"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."

Friday, October 21, 2011


Last year I lived at an apartment complex called Heather Cove and I thought the location was pretty good. Obviously not as close as the dorms, but not bad. But one thing you could not escape was walking up the stairs. Not just normal stairs either. Stairs that are too close together to take normal, human steps but also stairs that were too far apart for short-legged-ones like me to successfully take them two at a time. I use the word "successfully" because it was possible, but then you just ended up looking like you were trying to go all "King Kong" on a local village. I guess this idea of "king-konging" it to class could lead to a debate over what your idea of successful is, but mine would probably not include savaging the natives and swatting helicopters out of the sky, at the very least because I hate being late to class and acts of savagery do take time. I usually save my King Kong reinactments for the weekends and on the way home from class. More time to really get into character, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I even branch out in my acting skills a little and try my hand (or claws) at doing my best "Jurassic Park" impersonation. (Now here you should be thinking Michael Caine, "I haven't seen a walk like that since Jurassic Park!"). But I digress. (The word "digress" always makes me think of Dostoevsky and The House of the Dead, just fyi).

I don't really digress though, because as I walked up these stairs day after day I had a lot of time to think about such things. Thoughts like, "I really shouldn't be doing this in a skirt" or "Remember that one scene with the velociraptor" and more frequently "Oh good, I can hear them panting too."

This year I live at a different complex that advertised with the slogan "Your walk to campus could start here!" Coincidence that we chose it? I think not! Even though the walk time is considerably lessened, well, at least a few minutes... There is still no avoiding the stairs.

It has been a goal of mine to count these stairs and you might be musing at the fact that it took me until halfway through the semester to accomplish this task, but it is only because the above thoughts are so distracting. Or other thoughts... such as:

"1-2-3-4--Oh! Look at that bug!" oops. "23-24-25....33-- please don't stop to talk- please don't stop to talk! Try and look busy, focus on the railing! oh good! He didn't see me" yeah, I can be a jerk when I pant up the stairs. Or occasionally you encounter the super cool BYU student: "104-105-106- Do you think he realizes we can hear him singing? How could he not realize? Do you think he knows that kind of behavior isn't normal? Maybe I should tell him... Dangit he made me lose count!" Or occasionaly envy gets in the way, "75-76-- goodness she is just hauling up those suckers. She would. Oh yeah, sure, just stop and have a nice breathful conversation with the hot guy. I'll just be back here." And then of course "102-103-- RAWR (other incoherent roars and slashing sounds) *Pause to pound fists on chest*"

So as you might imagine, it took me a significant amount of time to successfully count the 147 stairs to campus. Yep. 147. If you think 147 isn't a lot, you go climb them. Don't forget your backpack of bricks, because let me tell you, that will hinder your walking rate. I almost had to count them again because I couldn't remember how many there were. But luckily I remember thinking "sort of like 76 trombones, but not. Oh! 147!" Now you are going to go out and count them yourself because you no longer trust me. Wise of you.

You get the idea. One morning I happened to leave my apartment a few minutes later than I usually do and because of this I ran into people I know. Usually I like people. But there are times when I really don't. I would like to say that this was just a "one morning thing" but it is usually just every morning. I like my peaceful walk in semi-darkness up to the library. I enjoy being able to fake-shoot the happy, chirpy birds in solitude. I like being able to trudge (yes- thing "Knight's Tale"- a slow, weary, yet determined walk) up at whatever pace I want.

So these people, had the misfortune, my misfortune really, of encountering me on my walk. But they all were going to class. So no trudging for them. They had to King-Kong-it up to campus. Does anybody foresee the problem? I did. I really did. Ten steps in, "So, how you doin?" "Ope, you know, just great.... (quick gasp) You?" "Some super clever comment about their life" (me catching a well-timed breath so that I can answer smoothly) "short, clipped comment, open-ended question to keep them talking?"

Did I mention that these people took the stairs two at a time?? Yeah.

I don't leave late anymore.

And now that I have sufficiently rambled about the stairs and eliminated the later option of "blogging as a form of procrastination" I bid you all a happy, stair-free weekend.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Public Humiliation

I was just publicly humiliated. Correction: I just publicly humiliated myself. So did this other boy, but I am not sure he had enough awareness to know that he was. Publicly humiliating himself, that is.

The boy, and I use the term boy here, because he was brushing his teeth (pause for anticipation) in the DRINKING FOUNTAIN. For reals. So beyond gross. I was so stunned that I said, "Well, this is a first for me" and he spittingly (because he had toothpaste in his mouth) responded, "What, you don't often see people brushing their teeth in the drinking fountain?" Quite a lengthy response for someone with toothpaste in their mouth. And I casually responded, "Nope. Can't say that I do." When I really wanted to say, "Nope, most likely because it is mildly, actually monumentally, repulsive." But he apparently thinks that is "normal."

Now on to my own bout of pariahhood. I was in my New Testament class and I got singled out to say the prayer. I tried to reassure myself, "it's just a prayer, you do this all the time, no big deal." But then I remembered that the person saying the prayer is required to introduce themselves. I don't usually have a problem with things like this, but the lack of preparation time just really threw me off. I also don't usually blush, but I'm pretty sure my face was bright red. Way to stay cool, Tara. Not.

So this is where the problem started. I got up, said hastily, "I'm Tara and I'm an English teaching major" then went to the praying position to indicate that this was over. But it wasn't. Far from over, really. The professor insists I give a little more information and then prompts me by asking where I'm from. Then came the inevitable T-bird or Bulldog question. (Cue lame hand motions in shape of t-bird, lamely supplied by me). Then the lovely man opens it up for questions. Seriously? Seriously. Question and answer time with Tara. Meanwhile, I am assuming the prayer position, hoping against hope that people will be discouraged. But alas, twas not so.

First kid (future rocket scientist)- "So, uh, what's your favorite color?" Are we in first grade here junior? Apparently. This seemingly simple question proved my downfall. A little background information is required here. One of my all-time favorite literary characters is Miss Havisham (name that classic Dickens novel?!) and she was quite an inspiring character for me. Come on, you can't beat the whole "I have a heart that beats, but not that loves" training she foisted on her eager pupil. Because of Miss Havisham, I have always insisted that black is my favorite color because it's the "color of my heart." Background information covered, back to class.

The color question really threw me and my instincts kicked in and I responded with the usual response "Black." Luckily, I had the presence of mind to not include the "because it's the color of my heart." Religion professors might not love that. Then some other smart alecky kid pipes in "uh, you do realize, that, uh, black is the absence of color." "Yes, thank you, I only get that every single time I answer this question" but I spared them the Miss Havisham story.

Next question from kid in purple shirt, "So uh, what do you, um, like to do for fun?" Fortunately, the professor at this point decided to step in before I could respond to questioner number two that I don't, in fact, have fun. Then I prayed and retreated back to my seat. And began to think about all of the ways being an English major has ruined me. I have accumulated quite a list so far, so that will probably be appearing sometime. Now I need to go find a hat or something to disguise myself. Excuse me.