Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Roommates

(A mostly boring post, but skip to the end for some fun if it gets to be too blah blah blah...)

I have mentioned it before, about the insane number of roommates I have had. My current count is 83. Seriously, thats more than worth an honorary PhD in living with people. In fact, I challenge you to find anyone that's lived with more people. That's right, I put it out there, now start counting.

But I'm not complaining. Don't think for a second that I have regrets or grievances about my roommate experiences. And just because there are a few experiences I wouldn't choose to relive doesn't mean they didn't have just as much value as those experiences I would relive. In fact, I think my top ten worst roommate experiences taught me and shaped me more as a person than the entire sum of my good roommate experiences. And now is not the time and place for me to list those things, even if many of them have been running through my head for the past couple of days. I'm not worried about any type of character defamation, since those roomies that might be offended by such a list would have no way of finding my little blog. In fact, everyone who could find this page fits into my "positive roommate experience" category. Even if I don't for them.

And that's where things get interesting. I know there are a few roommates out there that would qualify me as a "worst experience", and I apologize to them and thank them for having put up with me as I was learning and growing. I know there are roommates out there who might even put me in the "best experience" list, and I thank them for the patience they had with me and the benefit of the doubt that they gave me. And maybe I'm just a clueless person when I say that 95% are the roommates I have had are people that I would be willing to live with again, since I know that 95% of them don't feel the same way about me. But this is all becoming very statistc-y sounding, and we know how I feel about statistics. So let me say this in another way.

I have learned so much from my repertoire of people. And when I meet new people, I can easily recognize similarities to former roommates that make it easy for me to talk to them or relate to them. I know that no two people are alike, but I know there are personality traits that are common.

I wish on a strange sort of level that I could get all those roomies together and let them meet each other. And some of them would recognize "that one" or "the other one" that they have heard about. And I could say "You have to meet this one, because she taught me this, and if she hadn't, we might not have been friends". Now I know this would be truly boring for most of them. But then some of them might really like each other. And others might really hate each other. And that would make it very exciting indeed.

And all of this is coming up because as I was sitting in rehearsal tonight I was thinking about two different roommates who came at close to the same time in my life. Both of them are musicians, sopranos, that I really enjoyed connecting with. We bonded over arias and art songs and hymns and music theory troubles. But we didn't really get much of a chance to sing together. Which is probably better, knowing the diva-like tendencies of sopranos. Maybe that's why we were able to be roommates and friends. One of them is in choir with me now. I am so grateful that she is there, even if we sing in different sections and hardly see each other, there is comfort in knowing that a familiar and friendly face will wave and smile when I need it. She has my back, she'll be my friend, and she'll make fun of me only in the most loving way when I screw up. The other is gone now. We won't get to sing together and have each other's backs or wave like maniacs from across the room (even though she would have been the first one to do so, in any situation). But at the same time, I sort of get the feeling we are singing together anyways. Because if the angels sing along with any earthly choir, its the one I'm in now.

Aaand there's where I get a little too emotional. So we'll end this entry with a little fun, because making jokes is how I cope.

83 roommates also means that there aren't many roommate stunts that I haven't pulled. Think about it, the fun times in college you had, doing ridiculous things with your roommates. I don't know why more grown ups don't have fun like that. Sometimes I hear my sister talk about late night roommate experiences and I really want to say "I did that too!", but I don't want to spoil her moment to be the goofy fun college student with crazy roommate stories.

Too bad tonight, though, because I need it. I need to relive a few of the best stunts and roommate moments of my career. So here goes:

*There was the year that "Santa" brought us all leopard print bras for Christmas. I don't know how Santa managed to find all our bra sizes without going through our underwear drawers, but he did. And so we put them on (over a t-shirt, under a sweatshirt, modesty first, we were at BYU after all) and ran to all the other girls apartments and flashed them.

*Late nights at the grocery store, because of one very strange boy who had no concept of how to strike up a conversation, we spent a whole year going to food for less and buying one banana plus a bag of bulk candy, and trying to make it total $1.47. The game ended when one of us succeeded, but it was all sorts of fun while it lasted.

*Breaking into 212 in order to steal back our TV. Oh, and all of their spoons, just for retribution. Spoons, you ask? It was well reasoned. What is a college boy's main dietary staple? Cereal. Try eating captain crunch with a fork.

*Speaking of Spoons, Spoons. And people that are the best at spoons. Or spooning. And sentence to picture. and coming home to general conference reruns on a movie sized screen at 2am.

*J, the narcoleptic friend, who fell asleep on the stairs, mid-race to the kitchen for ice cream. I kid you not. And the story is even funnier if I could tell it to you in person, because it involves the words "Thunk thunk thunk"

*Spiders that drop from the ceiling. Not fun initially, but the retelling involves all sorts of jumping and screaming. It never gets old.

* Mattress sliding.

* Only the greatest Roomie "Road Trip" of all time, ten days in Paris.

