To be Blunt.

I wrecked someone’s love of James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”. By one, I mean at least two and that doesn’t count anyone who reads this and never hears the song the same way. I’m almost sorry, but the manner in which I destroyed the song is too funny for me to be fully repentant. Most people have heard this song, even if they don’t know the title or artist. It’s been around since my freshman year of high school. I remember distinctly that everyone thought it was this super romantic song.

I don’t get that.

He clearly states that he’ll never be with the girl. I don’t know when people started saying it was about his ex-girlfriend, but I don’t think it was very long after the song came out. I’ve always been a little angry towards anyone who says the song is sweet. I’ve always maintained it wasn’t. I had no extreme feelings about the song though until the past couple of years. I blame shows like Criminal Minds and CSI for showing me that (even though good guys catch the bad guys) really twisted people live in the world and horrifying things can happen to you.

I’m going to super casually drop the song into this post right here. I picked a video that gives you the lyrics. Read them. Absorb them into your gray matter. Then I will begin.

Sure, the guy could be some really average dude riding the subway and he happens to see his ex with her new boyfriend. Plausible.

But what if this was an episode of CSI?

That girl is probably fresh out of college, working hard at her first job. She met her boyfriend at NYU. They’ll probably get engaged within the year. He’s given her a small but expensive necklace with a heart pendant that she wears proudly. They ride the subway together one night when they’re out for a date. She happens to smile at a homeless guy. She smiles at everyone because she was raised in a small town. She doesn’t shy away from him because he hasn’t showered in weeks or because he’s missing two teeth. She also doesn’t ignore him like her boyfriend or the hundreds of other people that pass him throughout the hour because she remembers he’s human too. But after she smiles at him, her boyfriend says something funny. Her attention returns to him. They laugh. She doesn’t see that the homeless man’s gaze doesn’t turn away. He keeps staring.

She does notice that she begins to see him every morning in her commute. She says hi. Occasionally she drops a few dollars in his cup as she rushes to work. She doesn’t catch how his eyes follow her, never losing her in the crowd.

Until, one night, she’s walking along the street. She was kept late at work, and is rushing home to her boyfriend who’s cooking dinner for them both. She sees him. He passes by, his eyes bloodshot, but boring into her. He’s messed up, drunk and definitely on some sort of drug. For the first time her heartbeat skyrockets. She can’t quite complete her smile. She’s happy to let him pass, but he grabs her from behind in that one sweet moment of relief where she actually thought it was over – that she was safe.

He drags her into the alley, saying all the things she’s done to him. His words are garbled nonsense, and realistically about every woman he’s ever had contact with that he’s channeling into her, his angel. The sweet girl who smiled at him. He loves her so much he’s angry. He doesn’t want her to smile at anyone other than him ever again, so he makes sure she doesn’t. He doesn’t see it as killing her. He’skeeping her his. He lays her on the ground, feet together, arms out a little like she’s ready to rise up to heaven. His angel.

Every day after, he sits at that station. He sees the faces pass by and they are all the same, and none of them are his angel. He rarely looks up. He stares at the small silver heart in his hand and thinks of her, and how he’ll never be with her.

 

Now arguably, this is messed up, and maybe I’ve missed my calling as a TV show writer for Criminal Minds. But I told a condensed version of this to a coworker and my boss overheard. She was marginally upset that I wrecked the song for her. When she told me that I ruined the song, she said it in front of one of the new workers. I felt obliged to explain what I’d done, to which the girl responded, “Oh no! You… you did ruin it.” I shouldn’t laugh. I am laughing, but I shouldn’t.

Life is more interesting when you have an imagination. Even if it’s warped.

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Best Work Call Yet.

I work at a classy spa. We have the best Yelp! reviews in our area. Scratch that. We just have amazing Yelp! reviews. Rarely do we get less than five stars. People like us.

But let’s be honest. We make our most money by ripping hair out of people’s intimate parts. Phone conversations have the potential to be outstanding uncomfortable. I’ve hated talking on the phone my whole life, but never did I anticipate having to (or more accurately being ABLE to) have a conversation with a guy about an adverse reaction happening on and around his junk after a male Brazilian. I have to real talk at my job. But the call I had the other day was probably my favorite call yet. I feel a little like I’ve made it.My life is more complete. I’ve successfully gained a story that you can only read on the internet, and now I’d like to share it with you.

I didn’t answer the phone first. I happened to be walking into the suite where my office is located. I have to walk by the concierge desk and a couple of treatment room first. The girl at the desk had answered the phone. I could tell she was having trouble with the person on the other end by her face alone. Although, when she said, “Can you repeat that?” I knew to stop and wait for her inevitable plead for help. She put the guest on hold and looked at me at a loss.

“I can’t understand anything he’s saying, or what he wants.”

Ugh. Christmas crackers. I keep accepting promotions so that I don’t have to answer the phone. At least, that’ what I tell myself. I might not have to answer as many, but the one’s I do take are the difficult ones.

“Tell him that you’re having trouble understanding him and that you’re going to give the phone to your manager,” I advised and then watched her follow my directions, happily. I took the phone from her, not even able to anticipate the conversation I was about to have. “Hi, how may I assist you today?”

