Full Circle

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As all adventures must come to an end, I have goodbyed Provo and returned to my San-Diego-Living-With-Parents glamour life. Being in El Cajon for the past week has been a culture shock!

Everything is instantly sketchier. A thick layer of creepy grime covers the town. Going to the park? It’s probably rampant with pedophiles lounging in the shade. Going for a walk? Cat calls and leers galore (I will never forget the time I went for a walk and someone tried to pick up my MOM.) Going to the library? At least half the people are tweakers or homeless. El Cajon is significantly less wholesome and the people aren’t even nice. Even when someone is helping you, they do it begrudgingly.  Still, there are some positives to go along with those negatives.

 

Love It

-I can buy liquor (at the grocery store!) after 7pm
-Proximity to Trader Joe’s and World Market!
-I have tv
-Home cooked meals
-The beach is just a short drive
-Burger King chicken fries are back! (This is not exclusive to El Cajon, but it makes my transition a whole lot tastier.)
-Culture! El Cajon has people other than white

 

Hate It

-I may never see fry sauce again.
-No more Noodles & Co.
-Living with the toilet seat perpetually up
-That whole Searching For a Job thing
-It’s hot. I thought Provo was hot, but I think it’s all the sinning that makes the temperature even closer to hell degrees.
-I don’t remember how to get anywhere. It’s like I’m afflicted with driver’s amnesia.
-Then there’s the obvious…living at home

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The Ways in Which I Have Become Mormon

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8 months in this charming/opposite of Godforsaken town, and I’m about ready to take my leave. My Provo experience is the size of a Mormon mommy blogger’s belly. Here are some of the signs that I’m finally becoming one of them (a Mormon, not a Mormon mommy blogger):

1. My longer-than-knee-length skirts. I even own a MAXI-skirt. That’s the kind that goes all the way to your freaking ankles. I don’t feel comfortable in my short skirts anymore. Bonus: Leg-shaving is at an all-time low for summer months. My level of modesty: extreme. I even wore a bra today! (This is rare.)

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2. My vocabulary. Just try me. TRY ME on some Mormon-y slang like RM, MTC, NCMO, DTR, EFY, FHE, etc. I’m pretty with it.

3. I made it into the ward directory. Remember, that little packet of everyone’s faces and phone numbers for the entire ward to have and to hold and to do with it what they please? The one that is ideal for playing Marry/Sex/Kill. A girl came by the apartment looking for my roommates to take their pictures, but she ended up with mine and my phone number. I’m expecting a horde of date request voice mails any day now. (From the boys checking out my hawt non-Morm black and white photo, not her.)

4. This is more of a general Utah thing, but my deep love for fry sauce. It’s very real to me. I have nightmares imagining living in a state where you have to MAKE your OWN fry sauce.

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5. This also might be more of a general Utah thing or just an adult-world thing, but my serious love affair/dependency on diet coke. Whoever you are, if you’re in on the whole diet coke scene, I AM ONE OF YOU! I am with you 100% and I love it and I need it and it is good. The biggest mistake Jesus made was turning the water into wine. If he had turned the water into diet coke, I would be a devout follower, no questions asked.

5. My shirt-under-dress fashion mastery. #modestyissexy and boy, do these girls know how to not show skin! From cardigans in 90+ degree whether (which I will not partake in), to sneaking t-shirts under their otherwise shoulder-revealing shirts and dresses. Yes, I have done it!

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6. Abstinence. Aside from a singular virginity-stealing event (and really, those can be considered favors, so it doesn’t count), I have stayed pure. I have used my modesty to protect and reflect this state of purity.

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7. I love a good board game night and have even started growing my own collection! I know board games are not exclusively Mormon, but as YSA’s in a Single’s Ward, game nights foster a cozy environment for getting to know potential dates/ultimate spouses and are very popular.

Stingy Fry Girl

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Maybe I should be embarrassed that almost every day that I work, I end up eating french fries, but I’m an adult and I can do what I want.

Provo Beach Resort is this sad little wanna-be indoor summer boardwalk with a cafe, ice cream shop, arcade, ropes course, bowling alley, mini golfing, and fake palm trees.

The cafe is as far as I ever go. They serve the most delicious fries that only come in two sizes, small and large.

I go there every day. Even when I don’t get fries, I NEED my diet coke.

The point is, I know them, they know me. I am as regular as they get. And today, I made an enemy.

“Um, is this a large?” I asked skeptically of the small container that was handed to me, because I knew better. Her manager was standing behind her.

“Yeah, it’s a large. I just put it in a small container.” She looked at him.

“Usually, I put it in a large container,” he said.

They apologized. I told them it was okay, even thought it was NOT.

Clearly, a large portion of fries cannot fit into a small serving size. That’s why there is a large box. Just because you say it is a large, does not make it so. And she scrimped on the fry sauce, too. Do not come between me and my fry sauce, girl.

I was disappointed, I was hurt. I felt betrayed.

I’d like to say I haven’t been back since, but we all know I’d be lying.

Mormons Attack

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Okay, not really. I actually just sat on my couch next to a nicely dressed boy and he asked me questions.

Has anyone ever attempted to convert you? It’s kind of like someone is hitting on your soul.

I was in my living room reading A Brave New World and waiting for Girls Night to start when my newest roommate came home with her boyfriend and his brother. “My home teachers are coming, just so you know.” She warned. (Home teachers=male members of the ward that are assigned to a family unit. They come over once a monthish and teach a lesson/see if you need anything.)

