Category Archives: funny

Flat Magistra Goes to D.C.

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So I’ve been a little busy chaperoning my 8th graders’ D.C. trip.IMG_3129

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I haven’t been answering my emails.

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I’m loving this spring weather. And eating at a restaurant right next to where Lincoln was shot.

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I have a thousand text messages, but I’m just too busy checking out national monuments to reply.

IMG_3280 IMG_3282My coworker loves showing me around. We’re really bonding.IMG_3147And I’ve been eating super healthy on this trip. I’m determined to come back thinner than ever.

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The kids are getting a little tired of looking at my pigtails that look like piglet-ears from Winnie the Pooh, but I forgot a hairbrush, so they’ll have to do.
IMG_3138I’m Jim’s righthand-man, and he loves posing for pictures with me. I’m the bad-cop in our co-teacher relationship: “You’re out of dress code! Spit out that gum! You’re late for homeroom again! Give me your cell phone!”

IMG_3140All these 8th graders really know how to brighten my day. There isn’t a moment when I’m not wearing the same exact smile on my face this entire trip.

IMG_3158So, if you’re looking for me, I’m a little busy hanging with the coolest almost-high-schoolers ever.

[Fear not – permission was obtained before posting these pictures.]

Dating Advice from an 8-Year-Old

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[This is what happens when you leave your phone unattended and fail to put a passcode on it…]

There’s this thing about kids that I’ve realized, and it’s that they hurt your feelings without meaning to. Adults usually mean to. Or at least, they mean to more often. I’ve got a handful of non-hateful mean things kids have said to me over the years, and with my elephant memory for tiny hurts, I’ll probably always have them tucked away somewhere.

When I was a babysitter in high school, a little girl said to me,

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from town – I grew up here,” I said.

“Huh. I thought you were from somewhere else. Your eyebrows don’t match your hair.”

And she spun around and ran to the swing set.

Now, at the tender and hideous age of 16, I was pretty bummed by her astute observation. It’s true: my eyebrows indeed do not match my hair. I dye neither, but somehow, God didn’t get the memo that if you’re from Massachusetts, your hair and eyebrows should be the same color. Maybe if I were from England or Colombia, but not Massachusetts.

And I thought about this for days.

I went home and told my family, who laughed.

I thought about dying my hair brown. Then I thought about bleaching my eyebrows, but the upkeep seemed horrendous.

Then, slowly and finally, I accepted the fact that my eyebrows are dark and my hair is light and I look like a foreigner.

~     ~     ~

These days, I babysit for a different family, and a different little girl has made the same observation. She said it quizzically, as though I were a specimen to be studied, and it seems often that I am; there is a mixture of wonder and confusion on her face when she looks at me, but she doesn’t always hold back her less-than-stellar thoughts.

“Why don’t you brush your hair more?”

“Why can’t I paint your nails?”

“Why don’t you curl your hair?”

“Why do you always drink water instead of soda?”

“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”

It was that last one I always tried to answer in a way that a seven-year-old would understand.

“I just haven’t met anyone I liked enough.”

[Sort of true, sort of not.]

“Seriously?” she asked skeptically, her mouth hanging open a little in disgust.

“Yeah, and I mean, it takes a lot of time. I have to really like the person if I’m gonna give that much time and energy to him.”

[Definitely true.]

I could tell she still didn’t understand because she looked at me sideways before demanding I tell her another story about when I was little.

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Two weeks ago, I was babysitting in the winter, which is rare. This same girl who thought everyone over the age of 15 must have a boyfriend was sitting across from me in a cozy restaurant. Her bangs had grown and were tucked behind her ear, more teeth had fallen out, but she was, overall, very much the same precocious strawberry blonde.

“Tell me a story,” she said as our buffalo chicken wings and fried pickles arrived. “I’ll give you a category.”

Her category was “something new that happened,” and I paused.

Should I tell her?

What would she think?

It might be opening a slew of questions I’m not interested in answering.

“Well, you know, actually,” (and it took forever to finally say), “I have a boyfriend now.”

I swear she stopped chewing her fried pickle and stared at me.