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“I was talking to this girl and she wasn’t able to understand me.” I could tell why. He had a STRONG southern accent that made his words sound more or less like,. “Ah wuz tah-kin tuh this girl an’ sheh wuzn’t…” you get the picture. Luckily, for the both of us, I have southern relatives and could decipher most of what he was saying. “I’m looking for a cream for my wife.” I swear it sounded like he waff. At first my brain translated it as wax, which made sense. We offer a lot of post wax care items that are necessary for upkeep.

Then my brain went, Hold up. He’s saying wife. He’s trying to buy a cream from his wife. That’s cute. I’m all about guys buying spa things for their wives.

“What sort of cream is she looking for?”

“She doesn’t know. She’s too embarrassed to do this herself, you see.” Cue moderate alarm bells. But then again, I’ve had men call in for their wives to schedule Brazilians because the wives were too embarrassed to schedule it themselves. I ignored the bells for the moment. “She just needs the cream.”

“Does she know the name of it? What’s it for?” Mistake.

“Well, you see.” I don’t want to see. “She has this bump on her rear end and it’s real painful. It’s uncomfortable to sit, you see. She needs something that’s going to take care of it.”

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I’m not a doctor, but at best that sounded like an ingrown hair. At worst, she has an STD that needs medical treatment. But you can’t tell the to guests, “Hey, you have the herp. Sorry, champ.” Guests don’t like that.

So, I tried to be diplomatic, “Would you mind me putting you on hold so I can ask an esthetician if we carry anything that would help that particular need?”

“Whatever needs to be done.”

I put him on hold and go to my boss, who is a licensed esthetician. I relay to her his wife’s problem. I also relay to my boss that I think his wife needs to see a doctor right quick. My boss found my moderately humorous, but mostly gave me a product to offer the guy.

“Sir? The esthetician I talked with said that our product Relax and Wax No Scream Cream might help. It will only numb the area though. It won’t heal or cure the area. You’d have to see a medical professional to identify what it is and how to treat it.” I couldn’t not mention medical help. This poor women needed it.

“Can I put it on me?” Now the alarm bells rang louder. I tried to replay the conversation in my head. I was 100% certain we’d been talking about his wife. Regardless, I hesitated a bit before answering.

“Um, yes? You can put this on any area of your skin, male or female. Just don’t ingest it.”

“But I can put it on?” Nothing was really making sense at this point. I think my biggest fear was that he was trying to make sure if he used it to toss off that he wouldn’t cause himself damage. That wasn’t a conversation that I wanted to have. So, in my innocence, I hoped real hard that he was worried about applying it to his wife and getting it on his hands.

“You can put it on. It’s perfectly safe if it gets on your hands if you’re applying it onto your wife.”

“I have the same thing. I have the red bumps all over my johnson.”

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Oh, merciful Jesus, is it too late to hang up? “I’m not going around complaining because I’m a man. It’s uncomfortable for her to have on her rear end. She can’t sit, so she needs something. I ain’t complaining because i’m a man. I just deal with it like a man. I don’t want to use it though if my johnson is going to get all burned up.”

The deadness that settled in my soul so that I wouldn’t laugh was astounding. “It should be safe. If you develop a burning sensation, wash off and see a doctor.”

“Okay, how much is this going to cost me?”

“It’s about $20, so with taxes that’s going to be around $22 in total.”

“Okay, how about we say it’s $16.50?”

You. Are. Fucking. Kidding. Me. Right? I had to look at the phone. Have you ever gotten that eerie feeling that you’re being pranked? That this is all one big horrible joke that you have to suffer through because someone has a freakish sense of humor? Maybe I’m a terrible customer service person, but I wasn’t about to discount this cream because he got an STD.

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“Well. Currently we aren’t running any promotion on those products, so it’s going to cost you about $22.”

“Where are you from?” Alarm bells achieved maximum level.

“Michigan…” I wondered if he grasped that he was calling a spa in Michigan.

“Well, I don’t know how it is up there in Michigan, but down here in Louisiana, we help people when they are in need.” I’m am the wrong person to turn to when trying to make your STD a charity case. Go the the doctor. Get a prescription. Please, God in heaven, leave me out of that part of your life.

“I’m really sorry, sir. We price our products as low as we can. We don’t aim to overprice anything.”

“Goddamn Obama.” No… what? Is this really about to happen? “This never would have happened if Obama was never elected into office. I can’t believe this sort of thing. Goddamn obamacare ruining people’s lives. You know what? You know what I’m going tell you? You can take that cream and you can shove it up your ass. Thank you. Have a nice day.”

“You have a nice day, too, sir.”

Click. I returned the phone to its cradle, and continued walking to my office.

I bet he wished he had an old phone with a receiver he could slam down. I didn’t know actual people like him existed. How do you get so enraged that a company won’t arbitrarily discount your ass cream that you start blaming obamacare? That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

I was shocked at first. I mean, it’s the first time anyone’s told me to go shove something up my ass, but then I got the giggles. I giggled to myself. And of course, I had to tell someone, so I took my coworker Chelsea to the cry room, and we laughed hard enough to cry.

