Since my last post I have:
- Gone home to Lebanon, Pa.
- Visited with a few friends.
- Hit my quota of mom time I can handle; I'm good until Christmas now.
- Not had enough time to visit with friends.
- Returned to my apartment in State College.
- Made it through the first two "syllabus days," which means it's time for actual work to begin.
Let's start...at the beginning.
A week ago exactly, around this time (10:20 p.m.) I had finished getting my car packed up and was driving out of Charleston. The drive usually takes six to seven hours, but somehow, I found a way to stretch it into almost nine.
Let me preface this by saying that I got lost...AND I have a GPS on my phone. How lame is that?
Charleston has two highways that run through it, I-77 and I-79. I had made the drive home multiple times over the summer and thought I knew exactly where I was going.
It was a pride thing for me to try and find my way home without directions.
It was a total lapse of judgment and I was having one of those "Clark Griswold" moments, determined to embrace the open road and all of its shenanigans.
I feel like I rely too much on my phone to get around, and decided to test my internal GPS. Which told me to take I-77 north.
...or was it I-79 north.
FUCK! I can't even remember now.
Either way, I took the wrong highway and didn't realize I was going the wrong way until about 40 miles into my travels. Talk about embarrassing. And it was one of those embarrassing moments where you're alone, you know you're alone, yet you still look around the car and road to see if anybody is pointing and laughing at you.
So, I turned around and spotted a nondescript off-ramp gas station -- like the kind you see in slasher flicks. I figured they probably had coffee and I needed to fill up my tank, anyway.
The entire scenario was weird. It was just me, the lonely pump and a dilapidated building. From the outside, this building--the convenience store, if you will--looked like it housed two things:
1.) food stuffs and products from the Nixon era
2.) an angry store clerk I imagined had posted a sign on the door that read something incredibly narrow-minded, like, "GO HOME IF YOUR NOT WHITE, CHRISTIAN AND STRAIGHT!"
And of course, the sign would have used "your" instead of "you're." It's more fun like that in my head.
I didn't see anything on the door, but the guy did look disgruntled from the outside. My "remember, not all folks act kindly toward gay people" sense was tingling.
I was just glad the pump was equipped with a credit card slot so I could spare myself the trouble and pay there.
I was going to go inside and grab a cup of coffee, but I was in these comfy pink-plaid shorts, solid pink shirt, and flip flops -- because pink is such a macho color and very fetching for West Virginia.
I figured I'd save both myself and the clerk a lot of anxiety and just get on without caffeine for the next few miles. From my string of run-ins with people in West Virginia all summer, I could spot this situation turning ugly from a mile away.
I don't know how many times I've been asked to my face, "You're not from 'round here, are ya?"
I had a happy departure at work that evening and wanted to keep that energy going.
So here I was, saddled with frustration and sleepiness and I still had about 400 miles to travel.
Oh yeah, and I had just traveled 40 miles in the wrong direction.
It wasn't that fun of a drive, which was made more miserable by my teeny-tiny bladder.
Because of my caffeine lust, which I chose to satisfy with lots and lots of coffee, I had to stop every 45-60 miles to pee.
I finally made it home around 7 a.m., right as my mom was halfway through her morning routine for work.
I was tired, but still very shaky, resembling the alertness and cat-like reflexes of a crackhead because I had consumed a lethal dose of caffeine.
My bags filled my car...and I mean literally filled my car. I didn't want to let them bake in my car all day, so I decided to move them from my car, down our driveway, and to the sun room (it's air conditioned).
My room is on the second floor, and I really didn't feel like lugging that much crap up a flight of stairs. I don't travel light by any stretch of the imagination.
Here's a photo of what I initially took down to Charleston with me.
Three full suitcases, three trash bags -- because I ran out of suitcases, two crates full of shoes and belts, a laptop bag, multiple books in another backpack -- and plenty of spillover books, and a bag packed with copy desk items (HUGE dictionary, AP stylebook, Working with Words book, The Elements of Style, two steno notepads, highlighters, pens, etc.)
