I’d Rather Have The Stomach Flu Than Go On A Date With You (this is a perfect example of a time when knowing the difference between ‘then’ and ‘than’ is crucial).

I haven’t thought about getting or missed having a boyfriend since the disaster of a relationship that ended a little over a month ago (I think that’s the right math? People mark things like anniversaries on calendars. “RIP to this Relationship” isn’t typically a save-the-date kinda thing). That is, until, dun dun dun, this week. When the stomach flu hit. Nothing quite makes you desire the presence of a significant other like not being able to get outta bed to refill the water bottle you continue draining just so your stomach has something to throw up. And since gastroenteritis (my word of the…month…because it has so many letters, okay) isn’t the preferred state for picking up dudes, I satiated my fever-induced yearning by reading dating profiles on OkCupid.

Which to be perfectly honest isn’t the worst hobby. People write some interesting (notice the intentionally ambiguous choice of adjective) shit. And if the things that people write about themselves are entertaining, then it certainly follows that the first messages they would send to prospective dates (i.e., me) are also sehr (my German word of the month) entertaining. And it follows. Oh does it follow. The following is to illustrate for you just how much it follows…follow.

1. “Are you fat? Can’t tell from the pictures.” 

This beauty takes the first slot on this list, because, I mean, just read it. What type of human wouldn’t be turned on by a partner who is clearly very concerned with your health? It’s nice to have someone worry about you, no? *rolls eyes* Yes, Chad. I am a dolphin-sized person (which feels more realistic than ‘whale’). Fun Fact: this was not the first time I received this question. The other Chad just had a facade of tactfulness and didn’t ask the question until we were already conversing. He also quite artfully disguised the inquiry by asking for a “full-body” picture. Upon requesting an explanation for his abrupt interjection into the conversation, Chad # 2 assured me that he was not shallow, and that he had suffered through situations before with women “lying about how they looked.” Oh Chad # 2, I am sorry for your hardship.

2. “Hey. I really liked the personality that shines through your profile.” 

Thanks, I did it that way. That’s probably a cynical way to respond to a compliment, but come on. It’s not like I was going to write a profile that was total shit. The idea was that you would read the profile, say “yo, she seems dope, I should message her.” The follow-up idea was that you’d have more to message than the artful equivalent of “cool profile.” (And yeah I know, #ReasonsWhyImSingle, whatever).

3. “I can bet a million dollars that you are going to call the next sentence in my message as a flirty pick up line.”

This is that one time I won a figurative million dollars while trying to online date, at which point I yelled “Fuck Dudes!” and bought a condo with a bunch of cool features for my cat. Spoilers, the rest of the message was, as advertised, a cheesy, generic pick up line (accompanied by several hundred tongue-out emojis).

4. “What’s the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine?”

I actually just rediscovered this one while perusing my dating app inbox. And now I’m sitting here pissed at myself because I never asked for the damn answer, thinking “Is it too late to respond?” *checks message date* *January 17* That’s not that long ago…but to avoid any unpleasant/awkward follow-up conversation, I’ll just ask the internet. *googles answer* …In a Porsche, the pricks are on the inside… Damn. That was good.

5. “Which anime?”

In their defense, I did mention liking anime on my profile. But am I really only worth a two-word introduction? My CTA driver is more wordy than that. If I message you, I’m not gonna half-ass it. You’re gonna get an entire paragraph, proper grammar, and then so-help-me-Saturn if you respond with another two words I will report you under the category of “Not Trying Hard Enough.”

6. “I was reading on aesthetics when I saw you. Beautiful is definitely overrated, you’re the most aesthetically appealing I seen on here so far.”

No you fucking weren’t (but yes I fucking am *high five for the positive self-talk”). No one casually reads on aesthetics. At least # 3 acknowledged the depravity of his pick-up line.

7. “You’re cute. Who are you & how come you’re not my girlfriend?”

Well, I just explained quite a bit about who I was in the profile you clearly didn’t make it to past my photographs. And I’m going to go with the obvious answer of: I’m not your girlfriend because we’ve never met. I’m going to follow (so much following) that up by pointing out that these lame ass pick-up lines are likely a large part of the reason you’re still struggling with the existential conundrum of being single.

8. *Kissy-face Emoji* 

That was the entire message. Damn it, Jade. You should have replied with the eggplant emoji. Gah, missed opportunities.

9. “Your eyes are absolutely stunning.”

Thanks, I grew them myself…and then the photoshop app contributed with those clarity and vibrance filters. I’m not sorry that I’m not interested in our first conversation starting with filler compliments and half-hearted thanks that we then attempt to segue into forced (and likely awkward) banter.

10. “You’re adorable.” 

*squints eyes* Not sure if you’re talking about me, or my cat. Either way, not the vibe we were going for. Is the biting sarcasm in my profile not sending a clear enough message that “cute” and “adorable” are not ideal descriptors?

