May 26, 2006

Singleness: The Disease

I work with teenage girls. Have I mentioned that yet? The place I work at is an all girl’s facility. The amount of estrogen I come into contact with on a daily basis is probably frowned upon by the FDA. But if you can overlook the massive amounts of drama that occur quite regularly, it really is a lot of fun to hang out with a bunch of teenage girls every day.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go back to being a teenage girl again for all the money in the world. I had a mostly normal teenage experience, especially in comparison to the girls I work with, but even with that in mind, I wouldn’t do it again.

But if I really had to do it again, I think I would have liked to give this all-girl’s experience a shot. It’s pretty amazing, actually, to watch them. Without having to deal with boys being around all the time, they take so many more challenges…with how they look, with what they do and say, even with how they approach school. It’s a lot like when I worked at that all-girl’s camp in Georgia, and even with Adventure Exodus this summer. Girls are just different when it’s just girls.

Boys aren’t totally absent from life around here, even though they aren’t physically here. There are always the boys they left behind and the relationships they still hope exist even though they aren’t in contact anymore. And we can’t forget about the boys at youth group. Wednesday mornings are always my favorite because of listening to all the stories the upper level girls pass around the breakfast tables about what the guys said/did the night before.

I think it’s because they lack any real chance of teenage romance here that I just had the funniest conversation of my life recently. My theory is that since they can’t personally be involved in any kind of boy-girl relationship, they attempt to live vicariously through whatever relationships they can find. From the Christian romance novels in the library to the weekly PG movies, they will debate and discuss fictional relationships like they were happening at the next lunch table over. I was also warned by my boss that they were going to push personal boundaries like fiends by asking about my current love life (at which point, I just laughed). Until last week, this hadn’t happened. I’d been asked if I had a boyfriend within my first week of work, but that had been it.

However, last week, I worked a day shift for the first time in almost a month and I was attacked with questions. I was expecting the questions…it wasn’t a big deal. The hilarious part was their reaction to my answers. When asked if I had a boyfriend…I said no. If asked if I “had a crush” on anyone…I said no. When asked when I last dated…I laughed. When asked when I last had a boyfriend…I told them never.

They kind of freaked out on me then. It was like they couldn't wrap their brains around it. It was a combination of pity and confusion from some of the girls, fascination from others, and abject horror from the rest. They couldn’t understand how I had made it to the ripe “old” age of 24 without ever having a boyfriend. I seriously think some of them felt sorry for me.

The conversation went around in circles as they tried to figure out why I had never had a boyfriend. Was it because of the high school I went to? Was I a lesbian? Was it a religious thing? Did my parents/college not allow it? Did I not want a boyfriend? And on and on they went.

Finally, I just said…that’s just the way it was/ is. I never made a decision to not have a boyfriend, I just have never been in a relationship that made it that far. The questions stopped then, but I still think some of the girls think I am some kind of freak. And I seriously think some of them are afraid that I’m contagious. :)

At any other point in my life, a conversation like this might have damaged my self-esteem…but I was able to just laugh about it. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I think it’s a good thing.

P.S. Look! I cut all my hair off!

May 16, 2006

The Hidden Predators of Montana

Today I was attacked by vicious, man-eating geese.

No, really. I'm totally serious. Vicious Geese.

I'd gone to the park to read this morning because it was warm and I wanted to be outside and away from my apartment. I parked my car in the shade, grabbed my book, and decided to take off down the trail in search of a nice bench to land on. A few feet down the trail, I noticed that there were a few geese sunning themselves by the creek. A few more feet, and I noticed even more geese swimming around by the edges. I continued to wander on, thinking about what a lovely picture they all made. I spied a bench in the distance and took off in a determined stride.

And then, out of no where, they attacked.

It happened so suddenly that it took me a few seconds to realize that these were no ordinary picturesque geese. They were vicious attack geese that were out to get me. The pack was led by a particularly large goose with a bright orange beak and a gleaming white coat.
He looked like this:

Except his eyes were glowing red. And he was bigger.

Much bigger.

And scarier.

Much scarier.

Anyway, he came charging up the incline, making the biggest ruckus I've ever heard, flapping his wings and barreling straight at me. As soon as his compatriots heard his battle cry, they fell into formation behind him, all squawking away and holding their wings out like they were herding me.

At first, I just laughed. But then the leader's eyes flashed red and he and his friends sped up their attack. I knew they were serious. As they came ever marching forward, I had a split moment where I had to decide if I was going to allow them to run me off the path or if I was going to charge back at them. I paused in the middle of the path, determined that they weren't going to do any real harm to me, and decided to plunge onward in my quest of a reading bench.

But they didn't back down. The squawking got louder, the flapping wings more intent, and the leader's eyes got even redder.

I continued to laugh out loud, showing them that they didn't scare me. I wasn't afraid of a bunch of geese. Even with their loud squawking and mammoth beaks and beady red eyes. I. was. not. afraid.

But they were making a real scene, and you all know how I hate to be the center of attention. So for the good of the many, I suddenly remembered that there was a perfect bench on the other side of the street that I had spotted earlier and I better hurry on over there before someone took it.

And with that, I turned and causally sauntered away. To the other people in the park, it may have looked like I ran , but they were mistaken. I was only interested in securing my bench before someone else noticed it's perfect location.