Tuesday, August 31, 2010

People I Recently Misled

While some call it "lying," I prefer "mislead" or "exaggerate" or "omitting the truth" because the ten commandments says nothing about these...right?

MY DENTAL HYGIENIST- she asked me when the last time was that I had been in for a cleaning. I confessed the truth. Seven years. But then she gave me a look of such surprise and horror that I added, "But I've been flossing." It's sort of true. I had been flossing....that week and solely because I knew if I didn't my gums would bleed like crazy and I would receive a stern lecture about the necessity of flossing. For the last seven years though? I'm pretty sure there was a 4 year span when I didn't floss once. Clearly she saw through my lie when she looked at the x-rays and saw my 3 root canals, 17 fillings, 4 crowns, and missing molar.

THE MAN SELLING BREAD- He was a bit of a creeper and when I left he said, "Don't be a stranger." I replied with, "I won't." I have full intentions to remain a stranger.

MY NEPHEW- He asked if I wanted to play superheroes and I really didn't feel like it. I can only be lightning girl so many hours a day. However, I am the aunt and rule number # 12 in my aunt-handbook is "never say no to playing" so I said, "Of course. I think there are some bad guys on the roof we should go take care of." In the picture we were being superheroes and I was playing the role of "captain underbite." ps- goggles make swimming so much more fun. I wondered why Vander keeps those ridiculous things glued to his head but it makes the underwater world much more fascinating. It enabled us to eat pancakes and spaghetti underwater. (apparently little boys aren't into the "tea parties" we girls like to have)

THE JANITOR- I must preface this "misleading" by admitting that he TERRIFIES me. He is the only person to ever swear at me...except for drivers and opponents on the basketball court. Oh and my roommate once but she didn't know it was me- she thought it was some other idiot driver pulling their nose into traffic. Sorry about that Jen. So clearly I was a bit intimidated to ask him to borrow a ladder but I was in dire need of one and he is the guardian of all ladders at the school. After getting the courage to ask for one, (okay, lets be completely honest- I asked the Athletic Director to ask for me), I arrived at the shed to discover a smiling janitor with the short ladder proudly displayed. I needed the tall ladder. Did I tell him this? Absolutely not. I smiled, bowed, and vowed to return it as soon as possible. He then asked if I was using scotch tape to hang posters. My response: "No way. I know that ruins the paint. I use the putty the school provides." Bold face lie right there. I tried the putty but it doesn't work. However, I don't actually use scotch tape so I felt good about not lying about that. No, scotch tape isn't nearly strong enough. I use the heavy duty tape that will DESTROY the paint when I pull it off. Oh and I've hammered a good 36 nails into the wall but what he doesn't know won't hurt him. However, I still was stuck with the short ladder which would not do the job so I found myself in a bit of a pickle. "Misleading" often leads to such pickles. I returned the short ladder to the shed and contemplated how to get the tall ladder. Should I act like a grown-up and just ask tell him the truth? Nah. I chose to sneak into the forbidden janitor world, found a huge ladder covered in spider webs that is used for outdoor painting, and quickly carried my contraband to my room where I came quite close to falling and breaking my neck. Oh the lengths I will go to to avoid the truth.

MY TEAM- While driving the 15 passenger van around the streets of San Diego for a tournament, I got completely lost. After about 20 minutes of random turning, the girl riding shotgun asked, "Coach, do you know where you're going?"

Me- "Of course."

Her- "Really? Because you often say things with confidence when you're actually lying."

Me- "Remember when your shot got blocked last game and everyone laughed"?

THE LADY WHO RANG ME UP AT A STORE- I bought a bunch of necklaces and she asked if they were gifts. They are all for me but I told her yes. No one likes looking materialistic AND selfish.

MY FRIEND'S MOM- She came out in a dress and asked if it made her look fat. I know what you're thinking. But you're wrong. I lied and agreed with her daughter that it DID make her look wide. Truthfully, I thought she looked fine but I realize I have much less fashion sense
than Stefanie so I was a "yes man" and let her mom feel fat. What a jerk.

A HOMELESS MAN- Yeah, you thought I was joking about the "jerk" comment. I recently visited Jenny in Santa Barbara and while on State Street, a homeless man asked me for a quarter. I told him I didn't have any change but I did. I had a wallet full of quarters for meters. I kept walking and didn't give him a second glance and then justified my actions because he smelled of alcohol and was just going to use the money for beer.

YOU- He didn't actually smell of alcohol. I just didn't want you to judge me for not caring more about the homeless.

And herein lies the root of most all my lies. I want to save face. I want to put up a front that I am more loving, compassionate, selfless, and cool than I actually am. So I lie, or mislead, so people won't see how messed up I actually am. So they won't see the side of me that is awkward and selfish and vain and proud. Brennan Manning spoke exactly to this tendency of mine in his book, Ruthless Trust.

"Thus, we present to others a self that is spiritually together, superficially happy, and lacquered with a sense of self-deprecating humor that passes for humility. The irony is that while I do not want anyone to know that I am judgmental, lazy, vulnerable, screwed up, and afraid, for fear of losing face, the face that I fear losing is the mask of the impostor, not my own."

So I will try to be more honest and stop trying to present a false image of myself to the world.

Monday, August 30, 2010

7 Recent Awkward Moments

1. The hostess used an unnecessary loud voice to announce to the waitress, "It's only a party of one." Thanks ma'am. I'm sure the whole restaurant already noticed me standing by myself with my book but maybe there was a couple in the back who hadn't noticed me yet.

2. I said hi to someone who didn't hear me and kept walking. This isn't too awkward if no one else witnesses because you can pretend like it never happened. However, when someone else is there, you'll feel like a complete fool.

