Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Diving into an Awkward Situation

I'm one of those weirdos that loves heights.


(Ellen Huish took that picture cause she's a rock star.)

I don't know why, but I get this thrill from standing on the edge of a cliff, building, or bridge. It's like, I'd love to leap off of it if I knew that wouldn't lead to my untimely death.


 


So most my life, I've just pushed my limits and have gotten as close to the edge as I could without risking my life.






















Now because of this weird obsession of mine, I have always wanted to go skydiving. Jumping safely from an insanely high height? Dream come true!

So after months (seriously, months) of searching for a friend to come with me, I was more than thrilled when a friend asked ME if I wanted to do it. Instantly I agreed, and we set up a time to go.

After both of us almost backed out without telling the other, we found ourselves driving down to Nephi, UT (AKA: The middle of nowhere) for our skydiving adventure.

The whole drive down, I found myself feeling the exact same way as I felt on my way to the Missionary Training Center; thrilled, excited, and absolutely terrified while wondering what the heck I was doing and why I even chose to do it in the first place.

. . . . how on earth is it that the feelings surrounding an LDS mission are comparable to jumping out of a blasted airplane?

Anyway.

So, my friend and I made reservations with a company in central Utah to go skydiving.

First of all, I knew there had probably been fatalities in skydiving, but I had never heard of that happening . . . until I signed up to go skydiving.

I had this EXACT conversation FOUR times with FOUR different people:

"You're going skydiving?"
"Yeah! I'm super pumped!"
"I know (insert someone here of some relation or a person of a person) who went skydiving and their parachute didn't come out!"
"Did they die?"
"No."
"....their parachute had to have come out then, because you don't just fall from that distance with no parachute and live."

Let this be a lesson to your all: when your friend is doing something, don't tell them the life threatening situations you've heard of. (You're pregnant? My cousin died from giving birth! You're going to Africa? My friend died there!)
You get the point.

Anywho. Where were we?

Oh yes. Central Utah.

For all my friends not familiar with the geography of Utah, allow me to give you a brief introduction:

This, is Salt Lake City, which is the northern part of Utah:


Oooh, yay, buildings, city, trees, mountains, yay!! 

The more north you go, it's more of that plus more snow and residential areas. But that doesn't matter. 

Here's southern Utah, which is most popular amongst the adventurous:

                                  


Ooh, red rocks, mountains, national parks, pretty things, yaaayyy!

And then, here's central Utah:


Nothing. Well, I mean there's sagebrush. And dirt. And hills. So, yeah. Basically nothing.

So, we drove through a whole lot of THIS, to get to our skydiving location. As we got closer to the destination, there was nothing but fields were in sight. Just as I pulled out my phone to double check the address, my friend stopped in front of what looked like an oversized garage.

"Is this it?" I asked, and looked over to see a big, red sign hanging from the "garage" saying: Skydive the Wasatch.

I looked at it and said, ". . .This is so ghetto. We're going to die. We . . . are going . . . to die."

Note: from this point on, the pictures gradually get more and more embarrassing.

We parked in a dirt parking lot and got out of a car, where an adorable dog greeted us and showed us the entrance to the "garage." The walk from the car to inside I got a horrendous vision of getting a parachute duck tapped to my waste and being thrown from the airplane and promptly dying.

I didn't even get to tell my parents I was doing this! That's gonna be a terrible phone call for them!

Relief filled me an an audible "oh" came out of my mouth as I walked in to see a nicely set up area with snacks, a fridge, some old couches, a bucket labeled "puke bucket: put anything you puked on here," an office area, shirts, set up area for jumpers, various balls that the friendly little dog was playing with, and a platform to watch skydivers. Nervousness left me . . . but only for a brief moment. It returned when I found myself almost literally signing my life away, as I had to initial lines that said things like "Incase of injury or DEATH I understand I cannot sue the company."

And each time, DEATH was capitalized.



As I signed my life away, a large family came to skydive, including a grandpa who had to be around 70.

"Don't worry everyone," he yelled at the large family. "I brought the DEPENDS!"

He lifted up a large bag of adult diapers while cracking up, and the family joined in the laughter, including my friend and I.

The family roamed around looking around the room, while grandpa sat down next to me with his depends, signing the same papers I was.

"Whoo. Look at that airplane," said one of the daughters of the grandpa. "I think I'll want to jump out of that when the time comes."

I snickered to myself and continued to sign the document, that had rid myself of all good feelings and replaced them with "oh yeah, I'm going to die, and it's not going to be anyone's fault but my own!"

Thanks to said family of ten cutting in front of me and my friend in line, we got delayed 2 hours. Yes, my friends. Two hours in tiny Nephi. Thankfully, we got Wendy's to kill some time. You're probably wondering what this family looked like. Some looked like this:



Wait, Carmen, how did you get that?

I purchased pictures to go with my skydive. I got all my pictures . . . plus theirs on accident. I'm not complaining.



I like to consider this "sweet revenge" even though this is technically the end of my "revenge."

I wish I had pictures of Grandpa jumping. Seriously, that guy was my FAVORITE. Loved him.

