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Library guy to his friend: Why do you wear all those fly ass golf shirts if you don’t golf?

 

Guy #1: We have that really smart guy in our group – Ryan?

Guy #2: Ryan?

Guy #1: Yeah, Ryan. He’s super smart and really short. He has a really high-pitched voice?

Guy #2: Oh.

Guy #1: Yeah, he got us like 10 sources already for the paper.

Guy #2: Cool.

 

Classmate: “Is that my phone? Did somebody text me – does somebody care? …. Nope.”

 

“I’M ON A DIET UNTIL MARCH FIRST! YOU KNOW THAT!” – lady looking at candy bars at Meijer, to her friend.

“Hey guys, don’t worry: That snapping and straining you hear is not the support cables breaking!” – Guy at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., as the doors closed on a overly-packed elevator with me inside.

1. If you can’t change something, be OK with it. If you can change it, don’t stop until you do.

2. Sometimes people say the wrong things. They don’t mean to – they also don’t mean to hurt you. Communication is hard. Keep trying.

3. If you love someone, tell them. The apocalypse didn’t happen – but that doesn’t mean you have all the time in the world.

4. All I want for Christmas is you! Oh, and a furby.

5. Don’t be hard-hearted. Don’t spread around more hate – the world already has enough.

6. Guys: Man bun. That is all. Also, don’t wear khakis. Also, get some of those cool work/combat/hipster boots. KTHXBAI.

7. If you don’t see yourself as worthwhile, no one else will, either. Everyone is worth something, if only they try to be. Stop whining, start doing.

8. It is good to be excited about things. More people should be excited about things. Get excited, it’s OK! Love stuff. Show your enthusiasm. Stop hiding yourself in yourself.

9. You don’t always need to fill the silence.

10. If you don’t want a person in your life anymore, don’t keep them in it. That’s easier said than done – but stop feeling guilty/selfish/mean for what you feel!

Today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month of twenty-twelve. 12-12-12. The last repeating date for quite some time – the last repeating date you or I will ever see. Today we’ll mark off the hours – especially at 12:12pm. We’ll talk about how cool this date is; we’ll see on the news all the people getting married; we’ll soon hear about the first baby born on this day. People will talk to strangers about it in grocery stores; friends will laugh about it via text message . It’s 12/12/12! A special day. Today maybe people will be happier – they’ll think about the date and smile. It makes us happy, to see patterns in time. To be able to experience things like this, to be able to celebrate it together.

It also makes us sad. It’s 12/12/12. The last repeating date of our lifetime. We won’t make it to see the next one. We’re going to die. We’re going to miss out on all the fun they’ll have 89 or 100 years from now. (In 2101 or 2112!)

It makes us question – where does the time go?

I can remember sitting in my 5th grade classroom, my teacher writing on the chalkboard: 02/02/02. We talked about the pattern in the date, and I can remember thinking about how the next few years would have patterns, too: 5/5/5, 10/10/10, 12/12/12. And now, I think about how I’ve lived all those dates. I’ve seen them, and they have passed. And this day will pass as well. We’ll all talk excitedly about it for a while – until tomorrow. 12/13/12. Not as exciting, eh?

The time just keeps going by, doesn’t it? Another day, another holiday – soon another new year.

People always say that time flies. Looking back, it seems like that day in 5th grade was not so long ago – but it was – ten years. Ten years. Time flew by.

Only, time didn’t fly by. No, time always passes at the same rate. Me sitting in that classroom happened ten years ago – and so much has happened to me since. Every day in between had its own moments. We just forget them.

Take summer vacation, for example. When you’re in school, you look forward to summer vacation all year. And then it hits, and you’re happy with doing nothing – for about two weeks. And then, it begins. The everyday loll… the passing of time, with nothing in particular to do in order to fill up those hours. The months stretch out in front of you – the next school year seems forever away.

Then, the first day of school comes, and everyone exclaims – Summer vacation is over, already? It went by so quickly! Really, it didn’t. Neither did these past ten years. We just forget all of the everyday  things we’ve done, all the little experiences we’ve had: the smiles, the tears, the learning of who we are.

