Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Sunday, April 6, 2014

This I Believe #12

It's the last one! Don't forget to post your essay before class on Tuesday!

13 comments:

  1. With the available weekends left in school year dwindling down, my friends and I have taken it upon ourselves to hang out with each other as much as possible. This past weekend found us spending a few hours downtown hanging out in a few of our favorite bars. But it wasn’t all laughter and good times. The first bar we went to wasn’t very crowded and we even ran into some of our other friends. We had secured the large corner booth and were having a great time. Until some random buy came over. He kept asking if he could buy us drinks, which we politely declined. Sadly, he was extremely persistent and rude. He told us that we were giving our sorority and school a bad reputation simply because we were not giving him enough attention. It was one of my first bar arguments, a bargument if you will. After sharing a few choice words with this jerk, we decided to not let it ruin our night and left. The next bar was over-crowded and overall just not a good time. So we left.

    We made one more attempt at finding a place to hang out, but were met again with an over-crowded bar and rude people. We finally gave up and went to get some food. Being the most indecisive people in the world, we couldn’t agree on what to eat. Half of us wanted pizza and the other half wanted Chinese food. We settled on Chinese because of its proximity. On our way out we happened upon an open pizza box sitting on a table outside the restaurant. A pizza box with a whole, untouched pizza inside. No one was around (we checked), so we grabbed the pizza and ran. We ate it while we waited for the trolley to come and take us home. Our night hadn’t gone exactly the way we had wanted. We had to walk in the cold and encountered some less than fantastic people. But we got to spend that time together and sometimes that is what it is all about. The people you share your life with. Standing there in the cold wind, watching my friends eat street pizza is a moment I will never forget.

    I believe in life long friends. I believe in barguments. I believe in street pizza, it is real if you believe hard enough.

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  2. Though I learned it could have been mine for just $3,000, I did not buy the church in Pleasant Brook, the church with a rusty 5-gallon black bucket—initially filled with roofing tar—for a toilet. Sitting below a hole not exactly round, not exactly splinter free, and not exactly a good height for anyone that has ever worshipped, the bucket pressed tight against a small door. Years ago this door was opened after each service. It was someone’s job to empty the bucket before replacing it and closing the small latch on a door cut invisibly into white-painted wood siding around the left side of the church. The latch was hidden by tall flowers in a bed now overgrown with burdock and thistle.

    Though the couple who did purchase the old church removed the burdock and thistle, and though they re-leaded each of the stain-glass windows that had begun to sag after years of vacant and un-heated winter Sundays, they also re-sided the exterior and covered the small secret door to the rusty bucket-toilet entirely. The space inside these newly sided walls became a rentable performance stage for children—complete with trunks full of costumes and long wooden pews where the audience would sit to see the show children rehearsed while their adults drank wine and shared salad with sautéed scallops in what was once the rectory. This small second building on the same property sagged beneath the weight of memory. The floorboards worn from heels of women who gathered to process their berries into jams and to bottle honey from the hives kept behind the church. The hives, kept nearby, were gently pressed into thin noon-day shadows cast by the strong arms of the forest that surrounded all of Pleasant Brook.

    Today the sounds of Sunday choir, the scents of seasonal canning, and the sight of someone opening a secret door to remove the waste of worshippers are all gone. The forest, though, remains. The trees still reach across the road with long arms that hold lean bodies of deer; gutted, sometimes skinned, and sometimes separated from their heads. And driving home from the church I never purchased I realize how strongly I believe in the people who gather their meat from trees.

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  3. Before my freshman year of college at Transy, I had never been to a horse race of any kind, much less the Kentucky Derby or Keeneland. However, once fall arrived and it was the first semester of my freshman year, I kept hearing all about tailgating, free gifts like t –shirts, hats, food, and 1,000 scholarships on fall and spring opening days, and all other things Keeneland. Of course I wanted to see what all the rage was about, so I attended this first opening day of Keeneland in the fall. Since then I have been to every fall and spring opening day since I have been at Transy.