Okay. I kept reading. When the home teachers arrived in their Sunday dress clothes I ignored them, but they didn’t ignore me.

“And what’s your name? Are you in the ward too?” one of them tuned to me.

I admitted that I wasn’t a member. There was an immediate shift. He was drooling at me like my soul was in a wet T-shirt contest. “Oh, really? Well you’re welcome to listen as we share our message.”

“I’m reading, but I might you know, eavesdrop a little bit.” And went back to my book.

At this point all 6 of us were sitting comfy cozy on the couch. My new friend sat right next to me.

“Where are you from?” he asked.

“San Diego.”

“Really? What part?”

“East county.”

“Which city?”

“El Cajon.”

“Ohh, okay.” he said, as though we were now blood brother-sister, “I’m from Murrieta.”

Then he asked if I’d been to church at all and told me how we’d have to fix that, and have I spoken to the missionaries yet?

He wasn’t anything fanatical or anything, but he was even pushier at the end when he stood in my doorway, promising to be back so we could “hang out.”

“It’s not an option.” he said.

Am I a Bad Influence?

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After a friend invited and then UNinvited me to dinner at his house (in order to preserve the delicate balance of the guy:girl ratio), he told me that he owed me dinner.  I settled for a soda.  Provo has a weird way of making every possible potential unique business idea happen, if only for a little while–like renting a puppy, different rice pudding flavors with names that are puns, tanning AND laundry, etc.  Sodalicious is an easy little drive-thru/walk-up hut that offers tons of soda options and mixes with clever names.  We headed there before Game Night. 

I got some concoction,I forget what it was called.  Your Mom or Just Friends, or What She’s Having…but I do remember I got it extra dirrty.  The taste reminded me of freshman year dorm drinking days when we’d mix Malibu with Hansen’s cherry vanilla soda.

When we got home I excused myself to my room and promptly spiked my drink.  I mean, it was Game Night–it couldn’t hurt.

Back in the living room I joined the circle and set my drink down.

My friend, who was sitting next to me, picked it up to take a sip and I thought nothing of it.  I saw the liquid creeping up the straw and as it touched his lips, I realized!

“Wait!  That has a little…”

Too late. 

“You just damned him straight to hell!” someone joked.

We laughed, but was it okay?  I didn’t know how to feel!  It was worse than when I would see someone’s garments.  I had just accidentally given a Mormon alcohol!

Party Animal Over Here

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My social life is as present as my boobs were at 13 (i.e. NOT).  The week after Kate left I went to all these little game nights and things and I felt so active. 

Then, briefly, I got a second job in a group home for teen girls with substance abuse issues.  After doing 4 hours (!!) of unpaid paperwork and training, I was all set for my first shadow shift starting at 6AM on Friday.  I woke up at 5, realized all the reasons why this was a bad idea (moving in less than 2 months, only ONE guaranteed 8 hr shift per week, an article I read as a kid about these girls in a similar situation who threw their caretaker in a basement and lit her on fire)…and NOPE.  So I told one of the boss ladies it wouldn’t work out.  But that was before I realized that I still have 2 books of theirs that I’m going to have to return sometime in the near future. Awkward.  Maybe I can just leave them on the doorstep?

Anyways, my social life now consists of hanging out in my room on a Saturday night with Yoshi playing Marry, Sleep With, or Kill with the ward menu (The ward directory is when they take a picture of every person by apartment and give you their phone number so that any old guy who wants to ask you out can just creep it from there.  Thankfully, I am just a blue circle named “Kelsey Darling phone number.”)

Boston

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Friday morning I woke up at the friendly hour of 4:00 to drive myself to little old Salt Lake airport.  Naturally, I forgot to check in to my flight until midnight–7 hours before my Southwest flight.  C28.  There were only 2 people waiting to board after me.  Ahead of me was a herd of NASCAR fans in mullets and 80s dad jeans.  It was a middle seat life for me.

As soon as I stepped off the plane in Baltimore I was overwhelmed with diversity.  I haven’t seen an ethnic minority in 7 months!  And there were gay people!  It made me laugh.  There was also a disturbing amount of loafers and boat shoes, something that is wholly East Coast and that I cannot allow myself to support.

I had a lovely time in Bean Town (as Leslie called it–which, unfortunately, reminded me of an ex-boyfriend’s tendency to use “flicking the bean,” as a description for female masturbation.  This memory rose in the back of my mind like a swallowful of vomit that I tried to suppress).

We stumbled upon Boston’s gay pride (at which I procured a Chipotle T-shirt that has a rainbow burrito and says Homo Estas?), made new friends at a bar that encouraged board games, attended a Dragon Boat  Festival, and saw the sights.

The very first night, we went to a jazz club called Wally’s Cafe.  It was very petite with a stage at the front, upon which stood a little Charlie Brown band. It was an armpit of a jazz club, really.

There was something naughty about making eye contact with a trumpeter as he takes his instrument to climax. The bass player fingered his instrument like he knew his way around a vagina.  My line of eye contact with the lead guitarist was blocked by a triangle chia pet attached to a gentleman’s head. And he was fine. (The guitarist, not the human chia). He licked his lips an unnatural amount of times.

At the end of my trip, I found myself erased of (most) preconceived east coast prejudices.  [They still have that whole boat shoe thing and cardigans tied in the front across their shoulders.] The only thing I found Boston lacking was fry sauce.