Monday, June 28, 2010

Bad Mans!

Brian left last week for a two week trip to Arizona and Portland. I have all sorts of fun things planned with Melissa the Texan for Girls Fortnight, but tonight fun was put on hold. Because the last time i heard from Brian was the 26th. He told me that he probably wouldn't call on Saturday. Fine, I can handle that. But I thought it was odd when he didn't call Sunday. And when he hadn't called or answered my emails by 10:30pm on Monday, I was really worried. I tried calling the friend who he was visiting in Portland, but he didn't answer.

So then I googled "violent crime portland". All I got were stories about Al Gore and a massage therapist.

Then, joy of joys, Brian's friend called back.

Me: "I'm worried. I haven't heard from Brian since he left Arizona. Have you talked to him."
Friend: "Yeah, he's staying at my house. I can definately vouch that he is alive."
Me: "That's good. He might not stay alive when he gets home."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Society Forum

Earlier this week, my boss offered to send anyone interested to the United States Social Forum. Despite the fact that it was being held less than 8 blocks away, we hadn’t known about the conference until the week it was happening. It sounded like a good chance for me to interact with more community members, so I signed up.

I should have realized from the title “US Social Forum” that not too many Detroiters should be in attendance. After all, the problems of Detroit aren’t replicated anywhere else (or at least that’s how Detroit feels). But I figured it would still be an opportunity to learn and dialogue about social problems.

Walking into the main hall, I felt one hundred percent out of place. I was dressed down for work, just khakis and a white shirt, but I was way too dressed up. I was also probably in the older half of the crowd.

My impression of the crowd got much worse when I went to my first workshop: Community Bike Co-ops as a Resource for Community Empowerment and Innovation. If I had known what the dress code was, I could have worn my cut off corduroys (or cut off dress pants) and paint smeared social justice graphic t-shirts too. And I hadn’t realized before the workshop that both shoes and bras were optional. I could have also worn my Birkenstocks as I knitted with tree branches instead of needles.

The content of the workshop was a bummer, as it was more about making “the most awesomest co-op possible” rather than improving transportation options for low income individuals.

But my favorite part of the workshop was the little old Pakistani man with a dyed orange beard, twelve necklaces and a variety of wooden jingling bracelets named Avatar. He kept complaining that no one was speaking loud enough. I thought it was probably because his bracelets drowned out all other noises.

At the end of the day, on the way home, I was followed by a homeless man who apparently holds degrees from UCLA, UNLV, lives in a penthouse with a pool downtown and is friends with "lots of movie stars." After two blocks i pretended my phone was ringing and answered my quiet cell phone. He asked for my number, but i was too busy talking to my phone to answer....

Friday, June 25, 2010

I should always listen to my mother

Brian’s coworkers had the idea to have a party in which we eat White Castle sliders and watch the Predator movies. I told my mom. She said that sliders are disgusting. I said I had never tried them and thus would ignore her advice to avoid them.

I should never ignore her advice.

Brian and I ate 10 sliders, then came home to a stinky death. I could feel sliders coming out my pores.

Side note—when I’m not feeling well, I’m like a cat. I want to be away from my usual space. So, instead of sleeping in my bed, I prefer to sleep on the floor near the bathroom. It doesn’t matter if I think I need to throw up or not, it’s just where I prefer to sleep when sick. It might have something to do with feeling like my bed is my only space that I can keep clean (remember freshman year?). But none the less, a sick Jenny is a Jenny near the bathroom. Here in Paradise, my closet is the room next to the bathroom. So I can curl up on clean carpets and still be less than 15 inches from the toilet.

After I woke up on the closet floor the next morning, all I wanted was fruit and vegetables. And only fresh versions of each. So we spent the day eating salad, strawberries and peaches. Brian tried to convince me to have chicken for dinner, but I was thoroughly uninterested.

I should always listen to mom.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Like Fergie, I don't want no drama

So softball has continued to be interesting. After Roz’s jaw was broken (had to be wired shut, which made her lose her job), we had lots fewer team members.