I’m still a little in awe, but bless this man for being one of the highlights of my week, making my day, and giving me an experience that really and truly makes me feel like an American customer service representative.

God did it. *points finger*

Something crazy beautiful and more than a little awesome happened today and I need to tell you about it. Christians like to talk about seeing God work in the world. My opinion is that 95% of the time it’s a lot of good people living out their beliefs. A logical trail can be found in all of God’s Will that is being done through his people. But then 5% of the time, things come together in such an astoundingly unplanned way that only God could have been the one in charge. Today was one of those days.

But of course, everything started on Sunday. And, like most things in life, I had no idea the part I was paying in anything. On Sunday, I did not feel like anyone God would want to use in any of his plans. I was emotional, angry, and unforgiving—all before noon. I’d gotten up to go to early service, like usual. The only thing different than usual, other than the fact that I’d worn a dress, was that my ringer was on, not loud but still on.

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My boss had told me to go halfsies with Chelsea for the two Sundays her and her husband would be gone. They usually stand in as MODs so that Chelsea and I can go to church. I told my boss, confidently, that I’d be willing to take both Sundays. Chelsea goes to two services and I’m not entirely convinced they don’t last three hours each. That’s not the main reason I’m not Baptist, but it’s the top non doctrine related one. I go to early service and can usually be walking out of church around 9:30 am. The concierge get to the spa at 9 am. The practitioners arrive at 9:40 am. Guests don’t arrive until 10 am. I figured that I’d be done with church by the time anything really bad could work itself into happening.

FAMOUS. LAST. WORDS. Amirite?

I got a text probably five minutes into service. A practitioner was trying to come in late, but had a guest. And it was someone who hasn’t had the best track record with weekend shifts, so my heart hardened at the mention of her tomfoolery. I kept getting more texts, to the point that I stepped out. I sat in the library, trying to listen to the sermon while problem solving with my boss.

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Now, during this time, a random person walked into the church and sat down in the library. He struck up a conversation that I did not want to have. Couldn’t he SEE that I was upset? Wasn’t it obvious that if given the choice that I’d be in the sanctuary, listening to the sermon. But, also, I had listened to the first part. It was a really awesome message of serving others especially if they couldn’t repay you. I tried to think to myself, “Marissa. What if you are the only interaction this person gets at St. Luke? What if he leaves and his opinion is based off how you treat him in this moment?” So I tried to be welcoming, the sort of welcoming that people had been to me that caused me to continue to come to St. Luke for close to two years. I think I did something wrong because he awkward started hinting that he wanted to hang out with me in the more than friends sort of way. I’m honing my people sills, okay? I’m not perfect yet. Everything’s a bit scattered.

I ended up returning to the sanctuary, my first niggling feeling of being a failure in my heart. I’d walked away from the situation because of my own discomfort rather than—I’m not sure what I should have done in that situation, but there was probably a better Christian solution. I couldn’t dwell long on that because my boss asked me how quickly I could get to work. I frantically looked at the pastor, still preaching. I looked at the bulletin. There was a hymn and responsive reading before communion would even begin. Ugh. I left church.

I hated myself for doing it. I was genuinely enraged. I’m the person you hear about in sermons. I chose work over church, and I was angry at just about everyone because of it. I made it to work. I made things work. I stayed all the way until one o’clock before I could fix the clusternut that was the day. I even managed to salvage the party that was coming in for services without them even having to know anything was amiss. But at what cost? I was noticeably angry. I couldn’t fully bite back my words to a few people I worked with, even though I knew I shouldn’t. I was not a radiant beam of Christ filled light in my workplace, which upset me more because I’m one of the few believers in that place. Part of why I think God put me in Ann Arbor is to be a Christian example in a workplace that otherwise wouldn’t have a person of strong Christian faith. But, I’d failed because of my own anger.

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My solution to this was to have communion. I needed God in with and under my soul. I felt with a weird sort of obsession that I needed the communion. I needed to have it done. I needed another round of confession and absolution, obviously. So, I did what any person of my generation would do. I got on Facebook and FB messaged my pastor to see if he’d be willing to give me communion on Tuesday. I worked Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. My parents were coming to celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary with me on Wednesday. I only had Tuesday, but I had all day, so I thought there might be some hope.

My pastor messaged me back, saying he’d give me a time when he had a chance to look at his schedule. Like a real tool, I managed to message him when he was out with his family. Great, not only am I an awful Christian, but I’m also THAT parishioner that butts in on the pastor’s family life. Awesome. Let’s just add to my pity party. He didn’t respond to me that night. He also didn’t respond to me on Monday. I figured that he was subtly telling me, “No.” Message received. I could handle that. I’d say no to me too. Obviously I was on the path to hellfire and damnation.

When I went to bed on Monday night, I was pretty certain that I was going to sleep until noon on Tuesday, without shame. I’d had an exhausting work week that was only compounded by the stress and anxiety I’d placed on myself since Sunday. I was going to sleep it out. Naturally, I was shocked to find myself groggily waking up not at noon, but a little after 8:30 am. Don’t get me wrong. I was a half turn away from rolling over and going back to sleep, but when I’d checked my phone for the time, I saw that my pastor had finally responded. He offered me 11 am. Oof.

