The People You See at the Town Fair

The weather is getting warmer, pants are being traded in for butt-showing shorts (seriously, what is this new style?), and the sun is tanning your bare backs…unless you live in Pennsylvania, the new Seattle.

And with this change of the season, it is inevitable that the carnival roll on into whatever town you live. Every town has to have an annual carnival right? Or at least somewhere within driving distance…?

Now, this town fair was fun growing up. There were the scary rides that could literally fall apart in any second, the sticky cotton candy your parents hated buying you, and the giant, really-awkwardly-hard, overstuffed animals your daddy or middle school boyfriend would win you after spending $10-100 trying to knock down a glued bottle of pop.

But, as you got older you realized how trashy, or, err, interesting this town fair really was. You noticed the wide variety of people it brought to its grounds, including, but not limited to:

1. The young family. This is normal. This is who probably should be at these sort of fairs. Kids love this stuff…(until that pet goldfish they won dies the next day). However, because of the following people, this is why the young family seems to stick out.

2. The middle school couples. CLEARLY their parents do not know either a) where they are or b) that they are with the opposite sex. In fact, you can sense by their constant holding each other and making out on the bench, ferris wheel, spinny ride, while trying to win a hard-overstuffed plush, waiting in line, and basically anywhere on the fairgrounds, that their parents are ignorant of this couple’s ‘relationship’. This is the only place that they are freely able to touch each other somewhat inappropriately, and they take full advantage of such. (You can also catch them at the mall on Friday nights.)

3. The group of young skater boys. I don’t know if they are trying to live out a Tony Hawk game or what, but there is ALWAYS a group of young skater boys in tight jeans, band t-shirts, and long hair that hover around the dark corners of the fairgrounds grinding on whatever piece of carnival equipment their board can handle.

4. Carnies. Well, duh there’s going to be carnies there. And to be honest- being a carnie sounds really freaking appealing to me right now. Traveling the world, meeting and harassing new people every week, being carefree or whatever. But I’d like to keep my teeth…and dignity.

5. The guy who thinks he’s tough. You know who- this guy dons a beater and storms around with an angry mug…usually alone. As you try your best to get out of his way, you can’t help but wonder why he found himself at the fair tonight.

6. People you graduated high school with. There’s two groups for this. The first group came to the fair for the same reason you did- to know where you never want to end up in life. The second group think the fair is the best place in the world. It’s best to avoid both of these groups. After all, it’s people you graduated high school with and didn’t keep in touch with for a reason.

7. The teen mom. I’m not talking about the teen mother who is taking her child to the fair for the child’s sake, such as the Young Couple. I’m talking about the teen mom who rolls up for the reason of being seen in skin tight, barely fitting clothing to show the world how ‘goooood she looookk’ post-baby. This teen mom will probably also try to start drama with the baby daddy (possibly one in the same as The Guy Who Thinks He’s Tough) while at the fair.

8. Overly dressed-up girls. You want to wear a cute sundress to the fair? That’s fine. But when you show up in a red miniskirt, a see-through top with your tatas out, a pound of make up, straightened hair, and 5 inch heels, I can’t help but to shake my head. Girlfriend, you’re going to a fair, not to the club. Throw on some basketball shorts and a t shirt, and get ready to be thrown upside down on the Freak-Out ride.

and last but not least…

9. The intoxicated. You know you’re cool when you get drunk to go to the fair………

And every year you say you won’t go back, yet every year you end up back on those old familiar, dirty fairgrounds.

College Graduation: The Saddest of All the Milestones

College graduation is the saddest of all the milestones.

Well, okay. It’s really exciting. I mean here I am, thrust into the so-called ‘real world’, ready to make money, live on my own, travel, learn new responsibilities, find a husband (lol just kidding on the husband-part) and be an ‘adult’. And will I soon move out of my parents’ house, find a salary job, and go create my own life? Let’s hope so… But that’s a post for another time.

Today I want to focus on graduation (mostly because I’ve refused to focus on the dirty g-word all semester).

As the day of doom approached, I felt cool, calm, and collected. I was frequenting the bar, spending time and money with friends, and all around enjoying the last of my college days.

