Lint Rolling

If you bring a rug to college, make sure your roommate is bald.

I decided to bring an area rug from home to add some flair to my dorm room. I like the way it looks and I’ve gotten good comments for it. What I never expected, however, was how much I would have to take care of it here. I have a tiny vacuum cleaner, and it tends to do the job pretty well on the overall room carpeting. However, the rug is a different story.

The vacuum I have is small, and it doesn’t really have the suction of a high-quality vacuum. It can’t really pick up little bits off the rug, though, and it definitely can’t pick up clumps of hair.

And my roommate sheds. 

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Underrated

Back in high school, there was this crazy intelligent guy who, for the story’s purposes, we’ll call Sam. Sam knew everything about everything: physics, literature, philosophy, math, history. Sam went to UW-Madison, and other than what I saw on Facebook, I never really kept up on what he was doing.

Over winter break, I ran into my old AP Government teacher, who immediately asked what I was doing at school. I told him I was studying political science, and he was glad. I felt proud of myself, until he dealt this blow:

“Have you seen what Sam’s doing in Madison?”

Right. Of course. He wasn’t interested in my collegiate career; if anything, I’d just offered him the perfect segue to Sam. “You’re a political science major? That’s great! You, know, Sam’s been very involved in Wisconsin politics, he wrote a very fascinating article for Madison’s newspaper, and he’s been spearheading the Recall Walker movement… have you done anything like that where you are? No? Well, Sam sure has…”

I’ve always wondered, since that day, if my feelings of utter anger and indignation were unfounded or if they were reasonable. It’s not that I’m envious of Sam’s progress and success, but I wish I hadn’t been compared to him. We’re not on the same level, we never have been. We’re not even really aiming for the same things. And yet, I felt like my own teacher didn’t care about what I was doing, he just wanted to gush about his former star student. What was the point of asking me about me if he was just going to pile me with all Sam’s great tales of glory?

I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but as I continue studying, I wonder if I’m even good enough for the field I want. My own teachers don’t seem to have the faith in me that they have in this other, rare star. Sometimes I wonder if I should leave political science, try a career in something else. The only real talent I have that’s unique to me is creative writing, but no one lauds a writer like they do an aspiring… what is Sam even studying? Politics? Medicine? Whatever it is, I have the horrible dread that I’ll never be good enough for the people around me.

And that just sucks.

Things I Forgot to Mention: Beauty and the Beast

Sometimes, I sit at my computer, attempting to write a blog post before I realize my life is boring and nothing happens. Other times, I sit at my computer and realize, I forgot to blog about this! Welcome, then, to my short series of blog posts in which I write about things that happened to me over the course of the week that I didn’t mention.

Beauty and the Beast:
Last Sunday, I went to see Beauty and the Beast in the theatre with my friends. It was the first time we’d ever been to the movies together. We got little commemorative postcards with our tickets and 3D glasses, so I made sure, when I got back to my dorm, to write on the back of it the day we first went to the movies. Who knows, one day in the future I might be able to dig it up from a box in the attic and smile to myself over the memories. Until then, it’s gracing my dorm corkboard, and will probably continue to appear in my room decor through college, provided I don’t lose it.

As a result of my seeing Beauty and the Beast, I decided to draw Chip on the whiteboard of my door. I like drawing, but I’ve never been one for painting Mona Lisas; I’m more of a doodler, even a cartoonist if I can call myself that. This was the first time I’d ever attempted to copy a Disney character, but I must say, it turned out better than I expected.

Chip from Beauty and the Beast

Chip

I took this picture as soon as I’d finished; since I do this on a whiteboard, I end up having to erase my own masterpieces in order to make room for new ones. If you look at my board now, you’ll find two written compliments from my floormates, and almost everyone who’s crossed into my room or past my door has expressed a positive review. Little things like this, people liking my silly art, make me happy.

I sent this to my family members, and as a result of that, my six-year-old niece has requested that I draw her pictures of Disney Princesses. Must say, I’m daunted; I’ve never been particularly good at drawing humans, but I’m certainly going to try my best and hope she likes them.

I find that I have a lot of free time on my hands anyway, so I think I’m going to invest in some art materials (crayons, markers, maybe some paper better than my plain printer stock) and spend my afternoons attempting to make some art.

