Thursday, August 23, 2012

How Many Hallings Does it Take to Open a Trunk?

My sister is back in Pittsburgh.

Which is to say, my sister is back in Pittsburgh!!!!!

And I am super excited to have her here.  She came out with my parents yesterday for her final year of school, and moved into a house with some guys named Hank and Frank. (No, I am not kidding.)

Anyway, today we drove out to Ikea to pick up a mattress for her, so that she wouldn't spend the next 9 months sleeping on a futon cushion on the floor. Oh college...

And when I say we drove, I really mean that I drove, thanks to a zipcar reservation.  I have been a member of zipcar for a couple of years now, and I love it.  It wouldn't be practical if I needed to drive somewhere everyday, but for the city dweller I am who absolutely needs a car only once or twice a month, it is the perfect solution. If you live in a city, and don't want to buy a car, sign up for zipcar, its great. (Disclaimer: Zipcar has never paid me. Though if they wanted to give me some driving credits for talking nice about them I wouldn't say no...)

The thing about never owning your own car is that being a good driver is one thing, but actually being good with the logistics of cars is quite another.  I wouldn't say I am an extraordinary driver, but I've never been in an accident and I can drive a manual transmission, so I'd say that's at least above average in America.  When it comes to cars though.  I am so clueless.  To the point that it's kind of embarrassing.

For instance:

- I got my license in 2004.  It wasn't until 2010 that I ever pumped my own gas. I still hate pumping my own gas. I find the experience completely overwhelming every time.

- It was June, of this year in 2012 that I learned how to put air in a tire. On a date no less. (Apparently, my vehicular incompetence wasn't a deal breaker.)

- I parallel parked to pass my drivers test, and I've never done it since. Never.

Between my ineptitude at tasks we consider teenagers adept enough to handle, and the fact that when you rent a zipcar you find yourself in a new model of car you are unfamiliar with - hilarity and frustration often ensue when I need to do things, like, say, open the trunk.

We're back at Ikea now - remember how this story started about a trip to the happiest place on earth?  I've pulled up to the front so that we can load my sisters newly acquired mattress, expedit bookshelf, and houseplant. (oh college...)

"Can you pop the trunk she asks?"

"Sure," I said.

Except I couldn't.

I looked down next to the drivers door where the trunk lever usually is, but there was only a lever for the gas.

I hit the unlock button, but the trunk still wouldn't open.

I pulled another lever, and heard a pop, and thought "success!" Until I realized I had actually popped the hood and not the trunk.

Finally, I crawled in the back, to grab the emergency-if-you-are-kidnapped-you-can-get-yourself-out-of-the-trunk handle. You know, the one that glows in the dark?  Except that there wasn't one.

Finally, I grabbed the manual out of the dashboard, desperate at this point. Meanwhile, my sister, who is generally better than I am when it comes to cars, is laughing at me, but also can't figure out how to open the trunk.

For the record, we are two college educated women, who can run far,  move furniture themselves, navigate public transportation all over the world, and even speak other languages. But we can't open the goddamn trunk. I felt like a failure to feminists everywhere.

We eventually got the stuff in, by just shoving it through the open back doors, into the trunk.  I mean, we found a solution. All's well that ends well, right?

Though, for the record, I will NEVER buy a Mazda 3 Hatch.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Fear That it Might End

I read a blurb of a book review on two novels about love written by a French philosopher and a scientist, in the back of an old copy of The Economist of all places.  I don't remember the name of the philosopher, or the scientist, or the books, but I do remember reading something interesting in the review.

One of the authors wrote that part of the great thing about love, is the fear that it could end. That to acknowledge the risk and the vulnerability that comes along with falling in love is crucial to the experience being as wonderful as it is.

I thought that this was a refreshingly positive way to look at fear. In love, sure, but also in almost every other aspect of life.

The fear that it might end is most certainly present in romantic relationships, but it can extend to friendships, and family, and colleagues. No relationship is certain. But the fear of it ending is motivation to keep working at them. To call, and write, and make plans, and time, and have hard conversations, and forgive and forget, and to grow close to people.

The fear that it might end is the reason we show up for work everyday at Thread.  That the opportunity to do something we love and believe in could end, makes us fight and work to make sure we can keep doing it.

The fear that my health, both mental and physical might end is what keeps me running. It keeps me motivated to sign up for races and train for months to finish marathons, and take care of myself.

I think that embracing the fear of the end could be really powerful.

Eventually, it will all end. And if that's not motivation to give something back to the world, and enjoy yourself while doing it, I don't know what is.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Some Things I Don't Understand

Despite having access to pretty much any answer I want (thanks internet!), higher education, and a little life experience, there are some things I still just do not understand.  In no particular order, this includes:

1) Why so many women talk on the phone while in the bathroom.

At my former job, it was a daily occurrence to go into the women's restroom at work, and hear someone in a stall chatting away without a care in the world. Like, in the stall. While they went to the bathroom. I don’t understand this. Surely your job is not so overwhelmingly demanding that a bathroom break is the only time you have to talk on the phone. If it is, I would suggest perhaps looking for a new job.  This just seems icky.

2) Why you can’t divide by zero.

I hate this rule. Almost as much as I hate probability.  Dividing by zero should equal zero. Just like multiplying.  This rule seems completely arbitrary and made up (not unlike most of math).

3) The directions "Continue On"

I want to be told go right, straight, turn left, or something actually directional. I don’t understand what “continue on” means.  If the street I'm on turns into another street, can't you just say that?  Continue on is vague and a little condescending.

4)  How there are people who don't drink coffee in the morning.

 I can actually sort of understand the preachy, vegan, "my body is a temple and I don't ingest chemicals, stimulants, or anything else fun," folks who don't drink coffee.  But, for the rest of you, "I don't really like it, I'll just have some tea, thanks," people I have a question. How do you start seeing straight in the morning? Seriously. How? And please don't tell me I am addicted or have a dependency. I do. I know this. But I at least have a coping mechanism for the morning. If you don't have coffee to look forward to - what is your motivation for getting out of bed before 10:30??

5)  When someone emails me, asking me to call them

I mean, if you want to talk to me on the phone, call me, and if I don’t answer, leave a message and I’ll call you back. Or email me, and I’ll email you back. Personally, I am of the school of thought that you respond to correspondence in the same medium that it was initiated. Texts beget texts, phone calls beget phone calls, and if you're talking to someone to their face, here's hoping they respond in person. Communication is so weird today.