Now keep in mind these gems are from the last month or so (whatever that math was) that I’ve been re-single.

More are likely to follow (that word is starting to sound weird), such are the hazards of online dating.


One Post to Update Them All

I thought I would introduce the topic of today’s post with a Bo Burnham lyric that artfully captures the essence of today’s theme:

“Can I say my shit? I’ve got lots of shit to say. I’ve got lots of shit to say.”

So much so, in fact, that I’m not entirely sure where to even begin. Like, no joke, I’ve started this post numerous times. And every time I end up just staring at my screen thinking, “I have so much I could say but how do I say it?” The real problem, or so I believe, is that I’m too tired to say anything. For example, I could share my thoughts on the recent election but that has exhausted me enough. I am exhausted by humanity. I come to this space I have here, where I write to make myself happy,  but I’m not sure I remember how that works exactly. Plenty of things make me happy in real life. Mainly my new kitten.

I feel a certain sense of responsibility for all of you. Like I’m Jim Gordon and you’re my Gotham. Or I’m Oliver Queen and you’re my Star City. And I think that is all very telling about the way I am as a person. I’ve always wanted to be the hero in a story. But we can’t all be the grand, sweeping saviors we envision. Not on the scale to satiate our egos. That’s why we have books, cinema, video games. But we can be heroes in other ways.

And let me tell you, I have not felt like a hero as much as I have since I began interning as a therapist. I may not be working on the same scale as the Avengers saving the world from an alien invasion, but for those humans who come and see me every week, all they have is their world. And I get to be a part of that world. And that’s pretty spectacular. I’m far from saying they look at me and see Captain America. In fact I hope they don’t, because that would be, clinically speaking, concerning. But right now, I’m being selfish and this is about how I feel about the work I’m doing. And helping people, even if my “superpower” is only 7 years of higher education, makes me feel like I could hang with Dr. Banner and Natasha Romanoff. There have been highs and lows since I’ve started providing therapy. My faith in humanity is somedays destroyed, and others rebuilt. Somedays I want to quit. It gives me comfort to know that even the superheroes in our fictional worlds feel this way sometimes.

It also helps that I have an adorable kitten to come home to every night! Speaking of which, *Plot Transition* So about this kitten, her name is Quinn (after my favorite psychologist, the notorious Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel). She is a little over 5 months old, gray striped, literally the most perfect, gorgeous cat in the world (probably the universe). I take approximately 1,889 pictures of her every day. And, to quote Kanye: “I don’t care what none of y’all say, I still love her” (Gold Digger, 2005). I am a proud, obsessed cat mom now.

*Plot Transition #2* Also, I’m back on that single (not-entirely-sure-if-I’m-ready-to-mingle) life. And if you just thought or said “aww,” it’s not like that. The relationship was swell, but we were incompatible on a number of levels. So of course I was angry and sad at first (partly because being rejected by someone you care about hurts, partly because I didn’t make the decision to end it sooner, and partly because I was planning this epic post-apocalyptic themed NYE party and it was nearly catastrophic when this jackass… *ahem* individual decided to put us at an odd number of people in attendance which was totally inconvenient for our team minute-to-win-it games, but luckily I am a master party planner).

So to summarize: I hate/love my career field, I am mom to the most perfect kitten, and I reinstalled Tinder. Although at this point, I think OkCupid is a better bet. There are fewer shirtless torso pictures, and all of the decent people straight up state their disdain of our newest President-Elect. Not that beginning a conversation on Tinder with “Did you vote for Trump?” isn’t exciting. But I think I mentioned that I’m tired. And while dating sounds quite enjoyable, I don’t have the mental capacity to sift thorough dating apps to find the subjectively good people. I should just start another dating app where only people who didn’t vote for Trump are invited.

Hey, thanks for sitting (or maybe you’re standing, I don’t know you) through this life update that was kind of all over the place, and kind of happy, kind of sad (sappy? no, wait that’s a real word…forget it, I’m too tired). I wasn’t kidding when I said I sat down multiple times to write this post, and I think you can really tell with my brilliant use of plot transitions.

I will close this post with a quote from my high school principal (who was probably quoting someone else, I’m too tired to check), which is both relevant and irrelevant all at once:

“Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours”

Streams: Noise

I decided it was time to share another tidbit from my dream journal. Please note that these “stories” (I use that word loosely, because I’m not that kind of writer) are often highly embellished for my own entertainment. And possibly yours if I’m lucky. The one I’m sharing with you today isn’t entirely finished. Where I stopped writing isn’t where the dream ended, but I got a little carried away with embellishing and filling in the dream gaps. Which wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have a 20 page paper I’m supposed to be working on…Oops.