3. I didn't hear the question properly so I gave a response that didn't make sense. A janitor was speeding by on a golf cart and asked, "how was your summer?" For some reason I had assumed he was going to ask about the weather so I said, "Yeah, it's nice." Idiot Katie. The worst time I did this was when the president of Westmont was walking by just after my friend had smashed an icecream cone in my face. Apparently he asked, "WHAT are you doing?" but I responded with, "Good. How are you?" Actually, it was probably worse when my sister told me she was pregnant for the first time and I responded with, "Cool. What'd you do today?"

4. I made eye contact with a former student and we both pretended it never happened. I know kids get weirded out when they see their teachers in public so I can understand why he averted his eyes so quickly but I still don't know why I did. Unless I'm wearing my pajamas, I usually like to make the kid feel even more awkward and have to introduce me to whomever he/she is with.

5. I shook hands with an acquaintance who grabbed too early and only gripped my fingers. This guy is a loose cannon when it comes to hand shakes and high fives. The only other time I saw him, he gave me the windmill high five. So when he started to approach me with his hand raised, I was prepping myself for the windmill but instead, he went for the grab but clenched too soon and only got the end of my hand so I couldn't even shake. To make matters worse, this happened right in front of my brother Trent who loves to notice when I'm awkward and try to make me more awkward. I need to show this guy this tutorial on high five etiquette.

6. My roommate caught me talking to my cat. I didn't see her sitting in the living room but I did see Dotty. I did my typical greeting for my cat and said, "Sup Dotty?" as I waved at her with only my index finger. "What'd you say?" Crap. Why is she sitting in the dark? "Um...never mind." Snoe- if you read this, I said, "sup Dotty?" This was not nearly as embarrassing as the time another roommate caught me whispering "hamburglar" to myself. She was sneaking up on me to scare me and at that exact moment, I decided to see what it sounded like to say "hamburglar." She fell down laughing. And then she told all her Spanish classes about it. I had kids coming up to me all day whispering, "hamburglar" to me.

7. I ran right next to a stranger for a mile without speaking or acknowledging him. My rule of thumb for passing runners is as follows: once in close range, pick up the pace and race past them so they don't feel bad that they're being passed and you don't have to wave at them or attempt some form of acknowledgment that is bound to be awkward. This guy was not following my rule. He passed me but wasn't going too much faster. I decided I could push myself a bit more so I matched his pace. He sped up. So did I. He slowed down. So did I. He was stuck and we both knew it. He couldn't pass me and I wasn't letting him out of this awkward moment he had initiated. I can only wonder what was going through his head as we ran for a good mile and I kept my eyes focused straight ahead.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dialogue with Dotty

Yes, Dotty my cat.

No, not the cat that peed in my face. That was her evil son.

Dotty was the one who peed in my gym bag in high school. Of course I didn't notice until practice when I had to put on a jersey soaked in cat urine and then pretended that I too had no idea what smelled so rancid in the gym.

I got her when I was 15 and named her after Dot from the Animaniacs cartoon. Yes, I watched cartoons in high school. Still do. Phineas and Ferb is amazing.

So why am I dialoguing with my cat? Truth be told, I do it all the time. You know, the basics- how was your day, Dotty? That sort of thing. Totally normal. And I found a highly entertaining blog this summer where the author has really funny conversations with himself. Not wanting to be a complete copycat, I decided to steal his idea and put my own spin on it.

Dotty- There's something in my litter box that needs to be taken care of.

Me- Yeah, I'll clean it in a sec.

Dotty- Okay, but if you don't do it soon, I might pee on your bed again.

Me- Geez Louise, cat, I'm trying to write a blog entry.

Dotty- Seriously? Again? Didn't you try that two years ago and wrote 3 posts then quit?

Me- Yeah, but I want to try again. I'm feeling more motivated.

Dotty- Why weren't you motivated last year? Nothing of interest to write about? I know you weren't too busy because I watched The Bachelor with you every Monday. Still can't believe he picked Vienna.

Me- Well random, awkward, and interesting things did happen but they just couldn't compare to the adventures I had every week in Mozambique and I couldn't stop making the comparisons. Then I read other blogs and got self-conscious because other people are much more witty and insightful than I and then I just started procrastinating...

Dotty- like you've been doing about getting me declawed? You've been talking about it for 2 years.

Me- Yeah, sorry about that. And then pretty soon, I forgot I even had a blog. This summer I read a really encouraging blog post by my friend Heather about how we should be declaring the Lord's goodness and telling other's about what He is doing in our lives. I heard a sermon recently where the pastor said our testimony should always just be a few days old because God will always be moving and working in our lives and teaching us new things if we are seeking Him. I realized that I really missed blogging about what God has been teaching me because it forces me to more thoughtful about what I'm learning and more conscious of how God is working.

Dotty- You lost me two sentences into that explanation. Are you going to clean my box or what?

So I'm back. I plan on being more disciplined about writing. I figure that while I make my students write in class about the themes in Huckleberry Finn or comparing the Montagues to the Capulets, I can write about funny, random moments in my life.

I may not be chased by three-legged dogs or homeless men trying to mug me. My life probably won't be in danger (unless I get hit by a car again while biking to school). Trips to the grocery store won't entail traveling through a national reserve park where lions and elephants roam freely and malicious monkeys try to steal your chocolate bars. My weekend trips won't be to exotic places like Swaziland. And my church services won't be as life-changing as they were in the village of Shiparango.

But my God is the same and still works in marvelous ways. And awkward moments still are bound to happen since I seem to be a magnet for them. (more to come in next post)

So I will attempt to stop the deadly act of comparison. Brennan Manning wrote a convicting quote that has helped me stop: "Any attempt to measure the value of our lives by comparison and contrast to others belittles our gifts and dishonors God by our ungratefulness."

I will attempt to stop procrastinating.

And I will just write...