    The past spring opening day of Keeneland just last week was different than past college days. The forecast for Friday was a 90% chance of thunderstorms with 25 mph winds. The usual hype for college day was not as great as past semesters. When Friday rolled around, I was no longer sure if I even wanted to attend this year. However, around noon the sun surprisingly came out with still quite a bit of breeze. Despite future forecasts of rain that day, my friends and I put on our monogrammed rain jacket pullovers and Hunter rain boots and hoped for the best. Once we arrived the crowd was still just as great as any day at Keeneland. Even though the temperatures may have been a little cooler than usual and winds a little stronger, we all still enjoyed the sunny day and our time there together.

    I believe in horses and sunshine. I believe in good times at Keeneland with good friends always, despite the weather circumstances.

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  4. When a siren starts wailing in the distance, I suspect we’ve been reported. Indeed, the red-and-white truck pulls up next to us before I can hide the small fire-extinguisher of the household variety we’ve brought with us. On the day of the final game of the NCAA basketball championship, setting Lexington couches on fire is a crime folks are discouraged from. So the fire truck arrives at the speed of gas-induced flames, called to the couch crime scene by a zealous citizen. And there I am: a woman in my mid-thirties, holding a camera next to a half incinerated couch. Pat has disappeared. I have no idea where Kurt is.

    What I do next feels instinctual. I start sweet-talking the firemen. Except this is not what I think I am doing. What I think I am doing is explaining the situation thoroughly: we are artists working on a project; we thought it would be funny to photograph the only person in Lexington crazy enough to sit on a burning couch while reading a book. I believe that the more thorough my explanation, the more believable it is. Why would they doubt me? I am a woman in my mid-thirties, holding a camera next to a half incinerated couch. Art is the only plausible explanation and this is what I offer. The men in heavy gear laugh and ask for a copy of the picture before tipping their helmets and driving away.

    In retrospect, this is a reliable approach that has worked more than once. Like the time I caused a hit-and-run accident while driving my friend’s car, was accused of fleeing the scene (which I did), and showed up at the local police office weeks after the accident (because my friend was on vacation, he didn’t discover the letters he had received, asking him to show up at the local police office, until after he came back). While my friend addressed the police officer on duty with what I later found out was the expected amount of deference, I called the man by his first name and inquired whether it had Slavic roots. He and I ended up chatting about our East European ancestry, about Montana (of all places), and about living in South Bend, Indiana. I enjoyed the encounter while my friend apparently worried the entire time that I would get both of us arrested.

    So I believe in being just-sneaky-enough. Or maybe just-charming-enough. Or maybe just-enough-of-an innocent-foreigner-to-warrant-another-chance. Either way, I am not afraid of difficult situations. I hold on to my camera, ready to put our fires. At times, my accent deepens.

    PS: The last time Kurt and I set a couch on fire was yesterday. No friendly firemen showed up. Pat was disappointed—she wanted to keep setting the couch on fire. Her small TV flickered.

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  5. On Saturday, I was in a sea of drunken college students, being pushed and pulled by arms, legs, hands, and whatever other parts of bodies that can do that sort of thing. This isn’t really news to anyone, there were a lot of people all doing the same thing. How I got there, however, is funny. How I got back is a whole other story.

    I was at a sister’s house when our evil counterpart that we share the town with (UK) won. The excitement couldn’t be contained in the house. So, what do you do in that situation? Obviously, you leave the house. Me and a friend decided (mostly due to the fact that we thought everyone else was going there, when in fact they all stopped just a few blocks away on Limestone) to walk all the way from Fifth Street to State Street. Along the way, I convinced a girl with a car load of guys to drive us. Unfortunately, we could have actually walked faster than she was driving due to all the traffic. A fact I didn’t care to consider when I bombarded her window and begged for a ride, because my boots were causing pain in my feet. So, in about twenty minutes, we made it one block. That’s when we decided we should just walk.