* The Bern-mobile, and wondering if a geo metro could make it up some of those hills in Provo. Good thing it was a stick shift.

* Remember when he said "I'm reading a book that night"? Yeah, that's still burnt into my memory. What would I have done without roomies...

* Making bread. Too much of it. And cinnamon rolls. And cookie dough. And all the late night talks that can happen with a good batch of cookie dough.

* Getting a hotel room for a weekend, even if its just in a neighboring city, for the escape.

*Facials, hair dye, boy bands, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and hairbrushes for microphones. Some things are timeless classics.

*I can think of more than a few practical jokes, involving everything from BYU catering services, Mary Kay ladies, and onions to name just a few.

* Four wheelers, farms, farm boys, and boxing gloves. Combine them for an evening.

* The time we found out I sleep walk. 'Nuff said.

* Too many bridal showers to count.

* Movie escape days. Two or three movies at the dollar theatre, some olive garden in between, and maybe some shopko candy to keep you company

* And speaking of olive garden, ordering specialty drinks like virgin strawberry daquiris when you are out with roommates.

* Or staying home and ordering in. Pizza, soda, and the 6 hour long Pride and Predjudice with Colin Firth. There is no better way to spend a reading day.

*Discovering how many hiccups it takes before a case is considered chronic. THen counting them.

*That night that "The Birds II" was on at 2:00 in the morning. And due to an inexplicable case of insomnia, we all watched it.

* Stealing particularly amusing advertisements off the walls of local community colleges.

* There was this one semester that none of the 6 of us slept in our own beds once. It was always out to the living room or camping out in one of the bedrooms. The one night someone did try to sleep in her own bed, everyone else just piled in there with her. I believe this is where the line "I'm Twisted, Sister!" originated.

*The pink mumu. And the album of pictures we filled with every member of the BYU 188th ward wearing it. As a graduation present, of course, because what makes a better memory than having picture of that one boy, the one you never got up enough nerve to ask out, wearing your Pajamas. She complained that her pajamas had been missing for the whole semester, but I'm convinced it was worth it.

* Finally, last but not least, too many inside jokes to count. Whether they are related to TV shows or posters we had on the wall or dumb things people said, or smart things they said, taken out of context. I could spend the rest of my life laughing simply from the words I hear around me that remind me of one of those moments.

And I should spend the rest of my life laughing. Because like I said, who else in the whole wide world has been lucky enough to have 83 roommates? 83 insane, smart, clever, funny, admirable, strong, beautiful, cocky, catty, trying, terrifying, sassy, amazing, admirable, wonderful witnesses to my failures and successes.

I'm pretty sure it's just me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Voices in my Head, Part Two: Confessions- in which I allow a few of the less prominent voices speak their mind

(It's spring break. I have a couple of midterms and a paper to get through, but while I am enjoying a week out of classes and working full time instead, I thought it would be a good time to let the writing take over. All sorts of my own thought come into my head when I'm working full time instead of listening to professors thoughts all day long)

... I was texting to a friend today about getting through the afternoon, and I mentioned the power that a little Dr Pepper and Neil Diamond can have on the 3:00 drearies. He didn't text back for a while, and I got nervous. I realized that in the 15 or so years that I have known this fellow musician, I have never admitted my love for Neil Diamond, and I got worried. Ashamed. Why have I hidden it all these years? Is it really such a terrible thing, to enjoy a little "Forever in Blue Jeans"?

(Train of thought derailment: my roommate has decided to come in and chat at me while I type this, very difficult to focus. I want to be kind. I really do like her, but sometimes she just babbles on and on.)

Anyways, the text conversation went basically like this:

Me:I can only do this job when there is an end in sight. Also, Dr Pepper and Neil Diamond help the afternoon fly by.

Friend:Neil Diamond???

Me: Sadly, Yes. A childhood staple. Cracklin' Rosie and Song Sung Blue.

.... One hour passes with no response...

Me: Can you still be my friend knowing that? You can always blame my character flaws on my parents. I know I do. :)

Friend: FOFLOL! Actually I love Neil...

(Train of thought derailment part two. Roomie has decided to fill out the Census. At 11:00 at night. She is asking me questions.)

The Neil conversation continued from there. About certain songs and albums. But my initial reaction to the whole situation (that of shame or hesitation) had me wondering. What other quirks do I have that the Committee Chairperson in my head squashes with a sense of guilt or pride or shame? Committee Chairperson (as mentioned in my previous post about voices in my head) is ruled by hymns and poetry. Committee Chairperson is sensible and would probably drive a sedan. Committee Chairperson wants nothing to do with Neil Diamond. Or Celine Dion. Now that the voice who directly opposes the chairperson has spoken out (and perhaps we should call him "Neil"), will others be so brave?

Anyone? Beuller?

Ah. There we go. A hand in the back of the room.
Oh look at that. It's Suzy Homemaker. We heard about her a little before. Suzy? What have you got to share?

