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Monday, March 2, 2015

This I Believe essay # 7

Please post your essay here before class on Tuesday, March 3. You know the drill.

29 comments:

  1. I believe in the sound of my mother’s wedding ring: tapping rhythmically on the stair railing as she ascends to tell my brother and me to stop talking and go to sleep. I knew it would hit the railing seven times before connecting with the porcelain knob of our bedroom door.

    I believe in the sound of my mother’s wedding ring: smacking the side of a glass pie plate to spread the flour evenly across the buttered surface. Then minutes later pinging on each dish turning in her hands, as she scrubs every surface more efficiently than a dishwasher. The dishwasher is plagued by her suspicion of all things newer than the steam engine.

    I believe in the sound of my mother’s wedding ring: thumping the bottom of a yellow plastic bucket to settle the wild strawberries I had picked. This allows another half hour for picking strawberries and pricking my cuticles with stumped and dried stalks of hay still standing from last year’s mowing. My yellow bucket, like the ones my brother and two sisters were using, was originally filled with 2 pints of chunky peanut butter. The single row of decorative blue and pink flowers around the rim had been scrubbed off long ago. Like the carved ornamentation on my mother’s ring, they were casualties of her patented elbow grease that would proudly clean anything.

    I believe in the sound of my father’s wedding ring: reconnecting with the glass, gallon jug of milk from the family cow each time he lowered the ladle to skim the cream off the top. We used the cream to make our own butter. I can still hear my mother’s ring and the hollow knock it made against the wooden bowl as she paddled salt into the butter once I had finished churning it.

    This bowl had been a wedding gift for my great grandmother. It was then given to my grandmother, my mother, and eventually me. I use the bowl to chop cranberries for pie and ice cream: my ring hits the bowl rhythmically as I spin it with my left hand.

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    1. This was really beautiful. I connect my parents with the way their keys jingle. That tends to be our individual identifiers within my family, and this made me think of that and smile a lot.

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    2. This is a beautiful reflection, Kurt. So full of tenderness and nostalgia.

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  2. I love how this is set up because it gives the reader tiny little looks at such clear pictures of "childhood," and life memories. The topics/stories are so original and specific to you.

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  3. So there we sat. He had been at a semester long internship with a very prestigious accounting firm, and I had remained at Transy. I was trying to figure out my moral life, who I was, and what I wanted to be proud of when I lied my head on my pillow at night. I was seeking moments in the future when I went to bed with a mind full of peace, and not anxiety about the process of who I was at that moment in order to become who I wanted to be. He was slaving away at taxes, and business-type stuff that I will never grasp no matter how many times my mom tries to reshape her explanations of it in hopes of me finally getting a light bulb of knowledge. He was figure out what it was like to have an “8-8” job. He was distracted by how much, and how well he could perfect the jobs given to him. I had too much time. I had too much mental and physical free time that I was driving myself into a self-conscious rut.

    There we sat, at common grounds, him with coffee and me with tea. I asked about how it was to have a “real job” and work until you are delirious. He asked me how my sorority was, and how my workload was with my classes for the semester. We had completely different lives at that moment. He was constantly busy and missing his friends and his free time. I wasn’t working enough and was investing too much time in my social life, than on my own, personal life. I needed to work more, and be more alone. He needed a relief with his old friends still at Transy.

    We talked for close to an hour and it wasn’t until I was back at home, on my couch, until I realized how important old friends are who really know you. Old friends do not see you in that one character. Old friends see a beautiful story unfolding and you evolving, good or bad. I believe in old friends who walk through life with you, and allow you to go back to the much-needed basics. I believe in old friends.

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  4. There are pictures of my Uncle Bill where he looks remarkably like Bill Murray. I have no memory of him but I like to imagine this resemblance stayed consistent in real life. I only know pieces of his life. My mother told me he would hum whenever he would chew food. She said that it drove her crazy and she would always get angry at him, but now she says she would give anything to hear him hum again. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure that anecdote was actually about Bill. Maybe it was about my Uncle Clayton. I have memories of living Clayton, but having two uncles on my mother’s side who have died and who are not talked about often, the pieces I have learned about them sometimes blur together.

