Time well wasted

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Strangers (Part 2)

Early 50's
Likes Foo Fighters
Retired Teacher

This is what we know so far...

We get in the car and begin the journey to Walmart. It's a little after 7. She starts talking ballet - which we've already established I know nothing about. She teaches me a little bit, really she tells me a little bit because if she had taught me anything I'd be able to recall what it was. Then she talked a little about opera, another subject I'm not quite up to snuff on. So then she starts asking me about myself, but not in a boring way, she'd ask a question then use that answer to try to guess things about me, and she was amazingly good.

She asked where I was from and I told her Monett, she knew of the town and told me some stories about her travels to SW Missouri (including a recent trip to Neosho involving a $150 parking ticket for parking in a handicapped spot which she parked in because of the surgery - I didn't ask what the surgery was about). We then talked about Precious Moments - which she thinks is "really creepy" which makes me laugh real hard. So I told her that I thought the bluebird place is way creepier and told her about the crazy little girl with fangs. Turns out she knows the people who own it and said he'd get a kick out of my opinion.

I had told her I was a student, she said I sounded intelligent and took a stab at my ACT score, she was pretty close. Then she guessed I was 22, that's one of those things no one ever gets right, so thats ok. She took that I was 25 to mean I was in Grad school (luckily true, some people are still in undergrad at 25, it's not all that uncommon). She guessed from the way I spoke about school that it wasn't in something "boring like business" but something "with social value like counseling or social work" and pretty much named off all the programs in my department except education. I told her it was education and she immediately guessed I wanted to work at the college level. Right again (she did mention I would be terrific in the younger levels where "they need the most help" but was proud of me for choosing the field). She assumed by my car that I had a job (pretty easy guess) and asked me about that, we then talked about tutoring for a while because it was something she had done for a while at the university as well.

At this point we've reached Wal-Mart, but she's still talking, she's really quite interesting so I pull in near one of the handicapped spots up front and put the car in park. We've probably been talking 10 or 15 min at this point. She's about to get out when she says something about a Hilary campaign support group she's a part of then says "but you're probably an Obama supporter aren't you?" Guilty as charged. She shifts back into the car and shuts the door and asks if I have a minute to explain why I like Obama. From there the conversation takes a sharp turn from PC chit chat to completely open dialog about politics, racism and sexism. She made another guess that my Dad was a farmer (very close, Agricultural Specialist for Mizzou, my grandfather was a farmer though). And told me about her parents (farmers from the south) who were very racist, they didn't dislike African Americans, they just didn't trust them or think they were as good. She was completely open with the fact that because of that she had trouble liking Obama and that she felt terrible that she felt like that. We then discussed how different my generation is and how the world is becoming more racially blind in parts but in others its as bad as ever and how she wished she could see things like I do. By the end of the conversation I had convinced her to check out Obama and not just vote for Hilary. By this point it's about ten till 8. So we've been talking 30-40 min. She told me one more story before she got out, but sadly I don't remember it right now. I then wished I had said yes to the ballet, but it was kinda too late at that point. She shook my hand, tried to pay me again and thanked me a few more times before leaving. It wasn't until after I pulled out of the parking lot that I remembered I had my camera on me and was pretty disappointed I didn't get a shot with her. But such is life.
posted by Brian @ 3:36 PM   3 comments

I have a roommate (who shall remain unnamed) who is social to an extent most people would never dream of - chatting up strangers, asking random questions - none of it is beyond his personality. I, on the other hand, am not as social. However, if someone engages me in conversation I have no problem with it, I'm just generally not the instigator. My conversation with Steven is a prime example of this.

On to the new story. It's Monday evening around 5pm, class has ended and due to Dave Grohl's flu the Foo concert I had planned on attending was no longer on the agenda for the evening. Some classmates and I decided to go eat some Greek food at Kosmos (the Pork Pita is not as good as I was advised by the girl taking my order - the Greek Chicken is way better, but that is beside the point). As I was ordering I heard a lady behind me striking up a conversation with the guy sitting behind me, they clearly did not know one another but I didn't think anything of it. After eating all my classmates were discussing their current comp papers (the paper you must write to graduate) and as I had written my last semester I peaced out from the stressful conversations that had ensued and ventured out into the night.

The woman from the earlier conversation had left the restaurant right in front of me and as I turned to walk to my car I notice she had turned to look at me.
"Excuse me sir?"
"I don't imagine you'd want to do me a huge favor?"
"uh.. what is it?" (I didn't have anything to do, and I like strangers, so at this point I figure I can help the lady out)
"Well, I came here for the Foo Fighters concert, I know a woman my age (I'd guess 50's but as Taylor knows that means somewhere between 35 and 80) seeing the Foo Fighters seems silly but I really like their music. Anyway, I had also wanted to see the St. Petersburg Ballet in Ft. Smith tonight. I had surgery recently so I can't drive. You wouldn't happen to want to make $75 to drive me to Ft. Smith and go to the Ballet with me would you?"
"Yeah, I don't think so, that's a long drive and I don't really like ballet."
"How about $100?"
"Haha, no, I don't think so, I'm sorry."
"Ok, well how about I give you $5 to drive me to Wal-Mart?"
"You know what... I'll drive you there for free, lets go...."