Time passes. That’s just what it does. So we celebrate it. We celebrate being alive. It’s 12/12/12! Soon, sooner than you think, it’ll be 11/12/13. Should we start planning our party now? Or, what about 12/13/14? I can already tell that’ll be a good day! Those dates will arrive, and we’ll celebrate them together.

It will feel like time has flown by, but remember: every day is something to celebrate. Remember to watch out for those little moments.

Oh, and happy 12/12/12! Doing anything special to celebrate?

So there I was, wandering around in a slightly unfamiliar building on campus, searching for a lady I was supposed to be meeting. (Spoiler Alert: She had forgotten about the meeting and was already at home with her children as I circled the first floor, searching for her – someone I had never met or seen before.)

She was late. Or, was I in the wrong spot? I thought we said we were meeting at the chairs in the front lobby. But, maybe to her, the front lobby is what to me is the back lobby.

I wandered around. I went to the back of the building. There was a lady sitting there, who looked like she could be who I was looking for. I still had my doubts, though. We said the front lobby, right by those squishy chairs! She must be talking about the same place as I am. Maybe she’s just late.

I walk past the lady sitting in the chair. No, that can’t be her. My eyes search among the other people sitting around the high tables and chairs of the school’s cafe. I make eye contact with a black-haired boy sitting against the windowed-wall.

I don’t look away. He doesn’t look away. It feels like I know him, though I don’t know him. He looks at me like he understands. It doesn’t feel like I am looking at a stranger, though I am. I could walk over to him and it wouldn’t be weird. Instead, I walk away.

I go back to the front of the building. No one new there, only a few high school students still waiting for their parents to come and pick them up. (Yes, there is a high school inside of my University. It’s where I graduated from.)

I check the clock on my phone. She’s almost 15 minutes late now. How long should I wait? Maybe she actually forgot.

I check my email. Nothing. Where is she? I wonder how much longer I should wait for her. I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever – 25 minutes. How much time does she need?

I wait. My mind wanders to that boy. I should have went up to him. I should have said hello. I should have asked him if he felt the same way – if he felt like I wasn’t a stranger, though I was.

I wander around the front lobby, as if changing the location of my body, and my line of sight, will make the woman I’m waiting for suddenly appear. It doesn’t work.

I decide that I need to double check that that woman sitting in the back lobby isn’t actually the lady I’ve been searching for all along – I’m trying to be professional, here. I don’t want to leave without making sure. I don’t want to leave her sitting there, waiting for me.

I walk back around to the area where she’s sitting. I walk in the same direction around as I did before, intentionally avoiding the place where the black-haired boy was sitting.

The woman is still there, sitting, reading something in a folder. This could be her, I think.

I walk up to her, a stranger. She looks up at me as I approach.

Are you M.?, I ask. No, she says. Sorry, I say. No problem, she says, and smiles.

I walk back to the front, passing the boy again. We look at each other. I do nothing. I walk away.

Back in the front lobby, I’m about ready to leave, though I still have some hope that the lady I’m looking for will appear.

She doesn’t.

I leave.

I exit the building out of the back door. The boy is still there, watching me. I ignore him. I can’t do anything else.

As the door closes behind me, I think of him. Who is he? Why is it so easy to look him in the eye? That doesn’t happen very often. Why didn’t I say anything? Of course I didn’t say anything.

Later, I wonder. Our eyes keep meeting in my mind. I remember only his black hair, and his eyes, and how he looked at me, and how I felt. I remember how he was sitting alone in the cafe near the window. I wonder who he is, where he is now. I wonder what would have happened if I had been brave enough, or curious enough, to walk up to him. A stranger. A stranger who didn’t feel like a stranger. A stranger with the eyes of a friend.

So, here’s the sitch. (I’ve always wanted to say that in real life but the proper moment just never comes up.)

Recently (about six minutes ago), I was walking down the hall. Well, OK, the hall was actually a sky-walk (one of those tube-y things on college campuses that connect buildings so no one actually has to set foot outside). Anyway, there I was, walking down the hall/sky-walk.