Things I Forgot to Mention: Sushi!

Sometimes, I sit at my computer, attempting to write a blog post before I realize my life is boring and nothing happens. Other times, I sit at my computer and realize, I forgot to blog about this! Welcome, then, to my short series of blog posts in which I write about things that happened to me over the course of the week that I didn’t mention.

Sushi:

I tried actual sushi for the first time! I’ve had the simple stuff like California rolls before, but this time, I went out with a couple of friends (and non-friends…) to this award winning sushi place in the city, and I got the real deal!

My friends and I didn’t plan this outing; instead, it was one of my friends’ floormates, and for some odd reason, he had us go around 3pm. Being an off-peak dining hour, the place was empty, and we became its only occupants. Being a large group of teens, the manager changed the music from classy jazz piano (which, may I add, we were all jamming to anyway) to what sounded like an uncensored club mix of Top 40s music. A bit bizarre, to say the least, especially when the unedited version of Enrique Iglesias’ “Tonight I’m F***in’ You” came on and we all were startled by the loud, unmuted usage of the f-bomb.

The others chose the sushi, as I had no idea what to pick. Of what I remember, we got California rolls, Philadelphia rolls, and Las Vegas Maki. I ended up trying one of everything, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Sushi, my friends, is good.

All in all, I learned that I cannot use chopsticks (and may never learn), I probably don’t know how to eat sushi properly (can I pick it up? Do I bite it or try to fit the whole thing in my mouth?) and that trying new things is completely worth it. I also admit that, since that day, I’ve been craving some more sushi…

Shuttle Rides and a Drunken Foal

At 1:45am on a Friday night, the nightlife is buzzing at my school. Literally buzzing. The amount of drunk people stumbling out of the on-campus bars is quite a bit and makes for some great entertainment for a sober undergrad like me.

My school, like many others, offers a free shuttle service for its students from one end of campus to the other. 1:45am found me at the western edge of campus in my friends’ dorm building, about as far as one can get from my eastern-located dorm. Not wanting to face the cold–also, we were lazy–my friend and I called a shuttle to pick us up and drive us back to our building. Luckily, the shuttle that picked us up was empty, and so my friend and I sat near the front. It was all great and dandy until we got to the bar area. The streets were dotted with starry-eyed over-21s hopping from one establishment to the next. Outside one bar, a girl was puking into a plastic bag while someone helped her into a car.

Then someone flagged down our shuttle.

In walked three girls, two appearing a bit tipsy, and the other one… let’s call her the drunken foal. You’ll understand why in a moment. The drunken foal was, dare I say it, just about fully naked. The only piece of clothing on her body was a very, very short sequined tube dress. It’s not something I would ever wear in the middle of July, and bear in mind, the weather outside boasts a coat of fresh snow and a wind chill of  -2°F. But there she was, nonetheless. The drunken foal and her friends stumbled about the shuttle, looking for a spot to sit. Ultimately they piled upon each other in one drunken heap. They reeked of alcohol, and as they claimed they’d just left a restaurant, my friend and I began to panic, thinking they would, at any moment, projectile vomit on us.

As it turns out, they only wanted to ride the shuttle for a block and a half before departing. As they walked over the freshly-fallen snow, the drunken foal’s legs twisted and stumbled upon the snow, and the only thing that saved her from falling flat on her face was her slightly less drunk friend who held her up. The entire shuttle whooped and laughed at this shaking mess of a person walking back. It reminded me of those National Geographic documentaries where you watch a baby animal, freshly-born, trying to take its first steps.

And that is why I dub this naked girl, “The Drunken Foal.”

Before college, I seriously thought all these strange stories had to be nothing more than wild inventions made by university kids to amaze the younger crowd. Nights like tonight make me realize, not one night is identical to the other, and ultimately you really can’t make these things up.

The Illogical Logic Professor, and Day Two of Class

“True or false: Neil Armstrong won six Tours de France,” my logic professor stated as an example.

False, I thought. It was Lance, not Neil.

“False,” my professor affirmed. “It was seven Tours.”

