Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to claim la vie boheme

You should probably start out by listening to every Simon & Garfunkel album you can get your hands on. Chicks like sensitive guys. Keep to yourself. When you’re quiet, it makes everything you say a little bit more important than those people that talk all the time. When you suddenly break the silence by saying, “Life is like one big garden. We always reap what we sow, you know?” someone will almost always respond by saying, “That’s real heavy, man.”
    Another excellent idea is to purchase tight male jeans. Or if you have the physique for it, women’s jeans. Wear plaid shirts that you find in someone’s hamper and when they ask about it, say that you live in the moment. You don’t have time to be restricted by societal “norms.” Especially if it requires you to do laundry.
    Go to every poetry reading your city offers. It’s usually free, which works out since you don’t have a job. You can chat up hipster chicks and bash them all to your male friends. “I need a girl who wants me for my mind, you know, man.” They’ll all shake their heads in agreement. Buy yourself a soy latte. You’ve earned it. Put on your aviator sunglasses and go for a walk in the park even though it’s dark. Sun don’t set on a badass.
    While you’re in the park, marvel at the homeless guy who has constructed a cardboard pueblo. Nod at him in recognition. You are all brothers. Take out that recycled-materials notebook we all know you have with you and jot down observations that you will later make into a poem that will make chicks swoon.
    Go home and lay down on your makeshift bed, you know the bed that is really just a few blankets on the floor and a pillow. Stare at the books you have stacked in all your windowsills. Each one of them is scribbled in incessantly. You never know when you’ll need a good close reading on Franny and Zooey. If someone asks you to borrow one these books, tell them to get their own. You are secretly fearful that they will steal your genius.
    Make your own garden. When your mother stops by for a visit, hide the garden because she’ll probably know what it is that you’re growing.
    Hey man, once you do all that, you’re headed in the right direction. Trust me. I’ve been doing this for years. I just wish I would’ve had someone like me to get advice from, you know. Take care, man.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Less than Ten Minutes

