February 29, 2012 § Leave a Comment
You guys, I made this thing!
It’s still getting its bearings, but do check it out. More is coming, like always.
And yes, this means that dear little Vitae Curriculum has been subsumed into my new site. I have nothing but tender feelings for this wonky bloglet, but it’s time for bigger and brighter things.
So! Come on over, I’m making pickles.
February 14, 2012 § 2 Comments
It’s Valentine’s Day and I feel that it is incumbent on me to write something about love. Well, okay. But I can’t organize it into any kind of beautiful essay or snarky send-up because I don’t really feel that strongly about the holiday per se, except that I view it, like most holidays, as an excuse for baked goods.
Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts.
1. Can we stop making this one day so black and white? Quit taking it so goddamned seriously! Or, for that matter, quit giving it any significance whatsoever! People who think Valentine’s Day means anything are like the kind of people who actually thought their junior prom was going to be romantic. It’s a dumb idea and you need to divest yourself of it right now. Because, look. it’s not like people in relationships are actually really happy today and it’s not like single people are actually drowning in sorrows and/or cheap scotch. I mean, maybe some are, but if they are, it’s because they want to feel really happy or really sad and the day just gives them a reason.
2. If you know there is love in your life–and there probably is, somewhere–be grateful. Reciprocate. Full stop, end story. Any display of affection on today is just a brass ring. Real love is millions of mundane micromoments* that you need to take time to notice. When your sister lets you sob on the phone to her from New York or your boyfriend calls you four times in a row at 7:15 to make sure your new medication didn’t make you sleep through work or your friends help you tie your hair back so you can throw up vodka and brownies into a dorm room sink, this is love. Boring! Embarrassing! Messy! Not involving anything red or heart-shaped! It mingles in every part of your life, from giving you the biggest steak to climbing in your lap to lending you bus fare, and if you keep waiting for the Grand Moment, it will not come, and then, at the risk of sounding dire, you are going to die thinking you missed something. You didn’t. It was there, fragmented and stretched across every day.
3. When I was in kindergarten I kept the valentine the boy I liked gave me on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. I got in the habit of kissing the part where he had signed his name so much that it turned into an unreadable smear of marker. I think there’s a metaphor there.
4. The primacy of love is ingrained in Western culture going back a long, long time. I’m going to take a rather hubristic guess and assert that the 12th century and the invention of courtly love** has a lot to do with this. People like to think that “romance novels”*** as such came about around the time of Jane Austen, but really, the romances of the 1100s were doing a lot of the same things. They were written for young women as a way to explain what this strange concept of love was and should be. They thought that love was the only thing keeping human civilization going, but it needed to be the right kind of love. The kind that didn’t make people abandon everything else they were doing, but still had them making just enough babies to keep the species from dying out. So? Rules. The romances took the extensive codification of scholarly treatises on love and enacted them with characters in stories that women would hear, enjoy, and learn from, maybe without even realizing it. Love had to be procreative but restrained. Hence: courtly love. All these ideas of love-as-pain, playing-hard-to-get, literal knights-in-shining-armor? Old. Very old. The good news is, that means you can ignore them. The human race isn’t in danger of dying out, you don’t need to suffer, and no one has to win at a tournament to marry you.
5. For the love of Christ, it’s Valentines. The only one allowed to call it Valentimes is me. Ironically. And you have to laugh.
*Say that ten times fast. Or don’t.
**What do you mean, am I writing a thesis on this?
***What do you mean, have I spent a significant portion of my young life writing in this genre?
February 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Lately, I’ve been screwing up like it’s going out of style. Things as inconsequential as skipping choir practice all the way up to almost losing my financial aid and extinguishing any hope of graduating, however faint. I am procrastinating, sleeping in, overspending, slacking off. I haven’t run in a week (blame my knees!), I keep forgetting to invoice things at work, I’m behind on car payments, and I’m not drinking enough water.
Also, let’s just agree that $3.75 for a cocktail is a dangerous bargain. I may never be able to look the bouncer at the Cove Cocktail Lounge in the eye again.
Is it just the typical midquarter slump? Has all my vim and vigor just up and run out of steam, leaving me with 12 pages about Dido and Lavinia to patchwork together into a BA* and a sinkful of dishes I will leave to get crusty and gross? I hate to be one of those whiny nascent adults (though I fear that ship has sailed) who blames the nebulous difficultness of being 22 for leaving their dreams unachieved, as if there’s some external factor playing Sisyphus and continually setting us back. I like to think that I’m always game to dust myself off and get back to kicking life in the teeth. I can make plans and spreadsheets and shopping lists and flash cards and will not take no for an answer!
