Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thank God for Parents

After jumping into the deep end and thinking that maybe you've forgotten how to swim, parents have an uncanny ability to sense that you're freaking out and remind you to keep kicking, explain how to dog-paddle, and encourage you not to give up and sink to the bottom.

Thanks Mom. Thanks Dad. I love you guys.

I have prune hands and have swallowed my weight in water.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

There's Always That One Guy...

First day of class. Everything went very well. I'm painfully aware that it's been about 17 years since I've taken a Chemistry or Algebra class. It'll all come back, I hope.

A few observations about today:
  • No kidding, my scientific calculator is as almost as old as some of the kids in the class. I remember buying it when I was probably a sophomore in high school. That's 1988 folks. I'll be sure to never repeat that to anybody in the class.
  • It's a great idea to march right into the Public Safety building and introduce yourself to the largest guy in there. In this case, it's Officer Gresham. He seems to be a pretty nice guy. I gave him a photo of myself with my name, ID number, class schedule, and a short list of the routes that I'd be taking from my car to class. I was careful to point out that, if tackling was necessary, I prefer to be blindly tackled from the left side.
The major thing that I took from today is:

No matter where you are, there will always be that one guy.

Today, I met him. There are four "Studdies" in the class. Two of us are in the program; the other two are taking the course over the summer to gauge whether they'd like to join the program. Anywho, during a course break all the guys inevitably end up in the restroom at the same time.

This one guy is Chatty Cathy and won't shut up. He's a barrel-chested good ol' boy who's been working as an EMT and had been overseas doing some type of vaguely described work for the military. The guy seems nice enough but very intense and high-strung. He's the person who always is yelling out answers to all the instructor's questions -- even the rhetorical ones. He lacks an inside voice, you know? Anyway, my nemesis and I are standing there making small talk with this guy as our break was ending.

I was tiring of hearing him describe himself as an adrenaline junkie who works best if there are explosions going off around him. I open the door to the classroom just as this guy says, "I tell you what, there are some HOTTIES in there!" Even if you're thinking it, which I'm not convinced is safe thing to do on campus, why the hell would you yell it right into the classroom? He might feel like a fox in a henhouse but, in my opinion, it's a little more like being A GUY AT A PRIVATE WOMEN'S COLLEGE. We're accidental tourists. Every day can be either a gift or a curse. Personally, I don't think he's on the gift track.

Anyway, I couldn't get to my seat fast enough to get the hell away from that dude. I prayed that nobody heard him. To make sure that nobody confused his voice with mine, I made sure to loudly answer one of the instructor's questions. In retrospect, I think I answered it in deep-voiced British accent. Even my nemesis answered a question or two. Each time we spoke it was deliberate, loud, and easily distinguishable from TG ("that guy"). So, it looks like I'm going to be British for the rest of the semester. I can't have Officer Gresham escorting me all over campus.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sports Weekend

"I figure it's about time; I'm 33." - James Three Thousand, Bandit Run 2005

I suppose I'm no spring chicken anymore. Friday was my 33rd birthday. We went to the mountain house in north Georgia for a long weekend for a final bit of r&r before the madness starts with school. It turned out to be a fantastic sports weekend. Here's a quick rundown:
  • Friday, the 26th | I played a round of golf with my father-in-law. In my mind, I'm a much better golfer than I am in reality. Playing on a nice country club course is really my opportunity to hit houses that are much nicer than the ones I normally dent. Seriously, I'm the Johnny Appleseed of golf. I roam the course planting golf balls along the way. I'm known among the villages as El Doble, he who limits his score to double par. Around the 15 hole, a thunderstorm rained us out and, coincidentally, blew away our scorecard. God's way of telling me that I'm an embarassment to the game? Maybe. Next time, I think I'll wear a helmet and cape, develop a nervous tick, and talk to myself the entire time just so people would think I was doing really well.
  • Saturday, the 27th | I went for a 5 mile kayak trip down the Chattahoochee with my wife, her parents, and our guide, Jimmy3000 (J3K). Nothing like the surprise of a water snake to coax the most foul, off-limits words from a person. Why is it that, just prior to yelling a terrible string of obsenities within earshot of your mother-in-law, the immediate vicinity pauses in dead silence? I'd like to believe that she didn't hear me. I did notice that, upon my utterance, most birds on the banks flew from the trees and a little girl dropped her fishing pole and ran crying to her father. I'm an idiot. Although I'm no expert, I'm pretty sure the anaconda that frightened me was about 7 feet long and hungry. Snakes excluded, I had a fantastic time. I have the 10 blisters on my hand and the third degree sunburn to show for it.
  • Sunday, the 29th | J3K and I went mountain biking in Unicoi. If you like punishment, this is your trail. Through six marathons of running, I've only been close to puking my guts out once. This trail almost got me to do it. Holy smokes. At one point, I'm sure this was a fantastic trail. Now, however, it's a washed out, rutty, death route. For most of the ride, I was in my lowest gear. In fact, I took a spill going less than a mile an hour. If somebody tries to convince you to ride this trail, slap them. Hard.
The result of the sports weekend? A soreness and dull ache that covers most of my body. Ibuprofen is the new Pez.