The apocalypse didn’t happen like everyone thought it would. I mean, sure, it happened exactly like every movie, book, or television show ever depicted. Fiery destruction and people losing their damn minds. Except it didn’t start like anyone expected it to. There were no alien invaders. No vaporizing solar flares. No zombie sicknesses. No devastating natural disasters (Yeah, okay, there was some flooding in the South going on but it was completely unrelated to the world ending. Mother Nature didn’t stop her routine to say, “wait a minute, the humans are being more destructive than normal”). My point is, there weren’t any of the things people expected. There was only us. Not a damn person alive on this planet doesn’t know that to be true (although I suspect there are a few dead ones who never quite figured it out). The apocalypse started because, well, I guess they thought it was a good idea. Who knows? I mean someone knows. Obviously. My money’s on the people who started it. Unfortunately for you, the person telling you this story doesn’t happen to be one of them. Honestly, I’m just hoping that whoever finds this will be able to answer the questions I leave unanswered (because I’m pretty sure I won’t be living until the end of this…provided there is an end). Guys, this could literally be the last book ever written by humans. And if that doesn’t get you going…well then…I’m not entirely sure we would’ve been friends before all this. I’m going to tell you what happened. I’m going to tell you what I know, what I saw, what I heard. I’m not going to tell you why. There won’t be a reason that the world ended. At least not one that I’m satisfied with. Maybe they just wanted to watch everything burn. Maybe they pictured themselves ruling the planet. Or maybe they really did just do it for the noise.