What sucked though…is that I didn’t (and arguably still don’t) realize that my college days were soon to be over. Sure I knew in the back of my head. Why else would I go out on a Tuesday night or try to explore the entire city where my college was located in the last few weeks that I’ve neglected to explore in the entire four years in which I lived there?

Subconsciously I was freaking out.

I was spending money I barely had (my bad bank account). I wasn’t sleeping well for literally weeks on end (zombie status). I was eating my feelings  (just in time for bikini-season). I was trying to reconnect with people that I barely knew (and will definitely never see again).

I was sucking in all that is the “college-experience”.

And as the day got closer, I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t nervous, and I wasn’t anxious. I was secure in the fact that I was graduating and ready to move on. I needed a new space, a new time, a new face. I was sick of the same people, the same town, the same classes. I wanted to make money, find my passion, grow. I was ready.

And then the weekend came.

The candlelight baccalaureate service on our college’s front lawn was beautiful. That’s when it first started to hit me. Tears silently filled my eyes as I struggled not to scream, sob, freak out. As soon as the seniors in various a cappella groups from campus began to sing the Irish Blessing “May The Road Rise Up To Meet You“, I lost it. Not only was this indicative of my college career ending and beginning a new chapter of my life, but OF COURSE the country I happened to study abroad in was Ireland.

Like, really? It HAD to be that song? 

Memories flooded my brain. Images of the friends, mistakes, blessings, anger, happiness, parties, and education I had at college slid across my mind like a slideshow.

Fast forward to later that night, in the local bar that I happen to love with a few of my best friends, enjoying the last beer we’d have there for awhile. We chatted a bit about graduation and how weird it was, but it felt like an ordinary night at that bar. Not the eve of our college graduation…

I don’t think I slept for more than 3 hours that night. I woke up late, as per usual, took a fast shower, attempted to apply make-up and put on my best fake smile.

This was it. This was the day that I had been working towards not only for the past four years of my life, but for the past 22. I was graduating college. 

Black circles under my eyes from many sleepless nights were only appropriate for my graduation day, as they were the symbol of my college life; whether I lost sleep due to staying up late finishing a paper and studying, or partying well into the early hours of the morning.

The ceremony was a blur. I try to remember, but only 3 weeks later and I hardly can. All I remember is that gut-wrenching feeling, and yet at the same time the avoidance of the fact that this could be the last time I sat in that school’s gym.

On graduation day, I barely saw any of my close friends from college. After the ceremony, I had a nice brunch with my family, packed up out of my college house, and began the hour drive home alone.

Um, thank God it was only an hour. The SECOND I fastened my seat belt, the tears came. And I am not talking some silent-cry like I’ve quietly done in my adult-life whenever I’ve come across a bad situation. I’m talking a SOB. A loud, painful-sounding, gasping-for-air sob.

That sob lasted the entire way home.  This is when it hit me. The last four years went by so fast. Freshman year felt like yesterday. I have met some of the best, crazy, smart, interesting people in the world. I had new experiences, new places, and new situations under my belt. And now it was all over. 

I remember feeling like I was going through a break-up, like Muhlenberg College dumped me and kicked me to the curb. I felt heart-broken.

And before this depressing-self-rant goes too far, I will leave you with this advice:

1. Don’t work at a card/gift store directly post graduation. It will only depress you to see people shopping for high school grad gifts, and make you think “UGH THEY’RE SO LUCKY, THEY STILL HAVE ALL OF COLLEGE.”

2. If you have to work at a card/gift store post graduation, go read through all of the inspirational sayings on cards and gifts…You might just come across this:

“You can’t move on to the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

3. The next chapter can (and probably will) be better than the last. College was great; it gave you perspective, experiences, and friends. You don’t have to let these things go, in fact, take these with you as you move on to the next chapter.

I truly believe, when given the chance, the ‘real-world’ can be just as fun and rewarding as the college experience was.

And I’m excited to find out just how great it can be!

(But really, this is how I feel about graduating)

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Are Student Loans Stunting Our Maturity?