But, you know, sometimes this part of life is hard. Sometimes you slip. And then the next thing you know you’re jetlagged and groggy and behind on everything and sobbing on the phone to the bursar’s office. The thing is, though, sometimes every part of life is hard, right? Like, eventually I
will may get a handle on paying rent and matching my socks and not sleeping til 3, but then I will have things like mortgages and health insurance and early-onset-osteoarthritis to worry about. It keeps on coming.
So. I haven’t had it too hard, really, and I’ll recover, and I’ll navigate other things, and no one will care that I didn’t study enough for my Old English midterm or that I took a little longer to write my fifth novel. I will post little whingeing essays to a little blog in the great void of the internet, take a nap, eat extra dessert, and things will not completely crack into fragments.
In conclusion, go read Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” and know that if I, of all people, am posting poetry, that I am serious about it.
*or BS, amirite
January 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
So now that I’m lifting all those weights and doing all that running and still being conscious of my psoas, you all just knew that it was a matter of time before something in my body broke down and had a tantrum. Well, guess what? Something has gone amiss!
It’s my knee. I think after doing all those mighty squats combined with the unfortunate wintry necessity of the hamster-wheel atmosphere that is the treadmill, something popped or locked and now it hurts to sit or run unless I cushion my patella with a half-frozen bag of Trader Joe’s Petite Peas. Now, I am not going to whine, particularly because HELLO, it could be so much worse (see: my dear Aunt E. who recently broke her own knee and is now laid up watching people murder each other through her rear window. Also Jason Street, the poor guy*), but I will allow myself to indulge in admitting that in some sick, masochistic way, it’s affirming. When I asked Shannon (my default consult in terms of anything running-related, and also a smart person), she said I should probably RICE it and cut back on my mileage. Which, of course, is great advice, but all I heard was MILEAGE! Because I have MILEAGE! As in PLURAL MILES THAT I RUN!
Is this sick? This is sick. My body is snapping into pieces like an old-school Polly Pocket and all I can do is grin stupidly because it sure beats dying of muscle atrophy? I’m neither an osteopath nor a behavioral psychologist, but that seems unhealthy on both counts. And the bottom line (I can’t run) is also shitty, which is bizarre in and of itself. Since when would I consider lying on the couch, not sweating, breathing easily missing out? That should be the best time!
But it’s okay, really. I will take a little break from my less-than-strenuous 5K training, give all those tendons a chance to snap back into place, and pray that time does heal all wounds, and hopefully with minimal scar tissue.
*Oh my God you guys Friday Night LIGHTS! Am I right?!
January 21, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve never attended a school where physical activity was a big thing. My ultra-liberal Quaker high school didn’t have a football team and let me pretend to take yoga once a week to pass out of actual gym. My ultra-intellectual college once built a library on top of the playing fields and banned all sports teams. Needless to say, I’m pretty okay with this. I never got what tackling other people had to do with learning critical thinking skills.
But somewhere along the way UChicago seems to have gotten the idea that their student body shouldn’t be made up of pasty, asthmatic slobs. No longer is it content with merely inflicting a robust and challenging system of academic distribution requirements on its hapless undergraduates. These days, everyone has to line up during orientation week and wheeze their flabby way through a series of draconian fitness tests. When it was my turn, I tried to game it as best I could (avoiding caffeine to keep my heart rate down, shaving 20 pounds off my stated body weight to get a lighter bench press), but as a stiff and sedentary 18-year-old, the only test I didn’t flunk miserably was “grip strength.” (What use this has, I couldn’t tell you, but I will crush you one-handed if you make fun of it)
Having attended grades K-12 in an environment when you could pretty much Cher-Horowitz yourself out of any distribution requirement, I did not think this meant I would actually have to take gym. O me of little faith! My academic advisor practically made me drop and give her fifty when I attempted to blow it off. And yes, even though I do actually move my body more than I did at the beginning of first year (I run now! Lots-ish!), apparently that is NOT ENOUGH. And so, however improbably, I have found myself in the gym, twice a week, taking Introduction to Free Weights.
