I wore a pair of particularly adorable shoes to work today. I mean SHAMEFULLY adorable. EVERYONE compliments them. Even men.
The problem was that today was the first day I walked to work in the adorable shoes instead of driving to work in the adorable shoes. I was miserable by the time I was within a block of my office and kicked them off as soon as possible.
So today, when I walked home, I did it barefoot, carrying the adorable shoes. Which is every bit as disgusting as it sounds.
Damn you, Dirty Monkey!*
* Quoting friend Kevin, who said this after our friend Lacey twisted her ankle in her own pair of shamefully adorable shoes. Oh boys and their lack of shoe knowledge.
Forget about tax, corporate, litigation, criminal defense, guardian ad litem -- I am a cross between Marshall from How I Met Your Mother (goofily singing songs to myself about constitutional law), Julia from Parenthood (failing completely at work-life balance and accidentally blurting awkwardness into live mics), and Mitchell from Modern Family (stealing babies' intellectual property and yelling at children in ice cream parlors).
Caveat: I'm in the middle of trying to make Mormon friends ... again. (Thanks for the encouragement, internet readers.) If any potential Mormon friends happen to find this blog ... um ... well, okay, maybe I secretly mocked you and your peers on the internet.
But Jesus commands you to forgive me. Let's still be friends, k?
It's Mormon Quirk Roundup Time!
The five teenagers sitting in front of me and Amy spent the ENTIRE hour-long outdoor Easter Pageant giggling and flirting. Two of them literally were turned around in their seats and never once glanced at the stage. I'd be more annoyed, except that one of the boys Generic Mo Girl was furiously batting her eyelashes at was clearly gay, so the joke was on her.
Also, I find the visual spectacle of Ballerina Virgin Mary to be troubling on so many levels. But that's just me, being spiritually dead inside.
Ginormous Imaginary Date Night:
The ward recently organized an event where ten people got together at various restaurants around Austin so we could pair off, get married, make Mormon babies get to know each other. I considered this a prime opportunity to make some friends and immediately signed up.
Of course, I ended up sitting next to someone I'd met before. Weirdo Numero Tres, to be precise. Not only did he not remember me, but he proceeded to ask me the same questions he asked me the first time we met, complete with the same insulting responses. (To recap: Where did you go to law school? I could have gone somewhere better. Also, I have superior morals to you, albeit a minimal understanding of civil liberties.) At some point, I started laughing because it was so surreal, which I'm sure made me look incredibly rude to everyone else at the table.
But there were some new, interesting tidbits.
1. WNT responded to one of his student's questions about gay marriage complete with details from the PROCLAMATION ON THE FAMILY. "Ya know, of course I didn't phrase it that way, but you got to share your beliefs." Or something.
Internal monologue: You should be fired for displaying a total lack of judgment. You don't want teachers teaching your kids pro-gay-marriage sentiment? Maybe you ought to leave your own anti-gay-marriage sentiment at the door then and leave all gay-marriage-related discussions to parents.
2. WNT responded to a wardie's comments that she was still playing with My Little Ponies at 13 with, "I don't think there is a single girl in my school who hasn't lost her virginity by 13."
Internal monologue: You should be fired for being a total perv who speculates on his students' sexual activities.
3. WNT asked me my opinions on healthcare reform. (Pro.) Then about whether I thought it was Constitutional. (Absolutely.) Then he chuckled patronizingly and said, "Are you sure about that, heh heh?" (To a moral certitude.) Then he asked me who I voted for. (Obama.) He then proceeded to compare President Obama to a general authority.
WNT = WTF?
And speaking of the President, today the teacher began our lesson by saying, "I don't want this to get political ... but I found a study that found President Obama has broken 17 promises, compromised on 150, and stalled on over 200."
