Friday, February 21, 2014

so i'm sitting in my husband's cubicle at my old high school. the chatter of all my old teachers blends with the randomest collection of songs my ipod could possibly give me to form a hum of background noise. i'm grading graduate student papers on incident response. i'm drinking black tea with mint from a beauty and the beast thermos. there is such an overlap of adultish me and teenage me at the moment that i'm not sure what to do with myself. i don't think surreal is the word i'm looking for, but it feels something. the part of me that never really understood how to grow my vocabulary wants to say weird and leave it at that, but it's like a specific brand of weird. a certain weirdness that makes me feel like i'm taking a step back from my life and watching it from the ceiling (and also mixing metaphors). it's not the visiting the past feeling that i get every other time i'm here (which is pretty often). it is more of a sitting in the present as the past forms a fog that swirls around me. i don't know if i'm making any sense so i'll just stop now.

on a different note, you may all remember my complaints from previous semesters about the papers that i had to grade. about students who didn't know how to string together a sentence or failed to comprehend exactly what a paragraph was. today i was grading the first assignment for one of the classes i TA for and  the quality of work has gone up exponentially. it's partly awesome (yay for education!) and partly not because there is suddenly so much more to grade. it's surprising how much faster grading goes when twelve students all submit the same paper and no one meets the page minimum. well, actually, i guess it's not really surprising at all. fingers crossed that the lab reports for the second class have improved as well. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

then why do i keep counting?

sometimes i try and remember how i started. when. and why.

i can't, though. for as long as i can remember i have been counting letters, arranging them. i hear a phrase and i start writing it out in my head. sometimes i'll scratch it into my palm or write it on the roof of my mouth with my tongue or scribble it into the air. maybe the letters can be neatly arranged in pairs. maybe in groups of three. maybe they fall into a one-two-one pattern or a two-one-two. i keep trying until they are ordered. sometimes i have to switch between writing numbers out and not, between having contractions and not, between abbreviations and none. sometimes, if nothing is working, i'll add a word or two. nothing big, an "oh" here, an "and" there. just small things so they'll finally fit.

i never really thought much about it. it was just something i did. we all have our quirks.

and then i started to spend my time in movie theaters wondering when the shooter was going to come in. debating whether i would run or hide when he did. looking at the exits. figuring out exactly what i would to to protect myself and the people around me. every single movie, every single time. of course, it's been about six months now and the shooter has never come. there's also the thing with the headlights in my car. every minute or so my fingers move a few centimeters away from the wheel to make sure that my lights are still on. that people are still aware that i am here. they always are. i still check. and when i'm not driving, my fingers itch to know. "are the lights on?" i ask again and again and again until even i am sick of hearing the question.

so i arrange letters, and i never really thought much about it. but maybe being overly fond of sadness isn't all there is to me.

i know i already posted something today and i dunno why i'm writing this other than the fact that it is eleven:seventeen pm, my husband is playing video games, and there is the ghost of a lump in the back of my throat. i was too lazy to shower today and now i'm too lazy to walk to my bedroom to read and sleep. i was going to write something pretty... but then i didn't. maybe tomorrow.

*Why Do I Keep Counting? - The Killers
it's funny (read: scary) how the days blend together. how you wake up monday morning and go to sleep friday night and can't really remember anything that happened in between. we're a quarter of the way through the semester and i have yet to start anything and how did that even happen? i started a two hundred page book, put it down for a minute, and now it's three days later and i haven't picked it up again. i wrote a blog post this morning, but it was really five days ago. sometimes, the amount of time that falls away without me noticing terrifies me. i feel like i'm drowning in it. i feel like the sand is slipping through the hourglass and falling straight into my chest, weighing me down and making it hard to breathe.

we have a snow day today and i could wax poetic about the beauty of it, but the truth of the matter is, i looked out of my window when i woke up for a minute, just to make sure it was still out there, and that will probably be the last i see of it until it is brown slush melting during the day and freezing during the night. and what's so pretty about that?

