Thursday, July 23, 2009

Water Park

Now that I'm mostly fully recovered from last weekend's adventure, I think I may be prepared to tell you about it.

Friday night Jason suggested that he, Erin and I go to a local water park early the next morning. Erin and I quickly agreed, bouncing up and down like we were ten years old again (this violent shove back in time often happens when we get together). The next morning Jason decided against going as he already had what appeared to be severe third-degree sunburns on every part of his body, so bad that for a 24 hour period I never saw him not covered in a three inch layer of aloe lotion, saying silent prayers under his breath for the torture to end. Still excited at the prospect of spending the day on water slides (which we were absolutely convinced we would be able to do for hours without getting bored) Erin and I set off for the park alone.

For reasons I still don't understand, Erin had a season pass to this place (one which had not yet been used although summer is more than half over). We quickly ran in, dropped our stuff and looked around with our mouths gaping wide open like kids at Disneyland as we pointed out all the fun water-filled adventures beckoning us from each end of the park. Eight minutes later reality hit as we made our first descent down one of the water-torture chambers, screaming bloody-murder the entire way down because although it was about 135 degrees outside (give or take 40) the water was little more than liquid ice. I think I actually cried a little as I came crashing into the pool at the bottom. At that point we both became determined to try to go the rest of the day without getting wet (oddly difficult to do at a water park).

We decided to give one safe-looking slide a whirl but accidentally got in the wrong line and didn't realize until it was too late that we had to go down this horrible death-trap which aged both of us significantly. If the next time you see me I look 23 (as opposed to 17) you'll know why. We both agreed that we were getting a little too old for water parks, and confirmed this again five minutes later as we were somehow roped into wading all the way around the 40 mile long ultra crowded ice cold "Lazy River" without tubes, trying desperately to keep strangers' nasty feet from touching our faces. During this adventure I heard Erin say no less than thirty times, "Lazy River? This is the most exercise I've had all week!" That little event brought us to laying out for about 45 minutes, after which we decided we had had enough. I had mysterious scratches all down my back by this point anyway and I was quite concerned that 30,000 people walking around barefoot on solid surfaces all day was not going to be conducive to keeping my foot disease away. Besides, Erin and I were both thoroughly convinced that we smelled like urine and were a bit anxious to wash that off in water that didn't have toddlers with swollen diapers floating around in it.

Never again.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Job Hunt

Although it doesn't seem to be anywhere near time to start thinking about it, to the trained mind it's quite obvious that the applicaiton and job search process for next summer's job has arrived. The old Eli would be having violent panic attacks, usually ending in running across a rocky ice glacier barefoot with streamers singing every song from "The Sound of Music" on the backside of some seemingly incaccessible mountain. But the new long-hair-post-Moscow Eli is calm as a summer breeze. Now I know exactly what you're all thinking: "What?! Why would even the old Eli be nervous about something like this? He's so talented and intelligent. On top of that he's really good-looking and everyone is attracted to him. And he's always so successful at everything he ever puts even minimal effort into. And he's so tan and fit. And he looks like a GQ model because he's so stylish. And his ONLY flaw is his foot disease which, I might add, he has successfully contained to the bottom of one foot and maybe even beaten this summer but it's still too early to tell. And he always has dozens of super-models constantly surrounding him" etc. But the truth is, despite all of that stuff you all just thought (and I'm so blushing that you would all think that about me---how embarrassing!) this process can be quite stressful.

Part of the problem lies in my being largely unsure about what it is I want to end up doing in the legal profession. Often people ask me what kind of job I would like after law school. Usually my answer goes something like this: "Oh you know. I just want to live all over the world and travel all the time and lay out on the beach." That sounds great and all but the problem is I've yet to find any legal jobs that match that description word for word. As I'm quit sure that most people around me are aware of this fact, I usually try to throw in some kind of legal mumbo-jumbo at the end of my explanation of my professional aspirations to make it seem as though I've really thought it all through: "Of course, that beach time will have to be between my international corporate tax finance contract litigation practice." Of course I never know what any of that really means but I find that if I say that with the same look on my face as I have when I recite a Robert Frost poem, nobody really knows the difference.