    The last time I saw Clayton he showed up at our house at what seemed like in the middle of the night. It was probably only like 10 or something, but I was in fifth grade so everything seemed later and more mysterious than it actually was. I ran to my room and grabbed a handful of rocks from my modest collection and gave them to him, trying to connect with him the only way my shy younger self knew how. He accepted them graciously and quickly pretended to swallow them. He never showed me them in his hand still, perhaps he was hoping I had actually believed he swallowed them.

    Clayton and my mother share a birthday, five years apart. My mother is the oldest of five. There is a bench in place of a grave, we scattered his ashes in his favorite river.

    A recent conversation with my mother revealed that several things I believed about Bill were simply not true. The way he was talked about I always assumed he had died as a teenager, and that we had never met. He had lived to be 34. And yes, we had definitely met. My mother’s mother’s side is very large, physically. They’re just tall and broad and strong people. My mother’s brothers were all big men. I recently learned that Bill had been the biggest. Perhaps more than anything else, this verification of his actual physical size made him real to me. More than the horror stories my aunt told me of his bullying when they were kids, his hand written notes of “Lori is fat” shoved under the door each time she went to the bathroom, and her discovery of the same message painted onto the side of their shed. His mental health was never completely intact, and perhaps this is what led him to tie her cat to a tree and throw rocks at it, but still, even as her terrorizer, I know Lori misses him. I wish he could see how beautiful she is, at 47, her house so full of love and light.

    I recently visited my grandma. I will soon be moving into an apartment in the building next to hers. She showed me her tribute to her children. Two vases, one from Clayton and one from my mom, flowers from my aunt, and a clock given to her by Bill. They were all on display on a shelving unit that had been painted by my Uncle Mark. All five of her children as physical objects.

    I believe in the big men of my family, like my cousin whose hand swallows my own in his palm alone. I believe that families are complicated and there will always be more things to discover about my parents as people, my extended family as people. I don’t even know Bill’s birthday or his middle name, and sometimes I’m too afraid to ask questions for fear of making someone sad. I take comfort in the new knowledge I’ve gained that he held me as a baby, probably close to his chest. I found pictures of Clayton throwing my brother into the air as a toddler, and ones of my mother taking a hat off his head. How real these snippets make them. This is how we are capable of carrying on.

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    1. Katie, what a beautiful narrative, weaving different strands about different people into a story of family love and carrying on. You write so well. I hope you consider taking a creative writing class while you are at Transy.

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  5. I believe in lunches out with my mother or father during these last two years. My mother works close and my father is always willing to come in for lunch. It normally starts out with a quick call for groceries with mom, or any type of call to dad then an offer stated in this type of question “what are you doing?” I take this as are you free son? I know we need to be together more and lunches with them individually make me realize what I have with them. I think through life mom and dad have slowly become to define different things about me, the older I get I start to learn about their individual self’s. I feel like I never really looked at them this way, they were collectively mom and dad, their own amalgam of love and sanctity covering me up. As I slowly stepped out of the house into the college atmosphere, we tried to keep our interactions to a weekly lunch, or when I wanted a trip home to do clothes and a home cooked meal. This year I’ve slowly realized how much these lunches and trips home mean to me.

    Time with mother: we delve into talks about academics, politics, what’s been bothering her what’s been bothering me. I tell her about cool projects I’m doing, she tells me about her projects. I slowly realized how similar we were through these one on one interaction, for example we crack similar jokes, we take similar pauses in speech, we get emotional about the same stuff. We want to talk about the hard stuff, but quickly divulge from the topic to make ourselves feel better. We talk about a lot of good stuff but we quickly both want to know how each of us feels.

    Lunch with dad: things start off with whatever happens to be playing on classic rock radio, we let the song play out, then it gets stuck in our heads for the rest of the lunch. We normally talk about sports first, uk basketball, what arsenal did or didn’t do. I delve into some music stuff I just learned to get that off my chest, it seems he is always intrigued to listen. We talk about where we want to eat firstly, normally gumbo or the coop. Then I may talk about a myriad of things, mainly how’s Marcus doing at home? My younger brother is home alone without his brothers for the first time in his life. I may talk about my relationship, generally how well it’s going. Slowly things delve off into things I can’t remember. We are comfortable now, there is no stress talking to parents. So who knows where it will go. I believe in the lunches out with my parents, they always seem worthwhile.

