July 31, 2006

road rage confession

Yesterday I spent the afternoon helping Cynthia with her wedding invitations. The process was involved, requiring precision and creativity. I decided that if I get married, that will be a "pay someone to do it" expense. I always thought wedding invitations were easy, I was wrong.

As I was heading out the door to drive home (at 12:15 in the morning) I joked with her brother Donny about our records times from Kingsburg to Kerman. (He dated some Kerman girls years ago.) The towns are both farming communities, with populations around 9,000. The distance is about 38 miles between the two, and the only landmark along the way is the city of Fresno- the rest is wide open country road. He bragged a record of 18 minutes, admitting he was driving "over a buck twenty". My best time is 24 minutes, set 2 years ago, I'm pretty proud of it. It's legit, 24 minutes.

So last night I jumped on the 99 freeway and looked at my clock.. 12:21. I was cruising along, no one else was on the road. I turned up the Classic Rock station and looked forward to getting home. I slowed down for construction zones and overall was making great time, my (alleged) narcolepsy started to kick in, so I rolled down the windows. I got on the 180, and the country road began. Grapevineyards, almond orchards surrounding a two lane highway, big moon in the sky, windows rolled down and steering wheel tapping Classic Rock.. not bad at all.

On this 17 mile stretch of road there is only one opportunity for a passing lane. I got behind a brand new Mitsubishi just before the passing lane started. Great, I thought, as he was traveling slower than I was, it couldn't come at a better time. When the lane started, I waited for him to move over to the slow lane, that didn't happen. So I moved over and started to pass him. That's when he gunned his gas and went well "over a buck twenty" to not allow me to pass. I refused to make eye contact, and definitely did not desire to drive anywhere near 120 mph. When the passing lane ended he slowed down again, considerably. At this point there were a procession of cars so I couldn't cross over to their lane to pass. Two different times, I tried to pass when the road was clear and he again sped up so I couldn't... then slowed down to a crawl of 30 mph when it was impossible for me to pass.

I've NEVER had road rage before. I've sat in hours of traffic in LA, lived in Ft. Lauderdale with infamous Canadian drivers, and travelled internationally with crazy car experiences... but never have I wanted to yell and kick someone in their shin because of their driving.

Maybe it's because it felt so personal. Maybe it's because I was tired, Maybe it's that he ruined my Rock session. Maybe it's because I took well over 45 minutes to get home. Maybe it was because he pulled into the city of Kerman and the only thing I could do was hold down my horn for about 5 seconds. Maybe it was because he was from my little town and I hate to think jerks live here. Lastly, maybe it's because this town is so small- that it's likely I know that jerk.

Whatever the reason, I raged inside. I don't even remotely have anger issues, but if that guy confessed in the grocery store today, I'd want to shake my head and tell him he's rude. The truth is... I'd probably shake my head and then ask "How have you been since high school? How's the family? Do you still have your dog Max? blah. blah. blah." The sad part is that I'd really care about the family and dog and the Mitsubishi driver. And I'd forget about the virtual fight scene I created, while driving 37mph on a 60mph road. For the record, I won the fight, easily.

July 20, 2006

Excerpt from Walden- Henry David Thoreau

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."

As a child I loved the movie, "Dead Poets Society". I loved the poetry, the music, the theatre, and probably the rebellion. My mom can attest that I was often trying to talk a friend into watching it with me, but Nickolodeon usually won out. John Piper's platform in the book "Desiring God" is that the chief end of man is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever". I read it and was reminded this poem. I wonder if he's a fellow DPS fan. Any others out there?

July 13, 2006

Dakota and Brody

I'm pretty convinced that I have some of the funniest little cousins alive. My little cousin, Amelia is one of the funniest. She has probably embarassed me on a solid 5 occasions. One time at a big family get together, either Thanksgiving or a birthday party, she looked across the table and said with a straight face, "Alli Jo, were you born with those pimples?" Instant mortification and laughter from everyone at the table. It was pre-college, pimples are expected, right? The only problem is that it comes up over and over again. I'm not sure if she meant to compliment me, but the night before I graduated college she commented that my skin glows like an angel.. how nice I thought. Then she said, "I'm going to call you.....the... REFLECTOR!" Perfect, just perfect.
Today I hung out with Dakota and Brody to give their parents a break. I'll try to capture the car ride to the movie theatre, because I cried laughing. This blog doesn't give justice to their hilarious faces, their timing of jokes, the way that my mom and I would look at each other and cry laughing. Some highlights:

Mom:I hate to break it to you, Brody, but you're not wrapped-tight...
Brody: Yeah, I'm a riptide!