“Someday, I hope someone looks at me the way veep Poynter looks at President Brighton,” I giggled.
“That’s what love looks like,” my best friend Oaklee agreed.
We were crammed onto our two-person sofa, surrounded by pizza boxes, with our trusty wine glasses in hand. Watching President Brighton’s final State of the Union address. It’s ridiculous that we watch it, actually, given our lack of political consumption…or general concern for that matter. But we both agreed that there was something goosebump-inspiring about listening to the leader of your nation being all majestic and shit. Plus we loved getting just a teensy bit drunk and admiring the faces Vice President Poynter makes at the back of Brighton’s head.
“Evie,” Oaklee continued, “Now isn’t that exactly the way Luca DeRosa looks at you?”
Spoilers, the look Oaklee is talking about in no way resembles the one I’m giving to her right now. It’s funny how alcohol can lead even the best of friends to bring up unattainable romantic crushes. Naturally, I do what any person would do when backed into this kind of corner: I snatch her wine glass and down the rest of its contents.
“EVELYN! I was going to drink that!”
“Duh. Which is why I did it for you. Who knows, that could’ve been the glass that is all the difference between a hangover tomorrow. Maybe you should be thanking me.”
By now we’re both in a fit of tipsy giggles, the kind that totally aren’t embarrassing for a couple of 23-year-old women to be consumed by. Just let Luca DeRosa see me now.
Oaklee gets serious again. “Evie, we’re missing Brighton’s entire speech. You know this will be all anyone talks about tomorrow!”
That last part wasn’t a joke either. President William Brighton is up for his final election term next year. And let’s just say the country (and a lot of other countries for that matter) aren’t exactly thrilled with him. Of course, that goes for every national leader ever at the moment. It just doesn’t help that Brighton happens to be that guy for America and people always seem to be staring at us. Sometimes I almost feel bad for him but then I remember that’s right buddy, you signed up for this job.
“Sorry Oak, you’re right. I’m all ears.”
“But you know,” Oak piped up in her I’m-totally-going-to-talk-about-Luca-again voice. “I still think you should just ask him out. It’s not going to be that weird if he says no.”
Gee, thanks Oak. Always so supportive. I tell my snarky inner voice that she is supportive and she’s only repeating back an argument I’ve made to myself a hundred or so times. The thing is, me and Luca work together. Which isn’t per se banned by our place of employment…but if he did say no or it ends terribly in 2 to 3 months, things could get a little uncomfortable (ethically and emotionally). But still. I can’t picture Professional Evelyn walking up to Corrections Officer Luca and asking him on a date. My luck, we’d become the gossip of the whole damn correctional facility. And trust me, you do not want to give anyone in prison something to talk about. Once, I got called to a pod because an inmate had overheard a C.O. telling another C.O. that he was afraid he was going to have to put Frank (who just so happened to be his beloved Labradoodle) down. Unfortunately, Inmate Frank was unaware of Labradoodle Frank. You really haven’t seen something until you’ve seen a man serving a 12-year prison sentence on aggravated battery charges lose his shit. I’ve digressed a bit (or a lot) but I guess now you have a nice snapshot of what my life looked like before it happened, not that you said you cared to know. I work at a prison (with Luca, the corrections officer) as a mental health clinician. I know, glamorous right?
“I know,” I tell Oaklee. “I’m just worried about how it will look professionally.”
“You’re always worried about how things will look professionally,” she rolls her eyes. “Personally, I think you should worry more about how Officer Luca looks out of that uniform.”
“Hmm, I hardly doubt I need to worry,” I wink playfully at her.
Which obviously sends us into another non-embarrassing laughing episode. I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter how old you get. You can always find the will to giggle about an attractive human.
That’s when we realized it. President Brighton’s dulcet tones were no longer the background soundtrack to our wine-induced euphoria We both stare at the television screen. Not really comprehending what we’re seeing at first. I estimate that it takes us until about the third loop of the repeating video to wrap our heads around it. There is no sound. No words. No commentary. There is only Vice President Poynter, rising calmly from his chair. Drawing a thin, shining blade from his jacket pocket. And sending it spiraling end-over-end into the back of President Brighton’s head. I’m not sure how much time passes before she speaks.
“Shut it off,” Oaklee says with zero emotion behind her words. As if she’s just watching the most boring documentary ever made. Not the obvious assassination of our president by our vice president. My hand picks up the remote, in the back of my head I register that it’s shaking. But I don’t turn the TV off. That’s not something you do in a situation like this. Or so I’m assuming, having never actually been in a situation like this. I stop on the first news channel I find (which happens to be CNN). I figure this will satisfy Oak’s “shut it off” request. We come into the broadcast just in time to hear the anchor explaining to the viewers that no one is entirely sure what’s going on (shocker). She implores us to stay tuned as the situation unfolds.
“Did we just….” Oaklee’s words trail off. So I finish them for her.
“Watch Poynter kill Brighton? On national television? On a repeating loop? Apparently.” In the back of my head I vaguely register that we’re both (and most likely a shit ton of the nation) is going to need some serious psychological debriefing.
It’s not a question when she asks it. Mostly because neither of us would have any idea how to answer it anyways. So we do the only thing we can do, we keep watching CNN.
It’s around 1:00AM when the first real breakthrough is made. The same weary-eyed anchor who’s been speaking to us for the last four hours informs us that they have received a letter. Apparently, everyone has received the letter. Now I’m going to be up front with you. I have no idea how hackers or anything to do with hacking works. So if you’re expecting this to be a really thorough and scientific (is that the right word?) explanation, then find the other last-writer-alive and read their book. Okay, back to the point. This letter, sent viral over the web, explains how this was only the first. It never defines what “this” is exactly, and it doesn’t need to. The message is clear: We’re going to kill more world leaders. Who are we? Sonitus. The sleep-deprived anchor explains that “sonitus” means “noise” in Latin. I don’t say out loud that this seems pretty ironic considering they made us watch our president’s murder on a soundless loop.
“Sonitus,” Oaklee whispers beside me, as if testing to see whether the word tastes as bad as it feels.
I can tell that it does. But still, I give it a go for myself. “Sonitus,” I repeat.
The anchor, I think her name is Pamela Prescott, continues telling us a horrible story.
“Sonitus is considered a highly skilled, highly dangerous underground hacker organization. How they have managed to stay off the grid, remains a mystery to our correspondents at the White House. In their viral letter, Sonitus has taken full responsibility for the assassination of President William Brighton. Stating that Vice President Poynter was ‘merely a pawn in our game.’ Authorities are still unable to determine how Sonitus was able to gain control of the network in order to broadcast the assassination on a continuous loop. It is unclear what the hackers ultimately wish to achieve, but an emergency meeting of world leaders will be held at the earliest and safest time possible to discuss this threat. ”
Pamela’s face suddenly gets even wearier than before (because apparently that was possible). Her shoulders slump further down. She has the look of a woman about to inform someone that they have stage four cancer as they sit at the funeral of a loved one. Clearly someone else (important) is dead.
“I regret to have to inform you,” and she truly does regret it, you can tell, “that Vice President Harold Poynter died shortly after the assassination of President Brighton. At this time, his cause of death remains unknown. Our chief correspondent at the White House, Richard Smith (wow, now that sounds like a chief correspondent’s name), phoned in briefly to provide us with a statement. According to Smith, Poynter simply fell down after the fatal stabbing and was unable to be revived. We must wait for a full autopsy for further details.”
“So Poynter kills Brighton for these Sonitus people and then offs himself with some Assassin’s Delight before anyone can question him too thoroughly?”
“Evie! There could totally be another horrible explanation for it.” It’s clear Oak is already on board the Denial Train.
“Or it could be the current and obvious horrible explanation.”
“I swear, working in a prison has seriously jaded you.”
“Thank you,” I quickly reply. She just rolls her eyes at me again. It happens to be one of our favorite methods of communication.