I like pink. It can be done tastefully you know. Particularly as an accent color. And I don't care what psychologists say about gender stereotypes, little baby girls should wear little baby girl colors and little baby boys should wear little baby boy colors. Its not just about giving a child a clean slate, its also about teaching them social expectations and giving them a template to draw from. They can make their own choices, but they need to know what they are choosing when they do.

Alright, Thank you Suzy. Every fiber of my academic being and every fiber of my women's libber disagrees with you. But I suppose you are a part of this team too.

And speaking of women's libber, it looks like "Libby" has taken the opportunity to control the floor. She may wear a lot of camo, but she certainly does have a way of standing out when she is allowed to.

"I hate the fact that women get paid less than men for doing the same jobs in our society. More than that I hate the fact that so called "pink collar" jobs are as undervalued as they are. And mocked. Seriously, I would love to see some jerk of a CEO try and handle 8 babies for an afternoon. Don't whine at me about balancing millions of dollars or making sure you sell more wheaties than the next guy. Change 8 diapers, make 8 bottles, feed the children 2-3 at a time and get them all down for naps, then start over again all without ever sitting down or having a grown up conversation. That's right, Jerk, you wouldn't last 10 minutes in a "pink collar" job."

OK, well, Libby does tend to get angry. But you can see why that might be coming out this week. Lets see if we can change the tone a bit.

(Train of thought back on track- Roomie finished the census and went to bed. Thank goodness it wasn't the long form.)

Perhaps we should limit the voices to a few words, rather than letting them spew bitter diatribes. Let's move this along. Neil, did you want to jump in for a moment?

"I want to buy a Red car. Not sensible red. Cherry red. And fast. And fun. Like a Mustang."

Thank you Neil.

"Also, I happen to like Celine Dion. And sometimes I sing along with her. Especially that one album, you know, from our Junior year of college. With "Because you Loved Me" on it."

Alright Neil, maybe you have overshared. Insecure girl, did you have something to say, I couldn't tell if you were raising your hand or checking your hair... and what's your actually name? We always just call you "insecure girl".

"Um, yes, my name is Heidi and, um, well, speaking of Celine Dion, there was that guy from our junior year that used to serenade us with that song. I'm still wondering if he was interested in us and we were just clueless. Because how colossally stupid were we to let that one go..."

Which guy? Oh yes, the 6'4" pre-med Puerto Riccan with the luxurious locks of curly hair... Yeah, we all still wonder about him. I believe we have made him the responsibility of "Suppression Sarah"


Thank you, Suppression Sarah. Now please go tend to that... Oh wait, you have a few things to add? Well I suppose, make it quick.

"I like conforming."


"It makes my job easier, when we conform there is more to suppress immediately, but less to suppress in the long run. Conformity is relaxing. It's vacation."

OK then, Sarah, that is something for us to consider. Although clearly allowing this conversation at all is a less than conformist approach.

"Well, that's why I brought it up."

Hmmm, it's true. We can't let this go on for too long. Perhaps we have time for just one more confession before we head to bed. Let's see who has something to say...

Ah yes, Marsha, Mistress of Chaos, you rarely get a voice. One final thought for the night?

"I feel pretty balanced right now. You know how usually the car is a mess if the bedroom is clean and the bedroom is a mess if the car is clean? Yeah. Its about equilibrium. The kitchen is spotless, the living room is ordered, the car is carrying everything I need for the crazy days I have and the bedroom, well, its time to focus on some laundry. Its balanced though. So I'm not complaining. Chaos often begets creativity. You need that too. But once the inspiration is there, we have a clean and quiet place to work. And while we were frustrated at having to work full time through spring break, it feels good to turn the brain off of papers and tests and focus on silly things for a bit. Especially knowing that next week we can return to school and listen to other peoples thoughts for a few more weeks. It's balanced."

Thank you Marsha. I'm glad we got to end on a positive note.

Good night everybody!

(Insert Walton's "good night john boy" conversation here, using committee members names and titles.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Excuse me for a moment while I indulge in intellectual snobbery...

I see dumb people. I hear dumb people. I talk to dumb people. I'm so tired of dumb people.

I'm sorry dumb people. I'm sure you are nice. I'm sure you have sweet spirits. I'm sure you have pretty faces. I'm just not sure I have the energy to be your friend right now. It's not me, it's you.

It's an Alton Brown night.

(sorry guys, I thought this posted then it didn't also, this is definitely not directed at anyone I know on here, it's directed at people that I see every single day. They don't have access to this)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More FYI tidbits

Here's some general communication. As of right now, the plan for sunday morning is that you should watch for me as the amazon woman smack dab in the middle of the very back row. It's a lonely place, with no voices behind me, a different voice part to my right, and a sweet but very quiet lady on my left. But it seems to be where I have always and forever stood in a choir. I had hopes of being shorter than at least someone this time, but alas, it's just not meant to be. Maybe on the 21st... Or else during the sat am session of conference. Then again, it could even change again on Sunday morning.