Dakota: Alli Jo, I have 13 trophies!
Brody: No, Dakota we counted them... you got 22.
Dakota: Thank you for your correction.
Brody: I only have 2 trophies...it stinkssss...
Mom: That's ok Brody, Dakota's older...
Alli: Why do you have so many trophies, Dakota? What do you get them from?
Dakota: Oh, cause, I'm a sprinter.
Brody: I'm a vegetarian!
Mom: Brody, we talked about this.. you eat chicken and hamburgers.. you're not a vegetarian.
Brody: Ok, well, I have a joke. Everytime I ask you a question, you answer "rubber buns!" What do you put on your hamburger? Rubber buns! What do you put on your hot dog? Rubber buns! What do you do when you see a girl? Rubber buns!

Brody: You're a doctor right, Alli Jo?
Alli: No, why do you think that, Brod?
Brody: I just thought you were.
Mom: It's because of the color of her shirt, right? Her shirt's green like a doctor?
Alli: No, its just that I'm so smart, Mom.
Brody: No, I just thought you were a doctor...

The funny thing is that Brody still believes he's a vegetarian and we have no idea why he thinks that I'm a doctor. He's going to create a robot that does anything for you like "Go get me a juicebox and it does it!" He is going to price it at 100 dollars, but we convinced him that he should charge more like $5000. He answered, "Fine, I'll charge $99.99." In fact right now he's sitting next to me, reading this. He just put a Post-It on my forehead. I got to go, Brody wants to play marbles. He says I'm going to get smoked!

