Monday, October 29, 2007

Just took off my travelin' shoes

I know I don't update here very often but it's been a while, even for me. That's because I was away all last week in sunny San Diego. Only it wasn't sunny because of the fires.

Before I left home, I had heard a bit about some fires in California, but nothing big - just a blurb or two on the news. Then on the flight from hell (it was freaking hot, there was a "big sitter" beside me (you know, the kind that don't know how to tuck their arms in and CLOSE THEIR GOD DAMN LEGS a smidge), and the kid behind me had two notes: crying and whining), the pilot came on the intercom and advised us that if we look out the left side of the plane we'd be able to see the fires. I looked out the window and saw great plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. Obviously this was bigger than I thought!

When I got to my hotel, the place was all abuzz. A dozen people were in line to check in, people were walking to elevators with boxes of household items clutched in their arms, and dogs on leashes were around every corner. After I got to my room, I turned on the TV to see if I could get some news on the fires. Could I ever! Fire coverage was all that was on. I found out everything I wanted to know about "FIRESTORM 2007" in a few minutes. The Santa Ana winds were making the situation worse. There were 5 major fires to the north and the east of San Diego and they were between 0% and 5% contained. Nearly 600,000 people had been evacuated, many to Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers. FEMA was coming to the rescue! California had to import energy from Mexico. And on and on and on. It was information overload.

The whole state-wide crisis helped reinforce something I've always maintained - it's not individual Americans that I have a problem with. It's America. The people are very much like me and those I know. A lot of people in my class were from the area and had their families staying with them due to emergency evacuations. My classmate were both stressed and relieved. Stressed over the proximity of extended family and relieved that every was safe. People everywhere were helping any way they could - cooking meals, providing shelter, donating tents and blankets. Whenever it was obvious that I wasn't from around there, someone invariably asked if I was there because of the fires. Upon seeing me pouring over a city map, one server at a restaurant even asked if I needed a place to stay because a community centre in his neighbourhood had free beds. After I explained that I was there from Canada for work, he aplogized and said sadly that my timing was unfortunate because usually it's a really nice city. He apologized for the inconvenience of a bit of smoke and no Sea World! People are people. They love and fight and fear and care and hate and they can amaze you wherever you are. Even in the U.S.

On the way back home I did a lot of waiting in the San Diego airport as my flight got delayed again and again. One of my fellow waiters was this guy in the red sweatshirt:

He had just graduated from basic training (or whatever you call it) and was on his way back home. I know this because he spent much of his time calling loved ones on his cell phone to tell them the good news. Here are some snippets I overheard:

  • I got sharp shooter! It means I can kill bodies at 500 yards! Awesome, hey?

  • I'm different now. It's amazing. I've definitely changed.

  • I can't wait to put some of my new skills into action. I'm definitely in a combat frame of mind. I want to show those terrorists who's in charge!

  • I love you Uncle Bill....Yeah, I'm proud of me, too. God bless you.

The whole thing made me really sad. The fact that he had to go kill and possibly be killed didn't phase him at all. He was so happy about such a scary thing.

To end this off, here are a couple of reasons why for you:

Why I Like Travelling:
Newness. When one goes to a new city, it's all so different. I love wandering around with only a vague notion of where I'm going and how to return. I get to discover new types of trees, flowers I haven't seen before, flavours I've never even though of. (Speaking of new flavours, there was a Ben & Jerry's not too far from my hotel in San Diego that had a new flavour - pumpkin cheesecake! If you get the chance to try it, do!). I want to go everywhere and see everything. I want to experience what life is like in that particular place. What makes it fun/unique/boring/sad? I want to know it all.

Anonymity. It's pretty neat to be in a place where absolutely NO ONE knows me. I could make a complete idiot of myself in the middle of downtown and it wouldn't matter. I could trip and fall on my face. I could run around with a sign declaring that the end is near. I could dress in a clown suit and dance a jig. Some people might think, "Who is that whacko?" but that would be it. Um...not that I did any of those things. Ahem.

Why I Like Coming Back Home:
Familiarity. I know exactly where I can buy stamps or a good cheap meal and I know where I can walk alone when it's dark and where I can't. I can find all my stuff in my apartment, even with my eyes closed. I know the city well enough that I don't feel like I always have to go exploring. It's nice sometimes to do nothing.

