Monday, June 1, 2009

Desert Night-Inspired

I have accomplished a lot of what I said I was going to accomplish this year. I've gotten my drivers license, and a passport, and I'm finally starting to embark on travelling the world. I'm looking forward to Cape Verde, Africa very much and shopping around for a backpack for the trip.

Preferably I am going to buy a camping backpack just because it will have more space and be sturdier, but I feel slightly embarrassed buying one. Like someone is going to make fun of me for either having one or someone who is familiar with them is going to make fun of me if I buy the wrong type. I am deciding between external and internal frame. I am uncertain about ordering one online, but that looks like it's my only option. I sort of want to consult with someone who knows what they are doing because these are expensive backpacks. I am concerned I won't get one in time. I might just buy one after Buckner even though I only have a couple days before my trip. I will have to take a gamble if that's the case.

Moving on, I need to chronicle my driving experiences because I am fresh on the wheel and it would be a crime not to. So I only went to three of the four driving lessons my parents signed me up for and it might be because the conversation on day 1 went something like this:

I exit the house in a blue shirt with the words California Athletics on it.
Mr. Instructor: (after brief introductions and in a sharp suspicious tone) Do you go to school in California?
Me: (annoyed at the tone) No.
Mr. Instructor: (Slight pause while he waits for an explanation then impatiently asks) Well then why do you have a California shirt on?
Me: (same annoyed tune) Because I lost a wrestling match to a girl from California.
This stumps Mr. Instructor who can find no further question, but still has no idea why I am wearing this shirt.

So maybe we started on the wrong foot. We certainly ended on it too because over the course of three lessons he proceeded to make me slow down to less than 10 mph for every turn and grabbed my wheel nearly each and every time. He also continually pulled up on the emergency brake which was between us whenever he thought I wasn't slowing down enough. I was trying not to slam on the brakes. At one point he reached for it and I skidded to a stop. He started to nag me for not going easy on the brakes and I commented that I noticed him reaching for the emergency brake and thought maybe he wanted me to brake faster. He took the hint, but that was also our last lesson together. At the end of it, we agreed he wasn't showing up the next day and after I determined our business was done I left the car. No goodbye, no thank you, and no hand shake. And my mother picked this guy because he was supposedly extremely patient or something.

I passed my driving test on Friday even though I was very nervous. This weekend I've been driving a lot. I drove out to Hueco Tanks with my friend "Pete". I drove to the mall. I drove to my cousins' house. I drove to my friend's house. I drove to Hanks to meet with my old high school JROTC instructor. Then Tuesday Night, 40% off of wings at Applebee's night, I hit my first stationary object. Hypothetically... I was backing out of a tight parking space. I didn't touch the accelerator, but as I swung out I bumped the car next to me. I cursed and braked and panicked. I pulled back in and put it in park. I got out of the car and looked at the other car. It was dim but you couldn't see where I'd bumped the dark blue car. I could sort of see it, but I had to look. Amazingly, the alarm hadn't gone off (I'm assuming there wasn't one). And even though there had been a girl outside, she was on the cell phone and was deep in conversation I saw her throw her hands up and she had the phone on the same side as the car. I took a deep breath, looked around... and panicked some more. Still cursing. I pulled out (more carefully), and got out of there. I met up with my friends at Sonic, but my confidence was shaken by this situation which may be more or less what I described, but I can neither confirm nor deny the actual facts.

So I feel like I got in a big mistake on top of my little mistakes and my personal accomplishment (because I still get nervous driving in front of my parents, family, and/or friends). I have done a lot this time at home. I was also doubly motivated to start cleaning the guest bathroom. I went through nearly everything that is mine and I have thrown out most of it (old make-up and half-finished bath gels and hair gel). I am nearly done. I have organized under the sink. I just need to sweep and mop and clean the mirrors. My dad just replaced the faucet, so the mess from his getting under the sink inspired me on top of a suggestion from my sister. I am going to go buy a new hamper, because I have the leeway to get any kind I want and because the old one is broken and annoying. I like the guest bathroom, because it is neat. I also want to try to clean the skylight, which is literally littered with random debris from who knows how many years. I have a lot to do tomorrow if I am going to get this done before I leave.

Today I also saw several people I hadn't seen in forever. I have to thank AF Academy J. for setting it up. It was good to see everyone, but there was a lot left unspoken and it was clear from the awkward conversation we all felt guilty for letting our friendships fall by the wayside. It wasn't all of us exactly. Two were work-out buddies. One has become a social hermit except for a few people back home. Two connected over mutual schools. At least a few of them are doing a road trip this weekend to see another mutual friend in Austin. It was interesting to say the least. I am realizing that you can't sum up everyone instantly. I am analyzing my situation through a more cool lens though. I am still the same impatient, snarky, quick to call a judgment (possibly judgmental) person I ever was... but I am coming to grips and not feeling so desolate or depressed about it. I am observing from a more objective standpoint. Sure I'm still an emotional open book and easy to read and I still giggle a lot when I get nervous, but I am learning to shut my trap a little more often which is something I find difficult.

Then this night I met one of my cousins for wings at Applebee's and another friend from wp who brought two of his own friends. It was good to spend an evening just conversing and even if I played it down to be more available for my wp friend and his friends I enjoyed the conversation going on next to me and every now and then butted in (in a friendly manner) to hear an interesting conversation. It was also nice to zone out with Mark though, because it was difficult to stay focused when the stories became riddled with inside jokes or involved people I didn't know.

Overall a very busy day because of the school visit. A few teacher's recognized my AF Academy friend and I but we were such nerds in high school nobody said anything about us being there. And I'm not saying nerd like it's a bad thing. They redid the theater nicely, and they are still working on Hanks. There are a lot less portable classrooms now. I never really like visiting the building, but I enjoy catching up with former teachers. I was devastated to discover there still wasn't wireless internet on campus. I just came to expect it from college.

From all this time there is one thing I feel more of: confidence