So wanting to live everywhere but do nothing and everything at the same time makes the job search a bit broad and daunting. Fortunately I've lived most of my life in a tragically clueless state, leaving me to never really focus on and become fantastic at one thing but rather become slightly below mediocre at a multitude of tasks. This is reflected on my resume which is always duly noted in interviews when the interviewer becomes quite intrigued at the mere lack of any kind of theme. I usually respond by tilting my head to the side while nodding, giving a serious yet thoughtful look, and saying some inappropriately long sentence somehow using words like "well-rounded" and "variety" which are positive alternatives to "unfocussed" and "schizophrenic."

I imagine most of us feel this way to some degree. Selling yourself is a refining process. The silver-lining, I believe, is that this whole thing is forcing me to get comfortable with tactufully pointing out my strengths while identifying and eliminating the things that really seem to be holding me back. And all in all I am really excited about where my life is going to go although I don't know exactly where that is yet. Ultimately I know that it's going to go somewhere if I have anything to say about it. So it's great that I do.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moved . . . for the Thousandth Time

I finally moved today. Life has been a bit hectic since getting back from Moscow. Amid all the stresses of getting back to normal life, starting a new (and utterly confusing) job and moving, I’m also in recovery from some kind of sickness I think is either Swine Flu or Tuberculosis; if not, I’m sure it’s something contagious enough that you all are at risk just reading this.

I’ve been staying in South Jordan. Quickly, it’s perfectly fine to live with your parents even though you are 25 and even though you are cornered by no less than five people at their church on Sunday saying things like, “What’s the matter with you?”, “Aren’t you ever going to get married?” and my personal favorite, “Have you turned in your mission papers yet?” It’s perfectly fine. However, in order to reduce the awkwardness when friends ask you where you are living and you have to admit the truth, I have found that there are some easy ways to make it sound much more reasonable: First, if you make it sound like you are living with their parents to help them, pathetic turns to noble immediately. The older your parents are, the easier it is to pass this one off. My parents are still pretty fit so it’s hard for me to use this but I am prepared to do so when I’m living with them again about fifteen years from now. Second, if possible, you can try to make it sound like your parents are living with you. This is difficult to do however unless you and your parents move into a new place together. The strategy I have to resort to is to replace the word “living” with “staying.” This makes the whole thing sound much less pathetic. Really any words that make the situation sound more temporary is to your benefit. I often find myself saying things like, “oh you want to meet in SLC in the morning? Let’s see . . . that should work well for me because I’m going to sleep at my parents house the night before in South Jordan.” See how much more reasonable that sounds than, “well let me check with my mom and see if that’s ok. I am living with her you know.” The only problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t last forever. Eventually people start to get suspicious—hence the move.

So sometime this afternoon, I took a break from work and piled 70% of everything I own into every small space of my car. I say 70% because I’ve slowly been taking things down to Provo over the last several days. Unfortunately I made absolutely no attempt to box anything up, fold clothes, or at least wrap valuables and for the full 45 minutes of loading I continuously mumbled to myself, “I hate this. I’m a mess. I’m never moving again.” This was much less dramatic than what I was mumbling to myself a few hours later when I was unloading the stuff and hauling it up several flights of stairs. In the end I made my usual resolve that I was going to leave everything I own except for the clothes on my back, flip-flops (plus four backup pairs when my first ones break) and 30 of my favorite alabaster pots and head off to the middle-east to pursue a Bedouin life-style. I would probably also bring some of my books and most of my other clothes because I can check two bags anyway. I might as well have some of my art shipped over too. And I would bring my bedding because I don’t know what they have over there. Of course I would bring my laptop too and a couple of lamps for lighting and some of my favorite electronics. But that’s IT! Everything else is staying.

You’ll all be relieved to know that after several hours, my life is under control and I’m relatively organized. I didn’t even lose anything in this move (as far as I can tell). I somehow didn’t even lose this horrible Wally Lamb book that I accidentally bought at an airport and have now ineffectively tried to get rid of in four different countries. And so it goes.

~It Just Gets Stranger