Lately I’ve been trying to have a life outside of work, my apartment, and the occasional meal with friends where we talk about work and our apartments. I’ve been taking classes, scoping out speakers. I went to a scary story slam, and I was on a trivia team that came all the way in third. Basically I’m a very exciting person. I’ve studied history, and I’m 80 percent sure this is what a renaissance is.
And sometimes when you’re renaissance-ing, you take the wins where you can get them. Not wearing pajamas by 6:00 because you’re doing a free thing that isn’t perusing promotional potato chip flavors at the grocery store counts as a victory.
That was the thought behind last night. That was the thought that took me to a music studio at a local college to sit blindfolded for an hour and a half while two perfectly coiffed gentlemen make noises at me.
What did you guys do last night?
It was a live version of the podcast “The World According to Sound.” Each 90 second episode features a sound. Perfectly articulated, haunting, funny, surprising, sounds. And that was basically how the live show was advertised. “Come listen to sounds! Also, you’ll be blindfolded and the lights will be turned off!”
I had a pretty long laundry list of resolutions this year. Have better posture. Exercise more. Drink more water. They, like most New Year’s resolutions, have fallen by the wayside. Who likes to be properly hydrated, am I right? But two resolutions have proven to have legs.
Let’s start with the most important. I have not had a Flaming Hot Cheeto in 2017. That didn’t stop my very kind friend from buying me a bag when she saw they had a promotional flavor, Flaming Hot Cheeto …Limone. I had to make my friend hide them in her office because I’ve made it to October! I can’t eat them when I’m this close to 2018. I also can’t have them in my office because I will eat them if left unattended. It was a proud and cool conversation for everyone involved.
I also resolved to take a class in 2018. I miss being a student! And it’s important to keep growing! I vowed to take a class, and as of last Friday, I did just that.
I took a storytelling class. That was not the intention. I, along with most of the class, originally thought the class was about writing life experiences, but this class was strictly oral storytelling.
Once I realized what class I was in, and important part of taking classes, I thought this could be fun. I like telling stories.
My Go-To Storytelling techniques
- Have a solid intro. Candidates include “Ohmygosh guess what,” “Ugh, I need to tell you what happened,” or I just sigh repeatedly until you ask me what happened.
I’m not built for corporate culture.
Before you all start rolling your eyes, I recognize most people don’t say, “ooh la la! management seminars!” But people do pay for management seminars. And people do buy the books about management techniques they learn at the management seminars. People do like that stuff. And some people do thrive in corporate environments.
I’m not one of those people. Number one: I don’t like break rooms. They’re where you have to figure out how to circumvent the guy standing in front of the microwave waiting for his toasted bagel so you can microwave your breakfast burrito. And let’s establish one thing: he won’t move until you ask him to. Despite standing one foot from him, breakfast burrito in hand. Despite making eye contact and smiling as if to say, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t notice me, but now you’ve noticed me, so I’ll wait here while you get out my way, for you see I have breakfast burrito in hand.” He’ll probably just think you’re flirting.
I’m not a stoic person.
When I stub my toe, you will hear my feelings about it.
When I’m having a bad hair day, you best believe I’m going to pout about it. Because really, hair, for once, in the great “to frizz or not to frizz” debate, pick not to frizz! YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO FRIZZ!
I’m mad that as a person with crohns disease, I have ill effects if I eat cheese all day, which is eternal plan A for how I want to spend my day. But my crohns is fine enough that I can get away with eating cheese for most of the day, so victory is mine!
London police women, circa 1970; photographer unknown
When I was in college, the business department offered a series of lectures designed to help you get a job in your years after college.
There was one night devoted to learning the art of networking. Their suggestion: don’t be afraid to approach people; be open and friendly and make eye contact; and practice your elevator speech. If you’re unfamiliar with a networking elevator speech, it’s the 30 second explanation of who you are and what your experience is, explained in the time it takes you to ride an elevator.
My elevator speech: Hi, my name is Meredith. Don’t you like this eye contact I am making? I got my degree in clothing design, and my Masters in Visual Culture, but I’m currently working in IT mostly for reasons that rhyme with death-by-student-loans. On a scale of 1 to 10, I am 10 open and friendly! It’s been an amazing learning opportunity, and I’m eager to see where I can expand those skills moving forward. Is this where the eye contact ends?!
This weekend I went on my very first completely self-funded vacation.
I had really grand plans for this trip. At one point in the planning, I was just going to go for it. I was going to spend my entire tax refund on a plane ticket to Scotland, a dream of mine for years now.
And then I remembered my student loans.
And then I was going to spend a little bit less, and buy a train ticket to California! Stopping in cities along the way, seeing the best of America’s national parks.
And then I remembered my student loans.
And then I decided to spend the night in Milwaukee, a little over an hour away. And when I get back sit very very still as to not spend any money.
Yeah, that sounds about right. I could even listen to a whole episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross on the drive, and not have to spread it over three commutes like I usually do! That’s the dream right there!
I pride myself on being mostly confident.
And this is a real point of pride for me because there was once a point in my life where I was aggressively lacking in confidence. My insecurity raged with the fire of a thousand Flaming Hot Cheetos, but because of the insecurity’s inherent insecurity, that rage mostly just looked like bad allergies.
I’ve come a long way and accomplished a lot of things, but it always astonishes me how that insecurity can all come storming back when life decides to pivot.
I don’t think you can even call what happened today a pivot. More like a glance slightly to your left.
We’ll get back to that.