Music. When I'm away I usually just have my mp3 player with me. I'm able to consume music (through the earbuds, the radio, or the TV) but not make it. I miss my stereo and my piano and my flute. The first thing I do when I get home is put in one of my mix CDs where I know all the songs and belt out the words so loudly that even my toes vibrate. It's wonderful.

I will leave you with another photo from my trip. One thing I can say about all the smoke in San Diego: it made for some awfully nice sunsets!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Images of broken light which dance before me

I have three stories for you today. The first one is really long, the second is much shorter, and the third is so short that it's not really a story. All three are rather meaningless.

Story One
I got on the elevator at work today. I had just finished my lunch in the 2nd-floor cafeteria and was going back up to my cubicle on the 5th floor. A man I didn't recognize followed me in and as I leaned to press 5, he pressed 3. I started mentally rolling my eyes at yet another 2nd-to-3rd-floor traveler, but then I noticed he was also carrying a huge and heavy-looking black case. The case had a sticker on it that read MUSIC IS MY LIFE. I immediately felt a tad guilty and judgey for my eye-rolling and my curiosity was piqued. This intriguing case made the man infinitely more interesting to me. What treasures lay inside? Why would somewho works in the IT department of a financial institution proclaim that music is his life? (There goes the judginess again.) Why had he brought part of his private, non-work life to the office with him?

These thoughts must have passed through my head rather quickly because, even with the nausea-inducing, speed-of-light, one-floor elevator ride, I still had time to ask him what was in the case. He flashed an embarrassed smile and informed me that he was lugging around an accordion. Then the door closed and the mysterious accordion-playing IT geek was gone.

All this elevator excitement forced a memory to come bubbling up to the surface. It was a fresh new 2003 - January 1st, to be exact. I was awake and moving around on a statutory holiday at the ungawdly hour of 5:30 a.m. because my job involved shift work anywhere between 6:00 a.m. and midnight, 365 day a year. I was one of the lucky New Year's Day suckers. So at 5:30 I stepped outside into an absolutely beautiful morning. It was one of those crisp, brisk winter mornings where the cold sucks the air out of your lungs and makes you glad to be alive. Of couse, it was still dark - in the dead of winter it seems like it's always dark - but it was that curious bright darkness that happens so often in December and January. Snow was floating down in large, fluffy clumps and the city was so quiet.

At the time, I was living with my then-girlfriend in the basement suite of a house. As I walked out the back door into the gentle morning, I noticed a strange, dark object in the back yard by the fence. My heart quickened at this intrusion but the object was too boxy to be a dangerous and feral animal, so I crept over to have a look. It was a large black case with band stickers plastered all over it. Even though I was running late for work I dragged the surprisingly heavy case in the house, undid the latches, and peered inside. If you're following along, I'm sure that you have guessed that the mystery object turned out to be a nifty, shiny accordion. Before I could explore any further, I noticed the time and realized I had to leave for work tout de suite. I closed the lid and scrawled out a note ("Look what I found in the yard!") so that my girlfriend wasn't completely mystified when she awoke.

While I was gone, she poked around in the case and discovered that the accordion belonged to a semi-famous Western Canadian celtic/rock-ish band. I e-mailed them, asked if they were missing anything, and explained the situation. The accordion player sent a very excited and grateful message back telling me how they had played a New Year's Eve gig at a bar about 2 kilometres away from my house. They had finished their last set, loaded their gear into their van, and returned inside for a few drinks. While they were imbibing, some rotten people broke into the vehicle and made off with amps, guitars, and yes, the accordion. We made arrangements for me to sent it back to him by bus and he sent my girlfriend and me a whack of their CDs as a thank you.

To this day I enjoy imagining the thief that nabbed the accordion. He and his buddies probably took off running at breakneck speed but eventually the weight of the case would have started to slow him down. (Accordions can weigh between 15 and 25 pounds!)

"Guys! Wait up!"
"C'mon, faster!"
"I can't do it. What the fuck is in this, anyway? [thump, click-click, creeeak] What the? Fuck this shit! I ain't carrying no fucking accordion!"
"Fine. Here - throw it over this fence. Now come ON!"