She blinked.

She did not smile.

“Remember that day I got a phone call? The last day of summer when we were at Canobie Lake Park?”

“Yeah…”

“That was him. He asked me out on a date, and now we’re dating.”

She didn’t ask a question.

This was not at all how I imagined she’d react. I’d pictured excitement and interested questions and “when can we meet him?!”

I, in my awkwardness, said,

“I think you’ll really like him. He likes hiking.”

He likes hiking?! That’s all you got?!

And then she steered the conversation in a totally different direction, asking for another story, one that involved a lot more animation and hand gestures. I started to tell it, surprised by her lack of interest. I don’t remember what the story was about or if it were even funny, but I know I was pretty engaged in telling it. She was enjoying it, her green-blue eyes big and her focus not on the fried pickles anymore.

I was just about to get to the good part – buffalo chicken brandished high in a dramatic moment – when she cocked her head like she does when she’s about to say something slightly critical.

[Remember: this girl is eight years old.]

“Catherine,” she said, “whatever you do, don’t let your boyfriend see you eat chicken wings.”

WHAT.

And she reached over and took her own chicken wing and dipped it gingerly in blue cheese dressing.

I laughed because what else can you do? and I said,

“Guess what? He’s an even messier eater than I am. And that’s so not fair! You can’t ask for a story mid-chicken-wing!”

“I’m just sayin’,” and she proceeded to nibble.

My latest in child-critiques. This one I’m not too upset about.

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[Look, no buffalo sauce on my chin.]

10 Things I Feared in College

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Okay, so some of these are legitimate (see numbers 7, 9, and 10). Most of them, however, belong in the slightly neurotic category. Read on and see if you can relate.

1. I only have four years and they’re supposed to be the best years of my life. I better get crackin’.
This one stressed me out beyond belief. I heard it from so many sides: “Oh my gosh, Catherine, college is amazing! Live it up! Go sky-diving and cliff-jumping, do a thousand missions trips and make 10,000 friends and REMEMBER EVERY MINUTE!” I heard all this, and then I got there…and it took work. I wasn’t cut out for college at first. I was curmudgeonly and set in my ways and annoying. I had to have my world rocked, and once I did, I was so much more open to the experience. It stressed me out, all the pressure I felt to make these four years phenomenal. But when I let go and just lived? They became pretty great.

The best years?

Probably not. But definitely wonderful.

Late-Night Swim 1[A little night-swimming does a body good.]

2. Is there a practice room open? Can I count humming as practice time? Listening? Audiating? ANYTHING.
As any music major will tell you, practice rooms are a prized commodity. At least when you want one. My favorite was the last one down the hall on the right, the one with the grand piano and huge window overlooking the quad. I liked it because I could get easily distracted by watching people pass by; I learned a pretty decent amount about my classmates through that window. I spent a lot of time trying to practice but feeling a mental block. I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could count as practice hours (six hours a week per instrument is a lot, but apparently not enough to make me awesome…).

Me and Will

3. Am I gonna have to park in Woodland?!?!
Now this one is a near and dear worry for all my fellow college mates. There was no worse exile than having to park in Woodland. It felt like miles and miles away from campus, when in reality it was a hop-skip-and-a-jump and really, the walk did us good. But I remember circling and circling, just waiting for that prime spot. I especially hated parking there at night, walking alone along the road, wondering if anyone would hear me scream.

4. Do you think anyone noticed I wore yoga pants to Lane? Again?
I am ashamed (or not ashamed?) to say that I was a repeat offender in this area. Lane was our cafeteria, and I’d sneak into the food line, hoping no one realized I had terrible style.  I used to blame it on going to the gym and not having time to change (“I’m just sooooo busyyyyyy!”), but really it all came down to the fact that I hate changing my clothes. Hate it. It’s such a waste of time. Also, I really hate feeling restricted. I’d wear comfy yoga pants every day if I could.

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[Winter Ball. Who needs a date when you’ve got so many hotties?]