We both fall asleep on the couch that night. Somewhere around 3:00AM, when Pamela is replaced by Perry Moore, and they’re well into their fifth cycle of repeating the same information we already know. When I wake up the next morning the TV is off and we’re both covered in blankets, which I cross my fingers is the work of Oaklee at some point last night. My president was just assassinated on national television, I can’t also deal with a ghost haunting my apartment. In all fairness though, a ghost who puts blankets on you in the middle of the night would probably rank pretty low on the list of Worst Hauntings in America. Provided Casper wasn’t just working up to smothering you. Unrelated to the blanket over me, that’s exactly how I wake up feeling: like I’m being smothered. I get up from the couch, stretch my stiff limbs and head to the kitchen to make us some coffee. When I return with two steaming mugs, Oaklee is awake. I knew she would be. She never was a very sound sleeper. I always joke that if there ever was a zombie apocalypse no one would even need to stay up to keep watch at night. Oak would wake up as soon as any uninvited guests got within a mile of us.
“I don’t want to,” she says as she takes the proffered mug. I already know she’s talking about work because I don’t want to either. Oaklee works as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. I don’t have to imagine the heap of information she’s going to have to sift through when she gets there.
“We could call in sick,” I recommend. Knowing neither of us are going to call in sick. Oaklee might complain about my concern with professionalism, but she’s just as bad as I am. “Be careful downtown today.” I’ve seen Chicago get pretty crazy over far less than a presidential assassination. Even when we’re celebrating something, things in the city can take a turn for the worst in the blink of an eye. And Oaklee works in the heart of the city.
“You’re the one who has to go to a prison today,” she counters. She has a point. If things get crazy on the outside, you can bet the inmates will have nothing else on their minds.
Two hours later, I’m at the security checkpoint for Stateville Correctional Center. There’s Luca DeRosa. With his gorgeous jet black hair and piercing blue eyes and broad shoulders and you need to stop right there Evie, because, well, you’re kind of staring.
“Hey, Evie. How are you?” Luca’s the kind of person that when he asks how you’re doing, he genuinely wants to know. I figured this out after the first few times he asked me how I was and I would always reply “fine.” Until one day when he said, “No, Evie, angel hair pasta is fine. I’m asking how you are.”
“Well I slept on the couch, so let’s hope there’s not a lot of running involved with work today, and I watched a lot of CNN between last night and this morning.”
“It’s horrible.” Luca states it simply. And when Luca states something simply, it never comes off as being one of those filler-lines people use in an attempt bulk up conversations when they don’t have anything else to say. He says the simple things because the simple things are, quite frequently, just the way it is.
“I mean, Poynter,” he continues, “he had to have been some kind of sleeper cell, right? Just waiting for Sonitus to give the kill order. Well, the double kill order. I don’t think Poynter dying was a convenient coincidence.”
“Neither do I. And their promise, ‘this was only the first.’ I doubt Sonitus is the kind of group that makes idle threats.”
“Seems unlikely,” Luca agrees. “Considering they got the vice president to kill the president and then kill himself.”
We part ways, me to the psych offices, Luca to the segregated housing unit. At lunchtime I watch the news with everyone else in the break room. There’s coverage of the protests currently going on in Chicago. Tell me something I don’t know, I challenge the reporter. I’m struck by the odd thought that I miss Pamela Prescott. This news anchor, Charles, seems just a little too excited about these latest developments in American history. Like the president being assassinated is the best thing that’s happened in his new anchoring career. It’s unsettling. But I realize not uncommon. People often distance themselves from their reality. It’s human nature. It’s funny how a lot of things became human nature after it all happened. After reassuring myself that the demonstrations are mostly peaceful for the moment, I leave the room. I don’t think I can listen to the sound of Cheery Charles for one more minute.

The next two days pass. It’s pretty uneventful, considering the whole president-and-vice-president-being-dead thing. People protest, slipping into the occasional riot. But without another word from Sonitus, I think people are pretty happy to just ignore everything.
It happens on a Friday. Stateville goes into lockdown around 2:00PM. It just so happens that I’m on the segregated housing unit (S.H.U. for all of you acronym lovers) responding to an inmate who is suicidal (and obviously delusional since he’s claiming to have had dinner with the president the night before he was killed). The C.O.s do their thing and I do the things the C.O.s tell me to do. Luca’s the one who comes to me with a briefing.
“Evie. There’s been another assassination. Sonitus, they sent another message.”
“Okay, so what do I want to know first? Who they killed or what they said?” I laugh nervously. I’m always laughing nervously. Often it’s just so damned inappropriate. This is one of those times.
“The British Prime Minister.”
“Shit. Someone on his security detail is so fired.” There I go again, being inappropriate. I make a note that Luca never seems to mind.
“It was one of his guards,” Luca informs me. Shit, I think again. Someone close to him, just like with Brighton. Seriously, who the hell are these people.
“Sonitus? But how? What did they say?”
“The Prime Minister was in his office when it happened. The rogue guard took out the other two in the room before the Minister. Then he wrote a note, signed it Sonitus. It just said, Silence is the Loudest Noise of All.”
“Well that’s not ominous.”
Luca shakes his head, smiling slightly. “These guys have a flare for the theatrics, huh?”
“Luca, what’s happening? All of this,” I gesture to nothing in particular, “they have to have some kind of goal. Right? I have this feeling…whatever they’re trying to do, if they aren’t stopped soon, it’s going to get a lot worse.”
“I know.” There it is, that Luca Simplicity.
“They can hack media networks, plant assassins next to key political figures…what else can they do? And an organization with that kind of power…why has no one ever heard of them?”
Silence is the Loudest Noise of All.” As Luca repeats the words, I realize their truth.
They’ve operated in the shadows for a reason. The destruction is far worse when you don’t hear the storm approaching.