Story Two
I bought a new pair of work pants last weekend. They're really quite lovely - dark, slate grey, stretchy material, a nice flare from the knee down. I decided to cut off the tags this morning and wear them to work. Well, apparently these pants were not made for my body because all day they kept sliding down my waist and I kept hiking them back up to avoid showing everyone my underwear. The pants got worse and worse as the day dragged on. My walk home was ridiculous. The pants were in surprising danger of slipping right off of me, so with one hand I carried my briefcase/bag thing and I shoved the other hand into my jacket pocket and clutched the top of my pants through the fabric of my pocket and my shirt. This meant that one side of the waist slid further and further down past my hip bone but the other side was safely secured in my grasp. This also meant that I had no free hands to stop stray hairs from blowing into my eyes and sticking to my lips. As well, a small stone managed to hop in and hitch a ride in my right shoe. If I had been wearing sandals it would have been easy to dislodge it but because I was wearing normal shoes, it seemed like far too big of a hassle to do anything about its presence. I'm certain my pants would have slipped down around my knees if I let go. I eventually made it home, pants crooked, clumps of hair in my mouth, and a distinct limp to my gait.

Story Three
Before I headed to bed this evening (where I am currently typing to you), I went outside for my end-of-day breather and there were Northern Lights in the sky! I haven't seen the Northern Lights in a very long time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Family matters of the heart

Uncle Steve. Uncle. Unc. I've called him all three names throughout my life. He is my mother's only brother and my only uncle-not-by-marriage, though at times he's seemed more like an older brother to me. Here are some scattered facts and memories:

  • He is nine years younger than my mom and twelve years older than I am.

  • We were both born in the Year of the Rabbit.

  • The day I was born there was a large lumber yard fire in Winnipeg. My dad and Uncle Steve were on their way to the hospital to see me but they stopped instead to watch the fire. Their defenses?

    • Dad: I had already seen you.
    • Uncle: Well...I was 12 and it was a big fire!

  • My grandma has a tape that consists of three-or-four-year-old Nat trying to sing various nursery rhymes. I say trying because every time I would get going on one, "Unc" would be right there, bugging me and making me mess up.

  • Around the same time, my grandma, grandpa, uncle, and I all took a road trip from Winnipeg to Hecla Island. Apparently I tried (there's that word again) to sing Baa, Baa Black Sheep the entire two-and-a-half hours. Uncle Steve would always interject with the wrong lyrics, forcing me to start over. My grandma recalls this trip with a laugh and the smallest of shudders.

  • I quite clearly remember when he still lived with my grandma and grandpa. He was a typical teen with Rolling Stones pictures hung in his room and loud music eminating from his speakers. He has introduced me to some fun music, such as R.E.M., Modest Mouse, and Badly Drawn Boy (sound warning).

  • My grandpa rigged a buzzer from the main floor kitchen to Uncle Steve's room in the basement to save my grandparents the trip downstairs if he was needed. I delighted in pressing the buzzer repeatedly at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning. He quickly disconnected it.

  • My sister and my uncle have been playing an ongoing, rambunctious, and often annoying game of in-house tag since approximately 1989. I am a casualty of this game, which consists of them simply chasing and whacking each other. My sister tagged my uncle and ran down the stairs at my grandparents house. Uncle Steve quickly followed. As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he spied the closed bathroom door and figured my sister was hiding inside. With a flourish and a loud "A-HA!" he flung open the door to reveal an extremely naked and shocked Nat, who had just gotten out of the shower. He maintains all he saw was a flash of flesh and a whirl of towel. I suspect he's lying.

  • Once, at a extended family function (someone's 50th wedding anniversary, I think), Uncle stuck a chicken bone up each nostril. I thought this was hilarious. Still do, in fact.

  • Uncle Steve is a great gift-giver. I can usually count on music, books, or kitchen things from him. However, my favourite Unc gift ever was a knee joint keychain. See, I called him Unc, so he called me Nee (as in niece). Man, I loved that keychain!

  • Each and every time my family plays Bid Whist, my uncle loudly complains about one of the rules. The way it works is that the number of bids that we all give cannot total the number of cards that have been dealt. It is the dealer that gets screwed with this rule, as he or she bids last. When Uncle's the dealer, he tries to make the bids equal the cards and then acts all shocked when the rest of us sigh, roll our eyes, and lambast him for his blatant attempt at cheating. I know this point will make no sense to you non-card-players out there. So it goes.