Anyway.

Two hours later, my friend and I were introduced to our instructors. I was no longer nervous to jump - I was eager, and almost impatient. Two hours was way too long to wait for a skydive (thankfully we got free T shirts because of our wait). Now the thing I was worrying about most was being strapped up to a stranger and having to make conversation with them as we plummeted towards the ground.

My instructor was a nice little fellow who asked the casual get-to-know-you questions as he strapped me into my gear. He was also probably about 3 inches shorter than me.

Boy did I look hot.


I should make this a fashion trend.

Knowing my instructor and I would get to know each other a little too well this hour, I glanced at his left hand and was relieved to see he had a wedding ring. I don't know WHY exactly, but that made him way less creepy in my eyes.

"Okay guys. Who's going first?"

I raised my hand, and they told my friend and her instructor would get into the airplane first, followed by my instructor, and me last.

"Let's head to the plane."

I literally had no idea how to walk in this weird . . . rope thing that seemed to be imitating some sort of bad swimsuit. Not to mention it was gripping my crotch area so tightly I now have a bruise there.


The four of us climbed into this small, propeller airplane. It only had one seat, which was for the pilot. The door slid up as opposed to out, and the inside looked exactly like the inside of a tin can, only with a cushioned floor. 

I took my seat in front of my instructor, and he closed the door to the side of us. Minutes later, we took off. 

Have you ever walked past a construction sight where there's a jack hammer going off and you can't hear a thing? Or have you ever been in a sketchy hostel with a fridge that sounds just like a jack hammer whenever you open it up, so you avoid opening it and let your food rot in there instead? 

Well that's exactly how loud this plane was. I couldn't hear a thing, so my friend and I communicated mostly through raised eyebrows, head nods, and mouthing words.

I watched as we went higher and higher into the sky, and the scenery got more and more beautiful. We were so close to the mountains! I could see the top of them, and saw that they were covered in trees and slightly red dirt!

And then, the wind grew stronger. The plane started to move up and down and side to side. And I registered I was sitting backwards.

I began to feel light headed and dizzy. My stomach was churning. Curse you, Wendy's fries.

It was bearable right now. Maybe I could make myself feel better.

 I tried closing my eyes, but that just made things worse. So, I looked out the window and tried to distract myself with the beautiful scenery.

The puke bucket I saw earlier started to make a lot more sense now. Scenery is a lot less pretty when it seems to be shaking. 

Minutes dragged by, and I found myself looking out the window thinking, "Are we high enough yet? How about now?"

And it wasn't because of anticipation. Oh, no. It was because I wanted my stomach to go back where it belonged and stop showing up in my throat. 

I looked around the airplane, not sure if it was good to look out the window anyway. I stared at the door and saw a screw rattling. 

Oh, I'm sure that's safe.

I turned my head back to the window, and saw two other screws rattling.

You've got to be kidding me. Am I in danger here?

I could feel myself heating up. Yes, the plane was hot, but this was the kind of heat that I only experienced in times of severe motion sickness - it's like I'm heating up from the inside out.

Guys, I can't even begin to describe to you how awful I felt in this moment. I was shaking, sweating, and my stomach felt like it was turning into slime and sliding back up my throat. I felt terrible. I began to pray that I would NOT puke, and that I would feel better.

I focused on my feet, my mouth draping open like a dogs would.

"Alright, it's time to get buckled up. Sit on my lap," said my instructor.

I think this was the first time I have ever complied to a male demanding that. The other time was Santa Clause.

I scooted back and sat on his lap as he began to strap us together.

Dude, I'm sitting on your goodies. This canNOT be comfortable for you. I thought, but let's be real here. If this was the best way to insure my safety and get me off of Satan's plane, I didn't care . . . that much.

He finished, and I scooted off his lap so that we were now spooning while sitting up.

"Alright, here's what's going to happen," he said into my ear as I focused on not puking. "I'm going to open that door and put my foot on the step. You're going to put both feet on the step, and I'm going to push us off. We're going to do a black flip off the plane, so make sure your legs bend pack into your butt, and your head goes back, okay?"

"Got it," I said as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and PRAYED to God that I wouldn't throw up.

"If you keep your eyes open during the back flip, you can see the plane. It's my favorite part. Are you ready to skydive?" he asked.

"Yes!" I said, and I was. I was ready to finally jump from an insanely high height and not have to worry about dying, and I was PUMPED to get off the plane. I was relating so much to the woman I heard earlier - I was ready to jump out of this plane just because of how I felt, and how sketchy it was.

Funny thing about motion sickness, though, jumping off an airplane doesn't help it go away.

My instructor opened the door, and wind rushed into my ears. He maneuvered and put his left foot out onto the step, and I followed with my two feet.



Before I could even register what was going on, we had launched off the step and into nothingness.




(I told you - the pictures get less and less flattering as the post goes on.)

I kept my eyes open for the back flip (which, honestly, it didn't feel like we were flipping at all. It just felt like . . . I don't even know. Nothing.) and saw the silhouette of the plane. The guy was right - it was pretty cool.

And then, we were flying. Well, technically falling.