    “Ooohh please! Can we please please please?” she said, tugging at his arm.
    Elijah knew better than to give in right away. Jessica liked a challenge. That’s why she picked him.
    “No, this is lame. Can’t you see that? It costs three dollars and you don’t even get anything for it.”
    “What do you mean you don’t get anything for it? You get three dollars worth of priceless memories,” she said, raising her eyebrows, and leaning into him.
    “That doesn’t make any sense, what you just said. Three dollars isn’t priceless.” Elijah smiled, looking into Jessica’s face. He took a stray piece of hair and tucked it behind her ear.
    “Whatever. You know what I mean. Are you seriously going to deny me this girly right?”
    Elijah paused and reached for the slim leather wallet in his back pocket.
    “Thank you thank you thank you!”
    Jessica smoothed her long blonde hair and rubbed the skin below her eyes to make sure her makeup hadn’t settled into the subtle lines in her face. She was significantly shorter than Elijah, significantly shorter than everyone really, but especially him. He stood at 6’3’’.
    Elijah inserted each crisp dollar, one after the other and smoothed the wrinkles on his button-down shirt. Jessica loved when he pushed the sleeves up to reveal the fleshy whiteness of his forearms.
    “Duck down! You’re too tall!” Jessica mandated.
    Taking her advice, Elijah bent his knees to reach her level. He put his arm around her, in an attempt to make her feel safe. Once the countdown from 3-2-1 reached its final moment, Elijah put Jessica in a headlock and rubbed the top of her head furiously with his balled up fist. Flash.
    She screamed, swatting him away, but laughing all the same. Flash.
    Elijah wrapped his arms around Jessica, allowing her no ability to struggle. Flash.
    “You jerk!” she screamed, as he lifted her over his shoulder, in a fireman’s carry, her backside being the lens’ main focus. Flash.
    Elijah returned Jessica to standing position. She began straightening the frizzy protrusion on her crown and tugging at her shirt, which had been raised to reveal her torso at Elijah’s rough-housing. They were both exhilarated, out of breath from laughter. Jessica ran up to Elijah, balled fists ready, playfully punching him in the chest.
    A couple of minutes later, the two strips of photos were deposited below the machine. There was a perforation down the middle, so they each could keep a copy. Elijah picked them up, separated them, keeping one for himself, he handed the other to Jessica. She looked at the images lovingly, grabbing Elijah’s hand.
    It was the best three dollars he’d ever spent.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Gazing into the mirror, Sylvio quietly combed his black, oily mustache with his fingers. At this point in time, it was really more of a caterpillar than a piece of facial hair. Encircling his left arm was a barbed wire tattoo. After he slipped into his white wife beater, Sylvio flexed his muscles one last time and turned off the bathroom light.
    Sylvio was a carnivorous Capricorn who owned and managed the local burger joint. The job provided him with enough dinero to afford a small house, but not enough to upgrade from his  navy 1984 Oldsmobile. It wasn’t as if he would ever want to get rid of it anyway. In his prime, Sylvio entertained the company of many chicks in that Oldsmobile, blasting Led Zeppelin IV with all the windows down. In many ways, Sylvio was trapped in 1984. That was the year Linda left him for good.
    Sylvio and Linda had known each other growing up in Southern California. They went to high school together and had their first sexual experiences together. Linda was the first girl Sylvio ever truly loved. She had tried convincing him over and over again to move to New York with her. Sylvio had other plans. He was going to start a rock ‘n roll band.
    Twenty-some years later, Sylvio had settled into his position as owner of an In-N-Out Burger in Oakland. It had taken him years to attain the title, partly because he was lazy but also because of his reputation as a skeezy guy. After numerous changes in management, Sylvio was finally accepted into the hierarchy of hamburgers. The man that signed him off as official owner had a mustache, too.
    The majority of Sylvio’s female employees resembled Linda in one way or another. Many of them were blonde and large-breasted. Sylvio was notorious for cornering them in hopes to “talk about their careers” and getting close enough for them to smell the leftover whiskey on his breath. The In-N-Out Burger had a high turnover rate, as any self-respecting girl would not put up with Sylvio’s behavior, which wasn’t quite harassment, but pretty darn close.
    Sounds of neighborhood dogs barking in the evening could be heard every night Sylvio pulled into his driveway. He would slip out of his polyester uniform, into a pair of cheap flannel night pants, and pop the top on a Keystone Light. Sinking into his easy chair, the blue of the TV light waltzing upon the walls, he would think of her. It was a ritual to him; the only thing that could calm him down.
    Some nights he would think back to the times they skipped class to smoke in the parking lot. The sun seemed to dance on Linda’s neck when she leaned back on the hood of his car and laughed. Other nights he would remember the first time they ever made love. It was at Linda’s house, upstairs in her bedroom. She was scared her father would find out. The next morning, she came chasing after Sylvio as he walked out onto her front lawn. She jumped into his arms, barefoot, the green grass staining her feet as she told him she loved him.
    All this, everyday.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My first time...

