Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Thoughts on Brittany

My friend Brittany is leaving Provo tomorrow, to go home to California, to wait for 3 months, to then go to Brazil, to serve an 18 month long proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I realized this past week all of the voids Brittany fills in my life, and how bummed I will be without seeing her at work everyday. I feel like sending this small advert to the Brazilian Missionary Training Center so they know what they're getting.
  • If you need someone to shorten a word and make it acceptable to say, Brittany can do it.
  • If you need someone to go to/start a dance party with, Brittany will be there.
  • Similarly, if you need someone to dance until they literally can't remember what happened while they were dancing, Brittany's your woman.
  • If you want to hear a hilarious story and bust your gut, Brittany is on it.
  • If you want a job well done on anything detail oriented, Brittany will not let you down.
  • If you need a friend, Brittany is willing and able.
  • If you need someone who cares and will drop everything to help you, someone who will listen and empathize with you, if you need someone who is a genuinely honest and good person, then look no further than Brittany.
I know missionaries get called for specific reasons, to specific places, and I know Brittany is going to touch people's lives (how can she not? She does that without being a missionary here in Provo!) but I still can't help feeling like Brazil doesn't even realize the gift they're getting for the next year and a half. I can't lie, I'm a little bit jealous.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My whip is a ghost of a former ride.

I’ve drafted a post about my car about 3 separate times now. The problem is that I’ve waited too long to post. I was first hit with the idea to write about Simba (my champagne colored 1998 Toyota Corolla) in the summer when driving up a hill was always in perfect time with a prayer. Actually, the same can be said of my car in any season I drive it in, but it was different in the summer. The windows were rolled down in the summer. My fake Target Ray Bans were sliding down the bridge of my nose in the dry Utah heat. I rested my crooked elbow on the scorching metal of the door frame because even though I was in pain, I looked good. I had one wrist propped casually on the top of my steering wheel, and I was leaning back in my worn, cloth, beige seats. It varied between cool west coast hip-hop pumping through my pitiful speakers or the latest indie band that I had heard about third hand, that probably wasn’t that indie any more. That was always a gamble too, which stereo session in the ‘Rolla would be those speakers last, because they really shouldn’t be handling the volume that the radio was cranked to.

As cars whizzed past me or pulled alongside me at stoplights, freshly washed and waxed, I tried to hold back and only give only half-interested glances at them. Who needs you and your new car, I would yell in my mind, I’m ridin’ slow, homie! One day in particular, it hit me that it was one of the few days I wasn’t in a rush to go anywhere. I wasn’t speeding, I wasn’t praying over my engine, to beg for it to last, because I wasn’t pushing it to get me somewhere in an inhuman speed, let alone a 1998-Toyota-Corolla-with-over-100,000-miles speed. I was enjoying driving slowly, enjoying the sweat on the back of my legs (see this post for more explanation about that) and the cool jams streaming through my car. It wasn’t a lie to convince myself that I appreciated this car and all its quirks; I really do love driving this car with all its quirks. You can’t really knock something that a) was an amazing gift from people that love you, b) hasn’t let you down so far and c) you associate with everyday. Well, maybe you can, but I certainly don’t. Simba, let the good times roll.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In which I post simply to use the phrase "in which"

I just finished this book called Young Romantics which wasn't particularly good. I told my British Literature professor I was reading it (after we just finished discussing the Romantic period in class) to which he responded "The Publishers Weekly review was lukewarm, but it would be hard not to be a good read with the crazy lives of the people featured in it". That's about how the book went. Sub par writing, but those 19th century poets knew how to get down, and therefore I stuck with it to the end.

I give a much heartier recommendation to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet for ALL readers of this post. Truly fantastic book. Great writing, engaging narrative, very informative of a kind of different perspective about the Japanese internment during WWII (but it is fiction so have no fear, non-fiction avoiders).

Anyway, back to these dead white guys. For as much as everyone rags on the literary canon being filled with dead white guys, I really love these dead white guys. John Keats, in particular (although, he's wasn't a rich dead white guy so I think everyone in general hates him less. And probably because he died so prematurely, that usually gets you off the hook easier than your older dead white guy friends). Unfortunately Young Romantics really didn't talk about Keats that much. But I digress.

Finishing this book made me think about how different the death of our generations stars will be. At first I thought "There won't be any biographies needed because everyone's stories and personal thoughts are on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs". Then I thought "Nah, I'm sure there are still some hidden gems of celebrities lives that will be exposed upon their death, and people will clamor to read their posthumous biographies". Then I realized, "No, the paparazzi and MTV specials have truly exposed all of that already. When famous actors or musicians die now, people will just go to their Facebook profile to memorialize them". I finally settled on the thought that "Actually, there are some crazy celebrities in the media today. I'm sure there will be a heap of unrevealed information about the majority of celebrities after they die. Plus, Snooki has a book sooooo...biographies will never cease to flourish, even in the midst of all this instant access media".

One time it crossed my mind to write a memoir. I think it was after I read A Girl Named Zippy because that was a great book and to my knowledge, that author wasn't famous before that got published. Of course, I don't have the same kind of good 'ol days, small town America stories that she does (and I'm sure that's what ultimately detracted me) but still...it's an interesting thought to say the least.

...I had a point to this. I think it was something along the lines of: I just finished a huge research project about Facebook last week. It was about how Facebook interactions effect relationships offline. I wouldn't imagine there's much of a counter argument to that, but I just wanted to talk to people about Facebook (I have a sickness, this I know) so I went with a definitive project, not really an exploratory one. My end result: the one thing that all of my interviewees had in common was that they strongly disliked when people posted information deemed "too personal" on Facebook (as do I).

A few other people in my class did research projects about dating culture at BYU. One sentence from both presentations was that "blind dating really isn't blind any more". While sometimes I'm grateful for that (although my only blind date was in high school...) it also makes me a little melancholy. I love Facebook, I love blogging, I love Twitter, and checking my e-mail on my phone. But I can honestly say, more than doing all of those things, I love talking to people and getting to know someone and (I can't believe I'm admitting this...) feeling empathy with someone in a conversation to the point that I cry when they cry, or in a less dramatic way, laugh when they laugh. I'll probably never delete my Facebook account, my Twitter account, or this blog, but I truly hope that when I die and am famous and am having my biography written (after I've published my own memoirs of course) that these are just interesting tidbits and that like the 'young romantics' of the early 19th century, someone has to find out about my personal relationships to know who I truly was.