I wish I could describe to you how it felt but, in the words of my dear friend Princess Jasmine, it was truly an indescribable feeling.

He tapped my hands, which he told me he would do when he needed me to let go of the straps on my harness. I did so, and he stretched my arms out like a bird.


I could hear him cheering as we fell. I opened my mouth and did what I THOUGHT was cheering, but the wind was rushing SO quickly in my face I couldn't hear, and really whenever I opened my mouth so much air POURED into me that I forgot how to exhale momentarily.



Again. Weirdest sensation ever. It did not feel AT ALL like I was falling. I was just . . . I don't know. Flying? Floating? Not plummeting towards the beautiful mountains and fields below me to my death.

Then, my entire body JERKED up.

He had released the parachute.


And my entire stomach churned once again. 


We had slowed down, and were now floating gracefully through the air, and he had me hold onto the straps of the parachute.

I was happy. I was thrilled. I was skydiving. And my entire body was shaking and sweating - and not from nerves or excitement. This was pure motion sickness. As a pair of elders on my mission, passengers on an insanely bumpy airplane ride, and friends with me on a car ride on a winding road through a forest can tell you: when my motion sickness gets severe, I puke. And this? This was the exact same feeling I always experience right before I puke my guts out.

I found myself praying, and praying, and praying, almost YELLING to God, "NO. I WILL NOT THROW UP ON MY FIRST TIME SKYDIVING!"

I'm pretty sure he sent a little guardian angel to pat me on the head and say, "There, there, Carmen. You'll be just fine."




"How are you feeling?" my instructor asked.

"Great! And a little motion sick!"

'A little' was certainly an understatement. Maybe I thought I could trick my body into feeling better if I pretended it wasn't there. And lying to the instructor would TOTALLY help my stomach feel completely better.

He began to give me clear instructions for when we landed. I listened intently while I stared at the mountains, the fields that made the ground look like a giant, green quilt, your grandmother would give you for your birthday, and most importantly — I focused on not throwing up.

My body began to dry heave heavily.

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. I WILL NOT THROW UP ON MY FIRST TIME SKYDIVING. I. WILL. NOT.

"How are you feeling?"

"Okay. Just sick."

"Let me know if you start feeling worse," he said.

"I will," I said.

Psh. I wouldn't. If I admitted defeat, my body threw up. If I kept psychologically convincing myself I was okay? I would be okay.

Funny. It didn't seem to work.

My instructor pointed out some locations, including a train that was buzzing by. I looked at them, tried to comment on how pretty everything was from up here . . . but I was so focused on not puking.

"Are you okay?" he asked as I started to dry heave for the umpteenth time.

All I could do was pathetically shake my head no. I feared vomit may come out of my mouth if I dared open it. I could feel it creeping up my throat and I willed it to go away.

"If you're going to throw up, raise your arm up and do it under your right shoulder, okay?"

I nodded, and followed his instructions. I leaned to my right and turned my head, and he leaned WAAAAYYYY over in the opposite direction.

I felt bile come up into my mouth, and once again I refused to open my mouth. Not today, not today.

There was throw up in my mouth. I thought about spitting it out, but I feared more would follow if I did.

So. I swallowed it. 

Like a weird sicko. 




"We're almost down," said my instructor, to which I didn't respond.

I made sure the last few moments in the air were worth it, even if my legs were shaking in their little harness and begging for ground to rest on.

"Okay, here's the landing. Do you remember what to do?"

"Legs out together and straight," I said.

"Good. Now, it gets pretty fast when we land. Keep your legs out."

This is how I felt about speeding up, when I was already struggling to keep my stomach down and under control:




We couldn't speed up again! I would throw up! I didn't want to throw up! And I certainly figured the instructor didn't want to be puked on either!

The ground came faster and faster, and the bile returned to my mouth. This time, I just held it in there. My whole brain had shut down and just was willing my body to reach land.

Ground . . . ground . . . ground . . . GROUND.

My feet slammed into the ground. Now, I'd see one person before me land on his feet and run it off. And I was NOT about to be a part of that life. My heels hit the ground, dug into the dirt, and my little booty and legs slid on the ground to a stop.

My instructor began unbuckling himself away from me and began to collect the parachute. I sat there for a few moments, taking in deep breaths as my body seemed to yell at my brain: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! WHY WOULD YOU BETRAY ME IN SUCH A WAY?! YOU PROMISED TO KEEP ME SAFE AND NOW YOU PUT ME ON A TERRIBLE AIRPLANE TO MAKE ME THROW UP?!





I swallowed the throw up again.

A little farther ahead, I saw my friend land. I stared at her, wondering if she could tell how terrible I felt.

I pushed myself up, legs still violently shaking and my body ridiculously hot from the inside out. I began fumbling with the buckles around me. I had to get out and be free. My whole body was SO weak and SO shaky, it was hard to click down on the little buckle around my chest.


"Smile!" said my instructor, sticking the GoPro in front of my face again.




And so I did.



He helped me unbuckle and told me to put the harness inside. I nodded and said, "Wait- where do I go? Where are we?"

He pointed at the garage, which was on my left and said, "There."

