Author's note: Many of the posts contained within this blog are personal memoirs. They are mine. They are real. I wrote them as I experienced them. If any story is at all fictional or needs to be attributed to someone else, I will state that firmly in the first paragraph.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lumps of Cold Clay

We must have been sitting here for quite a while before I notice people glancing at me. As I look up slowly, Ashley asks, "Dallin, don't you have anything to say?"
Stretching my legs out in front of myself, I take a deep breath while considering her question, and finally reply, "No."
She doesn't ask me anything else as I look out the door of the large canvas tent spread out around us. The snow is still coming down outside. I don't think I saw this much snow fall within 72 hours anytime the last winter, and yet here we are in May, snowed in. The silent figures surrounding me all breathe slowly, hunched over, some stretching their feet out toward the stove hoping for a bit of the limited heat. 
During the past few days I've exhausted every subject I could think of without getting too personal. Movies, politics, names, injuries, and a dead-end attempt at sports. And now here we are, some of us waiting for someone to say something, and others of us waiting for the silence to persist. 
My shoes lie before me, clinging to my feet like dark brown clods of dirty ice blocking my feet futilely from the frozen ground. Shuddering, I wish that I had spent the extra money for waterproof boots.
Again, someone asks if there's any chance of our leaving the mountain early. Again, someone responds that there is no leaving before the horse team arrives to pack us out. Shuffling in my chair, I look out the door a second time, and seeing the snow, say in the most hopeful tone I can muster, "Maybe it will be warmer tomorrow."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's Always Me; the Malefactor

I often wonder if other people are anything like me.

Occasionally I find myself missing an old friend, and I think, "Maybe we should hang out soon."
Then, when we finally do get around to hanging out, I realize, "Wow, we don't think anything alike anymore.  Maybe it would be better if I just left."

One year I'll avidly follow my favorite sport, keeping track of wins, losses, trades, and of course, scores.
Another year I'm shocked to learn that the season is already half over.

Every now and then I see a couple walking together holding hands, and I tell myself, "That looks nice.  Maybe I should start looking around for a girlfriend again."
One or two days after a date, she'll call or text me about something.  Then I find myself asking, "Why is she bothering me with this?  We just saw each other."

Before I travel somewhere new, I think about how different it will be there.  How new, how exotic, how thrilling.
And then, after only one or two days, I completely forget that I'm somewhere new, exotic, and thrilling, and go about life just as if I were at home.

Now and then I find myself sitting too close to two single people.  I hear him talking about himself nonchalantly, telling her about why he is unique.  I cringe, hoping that I never sound that ridiculous.
Then, a day later, I meet a new girl, and I tell her about the best of my unique self in a nonchalant way.  After she has left, I cringe thinking about everything I've just said.

Sometimes I catch people lingering when they walk by windows or mirrors.  I shake my head, wondering why people care so much about how they look.
Then, as they walk away, I glance in the same mirror before forcing myself to walk away.

I sit at home on Sunday mornings, telling myself, "This is the perfect time for a run."  But I don't go.
The next week I guiltily force myself out the door.  Not long after I've left, I find myself enjoying the run, sincerely thinking about how there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

It's hard to be dependable when I keep changing.  Sometimes I don't know whether it's against or according to my will.  But I keep getting by.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fearsome Feminism

Yesterday a friend of mine stopped by my place.  She’s an avid feminist, be that for better or worse in your opinion.  Last night we found ourselves in an interesting predicament.  One of my roommates, a tall Catholic hailing from Cameroon, asked her what she is studying.  She told him, and also mentioned that she’ll be graduating this summer and then heading off to grad school.  I sat back to watch the conversation, not really expecting what was to come next.
“But if you go to grad school in the fall, won’t that be a lot of school without a break?” he asked.
Casually, she replied, “Sure, but I love studying.  I wish I could keep studying forever.”
“Yes,” he said, “but you know you have other things to think about.”
At this point I nearly choked on my drink.  Knowing her opinion on such things, I placed my chin on my fist, grinned as cheesily as possible, and asked her, “Yes, don’t you have other things to be thinking about?”
She easily heard the thick layers of sarcasm in my voice, cast me a hellish glare, and instead of giving me my sought reaction, proceeded to respond to my roommate.  Looking again toward him, she asked one simple question, “What do you mean?”
Rarely have I seen someone as confused by a woman as my roommate was last night, and never before had I seen my friend even remotely as angry as she was on this occasion.  Suffice it to say that their conversation ended a short time later in an uneasy stalemate.
The reason I bring this up is simple: obviously we are all biased.  I am definitely biased, my roommate is biased, and my friend is equally biased.  You, reader, are too.  Bias is a word today that has inherited an extremely negative connotation.  When we watch the news, listen to politicians, or hear about outrageous court decisions, we also often hear angry tirades accusing one source or another of being biased.  Biased has come to be an insult which leaves an utterly bitter aftertaste in the shadow of today’s polarized political and religious climates.  I suppose this insulting nature almost makes a certain amount of sense, seeing as how being biased has unfortunately become synonymous with being uninformed in one way or another.  Of course I’d like to think that I’m fairly well informed, but I suppose there’s plenty of room for debate on that point.  If my education so far has left me with anything that I really value, one of those things would be the realization that there is no such thing as an unbiased view, and another would be that one of the most important things we can do is recognize and come to terms with our own biases.
While my friend and my roommate were having their discussion, I struggled with what to do.  I thought about intervening on the side of my friend – with whom I strongly agreed – but then held my tongue in order to let her defend herself, for I knew that she would have little trouble doing so.
This is my blog, and I reserve the right to state my biased opinion without having to write down the biased opinion of anyone else.  I respect feminism, and I truly believe that no one should feel restricted in their possibilities due to their sex or gender.  If yesterday’s conversation did anything for me, it reminded me how strongly biases can affect our lives.  I fear that I associate so often with like-minded people that I may be losing touch with that fact.  Bias is alive and well, so do what you will about it.  Fight it, embrace it, or try to ignore it.  Either way, we all have to move on at the end of the day and get up again tomorrow.