With my noodly arms and low tolerance for pain, I am not a great study at this. Also, most of the people in the class are 1. male and 2. even noodlier than I am, which makes for a hilarious tableau of us pencil-necked geeks in chess tournament t-shirts balancing bars on our shoulders and squatting as our instructor yells out encouragement to us. Also also, 9 AM is far from the best time of day to pick up and put down things that are heavy. And, sneakily, there is thinking involved! You have to do all this addition and division to figure out how much to load up on to your bench press bar: If Blair has a 25-pound bar, two 5-pound weights, and four 10-pound weights, how long will it taker her to realize she’s put the weight clip on backwards?
I’m being dramatic. It’s really not so bad, except for the next-day throbbing in my quads or ceps or whatever. It’s probably a good way to make sure my muscles don’t atrophy from too much sitting on the couch by the kitchen waiting for my toast to be done. And who knows, it might even give me a more practical way of defending myself than gripping things to death!
January 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
- The dining room table: Okay. I am going to start working on my BA in exactly 3 minutes. 4 PM sharp. Oh, shit. I should probably have my books. And a pen. And I guess a notebook. Okay, push back to 4:05. If I start writing then, and I can write 500 words an hour, I’ll have five pages in…never mind. Let’s just focus on getting some reading done. Look at the Latin. Lavinia is boring. Literally all she does in the Aeneid is catch on fire! And why does Old-French Aeneas give her dad Dido’s ring? Like, “Hey, I’m destined to marry your daughter, so here’s some crap my dead ex-girlfriend gave me. By the way, I’m not gay!”*
- The couch: Cue perfect soundtrack for YA romance. Katy Perry or Kelly Clarkson? Neither. Wait, ooh, Vanessa Carlton! Do you remember her, even? Or Michelle Branch. She’s got lots of feelings. All right. Close Facebook. Close Reddit. Try to write a convincing love story. Why do I always make my heroines so tall? And their best friends drive minivans and are super-smart? And their parents are always college professors? That’s two-thirds me and one-third aspiration. I should just marry off all my characters to John Cusack and be done with it.
- The bed: I can totally watch a paper and write Parks and Recreation at the same time. I mean…shit.
- The library bookstacks: Foucault was right. There is literally no difference between this place and a prison cell. The academic Panopticon! Ha. That guy in the alcove looks like he’s asleep or dead. Jesus. I’m going to finish this paragraph extra fast and never come back here again. I don’t care if it means I have to make up definitions for Old French words because I can’t get to the big Dictionnaire Greimas. I am actually losing my mind.
- The coffee shop: Is that guy looking at my screen? Is that guy looking at my screen? Wait, maybe he’s just getting up to get soy milk or something. If I cover the screen it will be obvious I am hiding something. Oh my God, they can all totally tell I’m not writing something academic. They are judging me. Dammit! I just had to be working on the climactic scene where the spurned high-school heroine makes out with the witty college student on the dock of her friend’s lake house. I wouldn’t even take me seriously around here.
- The coffee table: Okay, I am going to start working on my BA in exactly six minutes. Or once this episode of Parks and Rec is over.
*For some reason everyone in Old France thinks he is
January 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I may have lied about my tendency not to make New Year’s resolutions…sort of. If I could lump together all the half-plans and semi-goals that I’ve amassed and kicked off on January 1, I’d put them in the category of “Get Shit Done”. This means doing things when I have the time to do them, like getting reading for class on the weekend or sneaking in bits of fiction writing in dull moments or roasting a weeks’ worth of vegetables on a Saturday or, I don’t know, training for a 5k*.
So, I decided the lull of the first week of classes would be the perfect time to achieve my goal of no longer looking like an anemic, female Where’s Waldo and finally get contacts for my astimagt-eyes. Contrary to what I had believed, there is no long waiting period or creepy pupil dilation necessary: you can just walk in to your appointment and walk out half an hour later, enlensed.
Here is the thing about eyes, though: they are biologically engineered to keep foreign objects out. I spent a good forty-five minutes tugging maniacally at my eyelids and knuckling myself in the cornea as a patient eye-assistant-man looked on. I used my left hand, then my right, then a combination, until my fingers were gray with cheap mascara and little tears of despair were trailing down my cheeks. From what I could blearily make out of his unfazed expression, I surmised that the eye-man had probably seen worse.
“Do you think those things from A Clockwork Orange are real?” I asked him, attempting to be jocular.
“What?” he said.
“They hold your eye open. Um, never mind,” I retreated, chiding myself for being so weird to a complete stranger. He was just trying to help me get comfortable with the intimate act of touching myself on the eyeball, and I was bringing up Stanley Kubrick flicks.