  • This morning, someone was literally holding Uncle Steve's heart in his hands. He was hooked up to machines, given an anaesthetic, and opened up so that the doctors could fix his faulty heart. He is 44 and needed open-heart surgery. That doesn't seem right. Tonight I spoke to my grandma and she has reported that he is doing fine, which is an immense relief. I don't know what I'd do without him to amuse me at the next family gathering. Heal quickly, Unc. Love you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Monster in my house

As I unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door, I heard an unearthly sound eminate from the back room. I crept down the hall and through the kitchen. The sound got louder. Something was back there. I pulled back the curtain and I saw...


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jobs I have known

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Did you all eat an inhuman amount of food, too? Here is a breakdown of what I gorged myself on, as prepared by my wonderful mother (with very limited help from my sister, my stepdad, and me): goat cheese crisps with mushroom ragout, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, turnip fluff, coleslaw, beet salad, holuptsi (cabbage rolls, for you non-Ukrainians), glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, dill pickles, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust, and whipped cream. Each and every item on the list was entirely homemade, up to and including the dill pickles, and it was all absolutely delicious. Scrumptious, even.

In addition to stuffing my face, I got to play a goodly amount of crib (I won exactly 50% of the games - not really a stellar record), did some good-natured family-bashing, washed a whack of dishes, and watched a few episodes of season one of The Office (the American version). It was a delightful long weekend that allowed me to forget how dissatisfied I am with my work situation. However, as I rolled myself out of bed and into the shower this morning (sadly, almost literally), all of that work crap came flooding back. The intense boredom. The isolation and loneliness. The unknown and possibly scary changes a-comin'.

In an effort to show myself that it could always be worse, I present to you Crappy Jobs I Have Known:

1. Cleaner
I was about 12 years old and this was my very first job. My then-step-dad paid me to go into his store on Sundays (after he dragged me to church) and clean. He sold bedroom furniture and closet organizers and things like that, so it was mostly like doing housework. It actually was kind of fun - I got to listen to the radio the whole time because the store was closed, and there's something really satisfying about housecleaning. There are defined tasks to complete, there are small victories (yes! the vacuuming is done! on to the dusting...), and there's always an end in sight. Plus I got paid to do this! Mom never paid me to clean at home! So why was this job crappy (besides the fact that I was a kid and what kid wants to work)? Firstly, I had to spend the entire day with my then-step-dad. Not fun. There was a reason my mom chose to raise two children on her own rather than stay with him. And secondly, I was paid $5 a week! Even for a 12-year-old in 1987, that wasn't much. Interesting side note: I think this job got me used to being paid to clean. No one's giving me a dime to clean my apartment? Not gonna do it then. So there.

2. Private flute lesson teacher
As mentioned previously, I used to play the flute in a community band. There were four differnt bands you could be in, and as the years went by you would audition to move up a level. Once you reached the highest level you earned the right to provide private lessons to kids in the lower bands. When I was 14, I graduated into the highest level band and was super excited to teach flute lessons. I sure didn't know what I was in for. I had visions of young pupils staring up at me, all awestruck and admiring. They would write down my words of wisdom word for word and practice feverishly all week just so they could impress me with their progress the following weekend. Apparently I failed to remember back to when I was a pupil and would scrawl down cryptic notes in my lesson book, forget to look at anything again until an hour before my next lesson, and practice madly right before I had to leave because I thought that would fool my teacher. (Hmm...looking back, I see that not much has changed.) Anyway, my students were awful. They didn't want to be there, the didn't respect me, and they never practiced. Oh, also? One of my students was my little sister! Talk about impossible! She never listened to me or believed that what I said was true in non-lesson life. Why would she listen to me as her tutor? Well, the answer to that was she didn't. Mom quickly saw that this arrangement would only lead to disaster and quickly found another teacher for her.

