Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So after Reginald and I got done falconing, we toweled off and headed to the Olive Garden for some applesauce.

First of all, Miss Georgia (in the Miss Universe Pageant) is...not that hot. Definitely attractive -- especially when she's not wearing so much makeup, because from the photos it seems that her preferred makeup style is "prostitute with daddy issues" -- but not in that caliber of super-hotness that would portend a country full of saucy nymphs just waiting for me to arrive, sweep them off their feet, and confuse them with a reference to "Georgia peaches" that will only be funny in my head. And, frankly, this is what I was expecting when I signed up for this. Who wants to head around the world to volunteer his time if he's not going to be met by a half naked seductress with strawberries who wants to peace HIS corps? Serious doubts, readers, serious doubts.

Second of all, there is no second of all.

There's not really anything funny about the final preparations I have to make before I leave. For instance, I have to buy some shirts and pants. Hooray. It's more complicated than it seems; I'm utterly uninterested in purchasing four pairs of black Dockers, even though I'm supposed to be packing "business casual" clothes, because I think I would end up feeling like I was eternally on my way to a high school band recital. So I have to figure out what the hell else falls under the category of "business casual." In MY business, I'm allowed to show up at work in sandals, dirty jeans, and a t-shirt reading "deez (picture of some nuts)," so I have little practice at "business casual." We have no need for such terms in Hollywood (at least, those of us who work for laid-back production companies); "Casual Friday" at my office would mean you could probably show up naked. These are the concepts with which I will liberate the Caucasus. They are sure to be extremely receptive. The nymphs should be, anyway.

I also have to go to the Army Surplus store to buy comically oversized winterwear, in case I get stationed in the mountains. In the winter months in places where it gets really cold, all you basically have is a wood stove in the kitchen and a sleeping bag in your room, from what I understand. So you have to pack accordingly. The problem is, though, that I am not necessarily going to BE in a place where it gets so cold. I could be in a city/town near the beach with humid summers and merely damp winters. But I'll still have used a significant portion of my limited luggage space, in the luggage that it is my responsibility to haul everywhere I go, on thick and ultimately useless winterwear! Because they don't narrow your final destination down even a little bit before you get to your in-country training! The US Government! It's MMM-Tastic!

Besides shopping for clothing, there are various other things I need to accomplish before I leave. I've now been here for more than two weeks. I haven't done a lot, and my circadian rhythm has reverted to the ridiculous 6am-6pm wake cycle that I always struggle against when I'm home and lacking in structured responsibility. Mostly I've been watching a lot of television. It's like a summer in high school or early in college all over again. I don't know why I never apply any of my mature life lessons to my actions when I'm home. I act like a pretty proper grown-up when I'm NOT here, and I'm not THAT concerned about my ability to keep from embarrassing myself in Georgia, but when I'm here I might as well be a sullen teenager. I can't figure this out. And I'm not getting as much work or studying done as I could be. But, on the bright side, if anyone wants to come over to watch MTV, talk about AP Calc, and snicker about things that shouldn't be funny if you're sober, I'll be up.

Piece. (snicker)

13 days until departure.
15 days until Georgia.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sorry, I Forgot I Had A Blog

Ok, not really. But I was too busy being drunk and/or working (often at the same time!) to really post from LA once those last few weeks started ticking down. Tick, tick, tick, they said to me, often angrily. I spent my days at work and my nights at bars with friends (we probably spent more time at bars in six weeks than we had in nearly five previous years, which was terrific), and it was good times. It would have been an enticing permanent option -- that is, a reason not to leave -- except for the fact that 1) I was getting paid very little and had no benefits, 2) I didn't have a long-term place to stay, 3) I had no long term plan, and 4) many of my friends are leaving LA soon. I would have ended up alone in some $2000 Hollywood studio apartment, bemoaning my lack of money and the fact that my friends were all over the country and the world having fun. Hooray Peace Corps!