    The first time I heard “Good Morning” by Kanye West, I was in Ruth Ross’ passenger seat smoking my first cigarette. Kelsey was in the back seat behind Ruth, her long blond hair whipping across her face in the cool winter air. Ruth rolled the windows down to let the smoke out and turned the music up so loud I could hear my own heart beating. We were young and invincible then and more importantly, we were best friends.
     Ruth was almost more of a folk tale than a friend. We looked to her for stories of getting drunk on Prom night and making out with a guy who didn’t remember; of smoking pot out of a cored apple; of driving to Chicago on a school night to hear her older brothers’ jazz band play. All of these things were foreign to Kelsey and I but we were enamored of it nonetheless.
    That night, we attended a banquet for the quiz bowl and chess team. Kelsey was the quiz bowl captain. I joined for fun and was surprisingly good at it. Ruth signed up to hang out with Kelsey and I after school, but even after paying the club’s $50 dollar fee, she never showed up. Come the end of the season, our sponsors held a pizza banquet as a way of congratulating us. They also rented the local college’s student activities center, which was complete with a bowling alley, pool tables, and an air of cheap sophistication.
    We ate pizza, we bowled, we laughed. “I’m feeling a little thirsty,” I told my friends and walked to the snack bar in my goofy rented shoes. Upon approaching, I ran into one of the chess team guys, a guy I’d had a couple of on-and-off again flings with, a guy I solely referred to as “The Atheist.” He smiled at me and offered to pay for my Coke. We walked around and talked for awhile. I thought back to the summer we walked around the water and he sat with me while I got a henna tattoo on my ankle. We’d only kissed a couple of times.
    Kelsey and Ruth started giving me those far away thumbs-up signs. I shooed them off with my hand. The Atheist and I divulged our most recent exploits and settled back into our old comfort. We sat down onto a burgundy couch and he put his arm around me. This night was magical. Maybe he would kiss me again. The tension was there. Nothing needed to come from it.
    I leaned into the Atheist and thanked him for my Coke. He looked down into my face and nodded in recognition. I kept staring at him with hopeful eyes.
    “What? What are you looking at?”
    “I don’t know. I was just...I thought maybe...”
    “It’s never going to happen. You understand that, right?”
    Suddenly, I broke free from his embrace and straightened my posture. With a silent face, I stood up and walked away. He called after me, in a condescending way. But he didn’t have the right, anyway. I was six months older.
    Ruth and Kelsey were curious to hear of my Coke and conversation with the Atheist but all I could say was,
    “I wanna get out of here.”
    Ruth peered off into the distance in thought. I could tell she had something mischievous in mind. “Hey, do you guys wanna go smoke in my car?”
    We all looked from face to face in our circle of three. We picked up our coats and skipped out the door.

Monday, January 17, 2011


The old wooden jewelry box had the feel of an advent calendar. Each compartment
opened to reveal something new for another day. It had been passed down from the 70’s and
didn’t stand much taller than 3/4 of a foot. The rich mahogany was complemented by the floral
fabric adorning the far sides of each tassel. The material looked as if it had been dipped in coffee
and left to set for a few days. The brass tassels could be pulled to engage the hinged doors,
revealing a myriad of of little droors and knobs. When carried, the box covered the entirety of
my torso and didn’t flaunt much else besides it’s little knobbed feet, like the claws on an antique
bath tub.
    Inside, a wreath-like pull revealed a mustard-yellow organized in rolls, like ribbons of velvet. This compartment held rings. Just above it, a square box with a circular knob, concealed bracelets and other larger pieces of armory. To the right of these compartments, were four similarly shaped rectangular drawers. On the far right side was an empty tall space, with a circular spinner attached to the top, to hold necklaces.
    My mother had always had a strained relationship with her mother. When my mother tried out for high school cheerleading, my grandmother told her she would never make it. But she did. My mom’s family moved around until they finally settled in a small town that contained nearly all their kin. Each person was at least a cousin, twice-removed. Imagine bringing a guy home to mom only to have her recognize him. When it seemed like they would all but go insane, my mother and grandmother found solace in one another. My grandmother bought my mom a jewelry box for Christmas.
    Flash forward ten years and you’ll find my mother and grandmother at odds. Over some stupid reason I was too young to understand, my mother and her mother decided not to speak. Things stayed this way for another seven or eight years. We discovered my grandfather had Alzheimer’s so the whole not-speaking-because-of-pride issue seemed a whole lot more trivial and eventually blew over. My grandmother and mother started talking on the phone nearly everyday. They started visiting one another more. They sent cards every holiday they couldn’t be there in person.
    One year my mother gave me a jewelry box that her mother had given her back in the 70’s. Before, it seemed like she held onto it, unable to let it go, unable to let her mother go. But now that she had her mother back, a simple object was unnecessary. Now the jewelry box sits on the floor of my bedroom, containing all of the little trinkets I’ve collected over my lifetime. Its rich mahogany contains the time-worn face of my grandmother, who apologetically cries for the time she lost in the lives of my mother and I. In the coffee-colored floral, I see the mother that I oftentimes feud with, but also the woman who smiles in my success.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Delicious Misery

I start the second half of my junior year tomorrow. Somehow it's made me more reflective than the year's end. I've found out a lot about who I am over this break. But more importantly, who I'm not. 

I've been angry, frustrated, reformed.
I've been loved and I've loved back.
I feel like I'll never be the same as I was before.
But I truly believe it's because I'm growing up.