5. Do I have time to run from Jenks to Claymore and back again before my next class?
As a double major (and like most college students, double major or not), I was always trying to squeeze as much into as little time as possible. You’d be shocked how much you could fit into a ten minute passing period, and I did my fair share of coffee-snarfing from Claymore. I always felt triumphant when I swooped into class – cup in hand, cheeks a little flushed – and sank into my chair, ready to have intelligent, academic discourse with the help of caffeine.

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[I graduated the same year our president retired. Talk about leaving on a high note.]

6. If I workout for half an hour on the elliptical, does that negate the chicken fingers and fries I ate at late night?
Late night was the bane and blessing of the freshman girl’s existence. I can’t even tell you how many nights we sat around the dorm, looked at each other, and just got up silently to walk to Lane and stuff our faces with whatever fried option we felt like consuming at the time. There’s something about a floor full of girls and 10:30PM that just demands greasy food.

The half hour on the elliptical? Didn’t quite cut it, but it’s all about perception, isn’t it?

229782_10150230247505972_577485971_8459310_1237818_n[Four generations at my senior recital.]

7. What the heck are student loans and how do I avoid paying them back?
UUUUGGGGHHHH. Figured this one out. And no, there is no way to avoid paying them back. Enjoy the next fifteen years.

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[I learned how to sacrifice attractiveness for a laugh.]

8. When I graduate, will anyone even remember I existed?
This one really bothered me. Maybe I’m just more self-centered than most. It seemed crazy to me that I was putting so much love and effort and energy into a place that wouldn’t even remember my name in a year. So what if I rocked my senior recital? So what if I had a radio show (that no one listened to) where we talked about art and poetry and faith? So what if I was editor of the lit journal. NO ONE CARES. Someone else will just take my place and change everything and where will I be? Slogging away at some 9-5 trying to make those student loan bills…

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senior formal

[There’s something about senior formal. Makes you dance your little heart out.]

9. The business majors always act like they know what they’re doing…maybe I should marry one.
This one? Probably true. I should’ve put a little more effort into this.

IMG_0313[Best day of my life, thus far.]

10. WHAT IF I TRIP AND FALL WHILE I’M GETTING MY DIPLOMA.
Also, definitely a legitimate fear. I do not have complete control of my body. I rarely walk around without bumping into things, and the President looked so far away, smiling his toothy smile, holding that bizarrely-empty diploma cover. I tentatively walked by (I had wisely chosen flats on this day-of-all-days), grinned when I finally reached him, shook his hand steadily, and walked off the stage.

Crisis averted, empty diploma case in-hand.

Ten things I no longer need to fear.

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Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

True confession:

I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day gal.

I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes because, really, isn’t this all about not liking Valentine’s Day when you’re single, Cath?

But there was such a thing as Valentine’s Day before this, 2014.

I remember being in kindergarten and making silly little Disney Valentines for everyone in my class. I painstakingly signed my name, and then we walked around the room and slipped them into the respective white paper bags with huge red letters: Ryan, Jen, Michelle. I remember sifting through my stash and really only noticing the ones with those red heart lollipops with weird white words on them.

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And then I think of my mom’s amazing heart-shaped sugar cookies with raspberry jam in the middle, how she bakes them every year and sprinkles confectioner sugar on top. And I wonder how many I can consume in one day before it becomes uncouth.

Then there was the one Valentine’s that I had a boyfriend, and I was lavished with flowers (snuck in by my roommate), breakfast at my favorite restaurant (where we got Breakfast Monster sandwiches and far too much dark roast coffee), followed by a long day of our favorite things. I remember his mom saying, “Honey, you set the bar too high!”. That’s probably why we broke up – he couldn’t handle the pressure of recreating such a huge event.

But really, Valentine’s Day just doesn’t do it for me.

I’m not particularly fond of pink or red or purple; I’m more of an ocean-colors girl.

I don’t love cheap Russell Stover chocolates (sorry if you do! embrace our differences!), and I certainly don’t like the feeling that you’re telling me you love me because the ads on TV reminded you.

I’m also not one for those terrible-tasting dusty hearts with the weird sayings.