3. Canvasser
I was so super stoked for this job when I started it the summer after grade 12. Why on earth would anyone be excited to go door to door, begging for money? Because it was for Greenpeace! And I was a treehugger! What could be more perfect? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Let me tell you what could have been more perfect: ANYTHING! Their, ahem, office was a tiny, possibly-condemned downtown bachelor apartment. "They" were a bunch of miserable, anemic-looking, chain-smoking twenty-something-year-old hipocrites. My training consisted of a pamphlet thrust at me the second I entered the room. I was quickly introduced to the other canvassers and assigned a buddy. Lexie was friendly enough but when we received our assigned section of the city, she told me the best way to learn is to plunge right in. She made me do the first house we went to by myself. I struggled and stammered through a half-hearted pitch only to have the man laugh and tell me he wouldn't give money to Greenpeace even if the planet was on its last legs. As I walked dejectedly back down the driveway Lexie popped out from behind a tree, laughing her ass off at me. She pointed out all the things I had done wrong and offered no pointers on how to improve. After five more hours of this, I had enough. I worked for Greenpeace for one day.

4. Professional grease-squisher-outer
Unlike most people, I was in university (rather than high school) when I got the ubiquitous fast food job. Apparently, those few years make a huge difference because a lot of people I know who worked there in high school rather enjoyed their time there. I hated it. First of all, I really wanted to be out front serving customers but but they stuck me in the kitchen. I can do things well or I can do them quickly. I cannot do both. As you may guess, that didn't go over well during the suppertime rush. I apologize to anyone who, back in the summer of 1994, received cold hamburgers topped with ketchup, onions, and syrup. Also, most of the people there were a lot younger than I was and had been working there for a number of years. This odd mix of immaturity and seniority resulted in rude jokes and pranks at my expense and a feeling of me against all of them. AND one of my tasks was to squish grease out of the hamburger patties as they came through the grilling machine. Really!

5. Hostile Hostel worker
Nostalgia allows me to turn this job I had in my early twenties into the Best! Job! Ever! But when I look at those five years with cold reason, I admit it had it share of awfulness, too. The Good: I got to meet really interesting people from all over the world. Most of my co-workers were fun, young people who loved to travel. One of my co-workers eventually became my girlfriend of 6 years. I was rarely bored - when there was no one to deal with at the front desk, I could clean; when the cleaning was done, I could do yardwork; when everything was done, I would visit with the guests. I liked the mix of physical work (the cleaning, the yardwork) and office work. The Bad: I had to work split shifs: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. My sleep schedule was completely wonky. I always stayed up far too late and ended up napping for most of my time off in between shifts. I only received one raise the entire five years I was there, and that was because minimum wage went up. I had zero benefits. I had to work bingos. I received a month of vacation every year when the hostel was JANUARY! Who wants time off in fucking January? The Ugly: The manager was awful. She hated travelling and didn't like young people. The guy she got to live in the small apartment in the back so that someone was there at all times in case of emergency was awful. He was an alcoholic who was friendly enough on sober days and super icky every other day. Even though he was supposed to stay in his apartment, when he was drunk he was always lurking around the hostel. He was in his seventies but hit on all the young female guests. He wore a loosely fastened, threadbare bathrobe all hours of the day. Most of the time he forgot to put in his teeth. He got weepy and depressed. He invited prostitutes into his tiny apartment. Some of the guests were awful, too. There was the former businessman who had been sent to jail for embezzlement who always said your name and asked permission for everything. "Hey Nat. I'm going to go to the bathroom, okay Nat? And then, Nat, I'm going to go to church, k?" There was the weirdo who was supposedly biking across Canada but stayed with us for over a month and ate Burger King every day. There was the woman who kept placing packages of raw meat addressed to various Canadian celebrities into the coin lockers in the basement. I spent my last day at the hostel out on the deck, sipping tequila from a coffee cup, and visiting with two awesome guests from the U.S.

So you see? It could always be worse! Things can only get better! A job is what you make of it! Yadda, yadda, yadda. Tell me, what are the awful jobs that you've had to endure over the years? The crappier, the better.