It was just easier to half-ass it and live out of a suitcase for a few days. Plus, leaving all of my stuff in the sun room meant that my stuff was a lot closer to my car when it was time to come back to State College.
Just as I had finished carrying all of my stuff into the sun room, my mother comes out of nowhere and says, "You need to carry your stuff upstairs."
There was no, "How are you? How was the drive? I bet you're tired, let me do motherly things, like make breakfast!"
I asked her why I needed to carry all this crap upstairs, especially after just driving all night.
Her response: "This is the cat's room now."
Cat? What fucking cat? We have a cat?!
...I guess my absence this summer prompted my mother to get a cat. I felt sort of replaced. I, along with 8,394,823 lbs of my luggage, were being told to scoot for some 12-week old kitten.
I have this sneaking suspicion that my mother is slowly evolving into a lesbian and doesn't even realize it. That, or she's having some kind of midlife crisis.
Last year, she bought a brand-spanking-new Harley and got it all decked out and customized to accommodate her tiny stature (she's 4'11"). This year, she purchases a cat. Next year, I'm speculating something dramatic, like cosmetic surgery or some new lifestyle. Like, she'll adopt yoga or pilates and make it her mantra.
But back to the cat. He and I didn't exactly understand each other at first.
He would stare at me like, Yo, bitch, back off my kool-aid!
And I would stare at him like, ...I wonder if she'd notice if you "ran away"?
Despite him completely bogarting my resources and draining money out of my mom that I could be using for rent, he is really fucking cute. His name is PJ, but I usually just call him "Cat" or "Hey, Shithead!"
Here are a few pictures of him.
Here he is standing on my laptop.
And again. He was pissed off I wasn't giving him attention, I think.
Sorry for the crappy quality. These were taken with my iPhone, and my hands are about as steady as an epileptic in a disco.
PJ, totally tangled in a yarn-type toy in the kitchen.
We settled our differences and I decided to give him a shot after I saw how scampish he was. He bites at anything that moves and constantly wants to play fight. I could borderline torment him, and he loves it. We get along great.
My time at home flew by so quickly. And my mother seemed to want to capitalize on a lot of it.
She and I went shopping Thursday for business casual clothes for my upcoming journalism convention in Montreal.
We went around to a few places, and for dinner she asked me where I wanted to go eat. I told her, "CPD."
She had no idea what it meant, and it didn't even dawn on me that "Colonial Park Diner" isn't referred to as "CPD" by anybody except for my circle of homos and fag hags back home.
When I explained to her what Colonial Park Diner was, her face sank a little.
I think she said something to the effect of, "seriously? a diner? ......why?"
My mom is kind of pretentious about stuff like that. I think a bit of it has rubbed off on me. I'm not a snob, I'm just a product of my environment. I blame her.
In fact, my entire family is like that about certain things. We're not like ridiculously wealthy or anything, but my family is all about "quality." Or their perspective of it.
My mother can only use certain product brands, and I think it's more "brand loyalty" than anything else.
Growing up, and to this day, my mother only uses certain brands:
- Tide for laundry detergent.
- Downy for fabric softener
- Kraft for mayo
- Heinz for ketchup
- Palmolive (eww...) for dish soap
- Pantene for shampoo
- Stewarts for root bear
- Maxwell House for coffee
- COCA COLA -- not Pepsi
There are a lot more that I can't think of, but the point is my mother is just...weird. She only uses certain things and totally turns her nose up at anything outside the box.
When I told her "Colonial Park Diner" she acted like I said "The Dog Shit and Curry Buffet!"
Her reaction was...priceless.
The humor is compounded by the fact that her FAVORITE restaurant is this shitty little diner in Lebanon called "Heisey's," which is an old-school diner front that resembles a trailer. You know the kind I'm talking about.
Anyway, over dinner, we were talking about different things and she asked me what I had planned for March.