Fun fact about me: When I have 1 pm church, I like starting Sunday mornings with a movie. Generally not a religious movie, though I did get Passion of the Christ on Blue-Ray yesterday. (I'm kind of terrified to see what that looks like on 37 inches of hi-def this evening. Woot Palm Sunday!)
(Seriously, with all the crying I do over movies and TV, you'd think I was a far more emotional person. Thankfully, I rarely cry in front of another person.)
After it's over, I'm going to make the scones from the mix I bought yesterday when I went to buy picture frames ... and came home with picture frames, a door mat, a cake tin, a poster, and scone mix. Yes, I overspent yesterday. But ... scones ...
(Sorry for this super random post ... I have a more amusing one in my noggin, but it's going to take a little longer to write.)
Periodically I start a goal of making Mormon friends. The fact that I have to renew this goal on a biannual basis should indicate how successful I usually am at these ventures.
Recently some churchsters invited me over for dinner, so I went. Our host was wearing a wrinkly, undersized shirt, and at one point one of his former roommates remarked, straight-faced, "Do you own an iron, Billy?"
I couldn't help it - I piped up with, "Wow, that is phenomenally ---" (and at this point I realize I can't say bitchy, considering the company, but jeez, is there a synonym for bitchy that will work as well in this context?) ... "girly," I finish lamely.
This, of course, wrecked the joke, and led at least one person to wonder if we were talking about flat irons.
Normally I hate people who take pictures of their food.
So for the record, this is not a picture of my delicious scrambled eggs (mmmm, salami and provolone), hashbrowns (mmmm, grease), whole wheat toast and strawberry jam (mmmm, homemade), and Diet RC Cola (RC! Who sells that anymore?)
This is a picture of my glorious victory over long lines and teeny-tiny, fanatically popular diners.
A lesser woman would have seen an hour and a half wait for Sunday brunch and said, "Bag it. Let's go to Denny's."
I take your long line as a personal challenge, and I will prevail.
And with the help of my friend Baxter, visiting his parents in Austin, I did.
Despite the presence of pigeons in the parking lot, which is where the line ended.
I went to see Up In The Air with my friend Amy last night. We were sitting in front of two elderly people, at least one of whom had left her hearing aid at home, and apparently had no idea how loudly she was talking in a darkened theater (or at least didn't care).
Up In The Air is awesome, by the way, but if you can manage it, try to find a theater with audience commentary.
When Ryan (George Clooney) receives some particularly devastating news: OH, AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE TEETH?
When Natalie (Anna Kendrick) makes an important life decision: GOOD FOR YOU, SWEETIE!
When Alex (Vera Farmiga) and Ryan are exchanging some naughty text messages -- WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? -- followed by Alex writing something like, "Have sweet dreams," and then -- OH GOODNESS, THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT SEX!
When I started my job about two months ago, I was assigned the world's best legal secretary. Seriously. She was super helpful and super friendly, and on top of all that, fun. She gave me an orchid for my birthday, complimented my outfits, and sent me links to funny blogs. Whenever I would go to her desk to pick up my print jobs, I'd always see her reading gossip online or shopping for skirts. A gal after my own heart. I'm proud to say that I am the one who pointed her in the direction of Modern Family, (Do I come off as completely obsessed about this show? I'm not, I swear, I just like it... a lot ...) and like all awesome people, she loved it.
Today I found I have been reassigned to a new secretary ... who I am sure will also be super competent. But really, what are the odds that she will also read Dlisted during her lunch break?
On Monday I took off for my first solo roadtrip.Armed only with a package of rice cakes and the Glee soundtrack (courtesy of Echo) I set off for Unnamed National Park to meet up with some of my homies.Along the way, I learned some valuable life lessons, and like the self-absorbed Generation Me-er that I am, I decided to share them with all of you.
NO ONE GETS OUT OF TICKETS: PART ONE
I have gotten two speeding tickets in my life.The first time I cried.The second time I sweetly and effusively apologized.Neither time did I successfully dodge the ticket.