Here’s a sampling:

cool cat     ~     puppy love     ~     crazy 4 u     ~     dream team     ~     fit for love (I’m sorry, what?!)     ~     home run (again, oh my gosh)     ~     book club (?)     ~     dress up (ummm, jerk!)     ~
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I could keep going. But I won’t.

And even though I love flowers because they’re beautiful, I can’t get over the wilting, the drooping, the stench of the water, or the unceremonious way they get shoved into the trash roughly 3.5 days later than they should be.

Now, if you were thinking of sending me some delightful token to remind me you care, please don’t consider this a warning not to. I want you to. I want to get a card in the mail or a text or a sweet phone call.

I guess all I’m saying is that, kind of like when I wrote about not being as romantic as perhaps I should be, there are some things that feel more natural to me.

And saying I love you because I can’t help it (and not because Hallmark said it for me) is one of those things.

The Teaching Student? Or the Learning Teacher?

I was a terrible student. I say this with endearment to my younger self and all her strivings, but really, it’s true. I wasn’t bad in some of the traditional ways – I never complained about workload and I was (almost) always interested in material. As I write this, I’m wondering what my past teachers thought of me at the time. Wondering. I don’t exactly want to know.

What’s brought this to mind is this:

Teaching has shown me what a bad student is.

I’m taking a grad school course on teaching strategies. We meet one weekend a month and talk classroom management, attention, relationship, and how-tos, and these three and six-hour classes have taught me something about myself. I am not a natural student. I hate sitting in those awful chairs and not talking for so long (shocked?!). I try my darnedest to read the textbooks because really, they’re pretty interesting, and I love that I can walk into my classroom the next day and implement what I’ve learned, but it’s not so easy to put down Percy Jackson or Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss.

In high school and college, I doodled. I sang songs in my head (yes, I admit it). I talked a lot and in my defense, it was often on topic, but I was more concerned with getting people to laugh because I was dying inside. And my behind was numb. I wrote out my week’s schedule because even THAT was better than listening sometimes, which is so strange to me now. I had absolutely wonderful teachers for the most part. They were engaging, passionate about their subjects, and always encouraging. (Of course, I am omitting those few teachers who stood out like sore thumbs and made me raging mad. Those are in a different category.)

So what is it about being a student that makes me so utterly different from who I want to be?

I had a music professor in college who used to laugh and say, “Students are the only consumers who are glad not to get what they pay for.”

And we would smile with embarrassment and recognition because it was true.

I have just spent the last two days writing a poetry unit for eighth grade. I wrote an integrative paper and a unit introduction (which doesn’t exist in the real world, but it does in grad school). I have had roughly three months to complete these assignments, and while I have been subconsciously thinking about them all along and I did write a lesson or two last month, I couldn’t wrap my mind around such gargantuan work before it was crunch time.

Friday night I will be sitting in my last weekend of this class, wondering what my family is eating for dinner, what my cool friends are doing while I lamely discuss the ethics of teaching and the future of education. I say lamely because I’m embarrassed by how interesting I find these topics. It’s the Friday night discussing of them that makes them a little less cool…

I will be tempted to lean over and whisper a joke to my friend because we have the same sense of humor and we are hi-larious.

I will be tempted to do this while the teacher is talking.

But then I will remember: Standing in front of a classroom of 9th and 10th graders, frustrated at their lack of attention, their inability to engage with me or the material, and their OBSESSION WITH JUSTIN BIEBER.

I will remember these things, and I will refrain from whispering. I hope my professor acknowledges my amazing self-restraint and gives me a gold star.

Because, really? I do want what I paid for. I want to be good at what I do and (even) to be good at learning it. Being a student again gives me both compassion for my current Latiners and for my current teachers – a very strange place to be, indeed.

[Photo: UGL_UIUC]

To Run or Not to Run


I hate running.

I hate it like I hate doing laundry and cooking. [I understand that this statement makes me extremely unattractive as a potential mate, but I figure you gotta know things upfront. My mother wants me to put “I hate cooking, but I’m working on it,” to temper the blow, but I’m not really working on it. The best I can do is “I hate cooking, but I WILL work on it, at some point in the future.”]

