Sunday, October 31, 2010

It may have worked for Maverick, but. . .

The last weekend of October served as a suiting benchmark for a month filled with interesting interactions with members of the opposite sex. It kicked off with a bang when while at the airport headed home, I not only got hit on by a TSA agent (which proved to be advantageous as I got to cut through the security line), but also I encountered a gentleman whose winning pick up line was, "You've got to put that book down, it's keeping me from seeing those pretty eyes," and then proceeded to hold my hand until I conceded in joining him for a drink. Fortunately for him, that move led to date, but unfortunately for me, that was about the smoothest he'd ever be. I should have known then that it was going to be a rough few weeks.

There were a few gents who put themselves out there, including but not limited to the skeezy guy at Starbucks who in his words claims that "as long as [he] keeps me laughing, he's bound to score." Not likely. There was also the student who approached me from behind and as soon as I turned around and to look at him, his face turned bright red and became paralyzed upon the realization that he had just hit on his professor. And to the guy that I met a Drescher, I'm really bummed that you didn't ask for my number. But the one that takes the cake was from a man on the sidewalk in Santa Monica. A group of my girlfriends and I were enjoying a night out on Main Street and while on our way to our next activity were garnering a few glances from the men nearby. As we approached an intersection, a group of guys began to clear their throats and squeak out a few cat calls (which NEVER works, to all of the fellas who may be reading this). As we quickly strolled past them, one of the brave souls called out, "You ladies look like you've got some higher education. Junior college, maybe?" My friend turned and smiled at the man, more out of humor rather than flattery, and he responded with, "My girlfriend's home asleep, what do you think about that?" Needless to say we kept walking. His follow up line, "And I'm also a billionaire," simply caused caused us to expedite our journey. Little did we know that Creepy McCreeperson was awaiting us. As we breezed by him in the darkened room, he not so subtlety shined his phone in our faces to check-us out. Shocked by his brazenness, I questioned his actions. "Did you seriously just do that?" "Yeah, I've got to make sure you're worth talking to, and I've also taken your picture." Upon reflection, this one might just be the winner.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Splash from the Past: A lesson in Peer Pressure

Since I went home to Texas earlier this month, I have been living in a fit of nostalgia, not by my own choice, but by the people and everyday situations around me. Recently, I've been "be"friended by several of my childhood pals on Facebook, including a one Beau Thompson (my kindergarten boyfriend and first kiss), and even today when purchasing flowers upon seeing a bunch of tiger lilies was thrust into my seven year-old self and instantly remembered the scent of the lilies wafting from my neighbor's side yard just asking to be picked (to which I always obliged). But most recently, during my first trip to the beach in two weeks due to all of the rain, I was reminded of one of the favorite stories of my youth: the day Megan Owens fell into the creek.

It was beautiful day in the fall of my third-grade year. The air was crisp on cool, with the scent of the previous night's rainfall hanging in the air. Graciously, my teacher appealed to our requests and allowed us to run down the hill to the old playground, our favorite place for recess, complete with a fort, cannon, running tree and creek. The creek separated the men from the boys: those who could jump over it and those who could not. Today was Megan's day to prove to those far and wide that she was cool, but not under her own fruition. Though I would not admit it at the time and still hesitate to take full ownership for the events that were soon to follow, a few of my lackeys and, um, I may have provoked young Megan to take the plunge.

Looking into her reflection in the newly crested creek, Megan swallowed and turned to look at us. "You're sure about this?" "Yes," we said in unison, "if you want to prove that you're cool, you can do it." Her face white with fright, she started hiking up the hill to the tree-line to give herself plenty of room to pick-up speed. "Megan's gonna jump" someone exclaimed, and before I knew it my entire class congregated around the poor soul. Forming two lines for her to run through, we began chanting her name and sticking our hands out to make the already dramatic scene even more spectacular. Recognizing the stakes at hand, Megan had no choice but to go through with her attempt to launch herself over the three-foot wide body of water. A flash of courage flickered in her eyes and off she went, full throttle towards the creek. She jolted past us, and quickly reached the edge. Pressing her feet into the ground to propel herself, Megan quickly found herself sliding, not flying over the water as her feet slipped and glided in the mud below. Kerplunck.