As I sit here on my parent’s couch over Easter break listening to Steve Angello’s Essential Mix at 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night… I begin to foresee my future.

**Fast forward 6 months. Diane is sitting on her parent’s couch on a Friday night eating a box of Cheez-itz alone with her dog, watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall or some other movie she has already seen 7 times previously.**

Let me start this off by saying I am both optimistic and greatly excited for my “future” in the “real world”; however, I can’t help but notice all of these drawbacks that may trip me as I attempt to leap into adulthood, forcing me to fall flat on my face. And so, it becomes easier to sit on the sidelines under the protection of adolescence than to take the step forward. However, I would argue that it is not only easier, it is almost becoming necessary for young adults to remain “stuck” as children for a longer period of time. And for that, I blame the expenses of college.

To elaborate, why do I foresee my future as spending countless Friday nights sitting on my parent’s couch? Because I don’t see myself being able to financially afford moving out of my parent’s house for <undocumented period of time>. And when I am home, I am boring. Suburbia isn’t exactly the party-scene of America…

Why won’t I move into a city? Oh, I’d love to! However the expenses of city-living and my student loans loathe each other, and I feel as though there would be a lot of tension in the apartment if all three of us attempted to live together. And since I’ve been with my student loans longer, I chose them as my premier roommate.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Student loans= living at home=not living in city= boring social life. 

And so I will remain stuck (luckily stuck, but stuck nonetheless) in my parent’s house, with a refrigerator full with food, Mom’s home-cooked dinners, and free Wi-Fi/cable (‘free’ meaning I personally don’t have to pay for it…)

These are all basic necessities as well as luxuries that I am SO thankful for- Thank GOD I have parents that will let their liberal-arts-degreed daughter mooch off of their Wi-Fi and Cheez-its until she gets a decent job and can start to afford both student loans and a crappy studio apartment with 6 other roommates in some unappealing area of some city some where.

However, as more and more college graduates are forced to move back home due to this vicious cycle of post-college-poorness, are their maturity levels being stunted?

I feel as though having this luxury of ‘home’ will only start to inhibit my attempts to ‘grow up’. I won’t have to budget myself or even my time for food and other basic amenities. College has spent its last four years attempting to teach me how to survive on my own, yanno with a meal plan but it still tried- yet will all that go to waste the more time I spend at home post-grad? Will I start to regress to my high school dependancies?

It is difficult to learn how to grow up until you fully submerge yourself into the life of an adult, and living at home prevents you from doing so.

When looking at past generations, they were moving out, getting married, having children well before or around my age of 22. WHAT. I cannot even imagine that lifestyle. Sure, our generation seems to focus more on careers and so that could be why all of this marriage-nonsense is getting pushed back for us, but could it also be because we simply cannot afford it? That education costs so much that we spend a good amount of our early twenties just coping with the idea of how to pay for food/housing/bills/etc on top of our loans?

I am so grateful that I have a place to live after graduation come May, but my only concern is that the more time I spend at home, the less I will grow up, that the financial burden of student loans forcing me to stay home will stunt my urge to mature into a fully functioning adult. That it will be too easy to be my parent’s little girl using their Wi-Fi and eating their entire boxes of Cheez-its in one sitting…

As much as I love calling my parent’s house my home, as much as I love coming home on the holidays, and as much as I am not ready to leave it quite yet- I hope one day soon I am ready to, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

To summarize, I want this home to be a place I *can* come back to, not one I *have* to because of the pressures of student loans.

What Not To Ask A College Senior

Here’s a tip to adults, children, high school students, underclassman, elders, basically anyone other than a college senior: The most ANNOYING question you can ask a senior in college is “What are you doing after graduation?”

Do you think we know that? Even if we do have plans, do you think we want to discuss life-after-college with you? Or even THINK about life after college?

Alright, I’m generalizing a bit right now because there are those lucky fellas majoring in finance or something who have had job offers since they were freshmen, and those who somehow have the biggest savings account in the world despite attending a $50k/year private university and are back-packing Asia for a TBA amount of time after graduation, but as for a good portion of us: WE.DO.NOT.KNOW.WHAT.WE.ARE.DOING.COME.MAY.

