Sunday, February 27, 2011

1,059 miles

There are things I should be doing, but I can't do them. I don't know why. This week has been fantastic, but hardly revitalizing. I had the week off from school for President's Week and I decided to do some traveling and get some things done. See people. Take a break from thinking and worrying. And it worked! Kind of.

I went down on Sunday. I stayed at my mom's house in Placerville and hung out with them. I brought all of my perishables--why let them go bad in the fridge? And why spend money on food on the road when I already had some? So those lasted me, um, about two days. I was tired as hell, but I spent some nice quality time with my mom. Also did on Monday, because I was waiting for contact from my camp (didn't get any). Max Brown did the complete tune-up on my bike. Then I went to Rocklin, remembered how much I absolutely hate Rocklin and Roseville, to visit my sister Megan.

The reason I hate those towns is that there is so much stuff to buy, but nothing to do. Your function, if you live there, is to buy things and play with your things, and then buy more things. I hate it. But my sister lives there (with creepy roommates who don't talk to me). We went to an arcade, which was really fun but unnecessarily expensive. Then we watched Grey's Anatomy, which is a show I hate because it's such a downer and the women characters whine too much, but Megan wanted to watch it. I don't really consider watching TV with someone quality time, but it's okay because we did have some good, honest moments.

On Tuesday I made plans to have dinner with my camp director (my boss for the summer). I also had my first filling ever. Weird! I can still kind of feel where the shot of Novocaine was. It looks really good, but now that one tooth is way whiter than all the ones around it. Not that anyone's looking back there in my mouth...I couldn't find anything else to do in Auburn so I went down to Folsom so I could practice riding my bike. I went on the trail Max and I went on on my birthday. It was hard to go so fast at first. The trail came to a fork, and I turned right. It was mostly uphill, which was hard. A half mile in, I turned around and kept going after the fork. I went for 3 miles. I definitely broke through a wall of some kind. I turned around, 3 miles back. Then I biked back to my car. I don't know what that distance was, but I would guess my total distance was at least 8 miles. I felt like a rock star. I had some food in my car, and I gave myself a picnic in the parking lot. I also stretched my legs a lot. (Though that's hard to do in jeans.)

I spent the rest of the day wandering around old town Folsom. I looked at all of the things in all of the stores, but didn't bring my wallet because I didn't want to buy anything. It was awesome. Then I went to see where the place was where my boss wanted to meet me. Turns out it was on the other side of town, in this huge place with a Borders, Old Navy, Ross, Marshall's...lots of stores. I had about two hours to kill so I went into Borders and found some CSET and RICA study guides, and read a little bit about what those tests are about. They seem tough. But if I can pass those, I can get a multi-subject elementary credential.

During dinner, my friend (the one I was crushing on for about a year) called me. "Did you know there was no Eureka Symphony tonight?...I showed up...I feel like an asshole!...What do you do for lunch at your school, would you like me to bring some in for you?" He probably talked to me for about 5 minutes before I could tell him that I was in a meeting and out of town. I realized on my way back how much I talked about him to the people I was with--just how I appreciated his friendship so much, that he made me a delicious lunch and delivered it to me at my school, and how he called me after I decided to stop playing with the brass band. I really love that person. Not in a weird way, either. I just have an overwhelming appreciation for our friendship.

The next day I spent working at the Girl Scout council office in Sac. That place is awesome! I spent a good amount of time putting some of the CIT work schedule together. (About 6 hours, I think.) After that I went to Auburn to meet with my good friend Megan. (Different person than my sister Megan.) We talked for quite awhile in Starbucks. We went to go bowling, but didn't know it was league night. So then we thought about seeing a movie...looked at things playing in Auburn and Roseville and couldn't find anything we really wanted to see. So then we decided to go for some $3 margaritas at Chevy's. Perfect! They weren't very alcoholic at all. That's okay. (What kind of weird town are you in when you can't even find a bar to drink at? Stupid Roseville!)

On Thursday I started my trip to the Bay Area. My plan was to meet one of the other assistant camp directors in Berkeley, and then hang out with my sister Janet in San Francisco. I also left earlier than I'd expected to evade driving in the crazy snowstorm that was coming. About an hour into my trip, my friend in Berkeley called and said she had to work that night and forgot about it until just then. I said that's okay, we'll just meet tomorrow. So then I had to get a hold of Janet and figure out what her schedule was. I was about in Fairfield when I felt like I was severely lacking in protein, so I stopped at a Safeway for awhile. I was waiting for Janet to text me back, and drinking some coffee, when an older gentleman started talking to me. He gave me a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet which I politely rejected. We had a really engaging conversation for about an hour after that. We talked about the environment, consumption, and open-mindedness in people.

