Monday, April 23, 2007

on emotional well-being and relative accumulation of wealth

I have what may seem to some an unhealthy obsession with economic prosperity. This is a problem in that I have no money, have never had money, and, in all likelihood, will never have much money, and yet, I spend a significant amount of time each day pondering how badly I want to have a filthy amount of money.

Seeing someone my age drive around in a Mercedes literally ruins my mood. It really just kills me that they're rich and I'm not. I work hard, I study hard, I've got an assload of experience in my field and a commitment to changing the world, but I feel like I'm never going to get ahead unless I marry rich or win the lottery.

So, to make myself feel more affluent, I spend a lot of money I either barely have or don't have at all. I have this irrational sense that someday I'm gonna be livin' large, despite the fact that my career path, while noble and rewarding, will barely allow me to pay off my student loans.

I guess I could have gone pre-med, but I'd probably end up working in some community clinic for half my med school tuition anyway. I could have majored in finance or investment banking or something like that, but I'm pretty sure I'd be miserable. It seems that between my spending habits and my habitual attraction to career paths which will earn me absolutely no money (teacher, writer, social worker), I've doomed myself to a life of relative poverty.

I guess what it boils down to is that, subconsciously, I chose happiness over money. But right about now, it sure does seem like a big pile of money could bring me a great deal of happiness.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ten days

I'm posting en masse nowadays. Lemme tell you what I've been up to.

Wednesday, April 4th
Pre-birthday partying, I got so drunk I sang karaoke, making up whatever I lacked in vocal ability with booty shaking to the beat of Respect. Sitting on the patio smoking a cigarette, I knew I was in a hipster bar when some 19 year old with too much hair drawled existentially, "All that exists is your dreams...I have dreams." I asked him if one of his dreams was to cut his hair. He wasn't amused.

Thursday, April 5th
The 22nd anniversary of the day I graced the world with my presence. I got $200 worth of clothing storage accessories from my parents and told everyone I was too busy cleaning my closet to go out. It's now the cleanest room in my house.

Friday, April 6th
My grandpa had sent me a $100 Visa gift card, and I resolved to get the most out of it I possibly could. I think I did pretty well:
  • A Burger Kind combo meal
  • A pack of cigarettes
  • An oil change, an answer to why my check engine light was on, and a cute mechanic shamelessly flirting with me thrown in for free
  • Three shirts, a pair of cute brown heels, and new sunglasses
Saturday, April 7h
Anytime I get to stay in a hotel is vacation to me, even if it is only a few miles away, so Nick's birthday present to me was a night at Embassy Suites. We brought champagne and chocolate and got take out for dinner, and basically just enjoyed the opportunity to be slothful. We had a lot of fun.

Sunday and Monday, boring boring boring, except for a delicious italian dinner with my sis and her friends.

Tuesday night I packed my bags and headed down to Nick's, an hour away now, to see him before spending the rest of the week in New Orleans. He's on a bachelor party cruise this weekend, so our routine of spending our weekends together has been interrupted.

I was in New Orleans for the American Association of Suicidology conference all week, turns out my workplace is the rock star of AAS. I learned a lot about how to do my job more effectively and I met this guy. They put us up at the Hilton and we had a lot of fun. On Wednesday, we got done pretty early, so two friends and I headed down to Bourbon for a late-afternoon pick-me-up. Walking down the street with our hand grenades, we made friends with a tattoo artist named Dominic and followed him back to his shop, where we apparently drew quite a bit of attention. Even the old guy in the corner came over to show us his tattoos, mumbling about how everyone still recognizes the picture of his ex-wife, Rose, on his arm. When one of Dominic's co-workers handed Cassie his phone number and told her to call him later so they could take a shower together, we decided it was time to leave.

Walking down Canal Street back to the hotel, we made more friends, this time Dominicans inviting us into their cigar shop. We all bought cigars and sat in big leather chairs smoking them while surrounded by old men in fedora hats. I felt irreverently posh.

Yesterday, Cassie and I skipped the morning sessions to have brunch at a place I just love in the French Quarter, which turned into a midday stroll through Jackson Square and the Riverwalk in the midst of French Quarter Fest, and got way out of hand when we decided to take an afternoon nap. Come dinnertime, we hadn't been to a single session, but we met up with everyone else for dinner and nobody seemed to have noticed much. There was a Tapas bar we wanted to go to down in Marigny, and asked the front desk to look up the address for us so we could direct the cabbie. Several circular routes and twenty dollars in cab fair later, we asked the driver to please just drop us off and we'd find the place ourselves. We found it, and it was awesome. My boss got a little tipsy and started spilling secrets and gossip, that was fun.

Now I'm back in Baton Rouge, hungry and exhausted, but for some reason I'm having a lot of trouble motivating myself to get up off the couch. The sudden realization that I'm graduating in five weeks has inspired an overwhelming sense of slothfulness.

Monday, April 02, 2007

sexual health for teddy bears

Let me tell you a story about a friend of a friend...

My friend Jackie has two roommates, let's call them Anne and Esther. Anne is a friend of Jackie's, and Esther is a friend of a friend who happened to be looking for a new place when they were looking for a roommate. Esther, despite being in her early 20's, often speaks in a high-pitched baby voice and has a collection of teddy bears. Her favorite bear is Prayer Bear, and she brings him everywhere with her.

One day she comes home from her boyfriend's house, Prayer Bear tucked under her arm and hands on her hips, and says with a pout, "I'm so mad! Brent threw Prayer Bear in the trash!"

Jackie and Anne do their best to hide their rolling eyes and ask politely, "Esther, why did Brent throw Prayer Bear in the trash?"

"Because I put signs up asking him to stop masturbating in front of me."

Anne and Jackie practically choke on their food, and, as they are now much more interested in what Esther has to say, ask her to continue.

"He masturbates in front of me all the time and he won't stop. It's not like we're even making out when he does it. Like, I'll be sitting doing my homework and he's sitting next to me masturbating, or we're watching TV and he's over there masturbating, or we're taking a shower together and he's off in a corner masturbating!"

I want to pause here to say that I don't believe this is, by any stretch of the imagination, normal. A guy's in a shower with his wet, soapy, and naked girlfriend, and he's off in a corner masturbating, completely disinterested in her. What's even funnier to me, however, is that homegirl retaliated by putting post-it notes all over his apartment asking him not to masturbate in front of her anymore, and he got back at her by throwing her teddy bear in the trash.

Anytime I start to think that my interpersonal relationships are dysfunctional, I think I should remember this story and be reassured that it could, in fact, be worse.