dabbled in the Ku Klux Klan. Ideally, I'd like to do this in the house I'll buy there.

I'm going home next month for a visit and have plans to road-trip down to see the house with a friend. I figure if it's awful in person, then I can forget about the idea for awhile. But even if the house is terrible,   I'll find another, and moving there will still be part of my plan. After school and after I pay off my loans, hopefully I'll have a solid portfolio and will be able to freelance and can live wherever, including The Middle of Nowhere, North Carolina.

The more I think about my imaginary house, I think of who I'd like to be there. I've always been somewhat environmentally conscious, but I've become more-so and I'd like to have a home that's completely self-sustained. I want to make everything I eat, and put on my body, and use in my home. I want to bike the flat land around it, and I want to teach kids to read, and I want to be a girl scout leader, and to have strangers over for dinner.

The person who would live in that house is much better than I am now. She's more compassionate and less selfish, and patient. I know I don't have to live there to accomplish these things, but I suppose in my head once I've achieved all those things, I'll be able to make there happen, and maybe start something to lift up that wretched little town.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hot Chick Shit

When I walked into the unoccupied stall I found the remnants of a turd on the seat. If it had been Number 1, I wouldn't have had a problem taking some toilet paper and wiping the seat. But Number 2 isn't something I'm so comfortable with. 

I began to wait, but could feel the tension in the bathroom, so I decided to give the other woman her privacy and take a lap around the floor.

I work in what is referred to as a "startup incubator." We're located on one floor together in what would otherwise be a relatively swanky office building. People who don't work on my floor wear suits to work, the people on my floor frequently look as though they came to work in last night's clothes. We don't interact much with the other companies, but we're familiar enough that I can look at someone and tell you which overflowing office (singular) they work in with a dozen other people. 

Space is tight, to say the least. This doesn't matter for the most part, except where the bathrooms are concerned. There is a single bathroom for close to fifty women to share. Two stalls. That's all we've got to work with and when that's narrowed to one stall due to one unpleasant person's error, frequent pee-ers are screwed. 

I drink a least two liters of water in the time I spend at work -- it's my solution for not being able to afford my Red Bull addiction. It's hard to be anything but alert when you have to pee all the time.

By the time I was finishing my lap around the floor The Hot Chick from down the hall beat me to the bathroom by about ten feet. Determined to not repeat the previous routine, I decided to wait patiently in the bathroom. 

After about five minutes of waiting, I realized it was going to be longer, and again I opted to give her privacy and take a lap. Upon my return, she was still there, so I took another lap. This went on for about twenty minutes and I went from checking after each lap to about every third. After the third lap or so people working from couches in the halls and common areas began to take notice and shoot me quizzical looks.

At this point I probably would have been better off leaving my building and making my way to one of the dozen coffee shops scattered around my building, BUT I didn't know The Hot Chick was going to take a deuce for twenty minutes. I mean, ten minutes -- sure, but twenty seems excessive for a work environment. 

The Hot Chick finally came out of the stall, just as I came in to check once more. We avoided eye contact and I was finally able to (ahem) relieve myself. I finished in the time it took for her to wash her hands. (I'm a fast pee-er, guys! Hire me!) She didn't leave though, she stayed and looked at herself in the mirror while I washed my hands. We left at the same time and exchanged looks that said I know that you know that I know that you just took a massive shit.