(As if to prove how lucky I am, the universe offered up this guy on my way to work this morning. Perhaps my little city can't afford those big, expensive street sweeping machines and have hired him to do the job. Good luck, buddy!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Happy reasons why

8 reasons why I love my mom
• She's awesome
• She taught me to love reading
• She makes delicious and adventurous food which has resulted in me being not picky at all
• She's kind and loving and lovely
• She pushes me when she knows I need pushing
• She didn't let me quit music
• She's encouraged me to travel as much as possible
• She was such a good sport about that stagette my sister and I threw for her

7 reasons why I don't drive
• I don't have a license
• It's better for the environment
• I buy less stuff because I go on fewer shopping trips and only get what I can carry
• I get to enjoy different aspects of my city you don't get to interact with in a car
• I support smaller local businesses that are near to where I live, rather than the big box stores on the outskirts of the city
• I'm not convinced humans are meant to hurtle themselves around at 50 or 100 kilometres an hour
• It makes me feel better

6 reasons why I did a political science degree
• I was the right age for discovering that there was a world around me
• The classes made me feel all passionate and powerful and caring
• Most of the profs were old lefty hippies
• Classes rarely started before eleven o'clock in the morning
• Debating and arguing are both incredibly FUN
• I love people and studying how they act when they live together in societies is fascinating

5 reasons why travelling alone isn't all that bad
• You can go where you want
• You're more likely to interact with other travellers and locals
• You can spend as much or as little as you want on food and lodging
• You become stronger when you only have yourself to rely on
• You can sleep as much or as little as you want, and the hours that you want

4 reasons why I'm glad I was a band geek
• I got to travel around Canada, the U.S., and Europe
• I learned how to read music early enough that now it's super easy
• I adore music
• I've experienced what it's like to make music with 120 other people who are all trying their best to create one beautiful moment

3 reasons why I live in an apartment
• I can't afford a house
• I'm not into home improvement
• I enjoy feeling like I could take off at any moment, even though I probably won't

2 reasons why autumn is my favourite season
• Cool, crisp evening walks through crunchy leaves
• My wool sweater

1 reason I like you (yes, you!)
• You're AWESOME!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Scents and sense (of self)

I smell really good today. I love it when I use a shampoo that I haven't used in a long time and the scent is super-noticeable all day. I'll be sitting there thinking, "Mmm...something sure smells good," and then I realize that it's ME! It sure makes me feel good.

Scents don't always ake me feel good. I buy fragrance-free deodorant, laundry soap, regular soap, and hairspray. The smell of other people's perfume or cologne makes me nauseous and usually gives me a headache. Throughout the years I have had to abandon many beloved personal grooming products because they would literally make me sick. However, I have found that not only can I tolerate the spicy, sandalwoody, pachouli-ish family of smells, I LOVE them. I love their warm, earthiness and their association with folk festivals and incense and exotic countries. And thanks to this wonderful shampoo that my friend Cake bought me, that's exactly what I smell like today.

I think I love these smells because I don't get much of a chance to express who I am through my appearance. I hear so many women complain about the lack of shopping opportunities in my city but let me tell you this: until you've tried to buy clothes here as a fat female, you have NO IDEA how crappy it is. I basically have 3 or 4 stores to choose from. Period. And none of these stores carry clothes that I think are me, so I end up dressing for comfort rather than how something looks. Don't get me wrong - I don't go to my office job in sweats and a pair of thongs (the foot kind, not the underwear kind). However, I do come to work in baggy, stretchy, and/or elastic-filled clothes. I figure if I'm going to look hideous to varying degrees, I might as well be comfortable, too.

I buy shoes the same way. Skinny people may not realize this but when you're fat, everything's fat, including your feet. I need wide shoes and those are a rarity in our trendy shoe stores we have in my city. I also walk A LOT, so whatever I buy must be comfortable. As a result, when I'm shoe shopping I have to pass on all those adorable, funky, cool sheos and go for the "sensible" variety. This means that I end up looking like an old lady or a butchy lesbian. (As a bi chick, there are worse things than looking like a lez but face it, they're not known for being uber-fashionable.)

This frumpy exterior is also one of the reasons I like to talk about myself. Our society puts a lot of stock in first impressions (this site says it takes THREE SECONDS for someone to make up their mind about a person). I'm not sure I like the conclusions that are likely drawn after seconds of seeing me. Boring. Schlubby. Uninteresting. Unexciting. Not words I want associated with me. So I talk and talk and talk about myself. "I've travelled! I'm passionate about politics! I'm a treehugger! I'm musically-inclined! I love art and photography! I read! I cook! I have 3 degrees! I'm not boring, I swear!" I want everyone to know everything about me right away so that I can overrule that awful first impression. Mysterious and private I am not.

So here I am in my ghastly tapered pants with an elastic waist, my stretchy cotton t-shirt, and my loafers, writing all about myself. But boy-oh-boy, I sure smell good!