"Oh."

And I hobbled over, staring at the ground. As I lumbered into the garage I was asked a dozen times, "HOW WAS IT?"

"Great." I said. I meant it, and I'm sure how I said it wasn't convincing in the slightest.

The adventure dies down from here. I thanked my instructor and told him he did a great job, and was glad I didn't puke on him.

"I'm glad you didn't puke on me, too." he said.

I think that's the most romantic exchange I've ever had with a man.

"Has anyone ever thrown up on you?" asked my friend.

"Oh yeah. It's not . . . fun."

We grabbed our pictures, certificates saying we skydived, free T shirts, and loaded back into the car. My friend felt light headed from forgetting how to breath due to the increase wind in her face, I felt pretty sea sick the whole drive home, and we were both just wiped out.

"Did you like it?" one would ask.

"Yup. You?" the other would reply.

"Yup."

Three second silence.

"I'm glad we did it." one would say.

"Yup. Me too." agreed the other.

"And now we know."

"Yup. And now we know."

I spent the rest of the day watching 30 Rock and doing random things around the house, and slowly my body began to recuperate and trust my brain again.



Would I do it again? Yes.

Would I do it tomorrow?



My goal is to do it one more time, preferably in an exotic location (Hawaii, Africa, Jamaica, etc.) and HOPEFULLY not sitting backwards on a plane that can't handle wind.

Would I recommend it to you? Yes. I felt completely safe the entire time during the jump. In fact, the time I felt the lease safe was signing the document that had DEATH written all over it.

And besides, my life goal is everything is either a good experience, or a good story. And this? This is was a good experience WITH a good story.

So yup. No regrets.

Have a very happy day, and embrace the awkwardness that may befall on you.

Carmen Out.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Lion in Utah

Anyone who has been to Boston knows how the people are there; fast-paced, say it how it is, and impatient. Generally speaking they don't give a crap about what anyone else thinks. They're protective, supportive, and fierce.

I guess you could compare them to a lion.

Now let's think about this for a moment.

-If you see a lion in Africa, it is SO COOL! You love everything about them, you don't bother them because they could kill you, and you love being a part of their life for a brief moment in time.

-If you see a lion at the zoo, it's cool. You can view them from a distance and get an idea of what they're like. You don't bother them because they could kill you, and you move along to the zebras.

-If a lion corners you in downtown Salt Lake City, you will be attacked. And you may die.

And that's what it's like with Bostonians.

You LOVE them when they're in Boston! You don't bug them, and you go along with their way of life and love being a part of it.

When they're visiting your home, you like them, you don't really acknowledge each other, and you respect each others space and don't bother each other.

And then when one comes up to you and forces a conversation upon you? Well, it's flight or fight time.

Or in my case . . . you pretend that you're enjoying their company.

Don't get me wrong - Boston is my favorite city in the United States. I LOVE the people, the culture, and would happily adapt to their way of life if I lived there. I'm not scared of Bostonians when I'm in Boston.

Now when corners you? It's kinda scary, and it's livable. When one corners you and begins to hit on you? It's a life-threatening situation here, people.

So here's what happened.

I found myself on the 45 minute train ride back home at almost nine o' clock at night. Now, public transportation at nighttime is a sketchy experience itself, so I wanted to tuck myself away, become invisible, and have some "me" time.

I took a seat on the second level by the window, and cracked open my copy of Me Before You to read.

I hadn't even finished a page when I heard someone say, "Whatcha reading?"

I looked up to see a tall, scrawny African-American guy with glasses.

"Uh . . ."

My mind was suddenly completely blank.

"This." I said, propping my book up and pointing at it.

Like a true gentleman, he sat down across from me and grabbed the book from my hands. He closed it, flipped it around and began reading the back.

So glad he did that before I had the chance to insert my bookmark into it.

"Me Before You, huh?" he said.

"Yuuuuup."

After he finished reading the back, he slid the book back to me and said, "So is this your life story?"

I gave a forced laugh and said, "Ha ha, yeah. Wait, what?"

(Side note: Me Before You is about a woman taking care of a paraplegic man and they fall in love. So yes. It's totally my life story.)

"So where are you from?" he asked, leaning forward on the table that sat between us.

"Uh, Sandy slash Draper area? Utah?"

I don't know if it's a gift I have or what, but I could EASILY see and sense his emotion change just by the slight falter in his eyes.

"Oh, so you're a Utah Mormon then, huh?"



Definition of a Utah Mormon in Carmen's terms:

-A member of the Mormon Church who is close minded, nieve, and innocent in the ways of the world. They've never left Utah and don't plan to. They don't associate with those who are non-mormon. They're judgmental in a negative way. Generally speaking, they have dyed their hair blonde at some point in their life. They strive for perfection.

I have worked my whole life to make SURE I didn't fall into this stigma, and to make sure nobody THOUGHT I fell into that stigma.

"If you mean I'm LDS and am from Utah, then yes," I said.

He gave me a large eye roll and said, "Utah just has a very different way of running things."

"So does every other state," I said sounding MUCH chipper than I was actually feeling. "Each place has their own culture."

