Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jane Austen is a trollop.

I think I’m at a cross-roads with myself. My yin and yang are showing, and they don’t like each other.

It’s Saturday evening. Last night I spent at home reading Sense and Sensibility (one of the last books in my house I haven’t read) and trying to get my dog to poop on walks. To be fair, my parents are out of town for a few days, so I am officially on Beppo-duty. It is still pathetic that these were my only plans, though.

Today my soccer team (SPA girls varsity) had homecoming against Blake, in which we held them off to a tie. This was exciting, and I really do love coaching and watching beautiful soccer. It was a lovely start to the day. I think the whole trouble started when I got home. It already looks like another night reading Jane Austen and talking politics with Beppo?

There is this huge push and pull in me these days. And I don't attribute it to the growing up process. Lets be honest; I am no adult. Inside of my body, lives an sometimes raucous and rowdy girl. On a Saturday night, she wants nothing more than to get happy on beer with friends and then dance to loud electro-funk beats. Or drink beer out of a boot and hop to the polka. This is the girl who has had the steering wheel for much of my life, although this is not always manifested through beer-drinking (don't worry, mom). She is carefree. She’s a good sport, social, quick to laugh, and magical on the dance floor.

The other part of me, however, is starting to show. Lets call her my stay-home-on-weekend-nights-and-read-sense-and-sensibility-girl. She also has a nasty flair of being environmentally conscious and asks herself such annoying and droll questions as, “is it worth driving 20 miles to go dance at a club?" or "Can I take a bus?”, or my favorite, “Would I be better staying at home, closely monitoring Beppo’s bowel movements and reading more about how to get a husband in 18th century England?” It's not that there is anything wrong with this. I just don’t feel that at 23, I should already be saying these things to myself.

The sad thing, is that I actually do have some friends here. Some really close ones. It has been much more shocking than I thought it would be to go from having friends who live blocks way in Madison, to here in the Twin Cities where my closest friends are a 20 minute drive away. I love being able to stumble out of my apartment at a preposterously late hour in Madison and meet friends at a bar or restaurant three block away. Something inside of me dies when I need the use of a car in order to have fun. I’m determined not to let this happen.
In Bill Bryson’s book, “I’m a stranger here myself” (A book about his return to the United States after living in the U.K. for some 20 years) he meditates upon our dependence on cars in the U.S. We are one of the only cultures where people drive their cars a block to get from one store to the next instead of just walking. It has come to the point where most of us take our car for granted. It is another necessary thing that we always keep on our person. Wallet, cell-phone, gum, car within a 20-foot radius, check.

I can be pretty stubborn, and this is something I am completely stubbornly committed to being stubborn about. I want to consider using a car as a privilege and a last resort. There is a decent bus system here. I have a bike. I live in the downtown of a (somewhat) bustling city. Not to mention that I don't even have a car, so I feel even worse for bumming one from my parents. This stubborn rule applies always. Except, maybe for tonight.

When it comes down to it, I may just need to stop mythologizing my former life in Madison and try to forge something for myself here, even if it sometimes requires a four-wheeled vehicle. I got a little nostalgic today and yesterday at SPA homecoming watching all of the high schoolers wander around in large breathlessly- happy groups. High school was certainly not always positive, but at least most of us constantly had groups of friends around us. I think that the major thing college does NOT leave you prepared for, upon entering a post-school existence, is the lack of a group of friends or peers that are often around you.

I really should get out of the house. I think even Beppo senses my antsy state, because during our last two “poop walks," he resolutely did not poop, despite my usually brilliant tactics of yelling, “Poop!” and “Focus, Beppo!” every few minutes, and varying my speed to increase the suspense and aid to his peristalsis. One thing I cannot stand is when Beppo is definitely doing his “I’m-about-to-poop-but-first-I-must-sniff-the-sacred-spot walk, and another dog enters stage left. I then do my best to shield Beppo’s sight of this other creature for the second that it takes for a dog to forget that something exists, because dogs can absolutely not poop within sight of each other. I don’t know if it’s stage fright, but I know Beppo needs some peace, some zen, when he’s doing his thing. And with those wise words, I am off to drive 15 miles to a movie theater in a distant suburb.

Screw you, Jane Austen.

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