i'm in one of those moods where my mind is so far in some fictional world that i don't even know where it is. i don't see what it sees, hear what it hears, or know what it knows. i feel like i'm floating and strangely empty. i can't think about anything because my brain is off having adventures. it doesn't even send me postcards to hang up on my wall. i can't document its journey or live vicariously through it. every postcard it picks up says, "wish you were here," and if it was taught one thing during its stay with me, it's that you should never lie.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

you blame me, but some of this is still your fault

okay, so. remember how, a few weeks ago, mason called me and basically accused me of stealing money that they gave me? in a check? a month before the accusation? yes, well, it didn't end there.

monday afternoon. i'm sitting in the student lounge outside of the engineering school GTA office for my office hours. (i rarely sit in the office. i'm literally only there when there is absolutely nowhere else i can go. being a TA for the computer forensics department kind of sucks because forensics, as one of my professors would say, is like the red-headed step child that no one likes. he was talking about the field in general, but i feel like the metaphor still applies. another professor says our program is the bastard child of the university. that works, too. basically, we don't really fit anywhere and no one really likes us. the engineering department hires me so i'm kind of with them, and the classes i TA for are cross-listed with the tcom department so i'm kind of with them, but really, i'm with neither. story of my life, man. anyway, the engineering TAs feel like i'm taking up a spot that results in them having extra work. they are also like a little tight knit family that i just don't belong to. sitting in their office makes me slightly uncomfortable. also, it always smells funny in there. but i digress.) these two people come up to me and are like, "sarah? sarah kabli?" now, i'm sitting in a general student area and am not really sure how these people know me, but i answer with a hesitant yes because apparently i'm the stupid girl who gets murdered in the first ten minutes of a horror movie. imagine that.

anyway, they take me into an office and the lady turns to me, hands clasped in front of her and a serious look on her face. "i'm from the dean's office," she says, as if that's supposed to mean something to me. as if i should know what's going on now. i nod and stay quiet, not bothering to keep the confusion off of my face. "you're on a scholarship, right?" she asks. "and they pay your full tuition?" i confirm this and she gives me another one of those knowing looks. there was a pause where i assume she was waiting for me to confess to something, which i didn't because i still had no idea what was going on. "i'm in charge of the finances for this department, and i noticed that you got some money last semester that you shouldn't have," she finally says. but the way that she said it made it clear that by "got," she meant "took." ugh, i thought.

"uh, yeah. i got a check from mason at the end of last semester, but they called me before this semester started and i gave the money back," i explain. "we didn't get any money back," she said. "well..." i shrug. "i paid it back the day they called me." after a few more minutes she said that she was going to take it up with the student accounts office because they should have returned the money to them and who knows where they actually put it, and we agreed that if i got a check again this semester i would go talk to her instead of paying mason.

but oh my god am i never going to trust a check from mason again. ever. (this wasn't the first time i got a check back from them but it will be the last time i ever deposit one.) i have never felt like such a criminal for doing absolutely nothing wrong in my life. and mason, you need to get your act together and figure this stuff out. you should probably know where all your money is supposed to go. sheesh.

*Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet - Relient K

Friday, February 7, 2014

some things in this world, man, they don't make sense

these days i am made up of wistful half-thoughts and almost-sentences trailing off into silence. i am smiles with just a touch of self-doubt. i am a butterfly garden. i am being productive to procrastinate and filled to the brim with, "yeah no, don't wanna, not gonna." i am itching to write and lacking the words. i am wanting to go back to my mermaids but scared that the memory of how i left them is better than the reality. basically, i'm doing a lot of nothing important.

on to more pressing matters, though. and by pressing i mean at least there is a focus of sorts to this next part and maybe even a point or a moral to be learned or a good phrase lost in the paragraphs. or something. i don't know. i haven't gotten that far in yet.

so i don't know how many of you are living in america and seeing these turbotax commercials, but they come on way too often for me. they make me feel... lacking. just in case you are not living in america and watching the same channels as i am, here's the video so you can watch it in all of its judgmental glory. (i can't even remember the last time i embedded a youtube video into a post. i think i used to do it a lot though? maybe not...)