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Eleven? I mean, I had stuff I was going to do that involved being in public. I’d probably want to do that while I was already out going to church. If I got up right then and took a shower, I’d have enough time to make it from Dexter to Ypsilanti to get communion. So, I did. I woke up and showered. Mostly I needed to wash my hair because it was seven shades of nasty. I got dressed, and was enjoying the last half of my coffee when I got another message from my pastor. He said eleven was great, but if I wanted, a group of them were going to help out at a local elementary school’s library. I could go at 12:30 pm, get the communion, and then help out. Looking back, I think group was sort of a deceptive term. I may or may not have inserted myself into a staff meeting/devotion/event. Considering that I may or may not insert myself into a lot of weird situations, I’m not surprised this happened to me.

I agreed. It sounded right. I’m great with books. I don’t get a chance to do many things at church either. People want to do things on Monday or Thursday nights, or Saturdays during the day. Events are always while I’m working and never during my time off. So, I was pleased to have the opportunity. I’m not going to say excited because let’s not lie. I’d rate myself as definitely happy, though.

And it was scary. I definitely was the only non-St. Luke worker there. This was genuinely a staff meeting event. I could feel myself sitting in on their devotions and communion time. (I learned later that the communion was all because of me, but I did know that in the moment.) I had serious anxiety the whole time. I wondered if at any moment I could just make a run for it without getting in trouble. I stayed with it, even when we got on a short bus and went to school.

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Basically, the library had been remodeled and the books needed to go back onto the shelf. I had already proclaimed myself the nerd of the herd by telling one of the pastors that I had worked in a library for almost five years, created the library’s periodical binding system, and written a manual for them before I graduated. I chose a spot where I knew sort of what was happening, and I went for it. I gave directions. I told people what I needed to be done so that I could accomplish what I was doing. People were asking me what to do and for my opinion on what they were doing and how they could help me. I think this is less of a testament of my awesomeness and more of a universal truth that people will follow the person who is confident with a plan. Regardless, we did good work for two hours. I tried to escape once we got back. I figured they’d all go back to their jobs. Silly, Marissa. I forgot about the Lutheran servant event debrief and closing prayer.

I’m so glad I stayed though because here’s what I learned. The school we were at had consistently turned down the church’s attempts of outreach. They didn’t want anything to do with us. Both pastors had tried in the past and failed. Until Sunday. See, an hour after I stormed out of church to go to work, a woman talked with one of the pastors saying she wanted to get involved with the school. The pastor was hesitant but gave a few ideas of how to approach them. On Monday, when I was regretting not staying at church and letting myself get emotional, the woman managed to set up this service opportunity that allowed St. Luke to begin building a relationship. We didn’t go in looking to convert everyone, but we made our faces known. We showed we cared. We made that first step towards something possibly. And by Tuesday, instead of coming in the morning, my pastor by chance decided to invite me along to help. I didn’t save the day. The men and women were more than capable of alphabetizing books by author’s last name without me, but I was helpful. My knowledge and passion helped them, was an aid to their success in their outreach.

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It never would have happened like this if I hadn’t of stormed out of church or that lady (whom my pastor hadn’t seen all summer) hadn’t approached him. They were living in a situation that consisted of closed doors, but today, by God’s grace alone, I was able to volunteer at a church thing , St. Luke was able to reach out in the community, and God’s Will was being done through his people. Everything came together and fit perfectly together  like we’d spent years planning every minute detail of the event when really it took a day and a half, and A LOT of God intervening.

I thought I’d just been trying to vainly make up for missing part of church. In actuality, God was turning a negative into and amazing positive that I never could have imagined let lone done myself. He was pulling His people together in ways that hours prior none of us knew would happen. It was crazy and insane and beautiful and certain sign that grace is real and God exists.

I wanted to share this because I’m not always in on these miraculous events. In fact, I’m usually certain that these “God obviously was the only one in charge because I had nothing to do with it in the slightest” events never happened to me. So, to be there a realize the intricacies of how the day came together was both overwhelming and humbling.

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God is Good.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Always.

 

Every other piece of Harry Potter writing, I waited rabidly to read and then devoured it as soon as I was able. You think I’m just speaking in hyperbole but I distinctly remember reading the fifth book around my sister’s wedding and the seventh book while another sister tried on wedding dresses. I’d been the maid of honor for that wedding. Being obsessed makes you do awful things. I think Tracie has since forgiven me.

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Regardless, my devotion to the Harry Potter series has been second only to my devotion to the Lord, and currently I’m not ashamed of that. Yet, I was initially hesitant about reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I did not count down the days. I did not pre-order it. I did not buy it at midnight. I didn’t even buy it the week it was released. I waited until a friend asked me to go to Barnes and Noble with her. Somehow the script ended up in my bag with the other purchases I made. Side note: I swear to you that I can’t walk into Barnes and Nobles these days without spending at least $50. It’s bad. Real bad. Anyway, since I already had the script… I read it in one afternoon, and have decided there are things you should know prior to reading the script.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS, you’ve been warned.

