I stared at them. They stared back, indifferent. I reached out, stopped–they saw my hesitation. Sweat trickled down my spine. My eyes darted back and forth. I was breathing too fast. They would know how nerve-wracking it was.

My chest felt tight. Indecision clouded my mind. The sound of the clock ticking on the wall seemed five times louder than normal. I looked for help, but I was alone. Just me and them. They remained still. I swallowed, but my mouth was dry.

I reached out slowly, carefully. This time I didn’t stop. I touched one of them, trailed my fingers down the spine and picked it up, flipping it over to see if the book was anything I would be interested in.

Just when I thought I had a good one, the sound I had been dreading came across the room.

“The library closes in five minutes!”

And all of the sudden, the race was on. Panic set in. Was it the right book? Why did I pick it up? What if it wasn’t good? I needed another.

Frantically, I grabbed another one and scanned the back. Good enough. I rushed to the front desk and checked them out, completely unsure of my choices as I walked out to my car.

It was the most intense experience of my week.


Moody Phones

My phone won’t talk to me. I think it must hate me. Either that, or it assumes I’m literate enough to read its response (which I imagine takes on a smart-aleck tone if spoken). In my mind, it says, “You’re a writer. Read THIS!”

I don’t have an iPhone, so it’s not like Siri is being PMS-y. Mine is an LG, which I love. But when I watch commercials, it shows people asking Google (which I guess is my phone’s mascot) questions and Google speaking to them. When I try, Google gets moody. I’ve been a faithful user of the search engine for many years, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

Aside from my phone not speaking to me, it’s also outdated and I only got it a few months ago. They have just released the newer version of my phone (maybe Google talks on that one). That explains why mine was so cheap when I upgraded from the basic phone I had for two and a half years.

Yes, this is my first smartphone. Yes, I’m aware that the year is 2015.

I’ve also had trouble with the GPS talking to me. Well, at least when it’s set as a woman’s voice. The man’s voice will talk all day. The woman says, “I don’t care how lost you get. Figure it out yourself.”

Come to think of it, Google’s voice on those commercials sounds feminine. Maybe that’s my trouble. All electronic devices are stuck on the PMS setting when they use a woman’s voice.

More on Flying: The Passengers

Since I’m on a roll with travel advice, I’m going to spend some time talking about a few common passenger types. There will usually be at least one on whatever flight you’re on and depending on where they’re sitting, it could make for either a smooth ride or a headache.

1. The Chatter Box

You don’t know this person. It’s the first and last time you will ever see them, but by the time the plane lands you will know how they broke their arm when they were five and how rocky or successful their marriage is. Plus, all the gory details in between.

This type of person is a mixed blessing. Depending on your personality, you could walk away with a new best friend or be grouchy as ever because you didn’t get to sleep and it was an overnight flight (been there).

2. The Anti-Social Seatmate

This person might not be anti-social normally, but something about being on a plane makes them get really quiet. Or sleepy. Or into their book or music or phone. For some reason, that becomes more interesting than anything else around them. Their mouths don’t open once except to drink the complementary soda.

Your best bet is to avoid talking to this person because when they put in their ear buds it was the equivalent of saying, “I don’t know you, nor do I care to so leave me alone.”

3. The Sleeper

This person drank three espressos from Starbucks before boarding the plane and they’re about to bounce all over the place, but when the plane leaves the ground they just can’t keep their eyes open. Perhaps it starts when you’re shoved into your seat during takeoff. Maybe that’s soothing?

These people are similar to the Anti-Social Seatmate because you almost forget they’re around except for the snoring. How do they manage to sleep through the turbulence?

You can bet when the plane touches down they’ll be wide awake and ready to go again.

4. The Crying Baby

The worst of the worst. It’s embarrassing for the parents and annoying for the rest of the passengers. It’s even worse when the baby screams at the top of his lungs for the entire takeoff and landing. True story. Been there. The other passengers and I were ready to lock the kid in the bathroom for the duration of the flight.

Your only defense is to bring some ear plugs and some Tylenol.

Good luck.

‘Tis the Season for Graduations

My fiance is graduating. I’m about to pop because I’m so proud of him and how hard he worked for his degree. His upcoming graduation has brought on a bit of nostalgia–or at least memories of my own graduations.

Including high school, I’ve been in three. I was never the student thrilled to be walking on the stage in the cap and gown. The cap messes up a girl’s hair unless she uses copious amounts of hair spray and that’s generally frowned upon by those trying to save the atmosphere. On top of that, the gown is miserable unless the temperature happens to be a crisp 30 degrees. Quit frowning. You know it’s true.