The splash ebbed in and out of the water with ease, freezing the moment in silence. Megan's hand popped out the water and clawed its way to the opposite bank. My classmates and I looked at each other, realizing the desperation of the situation and immediately enacted the tried and true king rule of the playground: every man for himself. We all scattered to the winds (I swear I even saw some of my peers climb trees to flee the scene), leaving Megan to find her own way out of the creek. Slowly she emerged, her face as red as the pink and black polk-a-dot top she was wearing, her hair matted to her forehead, steam billowing out of her ears. He shoes squished with water and mud she mustered up her dignity and marched herself up our teacher. "I fell in the creek," she squeaked out. Without a word, my teacher look compassionately into her eyes, grabbed her hand and escorted her into the building. Before she walked through the door, I saw my teacher turn her head and release a smirk and a giggle hoping the Megan would be none the wise.

She did not come back to class that day, but she did secure herself a top spot in the Meadows Elementary recess lore. Moral of the story: peer pressure can make for a great story.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

For approximately 45 minutes today, a part of the West side of L.A., along with a portion of the Valley, was without power. Hysteria abounded.

At the time of the blackout (what has now become an instant urban legend), I was in the library talking to a friend. A collective gasp echoed through the darkened halls as the students who were putting their final touches on their term papers now stared at an empty screen. Hands flew in the air, eyes weld up in tears, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The poor souls jamming out to Justin Bieber on their iPods (19-year old guys are powerless against his gentle coos) studying for their mid-terms flocked to whatever beams of light they could find to preserve the precious few last minutes to cram before their noon class. Alarms began to sound, students became enraged, staff members found themselves at the mercy of the hurry up and wait game. It was hysterical.

Curious as to what the haps were beyond the confines of Payson, I bravely traversed the great outdoors and and headed towards the Tyler Campus Center. The Plaza was hopping with students complaining about not having a wireless signal, but hoping that the power outage would last long enough to cancel classes. "I don't know what to do. I can't get on the Internet to check Facebook," I heard one student exclaim in frustration. "It's the amazing the impotence that comes with technology," I thought to myself in one half of my brain. "But, she does raise an excellent point," I said to myself in the other half.

Down the stairs I went, headed towards the Caf, anxious about what I could witness. 500 hungry, study-crazed college students ready to eat without the hope of having a hot meal during lunch time cannot be a happy scene. A dull roar floated down the hallway as I approached the entrance. To my right, cooks scurried around a dark kitchen trying to salvage anything they get their hands on, to my left, students salivating in line at what would be their fuel for thought. The Caf manager rushes by me, but takes a second to say hello and let me know that they are working on getting things up and going. Realizing that a feeding frenzy is just on the horizon, I have an epiphany and realize that my apartment, just a short hike up the hill (of course made a bit longer by the wet, slippery sidewalks and my heeled boots-poor wardrobe choice for the day), is equipped with a gas range. Score.

Trotting back up the stairs, I stop to say hello to a few cluster of students and dispel any rumors of an impending apocalypse or food shortage and reassure them the the power will eventually return. Walking past Smothers, I see a group of current and former RAs and begin to catch up on life and other frivolities. Mid conversation, I begin to hear the pitter-patter of water droplets; much to my dismay, it was not coming from the sky. The fountain began to seep out water. Highly doubting that the fountains (even if they are a source of pride for Pepperdine) were on some sort of back up generator, I begrudgingly squeaked out the words, "I guess the power's back on." "You seem disappointed," one of my students says. "This just means I have to teach class today," I reply. "Are all professors like you?" "Yep. Secretly, yep."

P.S. I am writing this from the front of my classroom while my students are working on an in-class assignment.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The 8:00 Showing

Tonight my roommate and I went to go see The Social Network, which I am going to take this opportunity to give it my enthusiastic recommendation for it's incredibly subtle yet clever writing and overall appeal. There were several moments in the film that harkened to my work as a Student Affairs professional that made me proud of my field (e.g. the scene with the college president is very similar to the judicial hearings that I have with students), and therefore must offer forth my approval. Also, I think it is only appropriate to commend my students who made the parody of the film entitled The Video Website.

Anywho, though this movie has topped the box office for two weeks in a row, the theater was quasi empty and thus prompted me to inform Caitlin of Lessly's Law: that even in a desolate theater, someone will always sit in front of you thus forcing you to put feet down off of the back of the seat. Is it not a universal principle that the person who was there first has all rights and privileges to both their seat and the seat immediately in front of them? I don't understand this.