I looked up from my notes in shock. I didn’t honestly know the number of Tours de France that the famous cyclist had won, but I did know that his name was Lance Armstrong; Neil Armstrong, on the other hand, was the first man to set foot on the moon. I debated whether I should raise my hand and correct him, or if I should even bother with the formalities and simply call out, “Wrong!” But at 8:30am on the first day of my logic class, I decided it was far too early to make myself seem like a snotty know-it-all (even though, let’s be real, that’s exactly what I am; I’ve just trained myself to limit my vocal corrections of others’ errors). And so began my Wednesday.

Today’s schedule was highly agreeable. The only difficult thing is the trek from my dorm to the building my first class, Logic at 8am, is in; it’s situated at the end of the quad. Nothing I couldn’t handle, though, and I didn’t get lost looking for the room. My next class, English, is in a building I’ve already had classes in, and this is only a two-minute walk from the first building. My English professor seems sweet, and she admitted that she’s addicted to Disney. I approve.

On a Monday or a Friday, this would be the end of classes for me; since today was Wednesday, I also had my once-a-week history discussion, which, luckily, was in the same building as my English class. My teaching assistant is a 24-year-old grad student, and from what I gathered, this is going to be a pretty fun history discussion to be in. Even with that extra class,  my day is over at 11am, after which I meet up with my friends and go to lunch.

A pretty good, normal day. I think I’m getting back into the swing of things faster than I expected.

On Living with a Taken Roommate

I am single. My roommate is not. In fact, she’s been in a serious relationship since high school, and now she and her steady boyfriend are in a long-distance relationship.

Or at least, trying to be.

First semester seemed to be going okay. They talked on the phone almost daily, sharing the little details about their day and appearing to be maintaining the relationship healthily. He’s currently going to school in a different time zone, but that didn’t seem to stop them from keeping in contact. I didn’t really know much about them–I’ve never met or spoken to the boyfriend–but I was rather impressed and proud of them for being able to hold on despite the distance and time change.

Fast forward to today, the second day of the second semester. I’ll admit that I’m typing this post at this moment because, as I write, my roommate is in a slightly uncomfortable conversation with her boyfriend. Even though I was minding my own business, listening to music with my headphones in, I could hear her conversation going on–and truthfully, I still can. It seems they’re having trouble communicating. When one calls, the other is busy or tired or doing something that otherwise impedes them from being in contact. Their conversations are lifeless. My roommate isn’t happy about it. In fact, she’s claiming that he isn’t making time for her the way she did for him.

I want to gag, but doing so would indicate that I’m eavesdropping. (I can’t help it! This is my room too, you know.)

My roommate seems to be dropping hints that she can’t find a place to speak in private. This, if I’m interpreting it correctly, might be aimed slightly at me, the other tenant in the room; there’s no place she can go because the only space on campus allotted to her is also allotted to a complete stranger. I don’t blame her, I miss having a private place too, but she could easily ask me to make space, and honestly, I would–not because I’m so terribly nice (I am, though, which can be a detriment) but because I do feel awkward hearing all the gush that goes back and forth between the two. (Her phone speaker is so loud that I can actually hear the person on the other line. It’s made for awkward moments in which I can hear her mother sharing confidential bank information and the likes…) I could easily go visit my friend four floor above me, or even just hang out in the common lounge for a while.

Why haven’t I just done this of my own accord? I don’t know. I just feel like it would be awkward if, every time she got on the phone, I stormed out. I’m pretty sure she already thinks I’m a passive-aggressive neurotic neat-freak (alright, I admit, sometimes I am, but I have my reasons for being one, though that’s a different story for a different time). I don’t need her to think I’m so easily irritated that I must get out of the room every time she opens her mouth.

Ultimately, I think one of the reasons I feel most awkward isn’t because I’m involuntarily intruding on a personal matter (though that’s still highly uncomfortable), but because I can’t relate to it anyway. I feel as though, were I also in a relationship, it would be less awkward for me to be there overhearing things because maybe I could even help her out, talk her through it afterwards, offer advice, whatever. Instead I’m more like a sedentary third wheel. I’m not saying my relationship status would help me completely cope with dealing with my roommate, but I maybe it would at least make what she’s going through more familiar to me.

Post-rant, or whatever this narrative is, let me clarify something: I don’t hate my roommate. She’s a really sweet girl. We’re not exactly friends, but I’d say we live in pretty good harmony despite our differences. Most days, we just live our lives, come back to our room, keep operating, and go on. But yes, there is always that time when something of hers will irk me. Not always. But sometimes.