Eventually, of course, I got the damn things in, and it feels pretty much like having a slim thickness of plastic in your eye. Taking them out is a terrifying process marked by an unsuppressable fear that I am ripping out some vital membrane instead of the lens, but it’s doable. Hopefully the old adage that “wearing contacts is like riding a bike” is true, despite being illogical.
And in the end, of course, it’s all worth it. At last, people will stop mistaking me for Stephen Colbert. They’ll think I’m Rachel Maddow instead.
*This is not a joke
January 4, 2012 § 4 Comments
Obligatory New Year’s resolution post! I always want to make them, and then formulate amorphous, half-hearted ones in my head (Eat…more? Run places! More friends, fewer enemies!) which I always fail to follow up on. The problem is that New Year’s eve is a terrible deadline to make life-changing decisions, at least for me. I’m too addled by sugar cookies and Scotch to envision my future clearly.
So! Beyond finishing my BA, graduating from college, and learning Old English (not in that order), I’ve decided that 2012 is Year of the Author. I am Making The Transition. I am Taking The Next Step. I am Being Intentionally Vague Because I Don’t Know Exactly What It Will Entail. If you know me, you know that I write, want to write, and love to write. And I don’t trifle with any of that “aspiring” nonsense. I’m a writer, period. But now that I’m about to finish school and enter the “Real World” (read: the one where no one cares if you can sing Ce Fu En Mai or wax philosophical on the Carolingian renaissance), I think it’s Put Up or Shut Up. And since shutting up has never been in my skillset, I’m going to do this thing. For real for real.
What does that mean, practically? Well, I am probably going to get myself a fancy domain name and possibly relocate this blog to there. I am going to present myself (professionally, casually, frequently) as a YA author. I am very probably going to go to the Romantic Times 2012 Convention, even though it’s 500 bucks, because it’s in Chicago and when will I get this chance to workshop and network again? I am going to take seriously my parents’ offer to take the summer (or longer) off, not worry about a career, and follow my heart.
Also, I am going to write like a motherfucker.
There is no other way! I am going to crank out words: some here, some elsewhere, some in private, and some that I’ll eventually share. I am going to plot, draft, and edit. I am going to sink in time and sanity and lots of keyboard abuse to do what I want to do, which is share stories with people.
For those of you that read this who know and love me: thanks. Your encouragement and support are wonderful, and it keeps me going. But I love most that you want to read what I have to say. And if you don’t know or love me, and you’re still here, that’s even cooler. Somehow, I have pulled you in, not because I’m your daughter/niece/high school buddy but because what I made entertains you. This is great, this is so great, and this is all I really want.
This blog’s a year old. A year! At the very least, that’s a lot of output. And I wrote a novel (again) in November! Words come together! I am a writer!
In short, I can, evidently, see things through, and this has got to be one of them. It’s resolved. Happy New Year, y’all! Let’s rock!
December 23, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Remember when I got my hair cut before? Well, if my prior attempts at chopping my locks were dips in the baby pool, my current hairstyle is a dive into the deep end*. I went from looking like that crazy Food Network lady to post-HP Hermione. My hair is gone.
And guess what? It’s the best thing ever! Scarcely two weeks in to being nearly bald, I am going to come out with the bold recommendation that everyone cut of all their hair. Seriously, get rid of it. Long hair is for children in beauty pageants and D&D enthusiasts.
1. Easy maintenance. Like, the easiest. My attitude towards beauty regimens is dictated by laziness (cf. my affinity for tinted chapsticks and shaving my legs once a quarter**), so this fits perfectly. Taking a shower is now a matter of minutes. Minutes! Your hair dries on its own and doesn’t usually look weird. You can even use the bottom-shelf, 2-in-1 shamditioner and it will still look okay! (Bonus: you will smell like Suave Ocean Breeze, which is delicious).
2. Hair in your eyes. Hair in your eyelashes. Hair in your food. Hair in your mouth. Hair in your boyfriend or girlfriend’s mouth. All of these are no longer things. Victory!
3. Exercise. Do you do this? You should. And having short hair makes it less painful! You can run without a stupid ponytail and do yoga without hair flopping all over your downward dog. And cleaning up afterwards is easier (see #1). Don’t tell anyone, but you don’t even really have to wash your hair if you don’t want to. No one will notice! Tell them it’s product!