Truthfully, I had a terrific time in my short Return to Los Angeles, but leaving was much less difficult than I thought it would be. I knew I'd miss my friends -- and I do already -- and I knew it would be difficult leaving everything I've known for five years. It usually takes me a while to get used to something new. Perhaps it still will, since I am not yet experiencing something new. Rather, I am sitting, in my boxers, in the room I have inhabited, off and on, for many years. The Change has only begun to happen. But I am not dreading it, I'm not becoming riddled with anxiety, and I'm not counting down the days until departure with any trepidation. I sort of wish it would get here already; there's no fun in sitting at home, away from my friends, with no two year clock yet ticking.

I thought that I would be more emotional when I left LA. I was really anxious about this decision several months ago, when I made it. Maybe over the last few months, in the course of preparing for it both mentally and physically, and after telling everyone I know about it, I came to accept it more than I ever accepted any such decision in the past. I wasn't particularly excited about the entire endeavor back in February. I thought this was something I'd have to convince myself into doing all the way until I got there. But I'm actually excited at this point, which is really encouraging for me. I'm excited to get there, to see the country, to see what I'm going to be doing there, and to see how different my life will be for two years. It seems fun now. I left LA excited not only to be spending a weekend in Vegas, but to actually be embarking on something. Two years doesn't seem as long as it used to. What's everyone else going to be doing for two years? They'll all be doing their own things. Nobody's life seems like it's going to have changed dramatically by then (except for Jon's, and that is something that This Blog refuses to discuss). So it's really not such a big deal. We'll be in touch as much as we can be, and we'll all just keep on keepin' on until I get back. It's something all of us can look forward to.

My last week in LA was spent working, navigating a Significant Work Crisis, and drinking in celebration with friends. Oh, and being LATE to my own SURPRISE PARTY. In fairness to me, I'm a retarded idiot who is late to everything (Have you guys heard of this new music coming out of Seattle? It's crazy. It's going to change rock'n'roll -- so much flannel and angst.), so it's not like this was surprising, except for the surprise party part. That was surprising. See, I thought I was going out to dinner with two (two!) friends. Because I'm retarded, I put laundry in the washer, hoping it would finish before I had told them I'd come meet them. Because I'm that special short-bus kind of retarded, I put all of my pairs of jeans in said load of laundry. So when I started getting frantic texts like, "leave it!!!!! come over!!!!!" I could do nothing, because I wasn't wearing any pants. Finally I get to their apartment to "meet" them for "dinner." It turns out there are at least a dozen people there, watching basketball while the pizza got cold and wondering if I was ever going to show up. Hooray! Cue me, feeling about as bad as I have ever felt about anything in my life. I am forgiven once I strenuously assure everyone that, no, I wasn't lying about the laundry situation so I could watch the basketball game, and, yes, I do have painful burn marks on my thighs from throwing on a scalding hot pair of pants. Everyone has a good time. There is a banner for me, and cards that people have written on, and cold pizza. 'Twas a splendid time after all, and quite touching. I don't recall having a surprise party thrown for me before, and I was really struck by how sad everyone was to see me go. Not to get all gay on you or anything. Football chicks beer breasts crossbows beef jerky. Anyway, the banner is hanging outside my room. A picture is potentially forthcoming.

The next night I went out to a bar with many of them and had more merry adventures (these particular adventures were documented with mine own camera, and are on Facebook). It was a great sendoff. Then I drove to Las Vegas, spent three nights with my brother and two friends from high school (I will not divulge what happened during this particular weekend. It was one of those kinds of weekends. I lost a lot of money, got a henna tattoo that I particularly regret, lost a lot of money, did at least five shameful things, and lost a lot of money.), then drove from Vegas to Champaign in 25.5 total hours because my brother is a freak who enjoys driving alone at 3am and wanted to be home in time for his birthday.

I leave very soon, and I'm going to try to start posting every day -- a practice I hope to continue in Georgia, if I have enough internet access. I need to find the right voice for this damn blog; I'm either introspective or funny but I haven't figured out how to be both at the same time in a blog format. I can do it in a newspaper, but not on this, yet. I will try to get better. Perhaps I will become mildly famous, like everyone else who has a blog. All of you with blogs -- people link to you and Digg you and do whatever the hell it is that does, right? You go on talk shows to discuss your thoughts, and such? Whatever it is you do, I hope to start doing it.

Tomorrow I will post some intricacies of my pre-trip preparations and what I have come to know about the very early stages of this....Thing.

19 days until departure.
21 days until Georgia.