I realized how much this question bothered me personally today when my neighbor came into my house as I was sitting in my pajama pants at about 1 PM and trolling the interwebz and began asking me questions about post-grad.

*Smiling politely* “I’m not sure yet.”

Neighbor: “What do you mean you’re not sure….? What are you going to do? What can you do?”

Sir, I don’t know what about the phrase “I’m not sure yet” you did not comprehend, but I am not sure yet. I do not know. I have no idea. Is that clear?

Apparently not, because this conversation proceeded the same way for about 5-10 more minutes until I progressively got more aggressive with my answers “I DON’T KNOW!” and my dad chimed in “How about this new moulding on the wall…?” directing the subject away from my pathetic lack of future plans towards our lovely living room decor.

Thanks Dad. Always there to save the day.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy thinking about or even discussing the future, but my future is wide open right now. I am focusing on deadlines for volunteer programs, job searching, internships, places to live, etc in my free time alone.

It seems as though many of my classmates are doing the same over this winter break.

Every time I talk to a fellow-senior, they are in the middle of applying to graduate school, or finishing up a resume, or writing a personal statement for a volunteer program. And the phrase “the uncertainty of my future” comes up almost daily in conversation with them.

We are all uncertain. We are all young. We are in our early twenties. Why do we need to know what what we are doing after graduation? Why do we need to know where we will be a year from now?

We don’t. And we won’t. We are still figuring ourselves out. We are still mid-applications and mid-deadlines and mid-confused.

Let us be. Let us figure ourselves out. Let us be overwhelmed with our possibilities. Why is there so much pressure on us that we need to know who we are supposed to be as a post-grad?

If you are asking us “What are you doing after graduation?” to be nice or out of general interest: that’s fine. But when we say “I’m not sure yet”, let it go. Let us explore and let us figure it out. Give us advice, sure. But don’t be disappointed with our acceptance of the fact that the future is wide open to us.

And for the love of God do not, NOT relentlessly ask us over and over again expecting a different answer. (That’s a sign of insanity according to Einstein. So who’s the unstable one now!?)

But be aware that by asking us “What are you doing after graduation?” you are forcing us to live in the future. It’s my last semester in college. I’ll figure it all out on my own time within this semester, but for now, I’m going to focus on living it up these last few months of freedom I have left. When I’m not physically working on those deadlines and applications, I’d prefer to not have to think or talk about them. I’d rather think or talk about that upcoming concert or the wonderful friends I’ve spent the last four years of college with.

So if I, or any other college senior politely responds “I’m not sure yet”, take a hint that we don’t want to discuss post-graduation plans with you. Not now, not until we have it figured out.

Drunk, Sobbing, & Leg hair= The Way to a Man’s heart

I’ll never understand boys. And no, this isn’t going to be some melo-dramatic-woe-is-me tale about some lost, confused, insecure girl just trying to find love. Psh, give me at least 10 years until I bring the “L” word into play.

This is about how I, a borderline-cynical 21 year old girl who will end up living alone with 5 dogs and be completely happy about it, will never understand boys. Unless of course, that boy has fur, a tail, and wants nothing but a pet on the head and a bone  (no pun intended).

I came to this conclusion not too long ago after getting asked out by a few different guys for seemingly obscure (to me at least) reasons.

Scenario 1:

I am a college student. Therefore I, being a college student, am as broke as Topanga’s heart was when Cory kissed another girl in the Mountain Lodge. When I found out that my lovely, trustworthy bank was taking out $10 a month simply because I am a poor college student, I was livid. I was ready to march right over to said bank and give them my two cents. (Not literally, I need those pennies…)

I had this whole angry speech prepared about how they shouldn’t be taking money away from me, I was going to switch banks, this is unfair, etc and so on. I stepped right on into the bank where I was asked:

“Can I help you?” by a nice young gentleman.

Yes, yes you can sir! This is a disgrace! I am leaving this bank! I am disgusted that you are charging me a $10 monthly fee! I am a STUDENT! I am the future of America! How is this just? How is this fair?

…is what I should have said.

