There’s a corner of my mind which is fixated on residential real estate. When I was growing up, my dad was a teacher, and all summer long we would work on the house. Home Depot was our hang, curb appeal was our thang. We painted trim and built fences and laid sod. Okay, so maybe he did those things and I occasionally handed him a hammer or something. Whatever.
With the exception of the sprint I make towards the microwave when my pizza rolls are ready, I’ve never been very athletic.
At my childhood summer camp, each kid got to choose two sports classes to attend each morning. I enrolled in Arts & Crafts and Canoeing every year. Even then, I dealt with anxiety that I’d somehow pull a muscle making a friendship bracelet. Fast forward to the seventh grade, the year I decided I would give sports a try. I tried out for the school volleyball team and was the only girl who didn’t make the cut. Sure, it bruised my little twelve year old ego- until my dad gave me this long talk about strengths and weaknesses, how special and unique we all are, and how I could totally outplay any of those volleyball bitches on the clarinet*.
As an adult, I enjoy watching sports. I enjoy talking about sports. I love settling into my couch divot for a good sports movie. But I am not a fan of actual physical activity.
I tell you this because early Saturday morning, I did a foolish thing. I attended a boot camp. My work friend Heather goes to boot camp religiously, and she let me know that if she could get 10 people to try one boot camp session during the month of November, she’d get all of December free. I hated the idea. Early morning outdoor exercise? Um, no thanks, ma’am. The problem is, I like Heather, and I think she is kind and funny and great, and I wanted to help her get her free month. So I did it.
Upon my arrival, I immediately hated about 80% of the women there, because they were 36 year olds with three babies but somehow still able to wear size XS Under Armor apparel and have Michele Obama arms and pretty hair. The nerve of those women!
To my surprise, I was able to actually do the majority of the workout without dropping dead. For 55 minutes I exerted myself- lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, kettlebell lifts, pull ups, leg lifts, pajama hammocks, demon whackers, pistol legs, etc.** Next, the coach announced it was time for the last exercise of the day. We were to do 10 squats, then 10 burpees, then 9 squats, then 9 burpees, then 8 of each, and so on. FYI, burpees are terrible. This is a fitness professional demonstrating a burpee:
This is me, demonstrating a burpee:
I did the 10 set, and I did the 9 set, and then I started to feel lightheaded and out of breath, so I stopped. This is when things got a little uneasy.
Boot Camp Guy: DON’T QUIT! DON’T STOP!
Me: Eh, I think I’m done.
BCG: YOU SHOULD’VE GONE TO THE HUNTER PARK BOOTCAMP! HUNTER PARK IS FOR PANSIES!
Me: In that case, yes, I should have gone to that one.
BCG: DO YOU WANT TO GET YOUR STUFF AND GO HOME?***
BCG: PACK UP YOUR STUFF AND GO HOME.
So that’s exactly what I did. I got in my car and drove straight to Starbucks for a caloric treat.
I’m sure that yelling is motivational for some people (men?), but I am not one of those people. If someone raises their voice at me, it’s over. I will not cooperate with that person any more. I mentally check out. Depending on how I think about this event, I am either a strong-willed hero who stood up to authority and asserted myself, or I am the wimpiest of all wimps- a quitter and a baby who refused to tough it out.
Maybe I’m something in the middle. Maybe I’m the toughest damn baby of them all.
*These may not have been his exact words; it was a long time ago.
**Some of these workouts are made up/don’t exist.
***This is the dumbest question I’ve ever been asked.
Stay strong, protect yourself, and tell your friends.
Guitar Hero was first released in November of 2005. I was 20 years old.
In November 2005, my friends and I would pile into my Saturn and drive to Edmond’s Wal-Mart Supercenter in the late evening, at which point we would play Guitar Hero on the display TV until 3:00am. Our band of collegiate hoodlums would grab bar stools from Homewares, drag them over to Electronics, and plant ourselves right in front of the XBox/TV set up right in the middle of the electronics aisle. Around 1:30 or so, a guy would ride by on one of these:
…and grace us with the dirtiest looks possible. I maintain that he was simply jealous. He probably had the game at home and couldn’t make it to the expert level. I would be upset, too.
After weeks of this nonsense, some friend of mine finally broke down and purchased the game. (Whoever that was: thank you.) Our group played every night. I adored it- this is probably because Guitar Hero is the only video game I’ve ever been able to actually play. You see, in those gun shooting games, I always wind up trapped in a basement corner, gun pointed at the ceiling, unable to move until one of the bad guys kills me 15 seconds into play. I move the controller around (Wii style) and expect the XBox to know what I am doing. It doesn’t work that way. In car racing games, I am seemingly emulating Helen Keller’s driving style. It was only while playing Guitar Hero that I could demonstrate any kind of gaming greatness. I honed my skill and won most challenges. I was on top of the world.