I’ll admit that at that moment I was being one of those people who walk and text on their cell phones at the same time. I was trying to, anyway. I don’t really text that much, let alone walk and text at the same time. We are talking high-level functioning human stuff, here.

Even better that I was texting this guy from Saudi Arabia who doesn’t really speak English. He’s in the English language program at my University. Basically, we hang out sometimes and, er, talk. (We are “conversation partners”. It’s all rather fancy.) So, when I text him, I can’t be all: “lets meet 2morrow 4 food-age, bro!”, or, “wassup homie?!” — you know, my typical text language. Yeah. I can just imagine the confused stares that would bring about.

OK, so there I was, doing all this multitasking, when suddenly, a wild college student appeared! AKA, a thirty year old lady in fancy pants (dress pants, you might call them). I was gaping (I’m sure looking all intelligent) down at my phone when I heard,

“Do you have a pen? – I could have?”

Me: uhhh… wait what just happened? “Um, I don’t know….”

So then I dig immediately into my (rather tiny) purse and spot the four pens that are hanging out in the bottom underneath my keys and my magic gum (I’ll tell you about that another time).

I have a brief mental moment of consideration. These are like good pens. Not those little BIC ones that are found on every floor of every room in every building on campus. These are my Pilot G2 babies. I have a red and a black and a green and a blue (for every occasion!). Should I give one of these to this random person – fully knowing that not only have I never seen her before, but I will certainly never see her again, AKA, this is me giving away my pen. I mean, she didn’t even say that lame thing that people say when they’re all like, ‘hey, can I borrow a piece of paper?!’ You are not going to be giving it back, though, and both parties know this.

So, I did my little purse-digging, briefly (hopefully not too long) stared at my little pens, and looked back up at her with a sad face, saying, “No. I’m sorry!” And then she walked away and I clutched my pen-containing-purse to my chest and ran quickly away in the opposite direction. The End.

 
Does this make me a horrible person? I don’t think so. The only reason I ask this is because just before I was walking down that sky-walk/hallway I had been in a Philosophy class. Dang you, Philosophy.

I feel like this is sort of similar to those situations when homeless people/others ask you for change while you’re walking down the street, and you don’t want to give them any – for whatever reason – so you go and pat your back pocket, shake your head like you’re surprised to find nothing there and go, “Sorry, I don’t have anything. Must have left my two rolls of quarters at home today. Sorry!” (I’ve even done the back-pocket maneuver. You think I’ve ever kept a wallet back there? Nope.)

What really gets me is that I messed up my text message because of it! I’m supposed to be helping this guy with his language skills, and I go and send him the following: “So how about we meet tomorrow after your class tomorrow and then maybe go to the farmer’s market?” Tomorrow. Did you get that? Well, then again, maybe that helped him.

Maybe this a life lesson: Don’t attempt to walk and text at the same time, Jenni. It’s just not going to work out for you.

Whatever. You still can’t have my pen.

 

 

1. Read your Book.

No, seriously. Really. Read it. Sure, your professor may have assigned 35 pages for tonight’s homework. I know, that’s a lot. And, it’s probably boring. Biology? Psychology? Philosophy? I know, I know – going to long, boring lectures is one thing, but, reading? No way! At least skim it, OK? Soon you will master the technique of reading as a college student – headers, bold words and phrases, key terms in the back of the chapter. You paid enough for that book – you might as well use it!

2. Don’t Skip.

No, you don’t have to go to class. I know – freedom! It’s great. You can just stay home, sleep in, play on the computer, generally lounge about. Tell your parents class is cancelled that day, or make up some other excuse for still being in bed at noon. One more perk of being a college student: You don’t actually have to go be a student in college! But, take it from me, a once serial-skipper. Skipping class just isn’t worth it in the end. For one thing, there’s the guilt. Yes, it will hit you. Gee, I probably should have went to class. It’s only an hour and fifteen minutes! You couldn’t take an hour and fifteen minutes out of your busy stare-at-the-computer-screen schedule to go to class? And, if you skip once, where does it end? I didn’t go to class last time.. and now I have no idea what’s going on in class this time.. sooo, I guess I’ll just stay home – again. Going to class is always the better option. Sure, you have to get out of your pajamas, but you get to go educate your brain! Ask yourself this: why are you signed up for classes, anyway? Why are you paying lots of money/taking out lots of loans just to not go to class? Don’t skip! Seriously. Don’t.

