I have taken the bus a lot. Ever since my family moved to Berlin when I was eleven, public transportation has been my main mode of conveyance. I really enjoy bus rides for a couple reasons. 1) You see more people. I've noticed that here in Utah there isn't a lot of social interaction between strangers. There just isn't a neutral area where everybody goes and sits next to each other. Except church. But that doesn't count because only certain types of people go to church. I guess in Germany strangers don't really talk to each other either, but they are at least aware of each other. You can see how normal and abnormal people interact, mainly due to the abnormal people talking to the normal ones. Usually the abnormal ones are either handicapped or missionaries. What's also cool with seeing people on buses in Berlin is that everyone rides the bus, not just poor people. I remember riding the bus to school one day and there was a homeless woman sitting on one of the seats wearing dirty clothes and had plastic bags on her feet. A woman with a pearl necklace and a fur coat came on and sat down right next to hear. It was bizarre to see them together. 2) You notice people's routines. I remember when I took the U3 subway to Oskar-Helena-Heim and took Bus 110 from there to school, I could almost recognize everyone on the way. There was the Turkish man who smelled like cigarettes selling Doner Kebaps; the British man on the bus with a handlebar mustache reading Penguin Classics; Mr. Rice, who threw rice at me once--hence his name. He was a handicapped kid who also asked me to take apart his Discman for him. I took the batteries out of it and handed it back to him. I take the bus to work now. During the summer when my schedule was more regular, I looked forward to the morning routine. I would leave the apartment between 7:03 and 7:05 AM and walk to the bus stop. I would arrive at the stop at 7:12 and read the Police Beat and Letters to the Editor in the Daily Universe. At 7:15 the bus across the street would arrive and many people would cross the street to wait at my stop. My two favorite traveling companions were Dennis and LeRoy. They were in their 60s, mentally challenged, and both worked at DI. Every morning Dennis would say to LeRoy, "The big boy! El muchacho grande!" Granted, LeRoy was very tall. I would say he was about 6'3" and maybe 230 lbs. But I heard that phrase at 7:15 every single morning for months on end. I say it now sometimes. At 7:17 my bus would arrive and Dennis would hold up his fingers like this and say to the bus driver, "It's Tommy, my good ole buddy!" Then Tommy the bus driver with shoulder length white hair and a mustache that when down to his jawline would either say,"Heeeeey Dennis" or "Nope, it's not Tommy today. Someone just dressed up like me." When Tommy would say the second phrase, Dennis would laugh hysterically. Sadly, I won't be riding the bus much longer. I got a new job for next semester which is within walking distance. I'll be stocking vending machines. Sweet, I know. I'm not happy to be leaving my current job, but my boss is losing so much money with the economy the way it is. Every day he has to ask at least one person to stay home, sometimes two people, just because he can't afford to keep us all employed. He had to let someone go a few weeks ago and he said he might have to do it again, so I started searching for a new job. On a positive note, Katie comes home today! Yay! I we go to Virginia next week!
I always get pretty excited this time of the year. Maybe "excited" isn't the right word. In any case, I always feel a lot of emotion. Christmas is coming and it's the end of a semester (only three more to go, plus spring and summer terms--and then more schooling. Sometimes it feels like school will never stop.) With the end of the semester always comes the finals. I don't like finals. I actually don't like big tests. I think I would like schooling much better if they gave weekly quizzes, each worth 7.14% of your grade, and after the fourteen week semester you know exactly where you stand and your entire grade isn't swayed that much by one test. But life isn't like that. Sometimes I get so worried about finals and study my brains out for a test. Then I take the test and I don't do as well as I had hoped. But it's enough to get an A. I really hate worrying about tests--it feels like cancer. Not that i know what it feels like; I have never actually had it before, but I have been told that I have a 50% chance of getting cancer. I have devised a technique to make it so that I won't worry about finals anymore. I see where I stand grade-wise in my classes and calculate what score I have to get on my finals to end up with a 90% (A-)and a 94% (A). It usually helps, but sometimes it makes me a little overwhelmed. For example, my freshman year I was in an Advanced Physics course that involved a lot of calculus, and in order to get an A- I would have had to score a 124% on the final.