ALL WHITE CARS SHOULD BE BANNED
After receiving my ticket, I became extremely paranoid about getting another one.Not only did I drive about five miles under the speed limit (and yes, people did totally love me), but I tapped my breaks every time I saw a white ANYTHING approach.
Intellectually, I know that a white Mazda is not a cop car.But tell that to my poor pounding heart.
I HAVE TOO SUCCESSFULLY ACCLIMATED TO AUSTIN
I was told to bring lots of sweaters to Unnamed National Park, and I did—along with my birthday Ute Snuggie.(Thanks Nelson!)But were any of them enough to keep me warm during stargazing at 10 pm?Absolutely not.
On the plus side, I have now seen both Saturn and Mars through a telescope.
SNEAKERS: NOT APPROPRIATE FOR SNOWSHOEING
That one is pretty self-explanatory.
FEAR OF HEIGHTS: NOT GETTING BETTER
I’ve referred before to my irrational fear of heights.It’s not just that they’re scary—it’s that when I get too close to a cliff’s edge, or even when I drive too close to the barrier railing on winding Texas highways, my knees start to get weak.Then I imagine fainting and falling (or driving) to my death.Then the weakness gets worse, and is generally accompanied by some dizziness.
It didn’t help that the snow was so deep in Unnamed National Park that the guard rails were completely submerged, and there was nothing—repeat, NOTHING—standing between me, or my friends, and a horrible, squishy death form which my organs would not even be donateable.And it REALLY didn’t help that one of those friends (ugh, Nelson again) insisted on hopping around as closely to that horrible, squishy death as possible.
NO ONE GETS OUT OF TICKETS: PART TWO
SUBTITLE: COPS ARE DICKS
Look, I know that not all cops are jerks.But you have to admit—some personality types are drawn to certain professions.I am whiny and argumentative.Lawyer.People with maniacal control issues?Cops.
Now, I have to hand it to the cop who gave me my ticket on Monday—he was very polite to me, and despite the fact that he declined to give me a warning for my traffic indiscretions, I more-or-less liked him.
Cop number two of the trip?
Not so much.
As we were leaving the Vistor’s Center at Unnamed National Park, Nelson was pulled over. (50 in a 40.) A lady cop brusquely asked Nelson for his license, registration and proof of insurance, which he supplied.When she returned with his documents, she then demanded his Social Security number.
Nelson paused.“Um … 555 … actually, do you mind me asking why you need my Social?”
Lady cop did not like that.“Sir, you were speeding in a federal park, which is a federal offense,*” she snapped. “You can either give it to me or I can find it out, but one way or another, I’m going to know it.”
Awkward pause while LC stared Nelson down; Nelson glanced over at me—less for the advice of the semi-lawyer in his presence, and more for the confirmation that this was Total Weirdsville.
“Ma’am, he’s just asking a question,” I piped up, trying to sound like Extra Cheery Ru, in case that would be helpful.“Just wanted to know why you needed it is all.”
Nelson gave her his Social Security number, and she walked back to her police car for the second time.Nelson and I and Other Two Unnamed Friends (it's getting really hard thinking of new pseudonyms) glanced at each other.“Um, that was weird, right?” said Unnamed Friend Number One.
“Right,” I agreed.
LC returned with Nelson’s ticket, and her attitude was no more friendly as she explained how large his fine was going to be.That didn’t stop Nelson from trying to smooth things over.“Sorry about that, it’s just that you can understand why I might feel weird just handing over my Social Security number,” he said (in a tone which I considered very diplomatic).
“Sir, it doesn’t matter why I need it,” LC said huffily.“When a police officer tells you to do something, you comply.When a police officer asks you a question, you answer.That’s all you need to know.”
At this, I made a peep—I think it was a “huh,” like the verbal expression of eyerolling.LC’s bat-like hearing honed in on that, and then next thing I knew she had ducked her head in through Nelson’s window so she could glare at me directly.I’ll be honest—I jumped.