4. Super-cute bedhead. All day err-day.
5. A drastic haircut basically puts you in incognito mode forever. Spot a high school classmate on the train home and don’t feel pausing your audiobook of The Hunger Games to go have an awkward hey-how-are-you? They have no idea who you are, so who cares! Feel free to sit back and observe them casually pick their nose, feeling superior all the while.
6. Okay. I’m hardly qualified to make any statements about outward appearances, but I’m pretty sure that people take short hair more seriously. If you’re a girl, having long hair is the default. It’s pretty, mostly, but unremarkable. Just typical. It’s like a choice of inaction. Short hair, on the other hand, is this crazy breaking away. You did something with it. You’re different! You’re defiant! You don’t own a brush!
Are there downsides? Probably. Since I’m six feet tall and curveless, I am easily mistakable for an adolescent male. Short hair can also imply a kind of Lilith Fair vibe, if you know what I mean (though card-carrying Grace says this is not true, since I can’t do a remotely convincing lesbian nod). And I’ve been told that with my glasses on, I look kind of like Stephen Colbert.
Bottom line, hair grows back. If you hate it, you’re only two years and some awkward semi-mullets away from the way your hair used to look. I’m sure your Dungeon Master will save your space until then.
*This metaphor is especially apropos if you keep in mind that I can’t really swim
**For tax purposes
December 15, 2011 § Leave a Comment
You need two things to enjoy the Medieval Times experience: a liberal attitude towards historical accuracy and a willingness to waste money on ridiculous shit. Being both a Medieval Studies major and a congenital dork, I am a prime sucker for their brand of schlock, and I refused to go anywhere else for my birthday. I recruited four friends, and despite varying levels of enthusiasm, our spirits were high as we piled into my ancient Volvo to head for the castle in nearby Schaumburg, IL.
“I went to the New York Medieval Times when I was six,” my friend Briseida was saying. “You eat with your hands. And it was the best fucking chicken I have ever eaten.”
“I looked it up on Yelp,” my friend Eli said. “A lot of people give it one star.”
I was incredulous. “Who would give Medieval Times one star?”
“They said the food wasn’t good,” he said. “And that the acting sucked.”
The turrents of the giant, fake castle shone from I-90 like a beacon.
“That’s not the point,” I said. “It’s about the experience.”
A costly experience, to be sure: 45 bucks admission, 20 bucks for our souvenir photo, and 24 more for fishbowl-sized cocktails flavored with massive amounts of grenadine. But it was all worth it. In the giant front hall, I was giddy, drunk on anticipation and overpriced alcohol, and could not resist yelling Actual Medieval Poetry at passersby.
“Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, amirite, guys?” I called to a group of thick-necked guys in polar fleece. They seemed unfazed.
“I just want to eat that motherfucking chicken,” Briseida said. “Best chicken I’ve ever had.”
Seated in our color-coded section, we watched as multicolored lasers shot across the ceiling. The transportation to the past had begun, and there was no going back. The hissing sound in the arena wasn’t just a fog machine, but the mists of time. We went from ordinary people with no particular alliance to bloodthirsty supporters of our red-and-yellow champion. It was like a monster truck rally, but with more horses and only slightly fewer mullets. Our knight lost in combat about as convincing as the dance-fighting in West Side Story. One lapse in attention earned him a poleax to the stomach.
“I bet it’s rigged,” Eli said. “The section that spends the most money gets to win.”
And before I knew it, I had gnawed through all my chicken and the house lights came up. Dazzled, I gathered my many souvenirs and headed out. I felt like I never wanted to leave.
“I’m writing this up on Yelp when I get back. Five stars,” I said. Lexie looked at me, her face uneasy.
“Blair? Don’t get mad, but I just broke your car key.”
Just like that, my birthday celebration had gone from the ultimate wish fulfilment to a kind of Ye Olde Monkey’s Paw. Lexie handed me the twisted remains of my key. The rain got harder. Someone wandered off to get the attention of a cop car parked in the corner. I fumbled in my coat for my cell phone and dialed AAA.
“Are you in a safe location?” the woman asked.
“Yes,” I said. “I’m at Medieval Times.”
“Medieval Times,” I repeated. “It’s a giant fake castle. I was there for my birthday and now my car key is broken and I can’t leave.”
I was informed that AAA could not let me in my car since it was technically registered to my father. I felt a stab of desperation. I was stuck with a broken down car and a beer glass with a knight on it and I had no idea how to get a car towed. I felt a sob escape.