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First, I hope you’ve noticed that I’ve been calling it a script. This is not a book. The writing is not prose. If you go in thinking it’s the eighth book, you are mistaken. It was first and foremost a play, whose script they’ve graciously allowed us to read because many of us will never see the play performed. I thought this was obvious, but some people in the world didn’t know it was a play. I wanted to put that nugget of information out into the world. Yet, even if you knew it was a script, really be aware of how plays read verses books. If you aren’t used to reading plays (or are just bad at it like me) it will be a very quick read. You’ll have to be careful not to make judgement about the flow of the story or plot development because scripts are different from books.

Second, that being said, this story feels a lot like fanfiction to me. VERY, very well written—enough so that JK Rowling put her name in huge font on the cover—but fanfiction nonetheless. For me, I think it was the structure. This had a lot of dialogue because that’s what plays are. As someone who’s read a lot of good and bad fanfiction, some fan writers use a lot of dialogue because they’re shit at writing anything descriptive. For a play, you want a few stage directions, but it’s okay to not have paragraphs describing things. For a book-like story, if you can write a non-dialogue paragraph, you’ll most likely never become a professional writer, but thank you anyways for sharing.

The dialogue was not the only thing that made it feel fanfiction-y. Multiple instances of time manipulation are involved. Sometimes the characters seem like caricatures of their book counterparts. Again, I want to say it’s well written. I did enjoy reading this. You can tell others were involved in the development though. Also, the circumstances surrounding the “villain’s” childhood seems like a bit of a stretch, even in the wizarding world. (Although, I was really pleased with the villain. In the moment, I was one hundred percent in love in that moment when I realized who the villain was.)

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Third, circling back to the characters, I loved them, but they are so in touch with their emotions. Like, did an American write this? Just kidding. I did find it funny that JK Rowling has been noted to say that she kept trying to stop the filmmakers from having people hug at the end of the movies to this, where everyone is so rife with emotion and not displaying the typical stoic English persona I’m used to. I can’t say it’s good or bad. It’s different. I know people won’t like different. Give it a chance.

Fourth, no one’s gay. You may wonder why that needs to be stated. Obviously, you don’t troll the internet where everyone believes that Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy are soulmates and that Harry and Draco are in love. Fangirls are fucking weird, and you can see why I’m hesitant to associate myself with them. I was worried though, that a point would be attempted to be made. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m Lutheran. I don’t support gay marriage or homosexuality. I love people as God’s children but I will not deny the Bible either. I spent a lot of the book on edge wondering if I was going to have to endure Albus and Scorpius making out. Arguably, that would have been weird if only for the fact that it’s very clear early on who Scorpius is in love with, and it’s not Albus. No, Scorpius is the Harry to Albus’s Ron. I say that only because Scorpius is that nice, quiet sweetheart, while Albus is big family he feels pressure from/because of. Which makes the story interesting because I wonder now what the books would have looked like with Ron as the main character and not Harry.

As for Draco and Harry, they barely made it to friend status. I think they’re still at, “Don’t throw down in a fight Arthur-Lucius style.” They aren’t gay and they aren’t ever going to be gay. Harry and Ginny are in a super solid relationship. Draco really loved his wife. But, ALSO, Draco makes a comment at the end of the play so rife with repressed sexual tension that even Scorpius says, “Dad…” in a tone which I can only assumed is a horrified, “tuck it back in your pants, father” tone. Draco’s lucky he didn’t get a second broken nose. Amirite? Fun fact: I’m right.

Fifth, time manipulation is involved, and the best thing to come from it is how they play with Ron and Hermione’s relationship. One thing for the guys who wrote it, they aren’t Harry and Hermione shippers. They respected Ron and Hermione in interesting ways. I liked how they played with the idea of who Ron and Hermione would have been if they hadn’t gotten together. That’s another blog post once everyone’s read the script though.

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Sixth, you will laugh and feel utmost delight, but you will also cry. I can’t imagine anyone not getting to the end of that play and not feeling for a moment that their heart hasn’t been sandpapered and shredded. I think in the next bit of writing it should be Harry Potter and Nothing terrible happened to him for one day because I think for ONCE he deserves a good fucking day. GOD. Or something to that effect. It’s hard to come up with a sound title when you’re ugly crying in the corner. The ending is good, but not before you hurt a lot. And then, in true Harry Potter fashion, the Golden Trio survives. Man, I’m really trying not to cry thinking about the ending, but it was really hard for me. Unphh. Emotions.

Seventh, this is most important. Regardless of what you hear. Regardless of what people say. JK Rowling will never stop writing Harry Potter related things. She did too good of a job. She was too thorough and creative. She wrote a story people loved too much. Already this September, she’ll be publishing three small works. They aren’t even actual stories. There’s a guide to Hogwarts and writings on wizarding politics. Would I read anything about muggle politics? Not unless under gunpoint. Will I voluntarily spend money to read the history of and information about wizarding politics? Abso-fucking-lutely, my friend.