He did another eye roll and went, "Mmmmm."



"SO WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!" I said loudly through gritted teeth, eager to change the subject.

"Boston," he said, and I registered his slight Boston accent.

"I love Boston," I said, grateful that we had something to talk about that I was actually interested in. "It is such a beautiful city, and my dad runs the marathon almost every year and-."

I stopped. Once again, a subtle shift in his aura and eyes.

. . . and I knew what was coming.

"You had to bring up the marathon, didn't you?" he breathed.

Now pure annoyance filled my whole body. And I braced myself for what was ahead.

"You do NOT mess with Boston. And you know what's worse? They lied to us. THEY. LIED. TO. US."

He paused for dramatic effect.

This guy was honestly catching me off so guard that I didn't really know how to react to anything he said. So, in auto pilot mode I said, "Who lied to you?"

"THE POLICE DID."

Oh, boy.

"They told us that they were bringing those . . . those TERRORISTS to (blahblah) hospital. We were lined up. EVERYONE was lined up, even journalists, ready to get their hands on him and finish the job. But what did they do? The cops LIED to us and took him to a different hospital instead. They would rather lie to us and save a terrorist's life than tell us the truth AND LET US - THE CITIZENS - KILL HIM!"



Thank you inner Olivia Benson, for expressing precisely what I was feeling/thinking in this moment.

For the first time since this kid had sat down, I finally was able to say that I didn't agree with him.

"I think that was a good decision."

"Why?!" he said.

"I wanted him to have a fair trial. And he got what he deserved."

Good job, Carmen. You expressed your opinion firmly.

He leaned forward again.

"Yeah, well, the old me would've said that too. You don't know what it felts like being there. Were you there? WERE YOU THERE?"

"Uh, no. I was home, and my parents and my sister and her family were there, so it was super scary not being able to be there and not know what was going on," I sputtered at like, a million miles per hour.

"I'm not undermining what you went through-"

Oh whatever you're about to say I guarantee is about to "undermine" what I went through. 

"but you have no idea how scary it was. It was awful. There was a terrorist attack. You have no IDEA how scary it was. You didn't even begin to experience what it was like."

It was at this moment when I was filled with FURY, and a slew of emotions swelled into my body:



  



I completely shut down and stopped listening until his tone changed and I knew I was safe again.

. . . well kind of safe.

". . . but yeah enough about that. There's plenty of things to do in Boston. The freedom trail, the duck tours, the parks, it's great."

"Mmm. Yeah. Must've been a huge culture shock  for when you came here. It's so different here. I mean, I love Boston because the people there say it how it is, it's so fast paced and . . . "

I trailed off, because once again the annoyance returned to his face. He leaned forward again.

"Have you even BEEN to Boston?" he said in a surprisingly threatening voice.

I leaned forward and my confidence returned briefly as I matched his tone and said, "Four. Times." with a sickly sweet smile on my face.

"Oh! Wow! So you DO know Boston!" he said with pure shock in his eyes and voice.



"So you know how it is," he continued. "People here are so different than in Boston, and it's hard."

"Oh yeah, I believe that," I said, finally sincerely agreeing with him on something.

"And I mean, the dating game is hard enough in Boston, but with how people are here it's just a lot harder for me."

"Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm from Utah and I hate the dating game, so I can't imagine being from Boston and dealing with it!" I said.

"Oh, so you're single?" he said cleverly.



I walked right into that.

". . . . . . . yup."

Oh, why oh why didn't I lie? 

I think because this whole situation just caught me SO off guard, my brain was clueless and my voice was taking control of the situation.

"Excellent," he said smoothly. "I'd like to go out with you. I'm free on Saturday-



-so I'll give you my number, and it's your choice to call me or not."

He leaned forward and pulled my bookmark (a scrap piece of paper that I had written down my next doctors appointment on) towards him and said, "You gotta pen?"

"Uh . . . " I began digging through my bag, knowing that if I gave him a pen, he would most likely leave me be, and I could get back to my "me" time.

"Come on, you should have one."

I know he was kidding. At least I hoped he was kidding. I felt so irked and annoyed. I was grateful I was looking into my bag so I could glare at that instead of him.

. . . or was I really grateful?

"Oh wait! You have a phone! Even better!" he said.

And he proceeded to grab the phone out of my bag.

 

"What's your password?" he asked casually.

I reached across the table, pulled it out of his hand, and mumbled in a semi-annoyed voice, "I'll type it in for you."

I did so, and handed it back to him.

Now, the wallpaper on my phone was of my baby niece.

"This baby - is she yours or a niece?"

"Niece." I said.

"I DON'T JUDGE!"




"Carmen. That's a pretty name." he said.

That's when it dawned on me that we didn't actually know each others names.

"Thank you. What's yours?"

"It's in the phone."

"Well if I don't know your name I wont be able to find it in my phone," I said - once again through gritted teeth and a sticky, sweet smile on my face.

He proceeded to get a very annoyed look on his face, show me the screen for a split second, then slam my phone down and slide it back to me.

Thank you . . . so very much.

There was a brief silence.