Back to running: It’s like a mental block, where all-things-running turn dark and murky and suck my joy.

Okay, I’m being a little dramatic.

I started running again this week. My cousin and I meet up at the gym at least twice a week, although we shoot for three times. We usually do the elliptical because it’s extremely conducive to talking and that’s pretty much what gets us to the gym at all.

But Monday, she said “what if we ran?” and I said “okay,” and we headed to the treadmills with trepidation and unwarranted excitement.

We ran for fifteen minutes, with some walking in between. My runner-friends will either laugh at our paltry attempts or applaud because they realize how much work goes into running. At the end, we looked at each other, sweaty and gross, and I said, “that was hard,” and she said “yeah” and I was embarrassed.

And proud.

And happy.

Three days later, I was back on the stupid thing. This time I ran six more minutes than the last time. It was easier, I sweated slightly less (yes, contrary to popular belief, women can sweat), and when I was done, I thought I did it. Ha.

I’m not sure who I was laughing at, but there you go. I was probably laughing at myself, the part that says “You stink at running so just give up and pretend that thinking about working out is as good as actually doing it.”

I’ve done this before though, started running and really loved it and then stopped. It’s a cycle. Feet smacking the ground (or the conveyer belt, depending), muscles aching, lungs working harder than I thought possible. But then things get in the way, and I forget how good it feels.

Do I run fast? No, not at all.

In fact, I was puffing away at speed 5 (don’t laugh! I’m a newbie!), when this tall lanky guy gets on the treadmill next to me. He lopes along, like it’s nothing, and I sneak a glance: 5.7. It’s like he’s barely moving. It’s his warm-up walk. And I’m dying next to him, mortified.

But whatever. So what if my running is your walking?

[I have nothing to add to the events of this week, other than this post and my prayers. I have even more reason to run and praise the Lord.]

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[Because I would rather poke my own eye out than post a photo of me running, here’s an only slightly-less-disgusting photo of me hiking Mount Untersberg. Different, but in the same spirit.]

The Best Problem

I walked out in the hushed darkness, ready to give my director’s speech. Your children are wonderful. This show is a blast. Thank you, thank you.

But before I could open my mouth, a rush of children flooded the stage, the piano started, and the lights went up. I looked around me, decided “how could I stop this, anyway?” and ran off stage like a frightened child.

Opening night couldn’t have started any better. They were too excited to wait for me. They ran onstage, their eyes shining, their carefully preened hair all done-up, and their songs as memorized as they’d ever be. I stood in the wings a moment to watch, and I looked at my assistant and said, “We did it!”

They did it.

Three shows, three nearly-full houses, and two long months of rehearsal. We taught them some valuable things:

  • Stage Left is actually on the director’s right, and Stage Right is actually on the director’s left
  • Upstage is towards the back, Downstage is towards the house (which is the audience!)
  • Talking about nervousness makes it worse! Don’t do it!

And, I think, the most important part of performing:

  • You are going to mess up. It’s going to happen. And it’s okay. You might forget a line or exactly which way you’re supposed to turn, and you’ll think quickly and keep going. No one will notice, and if they do, they certainly won’t care.

I believe in preparing children for the real stage, for the real world. For the way things are going to be.

That was the way things were. They did make some mistakes. I sat in the back – the proud director – and it was difficult for me not to laugh even harder at the mistakes. They were adorable, caring so deeply for this little show we’d worked so hard on. In the end, when I ran backstage and told them what a wonderful job they did, they glowed.

The second performance, I reminded them to let me give a speech before they ran onstage. They all stood back in the dark and watched me. I was pretty nervous about it, but every word out of my mouth was true, and real, and I meant it.

Your children are wonderful. Thank you for allowing us to work with them. I was supposed to give this speech last night, but their excitement wouldn’t let me. And that’s a wonderful problem to have.

I walked off stage as quickly as I could, and they all stared at me.

“Thank you,” one little girl said, “that was beautiful.”

As though she were shocked I had something so wonderful to say about her.