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    1. I like the simplicity of your relationship with your parents. Or maybe it's not all that simple. But your lunches sound simple and good.

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  6. I strongly dislike being in a system with rules and expectations and most of the time I strongly dislike the people within that system. It's hard to trust anyone when at any moment they will turn around and decide they can't or won't agree with you anymore, or they will twist your words to make you feel like the stupid one. No matter how hard I try or how many people tell me to, I cannot and refuse to let go of these frustration with our world. And because of these frustrations, I can't even count the times that I have declared I was going to drop out of school, pack up and move out, donate all my things to goodwill and couch surf for a while, or run away to new orleans like I have regularly attempted. A few months ago, these declarations almost came true into one wonderful escape. I remember telling Katie, I was gonna do it. I might just go back to Chicago, or go to Zach's house and cry until he said we could run away and live in the woods together, or just leave every form of contact I had with people and drive to the south to abandon my car and wander around. I now realize how incredibly selfish this was of me, and found out only days ago that the moment I told Katie that I was going to leave, was the moment she knew she needed to create a counterplan to make sure I didn't. Without my knowing, that week months ago was a seemingly incredibly stressful time for Katie and she spent an excessive amount of time with me to ensure I could not escape. Outside of my immediate family, I have three people in my life who I know will never judge me and always look out for my best interests because they always have. Katie is one of them. I remember one time, possibly during this week now when thinking about it, I needed to get away. Rather than sending me off on a drive alone, Katie and I drove for what felt like hours through the farms with their fall landscapes, winding down small roads I felt like we weren't even driving on. She asked me if she could sit on the ledge of the passenger window and I let her, thinking she was the crazy one when I was the one who was trying to escape one of my best friends and a lesson I still need to learn. Regardless of how angry, emotional and dramatic I can get with my frustrations in life, Katie is always there encouraging me to let it out so I can move on through it and we can go watch netflix together, or go for another drive, or sit and talk. I am so grateful for a friend like her, and I believe in Katie.

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  7. I know what it is like to feel alone. It has come and gone in in my life like a shadow cloaked visitor just passing through. Every time it is different. Sometimes it was a quiet sense of disconnect that sat with me all day, other times it was overwhelming. Loneliness often came to me when I was full of shame and sorrow, when I was hiding my pain from others. When I was younger I did not know how to reach out, I did not know how to ask for help or tell people what I needed. After my sophomore year as I went through recovery I began to find my voice. I started to be reach out to other people. This was radical and still to this day reaching out to others is a skill that allows me to live in a sustainable and joyful way. Reaching out to others began when the loneliness was catastrophic, only when I was at my worst did I pick up the phone to call someone I trusted. As I progressed I learned that I didn’t need to be in pieces before I asked for help, slowly as I built myself up I learned that asking for help before things get bad is the best way to go about things. It seems so logical now, but before I was so scared of the responses of other people, of being a burden or a bother I never put myself in other people lives unless it was all I could do.
    As I began to live a more healthy, sane life I learned a different kind of reaching out when my choir teacher simply told us, “If you are having an issue with time management just ask one of the upperclassmen how they were able to stay successful and organized.” I began to realize that the people around me are wealths of wisdom and experience, everyone has a way of living and succeeding. When I saw someone do something I loved or I thought was great, I started to ask them, “How?” In this way I began to connect with others and learn from them in ways that were helping both of us. I believe in reaching out, in asking questions and connecting with others. There is a whole world of people who know so much about things that you might be trying to figure out, so don’t be afraid to ask them how they got where they are.

