A mosh pit full of fist pumps

So much has happened since I last wrote.

Let’s see. I quit my job. I moved back to Richmond. Which means I left New York and all its wonderful wonderfulness — something that still hasn’t quite sunk in. It is possible any moment now I will wake up in my too-small room with its too-big desk, the light barely peeking in from behind the too-long curtain just above the too-loud air conditioner.

Which might be entirely plausible were it not for photographic evidence that I somehow packed up my New York existence in this many boxes and that many trash bags.

But wait, you say. Didn’t you promise us getting started things a mere eight or so weeks ago, just before you unceremoniously implemented radio silence? How utterly, utterly rude of you.

Well, observant reader. Like I’ve said many times before, given my tendency to disappear without warning (I mean, who plans disappearances anyway? Would a kidnappee leave a note to say, “Hey guys. Don’t expect me home today. I gots evil things waiting for me”? Would my left sock tickle my sole ever so softly, knowing full well it would soon take up permanent residence in the crevices between the washer and dryer?), I am never truly gone. For there is Twitter. And Tumblr. And, to a lesser extent, Instagram. I am everpresent. And omniscient. And totally full of crap.

But there was good reason. The very next day after I posted my last entry, this happened.

This, after months of reading and preparing (That epic novel? Grad school application.) and contemplating my existence and purpose and non-purpose in life, was the day I got accepted to this place.

This place can only be best described as one part ad agency, one part rogue M.B.A. program, and one part laboratory for experiments in 21st-century branding.

If you’re patting me on the back for that lovely description, don’t. I didn’t write it. This guy did.

So, there I was, sitting back down at my desk about to write me some legal copy after a run-of-the-mill trip to the bathroom, when I got the email. I’d been waiting for this thing for months. My reaction, of course, was nothing short of extreme euphoria masked as a perfectly composed journalist with Really Important Things To Write. Inside, however, was an all out mosh pit full of fist pumps as I fully accepted my transition to the dark side.

But wait, you say. Advertising? Wasn’t journalism what you’d been working toward since you started writing when you were, like, 8?

This is true, curious reader. It had been my dream to be a journalist in New York City — a dream only solidified by the Muppet Babies’ foray into investigative deeds using an old school typewriter. All I can tell you, without diving into a diatribe about the failings of modern journalism, my preference for big picture analyses over knee-jerk regurgitations, and my conflicting impulses to express myself creatively without defying journalistic objectivity, is that, well, I was ready for something else.

So, in five weeks, I left everything. And in those five weeks, my brain was unable, and is actually just now finally able to string together coherent sentences, to process the sheer absurdity, suddenness, awesomeness, sadness, gravity, and excitement of it all. I could not even read on the fucking train. And aren’t you happy I can say fucking now? All those years I was holding back because I wanted to be absolutely professional, given the reserved confines of education and law, when sometimes all I really wanted to use in place of a multisyllabic word was a four-letter one.

All in all, I just felt that striving for objectivity ended up suppressing a great part of what makes a writer a writer — at least the kind of writer I’ve always wanted to be.

While I can write about this now semi-succinctly, I can tell you it was not easy. It was actually kind of painful. It took months and months of reconciling with the fact that I was leaving a big part of myself so I could move forward. There’s so much more to tell, of course. There were many players and layers, many, many agonizing internal monologues. I can’t quite divulge everything right here in this instant, because I’m still getting used to this paradoxical writerly existence. That is, that writers, often among the most introverted, cannot truly write without revealing their innermost selves. It is at once terrifying and liberating.

Maybe it will all end up in a book. Maybe it will become an essay. Or maybe it will become the narrative to a really melodramatic commercial. For now, though, this is me. It’s probably a different me from the one you thought you’d come to know. Maybe it’s someone you really, truly like or no longer like or like right now but ultimately will dislike.

Whatever it is, this is me. And admitting that is a great first step to whichever direction I’m headed.

When it rains, it rains

On a total whim one very late night, I changed my blog name.

I know what you’re thinking.

Who the hell changes a blog name without so much as an announcement?
Didn’t she just add a graphic some weeks ago loosely related to the old name while prattling on about synapses?
And why the hell is there a comma between rain boots, like it’s so deep?

All valid questions. And HEY. Be nice.

Like most of my concoctions, there wasn’t really much to it. I’d simply grown tired of Explore. Dream. Discover.

I picked it almost three years ago based off a supposed Mark Twain quote that most likely wasn’t even correctly attributed (followed closely by “Cake is the death of me.” – Abe Lincoln). I figured I’d change it if something better came along. Nothing ever did. All the while, about a bajillion other blogs with the same name sprouted. One ambitious individual even took it as a domain.

Scoff! I scoffed. What is this trademark dilution?!

Then, one gloomy spring evening, I saw this. And somehow, I just felt like it really, really fit.

As for the tagline, well, it’s all true. I’m currently on a quest to conquer the world (which world I’m not exactly sure), and I do a mean, mean robot (patented since 2004). As for dancing in the rain, why, as you can see, the universe took care of that for me.

So, there you have it, friends. Stay a little while. Kick yo feet up. We’re just getting started.

Exclamation Pointz

New rule. When discussing age post-25, an exclamation point is required in all uses. It symbolizes wisdom, maturity, old age and the acknowledgement of my mortality. Of course, I’m typing this from my comfortable sitting spot on my bed, the bed I recently migrated to after spending 12 hours on another comfortable sitting spot on the couch.

Hello, super late 20s, when recovery from any activity that demands physical exertion and the consumption of questionable beverages now requires at least one full day of doing just that.

Uck. Uck. Uck. Is how I’m feeling at this very moment.