I bring all of this up because I want to show you guys my favorite picture. Now, I don’t mean my favorite picture with me in it. I mean my favorite picture in the history of photography. My friend Kasey snapped this shot in the era of Guitar Hero greatness.
Everything about this picture is perfect. The UCO poster framed on the wall. The weird college furniture. My exposed kneecap bursting out of my pants.
Obviously, at this moment in time, Michael and I were coming up on a guitar solo (likely in a Journey song) and we decided this particular jam merited some back-to-back rocking out. Mid maneauver, I inadvertently hit Danielle in the face with the neck of my guitar. The picture was snapped milliseconds before I realized I had just Hero’d my friend in the face.
Danielle confesses that to this day, she is afraid to eat ice cream in the same room as a person playing a video game. I’m so sorry, Dan Dan. I’m so, so sorry.
Kasey was gracious enough to take this photo (from the same era) as well.
Now, I don’t remember this incident at all, but apparently a group of wayward blue-violet cones were somehow magnetically drawn to my head. I tried my best to fight them off in order to breathe, but it looks like they won. They always do.
Do you have a favorite ridiculous photo? I want to see it! Link to it below.
My friend Justin asked where I’ve been.
Dropping back in is a lot more difficult than dropping out was. I am glad to be back in school though, and it’s satisfying to work hard and earn good grades. I will (finally) graduate in about a year.
Also, I am not sure why I applied an intense gaussian blur to half of that screenshot. It looks bizarre. WAIT! I just remembered… your optometrist called me and asked me to do it. You should really go see him/her. Your left eye is having serious problems. Check-ups are only $59.99 through the end of September. Call today!
Lately, I’ve been really missing my old car. I used to cruise country roads in my Saturn on summer nights like this one. Now, I can only wonder where all the parts are… is someone driving around with my driver’s side door? My steering column? What roads do they drive? Do they appreciate the bits and pieces of that little Saturn Coupe as much as I adored the whole?
Just after the fender bender that ended my Saturn’s tenure, I wrote this autobituary in honor of my first wheels.
After nearly nine years of faithful service, my Saturn has gone on to the realms of the great junkyard in the sky. A friend to many, she will be missed. She was preceded in death by her power locks (2001-2005), her sunroof (2001-2006), and the ability to keep her passenger side sun visor in place without the aid of duct tape (2001-2007).
I think it would be appropriate if I took a moment to reflect on the good times I had with her:
1. I will never forget the many bumper stickers she knew. The first was a star flower sticker I purchased in South Padre, which my mom disapproved of because she said it looked like “a marijuana pot leaf or something.” I, too, eventually grew weary of this flower, but the decal was permabonded on a molecular level to her bumper and it was impossible to remove. I was able to remove her “Pride of Broken Arrow” sticker in college, but there was always a dirt outline where it was, a faint reminder of her early days. In 2004, she got to wear political stickers for a few months just before I got to vote in my very first presidential election. Lastly, in 2006, the classic “Ban Comic Sans” sticker was added.
2. In college, my friend Anna and I took a little road trip in this car. We went to a concert in Texas and also happened upon the world’s largest shoe.
3. One time on Valentine’s day, I was walking towards my car after class and noticed a piece of pink paper was tucked under my windshield wiper. Excited at the prospect of a love note, I practically skipped to the car on clouds. To my dismay, it was the pink layer of a carbon copy of a Valentine’s Day parking ticket. I felt kinda like this:
4. My dad taught me to change a flat on the Saturn, a life skill I’m glad to have in my back pocket.
5. “Pachuca Sunrise” by Minus the Bear was the most incredible sounding song on those speakers. Something about hearing that song on those particular stock speakers was downright acoustically magical.
6. Once, I ran over a snake on Ben Lumpkin Road. I screamed for about 500 seconds right after it happened. I felt horrible for murdering something, but at least it was a snake, I guess. Yeah, I know, without snakes, the ecosystem would get all effed up and stuff, but I STILL HATE THEM, OKAY? Okay.
7. Pal Jamie and I drove up and down Oklahoma City’s Northwest Expressway in this car while playing Justin Timberlake’s entire FutureSexLoveSounds album on recorders. Yes, recorders, like this:
(I may or may not have played a song using only my right nostril and a complete lack of dignity.)
8. Backing into a dumpster or six.
9. Driving all around Broken Arrow in an effort to find the elusive Rooster Days egg.
10. My cones lived in the trunk.
She served me well. I miss her.
What was your first car? Did you love it or was it just a way to get around town?
What’s your favorite patriotic song? Personally, I’m a big fan of Sousa marches and this gem:
If I enjoy enough red and blue* Bartles & Jaymes** today, I’ll not only sing this song, but act out the video for you as well. Have a great Fourth!
*These are the names of B&J flavors: yellow, yellow-green, green, yellow-orange, red, purple, and MOONBEAM.
**I fully realize I am the only person who drinks B&J who is over age 18. And under 55.