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  8. This I believe: I am a human vacuum
    Ladies and gentleman, I am a human vacuum. Sadly I don’t actually mean I clean messes with the power of “Dyson cyclone technology”. What I mean is that sometimes when something interests me, I take it into my life, my home, or my body with the force of a vacuum pull. I am the human equivalent of a Dirt Devil but I don’t suck up dirt, sand, or dust; I mostly suck up ideas, people, and things.
    First thing you should know about being a human vacuum is that just like a real vacuum you sometimes you don’t have power over what you take in. You just suck it all up. Even if it’s something you didn't intend to end up in the vacuum. For example, I am a cultural vacuum. I am a literal Pantheon of obscure movies, music, and pop culture references. I usually pull this talent out around friends and family for a little entertainment, like a party trick. I can run off on tangents just regurgitating fun facts I picked up from television, the internet, and gossip magazines. That is no big deal; my friends will not hate me until kingdom come if I get a little bit obsessed with the culture in the world.
    But on flip side, sometimes I am more of a junk vacuum. I don’t mean I just find junk by the side of the road and keep it; no, I collect things that mean something to me or that I think I need around for the future. It could be a knickknack, a ticket for a movie I saw, or a ripped sticky note from five years ago. I just love finding my little treasures.
    To be honest, I just described a hoarder. Well, I admit it. I am a hoarder, just like my mother and her mother and father before me. People don’t tend to like hoarders so much. They take up space. They are delusional about what things are actually worth because the sentiment clouds their judgment. This is the kind of thing I suck up that people don’t like or don’t want to hear about. I don’t always notice I am hoarding sometimes. I just do. I get frustrated with myself for not being able to let it go. I feel like the woman who will be some day found dead under a toppled pile of shoes. It is tragic really. It actually sucks.

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    1. I suppose the good news is that I once was a vacuum for a multitude of other things but that I was able to stop. For instance I used to literally be a food suction device. Lunch time would roll around and I would Hoover in every food everywhere. If I was home alone, I’d eat. If I was sad, I would eat. If I was stressed, confused, bored, or hungry; I would eat. When I was in a sports season, it was a non-issue. I could burn every calorie I consumed. When it wasn't, it was an issue.
      I know what you are thinking. I must have been gaining weight and that upset me but that really isn't what I am talking about. It was that I would eat to the point of pain. My stomach would be warped and stressed and my brain did not kick in to tell me I was full until I felt it touch the roof of my stomach. I would be doubled over in pain but I couldn't stop. If I ever complained about this my friends assumed it was about weight gain and I would immediately get dirty looks. Turns out friends don’t take kindly if you are blessed with a naturally thin physique and you could stand to gain a few pounds in their opinion. I eventually figured out it wasn't worth talking about. But the issue didn't go away. I couldn't stop eating.
      I needed a solution and the best options were either than I needed to stop eating completely and remove the temptation or I needed a way to stop the pain. Since I clearly was unable to just not eat I realized I needed to find a way to stop the pain, maybe by removing the issue of over stuffing. I don’t remember what gave me the idea but one day I had my solution. And that same day when the bathroom was cleared after lunch I purged. Needless to say, when I tried it once and immediately felt better. I just kept thinking this was my solution.
      Fun fact, purging means heaving up food from your stomach, up your esophagus, and out your mouth. It’s not really very pretty. It erodes your teeth and throat. Essentially you are inducing the feeling of heartburn and hyper tooth sensitivity on yourself. Not to mention your eyes water and turn red. You lose nutrients by not letting them absorb into your system. You can rupture your esophagus and blood vessels from over purging.
      I won’t go into detail about how long my "solution" lasted but I will say I was able to get through high school without ever being questioned. What’s sad is not many people know. Not because I was so embarrassed I was purging but because I was embarrassed I could not stop my super powered food vacuuming. It’s embarrassing to be a vacuum about things. I can’t stop who I am. It makes you feel like a monster.
      Stopping the purging came as a result of stopping the vacuum. Turning it off, sort of speak. Being the vacuum means having the convulsion to do something. You can’t stop. What’s funny about the word vacuum is that it isn't just a tool for suction. Vacuum can mean nothingness and void. That’s how it feels after you've done something you aren't about to stop, just empty.

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    2. Cali, this essay starts out as a fun joke and then becomes as dark as the darkest night. So glad you were able to pull out of the darkness. So glad you are now healthier and happier.

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  9. I was sitting in one of the various theater class I took my senior year of high school when the classroom phone rang for me. I was given instructions to follow an elaborate maze back to the recesses of the school. Past the back hall, pass the band room, pass the practice rooms, and into a small room that had a desk, a filing cabinet, two chairs, and a woman in it. The woman gestured for me to sit down. She also said to please sit down, but she gestured it as well. I did as I was told and I found a small wooden knick-knack on the desk before me. I poked and prodded at it before realizing it was made up of a bunch of small wood boxes and there was a small rope linking them together so that you may create different shapes with it. As I played with it, my first of many therapy sessions began.