Which almost didn’t happen, actually. As 28! approached, I decided I’d do nothing for it. I’d been going through some kind of funk for several months (Normal quarterlife crisis fare, like what am I doing? Who am I? Is this real life? Who moved my cheeseball?), and felt like 28! should come and go quietly. I was ready for it. After all, 27! was spectacular, which meant 28! couldn’t possibly top it.

Phil would get here, I decided, and we’d do something quiet, like a quiet dinner and quiet drinks. Because that’s what responsible, mature, mortal 28! year-olds do.

But then I had a sobering thought. What if this was my last birthday on Earth, and I’d always know I’d spent it feeling bad about myself?

Not cool, friends. Not cool.

So, I bought a new dress (something that said I’m 28! Hear me ROWR!), rounded up a few friends and sent this.

Note: Off-the-clock, Real Life Karen sometimes writes without capitalizing stuff that normally should be capitalized, and adds Zs to things that should be singular. Relaxed Karen is CRAZY!

Also, names have been changed to protect everyone’s identities.

slothful saturday![1]

hey friends!

i’m super excited to be celebrating my birthdayz with you guys tomorrow. here’s what we’re gon’ do.

9 p.m. dinner at macondo

drinks & dancing & all-around tomfoolery at von

let me know if this works by replying to all one neat fact about yourself. i will start.

when i was little, i had an imaginary friend named maren who teleported between my world and hers with a flush of the toilet. to this day, she remains one of the coolest people i’ve ever met.

your turn.

I’m deathly afraid of clowns, and even more scared of dolls. The concoction of a clowndoll, I believe, is the recipe of the devil.

Which makes “Poltergeist” the scariest movie ever (haunted clowndoll hiding under the bed)…. and “Zombieland” one of my favorites (zombie clown is pretty fuckin serious as well).

–Qwerto B.

Yesterday, I was in the bathroom at my new job and I noticed the toilet paper was running low. So, I changed to a spiffy fresh new roll. During the exchange, the silver holder in the middle broke in two, leaving me completely hopeless. Thinking quickly, I slid the new TP onto the spring that was inside the holder (the only piece left) and promptly left the bathroom.

Next thing I know, people are getting blamed left and right! Who did it?! Must have been Eldra the cleaning lady! She’s so old now, jeez. Then wait! It was the doorman! He must have come in here to use the bathroom and broke it.

Then came lots of frustrated bathroom-goers muttering, “This is bizarre,” “So crazy,” “Weird,” all while I sat back with my feet up giggling ever so softly at this major catastrophe I’d created.

–Fleah

Growing up (elementary school age), I thought my older sister was the coolest. If she bought the La Bouche “Be My Lover” single, I had to buy the La Bouche “Be My Lover” single… even though we lived in the same house. Basically anything she liked or did, I wanted to follow.

So at one point, she decided she wanted to get a perm. And so by the rules of coolness, I had to get a perm. She told me I’d look just like Joey McIntyre. I don’t know if she was messing with me or what, but since my sister was cool and NKOTB was cool at the time, I thought it’d be a sure thing.

Long story short, I spent a good few months rocking a perm. It was the coolest few months of my life.

–Bill

i have an obsessive compulsive affinity for clean smells.

fresh laundry, shampoo, lotion… i have to sniff it all. as i’m throwing on a clean shirt, sniff. when pulling out a new towel, ahh yess, i sniff. shampoo in my palm? sniff!

I LOVE IT! and i will love you more if you smell clean, too. that’s really why we’re all friends.

–phyla

Ok, so when I was 9 years old and my sister was 5, we spent the night at our two friends’ place, which was also in our same apartment complex. Dotty and David. Those were their names and they were brother and sister. (I amaze myself sometimes with this random memory of mine.) Anyway. Along with us, there were at least seven other kids that spent the night, too. It was a big slumber party; now that I think about it, I’m surprised my parents even allowed this.

The very next morning, we all went outside to play kickball. The night before it had rained, so it was wet and muggy out. One of them kicked the ball too hard, and it went rolling across the street, so we went after it. We couldn’t reach it in time before it went tumbling down into a sewer ditch — one that ran along behind the houses in the neighborhood. The stream of water carried the ball farther down the ditch, and we were determined to go get it.

I remember we all looked at each other to see who would volunteer to go down and get it. Not a peep. Then, my little sister shouts, “I’ll go get it guys!” Me, being the retarded older sister I was, says “ok” and helped her down. (holy lord, what was I thinking?)

As soon as she reached the bottom of the ditch, the current of the stream started to carry her along with it. We started screaming for her to get up but every time she tried to stand up, she slipped and fell because the bottom of the surface was covered with algae and the current was too strong. So there she went, floating away and crying.

One by one, we each went down in an attempt to save her, and of course each time was no different. Next thing you know there was a stream of 11 kids being carried away with the current, and the only thing we could do was yell for help. We floated for a while, at least four or five good blocks until we reached an overpass, where we were greeted and fetched out one by one by the fire department. To accompany them was an ambulance. Thank goodness no one got seriously injured, except one girl did have a cut on her foot.

And thank goodness we were spending the night at our friends’ house because you know Dotty and David’s momma made sure no one’s parents knew what took place that morning since she wasn’t being a very good babysitter!

–Zoozee

***

As you can see, everyone else’s stories pretty much clog-danced all over mine.

And instead of listening to “Dashboard Confessional” in the dark with a tub of ice cream (and buffalo wings and a jar of pickles — don’t judge me), I spent my Saturday night with great company.

28!, I think you and I are going to be just fine.

FOOTNOTE
[1] A reference to an email Phyla sent about this being us on Saturday and this on Sunday. Which is pretty much what happened.