    By the time we got to State Street, most of the “hoopla” as Mr. Bear/Natty G would say was over. This was probably due to the fact that the majority of the people were passed out drunk in ditches somewhere. As I briefly praised myself for not being in a ditch, I also decided I really had to pee. So I went to a random door that looked non-sketchy and knocked on it. I asked to use their restroom, they declined my offer. So, I did what any respectable college student would do when I threatened them by saying, “Listen, dude. I really have to pee. So, either you’re going to let me pee in your bathroom, or I’m going to pee on your front porch.” He let me in. After that, I decided it was best to go home. When I called for a taxi, they said it would be an hour and a half to two hours. I told them they were useless and hung up.

    So, I started walking down Waller. Albeit, that was the longest way to have started walking, and I have no clue why I went that way. However, it all worked out when I had walked all the way down to where it meets Broadway and decided I couldn’t walk anymore…again. I was never so happy to see a cheap little “open” neon sign lit up in the window of a sketchy Chinese restaurant. I had a shock of brilliance, an epiphany, if you will. I marched inside that restaurant with the dignity of something with a lot of dignity and said to the small Asian man, with a cute smile on my face “Would you drive me back to my house?” He said something in Chinese to a lady in the back and looked at me like I was crazy. He also declined my offer. What the heck is wrong with people these days? I replied with, “Well, I really can’t walk anymore. My feet hurt too badly and it’s so cold outside. If I buy food and make it a delivery, would you deliver me with the food?” This time, he didn’t look at me like I was crazy, more psychotic. As if he was contemplating calling Eastern State Hospital on me. But, without another word, he gave me a sympathetic smile and nodded his head.

    It was a quiet drive home, and definitely one that was much appreciated. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I believe in trust. I believe in goodness and sympathy, and helping people out who you don’t even know, even when they might be crazy. Letting them in your house, your restaurant, your car, if that’s what it takes. I believe in the little situations that allow you to meet people that show you there’s still good, caring people out there.

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  6. And at the end of the movie, just before the credits started to role, he had decided that he didn’t need to time travel at all. He decided that he would wake up every day and live it as deliberately as he had when he gave that day the second chance. He would love his extraordinary ordinary life and soak in all of its simple complexities.

    We watched “About Time” for the second time over spring break in Florida. It was late in the evening. I was suffering from a terrible sun burn, my skin soaked in aloe with a cool wash rag laying over top to hold in the moisture. Tim and Mary’s love story was being constructed yet again before my eyes. Boy meets Girl in dark room. Boy and Girl connect. Boy and Girl go home together. Yet, Tim decided to help a friend..the butterfly effect of time travel messes up their meeting and he has to meet Mary all over again. While I am a sobby, gushy, romantic this movie sends me a much larger message. One that I feel like I’ve desperately needed and think I would have benefited from learning much sooner, but what can you do?

    I have learned that I am the luckiest.

    I am the luckiest because I have a pair of pajama bottoms that are perfection. They are a mellow grey and cool blue flannel. So soft and worn from too many washes.
    I am the luckiest because I know how to cook a meal that I love, that I can share with others. cubed steak and potatoes are a hit ..except with vegetarians
    I am the luckiest because I have arms to hug me every single day, whether they be from friends or family.
    I am the luckiest because I have had the opportunity to travel, to see places that I have dreamt about since I was small. I have lived in Greece and New York. Places that allowed me to lose myself and find myself all over again.
    I am the luckiest because I have received one of the finest educations I could imagine. The amount of growth both personally and academically amazes me. I can write a 25 page paper that I’m proud of. I can weld and use three different types of saws. I can talk with a variety of people about a variety of subjects and feel comfortable.
    I am the luckiest because my heart is always open, behind every dark cloud I face I can somehow find the silver lining. My ping of optimism I’ve realized will always remain, no matter how hard I try to squash it.
    I am the luckiest because I have to power to make someone laugh so hard that they cry, or turn fitful tears into uncontrollable laughter. I can make someone’s day better if I just put forth the effort.

    I could go on and on about why I think I’m the luckiest, these are just what came to my mind today. I hope you all can look at the world around you and appreciate your own ordinary, extraordinary life. While it may feel like it sucks at moments, while you aren’t sure if the work pays off or if your dreams will ever become a reality, I can promise that you are the luckiest simply because you are the one that gets to experience the ride.