If you think this is where the story ends, you'd be wrong, there's much more to come, I'll finish it after lunch if possible.
posted by Brian @ 11:12 AM   1 comments
Monday, January 28, 2008
In one of my classes is a girl from the middle east who wears a chador (the full body dress that covers everything but the eyes). It's a 3 hour class so we get a 15 min break in the middle of it. So one day she comes up to me and asks which way is north. If you know me very well you know my sense of cardinal directions is mediocre at best - especially while indoors. Anyway, I look around, try to get my bearings and point in the general direction I think is north. Shahala then asks her if she needs help finding something and she replies "no, I just have to pray." This makes me real nervous - not because shes going to pray, but because I wasn't entirely sure I pointed north and I don't think this is one of those things you can just guesstimate on. So I stood up, looked outside, tried to find a street I knew ran north/south and realized I was accurate in my original estimate.

I find other religions very fascinating, especially one in which you must cover your body and pray in a certain direction. It kind of makes me feel lazy, their religion takes an amazing amount of commitment and devotion.

On a side note, the Foo Fighters concert tonight is canceled - which kind of ruins my plans for the evening.

Here's a picture I took the yesterday, lets see if anyone can figure out how it relates to the post.

posted by Brian @ 8:53 AM   3 comments
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I haven't posted in a while, mainly because I haven't been taking a lot of pictures (or any really - it's quite sad). Its amazing how busy you can keep yourself while not really doing anything at all. The whole three day weekend was kind of a blur - although very fun.

I took this picture because I don't think I had ever seen a wooden sidewalk before and it reminded me of Frost poem The Road Not Taken which is all about the decisions one must make in life and the paths one chooses. I try not to think of these things often because I'm perfectly happy with my life - but I know that eventually I'm going to have to take another path to somewhere, and that's a very scary thought. As all my friends around me start looking for jobs elsewhere I can't help but think I should do the same. I feel very blessed to say I've lived life being able to look back and not regret decisions (big decisions that is - there was that one time I ate that old frozen burrito...) I just hope that streak can continue.
posted by Brian @ 2:44 PM   3 comments
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Best year ever
I don't know if it was necessarily the best year ever, but it was definitely up there. God has blessed me with amazing friends and amazing experiences. So here, in review, are my favorite things in 2007 - ordered by date.

20. 1st snowboarding trip of 07
The year started and ended with snowboarding. That’s how I like to roll

19. Valentines Day/Blake’s Bday
It was a good night, and I was totally had by the prank. Well done sir.

18. The car wreck
All in all it was definitely an interesting evening and is a great story to tell. And I got a new car out of it – always a plus.

17. Costley’s wedding
By far the most fun wedding I’ve ever been to

16. Getting into photography
I’m not sure exactly when it happened so this one is sort of a guess. But it’s been a darn fun hobby. This is my first HDR photo.

15. Dallas trip for John and Lincoln’s wedding
The wedding was good, but the trip itself was more fun. I discovered IKEA and went out in Dallas for the first time – and got a picture with Yogi. Doesn’t get better than that.

14. B cubed Bday party at Callan’s
Emo was in town, Lisa made lots of good food, and there was a swimming race on noodles – good times.

13. Callan’s Bday
Spelunking then cake. Days don’t get any better.

11. Skip Day
It was all “I am Legend” at the campground, the diner we went to for breakfast, and the trail. It was like the world knew we were coming and got out of our way.

10. Florida Trip
Each year we do this the trip is better and better. I think when I’m older I’ll look back and swear they were some of the best days of my life.

9. My Birthday
It was part of the Florida trip, but it was so good it deserved its own number. Much thanks to Callan for the Jet Skiing, Wes and Taylor for the cakes and everyone else for making it probably the best birthday I’ve ever had.

7. The Alabama game
Random right? I like football, but it’s rare for a game to be one of my favorite events of the year, but really it was the group of people I watched it with and the sheer excitement of the game that made it so cool – even though we lost.

6. Nicks bachelor’s party
Nothing like beer, cigars, bbq, college football, and a blow log to celebrate the end of one’s bachelorhood.

5. Halloween party
It’s become THE party at the West Ave. House. Schellhase – you got robbed.

4. My trip to Portland
I never let a work trip be defined by the work I do there. I never knew why people liked the Northwestern US so much until I went there. It’s one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to.

3. My trip to Chicago
It was far too short but just a ton of fun. From Chicago style pizza to zoos to a play to shopping to crashing an architect’s party and so many more things packed into 3 days.

2. Random trips to Blake’s office
Mary offered to let me move my office over there since I spend so much time there. It’s like my work away from work.

2. Wine and cheese parties
Two parties and 50 some bottles of wine later we are the kings of the wine party.

1. Snowboarding again
It’s just as fun the second time of the year.

1. Christmas with the family
I don’t get to see them nearly enough anymore, but I thank God for every time we get to come together again.

Ok so there were actually 22. 20 was just a guess (I had to start somewhere, and didn’t really feel like planning it all out). There were others that stood out as great but I didn't have pictures for all so I narrowed it to the ones I did. I started this because I wanted to post pictures I hadn’t had a chance to. But I think I’ll do it again every year just to remind myself how blessed I am. It was a great year, maybe the best of years, and here’s to many more.
posted by Brian @ 11:09 AM   4 comments
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