The Elephant is a Metaphor

I would like to take these next paragraphs to address the elephant in the room. No, don’t look around. It’s not in any of your rooms. This elephant only belongs to me. It sits in the living room while I play video games, and rests on my chest at night, using its playful trunk to swat away sleep. The elephant represents the unyielding truth that the last summer of care-free-vacation-life that I will most likely ever have, is at an end. When J.K. Rowling wrote on Harry’s Snitch “I open at the close,” she was leaving a clue as to how one would gain possession of the Resurrection Stone. Of course, she could just as easily have been referring to the floodgates of the River Denial which most certainly appear open now that August is drawing to a close.

For the last few weeks I have been training to begin my year long practicum/internship at a community college wellness center. Now, in just one week, that practicum will begin, and many things will end. I know, I know, “You’re almost 25, Jade. You can’t go to school forever.” Well excuse me, but I’m almost entirely (I don’t feel like googling it to double check) sure that there’s no law in effect prohibiting life-long scholarship. Aren’t people supposed to do what they’re good at? I’m good at writing papers and reading books. And save it, I know you’re next argument. “But you haven’t tried to do therapy. You’ve never been a counselor. How can you know if you’re good at it?” Touché. You’re quite right. I didn’t come here to argue, so cool it. But I’m not going to pretend like I’m not anxious, nervous, and, at times, afraid. These days you can usually find me floating along on a temperature-controlled raft on the Lazy Denial River, sipping a fruity cocktail, and soaking up rays of warm, blissful disregard.

Suffice it to say, I don’t know if I’m ready to be a counselor. Doing real therapy, with real people, who have real problems they’re expecting me to help with. Sometimes the whole idea is so overwhelming that I have to seriously ask myself why I chose this profession. Other times I’m so amped to try different therapeutic techniques and help people find real-world solutions to problems they didn’t think they’d ever resolve. There’s a lot of back and forth and lately I find myself questioning which side of the spectrum I end up on most frequently.

And still the elephant watches. Reminding me that weeks spent playing video games, laying out at the beach, and getting to the housework whenever the fuck I feel like it, are ending. Soon, school loans won’t keep me afloat. The world will expect me to contribute the skills that I’ve been learning in the classroom for the last six years. My profession will beckon me forth with promises of a bright career, but no guarantees of landing a job. I look back at the elephant and all I can ask (other than “Can you please stop crushing my lungs while I try to sleep?”) is “Will I be good enough? Will I succeed?” The Slytherin in me craves that success. I need to be good. I don’t care if I win at board games or silly bets between friends. But this is what I’ve poured my entire life into. This is want I want to win. I can’t begin to imagine what it would feel like if I realize I made a mistake. If this isn’t where my strengths and talents lie. If what I always thought I wanted to do turns out to be something that I’m not capable of doing.

That’s what’s terrifying. That’s what the elephant says as he sits in silence inside my head (sorry, didn’t mean to rhyme there, sometimes it just happens). Don’t tell me I’m being dramatic, because obviously, I know. You don’t spend six years learning about psychology and not recognize when you’re being irrational. But Mr. Elephant did not spend six years studying psychological theories. Well, I mean, I guess he kind of did. So long as we all acknowledge that the elephant is a made-up representation of one facet of my personality. But he’s the part that wants to be irrational and catastrophize literally everything. So I let him. He doesn’t feel like he’s being irrational. He has real fears about starting a real profession. We have a lot in common.

Look on the bright side, Mr. Elephant. We have one week left to ignore each other’s existence. You keep stressing over real, adult life starting. And I’ll keep pretending like I have countless days left of no responsibilities and time to do whatever I want. Let’s meet in a week to regroup.

Gary: The Worst Delivery Driver

I just had the rudest delivery experience of my life. Which is saying something, because I get take out a lot. Like, I’ve met my fair share of delivery personnel. And this certainly wasn’t bad karma coming back to bite me because I am always quite considerate towards the people who show up at my door with greasy food. They’re amongst my favorite people. This was something else, and no prior delivery experience could have prepared me for it.

First, a preface. Tomorrow marks the day that my boyfriend and I have decided to dub our anniversary (as neither of us can remember the actual date we began seeing each other). Said boyfriend, the romantic that he is, decided to surprise me with a flower delivery on the eve of our big one year.

