Please Pimp my Drive

I am going home for Christmas in two days. Obviously, I’m excited! Also, obviously, I’m dreading the six-hour drive. With a HUGE CAPITAL D.

I have driven the most uneventful drive known to mankind many, many, many times. I could probably give you a detailed description of I-80 (although, then I’d probably be distracted doing so and get lost as usual).

To be fair, my drive has dramatically improved over the past few years. I used to drive a car that did not have a working radio. I had to resort to a top-notch tape collection. The best options were “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Backstreet Boys,” and “Kenny Rogers.” Let’s put it this way: I don’t even like Kenny Rogers.

Now, I am granted with the luxury of a CD player and my (absurdly awful) singing voice. Luckily, I’m not too picky.

The mix of songs and snooze-worthy sights is starting to drive me crazy. So, I need your help. What can I possibly do to make this drive more exciting? Is there a road game that I can play by myself? Some topics to think about? Something to avoid hearing the words “Backstreet’s Back: Alright” for the 800th time? Any advice to pimp my drive would be awesome.


The Un-Lax Librarian

We all know the Librarian stereotypes. They say “Shhh”, even if you haven’t actually spoken. They never smile. They wear wide-framed, black-rimmed glasses. They have a sleek bun. They wear skirts as long as their socks. They refuse to break ANY rule, regardless of how ridiculous is.

I thought that this was an Urban legend. I’ve never met a librarian that actually fit this description.Except on Halloween. And then, well, we all know that people don’t dress up like librarians because they actually aspire to be one. Their goal is sexy, not stereotypical.

But today, I encountered a real, live strict and stereotypical Librarian. I’m pretty sure she probably possessed a ruler…and not the kind to draw diagrams, either.

I went to the library to check out some books. This was done in order to avoid spending money I don’t have shopping. I thought I was doing a great thing.

The librarian thought otherwise.

I didn’t have a West Des Moines library card before I made my attempt. The first time I tried, I was shut down because I did not have proof of my new address. You would assume that this would be alright. To my knowledge, I’ve never heard of any criminals trying to break into the library business and use a false address in order to accumulate an array of stolen books.

The previous librarian was semi-strict, yet nice about it. She vowed to give me a card as soon as I brought a piece of mail with my address.

So today, I make the return trek. I brought a letter from my mom, and was sure that a new card was near. Unfortunately, I had failed to memorize the rule that a piece of mail has to be from within the past 30 days. Mine was from September.

The librarian acted as if bringing in a piece of old mail to receive a card was as punishable as pretending to be twenty-one when you’re a pre-teen.

I had to come up with a quick plan. I smiled, said sorry, and even tried to throw in a little sob story about the snow in hopes that she wouldn’t make me drive back to my apartment for another piece of mail.

At first, she wouldn’t budge. She carefully explained the rules, examining my piece of mail as if she were a homicide detective in the lab. She didn’t smile for a single second.

Eventually, after a little back-and-forth (and ALOT of brown nosing on my part), she budged. She made it feel as if I had got away with murder.

Which made me wonder: Are some of the professional stereotypes actually true? Have you ever encountered a strict librarian, a donut-eating cop or a nymphomaniac nurse?

A Dancing Disaster

I am not a dancer.

I was in tap and ballet when I was younger, but I was always placed in the back. I could handle the positions, but plies put me over the edge. My parents build an at-home tap square out of tile to help me improve. They quickly realized that was a mistake, because the only thing I learned was how to make my tapping louder.

I’ve always admired people that can actually bust a move without nearly breaking something.  This past summer, I coached 5-9 year old girls in Cheerleading. I had to pretend I could actually A.) Choreograph something longer than two seconds and B.) Actually accomplish a toe touch without ending in the emergency room. I think the fact that I like smiling is the only thing that saved me from being discovered as a complete sham.

However, my short stint as a cheerleading coach did show me something: Grandmas may be able to perform the splits better than me, but, when it comes to dancing, I am able to judge what’s right from wrong.

Unfortunately, in my daily life, I see far more wrong than right.

Whenever I go out, I am reminded of the fact that A.) Most people who dance in public think that they break it down better than Beyonce and B.) Will do absolutely whatever it takes to create their own concert.

Last night, I witness a dance disaster. Take note: This occurred at a casual bar. There is not a single space devoted to a dance floor.

The girl didn’t look the part. She had a ponytail, a brown turtle neck sweater and matching belt and was probably in her late 30s. However, her age certainly didn’t deter her from showing off her skills. She had clearly practiced the “Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It]” dance but had missed many, map steps along the way. She would swivel her hips quickly (not quite as quickly as the hipster on Halloween), then stop for a few seconds, then swivel even faster. In the meantime, she did the robot. The best part? She had a smug smile on the entire time, and gave “cheer faces” that were even more exaggerated than these.

Finally, some of my friends decided to show her up. She backed it down a bit, but she was too confident in her skills to not perform an encore. I’m certain she went home thinking that it was time to audition for “So You Think You Can Dance?” while myself and others realized that we had just experienced a real, live dancing disaster.

Have you ever witnessed a public performance that should have been kept private?