“What is your address?”
“I don’t know,” I said thickly. “It’s Medieval Times. As far as I know it’s the only castle in the greater Schaumburg area.” The departing crowd had thinned, and now we were the only ones left in the exit area. At least no one would see me having a breakdown in a red and yellow paper crown.
I hung up with the assurance that a tow truck would be on its way within the hour, and we’d retreated to the inside of the castle with a lanky night manager named Matt, the first Medieval Timeser we’d seen without a period costume.
“Hope you didn’t have Saturday night plans,” Lexie joked.
“I mean, I get paid as long as you guys are here,” Matt said. “So it’s no big deal.”
The overhead lights had been shut off, and the great hall was now decidedly eerie. The badly-painted peasants dancing in the murals grinned demonically, and the suits of armor by the bathroom cast a menacing gleam.
“Did the cops help you?” Matt asked.
“They were here for an asthma attack,” my friend Kathy said.
“Oh, yeah. We always try to warn people, but then they still come in and can’t breathe. Happened a few nights ago too.” He shrugged. “I guess you guys can go in the torture museum if you want,” he said. We followed him around back and shuffled in front of the recreation iron maidens and spiked collars, halfheartedly absorbing the instruments of pain and punishment.
“So the winner is fixed, right?” Eli asked. Matt nodded.
“Yeah. The green knight always loses. And the other knights switch colors so that they can learn all the different fight moves. Which one did you guys have?”
“Red and yellow,” I said. “Do you know him?” I showed him a picture Kathy had taken.
“Oh, yeah. Eddie. Cool dude.”
Our noble champion and defender was named Eddie. The absurdity of it all had compounded.
“I can’t believe we’re stuck at fucking Medieval Times,” I said, and made a noise that was half laugh, half desperate wail.
We moved from the torture museum and gaped at the depressed-looking horses in their glass stables. The three girls decided to catch a taxi back, and I decided I would sit in the throne since no one was there to stop me. At last, my phone buzzed.
“Hello?” I said breathlessly.
“Yeah, uh, we’re coming to tow you and uh, our truck broke down. So it’s gonna be another forty-five, fifty minutes. An hour, tops.”
I set my jaw as I hung up the phone.
“Was that them?” Eli asked.
“We’re going to die here,” I told him.
Matt apparently did have Saturday night plans, and so we had become the wards of a hefty bear of a man named Ivan who led us back to the offices to hang out. We passed by a huge room, full of racks of identical puffy blouses and doublets (“So this is how the sausage is made,” Eli said) before settling in a back office. A faded VHS of Home Alone lay on a counter, offering an ironic mise en abyme of our fate.
“Yeah, the horses sometimes get all fussy at night, so I have to take them out and walk them around the arena,” Ivan was saying. “They have four stomachs, you know, and they can get all knotted up if they get stressed. They work here like twenty, thirty years. Must make ‘em crazy.”
A light flashed on the CCTV and a grainy truck pulled in the lot. We trailed back out, past the costume shop and back out into the main hall, rounding Merlin’s Green Screen and the motionless frozen daiquiri machines to where our glasses awaited us and out into the parking lot.
A short man in a hooded sweatshirt was waiting for us. “This your car?”
“No,” I said. “I’m just hanging out in the parking lot of Medieval Times at midnight for no reason.”
“People do that,” Ivan said. “Come out here to offroad. I chase ‘em off.”
After a few minutes and much clanking of chains and scraping of steel, my humble Volvo was heaved onto the flatbed of the truck, a time capsule from a different era.
“I bet this is one of the weirdest pickups you’ve had to do,” Eli said as we got in the cab.
Our driver shook his head. “Weird, maybe, but not the worst.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked.
“Worst is fat people. And people who smell. Je-sus.”
My ability to make small talk had finally run out.
An hour later, dropped off by the tow truck and walking back to our apartments, Eli tried to patch together the tatters of my birthday celebration and console me.
“Look, it was awful. But it was also kind of awesome. And you get a great story.”
I opened our souvenir photo and looked at our faces: innocent smiles beneath our paper crowns, so unaware of the fate that awaited them back in the modern age. The inscription below seemed taunting. A Knight To Remember, indeed.
“Yeah,” I said. “It is about the experience, after all.”
Author’s Note: This story is entirely true and I have only witheld it from my blog readers for this long because I thought it might get published elsewhere. But that never happens, silly girl! So here you go. Happy My Birthday to all!