3. Make Friends.

College is different from High School in that the people there are educating themselves by choice. You have to go to High School – not so for University! The college crowd may not be what you expect, either. There are older people there. Like, your parents’ ages. And, they’re cool! They’re interesting! Of course, there are younger students as well. But these people are not just the folks that happen to live in your school district – they’re from all over the place! Different cities, different states, different countries. They have different accents than you do. Different experiences. Different stories to tell, different lessons to teach you. Getting to know these people is one of the greatest rewards you can glean from going to college. Sure, you’ll get an education and a piece of paper with your name on it – but the people you’ll meet along the way are worth more than your degree. Talk to them! They are people, too! Colleges and Universities are full of the sorts of people you want to be friends with. So go for it.

4. Explore.

Ah, the college years. The socially designated time to figure out who you are, what you want, and how you’re going to get it. Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to eat for lunch today? All very important questions. College is definitely the place to explore. That can mean literally explore, like, wander around campus and find the best smoothie place. And, it can mean explore yourself, like, do I even like math? Do I want to be friends with those sorts of people? How do I want to spend my time here on this planet? And, it can mean explore your options. What sort of job do you want? What things do you like learning about? What do you want to research, or write about, or get involved in? If you’re confused about any of those kinds of things, college is the place to figure them out. There are people who have that job. They want to help you figure yourself out! You don’t have to know right away what you’re doing. It took me almost two years to figure out what I even wanted to Major in. Explore, explore, explore. It’s what college is for!

Speaking in front of large (or small) groups of people? Presentations? Oh god no.

I now present to you, my seven stages of presentation anxiety:

1. The excited, naive Jenni.

Oh, yay! This presentation topic sounds interesting. 

Oh, look – I can use that picture on my powerpoint slide! I’m sure the audience will think it’s as hilarious as I do!

What color scheme should I use? Blue? Red? Black and White?

This is going to be so great. They are going to love this! I am so funny. They are going to think I’m so funny!

2. The increasingly shaky Jenni.

Oh, god. My presentation is in an hour!

Are my hands shaking? My hands are shaking.

This sucks. I don’t want to do this. Can I get out of doing this, in any way possible? No. I have to do this. Crap.

Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking.

Ok, You’re going to do fine. Calm down. Calm down.

3. The inner peace Jenni.

Ok, deep breaths.

What does this online article say to do to relax?

Ok, deep breath in. Hold for 3 seconds. Exhale.

Yep, this is working. Calm down… It’s all gonna be OK.

Maybe this weird yoga pose in this bathroom stall will help. Ah, yes. Calm. I am calm.

4. The incredibly un-calm Jenni.

Oh, god. Oh, crap. No. Please, no. Why?!

My heart is beating so fast. Sheesh, why is my heart beating so fast? Am I getting a good cardio workout out of this?

My hands are shaking. I’m not even going to look at them. I’m going to pretend this is all perfectly normal body behavior. Yup.

Deep breaths? Is that a joke? Yeah right. Crap. Only 15 minutes until my presentation. 

5. The deathly calm Jenni. 

Calm. So Calm. Was I ever worried? I feel fine. 

My presentation is going to be fine. I know every word I’m going to say. I have my notes right here – they’ll be right in front of me while I’m talking.

So calm. Deadly calm. 

This will be fine. I’ve got this.

Calm.

6. The presenting Jenni.

Am I talking too loud? I don’t know how loud I’m talking.

Did I pause too long just then? Crap.

Am I going too fast? 

Did I just stare blankly into the audience? What does my face look like right now?

Am I turning red? I’m turning red, aren’t I? Crap. Every time, man.

7. The I-am-super-great-at-presenting Jenni.

I did so good. Look, they’re clapping for me. Yeah.

Did I talk too loud? I don’t know if I was talking too loud.

Ok, my face feels really warm. How red did it get up there, anyway?

Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking. But, it’s OK because I’m done!

Until next time…