"Which stop are you getting off at?" I asked, still amazed at how polite I was being. Why couldn't I be sassy when it was appropriate?

"The next one," he responded.

Oh sweet, glorious freedom! How I have missed you!

"I see you're wearing an Orem Institute shirt," I said. "Are you in institute?"

He glanced down.

"Oh, I need to sign up. Thanks for the reminder. I'm a convert to the church."

"No way! How did you find the church?" I asked.

"I didn't."

". . . .Oh. Okay, how did . . . you find the missionaries?"

"I didn't."

Okay, buddy. You're not giving me a lot to go off of here.

"How did . . . the church find you?"

"It didn't."

"Then what's your . . . story?" I asked.

He leaned forward and I recognized his Boston accent coming out again.

"I was in a dark place in life. I prayed, got the revelation that I needed to join this church. I joined, Jesus saved me, and now it's cause of him that I'm gonna live with God again."

"That's an excellent motto," I said.

"It's not a motto. It's the truth," he said very sternly.

I literally had no response and somehow managed to squeak out an, "Oh, okay."

Another uncomfortable pause.

"So what are you doing in Utah? Working? Going to school?"

"I work." he said.

"Where at?"

"If you want to find out, you're gonna have to ask me on that date."

Oh, trust me buddy. I really wasn't that committed. I think I'd be fine if I never, ever found out where you worked.

"Now arriving at Orem Central. If this is your stop, please prepare to exit." rang the Frontrunner voice.




Sweet relief filled my entire body as he stood up to leave.

"So, call me. Hopefully I'll see you on Saturday,"

"Yeah, nice to meet you!" I said as he left.

Oh man that was a lie. CURSE THIS POLITENESS THAT COMES WHEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

I watched him trot down the stairs, still expecting him to run back up and say something else to me, or hit on another woman. Thankfully, he didn't come back. And I really was quite thankful he didn't take my number. Or phone, for that matter.

I exited the train at my stop a half hour later, and sped walked to my car. For some reason that conversation had rattled me and I felt the heebee jeebees.

As I drove home, I began thinking about the situation and thought, "I should start wearing a fake wedding ring on public transit just to avoid situations like this. Oh, but Carmen! What if you meet your soul mate on the front runner? You'll miss your chance!"

I keep reminding myself that the liklihood of meeting my soul mate on the front runner is incredibly slim, seeing as the only people who seem to talk to the strangers on the bus are the mentally unstable ones, or . . . just those you're not interested in. Like that Boston fellow.

And yet this weird part of me remains hopeful that maybe , just maybe, I'll meet my future husband on the train.

. . . though to be frank, I could see it turning out to be something more like this:




Have an awkward day, everyone!

And thanks fo' reading. I appreciate it. Like really. I go through these awful experiences and I feel like a reason I go through them is for others to laugh with/at me and share their equally (if not more) awkward moments with me.

. . . Maybe awkwardness is the key to bringing peace on earth. It brings people together.

#FoodForThought #CarmensDeepThoughtForTheDay


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Tinderella Story

I think this is the seventeenth time I said it, but it has become the main focus on my blog:

It is no secret that I am absolutely terrible with the male gender.

No secret.

Cheese spills out of my mouth when I talk to them, I don't recognize them when I see them, I touch their hair while asking them on a date, I ask them to go get my feminine hygiene products, the ones who hit on me are generally 6 years younger than me, I get paired up with a married one for my swim class and he has to hold my legs while I kick and it's awkward for everyone involved. . .

I could go on, or I could just skip to my latest dating adventure called:

Tinder.

For those of you unfamiliar with the ways of Tinder, I will get a brief explanation.

Tinder is a dating app. It shows only your first name, 6 pictures of your choosing, and a brief bio. You then go through the gender of your choosing and look at their pictures and brief bio. From this, you can either swipe right, meaning "like" (like you're attracted to them) or left, meaning "nope." When you "like" a persons picture who "liked" your picture, you get a notification, and you two can start chatting over said app.

Tinder has been the butt end of my jokes for well over a year now, making fun of it and saying how creepy it is.

And then one day late at night, I found myself watching the 30 Rock episode where (spoiler) Liz Lemon FINALLY gets married to the perfect guy after she has been dating a bunch of losers and weirdos.  My little heart swelled as I related to Liz Lemon on a number of levels, hoping that one day I too, could find my Criss Cross (her husbands name).

I was also on Facebook: the holy land of vulnerability and feeling bad about your life. And naturally, I ran across my three friends who had met their current spouses on Tinder.

I looked from the computer, to my phone, and back to the computer.

"What the heck," I said, while I closed my laptop. "This would make a great story for my blog, and if I just so happen to fall in love while I'm at it, so be it."

I created my tinder account,

and I let the 76th annual hunger games BEGIN!

I began my journey in the arena by swiping left (or "nope") on EVERYONE.

He has a beard? Nope.
He's clean shaven? Nope.
Blonde? Nope.
Brunette? Nope.
Redhead? Nope.
Black hair? Nope.
Caucasian? Nope.
African American? Nope.
Asian? Nope.
Hispanic? Nope.
Any other race I haven't already mentioned? Nope.

