Tuesday, August 30, 2011

unbridled spirit

My car is an official Kentuckian. I was going to join him in this identity transfer, but then the car inspector wrote down my Wisconsin driver's license number and talked about how Wisconsin and Florida have the longest license numbers, and then I felt bad going and changing my driver's license after all the work he just put into write down its number. So I'm still a Wisconsin resident for a little bit longer. This makes me feel a little more legitimized when I get excited to watch a Packers game, because, hey, I'm legally a Cheesehead.

And guess what: The Packers are throwing a celebratory game in my honor on Thursday, September 8th, to kick off football season and my 24th year of birth. Just watch and see if Aaron Rodgers doesn't throw a touchdown and then throw his arms up in the air and shout, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEATHER!" Because it's all about me.

As I waited in line at the county clerk's office to register Dule (my car - he's named after Dule Hill, which I don't know if the real Dule Hill would appreciate), I stood sandwiched between a guy who kept turning around and smiling at me, and a girl who looked like she'd share her entire life story with me if I merely made eye-contact with her.

Finally I said, "Great way to spend an afternoon, isn't it?"
The guy started speaking rapidly in a thick Spanish accent, and I, not understanding any of it, smiled and chuckled and then said, "Yeah."

This is always my default position when I don't understand what people are saying. This is going to bite me one day in a very scarring way, I'm sure. Like the time I was at a Mexican restaurant with a friend and, after my friend, let's call him Fred, went to the bathroom, our waiter pounced on me like a hungry leopard.
"Is he your boyfriend or your brother?" He asked.
Oh. Um...."Well, neither."
The waiter, let's call him Manuel, smiled. "He looks like he could be your brother." Translation: You shouldn't consider dating him. DATE ME!
I chuckled. "He does sort of look like my brother."
Here's where the indistinguishable part of our conversation came in, and, not understanding what he just said, I just smiled with closed lips and shook my head.

WHAT POSSESSES ME TO DO THIS? Why do I feel it's okay to answer people when I haven't even heard their question?

Manuel, taking my shaking head to mean that I actually heard his question and was honestly answering him, looked me in the eye and said, "Too bad." Then he walked away.

What do you think he could've asked? Whatever it was, I think I unintentionally led him to believe I was off the market. Which is a blessing, because I didn't particularly feel like going out with my waiter from the Mexican restaurant. But this time I was spared; what if next time I accidentally agree to something?

"Mumble mumble mumble mumble."
"Heh, heh, yeah."
"Really? Okay, pick you up at 8!"
"Wait, what?"
"Bring your castanets!"

Back at the county clerk's office: The clerk who helped me with my paperwork was friendly enough, but she never really made eye contact with me.
She asked, "Which license plate do you want?"
I looked at the two license plates pictured on the window, one that said "Unbridled Spirit" under the picture of the Kentucky horse, and one that said, "In God We Trust." I chose the unbridled spirit one, because, though I trust in God, I think it's a little presumptuous to assume that all of Kentucky does.
I tried to say "Unbridled Spirit" as inspiringly passionate as I could, like William Wallace maybe, but the woman simply smiled accommodatingly and went about her business.
Well, of course I accepted this as a challenge to make her day brighter. I waited in silence for an opportune moment, watching her float from left to right as she grabbed papers, stapled them, ripped others, tossed some, filed those, stamped here, all in one fluid motion. I looked at her in captivated awe.
"Wow," I said. "It's like a dance."
Her face relaxed and she smiled a genuine smile and chuckled.
I'm in! "You've got this down."
"Oh yeah," she said.
When she handed me my papers, she looked me in the eye and smiled. I smiled back. Day brighter.

Then I noticed she put my "Fayette County" sticker on my license plate completely crooked.

After all we'd been through.
Saturday, August 27, 2011

that September in the rain

It’s almost my birthday.

The night before I turned eighteen, I lay on the bathroom floor listening to the first fifteen seconds of “I Saw Her Standing There” by the Beatles over and over again.

Well she was just seventeen, if you know what I mean….
Well she was just seventeen, if you know what I mean….
Well she was….

I did not want to turn eighteen. The idea of being legally able to sign my own important documents without my parents was pretty terrifying to me. Next you were going to tell me that I could call and set up my own dentist appointments. WHAT? Let’s not get crazy.

Now I’m getting ready to turn twenty-four. Isn’t that the age that Paul McCartney wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four”? My future ahead is so bright, it’s blinding.

To celebrate my birthday, I plan to bake these vanilla chai cupcakes. Then I plan to eat them. My plans do not extend further than that, except maybe a trip to Barnes & Noble, because, most of the time, if you want to bring me to pure delight, take me to Barnes & Noble, and let me just smell the books at my own leisure. When you have come to please me in this way, you have secured a place in my heart forever.

I'm at Panera Bread right now, and there is a woman sitting at the table beside me with another woman. I tuned into their conversation just in time for her to say that, when given lemons, “It’s an old adage: You can make lemon cookies, lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, lemon muffins….”

Wow, usually people just make lemonade. Obviously this woman has more culinary knowledge than the rest of the world.

Also, happy football season.

2 more weeks till Heather's birthday.
Friday, August 19, 2011

to grape-nuts

O grape-nuts, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee with milk, cinnamon, and honey,
and peaches, ripe,
and juices running.
I love thee soggy, soaked, and warm,
I love thee cold and crunchy in form.
I love thee with berries, blue or straw,
icy and frozen,
or mushy with thaw.
I love thee together with Raisin Bran,
flakes and buds, hand-in-hand.
I love thee upon the rise of the sun,
I love thee after the day is done.
I love thee while I'm young, and bequeath:
I'll love thee when I have false teeth.

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