In all, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is definitely worth reading. I enjoyed it. Even as I digest the reading and keep thinking about it’s different aspects (including but not limited to the realization that it’s glorified fanfiction), I’m glad I read it and didn’t let my hesitation keep me from experiencing it. So, I recommend that you read it too. Let yourself enjoy it. Shuck off the hesitation or the desire (maybe need) for it to be the eighth Harry Potter book. Instead, take it as it is and for what it is.

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Best Day Ever.

I do a lot of interviews in my new job. The feat used to seem insurmountable. I remember after my first in person interview, I ended up crouched on my boss’s floor in front of all three bosses, having a shocking public meltdown and nearly crying. I saved the crying until I was out in the hallway by myself. Now, it’s just a mild annoyance because that, dear children, is called growth.

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I have more or less a script to follow when interviewing. I have a set of questions that sometimes I can make flow like a normal conversation. Other times it’s a straight up interrogation. But there are two questions I’ve been thinking about today, that I finally have answers for.

 

1. Describe a time when you experienced great customer service.

So, I was at McDonald’s getting a dollar Coke (because they are back!). And the tiny human who took my money said to me, “You know, I’m going to go see if I can bring your drink to this window.” And then he went and got my drink so that I didn’t have to wait in line to get to the next window. I LOVE when they do this. It’s the best, but I like this McDonald’s more than others because of one shining moment with another tiny human.

I should stop calling the teenage boys who work at McDonald’s tiny human. I should, but I probably won’t. Anyways, during probably the worst winter of my life when I was working at the daycare and slipping off an emotional edge you can’t come back from, my niece turned two. It was during the time where the Wizard of Oz toys were at McDonald’s, and they were essentially her Pokémon. She wanted to catch them all. Being poor and not really able to buy actual gifts from her list, I went to McDonald’s to see if they had the two she needed to complete her set.

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I don’t ever look show stopping. Once I got something free, I think, because I was showing a lot of cleavage, but that says more about how horny the guy was and not how pretty I am. Anyway, I did not approach this counter looking for miracles. I did my natural, “I’m so sorry to bother you. This is a favor I need and if you could help me, I’d be super grateful.” This has become my usual act since working at Meijer. Be nice, and they won’t hate you. It’s foolproof. Anyways, I asked the tiny human, with my best smile, if they had the toys. He checked their stock. Then I saw him talking to another worker. He disappeared for a bit, and came back with the two toys I needed. They weren’t in packages, just the toys. Then he apologized.

“I’m really sorry, we only have the ones from the display,” is essentially what he said. “I’m really sorry we don’t have any in the packaging.”

I was taken aback. Not many nice things happened that winter, but he basically dug through his store to find me the right toys. I thanked him profusely, pulling out my wallet. I explained that I was getting them for my niece’s birthday and she didn’t need the packaging. The toys were more than enough. Then I asked him how much it would be.

“Oh, you don’t have to pay for them. You can have them. They’re just the display ones.”

WHAT? It was the most awesomely nice thing ever. Yes, maybe it just hit me at the right time and right place in my life, but let’s be real. He could have easily charged me the cost of the toys, and maybe it was a nothing thing for him, but it really made my life to have him be so nice and giving. Very awesome.

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2. Describe for me the best day  of work.

I don’t feel bad about asking this question. I should. People give me rando answers for this question. They never actually give me a day. They generalize or give me good things that could happen. I don’t think many people walk around with a cherished work memory. And the best day I’m about to give is not something I’d probably say in an actual interview.

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Yesterday was the best day of work ever.

On Friday, we had to cancel all of the appointments for Monday. The construction across the street had to shut off water, which meant our building would be affected. You just can’t run a spa in a building that has no running water. Friday and Saturday were a little stressful, but all of the services got moved. The practitioners were told to stay home. I was worried though.

I work 8 am to 7:30 pm on Mondays, and this is my time of the month. I was worried about the bathroom situation, especially because my boss thought I was the type of home being to carry a five gallon jug of water with me to the bathroom to flush a toilet. I’m not. But Monday came despite my fears.

And, it was positively delightful.

I didn’t have to rush to count the drawers before guests arrived because there were no guests. No one was late or complaining or having problems or interrupting me because no one where there except the concierge who had her own tasks that she sat down to do. I’ve never been so relaxed while closing out the week. In fact, I didn’t realize how tense I was all of the time until yesterday.

A few practitioners were in and out for training, but they knew what they were doing and I hardly saw them. Andy was in for a bit, but unless we have something funny to tell each other, we don’t really bother each other. Melissa worked from home, which was great. That’s the benefit of being the boss. She works like 90 hours a week, so she should be allowed to do some of that from home.

Work was downright blissful though. All of the agony of interacting with other human beings was completely taken out of the equation and I realized something very important. I like my job. I just hate people. They are what cause me stress. They are what annoy me. The tasks and jobs I do are great. I accomplish them and I feel successful. Jean Paul Sartre was 100% correct. Other people are hell. If I didn’t have to work with anyone ever, I’d probably be the happiest little worker bee alive.