[They gave me a bouquet of flowers, a gift card, and a lovely little caricature of me and the cast to hang on my wall. I had been so afraid to take this surprise-job. Maybe learning on the job’s the way to go.]

[I might keep writing about this, just because there was so much good in it. Consider this the first installment.]

{Notes from Salzburg}

[Barnes and Noble is my hangout. My jam. My Place To Be. While enjoying a dirty chai {yes, I enjoy placing that order}, I remembered an old blogpost I wrote when I was studying in Austria. Only my family and maybe two of my friends ever read it – my mom was just glad I wasn’t dead, I think. Anyway, here’s one of my favorites. Susie, this one’s for you.]

{Big Bugs}

One of the most interesting parts of this cross-cultural experience has been the realization that, while things are very different, they are also very much the same. People are people. Deep. But seriously, there are families here who live like we do at home.

There are young adults who are full of life and excited about the future. There are lonely old men who sit at Cafe Tomaselli and drink coffee, watching the young people who are full of life.

Things are are a lot like they are at home. Including the fact that huge hornets fly into bedrooms and scare silly girls into screaming.

Last night, Susanna and I stayed up late talking and laughing. It was after midnight, and there’s such a thing as “quiet hours” in Salzburg (that’s right, college students, they exist in the real world apart from finals time…), so we closed all our doors but forgot to close the windows. We were talking about girly things and making each other giggle, when suddenly the largest bug I’ve ever seen buzzed into our room, hitting the ceiling and making Susie jump down from the bunk bed and huddle next to me on the floor. I try not to swear, but I’m telling you, this thing could sting the life right out of me, and we both couldn’t contain ourselves. I’m not even scared of bugs, usually, but what can you do?

Austrian bugs are flippin’ huge.

So I climbed up on to the top bunk and tried to swat it with one of our towels. I hit it, but what’s a swat to a mutant stinging insect? It buzzed right at my face, and I screamed. I was pretty embarrassed that a bug made me scream, but Susie said with determination: “Alright, it’s time to wake the boys.”

Now I am not one for running to a male in a time like this – what can a boy do that I can’t? If it’s gonna sting me, it’s gonna sting him – but I didn’t know what else to do. We weighed our options: Tom wouldn’t wake up, he’s like a log. Jon would wake up, but probably be pretty angry at us and never let us forget it. We decided on Andrew, the outdoorsman, the boy who likes to save people.

Susie knocked on his door, but he wasn’t in there (immediately after our frantic knock, his roommate replied, “Andrew’s not in here. Don’t come in.”). I went back to our room while Susanna went to find Andrew, and I’d had enough. Liz, our friend from the Finland, said, “No one has ever seen a bug that big! I want to make a picture!” And instead of helping me, proceeded to take pictures of the huge deadly bug.

I grabbed the towel again and stealthily tested the hornet’s reaction to my approach. It was preoccupied with preening, so I set in, a fast and furious attack with the towel. I pounded the towel against the wall, trying to squeeze the life out of it, but when I checked the clump, I saw it still moving! So I smooshed the towel into a ball and punched and punched it. By this time, Susie was back with Andrew, David, and Liz, and I looked like a fool punching a towel. I opened it again and IT STILL WASN’T DEAD. This thing was resilient. Andrew took the towel and threw the hornet outside, where it lives on to attack us in our sleep.

So somethings are the same, and somethings are different.

Bugs fly inside and scare girls, but they are a heck of a lot bigger.

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Karaoke and Curry

Last night I did something for the first time.

I sang at a karaoke bar.

Okay, it wasn’t a karaoke bar. We were at an Indian restaurant that has karaoke on Saturday nights (weird, I know). With the smell of curry wafting through the room, the long-haired dj sang his heart out, waiting for people to get the courage to come on up and sing.

While the few people in the room were trying to convince all the other people to sing, my friend nodded his head across the way.

“What about that guy over there? Why don’t you go hit on him?”

I looked over at the only man at the bar – a guy around my age. He had his nose buried in his iPod, and I don’t think he looked up for ten minutes.

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, I don’t think so.”