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  7. If it wasn’t for my fellow friends i probably would not be where i am today. Thanks to friends i made when i was younger, i was led through successful paths in middle school and in high school and eventually leading me here in college. Obviously there were some bumps on the road but we all know that some obstacles or speed bumps are common and even essential at times when it comes to learning through trial and error. Learning through trial and error has seemed to be the way in which i have learned many things this year. I came here to Transy basically not knowing how to fix a single thing on a bike. Yet i took on the challenge to become a mechanic and through trial and error while fixing certain parts, i eventually succeeded and began doing the right things. We all took on this difficult challenge of making lanterns and oh boy we sure were newbies when it came to making lanterns. I failed miserably and i’m sure a lot of us did when we first began welding pieces of metal together, but through our mistakes and trial and error we slowly began to get the hang of it. It was not only I who failed miserably at many things but also my friends who failed miserably at many things as well. But thankfully we all had the drive to keep on working on our craft until we did things right. I believe that it is important to find a good group of friends who will be willing to push through those difficult times and to have those friends that are willing to suffer with you. I believe in setting those goals right away so that you know what you want to reach and that way, no matter how hard an obstacle or failure might hit you, depending on who you are you will push through and eventually succeed.

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  8. ’m relatively sure that I have learned a great deal this year. So much, in fact, that specific examples of knowledge pulled from my classes, experiences, books, movies, articles, and so on, seem almost impossible to access; to sort through effectively. The shear amount of information that has been presented to me - and with so little time to digest any of it - has produced in me an odd surrealism-imprint of the past several months. It’s mostly just flashes of color, or people’s faces, or smells, or feelings of despair mixed with feelings of absolute elation. My mind is a blender. And my blender-brain has a jammed “purée button.”

    If you twisted my arm though, I can recall a few facts from this semester. Embarrassingly enough for my qualities as a student, none of it was what transy set out to teach me. It’s just what’s left over. Here’s a few things that got stuck on the blades of my blender-brain and wouldn’t quite chop up completely:

    -Ben Sollee wears a medium T-Shirt size. If you ever needed to get him a T-shit.
    -The universe is about 13.5 Billion years old. Considering humans are just bits of universe that makes all of us STUPID old. I no longer feel badly about needing to go to bed early.
    -bird-couples frequently cheat on one another, just like humans (also they don’t like being eaten)
    -2 black coffees, a seeded bagel with peanut butter, and a banana cost $6.50 (although I will never know the true cost of such items. sorry, earth)
    -the anime series “Gundam Build Fighters” has exactly 25 episodes,

    I believe, the rest, is just a smoothie.

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  9. I believe in spontaneous walks with no destination.

    You just meet with a friend and go. You flip a coin to decide left or right, or maybe you just follow the weird yellow car at the next intersection. The direction does not matter because the city is easy to navigate your phone is fully charged, though you have nearly forgotten about the weight of it in your back pocket. The conversation you are having is to intoxicating that you do not notice the text messages building up in your inbox.

    You and your companion go back and forth between talking about your lives before Lexington and silently appreciating the place you have found yourselves. Life is easier here, where everything you need is down the street, where the beautiful and the ugly of the city flirt with each other, and where the people are so numerous and varied, that anyone can find a niche.

    The walk must end, but you look forward to the next time you feel compelled to aimlessly wander with a friend. Your body is tired from the hours of traversing broken sidewalks, and when did you last eat? It is no matter to you, because your mind, though filled with new thoughts, is clearer and less jumbled than it was before. You left your petty problems and troubling thoughts scattered on the sidewalk behind you.