Brian and I had joined the team because a friend from college asked us to. He and I had met while working together over a summer and had become friends through a mutual appreciation of how awesome I am. We moved to Ann Arbor at about the same time as the friend moved back in with his parents in neighboring Ypsi.

We were unaware that the rest of our team members know each other either through this friend of mine (2 other people) or because they have bought from, sold to or smoked with other team members (rest of the team). So while I was excited to be on the “High Life” softball team, it led to the rude realization that no one else is interested in having a Miller after the games.

This is not the source of the drama.

The drama centers around one little sect of our team. This group was headed by Billy and Chase. Other folks in the group who are also team members included Ken, Taylor and Amanda, Billy’s girlfriend. Since our team had a high attrition rate at the beginning of the season (one injured and one scared off), it’s really important that everyone attend and participate. It is also really important that Amanda be on the team, because without her, we will face games where we lose points for having too few girls. So while these 5 aren’t all great at softball, they all are good and are necessary for our team.

But, Billy and Chase are annoying. Chase slept half way through a game, arrived late and almost got us disqualified by adding himself to the roster after the game started. Chase also is loud. So loud that I can hear him heckling from the dugout while I’m in right field. But he doesn’t usually heckle the other team. He just heckles our own players.

Billy is more subtle. Apparently he and Chase objected to the skill level of one of our team members, Scott. Since Scott comes to practice and shows up on time to games, he gets one of the first picks for what position he plays. And even though he knows he’s not great, he wants to have fun and play second base.

Billy and Chad didn’t think he should. And so they heckled him. And pestered our coach to move him from second base. Constantly. Our coach apparently received 40 texts in a single day on the topic.

Our coach had gotten fed up and planned how to deal with this problem. Unfortunately before that happened, Amanda injured her knee badly while batting and left for the hospital with Billy. Now we are permanently down one girl.

In what may have been a poor political choice, our coach decided to call a team meeting. In the team meeting, he specifically called out Billy (absent due to hospital trip) and Chase for their annoying behavior. He cited their constant whining about the way things were run and noted that Chase had threatened to leave the team and take Billy, Amanda, Ken and Taylor with him. This was about the time that Chase freaked out.

There was screaming, cursing and at one point, almost a fist fight. The meeting ended with Chase taking off his jersey and throwing at our coach before stomping off to the parking lot. I would have taken it more seriously if there wasn’t 2 inches of butt crack showing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Think on your feet

Part of my job means that I work directly with 17 agencies that do social justice work in the area. So to further that work, I go and do site visits. I drive my little car out to where the good things happen, get a tour and chat about what’s being done.

I made plans with one of my agencies to come out and see their annual job fair. I’d get the tour, see the speaker and eat a free lunch. This was a good plan.

Plans rarely survive the first engagement.
I got to the agency, walked around a bit and then was ushered into the ballroom for lunch. I was all ready to sit in the back of the room, when the guy in charge informed me I’d be sitting at the head table. In the front of the 200 person room.

“Don’t worry, you won’t have to speak,” quickly became “You can just say hello, how you doing and a few words about United Way.”

Crap! I went from happy anonymity to sitting in the front with the executive directors (one of whom is having a little fight with United Way over a quarter of a million dollars) and needing to speak.

The session began with me quietly freaking out, sipping lemonade and texting a dozen people. I was introduced and tried to get away with just waving my hand. Nope, they gestured to the mic and I was forced to give an awkward 30 second “Hi and happy to be here.” Then I sat down and thought of all the other things I could have said.

It was a 15 on the awkward scale.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Return of the Blog

So I’ve been told by just about everyone to start blogging again. So I’m ready to start.

Today, there roof of my car was covered with incapacitated flying ants. The whole roof and much of the trunk was just a field of ants with wings, laying on their backs and kicking their little legs impotently.

I bet you were hoping for something more impressive. I’ll try to do better.