22 September, 2010

Once Upon a Time I Had a Blog

Once upon a time, there was a girl. After college, this girl found herself "funemployed," which is really just an optimistic way of looking at life without a salary. With too many aspirations in her heart and not enough change in her pocket, she did what she thought to be logical next step: she moved to the the nearest metropolitan area. And then that was where she got stuck. "What now?" she asked herself as she poured over the Globe's scanty helpwanted page. "What now?"

Then she fretted. She fretted about not having enough money, about not pursuing a fulfilling career. She griped over not having enough free time, but mysteriously she did not know what she did the other hours of the day. Not a small amount of times was spent fretting over not having enough space on her DVR, though initially she had her doubts whether she actually needed it. She didn't, but she was now so heavily ensconced with the tv shows that she fervently watched during her funemployment period that she could never give it up now. She started a blog. She wrote often about the riveting minutiae of her everyday existence. And sometimes about macaroni.

Then, a year later, she found herself employed. She had a job that she looked forward to waking up in the morning for, she had career prospects that she could really get behind. She found herself surrounded by colleagues who shared not only similar hopes and dreams but pandora stations. Along with this introduction to a more "corporate" world came regular hours of operation and semi-regular paychecks, ones that that credited her not with "experience" or "character building opportunities" but good ol' legal American tender. She was content, more than she had been back in the dark ages with no job prospects and a lot of recorded television. And it was good.

But, she recognized, it was also bad. She could no longer watch hours of youtube a day; she no held the (self-proclaimed) title of being the "most culturally tuned in" among her peers. There were Tosh.0 references that she did not understand. She no longer had a shocking amount of free time with which to write down her super important thoughts regularly, as her adoring 13 fans have most definitely noticed and probably fretted over. (For that, she is truly sorry.)

But that girl, that idealistic empowered young girl, she made a promise to herself one fateful Wednesday night. She would still blog- oh yes: she would blog. She would blog the blog out of blogger, she told herself. But this girl was concerned- would the everyday minutiae of a more excel-spreadsheet driven world be less exciting to read than the world of the unpaid-intern-living-on-a-nickel-and-a-prayer? She did not know. But she would try- by god, she would try.

So let me tell you a little bit about me over the past few weeks. I journeyed by Uhaul van away from that big metropolitan city to a little village across a river. In this village, coffee shops abound and bike racks clutter store fronts. Bicycling is so common here that on the first day that my roommates and I moved in my landlord handed us a pamphlet on proper bicycling etiquette. The pamphlet was 8 pages long. And after playing the not-super-fun game of "dodge the biker" day after day, I am pretty confident that I am the only person in Cambridge to read up on proper bicycling procedure. (But am confused why they still have the pamphlet.) In my new home, there is a significant community focus here on "supporting local businesses" and buying from "eco-friendly stores," you know, the kind that purchase foods from pesticide-free local farms and sell vegan footwear. As a vegetarian, I am decently ok with these places of business. But even for me, I think it's pretty crunchy.

Speaking of crunchy, I work at a sustainability firm. Fun fact! In the course of one day, I get to say the word "sustainability" in all its various forms ("sustainable initiatives," "environmental efforts," "green [insert noun here]...") approximately a quintillion times. There aren't that many ways to say it. Trust me- I've tried. It's my job.

Because of working, I firmly suspect that I have started to develop carpal tunnel in my right pointer finger. I blame this weird and singular ailment on the poorly taught typing lessons that my (very public) middle school forced every student to take. I passed the typing class with flying colors, though I left the class being able to type with all of the fingers of my left hand but only the pointer finger on my right hand. (Yet, in spite of this handicap, I can still hit 84 words per minute on Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. What now, Mavis.)

I now live in a real neighborhood with neighbors who not only know my name but stop and say hello. It's a change from the no-named floor-waxers in apartment 7 last year. I can look out my window and be met with not another brick building as before but the trees and the yard that belong to the French family next door. Their three little French children play outside in the street and shout cute little things at me that I don't understand. My only french phrases besides "hello" are "Je suis un ananas" ("I am a pineapple") and "Donne-moi tout vous croissants," ("Give me your croissants.") The first was taught to me by my (usually) trustworthy older sister, and the second was learned on the fly when traveling abroad and trying to obtain breakfast. (Emily Flynn: working to promote the negative international stereotype of Americans, one mangled croissant-demand at a time.) 

On my new morning commute, I have to walk through the Harvard campus. This commute is one of my favorite parts of the day because the people-watching options are endless: the frazzled freshman, clutching campus maps and asking strangers like me where specific lecture halls are; bikers dodging innocent pedestrians with their eco-friendly tote bags; stately-looking professors gliding across the yard in flowing skirts and tweed jackets. (You think I am kidding- I've seen three tweed jackets. Clearly not an unfounded stereotype there, Harvard.)

So while I don't get to play with jellyfish or octopi as often as I did once before, I hope that you will stay on with me on this wild journey through young adulthood. Because, for lack of a better reason, my mom still thinks that I am funny, and therefore you should too. And besides, I'll even tell you the story about how I had a near brush with death with a four-and-a-half foot long barracuda last week in the Gulf. But that's for another time.