I remember you

I remember you,  when we were young.  We unzipped a sleeping bag, spread it out on the carpet, and sat on the floor picnic style to watch a video tape.
Who needs a couch anyway?

Our backs would ache and I would lay my palms flat behind me and lock my elbows.
Me, I a couch.

You offered to let me lean on your chest for support, but I didn’t trust you.  If I put my head on your shoulder, I knew you’d want to kiss me; and I didn’t trust you not to try.  And sure, I could pull away and say no, but that’s not a conversation I wanted to have.

So I shifted my weight from one arm to another and ignored my palms’ protests.

Eventually, I finally did take you up on that offer to lean on you.  And I was right not to trust you, but I was surprised that you accepted my rejection.  You said, “okay,” and we watched the movie.

(You were just being a decent human being, and maybe it was rape-culture that made me believe the fact that you respected my answer made you a gentleman.  But that’s not my point.)

I remember you that July.  I remember your face in the pinkish glow of Christmas lights I hung in the living room.  I remember your drive and uncertainty and how you were filled with so much life and energy.

And now you’re still driven, and a little more certain, with just as much life and a little less energy.

Do you remember me?  Miss Independence?  Not needing anything from anyone.  Swallowing her depression, inwardly falling apart while outwardly taking her pills and eating her happiness.  Do I remember her right?  She was waiting for her chance to take on the world.  I’m not sure she ever took it.  Or if she and me are still the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Observation at Starbucks

My eyes glaze over as I watch the girl begrudgingly shrug off the sleeves of her faux fur coat and wrap it around her waist, creating a fluffy mushroom-like plumage around her midsection; unevenly cascading over her bottom and revealing expressive, zig zag leggings that her mother undoubtedly made her put on this morning because, “You never wear these, I thought you liked them;” and she decidedly did not bother to argue the point because at least today is Saturday and no one from school will see her.

And it’s not like the leggings themselves are ugly or even unfashionable. It’s more that they are just too much.  They’re too pink and orange and not enough purple to downplay the massive amounts of pink and orange.  And the only shirt she can bare to wear with them is this plain purple top with a single white flower in the center of her chest.  She tugs uncomfortably at the ends of her sleeves, willing the fabric to stretch just a little bit further to reach her wrists.  She feels the seams along her shoulders protest and she gives up with a sigh.  “Megan,” the barista calls, surveying the shop.  She hops forward to collect her beverage.

She turns, briefly uncertain of what to do with herself before following her mother to the island where the napkins and creamer are kept, and pretends to appear disinterested as she takes a moment to admire the only half-way redeemable part of her outfit: brown, soft fabric, lace-up, faux fur-lined, knee-high boots, as seen on Good Luck Charlie.  Beautiful boots that her Aunt Joan gave her for Christmas and she unwrapped with unparalleled glee as her grandmother held her tongue about how young ladies have no business wearing hooker shoes.

grammar rant

This post intended for Week 9.

Grammar is slowly being pushed out of our lives. You see underused comas and misused whom’s, who’s, and whose’s in newspapers, blogs, and sometimes books.

The issue is that grammar is not being introduced to students at an early age. Grammar segments in the classroom are practically omitted. It is only corrected in papers with notes made by the teacher, which the students rarely read over; or unless the condition of poor grammar is incorrect enough to the point where it sounds awful when spoken.

Grammar lessons have become the responsibility of later semesters in high school and in college, after students have been speaking the English language for well over fifteen years. This is ridiculous, we should have learned the rules of the language before we had the opportunity to break them. Then, at least we would be aware of poor grammar when it is present; or at least those who are aware of grammar would not be alone when someone insists that he must “reilliterate what I just stated about the affect of seals on penguins.”

Living languages are consistently developing, so a change in language rules is expected, but the basic rules of proper grammar are generally staples in our tongue and need to be taught how to be used properly. If nothing else, the hilarity #grammarfail is a testament to how important grammar is to us.

It is introduced to elementary school children, but the skill needs to be challenged and exercised in middle and high school. Sophomore year of high school, the first twenty minutes of English class was dedicated to grammar, and other than copying my the sentence in my notebook and putting funny marks on it, I don’t remember anything from it. Then, I had other English class senior year of high school where grammar was integrated into the class. But again, I remember almost nothing except my teacher, Mrs. Papera, had us correct the lines from a Shakespearian play- I wish I could remember which one it was. I partially blame myself for not paying better attention in class, but honestly, if I had been exposed to the material earlier in life, I probably would have had a much better understanding of it. Really, there is no reason why I wasn’t exposed it earlier, seeing that English is my first language.