Granted, as an avid film buff and a occasional movie-goer (let's face it, most of the flicks made today are barely even worth my Netflix subscription), I have my own little quarks of when I go and see a film, but they all have good reasons. For example: I don't like sitting on the left-side of the theater. Call me superstitious, but every time I sit on the left, something bad/strange happens including but not limited to the movie sound going out, the film melting and a tornado blowing through the theater. Secondly, I am very picky about the seat backs in a theater. Most seats are not built with someone like me in mind and if the headrest is too high, it kills my neck (ah, reminds me of college). As far as I'm concerned, stadium seating was the greatest invention known to man since caller ID. Third, I can't sneak food in, it's unethical. Yes, one could make the argument that it is unethical to sell a bag of popcorn for 8 dollars a pop, but that's the beauty of capitalism, baby. I once sat next to a couple who I swore brought a three course meal in with them. That's either genius, or really cheap, I have yet to decide. Forth and finally, I love the previews. I rate them with a thumbs up or thumbs down like Caesar in the days of yore. If we're running late and you say to me, "It's okay, we'll only miss the previews," I might reconsider my friendship with you. And finally, finally, I am always that one person laughing in the theater when no one else is, tonight was no exception.

But back to my main point, there should be a code of conduct for movie theaters, just like in certain restaurants that make me wear jackets. People who text, check their email or actually answer their phone during a movie should be thrown out of the theater like Uncle Phil does to Jazz. While we're on the subject, take your Bluetooth headset off. The only person who is going to call you is 2005 and it's to tell you you're not cool anymore. And, if you are going to sneak in food, at least smuggle in some booze too for you and enough to share. Large groups of friends should sit in either the front or the back of the theater so that they can be noisy but minimally distracting. If you are a loud whisperer, forewarn the people around you. Chair kickers need not apply.

That being said, I am a fan of the moveable armrest. . .

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Flying the Friendly Skies

I don't think I travel all that much, but when I go back and count how many times I've flown this year, it averages out to to a little more than once a month (or at least I think this is a lot). Sometimes I travel for work, sometimes I venture out for fun or to see friends and family, but no matter the reason, I always take the time to sit back and soak in the experience that is the American airport. I believe that a person's true character comes out while traversing the friendly skies, and not so friendly jetways.

From the first step into the ticketing kiosk, flying can prove to be an overwhelming experience from some. It's always a little bit funny to me to see the person flipping out behind the counter because they somehow missed the memo (that went out 3 years ago) that you have to pay if you want to check your bag. Unfortunately for them, the fun has just begun.

Next up: security. Now, I will admit that I have been that person who is cutting it a little close and gets a little anxious while waiting in a security line a mile long, but there's always that one woman who is flipping out because the line is not moving according to her expectations. Of course, the ironic thing is that she is wearing more jewelry than Liberace and ends up holding up the line because she keeps setting off the metal detector. Which brings me to my next point: the elderly. Now, I'm not knocking those proud card carrying members of the AAPR, but apparently they prepare for a blizzard whenever they get on a plane because they just keep peeling off the layers until I think they are going to be nude (gross), but there's always more to go (thank God). Bonus, they don't seem to understand that you cannot bring liquids through the security checkpoint.

Now that we've made it passed TSA's finest, there's the trekking to the gate. Granted, this can be a bit frustrating if the airline changes the gate, but its not the end of the world, right? This past weekend, a gentleman was rather upset when the intercom announced that his flight had been moved one gate over to the left. Another woman stood at the desk for twenty minutes and reprimanded the flight attendant because the flight she was on was not at the gate she expected it to be at, only to discover that she had the wrong flight number. Also, I know it sucks when your flight gets delayed, but what can you do about it? Don't take it out on the people around you.

Waiting for the flight usually tends to be eventless, but a great opportunity to get in some quality people watching time. Maybe its my good 'ole southern values, but isn't just good manners to move your belongings so that someone can have a seat? I also find it interesting how individuals will leave their trash behind when their flight begins to board. Which reminds me, boarding works just fine when everyone does what they are supposed to do, but there is always that one person who is not paying attention and misses their group or is so anxious to get on the plane that they stand right in front of the boarding lane, blocking the rest of the passengers. I know that overhead bin storage is at a premium, but it's not worth trampling over a family, two friends and an old woman to store your coat. Carry-ons can also pose a problem (I once saw a business man hit a flight attendant over the size of his laptop case), but that's too much to go into right now.

Now all we have to do is get on the plane.