“Do you find that funny?” she snapped.
(I know I’ve used the word “snapped” already in this description, but really, her tone was just snapped from the second she pulled us over to the second she let us go.No other way to put it.)
By now I was kind of losing my temper.“Ma’am,** whether I find it funny or not is irrelevant in this situation, but the fact is that what you said just isn’t true.”
“Well, it’s the law.Look it up,” LC snapped back.
“Oh don’t worry, I have,” I replied snottily.
(In retrospect, I wish I’d come up with something cleverer.Like, “Oh, the law, is it?Can you point me to which page of the law that’s on?Do you happen to have an extra copy of the law lying around?I’d like to freshen up on that.”)
DAMN IT, THE ANTI-FEMINISTS WERE RIGHT!
As I drive home on the long stretch of highway between Itty Bitty Town and Slightly Bigger Town, I wonder whether I have it in me to pull over and pee on the side of the road.I haven’t done that since I was six.In my last two road trips—one with Nelson to Las Vegas, one with my Dad to Austin—both of them responded to my wails over an inadequately sized bladder with the suggestion that I embrace my inner granola and squat it out on the side of the road.I had responded huffily that I would not pee in front of another person, and I would hold it until the next possible rest stop.
With no possible rest stops on the horizon, and driving a long distance by myself for the first time, I began seriously considering the squat-and-pee option.
It was just as unpalatable as before.I held it for forty-five minutes instead.
* Ok, yes, federal offense.But still a class-C misdemeanor.Let’s all calm down, shall we?
** Yes, I said “ma’am” twice to the bitchy cop.Seriously, my parents raised me too well.
OK, or even just the author. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books:
Peter Goldsmith hadn't been content with Social Security; he had never trusted it, even in the days before the system began to break down under recession, inflation, and the steadily increasing number of people on the books. There hadn't been many Democrats in Maine during the thirties and forties, he told his listening daughter, but her grandfather had been one, and her grandfather had by-God made one out of her father. In Ogunquit's palmiest days, that had made the Goldsmiths pariahs of a kind. But his father had had one saying as rock-ribbed as the stoniest Maine Republican's philosophy: Put not your trust in the princes of this world, for they will frig thee up and so shalt their governments, even unto the end of the earth.
I bought Season 4 of a certain something that shall remain unnamed (for various reasons) when it was first released a few months ago for $40 because I couldn't wait to rewatch the apocalyptic goodness.
Of course, had I waited, I could have gotten it for $16 from the Amazon DVD sale.
Sure, I had months of awesome watching ... but on principle, I want my $24 back.
Lack of impulse control is also why I am now looking at a dinner of butter chicken, chicken vindaloo, two containers of rice, and order of naan AND garlic naan. Which yes, would feed as many people as it sounds. Curse you, food court within walking distance!
In honor of Jake and Vienna's (the lovely lass who came up with the mind-bending quote that is the title of this post) impending ... (sorry, had to start giggling) ... televised wedding (ah, the sanctity of marriage), I would like to share with you three things I hate.
Because, you know. Nothing says wedding like hatred.
1. The belief that because I tell the truth, I am necessarily admirable.
This is based on false logic. The truth is good, as is the search for truth. But your opinion is not the truth.
But I'm sharing my honest opinion! you say. I'm being real when most people are just being phoneys!
The fact that you are being genuine may be admirable. But if you are a genuine ass, don't be surprised when people treat you as such.
2. The belief that because I shared my honest opinion, I cannot be criticized.
Look, you shared your opinion. Now you have to be prepared to back it up. The fact that I dislike or disagree with your opinion does not make me a bigot or infringe on your First Amendment rights. (Because as much as I wish otherwise, I am not a government agent. I digress.)
If you are going to enter the marketplace of ideas, you don't get run right back inside your fortress of solitude as soon as you've shouted your opinion in my face, without giving me time to respond.
