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I love cheetahs and coffee and opening boxes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My First Apartment: The Train

Throughout college I have roomed with Catherine (my cousin/BFF/basically my sister) all four years.  The first two years were spent on campus in two different dorms that were interesting in their own rights but didn't really give us the same sort of freedom as our first apartment.

Freedom that we totally didn't take advantage of, but freedom nonetheless.  

The search began with us and two other girls who decided they wanted to live with us because we are awesome.  The first apartment we found was luxurious, had its own gym and a beach enclosure.  But then one of the girls didn't want to sign the lease and she dropped out.

So then it was three.  Really, it was only the three of us from the beginning because that fourth girl never came to look at any of the apartments because she was studying abroad in Disney World.

Yes.  My school sends students to Disney World and calls it part of the study abroad program.  It's like they're not even trying to convince people this is a place where you can get a legitimate education.

Anyway, eventually we found apartments that had just been redone.  They were gorgeous with hardwood floors and high ceilings and a ton of room.  And split between three people?  The price was perfect.

That's when third girl dropped out and Catherine and I had to fend for ourselves.

There was an apartment complex five minutes from school.  We stopped there; picked up papers; dropped off papers; had our parents come see the place.  And we were in.  

We moved our stuff there in August and made a night of it.  I brought Arielle and Catherine brought her friend Tiff.

After unpacking, Catherine and Tiff went off to do girly things while Arielle and I took out our laptops and became despondent.

I can't remember if that is what actually happened, but it seems pretty likely considering Arielle and I retreat into our laptops like we're farming for gold.  (Which sometimes we are... tee hee!  I'm funny, dammit.)

So the apartment seemed pretty awesome at first and for some reason that first night I did not notice the train.

This train made me a partial insomniac for the better part of the first semester. 

The second night we stayed in the apartment (the night before our first day of classes as Juniors) I woke up in a violent panic because I was convinced a train was going to come through my window.

I guess I should tell you that I'm scared of wind.  I saw Twister when I was really young and it cemented my fear of all natural disasters and especially tornadoes.  I made the logical connection that wind makes tornadoes very early, and in New Jersey wind is a lot more common than tornadoes so my fears were much more easily realized.  So, if I am inside of a house and I hear terrifyingly loud gusts of wind my stomach silently churns and I become distracted by imminent doom.  During my time at the apartment, my fear was transferred from wind to trains.

Although, sometimes both occurred and I wanted to board myself up in the bathroom until the obvious danger was over.  

Our apartment was stationed about 400 feet away from the train tracks.  But, this is someone who has no idea what 400 feet of anything look like so this is basically how it went:

Our apartment was located around where I wrote the word "BRICK."  My bed faced the window.  Every night when the train went by I would literally jump out of bed.  What went through my head most of the time was this train is going to tear through this room and run me over.

This might not make any sense to you right now because you are completely lucid (I'm assuming).  But, to someone deprived of sleep, who has dreams filled with monster trains, the fact that it would rip through the window to destroy me seemed perfectly reasonable.  

The nightly terror of being crushed under the wheels of an incoming NJ Transit train become a regular event.  Lying there, staring up at the ceiling, hardly conscious of what was real and what wasn't I convinced myself that my life was about to end.  I even prepared for death in those final moments.  What I said to myself must not have been very comforting, because I still tried to use my covers to shield myself from sure destruction.   

The moment that confirmed my suspicions that I might have a serious problem was when I woke up in a cold sweat, threw my legs over the side of my bed and broke into an immediate sprint towards the bathroom.  I stopped dead before I found myself colliding with the door, but the damage to my psyche was done.  I couldn't get back to sleep and I might not ever again.    

I would forever be the girl who ran away from an imaginary killer train... more than once. 

This kind of psychological trauma wears on a person.  Especially when you look over and see your roommate sleeping soundly on her side of the room.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I consider myself an avid reader, but there is something about the internet that makes reading words a bigger challenge than it really is.

When I see a comic insert monsterous amounts of words my mind works like this:

This is what I am forced to do:

It usually takes me a few days to work up the courage to tackle the Everest that is a comic with actual letters.  Don't ask me why I need to mentally prepare myself before engaging my mind in something so simple.  It's even worse when I get a long email from an old friend.

I am NOT Sixteen

It has always been glaringly obvious that I do not look my age.

When I was eighteen I went indoor rock climbing and the woman asked me where my parental permission slip was. When I told her how old I was and informed her I do not need parental permission she scoffed at me and then said something really bitchy: "You are going to get carded for the rest of your life!"

She kept cackling about it the rest of the day, cementing my issues with what age people perceive me to be.

Granted, I was wearing a My Little Pony shirt, so it was probably my fault.

Still, that woman was rude.

I am 21 now and people still think I'm sixteen. I work at a liquor store and the most common comment I get is, "Are you sure you're old enough to work here?"

Guess what, jerk? If I wasn't old enough to work here the boss man would not have hired me and I'd be working full time at TJ Maxx cleaning up after customers who have no common courtesy.

The most insulting part about this is that it makes me feel smaller than people my age. Heck, it makes me feel smaller than people younger than me.

That might have to do with the fact I rarely wear makeup (especially at work where I don't want to draw the attention of creepy old boozers) and the only time I take a brush to my hair is when I think there might be something living in it.

I have long, ratty hair that I should probably chop off, but I like feeling girly (which apparently isn't a word, but screw that- it's a word now) so I've made the commitment to keep it.

Here is an emo picture of me from 2006 when I was actually sixteen and had short not-girly hair and looked older than I do now because I used to wear makeup:

This is what I look like now:

Time has been ultra cruel to me.

...Okay, so that was actually a picture of me from Halloween. But I'm still not winning any beauty contests any time soon. Especially if they require the contestants to look and act their age.

This might be another problem as to why people think I'm sixteen: I'm not very coordinated and my favorite things are the same things I loved when I was little. I still wear a Power Rangers t-shirt and watch that old Beetlejuice cartoon (the theme song is my ring tone, because I'm awesome). I also spend an unhealthy portion of my time playing video games and reading comics.

I retired the pink My Little Pony t-shirt out of shame.

So, to counter this problem of looking young I have committed myself to wearing only dark colors, making eyeliner a priority and at some point in the future get a really gnarly tattoo. If I have a big tattoo on my arm that shows how tough I am they'll at least think I'm eighteen.

And that's a big step forward.