I am now in college and am taking a Studies in Literature class where some time is set aside for grammar. I am grateful for this, and am paying better attention in class (mainly because I’m paying for it now), but I also believe it is stupid that grammar is part of the course requirement. College is meant to help people develop and hone their skills, or teach them something new, not teach the basics of something they’ve already been exposed and should already know. The only reason a college student should be taking a class that teaches English grammar is because she is a non-English speaker, taking an English as a Secondary Language class.

 

This is Lauren The Largemouth Bass and I have almost found grammatical proof that I should have always been capitalizing “The” in my title all along. Dwayne Johnson is “The Rock,” not “the rock.”  This is the best I’ve come up with, but if The Rock has a capital T, then so shall I.

the booger

This post intended for Week 9.

One year ago, I could walk into the library, make a right at the first set of stairs and find shelves and shelves of books. Desks about three feet apart hugged the walls; each one decorated with a picture of George Fox raising a finger to his lips urging you to shut up because this was a study area. The text overlay on the picture of course didn’t say “shut up,” but that was the gist of the wording. Perhaps if the text did make Fox tell students to shut up it would have been a more memorable sign.

In an attempt to make the downstairs part of the library a more study-group friendly hot spot, over the summer, the shelves and commanding desks were cleared and replaced with an open study area.

Upon entering, one is overwhelmed by the futuristic atmosphere. If a CMCO major had a mind to remake the 1976 film, “Logan’s Run,” I would be unsurprised if part of it was shot in George Fox’s Murdock Learning Resource Center. Just looking at the furniture, I can’t help but think the school selected them out of the sheer hope that in fifty years, the chairs will only be five years out of date.

The couches are a calm light green with flecks of red, yellow, and blue here and there.  The design includes an uncomfortable back and no armrests, creating the overall effect of two Legos put together to make a chair.  Other chairs are eggshell white with lime green cushions.  Each leg of these chairs has a wheel, making it appear to be the love-child of a dinner table chair and a wheelchair.

Gray mesh cubicle-makers, which look more like two sides of a cereal box than an actual cubicle-maker, are set up throughout the room to create the illusion of privacy even though everyone can still see you.

Near the couches are wooden tables which look a lot like horses used in the art department. The table is turnable so every surface can be used. If upright, the table is flimsy and if turned on its side the table is very flimsy. Rather than a horse, I firmly believe everyone should call them donkeys because when someone tries to use them for anything other than a coffee table, they look like an ass.

The rest of the tables have a stainless steel base and stem and a wooden top. They’re made to look futuristic yet homey, like dressing an alien up like a farmer.

Outside of the furniture, almost everything in the room is a different shade of green, a generally tranquil color.  However, each shade comes from an entirely different color scheme.  The effect is not tranquil or harmonious.  The carpet squares are a mossy color, the couches a pastel, the rolling chairs are bright, and even the walls are a sickly diarrhea. My favorite shade of green can be found on the fabric backs of the rolling love-child chairs. I am fairly certain it is the color of a lime, which has been left on the counter behind a coffee maker for at least five weeks.

As if there is not enough green in the room, grey pedestals are set up with large potted plants.

One year ago the downstairs library was stocked with books and a few desks, and now it is a badly furnished booger, and everyone but me seems to like it.

 

This is Lauren The Largemouth Bass almost begrudgingly studying for finals in the heart of The Booger.

a woman’s touch

This post intended for Week 8.

 

I was born female, raised to be a girl and grew to be a woman. The way a woman is taught to act, speak, dress, walk, and think is obviously different from a man. The way which, and to what degree a woman executes her “training” is of course up to her; but what is considered to be femininity in her culture filters through into every aspect of her life somehow if not kept in check.

This is not to say that being feminine is wrong and should be suppressed. What I mean is that because one’s behavior is a natural occurrence, it can hinder one’s writing, acting, or understanding of life is not examined.

In my case, I write the way I think, which supposedly can be called “feminine.” This is fine for blogging and writing the Great American Memoir of Lauren The Largemouth Bass: The Greatest Blogger to Ever Grace the Internet (it’s a joke folks, calm down), but no so much if the end goal is to write in the voice of a character who is in every traditional way, an American lumberjack.

Whether one wishes to admit to it or not, gender plays a major role in influencing the way one executes anything. This is not bad; in fact, I think it’s a charming quirk in the human condition.

A healthy understanding of why and how this is the way it is, allows us to bend those rules to our will and “be” someone else for the purpose of entertainment or our craft. And that, my fifteen friends, is awesome.