But the part I always dreaded as a graduate (more so than the cap and gown) was the speaker. My brother got lucky at his graduation. The speaker was very short, which made everyone happy. I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. The speakers at mine always had a speech the length of the Gettysburg Address and they weren’t going to cut corners on it either.

I don’t remember much of what they talked about, but a couple of points stood out to me, a future (wannabe) graduation speaker:

1. Tell Everyone How Educated You Are

It’s important that your audience understands how much smarter you are than them so that when you use grammar incorrectly, they are in awe at how masterfully you break the rules. The best way to do this: explain in great detail the many degrees you have attained in your life and note that none of them are in English or communications.

I had a graduation speaker who, every time she said “tonight”, said “on tonight”. For example, “Thank you for being here on tonight.” No joke, people.

2. Talk About All of the Irrelevant Things

Did you have a puppy when you were three? Did your best friend in high school snub you one time in favor of her new boyfriend who dumped her a week later? Those are perfect topics for graduation speeches. And then if you can tie in those with themes of resilience and hope, you get mega bonus points because it’s impossible.

3. Make Someone Sleep

If your speech is the length of the Gettysburg Address, it is a fact that someone will either go to sleep or die of boredom. While you don’t want to kill someone, putting them to sleep is socially acceptable at graduations. Just remember the above points and you’re set.

I hope you’re prepared for this upcoming graduation season now. And if you’re ever asked to speak, keep these tips in mind and you’re on the road to success.

Want to know what my speech would be?

“Congrats! You graduated. Keep working hard.”

I’d be the lamest graduation speaker ever.

Dreams are Weird

When people tell me they had a weird dream, I just have to shake my head. Mine are always weird. It’s like I eat a bucket of Chinese food right before bed. There is absolutely zero sense to them. I also rarely remember them. I think it’s because my brain files it away in the “Let’s Never Think of This Again” file. And I don’t because I can’t remember.

Sometimes, people have those dreams where they’re falling then they wake up and find they aren’t. I woke up to find that I actually was falling. Straight out of a hotel bed. Thank goodness I caught myself because the floors are made of cement and a thin cloth they claim is carpet.

People sometimes dream about how they don’t have pants on and they’re in public. I’m the one dreaming that I can’t find my pants or am having trouble putting them on like my legs are covered in glue. For some reason, I also can never pack anything in my dreams. This may be because in real life I always feel like I’m forgetting things when I go somewhere. Usually, I do.

There’s that dream of running and your legs not moving fast enough. If I fly in my dream, I kick my legs like I’m swimming. Or if I try to stop my car it won’t, no matter how reliable my brakes are in real life. Sometimes I have super powers, other times I’m aware that I’m dreaming.

The other night, I dreamed I was visiting a friend who doesn’t live at the beach, but who did in the dream. The house was up on wooden risers “in case the ocean gets too close”, or so I was told. I looked down at the risers and saw the ocean right there under the house and I said, “Makes sense.”

No. It doesn’t make sense. Dreams just don’t.

I should keep a dream journal just so I could shake my head at what my own mind comes up with to entertain itself during the long (short, actually) hours I’m asleep.

It’s like, “Brain, I’ve entertained you all day. Relax!”

And my brain says, “Ummm…no.”

If I went to a psychiatrist and told him my dreams, I know what he would tell me.

“Stop eating Chinese food for supper.”

8 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Cosmetology School

Last week’s post about my brother’s pedicure hit the funny spot, so I’m writing another humor post about cosmetology school. Believe me, there’s plenty of material. So, for you prospective students, take a gander at some wisdom gathered during my time there.

1. It’s not for the faint of heart

I had heard this before I started, but it is so utterly true. The amount of dandruff I’ve seen and gotten stuck under my nails is shocking. Who knew so many people had dandruff?

And then some people are opposed to the idea of washing their hair. It’s like they’re afraid it’ll all melt off if one ounce of shampoo and water comes near it. This was never one type of person. I saw it with so many people.

2. You have to touch feet

If you’re going to school for this, more than likely pedicures will be in your future. Just watch out for those pesky flying toenails. They’re a pain in the eye.

3. You may see half-naked strangers

Again, if your school offers back treatments, you may see your fair share of topless strangers. Thankfully, I got the majority of mine done on family, but the ones that weren’t… Let’s just say it was awkward.