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Even the bathroom situation wasn’t bad. I took a half an hour break at 3 pm. I went to Panera, used the bathroom, got lunch, and head back to the office. I watched The Sandlot and Back to the Future while I worked. I got so much done too. It’s amazing what I can accomplish when there isn’t someone in my office every four minutes to talk to me. I’m doing Orientation for a New Hire on Thursday. I was really worried about getting his paperwork all together because he didn’t officially sign his Job Offer until Monday at 1 pm, which meant I had 2 pm to 7:30 pm on Monday and then maybe Thursday morning to put his paperwork together. Most weeks, this is barely enough time to do that. I’m stressed in a I feel like I’m running a sprint to get it finished sort of way. Not yesterday. I leisurely got his information into the system and printed out paperwork. I got him a login and an email. I didn’t have to stop 1500 times and wonder where the hell I left off every time I got back to working on his stuff. It was practically orgasmic.

You can see why I’d never mention this in a real life interview. “Please treat me like a computer. Don’t talk to me. Just let me work.” And this also sounds a bit awful because I do like some of the people I work with, and I’m really glad that I know them. They are pips. If I’m going to be real with you, I don’t need more vacation. I need more days like Monday. Holler.

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Hobby-ing.

I’m happy today, so I thought it was as good a day as ever to write a post. I doubt anyone reads anything I write regularly, but if by chance you are a unicorn blog reader, you will have noticed that I do not post every Tuesday and Friday, nor do I attempt to post on even a weekly basis. I stopped. I had to stop. I started to feel like my post were genuinely worthless pieces of writing. I was scrambling to find something to write about each week. I didn’t necessarily like what I was writing about and I hated the feeling trapped in my chest like I was accentuating how pointless my writing was by publishing it and expecting even hoping people read what I write. I couldn’t force myself to churn out a new thing every week just to say I posted every week. That was great in the beginning when I wanted to feel like I could stick to one thing for more than two weeks. I’ve had this blog for over a year. I feel it being a part of me, something I’m conscious of even if I’m not writing posts for it.

I’ve had a long standing theory that I don’t have hobbies (emphasis on plural). I have one hobby, and that hobby is collecting hobbies. Currently, my collection of hobbies includes: yoga, calligraphy, drawing, learning German, Instagram, writing, and playing ukulele. I’m thinking about learning Korean, but possibly more on that later. I’m not good at any of these. Why? I get excited about something, spend two weeks immersed in it, and then get excited about something else and spend two weeks immersed in that before getting excited about something else. I cycle around, separating myself from every hobby long enough that when I return to it, I’m basically starting over again.

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A lot of the time, this is incredibly frustrating, which is why I was so neurotic about posting every week on my blog. I’m pretty sure my motivation is fuck all at this point. I have yet to develop the skill to see anything through until completion. This is HELL when you want to do things with your life like pay a whole song on ukulele, speak another language fluently, or, you know, publish a book. It doesn’t matter whether or not I’m good at this point if I can’t complete a simple rough draft. Even Stephanie Meyer was published.

Other times, I’m not so angry at myself. I’ve always loved knowing a little bit about everything. Just enough to lie and make people think I know everything. It’ getting harder now that I don’t have TV and don’t have the steady stream of TV shows and commercials to keep me updated. Most of my information comes from Facebook and Pinterest, but those are very tailored to my interests. I can tell that my random knowledge has become more limited. Still, apart from an obsessive working knowledge of Harry Potter, I still like a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Oh gross. (Just kidding about the gross part. I saw an opportunity to reference Ken Davis that I could not pass up.)

Hobbies and tinkering on the Internet is interesting to me, and one of my interesting characteristics. I probably project my old opinions of subtitled movies and shows onto the unnamed masses, but I’m sure everyone thinks I have lost my shit when they see how much I post about Korean drama. I’m certain that a group of people out there are convinced that my apartment is littered with manga, posters of Asian actors, and littered with anime DVDs. Their image of me must look like one of those super fans on TV where everything is papered in that one thing they are obsessed with. That is not what my apartment looks like. My decorating style will not tolerate that behavior.

I think my apartment looks exactly like it belongs to a girl in her late twenties who got her degree in English and has always had a soft spot for art and being crafty. My life is a lot of working really hard to do a good job as the Director of Operations at a spa and, for the most part, making sure I don’t spread my personal thoughts about situations and coworkers all over social media. I don’t like posting about work. It’s not who I am. I also budget and worry about money because I am genuinely proud to tell people that I’ve never missed a student loan payment. I’ve made sure that I could always pay those bills. I also am able to pay most of my other bills as an adult. I’m on my parents’ phone plan and car insurance, but I’m working to pay those bills too. I hate cooking. I barely do it let alone talk about it. I don’t talk about reading with a lot of people because it’s mostly just book reports and I can’t tell you how deeply I ache to be in a class where everyone has more or less read the book I’ve read so we can really talk about it. But, if you want to know, I’m reading Stiff by Mary Roach (about cadavers) and The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar (literary criticism about women authors and women’s literature). I’d never post about that as a status though.

