Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fresh Baguettes or New Mexico Chile? That is the question.

I leave France in less than 24 hours. My bags are packed and we're headed to the airport first thing in the morning. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this whole idea. Here are some very important very real ways my life will be changing.

Things I'm leaving behind:

  • Ridiculously long meals
  • Cheese
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Baguettes
  • Everything in the Boulangeries
  • French food.
  • Humidity
  • Pretty things. So many pretty things.
  • Greeting everyone with bisous
  • French accents
  • Having legitimate reasons for not understanding anything that is happening around me
  • Being able to correct everyone's English and have them thank me for it. That'll be a tough habit to break!
  • Paris and museums and public transportation and fashionable French people
  • Delightfully old, beautiful, and full of character buildings

Things I'm looking forward to in the US of A:

  • Having extraordinarily clean bathrooms available everywhere I go. In public places even! 
  • Coffee-Mate coffee creamers. Stop judging me. They're good. 
  • My mattress
  • Parking lots. Everywhere. You guys don't understand.
  • Being able to cart my groceries to my car and drive them home instead of carrying them home. 
  • Target
  • not taking the bus. It's not fun anymore.
  • That unique smell of chile and mexican food that is always there to greet me when I fly into the Albuquerque airport
  • Huge heaps of personal space
  • Functional elevators. Those are nice too
  • Driving
  • Being able to carry around giant coffee cups everywhere I go without attracting horrified stares
  • New Mexico sunsets

Yep. These are the things I'm thinking about. Now you know me much better, don't ya?

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Why I Will Forevermore Take The Stairs

You know those moments when you have a sudden suspicion that you shouldn't be doing something but the chance of consequences seems so slim that you do it anyways? I had one of those moments yesterday. Here's how it happened.

Every other week I find myself walking up to a tiny elevator with three other people behind me and thinking that it sure would be nice if the elevator were a bit bigger. I mean, four people in a tiny room about six feet long and three feet wide doesn't quite give me that three foot radius of personal space I like to keep. With that in mind, I'm sure you can imagine my hesitation in getting into said tiny elevator with five other people instead of the usual three. When all six of us walked up and stood in front of those ominous metal doors, that's when it happened. I had a sudden (and strong) suspicion that it was in my best interests to not get on that elevator.

"Um... Do you think we're all going to fit?" I ask.

"Oh yeah, we'll all squeeze in!"

This is the part where the voice in my head yells, "Kelsey! Take the stairs! You wanted more exercise anyways, right?"

The doors open and I suddenly remember how this particular elevator gives that uncomfortable lurch every time we reach our destination. Should I take the stairs? Or maybe I should at least go in last so that I'm the first one off? Nope, I'm closest to the elevator. What could go wrong anyways? I walk in first and squish myself into the back corner to make room for the others. Thankfully, we all fit just fine, though one additional person in the 6 foot x 3 foot x 7 foot death trap ... cage ... metal box  .... transportation device... would have made it really uncomfortable.

Before I can voice any more concerns, someone pushes the button to take us to level three and the doors close. The metal box starts making normal elevator noises, only we don't have that sensation of going up. We slowly sink several feet and then the noise stops. A whole lot of buttons are rapidly pushed, but nothing happens. It's then we realize that we are trapped.

This is the normal part of the story for people to start panicking, right? Or at the very least, to grumble at the uncomfortable circumstance. So it's totally logical that as soon as I realize we're stuck my first instinct is to laugh, a lot. It was at this point when an epic battle was waged between two sudden and extreme urges: the urge to laugh until I cried because, really, who gets stuck in an elevator?, and the urge to hold very still and demand that every one else stop laughing, talking, yelling for help, and breathing so that we don't run out of air.

In the end, we didn't run out of air, and we were only trapped in the big metal box for an hour before an elevator-fixer-upper came to let us out. But in the meantime, here's what I learned during my hour-long adventure stuck on an elevator:

1. You know in the movies how there's always a way for you to slide the ceiling tiles to the side and escape from a tiny hole in the ceiling? Lies. All lies. There is only one way into the elevator, and one way out.

2. The button you're supposed to push in case of an emergency? Useless.

3. When a sticker in the elevator says that there's video surveillance? Probably not true.

4. The telephone number you're supposed to call for repairs is mostly used as a way to taunt you during your helpless state. Cell phone signals are not to be had while trapped inside a metal box.

4. Weight limit signs on elevators are to be taken seriously. When no weight limit sign is posted, take the stairs.

5. On second thought, just always take the stairs.