there's just something about this video that makes me feel like i completely wasted away twenty-thirteen. i mean, i thought it was a pretty good year at first, but then i see this commercial over and over and over again and it's just like, okay, i get it! i have done nothing worthwhile. stop judging me! let's go through it point by point, shall we?
one) you made another human being: actually, no. i didn't. sorry. you're not the first person to assume this of me, though. is the universe hinting that i should get on with it or what?
two) you found that one person who you're meant to be with: once again, no. (i think maybe being married already makes this a moot point, but it kinda makes me feel like i should have waited until last year.)
three) you bought a house: ugh, no. i wish. stop rubbing it in my face. stupid commercial.
four) you got a new job: *sigh* nope.
five) you went on an important business trip: not likely with my answer to point number four.
which leaves me with what? reading a lot and not catching up with tv shows? what in the world did i do last year?

and yet, there's another turbotax commercial, "the year of you," that basically says the same things but somehow makes me feel all empowered and accomplished and hopeful.

it's weird. maybe it's the extra parts with the hair cutting and the shirt giving awaying? i dunno. but i love the second commercial and usually have to pause the tv after the first one to rant at turbotax for making me feel bad about myself. oh, the power of editing.

(oh, and i have already used this lyric as a title before. oh well. it was the first that came to my mind.)

*Bright Lights - Matchbox 20

Monday, February 3, 2014

what the hell

i've been at mason a long time. a really, disgustingly long time. i've seen the campus nearly double in size and the number of trees shrink to almost half. i have seen buildings and the school paper change names. i experienced the migration from webct to blackboard and from masonmail to outlook. i have seen professors and presidents and deans come and go. there's a part of me that finds comfort in this fact and a part that wants to die just to put an end to it. i have learned the hard way that the experience of a student at a university changes drastically depending on what level you are at - and not in a good way. encouragement turns to scorn, helpfulness turns to hindrance, and everyone loves to blame you for the fact that they just didn't prepare you for the next step.

after all of that, you'd think that i'd be used to change. but i'm not.

i get on the computer this morning all ready to face the responsibilities i put off yesterday for the super bowl, and they changed their freaking email system again. it took me twenty minutes of fiddling with the settings, and it still looks wrong. the font is huge and the bold isn't bold enough and every reply opens a new window. what the hell, mason. stop messing around with this. gah.

going back to the super bowl. during the playoffs, i decided that i was going to root for the seahawks because none of my teams made it in and they had pretty colors. (duh.) plus, i somehow hadn't seen them play at all this season and thought that they were some kind of underdog cinderella story. so, i should be pretty psyched that they won. but i have never rooted against the team i was rooting for so much before. it all started with their game against the forty-niners where i spent all but the first fifteen minutes of the game hoping the niners would win. and then yesterday was pretty much the same thing. (and also, what the hell were you broncos doing? it's like you were actively trying to suck. goodness gracious.) despite this, i never "turned" on the seahawks formally. i wanted them to lose both times while simultaneously telling anyone who would listen that i hoped they won the whole thing. lesson learned: i am really bad at being a sports fan. also, i like underdogs. BUT after marrying an avid sports fan i can pretty much hold an intelligent conversation in most sports and you'll think that i know what i'm talking about and that i'm a sportsy person... but i'm not. and if you talk to me long enough then you'll realize i start to slip and call the players characters and turn plays into plot twists and that annoys hardcore sports people for some reason. (you'll also learn that i spend most of the game commenting on looks and names. like, did you know that the lions have a character named pettigrew? as in peter pettigrew? i don't care how many times i am told his name is not peter. he is still a rat, and that's why they lost because they put their trust in a traitor. they're just lucky it didn't turn out worse. i mean, the last people who put their trust in a pettigrew ended up killed by lord voldemort.)

and speaking of harry potter, what the hell jk rowling. you cannot write a book and then years and years later come back and say, "actually, no. i changed my mind." it doesn't work that way. have a problem with how you wrote things? write yourself some nice fanfiction and move on with your life. i feel like i have to have a rant about this lady soon. it's been building up for years. (in case you have no idea what i am talking about here, jk rowling recently came out and publicly stated that she regrets putting ron and hermione together, that hermione should have ended up with harry, and the whole ron thing was just wish fulfillment and didn't make any sense. whatever, rowling.)

*My Eyes Burn - Matchbox 20