    I’ve since graduated from therapy on two separate occasions. Each time learning something new that I didn’t expect to find. I’ve learn to say yes when listening to criticism, I’ve learned what reflection really means, and I’ve learned that I’m not normal. Nobody is. We all go through life with shared and unshared experiences, with trauma and with pleasure. These are experiences to own. Accepting that what has happened, happened, is one of the hardest pills I’ve had to swallow, but thankful my friends and family were there with cups of water. My therapy sessions have taught me to accept, so I guess you could say I believe in accepting the past and in therapy.

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    1. I love the simplicity of your statement "I've learned that I'm not normal." It would be a cliche to respond that I am glad that you are not normal. Still, I will say it: I am glad you are not "normal."

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  10. I am not so good at holding onto people. Even in this age of close contact and online offerings it is difficult for me to maintain relationships, even with those I know are important to me. Sometimes, it is good to say goodbye – so long to a toxic friendship, adios to a fun but fleeting summer job, so long to a sister moved halfway across the country. These are good things, and closure is easy to find when these interactions are spelled out on the blue light screen of an iDevice. The problem comes when opportunity asks that you cut ties with a life you’ve come to love. A small campus and hometown, too comfortable to necessitate growth, loyal friends whose ambitions beyond the geographic bounds of the Commonwealth and domestic bliss, a loving and supportive family whose tendency for the far flung planted this seed of discontent years ago when they all flew in to Lake Forest for family reunions. My anxieties coincide increasingly with the academic calendar – with the deadlines and future dates that will gradually separate me from the people and place that have come to mean so much to me. This is not a fear that is unique – I see it reflected in many of my peers as we linger over cooled coffee and trade “remember when”s from a bunk bed each night. I look back at the first year I wrote posts for this blog, cringing a little at my own saccharine reflections and smiling when I see truth I had missed upon repeat viewing of my classmates’ words. I may be dragging my heels and classically fearful of the unknown, but I still believe in widening circles, and in loving the friends I am no longer close to.

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    1. Hanna, remember that many friends will come visit you, that your friendships will change and, in some cases, grow in richness, Yes to widening circles (and to rereading old TIB essays!)

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  11. I found my favorite theory for the end of the world from one of those shows predicting how it would all go down in December of 2012. It goes something like this: In their current state, both the earth and the atmosphere are spinning. If for some reason, likely a shift in polar magnetism or something like that, the earth stopped spinning, the atmosphere would soldier on. Though NASA confirms it as theoretically possible, it is not considered one of the most likely global destruction scenarios. Those tend to me nuclear wars or comets; stuff that’s no fun. If the earth were to stop spinning, the result would create such strong winds that buildings would break from their foundations, and pedestrians would take flight so fast they would reach orbit before realizing what happened.

    Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to fly. I dreamed of one day jumping and never coming down, just staying with the clouds. I dreamed of racing the birds, of flying to the peaks of mountains and enjoying the quiet there for a while. I dreamed of watching my suburban maze shrink under my feet, going to a place where there was no homework or fights with my brothers. Every now and then I think about flying away from taxes and essays and everything else. Just floating in endless sky.

    I’ve mostly given up on flying now. I’ve grasped the depressing concept of gravity, and learned that my feet will always return to the pavement. Airplanes used to be exciting, but now only feel like window shopping. I look out at the emptiness of the sky that will always be beyond my reach, and eventually close the shade. I’ve accepted that I will have to climb mountains to reach their peak and that suburban mazes have exits. I’ve learned to float in the silence of my own solitude. I believe you can fly with your feet on the ground.

    But I still get oddly excited, and terrified, with a particularly strong gust of wind.

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  12. I believe in Baba Marta.

    Maybe I believe in Baba Marta because I was born and raised in Bulgaria, a small country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, where wars mark major holidays and contain the seeds of centuries-long animosities. But it wasn’t war that made me love Baba Marta. Like everyone else, I looked forward to March 1, to exchanging gifts spun with white and red yarn. I looked forward to spotting the first blossoming tree in the spring and to tying my martenitsa on it. With the blossoms came spring.

