Sunday, September 19, 2010

Deep thoughts re traveling

I have been traveling for work today.  Here are some related insights: 
1.  I know I should boycott Arizona, but I had a layover in Phoenix and my custom of getting a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza (or whatever they're called these days) while killing time in an airport won out.  The moral outrage, she is weak compared to the tummy.  
2.  The language that airline employees use when making announcements is really odd:  "We DO ask that you store your smaller personal item underneath the seat in front of you," "We DO appreciate your patience during the boarding process," "We WILL ask that you pay with a major credit card."  Normally you would only use that kind of emphasis if someone had questioned whether you really meant what you were saying:  "You don't really appreciate my patience!" "Yes, I DO!"  So I guess that's apt, then.
3.  The hotel I am staying in has Guest Laundry Rooms, for which I am grateful.  I am even more psyched that the washers and dryers are the EXACT SAME ones as we had in the dorms in college.  Speed Queen Commercial Washers and Dryers!  With the coin slots and everything!  It takes me back.  There was some way to rig them so the quarters (or something that substituted for quarters?) stayed in the slots and you didn't have to pay, but I don't remember what it was and probably wouldn't try it even if I did.  
4.  There is something nice about having a rental car and your own hotel room and being able to set up your little world however you want, and to watch TV in bed.  I am not going all George Clooney in Up in the Air, though, and I will see if I still agree with this in 13 days, when I am still at the Executive Inn and Suites by the freeway in Oakland.  (In case you want to look me up.) 
5.  The time zones got away from me and I forgot to call before it got unreasonably late, Mom and Dad.  Sorry.  Talk to you sometime this week.   

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cubicle/Walt Disney paper dream

I had a really weird, vivid dream last night. I was working on a big paper that I had to finish in order to graduate from law school or college, not sure which. I had rented a hotel room to work on the paper, but the room was actually a cubicle with a fold-out bed in it. There were several other people in adjoining cubicles, also working on papers. At some point in the dream I was telling someone what my paper was going to be about, and I said with excitement that I had decided to write about Walt Disney because I had already written about him before. (I wrote an autobiography about Walt Disney for a Gifted and Talented class assignment in 5th grade.) I said I was going to focus on both art history and math as they related to Disney films. The person I was talking to said that was a bad idea and maybe I should rethink it. I then realized that it was, in fact, a bad idea and went back to my cubicle/hotel. The cubicle was so full of paper that I couldn't fold the bed down.

And I am not even feeling stressed out about work, and my office is pretty clean! What does this mean? I woke up feeling grateful that I don't have to come up with topics to write papers about anymore, so I guess that's a good insight.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No back to school, thank God

Last night I had my only "back-to-school"-type experience of the year,
and holy crizzap did it make me relieved that I don't actually have to
go back to school.

The tutoring program I volunteer at restarted after summer break, and
I got a new student since my last one graduated (sniff). It works
like this: the tutors sit on chairs pushed up against the wall of a
hallway, like we are waiting for a job interview or to get asked to
dance. The students who need tutors are in a room around the corner
with the coordinator. Every 5 minutes or so the coordinator comes out
with a student, calls out a tutor's name, and introduces them.

Last night I sat there for about half an hour until I got my student,
and by the end of this period it dawned on me that I was REALLY
nervous. Would we like each other? Would her parents like me? Would
I be able to help her? Would she have behavioral problems or a
learning disability? Would she get into college? Was there still
time to change my mind and leave?

And it occurred to me that this is only a tiny fraction of the
nervousness that I used to experience before a new school year.
Sometimes I have a hazy nostalgia for how the experience of going back
to school, how everything was new and it was like starting over, but
this was a helpful reminder that in fact many of those experiences
were SHEER TERROR and starting over SUCKED. Looking at the
back-to-school Ikea catalog is plenty of new excitement for me now,