Eventually I got a text from Janet and left the Fairfield Safeway. I met her on a street in Oakland in the fancy part of town where her school is. She showed me around her incredibly fancy school campus and I went in the library and read about sociology for music teachers for a few hours. Then I found a book called "Which 'Aesthetics' Do You Mean?" and read half of it. Amazing. I found the explanation for how I experience the world, and it's called Aesthetics.

After Janet's classes were over, we took the BART to her place in San Francisco. (I left my car parked on the fancy Oakland street because my bike and a violin belonging to HSU were in there, and I did not want my car broken into, or spend an hour searching for parking in the city.) We didn't go out or anything, which I was completely okay with because I was tired. We just hung out with her roommates, drank some Great White which had been sitting in my fridge for months (so I brought it with me on my trip), and watched Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Janet's roommate has an adorable orange kitten. The cutest little thing in the freaking world. I played with her...that was nice to see a kitten after not seeing my cat for 5 days.

I woke up on Friday with my throat extremely irritated. I drank all the water left in my bottle. It wasn't a good sign, though. I dressed and packed up, and made my own way back to the BART. I contemplated people, particularly city people and how they looked vs. how I looked. I couldn't really figure it out. My bright turquoise backpack may have given me away as an out-of-towner. Or the fact that my jacket was brown and not black. Or the fact that nothing I was wearing was black. I ate the rest of my blueberries and some of my almonds. I walked back from the station to my van. It was completely unscathed. Good call, me. Then I learned that my friend in Berkeley was only about 7 minutes away from where I was parked.

I met up with her and it was so nice to catch up! We talked about camp, both as people and as assistant camp directors. I had only expected to be there for one or two hours, but we were on such a roll that I stayed for four hours. She even skipped her class to keep working. It was unexpectedly beautiful outside, especially after how dreary it was in the city, before I went underground to the BART station. By the end, my feet were numb. When I left at 2:30 I could feel I was going downhill fast. And I forgot about the toll on the bridge. So I stopped in a town called Crockett, literally feet before the bridge, that I never knew existed, so I could pull some cash from the ATM. I took $20 out and paid the toll like a good person who plans.

I drove for about 3 hours, and the sun was in my eyes, and my throat was bugging me incessantly so I stopped in Windsor. I knew there was a Starbucks there somewhere. I found one and asked for a smoothie. I needed sustenance, and to stop being in motion for a bit, and for the sun to go away. The world was feeling very intense at the moment.

I knew my cheapest place for gas would be the Safeway in Willits, so I stopped again when I got there. By this time it was snowing a little bit on me. I reached for my debit card in my wallet. No card. Checked my pockets, jacket, pants. Nothing. (I'd left it in the ATM four hours before!) I didn't have the energy to freak out, so I just paid for gas with the $11 cash I had left and hoped it was enough to get me to Arcata. And that my van could retain enough heat so I wouldn't be dying of intense cold-ness by the end.

And you know what? It sucked. It was 3.5 hours of pure torture. Snow, cold, an hour of the gas light shining in my dashboard. Feeling like I might throw up or pass out most of the time. Wondering what friend could pick me up and bring me home if somehow my car couldn't make it all the way. (I thought about one friend a lot. That guy friend, of course. I wondered what the extent of his caring for me was.)

Much to my pleasant surprise, I made it. I actually made back alive. With my entire car. The shock of the cold air to my system when I opened my car door made me intensely nauseous. I didn't throw up because there was nothing in there. My house was freezing and my cat yelled at me. I turned the heater on, brought in my backpack and computer, took off my pants and didn't bother searching for other pajama pants, and went to bed. I was super sick. I slept for 12 hours straight.

Right now I still feel kind of raw in my throat, and dizzy and weird. But I'm feeling better now. I just wish the trip didn't have to end like that. Other than those last 7 hours, it was a really nice trip. I have to do some stuff to make up for my complete lack of doing stuff this week. That's unfortunate. I was really planning on being some kind of productive. Really, though, how could I? I feel like I'm behind in a few different places. But I need to consider what my mentor teacher says. I'm really not behind. I'm really on it, and responsible, and I'm way too hard on myself. It's just that I know I can do better. Few and far between are the occasions where I really put in 100%, come up short of what was expected, and feel okay with that.

Tomorrow, I don't know what I'm doing. I have to be ready.

Stephy

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