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I don’t take Facebook seriously to use it as a political platform or a chance for social reform. It’s not where meaningful interaction happens. I think that’s still an in person type job. Facebook is really a place to be silly. How can I recount that instance in a funny way? Oh man, this quote is super funny, I’m going to share it. Who’s excited for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? This girl. OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED. UHNPHH. And yes, posting about watching Korean dramas. That’s my level of share via Facebook status.

I get more personal with these blog posts, but I think that might be my freedom to use more characters. People expect to read a thousand words in a blog post. Facebook statuses should never be as long. I get most personal though when I’m talking to people, which seems odd for my personality, but it’s true. I still joke around about my odd tastes and weird habits, but I also talk about theories and political standpoints. I don’t just think about the world, I’ll voice an opinion.

I think that’s why I can’t entirely give this blog up. It’s a weird middle ground between Facebook and talking to people. I can get a bit deeper, but I can have superficial one offs too. I feel myself shifting towards only writing when I’m inspired, though, and seeing where that takes me. I’d much rather be happy with the topic and my finished product than forcing myself to just write something even if it’s nothingness. Everyone can think my posts are shite, but I must be able to like what I’ve done to maintain my sanity and self-respect.

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New Apartment.

People keep asking me about my apartment. I can’t tell if they really are interested even after a month, have a genuine concern about me living alone and are casually hinting at it, or feel like they should say something to me and asking about my apartment is the new talking about the weather. I figured I might finally answer this question with something other than, “It’s good.”

I moved twenty minutes closer to work, which is downright delightful. I can sleep in longer in the morning. Or, if I don’t sleep in, I have twenty extra minutes to myself to do whatever I want before going to work. I live above a flower shop. Two doors over to the right is a gas station with Subway, so I don’t have to cook ever if I don’t want to. Two doors over to my left is a bar. This is what they call “The Life.”

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The apartment itself isn’t very big. I call it a studio because there’s technically two rooms: the bathroom and everything else. It’s precisely the right size for me. Al of the floors are hardwood. This is great on two levels. I cannot vacuum. I’m not sure what it is in my genetic makeup that clashed so violently to make me so ineffective while vacuuming, but it’s not a talent I possess. I can do all sorts of other cleaning, just not vacuuming. I also have this tactile issue with carpets. It’s like constantly being forced to wear socks. My feet are always warm and touching something soft. I hate carpet. I like cool, smooth surfaces for my feet. Tile, hardwood, you name it. I’m a little in love with the floors.

One wall of the apartment is exposed brick. Holy Guacamole, my friends. I didn’t realize how beautiful a feature exposed brick is until I stepped into this apartment. Maybe I got too used to Ypsilanti apartments where everything is white and falling apart. This is gorgeous. Everything’s red brick and light wood and the other walls are a soft gray. All the time I spent moving in I kept thinking that the apartment should be the set of a TV show. Like, it was almost eerie and uncomfortable how fancy it looked to me, but I’ve settled in now.

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I have about eighteen outlets, which is about ten more than my last apartment, but for a smaller space. I can literally plug my laptop in wherever I want to be in the apartment, which is crucial. I just paid my first round of bills, and I’m not utterly broke, so that’s cool. I’ve moved three times in a twelve month period, and I’m ready to stay here for the foreseeable future. I loathe moving my shit around. Blergh.

The neighbors are mostly quiet. Even when they make noise, they aren’t loud. I have to reacclimate myself to the idea that people walk around in their apartments. Instinctively, I want to be angry, but also, I can listen to whatever I want to cancel out their noise. There was the curious instance in the middle of the night. My deduction skills have led me to believe that my bathroom wall is the same as my neighbors’ bedroom wall. Super cool, no problem right? Ehhh. I was going to the bathroom one night and heard some lackluster squeaky, a woman who wouldn’t stop talking (and it was more nagging than sexy talk), and overall it came off as really uninspiring sex. I couldn’t even be righteously angry at my neighbors for having sex because it didn’t even sound enjoyable for them. But, if that’s the worst of it, I’ll take it… like more of a champ than she was. Too soon? He was. AH! I can’t stop.

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The best part though is not having anyone I’m held accountable. With roommates, there’s this constant weight of where are they? Are they home? What ae they doing in their room? Am I annoying them by what I’m doing? When are they going to enter my space? What’s theirs? What’s mine? I’ve had great roommates. I’ve been super lucky in the roommate realm. I know people have had real shit experiences. Still, it’s so incredibly more relaxing to be in my apartment and know that it’s all mine and nothing is going to interrupt what I’m doing. I can completely shut off that part of my brain that’s always too concerned about what the people around me are thinking, feeling, and doing. I can just exist any way I want to without guilt or shame. Honestly, in an absolutely non jokey way, no guilt or shame. This more than anything is what I needed in my life.

That’s the most of it. I, of course, don’t ever want to talk to random people long enough to really go into this. I’m also too jazzed on my own anxiety to get these thoughts out even remotely coherently. I’m aware that my blog posts strongly lean towards stream of consciousness than good writing, but my verbal skills are way worse. So, this is what you get; the core definition of the answer “it’s good” whenever someone asks me if I like my new apartment in a slightly shady, unread blog post.

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