I got the flowers, but I also got a rude floral delivery man who’s sense of direction may, in fact, be worse than my own. Which is saying something because, if I can’t orient myself around Lake Michigan, than I have no concept of cardinal directions.

First off, this delivery man (I’m going to call him Gary) had some serious beef with the weather. And I get it, Gary. It was raining (though not too cold, not too hot). It was getting into the evening hours on a Friday. All in all, maybe not the perfect conditions for flower delivery. However, yelling at me about it won’t solve any of your problems, Gary. Loudly complaining to me over the phone about how you’re walking around in the rain, unsure of where to go also won’t solve your problems. And neither will speaking profanities at me. Because now, I’m pretty profanitied right back at you.

I can even understand, Gary, that directions are difficult. What I can’t understand is not being able to figure out how street numbers work. If you’re at 1202, and you know my address is 1222 (which you do, because I’ve repeated it twenty times), then obviously, no, you’re not in the right place. So stop asking me if that’s my building. And stop talking over me if you would like to receive directions to my building. Yes, that does mean you’ll have to stop bitching about the weather for five or so minutes. I know I ask a lot. Repeatedly yelling that you “don’t see it” won’t solve anything. I find it an egregious oversight on the part of a delivery driver to not know how street numbers work, but I was willing to walk you, literally, step-by-step to my door.

Unfortunately, Gary, you’re not just bad at street numbers, you’re bad at ALL directions AND listening. You were astounded and angered when I informed you that you were on the wrong side of the street. You were flabbergasted when you crossed the street and discovered that the building on the corner (which happens to be a bar) was also not my apartment complex. You couldn’t then comprehend which direction to walk to get to my building, even though you were at a corner, and realistically there was only one direction to walk and find yourself across the street from the apartment building, that, two minutes before, you had yell-asked if it was mine, and I had informed you that I was directly across the street from said building (sorry, angry run on sentence). Which leads me to further speculate that you also don’t know how streets work. How are you a delivery driver, Gary? How?

Gary, you’re not the first delivery driver who’s called me asking for clarifying directions. Albeit, they’ve usually figured out which building is mine and they’re just trying to determine which door to go to. Regardless, I would have happily clarified those directions for you just the same. But that’s a little hard to do when you’re being astoundingly rude. And you’re weak “sorry about that” after you finally figured out which direction to walk from the corner did little to make up for your rudeness, cursing, and complaining. I’m sorry your delivery company accepts delivery requests on rainy, Friday evenings. I don’t see how that’s my problem, but apparently you had other feelings about it.

I described what my building looked like, what the buildings around it looked like, that there was a bar on the corner you needed to walk away from without crossing any streets, I described my fence, I even told you the NAME of my building. I guess you figured it out in the end, but not before I came outside to find you, and not before I hated you. You work for a flower delivery service, Gary. Don’t you think that means that these flowers probably mark a special occasion? A special occasion that your harshing on with your negative vibes? Maybe you don’t care, but I’m sure you’re costumer support does. I can let some bad costumer service experiences go, but not you, Gary. What if those flowers had been a gift for a family in mourning? Or an elderly couple celebrating 60 wonderful years of marriage? Are you this rude to all of your delivery charges?

I spent 9 years working in hospitality, and I know how quickly even one rude comment can totally trash an experience. The apologetic refund my boyfriend got (who was none too pleased to learn about this delivery disaster), isn’t the real victory I hope this achieves. I hope someone talks to you, Gary, and you have a moment of clarity where you realize that it doesn’t matter what job you’re doing. They’re all important. And maybe your future rainy, Friday evening delivery runs don’t have to be as miserable as you make them, for yourself and everyone else.

That’s if you don’t get fired. Which I really hope not, Gary. The damage was already done here. But this could be a grand opportunity to grow from your mistakes. And we could all stand to do a little growing.

To end on a positive note, I have a very pretty bouquet of flowers from my thoughtful, loving boyfriend. Whom, I would imagine, will be hand-delivering all future flower bouquets.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Questions

I have decided it’s high time to share a list that I have been compiling for years. This may in fact be the most important list I have ever worked on. In celebration of the wonderful play coming to London’s West End, it is finally time to share my most precious list with the world (or at least the handful of people who will read this that make up my viewpoint of the world).

Without further ado, the following is a compilation of all of the sometimes-thought-provoking-sometimes-inane questions I have asked myself regarding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Some of them, as you will see, have been answered, and others evade my understanding. Harry Potter holds an incredibly special place in my heart, and I hope that you all enjoy this magical discourse.

1. Why did Lily & James have money? What did they do for a living?

This is THE very first question I ever asked myself regarding the Potters. It stumped me for quite some time, until J.K. Rowling was kind enough to clear up the issue via Pottermore. Needless to say, I was quite delighted to learn that Harry’s grandfather created Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion. It seems the trademark untidy Potter hair was more important than I could have guessed.