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  10. Now that the sun has come out again, my music tastes have changed to the psychedelic relics of the 60s and 70s. In my Itunes library, I have changed to my playlists that bring me to Strawberry Fields Forever, swarming me with the Helter Skelter of colliding societal and global views of that time. I find my peace in “Jai Guru Deva OM” and in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies (no I don’t partake LSD). Sometimes, you have those days when you have to light some essence in your room, turn off those florescent lightbulbs, and relax to the harmonious tones of the fab four. Here comes the sun, so I believe in the Beatles.
    These men became a cultural icon of the hippie era as they took the whole world by swarm. They aren’t the most talented artists, we are all aware of that. Their chord schemes, harmonies, the tone of their voices are very plain compared to some of the artists that have hit into mainstream. However, the difference is the life their music has held among other artists. From the most simplistic romance songs to the Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, people have found joy in their music and have listened to it for over 50 years for this reason.
    I believe in their bowl-cuts and their topped up platforms when they performed the “Hard Days Night” album. I believe in the roots they placed over the years in America, in most of Europe, in India as they traveled and brought their music to many different cultures. I believe in their quirky movies, where Ringo might be sacrificed because of a ring that got stuck on his finger. I believe in the word “Love” and that it is all you need. Most of all, I believe in their spirit because you can truly see that they enjoy the music they play and love what it can mean to other people.

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  11. I believe in mornings.

    Knock on my door at eleven p.m. and you are far less likely to get a response than if you knock at 7 a.m. In high school I went to bed a 9 and got up at 5. And the best part about all of this—I choose to do it. Yes, I am indeed, the rare and dreaded, morning person.

    I’d much rather go to bed when exhaustion first hits me and force myself to do work in the brief moment of refreshment that comes after you wake up--no matter how little sleep you get.

    I believe in looking out my window to see back circle just lighting up, and to looking at the other dorm buildings to see who else may be awake already. In the morning I can take all the time to get ready and listen to all the terrible country music without any judgment. I can change clothes five times before anyone sees me and I can get homework done that probably should’ve been done two days ago.

    In the mornings, I can do anything I want. I can wake up hours before I need to and just sit. So many mornings I’ve sat down with a cup of tea and looked at my clock after what feels like five minutes only to seen 45 minutes has gone by. The mornings are my time. The time in which my family members were never awake, my friends have yet to begin their days, and when I know I can just be.

    I believe in mornings. They create my day—a morning gone well holds loads of promise for the day and the opposite is easily true. I believe that no matter how old I get, and no matter how late my friends (or I) decide to stay out and party, mornings will always be consistent, beautiful, and my time.

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  12. Well we made it to the championship just like I said we would. I am so proud of my cats. They fought so hard throughout the entire tournament. We honestly did not expect the effort and success that we saw from them in the games due to how their season had gone. But like I said, we made it.

    Playing UCONN in the final game made for a very good basketball game. Both teams played very well and I guess UCONN just fought a little harder because in the end they won the game. They beat us by 4 points, 60-54. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see what would have been our 9th title to slip away in the last few minutes of the game. Seeing the looks on all of the player’s faces, Coach Cal, the fans in the stands, and the people around me watching the game was truly disheartening. I hated it. It completely sucked and I could not do a thing about it. I heard so many what if statements all night and even responded to some telling the person that it does not matter now because it is all said and done, we could not change anything. Yes, we can blame it on the referees, on the missed free throws, or the fact that Willie Cauley-Stein was injured and could not help his team but honestly, none of that matters. We have to take this loss as encouragement to play better and as a lesson. There were so many sloppy parts in the game that need an extreme amount of work so that we can take home the 9th title that was taken from us this year.

    Yes we are all a little disappointed in the outcome of the game but by no means are we disappointed in our boys. They played their hearts out and I am sure are unbelievably dissatisfied with themselves and feel as if the loss is all of their fault and that they could have done better to bring home another title to Kentucky. But as I said before, we as a state and them as basketball players need to take this loss as a lesson/reinforcement of the love we have for our Big Blue Nation. It is a lesson to the players because no matter the outcome they have to know that they proved that were able to play with teams who were more experienced or had a better seed than them and that could beat them. Their age and lack of experience if you will was irrelevant once they came to play. The state of Kentucky needs to take this loss as a reinforcement of just how much we truly love our Wildcats even if they did not give us the ending we had all hoped for. They did everything they could and fell short just a few points and that is incredible considering the shape we were in during the season. We need to support the boys and let them know that we do not blame them and still love them just as much.

    I believe in loss because it can provide many lessons along with unifying members of a group, in this case, the members of the Big Blue Nation.

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