3. The belief that all criticism is hateful.
Look. I may have unnecessarily thick skin when it comes to this final issue. I wrote for a certain unnamed college newspaper back in the day, and I remember every nasty thing anyone ever said about my writing/my opinion/me. I was called stupid, bigoted, lame, hypocritical, prejudiced, biased, dishonest, and someone even implied I was into BDSM. (Don't google that if you don't know what it means.)
Did it hurt my feelings? Sometimes. But it made me very aware of the line between criticizing a subject, and criticizing a person.
Calling my ideas stupid is not hateful. Calling me stupid is. Only if I actually am stupid will I fail to see the distinction here.
I remember joining in the heady days of 2004 - yes, SIX years ago - back when it was merely a "wall" and a picture. Back then, only college kids were allowed to join, and you were probably only able to see the pictures/walls of other students attending the Blessed U. It was a fun distraction.
Now, I know a lot has been said in recent years of privacy policies, and unnecessary layout changes, and stupid gimmicks (Farmville, anyone?) I remember feeling slightly ill the first time I saw someone's thirteen-year-old sister on facebook. Worse when I saw a mom with her own "cool" profile.*
But all of those were nothing in comparison to the professionalization of facebook.
No, I do not want to be a fan of my job. My job is my job, facebook is the thing I use to distract from my job. I also do not want to join any networking sites. I don't want to be a fan of your band, or your business. I don't want to "connect" with my alma mater through facebook, I want to connect to PEOPLE I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH through facebook.
When did facebook stop being about joining groups dedicated to Derek Zoolander and obscure 80s references, and start being something that wants you to care?
Look, I feel I have said my piece on feminism already, but I have an addendum.
Yes, men and women are different. I agree. However, I believe that while differences can be celebrated and valued, they are ultimately irrelevant in a social court of law.
To all those people who think "differences" merit disparate treatment, may I ask you something? What are those differences, and why do they matter so much?
I'm not joking. I really want to know.
Sometimes people point to the physical differences in men and women. Women are physically weaker than men. We have lower muscle mass and tend to be smaller in size. But in the 21st century, why is that relevant? My upper body strength (or lack thereof) does not make me a worse lawyer than a man with big biceps.
People also talk about the fact that men and women supposedly think differently. Women tend to be better at "soft skills," like empathizing with others or resolving interpersonal conflicts. Men tend to have better spacial recognition skills. Some of this may be the result of brain chemistry, but a lot probably has to do with the way we're socialized as children.
But these are only generalizations. Women, as a group, may have slightly worse spacial recognition skills than men, as a group. This does not necessarily mean that, I, Ru, have worse spacial recognition skills than my friendster Nelson. Nor does it mean that just because women generally are better at resolving personal conflicts that I would be more suited to such a task than my brother Charlie.
If you're religious, people often point to the fact that motherhood and fatherhood are divinely appointed roles. While that is true, do people really believe that because women are nurturing, men are not? Or that because women are nurturing, they should be treated differently than someone (ie, a man) who is not?
People talk about the fact that women are kind, sympathetic, patient, etc. But all of these qualities should be and are also possessed by men. When I have a problem, or need advice or support, I go to my father. Does that make him less masculine? My mother less feminine?
I've heard people describe marriage as a partnership. (Yeah, yeah, I'm not married. I have no idea how it really works and therefore my opinion is meaningless. Got it.) Not to make everything a bar review course, but in a partnership, both partners have an equal vote, regardless of what equity each brought to the table.
So here's my view of marriage: A wife may carry and give birth to a child, but a husband has equal say in how that child is raised. A husband may (but not always) make more money than his wife. But she has an equal say in how that money is spent. There may be times when either partner is overwhelmed, tired, angry, frustrated, hurtful, or lazy. Their contribution to the partnership may dip lower than 10%, meaning the other partner will have to make up the difference. But because it is a partnership, that means neither owes the other. Both will continue to have an equal say. And that say has nothing to do with what junk is in their undies.