Maybe I’m a Multi-tasker…?

Tonight, I accomplished all of these things simultaneously. I typed this post, took a timed Anatomy quiz online (more like looked up every single answer on Google), applied for jobs, Facebook chatted, texted, and Twittered.

I also had mixed emotions while watching two shows. First, I listened to “The Sing Off” where I was once again reminded that I will never, ever be a singer. Even William Hung has more singing ability than me. Next, I watched “Deep Fried Paradise.” They described deep fried ice cream in excruciating detail. I wanted to eat my TV screen.

I honestly didn’t think that this was too strange. Maybe it’s not. But I do know plenty of people that prefer to dream about Deep Fried food without any distractions.

Are you a multi-tasker, or do despise distractions?

Ridiculous, Riveting Reality TV

I have hit a new reality TV low. I have become addicted to the new E! show “Bridalplasty.”

I remember seeing commercials for this show months before it aired. The creepy (yet clever) premise? “The only competition where the winner gets cut.” Brides-to-be compete in challenges to earn plastic surgery procedures. Eventually, one woman “gets cut” and also wins a celebrity-style wedding of her choice.

I don’t know quite why I love this show. Here are the reasons my watching is ridiculous:

1.) The phrase “under the knife” makes my skin crawl. There are also extreme cases of plastic surgery—like this lady—that could give Hannibal Lecter nightmares.

2.) I hate blood. I was allowed to sleep on my desk in my high school Anatomy class when my classmates watched an Open Heart Surgery. I was also able to ditch dissecting a pig, simply because I’m SO squeamish.

3.) The majority of the girls on the show that think they are hideous are nearly the size of Nicole Richie.

4.) One girl claimed that upping her cleavage was necessary, for she has cysts. I may not be a Scientist, but I’m certain the cure for cancer is not plastic surgery.

5.) The elimination challenge involved the girls putting together a 10-15 piece huge jigsaw puzzle of themselves. The girls acted as if this was as difficult as receiving your Ph.D.

6.) When two girls were up for elimination, the other contestants bawled as if they had just given birth.

Although this show is beyond awful, I can assure you that I will cringe while seeing who “gets cut.” Then, I will probably buy the People magazine that features a full-length feature of the celebrity style wedding and watch the hour-long made for TV special.

What ridiculous reality show do you watch? If not, how do you resist the ridiculousness?

Opening Jars (and other Impossibilities)

I have a jar of Peppadew peppers that have been pleading with me to eat them for the past week. Unfortunately, the bright, shiny, deliciously spicy Peppadews will not make their way into my stomach.

Why? I cannot open the jar.

I actually cannot open any jar. Or wine bottle. Even shampoo bottles sometimes get me stuck. The power to open anything prevents me from making purchases. If I do decide to cave, my teeth experience the trauma of biting through plastic wrap that is both unsanitary and certainly not something to share at your next dentist appointment.

As I’ve shared before, I have a list of things that I am unable to do.  Which keeps getting longer. Here are a few more things to add to my embarrassing array of inabilities:

  • I do not know how to get the gas pump to lock when I fill up gas. This is quite a dilemma in the winter. Rather than waiting in a cozy car, I freeze outside. I have to manually put the gas in the tank and plead for the amount of gallons to go up so I can finally sit in the car and attempt to relive my frostbite. [A sidenote: The first time I ever tried to fill up the gas tank, I thought that you had to press the button in to put the pump back in its place. I gave my dad and I a Zoolander style gasoline shower.]
  • The previously mentioned inability could be confusing, because I actually am not sure of any of the terminology related to my gas tank. Or, actually, anything related to my car.
  • I am unable to make it anywhere without using Mapquest. I literally have to find directions to friend’s houses, even if I’ve been there fifteen times.

What are some things that are supposed to be simple that you can’t do?


Amusing and Awkward Teacher Travels

Since I only have a week left of student teaching, I’m now in my “Phase Out” period. This means that I don’t really teach English class anymore. I may assist a bit, but I’m not the “real” teacher of Mr. Moore’s class anymore. Instead, I spend some days traveling around the building, seeing what other classes are like.

I learned today that these days I will likely laugh as much as I learn . This is what my day consisted of. I’m 100% serious.

  • In Math class—in the middle of a lesson on Algebra—the teacher sung Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burnin’ on the Dance Floor.” He also added dance moves. These dance moves included a fist pump that was Jersey Shore worthy.
  • In Reading class, I listened to a story about a Siamese Cat who wants to be a Chihuahua. His name is Skippyjon Jones, and he loves frijoles.
  • In Drama class, I had to play a creepy casting director named Bonnie. Bonnie wants to get way too close to aspiring starlet Brenda who, by chance, is also a female student in my English class.
  • In Chorus, I received a personal concert. There were 100 students that sang their songs directly to me, and me only. Pretty harmless, right? Try smiling nonstop for 45 minutes when 8th grade students are singing to you “Oh Shenandoah,” and another song about finding their “true love” as all 100 eyes stare directly at you.

What was the most amusing or awkward thing you experienced as a student (or as a teacher!)?