I looked at her and said, "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing tomorrow? How the hell would I know what I'm doing in March?"
||Sidenote: We never had rules regarding language growing up. We had free rein to express ourselves however we felt fit, but were always told to keep it to ourselves in public. It really took the novelty out of words like 'fuck' but I still use it in my everyday syntax, especially around my mother, who uses it probably as much, if not more, than I do.||
After grilling me about the fine details of what I was doing in March, she turned to me and said, "Well, I'm going on a singles' cruise and I don't want to go alone, so you're going with me. I need to make the deposit this week."
To which I replied, "I'll go, but just know that there will be NO MEN on this cruise. It's going to be all 40-something-year-old women and their gay sons. All the 40-something-year-old men are married to 20-something-year-old women. Also, if you want to hook a man, you may want to tighten up those thighs...and put down that burger."
We have a really loving relationship. Most people are astounded by how open my mother and I are to each other. It's not a lack of respect. I actually think it's the complete opposite.
We're weird people.
One of the great things about going home is meeting up with old friends. Especially when you can just get together, even after not seeing each other for months, and you feel like you never skipped a beat.
I hung out with my friend Nichole for a little bit while I was home, and it was awesome. I missed her. She's a bit more ridiculous than I am about certain things, and vice versa. We make each other look sensible, which is no easy task.
Nichole and I went to Park City one day because her iPhone case was jacked and she needed to hit up the Apple store. I needed to get a few last articles of business casual attire.
When she got to my place, we had that tug-of-war about who would drive.
I always want to drive when I'm with Nichole, because her driving is erratic, and she always brakes WAY TOO LATE.
There were at least four or five instances on the way to Park City (about 20 miles from my house) when I had to yell, "BRAKE NICHOLE, FUCKING BRAKE!!"
Whenever I shouted this, she did her goofy Northeastern Pennsylvania Laugh and said, "You're ridiculous!"
After shopping, she lamented about the MOUNDS AND MOUNDS of laundry she had to do and how her schedule was totally packed and she didn't have time to do it at home. She asked if I wanted to go with her to the sketchy laundromat in Harrisburg, Round the Clock Laundromat. I reluctantly said "sure..." knowing that this would turn into an all-night affair and I wouldn't get home until well after midnight.
We went back to her place, she dicked around for 20 minutes, and finally gathered all of her laundry.
...in two small laundry baskets.
In my mind, I just thought, "This is MOUNDS AND MOUNDS of laundry??? Really?"
But I just went with the flow, knowing that some sort of adventure would occur.
We're en route to the laundromat, and Nichole is frantically searching for her iPhone because it was absolutely necessary that she sent a text at that very minute as she was barreling ass down Route 22.
She can't find her phone, so we pull into Dunkin Donuts to get coffee. She then asks me to call her roommate Jamie (Me Blog U Long Time -- It's his blog, check it out) and ask him to look for her phone.
Jamie finds the phone, and then I have to ask him for a number. The number of Nichole's new beau.
So then, after getting the number, Nichole asks to use my phone to send him a text, to see if we can stop by his work.
I say, "sure" and surrender my phone.
I used the word "surrender" because I didn't see my phone for the rest of the night.
So, she's texting her man and we're sitting at the laundromat and she asks if I want to go with her to visit him while her clothing is drying.
I give in, and we get on the highway, on our way to meet her guy.
We stopped to get coffee, and in true Nichole fashion, she ended up knocking her coffee over, spilling it all over the floor. I have a picture of her cleaning it up. If you know Nichole, you will appreciate this. She's notoriously messy.
Finally, we meet her guy, who looked really familiar. I'm still not sure where I would know him from. I'd write more about him, but Nichole's a pretty private person, and I don't think I'm privy to tell too much about him.
So, my adventures at home were fun and completely typical for me.
But I could not be happier to be back in State College.
I'm really excited about this semester, because I have so many exciting projects happening. This really is going to be the best year ever.
I'll keep you bitches posted on the latest!
But now, I need to finish an assignment and sleep.