“Okay, how about him?” he said, gesturing toward a portly gray-haired man who was barely taller than I am.

“What the heck?! Cut it out.”

So after an hour or so of witty banter and teasing, he finally coerced me and B, my roommate from college, to sing. I should’ve known better. I kept saying, “No, no thanks. Not really interested in embarrassing myself.” And they just couldn’t understand why two women with degrees in music would pass up an opportunity to sing in front of people.

Maybe because I don’t know how to sing with a microphone?

Maybe because I’m used to practicing for hours before getting up there?

Maybe because I’m classically trained and don’t know a thing about belting or how to perform a pop song and make it sound good?

Maybe all three of those reasons?

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[This is a little more up my alley. Or at least this is how I’m more used to performing. Here I’m singing a setting of some of my favorite Psalms composed by a friend of mine from college. I can’t wait til I can say I knew him when!]

But I got up there and did it. My friend and I sang together, but our song choice was horrible. That’s also part of the problem: all the songs that sound good in my voice and that I can perform well are so sad. Give me a melancholy song any day, and I’ll rock it. “Cry Me a River” is a powerful, knock-your-socks-off number. But that’s not the kind of song that makes for good karaoke.

Nobody booed or threw their garlic naan at us, but there was a general sense of BUMMER. When I sat down, I thought: I am never doing this again.

I’d changed my mind by the time I woke up this morning. I have to redeem myself. Next time, I’m singing something a little more sassy, a little more upbeat. Something that says “I’m fun and I sing at karaoke nights.”

Let’s Give ’em Something to Talk About.

Restaurant Crush

[Unfortunately, there is no photo from this event. I, unlike most of my 20-something friends, do not own an iPhone. Besides, pretty sure you wouldn’t want a picture of what I’m about to describe.]

Over Christmas break, we all met up for brunch at one of our new-old haunts. Our favorite breakfast place relocated, so now we get the same delicious food in a bigger, noisier location. Oh well.

I was late because I double-booked and had a hair appointment. The girls graciously waited in the lobby til I arrived. There were hugs, and I’m pretty sure everyone around us was laughing because it’s nearly impossible not to revert back to high school when you’re with all your high school friends.

We squeezed into a round booth; M was fast to decide what she wanted (we applauded her growth in this department), we guzzled the delicious coffee, and we updated each other on our lives. Even though in some respects, we cling to our old roles, there are many changes. B and N are married now, so her pretty ring flashed as she animatedly told us her stories. S is moving for a new job. C is getting her Master’s, L is entering a certificate program and the world is moving forward.

It was great to hear all about their lives, but I have to admit one thing: I got distracted.

In walks a tall, rugged man in Timberlands and a plaid flannel shirt. He looks about our age, and he sits at a table directly across from me. It is really unfortunate (or fortunate?!) because throughout the entire meal, we keep making awkward (or not awkward?!) eye contact. I keep talking, trying to pretend that I don’t care if he’s watching, trying to pretend that I don’t feel 17 and fluttery over some woodsman at a restaurant.

The girls don’t even notice him. I think perhaps we have different taste.

[I DID pay attention to what the girls were telling me. I DID contribute my own stories. And I TRIED not to keep making eye contact with this stranger.]

As we’re paying the bill, I glance up one more time. I expect to see the side of his face as he  talks with the guy next to him. Instead, I see something that destroys my restaurant crush entirely: his fingers are clearly in his nose, and he proceeds to dispose of whatever they come up with IN HIS MOUTH.

This was not a five-year-old.

This was not in the privacy of a bathroom or even his own home.

I was so disappointed. Is this what I’m destined to get? A rough, outdoorsman who can’t help but pick his nose and eat the remains? Isn’t there someone out there who’s interesting, smart, rugged and makes me laugh, and doesn’t act like he’s entering preschool?

The girls just kept chattering on, not noticing my sinking heart at the fate of our seemingly-mutual glances.

Needless to say, my restaurant crush was not for me. Do I have to get all doom-and-gloom and project this experience on all men?

No.

Will I?

I hope not.

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[Insert hunk not picking his nose.]