we've officially reached 100 posts!
first and foremost, if you don't think i'm drinking a celebratory beer while i'm writing this, then you don't know me very well.
second, i'm pretty stoked that i've actually written 100 things that people have read--or have at least claimed to have read. speaking of words that have come tumbling out of my head...here we go:
about a month ago, something very significant happened between me and a can of soup.
shhh...just let me finish.
let me jump back to 2008.
it's january, and my best friend sara and i have just moved into our very first shared living space. a spacious two story townhouse that came with a surprise beer pong table and a cross-eyed cat named wilbur (RIP buddy). one thing that our house did NOT come with...was a can opener.
on one of our many walmart trips, we found our way into the kitchen isle and began picking out things that we needed. as we came upon a modest selection of can openers, we saw that our cheapest option--although unfamiliar looking to us both--would only a take a mere dollar to purchase. let's just say it looked something like this:
without a single thought past "we'll figure out how to use it," we threw it in our overflowing cart and moved along. now, i can't tell you how many weeks later it was that this can opener was finally pulled out of the drawer and ripped off of it's cardboard backing--but i can tell you that the walls of our cozy townhouse heard many a curse word that night.
after both of us used every logical twist and turn of our hand to maneuver this awkward metal tool, we were left with a loss of ideas. as we stared at each other--baffled that we had just been taken advantage of by a kitchen gadget--sara suddenly came up with an idea.
"hey don't take this out on me! we both decided to buy the crappier one! wait, that's a pairing knife. what are you going to do--cut off my ears?!"
as sara ignored my typical non-whimsical-fanny-style-humor (which is marked by me laughing at my own joke before anyone else gets a chance to), she suddenly began to thrust the knife into the unsuspecting can of tomato soup. while both of us admitted that this wasn't the safest method, at this point it was our only option. we even began taking turns--releasing our anger onto the defenseless campbell's can. although it may have been the world's most ridiculous effort to produce a simple grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner, it was completely worth it.
you know when you smell the milk, realize it's bad, but still decide to stick it back into the refrigerator?
while the two of us are very sensible people--over the following two and a half years that sara and i lived together, we never upgraded to a working can-opener. our cheap, useless contraption traveled with us from townhouse to apartment--leaving us with no other can-opening option but our knife strategy. maybe some part of us believed that one day we would magically figure out how to use it, or that the can-opener fairy would send us a fancy automatic one that required no work at all.
moral of the story: our kitchen saw a lot of clam chowder-related-tragedies.
skip to 2010.
it's september, and i've just arrived in los angeles. while i have a fully furnished sublet--it occurs to me that i'll soon need to accessorize my own apartment with various everyday items. i find the most familiar-looking place to shop--a target--and make my way through the isles with an empty cart. as i find myself in front of a row of kitchen items, my eye darts quickly to the cheapest selections.
cheap spatula: check.
cheap paper towel holder: check.
cheap can opener: ...
what do you think i did?
in a hurry to furnish my new los angeles life, but upholding a strong desire to not be yelled at by my dad when he sees my credit card bills--i immediately grab the least expensive can opener i can find. although it resembles something from my past, i throw it into my cart without a second thought.
skip to the present year.
i'm wandering the isles of a west hollywood whole foods looking for a comforting, easy-to-make-dinner. i come upon the soup isle and recognize a brand that my parents generally keep stocked in our pantry at home. excited and hungry for the familiar smells soon to be parading around my apartment, i rush back to hollywood. i casually say hello to olive and stroll into the kitchen, taking out a small saucepan and a bowl. as i fumbled around in my "crap drawer" for a can opener, i pull out a thin metal device that appears to be missing a few parts.
i take a deep breath.
skip to thirty five minutes later.
i'm now sitting on my living room floor--screaming at a can of lentil soup.
in the past half hour, i've gone from calmly making attempts at clipping the opener to the side of the can...to throwing the can opener...to cursing target...to cursing amy's organic soups for not using pull-tabs...to crying, and threatening no one in particular with ordering a pizza.
it was at that moment, that i looked down at my computer--which was open to google with the words "how to use a can opener" typed in the search line--that i began to laugh.
it was such a cliche moment of someone living by themselves for the first time, that i couldn't help but find it completely hilarious. as the weeks have passed and i've looked back on that moment, it's occurred to me that i've been through a lot of "firsts" here in these past eight months. first time being my own handy man (thank you duct tape). first time taking care of myself when i was sick (thank you ramen). first time driving around a brand new city by myself (thank you GPS).
the list goes on.
while many of them have been positive learning experiences, there are also a lot of other "firsts" i'm dealing with that aren't quite as easy.
first time missing my parent's birthdays, anniversaries, mother's days, and father's days that i've been a part of for twenty five years.
first time not being able to throw my little speakers and a six pack of coors light into my 4runner to meet my friends at a pool in raleigh on a sunny day.
first time not being able to meet my friends at rum runners on a wednesday night after a long day in the sun.
first time not being able to dart to south carolina for the weekend to ride to the beach with the top down in my best friend's bug.
first time not being able to join in on the dancing and drinks at molly darcy's in north myrtle every weekend of summer after a long day of tanning.
first time not being able to eat my favorite comfort food whenever i want.
first time not being able to drive to little river at the last minute to do something completely random and wonderful with my best friend like making s'mores and telling ghost stores around a fire pit.
don't get me wrong, although california has its advantages...
the movie premieres.
...it doesn't make dealing with all of these "firsts" any easier. granted, i followed my dream and i'm proud as hell of myself for that. i've wanted to live in this place my entire life and sometimes it still doesn't seem real. i know i would regret not coming here every single day of my life--but that doesn't make being away from all of you any easier. even though i hate how hard missing everybody and everything is--i feel like i'm blessed to have people that i care about so much in my life. it's taken twenty five years for me to become as independent as i am right now, and i'm doing things that i never thought were possible. it's not just about overcoming a fear of change and twenty five years of homesickness--it's more than that. i know that me being here is an important chapter in my life, but a part of my brain is still trying to comprehend all of the things i'm missing out on. i'll never get used to missing a good meal with my parents, or rooftop wings and pitchers at rudinos with my high school friends, or being able to drop everything and drive two hours and forty five minutes just to eat chinese food with my best friend.
it's not that i think the expressions "time heals" and "things get easier" are bullshit, but i will never stop missing all of you and all of the memories i think about every single day. i've come to realize that no matter how hard i try to push california closer to the east coast, this damn state won't budge. so in the mean time, all i can do is be proud of myself for following my heart, know that all of you are proud of me, and try to remember that when life gives you a shitty can opener...
get a new one.