And instead, I blurted out in between sobs “I have no money and you guys keep taking money from me and I just, I don’t have any more to give. And it’s not fair.”

*Tears rolling down my face*

To make a long story short, the nice guy consoled me, fixed my account, and then e-mailed me further information. We continued e-mailing professionally about how sucky the bank is and my poorness and my new account that won’t charge me the steep fee of $10/month….

and then the e-mails turned into “Where do you go to school? What’s your major? Do you like to travel? Would you like to go out to dinner one night?”

…WHAT? How did that even happen? I came to you SOBBING about being broke, complained about your place of employment via e-mail, and you….you ask me out!?

Did my wet tear-soaked cheeks turn you on? Or was it my shaky voice resembling that of a two year old’s that did you in?

Naturally I said yes, exchanged phone numbers, and neglected to tell him when I was back in town…

Scenario 2:

I can’t remember if this was during my fall break or my Thanksgiving break, but it was over a break, and that’s what matters. I was home from school and decided to head out to a local bar with some of my friends from home.

On this particular night, my, should I say, more-affluent (or hardworking…whatever) friend Drouche* (name has been changed) decided to treat me and our friends to drinks all night.

All…Night… Free drinks…all night… If I was paying for myself, Lord knows I wouldn’t have imbibed nearly as much alcohol.

And so, by the end of the night I was feeling quite alright. As we were exiting the bar, we realize we have to wait outside for our taxi, and for Drouche to finish his cig.

And that is where I met the bouncer. (Or bartender? Or just a worker at the bar? Hell if I remember). The bouncer and I chat for a bit…apparently… not quite sure about what.

I do slightly recall mentioning rugby, which is the sport I play in college. And with the mention of rugby, my friends chime in “She’s a lesbian! She likes girls!”

While there is nothing wrong with that, for the record, I am in fact not a lesbian. And I do like boys.

And as we were leaving, the bouncer/bartender/worker-man asks for my number. As I am giving it to him, Drouche takes it upon himself to tell my potential-mate that I have a leg-hair fetish…

Drouche elaborated that I am so obsessed with men leg hair, that I go around shaving their thighs and knit sweaters out of the collected hair.

And then the taxi came, so I had no time to deny my leg-hair fetish, nor the fallacy that I like girls, and so I waved goodbye to bouncer/bartender/worker-man and expected never to receive a text from him…

Next day, “Hey, want to go out some time?”

WHAT!? What. HOW? You were told a) I wasn’t into your gender b) I like leg-hair c) I shave men’s thighs and then knit sweaters out of it….

Even as unbelievable as B & C may be, clearly my friends are some strange ones, why on earth would you want to get involved with that?!

Conclusion: 

These aren’t the only strange circumstances in which I’ve been asked out. For example, there was that guy on Christmas Eve who asked me out while I was helping him pick a Vera Bradley bag out for his mother because I was a sassy salesperson and clearly made fun of him while at work, but these two instances really stand out.

What is it about my neediness and sobbing that attracted the guy in scenario #1 ? Or what was it about my inebriation mixed with strange accusations made about my hobbies and sexual preferences that attracted the guy in scenario #2?

Or, even more, what was it about the fact that I was sassy and picked on the guy on Christmas Eve that made him interested?

I am in no way trying to generalize guys into being attracted to the same thing here, since obviously these are three very different scenarios (the many attributes of myself shining through), but they don’t seem to be the usual reason a guy asks out a girl, do they?

In fact, seeing as my generation is one of a hook-up culture as opposed to “dating”, I have only ever been asked out on a “date” a handful of times, and these are 3 of those few…

Does a girl have to show something unique, crazy, strange, or sassy in order to attract a man these days? In order to be seen as worthy of a “date” ?

Should I start bursting into parties drunk and sobbing wearing sweaters made of leg-hair throwing out sassy remarks about how I’m a lesbian in order to attract a mate?

Is everyone so freakin’ average these days that something obscure and random is what’s needed to gain attention of others?

Or are we all too afraid to let our inner weirdness & emotions show, and so once we have those momentary slips in character, finally we are noticed again?