    Maybe I believe in Baba Marta because it is the only Bulgarian holiday I continued to celebrate after leaving. Because I have no time to make martenitsi, my mother purchases them for me in Bulgaria. For each of the last 18 years, she has mailed me 50 Baba Marta bracelets.

    Maybe I believe in Baba Marta because each year my American circle of Baba Marta friends grows. This year I broke a rule—I handed out red-and-white bracelets on March 2. I weighed the options—staying true to an age-old calendar or giving a gift of renewal. I opted for change, the American way. Today I gifted a martenitsa to the woman who makes the best coffee in town. I wished her health and happiness, and assured her that fertility is optional.

    I trust Baba Marta approves my American wayward ways.

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  13. I am starting to believe in teachers.

    In my experience, teachers are under qualified buffoons who know little about children and even less about the subject being taught. In elementary school, I learned that teachers talk down to you. In junior high, I learned that they are bullies and will hold your religion against you. In high school, I learned that teachers gossip and are not actually knowledgeable.

    Even though I know that most teachers probably are not like that (I say probably because I am not yet fully convinced), I still find it hard to actually believe that teachers are there for their students. Here at Transy, my friends will talk about conversations they had after class with a professor and it shocks me. In my mind, you are not supposed to acknowledge a professor or teacher after class. You scurry from the room with your head down and shoulders hunched. You do not speak to them and you certainly do not ask for help.

    For most of college so far, I have been very silent and awkward around my professors, just like I did in high school. But I am trying to change those habits now because I have finally seen professors express concern for students. They do not seem to be like the villains I shared classrooms with before and I am starting to think that maybe my view of them has been a little twisted.

    I doubt that I will ever lose the automatic suspicion I feel when meeting a teacher for the first time, but I am trying not to expect them to be bad people. Maybe I will eventually believe in teachers.

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  14. I believe in dancing in the rain.
    I work(ed) for Sodexo, in catering for a while, and during my sophomore year, I worked for them a lot. The first event that they had all of the student workers work, was the 300-person dinner, for the UK/Transy scrimmage game. It is a large event, and it was very challenging, both physically and mentally. With it being the first event any of us had done with sodexo, we were exhausted by the end of the evening. Pushing carts of food taller than I am, and stacks of breakable dishes across broadway was a nightmare. Especially when it started to our down rain, as the event was over. The rain was slamming into the streets, soaking us, water splashing up as cars drove by, ignoring, as the normally do, the poor, sopping students waiting to cross the street.
    Eventually, we were finished moving stuff across the street. The reprieve was nice, finally being allowed to eat, and putting the dishes and decorations away. The brief time outside of the rain. Here comes the weird part of the story. The dinner was close to Halloween, so the table decorations were pumpkins, and for some reason, me and my two closest friends decided to take 4 pumpkins each to put outside of our rooms in Rosenthal. We pushed a cart full of pumpkins through the river that was fourth street, drenching our slightly dried selves even further. It hit us, halfway across the street. We were done, the exhaustion was suddenly lifted, and we found energy to stand outside and sing, and dance in the rain. Mulan lyrics were our go-to, “As swift as a coursing river. With all the force of a great Typhoon…” Very topical lyrics. We spent a half hour just playing in the cold rain, and it was one of the times I have been most content, just spending time with friends. This is why I believe in dancing in the rain.

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  15. I believe in Zombie Apocalypses. When asked what dragon sized creature and what weapon would I want in a Zombie Apocalypse, I had to really think about it because I would not want to just survive but to live too. If I were to be in a Zombie Apocalypse I would have a bald eagle the size of your everyday average dragon and a laser/ray gun as my weapon.

    Can you imagine flying around on your nation’s symbol of freedom (the size of a dragon)? I chose it for two main reasons; 1) freedom 2) their protective instinct will be a great advantage in battle.

    Can you imagine firing a laser/ray gun? I also chose this for a couple reasons; 1) unlimited ammo 2) the spread of the laser would be very efficient.

    Though I have never been in a Zombie Apocalypse, what I have gathered from movies and shows, I believe these two components to be the best companions in one; I believe in dragon sized bald eagles and laser/ray guns.