Yes, they are different. But in a true partnership, differences merely complement each other, they don't justify disparate treatment.
I like being a woman, but mostly I love being me. I love that I am a good listener, and I regret that I am not a good cook. I love that I am loyal and always try to be generous. I regret my short temper. Am I more of a woman because I am patient and loyal and giving, but less of a woman because I don't bake and scream in traffic? Isn't that like being "sort of pregnant?" I can't NOT be a woman, because I AM a woman. My personal qualities cannot and do not make me less feminine. I like wearing dresses and lip gloss, but that does not define me as a person.
I like the men in my life, but I mostly I love them for themselves. I love that Charlie is spontaneous and Ryan is good with computers and Diego and Rick make people feel good about themselves and Nelson never stops teasing me. I love that Bradley gives good advice. I love that Aaron is awkward and quirky. I love that my dad and brothers are loving and hard workers and big laughers.
But none of these qualities exist only because they are men. They exist because they are GOOD men. And goodness is more important than one society's notions of "masculinity" or "femininity."
Am I off base, people-who-care-so-much-about-the-differences-between-men-and-women? And if so, how?
If you're going to keep saying it, I want to know why.
PS: For a great post on why feminism still matters, click here.
Not for its alleged liberal bias. I don't believe there is ideological bias in the media, conservative or liberal. I believe there is a financial bias in the media, but that's neither here nor there.
I hate CNN because it pretends Twitter is a source.
I hate CNN because it jokes about Ben Franklin getting "Botox" on the redesign on the $100 bill.
I hate CNN because they interview a "29-year-old actor and comedian" about why support for Democrats is slipping among people between the ages of 18-30. Not only did they pretend this individual had a legitimate viewpoint, but they then proceeded to ask him if he thought the Obama administration's emphasis on healthcare as opposed to the economy was a problem. Hello, CNN -- someone who self-identifies as an "actor and comedian" does not really care about the state of the unemployment. He's already voluntarily chosen an imaginary job.
I hate CNN because, even though it's as big a joke as Fox News, it likes to think it's still real.
IT JUST NEEDS TO GO AWAY.
PS - This does not, however, affect my feelings toward Anderson Cooper in any way, shape or form. Mmmm, Anderson Cooper ...
But since moving to Austin, I have kept my apartment relatively tidy and my car basically spotless. Huzzah!
Until this week, anyway, which has been the week of anger and sleepiness. (I think it had to do with the birthday. I always have lousy birthdays.) And when I'm angry or sleepy, the last thing I want to do is be responsible. I'm like an overgrown three year old that way.
So my apartment is still mostly clean, but I haven't taken the trash out in days (and remember, all I have to do is walk the bags outside) and there is mail EVERYWHERE.
How is it possible that in a paperless world, I still have bank stubs and billing statements all over my floor?
(How does this title relate to this post? It's about mail ... You've Got Mail ... best scene in that whole movie is clearly when Tom Hanks is stuck in the elevator.)
(PS, is anyone else extremely bothered by Meg Ryan's elocution in that movie? When she tells Tom, "I wanted it to be you, so badly" at the end, I want to throw things at the screen and yell, "That may be grammatically correct, but that doesn't mean anyone would say it that way!")
From my application for the Utah bar application:*
Have you ever been terminated, suspended, disciplined or permitted to resign in lieu of termination from any job? If yes, please explain.
I was a tutor for a local junior high’s after-school study program when I was in high school. During the winter of 2002, my high school drumline was invited to perform during the 2002 Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympic games. After I rearranged my tutoring schedule to accommodate my performance schedule too many times, the program director called my parents and informed them that I had been fired. I was never contacted by the program director directly about my termination and never disciplined or warned about my behavior prior to the termination.
* It may seem ridiculous, but they really do want to know.