This is like pedicures for me, though. I love to get back massages. Don’t like giving them to strangers.

4. You might have to work at the front desk/dispensary

For many girls and guys at the school I went to, this was the equivalent of a death sentence. You’d either get stuck at a desk for a week or packed like sardines into a tiny room where everyone went to mix their color. Personally, I preferred the dispensary. At least you got to wiggle around a little in your sardine can. The front desk motto was: leave this desk unattended and you die.

5. Break time is a myth

Hungry? Tired? Need to smoke? Tough beans! You don’t get a break unless there is downtime for it. Of course, this is similar to how a salon works, but I never understood why, when you’re working, you can’t schedule in a tiny 15 minute lunch break.

You’d be amazed at how fast you can shove a sandwich down your throat when you have five minutes to eat.

Was that beef or chicken that I just ate?

6. You think you’re hot stuff until you cut yourself

Yeah, they teach you all these cool techniques for cutting hair and snazzy ways to use your shears (and by the way, it’s shears. Not scissors. Heaven forbid you call them scissors). Once you get the hang of the technique (or not), you start doing it faster and it’s all fancy looking like you see on the YouTube videos and then…you guessed it. Blood is spilled on the battlefield. Nothing kills your mojo faster than having to get a bandaid because you’re still a newbie.

7. Learn to pee quick

Similar to having no breaks, your bladder will feel like it has been entered into an endurance marathon. It will yell at you, occupy your attention, and make you see yellow. In short, your bladder becomes your nemesis because it suddenly shrinks to the size of a pea when you’re in the middle of a client’s service.

8. Expect frequent bouts of TMI

You learn a lot of things at cosmetology school and doing hair is less than 10% of it. Clients will sit in your chair and, though normally they only say about five words a day on average, they can’t seem to stop talking. It’s nice in a way because this verbal diarrhea keeps you entertained, but you’ll hear way more than you want to. You’ll learn what the doctor told them at their last visit, how many dogs they have, what they think of Obama, and which church they go to.

And then there are your classmates. They’re the main point of TMI. I can’t tell you how many times I heard all the unwanted info about the wars with their boyfriends or how constipated they were.

Yes, girls talk about poop too. Not like I wanted to know, though.

Pedicures are a Dangerous Thing

If you didn’t know, I am a licensed cosmetologist. That’s not what I do, but I do have the license. So in other words, I went to “beauty school”. No, I won’t give you a free haircut.

In order to graduate, students have to meet certain requirements. You have to be at school a certain amount of hours and perform a certain amount of services. I am extremely blessed to have a supportive family that came in even when they didn’t have to just to help me finish on time, which I did, thanks to them.

My brother was one of the ones who would come in ever so often. He loved getting back rubs, and pedicures for the foot massage. He never let me paint his toenails, though the school did have some lovely pinks… Ha!

I enjoy getting pedicures on occassion. Don’t enjoy giving one, though. I mean, it’s feet. And family feet is one thing. Stranger feet is another. Nope, don’t ask me for a pedicure. Or a free haircut.

I was giving my brother a pedicure. Really, it was just a foot massage with warm water and a comfortable chair that he threatened on more than one occassion to take home. And then sometimes he would turn the vibrate setting up so high that he sounded like a robot when he spoke. This is the same long-armed brother who, when I was giving him a back rub, would reach down and play with the foot pedal that raised and lowered the bed. So sometimes I’d have to bend over and rub his back. Other times, he would be up to my stomach.

Yeah, he gets into things. And he’s just two years younger than me.

I brought out the nail clippers because, for some reason, men have an insane aversion to clipping their toenails and will almost let them claw through the ends of their socks. I was clipping away, minding my own business, when a rogue toenail clipping leapt into the air, aimed at my face, and landed squarely in my eye. Yes. In. My. Eye. No, not on my eyelid. Not in the corner. Directly on my eyeball.

Somehow, I managed to hang onto the clippers and not drop them in soapy water as I struggled to remove said toenail from my eye. And it wasn’t a small one, either. Of course, my brother was laughing. I would have too, if I was in his position. But I wasn’t. Thankfully, I got it out right there and it didn’t scratch my eye.

It was gross, yes. But at least it was family feet. Not stranger feet. So now I don’t clip anyone’s toenails but my own. Even the woman who came in a few weeks later needing it. I had the handy-dandy nail file and was perfectly satisfied not having another toenail attack my eye.