And then there were the classic pictures like this that I quickly swiped left on:



This was when I began to question if I've been single for so long because I have too high of standards.

"Okay," I said to myself. "You can't be THAT picky."

So I began to study the profiles more than just the initial picture and began to swipe right on a few.

Within minutes I had "matches."

And that's when the 76th annual hunger games REALLY began to pick up speed.

Minutes after my first match, I received this message:


And panicked.

WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I SAY? IS THIS GUY A RAPIST?

Oh hello, Mrs. Worse Case Scenario Carmen I was wondering when you'd come.

Now this is when I began to wonder if I've been single for so long because I'm afraid of commitment.

Instead of accusing him of various crimes, I said thank you, and asked which picture was his favorite.

He told me it was a tie between these two:

 

I said thanks, he responded with a message that was filled with so many spelling errors I developed a twitch in my left eye, and I promptly didn't respond.

I kept swiping, and probably swiped one right for every ten lefts.

And the matches kept on coming, along with the conversation starters.

Then there was this little guy:

I literally burst out laughing at it. As flattering as my brain was telling me it was, the majority part of me was like:


As much as I didn't want to, I gave the guy a chance. If I wanted a tinder date for my blog, I had to step out of my comfort zone.

"So how would you describe yourself in twenty words or less?" I asked him.

His response was as follows:
-Plays the piano
-Not a return missionary
-Has had a pet cat for the last 10 years
-Likes the outdoors.

Guess which one of these was the biggest turn off for me.

Take a look:



I hate cats so much, guys. HATE THEM. I'm so allergic my throat closes up when I'm around them. My death will NOT be from cat hair.

The conversation died off quickly once again. This time I was as boring as possible and gave only one word answers until he stopped messaging me.

#Diva

And then there were guys like these, who I really just wanted to mess with for no particular reason:

And then those guys who looked pretty funny so I swiped right cause I liked their bio or picture:





And then there was contestant number three. This guy was really interesting.

He sent me this message:




Okay, okay. I can work with that. I can get a date out of that. I'll do my best to seduce him over tinder to get a date and a good story out of this surprisingly stressful experience.



So this was my response:

"Thanks! I get that compliment a lot from hobos, so it's nice coming from you!"

Smooth, Carmen. Smooth.

We kept talking and got on the subject of religion. He asked me if I was Mormon. I said yes, and asked him if he was. He said he used to be, but not anymore.

We then proceeded to have a good little chit chat about the gospel. Nothing hostile; just asking each others opinions on things.

Then things took a bad turn and got weird and ugly. He asked why I wanted to get married in the temple. When I responded, he retaliated with some . . . well it wasn't exactly anti Mormon material. It was just a very insulting response telling me I'm wrong.

 And THAT'S when I got annoyed.

I don't CARE if you don't believe in the same things I do. I love to talk about my faith, and really any religion. And the second you say "nope sorry EVERYTHING you believe and have faith in is wrong"? Nope. Gone. Sorry.

So after this long message of things I didn't agree with and feeling attacked for my own beliefs, I didn't respond. He sent an apology message saying he knew he came off too insensitive and reassured me he wasn't like that in real life. He asked how my day was and then -




Did I? HA. Nope. No I did not.

Yet he had just told me how he hated getting rejected by Mormon girls because he was a good guy, but because he wasn't active they wouldn't give him the time of day. (Gee, buddy. Think it had anything to do with what you just said to me?!) So I didn't want to say no cause then I'd be one of those girls he just complained about . . . and at the same time he had just insulted my faith.

My friend came up with the perfect solution. I sent him a list of rules to follow for a tinder date. There's no way he'll agree to these!

(Looking back now I realize how easy these rules are to follow. Man.)

Now I go into annoyance mode because A) I'm on Tinder and B) he keeps messaging me various things like:

Him: So do you go on a lot of dates? I bet you do. Mormon girls always go on a lot of dates.

*sidenote: I hate this stereotype. It is false. And my lack of a dating life is a touchy subject for me.

Me: HAHAHAHA!
*brief pause*
Me: Wait are you serious?? No I don't! I'm more single than a nun!
Him: I have a hard time believing that someone as pretty as you has a hard time dating.

I don't know how I managed, but somehow I refrained from sending him an eye-roll emoticon.

Getting annoyed with life, I logged off of tinder and pulled up my BYU school account to check on which assignments were due.

"Blerg," I muttered to myself as I saw I had another paper due that I had forgotten about. I read over the description and saw that I basically had to conduct some sort of experiment to see the difference between how men and women are treated differently in some sort of setting.

Wait.

I can put even MORE purpose into this Tinder use.

Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to my new friend Kyle:



I found Kyle by clicking on a friends Facebook profile, and then clicking a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend until I discovered his personal Facebook account. He lives in Canada. I had access to three pictures of him; just enough to make a Tinder account.

That's right, my friends. I set up a second tinder account using . . . Canadian Kyle's information.

And yes, his name actually IS Kyle. He doesn't go by Canadian Kyle. Though he is from Canada.