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  16. John Croghan had special plan for those catacombs, the travelers in their suits and frilly dresses wouldn't mind too much he thought. Littered in the halls of the Mammoth Cave were stone huts and their residents; frail pale beings in hospital gowns. You see, back in the 1800s, consumption run rampant among people and the good doctor thought a little bit of fresh cave air would do the trick for the lungs. Wheezes and coughs would interrupt the silence as healthy folk traversed this subterranean hell during cave tours. Withered plants littered this area as well, a weak attempt to bring happiness to a hollow place. The bodies of hopeful patients laid lifeless on the aptly titled corpse rock. The consumption cabin was an experimental failure and eventually every patient, and Croghan himself, fell victim to Tuberculosis. Despite what I have told you friends, I believe I would rather sleep in the remains of those huts instead of attempting to sleep in Shearer arts at night.

    In theory, Shearer should not be as scary as I chalk it up to be. Transylvania is known to host the bones of what is most likely not Rafinesque, the home of an unsolved murder, and there might be an entrance to hidden catacombs underneath old Morrison. However, for what Shearer lacks in history, it makes it up in atmosphere. So, It was the witching hour and instead of being in the safe confines of my dorm I was attempting to sleep on the second hall couch. For reference, I had a severe case of the shambles with an impeding chemistry exam, biology test, and the occasional woodworking sessions so any object that had some sort of softness to it was a prime sleeping candidate. Once the clock struck into the AM, the demons came to play. Irregular water drips would echo throughout the building at faucets I could not find. Pipes rattled and clinked while the boogeyman slithered through the AC unit, eventually bellowing out a screech so loud that it was as if a hatch door to Sheol was being created. Cold air began to wheeze out of the vents, which makes sense considering that most people report cold chills for apparitions so it is in the art faculties’ best interest to leave the building cool for optimal spectre incubation. No longer could I handle this, I dashed out of this forsaken place while animatronic bird squawks warned the residents that their potential victim was running away. Honestly I was originally going to write a piece about how much I love staying in Shearer after hours but no, ever since the happenings of the first night of March, I have overstayed my welcome in this damned building and I believe that Shearer is in long overdue of an exorcism, or a trip from physical plant.

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    1. The idea of exorcism in Shearer cracks me up! You are so funny, Devin.

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  17. I believe in not being able to believe things.

    Frequently these days, I look at the world around me and think, “how does something like that exist?” Not to mention the overabundantly mysterious existence of life as a whole in the first place, but on a more specific scale, I find myself often asking, “how could someone ever possibly come up with that?” As I watched a giant metal pod with wings soaring through the air in the distance, I found myself unable to believe that something like an airplane could ever exist. As I rode at 50mph in a giant metal box watching a giant metal pod with wings soar through the air at an alarmingly precise angle, I found myself unable to believe that such a thing like a car could exist.

    I think to myself sometimes that it seems strange to be so perplexed by things that have existed for such a relatively long amount of time (or not, depending on age and perspective). But then I think...is it really that strange to never stop being shocked at the reality of something so astounding as a super-mega-heavy machine that flies millions of people through millions of miles of atmosphere? There are at least a bajillion other things that are as perplexing and even more than airplanes or cars, and not even physical inventions in particular. The level to which (humans, but also other) beings are able to organize and perform under specific circumstances everyday together also astounds me. Like everyone following traffic rules and whatnot... How are we able to get so many people to agree with each other on how something should be? I think this amazement but also slight suspicion of the way our world works as we perceive it can be very stressful; it seems a lot easier to just accept things as they are and roll along on the hamster wheel of life... And I find myself doing this more and more lately in the pursuit of a more healthy outlook (healthy as in the managing of stress in some way that makes me want to keep living at least a little bit). But at other (read: most) times I'm so bothered by the existence of certain things that I absolutely don't want to be in such a complex and disgusting world at all – not one more second.

    It's hard to believe that the world we live in is the way it is. And I believe that I never will.

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  18. Of course, we should be amazed by the world. Of course, most of us are rarely amazed by it. If we were, we may not be able to function as well (relatively speaking) as we do. Who knows though.
    Thank you for reminding us to wonder, Kristen.

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