2. What happened to Harry’s grandparents? 

Two words. Dragon Pox. Once again, shoutout to Pottermore for clearing this up.

3. Was Harry’s visit to Kings Cross (when he died) real or a hallucination?

And YES I’M AWARE THAT THIS DOESN’T MATTER AND THAT IT ISN’T THE POINT. But damn, you can’t blame a girl for wondering. Dumbledore says, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” And I’ve spent a lot of time pondering that. Could it have been some residual magic from the Resurrection Stone that allowed Harry to really talk to Dumbledore?

4. Did any of the Death Eaters have a Time Turner when Voldemort tried to kill Harry Potter?

This is one of those inane questions I was talking about. The only reason I even wonder is curiosity about whether any of them would have tried to use it to save Voldemort if they had thought of it or had access to one. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the difficulties of acquiring a Time Turner.

5. How did the Weasley twins have the Marauder’s Map for so long & never question why Ron was sleeping with someone named Peter every night?

It just seems rather odd. You mean to tell me that never once did they look at Ron on that map and see him holding Peter Pettigrew? Of course it’s completely possible that they never spied on the whereabouts of their siblings, whether intentionally or not, but I have to admit that the whole thing seems rather curious.

6. Did Draco and Harry ever speak again after the Battle of Hogwarts? 

Once again, not super important. Just something I’m interested in. After all, they have so much history together. I can just imagine them bumping into each other at Diagon Alley. I do wonder if it would be awkward…

7. Did Harry ever go back to visit Dumbledore’s portrait? 

I can’t decide whether or not, if I was in Harry’s shoes, I would want to go back. Wizarding portraits are immortalizations of once living people. They can talk to you. I don’t know if speaking to Dumbledore again in that way would be easy…

8. Why did Moaning Myrtle become a ghost? 

I ask this question because I thought you had to choose that. Or at least that’s what Harry’s conversation with Sir Nicholas led me to believe following the death of Sirius Black. J.K. Rowling has wrote on the topic on Pottermore indicating that “it is those with ‘unfinished business’, whether in the form of fear, guilt, regrets or overt attachment to the material world who refuse to move on to the next dimension.” However, she also states that “the wisest witches and wizards choose not to” come back as ghosts. It seems like there must be some sort of magical preparation before death occurs in order to live on as a ghost. I cant’t imagine why Myrtle would have chosen that path, not to mention she died suddenly, no time for preparation.

I think that will do for now. I certainly have more questions that fill my daydreaming hours and moments before sleep, but I will save those for another time. I wouldn’t want to get too bogged down in the overwhelming ocean of uncertainty.

Some of these questions I have found answers for thanks to Pottermore. I anticipate that more answers lie within Pottermore’s metaphorical walls. Or, at least, someday they will. If anyone has theories, answers, or troubling questions of their own, please, share away!

Until next time, Mischief Managed my friends!

Also, for the record, I am a Slytherin (Hogwarts) and a Pukwudgie (Ilvermorny).

I always find this fun to know about others!

Breaking News: Apathy At An All Time High. 

We’re getting reports from across Everywhere that apathy rates are at the highest they’ve been since the summer of 2014. Apathy has steadily been on the rise since a violent hellstorm hit early last year. The hellstorm, which meteorologists dubbed Bianca, brought hell the size of baseballs down on Everywhere. This left massive damage in its wake and began the downward trend of uncertainty.

A large hurricant hit the coast late last week, creating waves of cannot big enough to trap most residents inside their homes. We’ve been getting reports of survivors taking refuge on their roofs to sunbathe and refuse all rescue efforts. Weather experts anticipate that this hurricant will not be an isolated incident. They predict several more before the season is over.

In worse news, experts believe that the months following hurricant season will see the most devastating motivation droughts that the area has experienced in decades. Residents in the affected areas will experience deficits in inspiration, and motivation wells throughout the community will run the risk of drying up.

Health officials are recommending that residents of Everywhere take all precautions at their disposal. Stay well hydrated, apply copious amounts of sunscreen, and remain outdoors, engaged in activities with other humans when at all possible. Officials also encourage Everywherans to try very hard to care. The CDC indicates that caring is a natural remedy to apathy. If you or any of your loved ones display symptoms of apathy, please contact a member of your sector’s Apathy Control Unit. ACU will be able to assist in reintegrating the affected individual into society.

In preparation for the coming motivation droughts, your local community government will be supplying “bug-out” bags. These bags will include government sanctioned items scientifically proven to boost inspiration such as: child and adult coloring books, short-story collections, and copies of every households Officially Registered Inspiring Movie, which should have been indicated in last years Mandatory Census Report. Any amendments to your ORIM must be made by July 31st at the MCR headquarters located in City Hall.

In the meantime, remember to find yourselves alone, but never lonely.

Goodnight, Everywhere.