When you opened up this page, the first thing you probably noticed is how devilishly handsome I look in my picture on the right. The second thing you may have noticed is that my blog has a new look. For the longest time, Blogger only had a handful of available templates, but a few weeks ago they branched out with a new design tool. Thus, in an effort to differentiate myself from Connor, Ryan, Jim, and Morgan, I decided to mix things up. Do you like it? Dislike it? Don't care about a thing I write and care even less about how it looks? Let me know.
There is another reason for the style change. Today is a very special day, in that it was on this date two years ago that I started writing A Chicken in a Cage With a Ferret. And what a two years it's been. There have been some laughs, a few tears, and a whole lot of using this page just to get to the links to some other blogs. As we celebrate this year, we're pulling out all the stops with a little giveaway. The twelfth commenter on this post will win a date with the Former David Heffren Roommate of his or hopefully her choice. It's quite a deal. And remember, you don't need a Blogger account to comment. Just choose Name/URL where it says "Choose an Identity."
I have now been in Oregon for a little over a month as I work on my internship. This is a momentous summer for me because it is really the most "on my own" I have ever been in my life. I have always considered myself a pretty independent person, but maybe that is only because I have not had to deal with many adultish responsibilities before. After several weeks of being in such a situation, I am surprised that so many people my age are so eager to get out on their own. And so, for your reading pleasure and personal betterment, I include a few preliminary reflections on what it means to live on one's own.
Probably the most difficult thing about trying to act like a responsible adult this summer has been providing food for myself. For the most part, I have needed to provide for myself in this area since I've been here, which means I have had to learn how to prepare some delicious meals. For a person with next to no cooking experience, this is a challenge. The following list of what I have at the house for my upcoming meals may give you some insight into how confident I am in my culinary skills: a frozen pizza, a can of soup, ramen noodles, ham sandwiches, a box of Pop-Tarts, Hamburger Helper (which pushes the limits of my ability to prepare), and seventeen hot dogs (which was 21 before I ate four of them for dinner last night). Granted, I have been quick to criticize Ozark's dining hall on a few points (I just want chocolate milk back, alright?), but the big positive about it is that I don't cook there. It's nice to be able to say, "Hm, I'm hungry, and I can go get food that someone else has prepared, allowing me to eat something that doesn't only involve a microwave."
A second topic I wish to address is more of a question. Or maybe an anomaly. But what I am realizing is that I really have no idea how relationships work in the "real world." Any sort of relationship. Ozark is a relational incubator. We live together, we eat together, we go to class together, we use bathroom stalls next to each other. It's easy to develop good relationships in an environment like that. It's somewhat of a mystery to me how that happens when you have four walls of a house separating you from the rest of the community, especially for someone who is as naturally reserved as me. (I can still remember my first day of preschool, when I freaked out at the prospect of having to stay there with so many kids I didn't know. My mom had to stay with me for part of the day, until we started playing some game that involved a small red ball, which I guess distracted me from the trauma at hand.)
Almost everything I know about social norms, I learned from movies. In The Sandlot, the main character is in a new town where he doesn't know anyone, and he fiddles with his Erector set in his room until the cool kid in the neighborhood invites him to play baseball. In my mind, that's how it's supposed to work whenever someone moves into a new situation, but no cool kids have asked me to play baseball yet. I can only build so many battery-powered Erector cars before I need some companionship!
I hope you can sense some of the sarcastic exaggeration in all that. The people I've gotten to know in Corvallis have really been great. But I don't think it is as easy to make friends as it is in an enclosed setting like Ozark. I have heard that to meet people, one must go where people are. And so far, none of the people at Wendy's or Taco Bell have seemed too interested in hanging out.
Of course, if I don't really understand how friendships work in the real world, I have even less of a clue how romantic relationships come to be. I don't even know how those work at Ozark. Apparently, poking a girl on Facebook until she eventually confesses her undying love for you doesn't work. Believe me, I know. The improbable odds associated with romantic endeavors are ridiculous. Think about it: you have to find someone roughly your age who likes Jesus (and just that is pretty difficult in Oregon, by the way), and you should hopefully find them at least mildly attractive, and you should have some common interests, and then (and here's the catch) they have to find you mildly attractive and enjoy being in the same general area as you. It's a wonder our species has made it this far.
Note: Please don't misunderstand my reason for writing this. I am not in the Northwest in search of a ladyfriend. I've gotten in trouble for that enough for one lifetime. I'm just observing/rambling for the sake of doing so.
Well, I guess that's about it for now. Maybe I'll return to this general topic again before summer's end. Thanks for reading, and thanks for celebrating this anniversary with me. Maybe we'll have a carnival or something for our third anniversary, with funnel cakes and ferris wheels and the whole bit.
Because we all know how much I love funnel cakes.