The nice thing about my major is that my classes are pretty easy. In the majority of my classes, I need a 64% to get an A- and an 85% to get an A. I was seriously considering not studying at all, but then I thought about it and was worried that I would fail the finals miserably have to redo the classes. So I'm studying just enough to get my 85%. Maybe an 86% if I feel like it. That's what I call integrating book smarts with street smarts. They are not mutually exclusive.
I have to tell this story first though, because Alison told me to. There once was a rabbit who lived on Druberry Lane. The rabbits name was Bryan. Actually, Bryan wasn't a rabbit; he was a human. The following is a funny story that happened to Bryan the Human a few years ago. (My life is now fulfilled. Thank you Alison.)
When I was seventeen I babysat for Alison's piano teacher. She had a one or two year old son. I was in charge of keeping him occupied in the attic while the piano teacher taught lessons in the basement. If nobody watched him, he would slide down the stairs and want to be with his mom. One day I was so tired that I laid down on the floor and was playing with the baby. I got so tired I thought that I could put my arm over him to pin him down and I could rest my eyes for a little bit. I know that it sounds very irresponsible now, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyway, I dozed off for a second and the next thing I knew was that the piano teacher was yelling my name. I jumped up really fast and I experienced orthostatic hypotension. It's not such a good idea to run down the stairs when you're about to faint. I tripped and did somersaults down the steps until I landed on my back in front of the teacher. I was so mortified that I was sure it was a dream. It wasn't; I knew that because my back hurt pretty bad. I don't remember what happened after that, but now I have a story when people ask me what my most embarrassing moment was.
First of all, I would like to say that this post is a little bit humiliating, but quite funny.
Yesterday I was at the mall by myself finishing up some Christmas shopping. I was headed out to the car when I was stopped by a Hispanic woman who ran a kiosk. I usually just ignore those people but I always feel guilty doing so because SO many people just ignored me when I was trying to talk to people on my mission. I felt like I should try to be nice by hearing what she had to say. She said in a very quiet voice, "Excuse me, sir, but would you like to see something amazing?" Who wouldn't? Thoughts of magic tricks and exotic animals crossed my mind as I said, "Um, sure." She brought me over to her little kiosk (which, by the way, had no sign stating what they sold) and said, "Here, make your finger do this." She then stuck out her middle finger with her palm facing down. I thought that was a bit odd, but I complied, thinking this is building up to be a great trick. Then then grabbed my finger and something that looked like an Emory board, but it was made out of a type of rubber. She rubbed and rubbed the thing on my finger nail quite vigorously. I was a taken aback and a little frightened. I wasn't really sure what to expect. When she was done, she quickly covered my middle finger with her hand and said, "Don't scream out loud, okay?" I warily said "Sure..." She removed her hand and my finger nail was shiny! It was so bad! It looked like a girl's finger! I said, "Oh man. Um...can it come off?" She excitedly told me that it can't and even demonstrated that fact by pouring some nail polish remover on a cotton ball and wiping all over my finger. She tried to sell me the complete set for $69.99, but I told her that it was out of my budget, hoping that she'd catch the hint that I wasn't interested without me having to tell her directly. She either missed the hint or ignored it all together. She told me she would give me a special deal and asked me how old my significant other was. I was trying to think of the right answer that would tell her that I wasn't interested, so I said, "I think she's thirty five." She said, "Okay, then I'll sell it to you for thirty five dollars." Who does that? Who sets the price of a gift depending on the age of the recipient? I should have said she was seven. She tried to sell me the product further by telling me to try it out myself my polishing my thumbnail, when I told her that I wasn't interested at all. So I walked away. When I got home, I got out my little key chain pocket knife and proceeded to scratch my nail to make it look more masculine.
When Katie and I left the apartment about 15 minutes ago, she told me that I had a few nose hairs sticking out. That was an understatement. I don't know where they all came from. I always hate pulling them out because it makes my eyes water and I feel like I need to sneeze, so I usually resort to tucking them back into my nostril if they ever decide to show themselves to the world. Today I decided to solve the problem once and for all--well, at least until they grow back--by pulling out all the hairs that hung low. Here comes the amazing part: I pulled out twelve nose hairs. Twelve! And I didn't even sneeze! Granted, my eyes did water a bit, but hey, beauty has its price. I remember watching the David Letterman show a while ago and he did one of his Top Ten lists about ten things that will never fail. One of those things was that if you pull a nose hair, you will sneeze.