I'm like Drew Baylor who said, "Maybe things really are black and white."
And in taking Claire Colburn's advice, I'm sinking deep into the "delicious misery of everything that's happened."
Of course, my dad didn't die and I wasn't fired from a multi-billion dollar shoe company by Alec Baldwin.

But I still kind of feel like my life is on the brink of something great.
I've been trying new things and going new places that teach me things about myself.
I'm not certain of what I want to do or where to leap from here.
But I'm ready to make a splash.

Cut and Dry

I've been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be lately. 
It seems like we always find groups of people with cut and dry labels.

In Sex and the City, you've got Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie.
Samantha is the wild one.
Miranda is the smart & sarcastic one.
Charlotte is the conservative girl-next-door type.
Carrie is the witty writer who doesn't take herself too seriously.

You'll always find people who claim to be one or the other. Personally, I've been called a Carrie but I don't think it has anything to do with my wit or writing skills. Maybe I'm easy to relate to. Maybe not. Julie and I decided that every woman can find a piece of each character within herself.
In Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants you've got Lena, Carmen, Tibby, and Bridgette.
Lena is the beautiful artist girl-next-door.
Carmen is the writer.
Tibby is the sarcastic one.
Bridgette is the wild athletic one.

In high school, one of my best friends, Ruth decided to delegate these characters to herself, Julia, Kelsey, and I. According to Ruth, she was Carmen because she was "the writer." Julia was Bridgette because she played soccer. Kelsey was Lena because she was sweet and into the arts (music). I was Tibby because I hated my job and complained about it a lot.

Now, I love Ruth to death but I feel like she severely mislabeled all of us. Sometimes personalities are too different to fit into some previously constructed mold. Ruth was much more sarcastic than me. Julia was really not defined at all by sports and she certainly wasn't wild. Now while I think she was right about comparing beautiful Lena to beautiful Kelsey, Kelsey was more about science anyway. And just to point out what I feel to be a valid point, I write quite frequently. Creatively, academically, and in blog form. 
Okay, okay because I'm on a Southern Belles: Louisville kick....We have Julie, Shea, Emily, Kellie, and Hadley.
Julie was the gorgeous model.
Shea was the spoiled princess.
Emily was the wild child.
Kellie was the divorcee.
Hadley was the All-American girl-next-door.
Notice a pattern?

We can typically tell what "type" of person someone is by being around them for awhile. But then again, we will never fully know them. Just like we may never fully know ourselves. 
I believe a person is more than just location, the clothes they wear, the things they believe. 
How would they respond to a life-or-death situation? Would they panic? Would they help a stranger? Would they risk their own life to save another?
Hopefully we won't have to encounter split-second-decision kinds of moments like these. But I think that tells a lot about someone.

There's a quote from Eckhart Tolle that says:
"See if you can catch yourself complaining in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness."
It makes me think about all the things I complain about. Work. School. The weather. My lack of money. I think I say "This sucks" at least once everyday.
One cold, barren night outside at work, I noticed myself complaining. Again. About how I wish I could be asleep at night like normal people, inside, and in a warm bed. I instantly thought, "That quote is so wrong. I can't change this situation. I have to work here."

But oh how wrong I was.

I am working for my college tuition. I want a degree worse than anything else right now. If it weren't for this opportunity, I wouldn't be able to do that. I don't have to work there. But if I didn't, I would be placing myself in a position to where my desires could not be fulfilled.

Then I realized that Eckhart Tolle is a genius.
Back in the 90's, there was a fashion trend for these little plastic chokers that for some reason reminded me of barbed wire.
I thought they were cool so I had them in many different colors. Black, rainbow, beaded ones. I even had a matching light purple set that included a bracelet that the girls wore pushed up on their biceps to look like a trashy tattoos for minors.
I would put them on in the morning, head out to elementary school, but once I approached the entrance, I was too scared to wear them. So I quickly removed the plastic contraptions, and hastily shoved them in my pocket. I couldn't have a teacher see me in one of those. I mean, they would think things.
Wonder what that says about who I am?
Today I am me.
Tomorrow I hope to be a better version of me.
Someone who stands out in a crowd as more than just a "Carrie" or a "Tibby." 
But rather a "Lauren."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Road Trip

I wanna take a road trip.
And I want a road map that somewhere along the way I misread.
And I want the driver to get really upset about this.
But then we end up someplace unexpectedly spectacular.
Like this:

Or this:
Then we'll eat delicious diner food that will later make our stomachs growl uncomfortably loud. Damn grease.
We'll probably make some mistakes.
Take some wrong turns.
Come dangerously close to running out of gas.
Meet local people that tug at our hearts.
And probably encounter others that make us lock our doors just in case.

