Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Retail Therapy

Song: Wasted Time by the Eagles

I went out with my best friend Melissa last night. We had a great time even if I am a little sore from my choice in footwear.

Okay, so I have these knee high boots. And they are super-cute. They’re black, but not shiny black, they’re made from some sort of cloth. They have little straps and a little bit of a heel. Normally I can’t wear shoes with a heel for too long or it hurts my knees and feet (I have high arches, what can I say). This is a shame, because I could use every inch I can get. I am short: 4’11 and ¾. Yes, that is my exact height. I told you guys the truth because you’re special. Normally I just say I am five foot even. In ninth grade, when everyone else was having growth spurts, I measured myself and thought, “Okay, so quarter of an inch more, and I will at least be five foot even.”

Apparently God has a sense of humor, because that quarter of an inch never came. I knew I would never be tall—everyone in my family is short. My dad’s five seven, my mother’s five four, my little brother is taller than me at five five (a fact he feels the need to remind me of every time he sees me) and my twin brother is five five too (yes, I have a twin brother!). The tallest person in the family is my uncle who’s a giant at six feet. Both sides of my family come from short stock. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for that last ¾’s of an inch. I frequently get mistaken for a 16 year old. When I get married and have kids, people will look at me and shake their heads, lamenting that teen pregnancy is on the rise.

So, back to the boots. They’re comfortable to walk around it, especially for a set of heels, but not for hours on end. Melissa and I wound up going to several different places so this morning I can definitely feel it in my calves. It was so worth it, even though I am not normally the type to “suffer” for beauty. I don’t see how those supermodels wear 4 inch heels all the time. Their feet must be numb or something.

Melissa and I have been friends ever since ninth grade…ten years ago. Wow. I feel old now. I know twenty five isn’t old, but it feels like time has sped up since I was a teenager.

When I get together with Melissa we talk non-stop. We normally don’t get a chance to hang out too often, because she’s a nurse, and works twelve hour shifts, but we still make time for each other, and we don’t give each other grief when we don’t see or talk to each other for a few weeks. I think you need that sort of laid back relationship.

The funny thing is I have many people I can hang out with, but very few people I would actually call a friend. And some of these friends I know online, and never actually met them yet (I’m looking at you, Lena ;) ) I am can strike up conversation with strangers, but I prefer to have a few really close friends as opposed to many casual ones. Melissa told me last night that she hung out with a friend from nursing school a week ago, and didn’t realize how much of a difference it made when you’re friends with someone or not. She and her nursing school buddy now have almost nothing in common. Melissa said she had to think of things to talk about, and it was almost boring. She was just so used to hanging out with people like me (funny, sensitive, interesting, successful people), and her other friends that she’d had a deeper relationship with.

I find observations like these fascinating. I love studying and thinking about how people interact with each other, about the different levels of relationships we hold, and what we get out of it. What about you guys? Do you have different levels of friends? Do you prefer a few close buddies, or would you rather have a fleet of acquaintances?

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day, a holiday taken very seriously in my family. My paternal great-grandmother came over from Ireland “on the boat” (from a Catholic nunnery to boot) so my brothers and I are about 90% Irish.

Interesting digression, when I was in orchestra (I used to play violin, I still have it. Someday I will start lessons again) the first day I walked into class, there was a guy there, who took one look at me and asked, “Are you Irish?” I was of course, flabbergasted, and said I was. Apparently the boy was from Ireland, and said “everyone over there looks like you”. Obviously not just like me, but my skin tone, freckles, and hair (despite the fact that I was jipped and not born a redhead, I have the complexion of a redhead and sunburn like one). I thought it was neat my ethnicity could be picked out of a crowd like that.

Of course I am sure some of you who belong to an ethnicity wouldn’t appreciate being picked out of a crowd like that, or worst, lumped into the same group (like how where I live all the ignorant rednecks call everyone with Hispanic origins “Mexican” when there are distinct differences between people from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other Latin American countries). But since I am “white” and not normally subject to racism, it was kinda neat someone could distinguish my heritage from my appearance.

My sister in law is half Chinese, and she has some…interesting experiences from it. Like everyone assumes she’s fluent in Chinese, when she’s not. Her mother was a Chinese American, but died when she was 10, so she doesn’t speak the language at all. Personally, I find where people come from fascinating, and the experiences they have because of it, but I don’t really care, if that makes sense. I could care less what someone’s ethnicity is, or what their gender is, or their economic status, or planetary origins are (okay, if someone was from Mars, I would find that fascinating). People are people in my book.

Back to Saint Patrick’s Day…we have corned beef and cabbage, and boiled new potatoes, and soda bread, all cooked from my great-grandmother’s recipes. Yum! And you simply do not go outside the house, or near one of my family members without wearing green, or you WILL get pinched. Maybe I will take pictures to chronicle our revelries. By the way, I am aware that in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s day isn’t a drinking holiday like it is here, but a religious observances, but we’re all Americans so…it’s just how we roll.

I think that concludes my daily ramble. Not a whole lot of writing advice there, but maybe you could extrapolate something and use it for a character. Or maybe you can think about how you view relationships. Human interaction…probably one of most wildly debated subjects.

Also, what are your plans for tomorrow? Does your family place extra importance on a holiday that most of the people around you don’t? Why?


  1. Hey, that's the green river from my home city, Chicago--Bonus points for random awesomeness! Green water, green beer, and shamrock shakes are staples of a Midwest St. Patty's Day. I probably wont be doing doing anything tomorrow though. However, cheers to you! I hope you have fun.

  2. Interestingly enough, 100 years ago Irish weren't considered white. They were Irish. Irish, Italians, and Jews were immigrants coming over from Europe and taking the white man's job. This gives me a hell of a chuckle now because it's so absurd. It was taken pretty seriously (and even violently) then.

    In the last two cities I've lived/worked in (St. Louis and Boston), both have had distinct Irish and Italian areas of the city (Dogtown/the Hill and Southie/the North End, respectively).

    Anthropologically, latinos are caucasoid (as are Egyptians, Iraqis, and Iranians--a common misconception that they're all Arabs but a topic for another time). This is why when you fill out an ethnicity questionaire it says "white (non-hispanic)."

  3. My dad is a second generation American, and he lived in Brooklyn for a long time, so he does still remember when people referred to them not as "white" but as "Irish".

    Nowadays you tend to get lumped into ethnic groups as per skin color, which I think is just as strange.

    It did give me a convenient comeback to a school friend of mine. He's mostly Native American, and would "jokingly" talk about how all our white ancestors oppressed his people, and took their land and made them slaves. One day I replied, "No, my ancestors never oppressed your ancestors. My ancestors were in Ireland, getting drunk and being oppressed themselves."

    He didn't have a good response to that. ;)

    @ Michael: I LOVE CHICAGO! I tried to go there a few years ago during Saint Paddy’s Day because I wanted to see the green river myself, but alas, my plans fell through….and now I can see why you like the noir genre so much. ;)