July 11, 2006

big transitions

I'm here. In Clovis, California.. a far reach from my life in San Diego. I've tried to be flexible and it seems to be working well. I drove a U-Haul 7 hours from San Diego to Kingburg on Sunday afternoon. I couldn't help but think that it was very close to a therapy session. I was alone, on the road, listening to music (lots of Bob Seger, Phoenix, Rod Stewart, U2, and Third Day) and crying. I'm not a 'crying kid' but I was pretty emotional for that drive. At one point, on the Grapevine that bridges the gap between Los Angeles and the Central Valley, I just turned off the radio, prayed (eyes open), and let myself feel all the emotions. I know that this is a pretty monumental part of life and I might as well feel myself through it. Last Friday I turned in my last college assignment, Saturday I had my last day at Aveda, and Sunday I packed everything and moved from a close family of friends. I can't figure out if that final weekend approach is wise or not, but right now it feels right.
On Monday I went to a funeral for Tony Silva, a friend from high school. The funeral in Kerman was the greatest showing of support I've seen to date. Over 900 people attended to support his wife Toshia and two children Tessa and Trace. They don't know the cause of death, although he had been having problems with diabetes. I can't think of a person from Kerman that wasn't there. Naturally, I cried again when people shared about Tony and his impact on their lives. He was a simple guy that loved his family and his community. My mom and I went to the Kerman Community Center afterward. I saw people I hadn't seen in a solid 4 years, but it wasn't awkward apart from the fact that we were re-connecting at a funeral reception. Additional awkwardness included the warm hellos and hugs from people that were entirely unfamiliar or I could not remember their names. My mom saved the day on one occasion and the other ones I was left floundering wishing I had a better memory. Kerman is such a small town that people get updates from the most random sources. I think some have to be from my grandma at the local post office or at a baseball game, because I just don't know how some of these people know the things they know. Those couple hours at the Community Center really made me appreciate growing up in a town of 7,000. People have really pulled together in hard situations, such as a death of a 24 year old. Toshia is so supported and it was apparent that she is really trusting in it all. She was beautifully gracious, aware, and appreciative of everyone's thoughts, flowers and the dozens of cookies that showed up on their doorstep. I bet I hugged about 250-300 people. That's a lot of quality hugs. And the great question/statement repeated over and over again, "So.... Chinaaaaa?" "Yeah. Let me explain.... "
Today I slept in, my mom made a great egg, turkey bacon and toast breakfast and I lounged the morning away. In the afternoon, my friend Matt and I went to see "Nacho Libre". I liked it. On the way there we hit every red light possible and a rock from a semi hit Matt's truck and cracked the windshield. I was concerned that he'd be put in a bad mood, but we both cracked up laughing. When we got to the theater he took a couple minutes and played a fighting game at an arcade to get out his frustration. We spent the rest of the afternoon at his house, again lounging. He has a coy pond in his backyard, pretty impressive for a house of firefighters I thought.
I'm trying to stay up to date on the bombings in India, because my friend Jen is supposed to fly out in a few days for central India. We couldn't find a new update on TV, I don't think enough attention is given to International news apart from the war in Iraq. My mom, her boyfriend Rod, and I went to Costco. I called Cynthia on the way there and she happened to be down the street shopping. I think Cynthia and I had our first spontaneous hangout. She drove over to Costco and we sat on a Costco leather seat and read a magazine together, while my mom and Rod bought out Costco. Cynthia and I are so used to being long distance friends that we were super excited to just sit and co-read People magazine in the middle of Costco. My mom decided that we're throwing a dinner party tomorrow night. The menu is Chicken Enchiladas (my mom's an INCREDIBLE cook- it doesn't hurt that she taught Home Ec) and Tiramasu for dessert. I made a witty joke that Mexican and Italian food sounded like Cynthia's pairing for marriage. (She's Italian and her fiance is Mexican). Harsh crowd, I barely got a chuckle. I still think that's pretty funny, I'm laughing right now. So tomorrow night some family, Cynthia, and other friends are coming for dinner. This house is perfect for large parties, I'm going to figure out the surround sound soon so we can have a movie night.
I'm spending tomorrow doing pretty perceptually boring stuff, but I'm excited. On the agenda- read the 89 page Instructor's Manual, figure out my digital camcorder, give away a pile of clothes, learn how to make my mom's enchiladas, look into white water rafting at Kings Canyon and get my graduation ring resized.
I miss many things about San Diego and of course the people that live there, but if I continue to dwell on it all, I just would lay in this huge bed and cry. On the ride home from Costco, Rod put the top down on his Jaguar and we turned up the radio for the C-Low song, "Crazy". The sun was setting and the weather was warm with a good breeze. It's the simple things that are making all this change a little easier, driving fast in a car with the top down and a setting sun isn't a bad way to finish off a day.

July 5, 2006


So, I'm officially moving out of San Diego this Sunday. I reserved a U-Haul, and I'm packing possessions up and going to Kerman for a month. In Kerman, I'll prepare for China, relax (a little), and teach 2 weeks of swim lessons. Then I'm off August 10th. I'm listening to Norah Jones right now, but she's just making me more sad about everything.
In my China support letter I have a typo on the 5th word. So lame if I aspire to be an English teacher! The funny thing is that most of the people that know me well said, "Oh Alli, that's totally something YOU would do!". What does that mean? ;)
Tonight a group of us went to the San Diego Embarcadero to watch the fireworks. From one spot you can see 4 different shows. We brought blankets, water, sandwiches, and sunflower seeds and waited for the show. I laid down on the blanket at one point, all my friends laughing and talking around me, a plane was flying across the blue sky, perfect weather, barefoot, and life felt really simple. I love to extend moments like that. Those are ones you pull from in random times. I thought, "don't forget this one for a long time".
I have some things I want to do before I leave San Diego. I want to go people watching at the airport with Katie, I want to walk down India Street late at night and bring Ray some Jack in the Box 99 cent tacos, I want to ride the trolley one last time, and I want to get a Chai and go to the lookout point on Coronado just for a couple minutes.
I'm finally getting to my reading list that I've been putting off for months.. but the reality is that I want to go back to some old favorites to understand them better.