Hello, 33, glad to meet you, I guess.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Nature Boy

A couple of nights ago, my sister called from Grand Cayman. (I should add that it was in the bottom of the 8th inning of the Red Sox/Yankees game when the bases were loaded and Papi was walking to the plate.) She was nearly hysterical.

"Guess who is sitting two tables down from me," she yelled.

"I have no idea."

"Ric [expletive] Flair."

"The Nature Boy?"

"Yep. I just took a picture of his fried, yellow hair."


"Should I go talk to him?"

"You should probably just leave him alone."

Knowing my sister, she probably walked over to his table and smashed him over the head with a folding chair.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's My Y Chromosome, Isn't It?

The orientation whirlwind is over. I'm officially a Scottie. I took the honor pledge and everything.

I met my colleagues. In all, there are roughly 20 of us. Mostly women, of course. Going into this thing, I thought I was going to be the man. This isn't a statement of bravado but of statistics. I mean, come on, how many guys would be in this program at a private women's college? The answer for 2006 is: two. God, now people are going to get us confused. I'm not really sure how I feel about another set of figs in the program. Seems like the deal is a little less sweet. For example, today two jam ups in the men's restroom. I had to wait for a moment for the urinal ... in a men's restroom ... at a private women's college. Long year ahead, I can feel it.

In addition to being on of two men, I'm the oldest person in the group. The next oldest finished her undergrad in 1997. The two youngest just graduated college. Pretty interesting bunch, too. A few are Peace Corps volunteers who just returned from Africa. A few are teachers. A few, like me, are quitting the corporate world.


I think I earned favor during introductions. We went around the table and everyone introduced themselves to the room. In the moments just before I spoke, I got this horrible fear that I would pronounce my last name "Medcock" and end up in some awkward Woody Allen style apologetic conversation that only made things worse. Thankfully, I didn't. I also opted out of telling the story about being at a Pro-Choice rally and stopping a known wife-beater from ripping up posters that said something about "Womyn's Rights." I did, however, drop a quote from Lily Tomlin. It just popped into my head while I was speaking:

The problem with the rat race is that if you win, you're still a rat.

Pretty nice start, I thought. Famous. Woman. Lesbian. The trifecta! I thought I killed. Everyone was laughing. Keep it going, I thought, keep it going. So, I ripped off my Velcro stipper pants, jumped onto the conference table, and showed off my Scottie thong while singing the alma mater. The laughter died, my friends, the laughter died. But not until I had earned 23 cents, two buttons, and a used MARTA card. Let's see my nemesis top that! (If you're wondering, he didn't have the guts. He just sat there.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Turned in My Security Badge

I'm AWOL from the cubicle army and don't plan on going back. Two days ago, I quit my job at the corporate headquaters for a large, home improvement retailer. I've a week to myself before I begin a post-baccalaureat pre-medical program at a private women's college. I won't have to go old-school Hanks and Scolari because the program is open to both women and men. It promises to be an interesting experience. I'm pretty anxious about it; gave up a nice salary and benefits to go after the dream. God hates cowards, I'm told. We'll see.