THIS, my friends, is the modern day version of identity theft.

So I set up a tinder account for my dear friend Canadian Kyle and began to swipe right on EVERYONE. Within minutes  I found out that there is a limited amount of swipes you can do in a day, and I exceeded all of them.

Meanwhile, I started thinking about my ice cream date and how unexcited I was for it. How did I get myself wrapped up into this? WHY did I agree to it in the first place? I already knew I hated going on dates with someone I don't actually have a connection or background with you know? So add someone who doesn't like my beliefs and disrespects them?

What. Had I done.

So I logged onto my Tinder account, ready to tell him what was up when I saw him say:

Him: I probably should say this, but I'm SO excited for this date!

Guilt trip.

Me: Me too!

WHAT? NO I WASN'T! Time to abort this mission. I just needed to delete my account.

Him: You seem really cool and fun to be with, Carmen. And you're really pretty.

Yeah, buddy. I'm sure you got that all from a small amount of texts and a few pictures.

Eye roll.

Me: Thanks you seem cool too!

Is it not possible for me to be mean?! I had been mean before! Why couldn't I be now?!

And then he sent me . . . . a text talking about how he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and had only gone on a few dates since.

Guilt trip one more time. Ain't I a terrible human? Now I KNEW I couldn't delete my profile. I would break his heart! I would cause him to go into a depression! I would be the cause of anything bad that will happen to him and has already happened to him, just because I stood him up on a date by deleting my account!

Oh, wow, Mrs. Worst Case Scenario Carmen. You're coming out in full force.

Why is Worst Case Scenario Carmen a Mrs?
Hmm.
Whatever.

This is when I realized it was almost one o clock in the morning.

Logging off, I crashed almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. And when I woke up in the morning, Mrs. Worst Case Scenario was gone and was telling me to buck up and do what I want.

And so I deleted my tinder account, and this stressful situation lifted from my shoulders. I was done.

. . . or so I thought.

Originally, this was the end of the story. I tied it up by saying how I knew Tinder wasn't for me, summed up Kyle's story, blah blah blah. I pushed save, preview, it was done.

. . . or so I thought.

The next morning I woke up with a message on my phone from my sister saying she was cracking up on my Tinder blog.

A little confused, I checked my blog and realized I had unintentionally published it. I shrugged it off thinking, "Eh. Well. They'll read it sometime. I'll just post it on Facebook next week. No one will see it beforehand. "

Simple, right?

. . . or so I thought it would be.




Later at day I was at work when I got a Facebook notification saying that I had a friend request from
. . .

Contestant number 3. The guy I had, in a round about way, "stood up" on the date, so to say.

Not gonna lie. I was weirded out. STRAIGHT UP WEIRDED OUT. How did he find me?!

A few hours later, I saw that I had received a private message from him over Facebook.

I kept glancing at my phone on and off for about an hour and half. Finally after I finished the project I was working on, I picked up my phone and read the message.

Turned out he googled my name.
And what did he stumble upon?
My blog.
This blog, to be specific.
Oh, and yes. Yes, this blog - you know, the one you're reading right now? - was published.

And yes. He wasn't very happy about it.

And yes. I was embarrassed and filed with much guilt and shame and a dash of humor. Like seriously. Out of ANYONE this WOULD happen to me.

And so, about two hours later I found myself in a pizza parlor after work with one of my best friends. Still filled with embarrassment over what had happened, I ate my lactose free pizza and said, "Well, I mean, I'm going into journalism. I was gonna get some bad reviews sometime in my life. I guess I got the first one over with fast?"

I shoved another piece of pizza in my mouth then paused as a beautiful realization dawned upon me.

"Wait. Hold up. This is just another twist to the plot. I CAN ADD THIS TO THE BLOG!"

"Hey. You gotta point there."

"Really though, I couldn't have made up an ending like this on my own. Thank you for providing this miraculous surprise ending!"

And that was the end

. . . or so I thought

The next day I logged back onto Facebook to see:





At this point, I literally threw my hands up and said, "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me?! How do they keep finding me?!"

I didn't bother responding. My impression with this sweet, little fella' was that he had great intentions . . . and terrible execution. He had no idea that this wasn't the first time I had a Prince Tinder Facebook stalk me, and I wasn't gonna chew him out for it.

So, I did what I do best.

I ran away from my problem.


And that was the end.

. . . or so I thought.

No actually, it kind of was. Kind of. One week and two friend requests from my dear not-so-secret admirer later, he was blocked.

And THAT was the end.

Look at me. Breakin' hearts like nobody's business.

It's been a full week and I haven't had anymore Tinder mishaps. I'd like to say the storm has passed, but who knows what tomorrow will bring with my sweet, awkward, wonderful, uncomfortable, unexpected life.

Overall I'm grateful for this experience. I have scratched off another possibility of where my Prince Charming could be. My options are slowly narrowing as I watch great guy after great guy get married, and I meet creeper after creeper.

And that's okay, because I know I'll find him someday. And so long as I keep getting these hilarious stories out of my single/dating life? I'm a happy camper most of the time!


Have an awkward day everyone :)

Carmen out.