We'll take pictures.
Buy strange knick-knacks.
Yell at one another for changing the radio station.
And when we get home, we will have learned something.
No one knows what that something is.
But we'll feel it.

The open road does that to you.
It inspires you to be different.
To love strangers as if you've known them for years.
To strive for more than mere adequacy.
To consider these moments essential to life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Okay. I usually don't fish for compliments but... do any of you find fault with my fashion choices?

Scott and I love Qdoba.
Like so much.
We've been there more than a handful of times in just a couple of months.
So craving Mexican gumbo, we embarked on a journey to sate our desirous bellies.
We're in the zone, you know, doing our own thing when a table away, we hear these dastardly hyena laughs coming from four pre-teen girls.
Scott gets up for a napkin.
One of the girls turns around with a Regina-George-Mean-Girls kind of face and says, "I really like your sweater."
Taking karma's advice I narrowed my eyes and meekly said, "Thank you."
Immediately, the table bursts out in laughter.
Scott sits back down and brunette Regina George pokes him in the back.
He ignores her.
She attacks twice.
Insert hyena laughter here.

I was totally that girl.
Except at 21 years of age...
it felt good not to care.
Because, I mean, those bitches can't even drive yet.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Southern Gents

That's my foot.
Yes, that swollen, purple thing.

You see that half moon-shaped container? Yeah, one of those ran over my foot.

So, I went to the doctor and had an X-ray. Luckily, nothing was broken. My official diagnosis was that of a "GREAT TOE CONTUSION." It sounds so official. My. great. toe.

But see, the thing is, I own these shoes. I love these shoes. But the way I'm feeling right now, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to wear high heels again. Not that I wear high heels often. I just like the option. Especially when shoes manifest themselves as pieces of art. 
But anyway...

Today Scott and I went to Cafe Mimosa for some Vietnamese cuisine. We had sushi, egg rolls, chicken lo mein and bourbon chicken. 

Then we went to the bookstore. Scott became lost in the computer section. I found myself in the spirituality section.

With books in tow, we headed to the best coffee place in town. I even found some espresso that the baristas were so kind to grind for me. 
There's nothing better than feeling intrepid and lost in thought with someone who loves the same things you do. ;)

This is Hadley & Sterling.
They are from the reality show called Southern Belles: Louisville, a show about five friends living in Louisville, Kentucky.
Julie and I watched the entire series last year after our British Literature class and fell in love.

Each of the women have distinctive personalities. Julie was the mature one. Hadley was smart but feared commitment. Emily loved the spotlight and Vegas. Shea was obsessed with money, diamonds, and extravagant weddings. Kellie was divorced twice but opened her own dating service. 

Though I believe Julie is the most level-headed of the group, I related most to Hadley. 
Hadley feared commitment.
Hadley got bored easily.
Hadley was so uncertain about her future but just kept moving.
Hadley wore lots of scarves.

Tonight I watched an old episode, for nostalgia's sake. Hadley dated Sterling for a month and a half. She described him as "the perfect Southern gentleman." He brought her flowers, chocolates, and told her she was beautiful. When he looked at her, you could see in his eyes how much he cared for her. But Hadley, began to feel "the itch" and the draw for the "bad boy."

According to Shea, "Hadley always goes for THEE BAD BOYS!" And she ended up breaking Sterling's heart.

In 2011, I hope to accomplish at least 5 things on my Bucket List and become more financially sound. There's that whole, get toned thing too but just go with it. 

Every year you should look back on your life without regret. 
You should say the things your heart yearns to say.
You shouldn't dwell on the things you said wrong.
Let the world come to you.
But be in it, first.
Find peace.

And ladies, if you have a gentleman, don't let him go...