 

I’m Lauren The Largemouth Bass, and this has been an almost effeminate blog post.

 

everything is fine

This post intended for Week 8.

Calm down, Lauren. You’re fine. You’re sleepy, but you’re fine. Besides, your body will force-quit-sleep before it lets itself die. You’re in no danger. Everything is fine.

 

This is a reasonable assumption and I fully believe myself. I also fully believe that I could be wrong. Sure it sounds reasonable, but anything sounds reasonable when spoken in a soothing inner voice. And besides, what do I know about the human body? I’m pretty sure I’m really not in any danger, but this is literally a matter of life and death! There’s no room for “pretty sure!”

I scheduled myself to sleep after being awake for twelve, twenty-four, wait –thirty hours? Could that be right? How long have I been awake so far?

Google search “what is the minimum amount of sleep a person needs?” “Humans need a minimum of eight hours of sleep.” “A minimum of six hours.” “I’m an insomniac and sometimes I only sleep for one hour.” So much for straight answers.

 

Calm down Lauren, you are not going to die.

 

I’m sitting down, but everything feels heavy. There are weights in my arms, my shoulders, my neck, built into my ribcage. My eyes are blurring and it’s too much effort to refocus them. The pace of my breathing increases.

Am I having a panic attack? Is this what that’s like? Can a combination of panicking and sleep deprivation kill me faster?

 

There is no “faster,” you’re not dying!

 

The room starts to tilt. The building threatens to tip over. I can feel my weights moving with the gravity of the room, first forward then left.

 

Okay, okay you can go to sleep. Go to your room and get your pillow, one of the blankets off your bed, and your alarm clock. You can do that right? That’s not too much effort. You’ll be fine. Just do that one thing and go to sleep.

 

I set my alarm and plop onto the couch, snuggle in, and close my eyes.

 

You’re okay. You’re going to be asleep soon and you won’t die. You were never going to die, but at least now you will be well rested and less vulnerable to nonsense.

 

I wait for sleep to come but it doesn’t. I remember I had a cup of coffee an hour ago. Shit, the caffeine is keeping me awake. I am going to die of sleep deprivation because like an idiot, I had a cup of coffee and now I have no hope of survival.

Dear God, please don’t kill me. Please let me live. Please, please, please, don’t let my body shut down and die. I have so much I want to do. Either way, I rededicate my life to you; that is, whatever is left of it. Please don’t let me die.

 

It’s a little disappointing that in the face of death, I’m asking God to spare me rather than accept what is to come.

 

Prayer is good, but you’re seriously overreacting. Sleep will happen, just be patient. Everything is going to be okay.

 

I pull the blanket over my head and squeeze my eyes shut, but it doesn’t help. This is it. This is the end. Tomorrow morning Melissa will wake up, see my body on the couch and think I’m asleep. Lisa will see me next and tiptoe around the room. Christine will say good morning to Lisa, then see me and decide to forgo doing her dishes for fear of waking me up. Elisa will be awake last. She’ll think it’s odd I’m not up yet, but pay no mind. Eventually, maybe around 10:30 AM, she will remember I have classes and tap me on the shoulder, urging me to wake up.

This is it, I’m on my way out. Well, at least I don’t have to write any more papers.

Suddenly I open my eyes, my lids thick and heavy. I’m alive.

 

I am Lauren The Largemouth Bass, and this is my account of an almost near-death experience. 

 

the influence of parental observation

This post intended for Week 7

Going over old essays and stories I’ve squirreled away on old hard drives and shoeboxes, I’ve noticed a change in my writing style. It appears that I’ve grown from “telling” what happened to “noting” what happened. The biggest influence to this stylistic change has been my parents.

I am not a mother, but from what I can tell, the condition of being an active parent is to become a grand observer of life.

Parents have front row seats to watching a child develop and become what Greek philosophy would refer to as “fully human.” Because of their consistent presence, parents have the ability to recognize a child’s traits and habits long before the child is able to recognize them themselves. These traits include their creative strengths, the way they carry themselves, and their social habits and mannerisms.  I remember how when I was growing up, I didn’t notice how I rest my weight on the balls of my feet, or that I was a good writer until my parents pointed it out to me.

I find this aspect of the parent-condition fascinating and have incorporated it into my writing style. I love noticing the fines lines around the edges of life and utilizing the literary medium to make others aware of them too.

It’s like a little tap on the shoulder for my readers. We all see the big picture, but I’m the one bringing attention to the way the sun hits the scenery, and the silverfish stuck between the painting and the frame.

I’m Lauren The Largemouth Bass, and this has been an almost introspective blog post.