Ode to Carole

This week, I saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. It was wonderful, charming and yes, beautiful. I had been dying to see it since it opened, but really got a fire lit under me once I knew Jessie Mueller would be leaving in March. She is perfect and I love her, but that is not the point of this post. I was sitting there in between my mom and a woman who was at least 75 (who had forgotten her hearing aids and kept asking what the characters had said), watching the story of Carole King’s life play out in front of me and I was struck by a feeling I have often. I was born in the wrong decade; I should have been alive in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Why, oh why, was I not alive for the Beatles or Woodstock or Audrey Hepburn and the reign of movie musicals or Jack Kerouac?

But then I thought about it more and realized that what I was really craving were timeless things. The reason I know about all of those things is because they’re still affecting the world I live in now, and because my parents made me be cultured by listening to disco on long car rides and watching old TV. The words that Carole King (and Gerry Goffin) wrote are the reason that every person in the room sighed when “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” started playing, and why everyone was silently tearing up at a heart-broken Carole singing “One Fine Day.” They were words written from a real place of real emotion, and that’s why girls who were ten in that theater and the lady who couldn’t hear next to me could relate to them.

It’s hard for me to listen to the radio these days and say that I will remember and tell my children about the music I hear. However, I feel great about saying that people like Adele, Carrie Underwood, Sam Smith, Kanye West and especially Taylor Swift will be our generations’ classics. People have a lot of criticisms about Taylor Swift, but one thing that can not be denied is that the reason people love her music so much is because they can put themselves into the story. There isn’t a high school girl who can’t relate to “Teardrops on My Guitar” or a 22-year-old who doesn’t know that Tay is spot on with “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.”

Words are timeless. They’re the reason I can read The Bell Jar and know that as humans we’re still experiencing the same issues 50 years later. Why we take Buzzfeed quizzes to determine which Mean Girls character we are. Words are why I can listen Carole King’s Tapestry and say, “Oh my gosh, she gets me.” We’ve all had that moment- the one where you wonder if someone has literally gone inside your brain and figured out how to say the exact thing you haven’t been able to put in the right order. So I guess this is a thank you note- to Carole, to Taylor, to Sylvia, to whoever decided we needed a language to communicate our feelings and ambitions and frustrations, and to everyone who has ever had the courage to put those private thoughts and words into the world so that I could come across them one day and know that I’m not the only one who feels that way.


My (Now Mushy) Brain

I just spent practically two hours writing a paper. My brain is fried at the moment, but I still wanted to write here. I like writing papers when I’m excited about the idea. Sometimes it’s a little bit of a struggle articulating the thoughts welling up in my mind into words on a page. It’s so satisfying when I succeed to my standards. It takes me a while to get there, though.

The novel I’m writing about (for an English class) is pushing me to think about contrasts. Black and white. Fire and ice. It’s really interesting. My favorite subjects are art, psychology, and English. The papers that I’ve enjoyed writing the most in college involve one, two, or all three of these subjects. Making a connection that I’m really excited about inspires me to dig deeper.

I would say Coco and I have fairly few things in common. She likes English and reading, too, which is cool. She’s probably more knowledgeable than me (even though I studied English in college and she didn’t). My knowledge base is slowly building. My main disadvantage is my memory; upon reading a novel, I promptly forget most of the details and often the names of the main characters, etc. The same thing happens for me with movies. It’s quite unfortunate.

These are just the leftover thoughts that my (now mushy) brain contains after writing.

Under-appreciated Gems

I watch a lot of television, and have watched a lot of television in my lifetime. I’ve seen the popular- Friends, All That, Grey’s Anatomy, The OC- and the not so popular but still loved- Veronica Mars, Freaks and Geeks, Pushing Daisies, Community. But a lot of the shows that will forever stay in my mind are the ones that whenever I bring them up to anyone, they have no idea what I’m talking about. And this is one of those. I watched this show from the ages of eight-twelve and for some reason it’s still branded in my memory, and I just went back to re-watch it now at the age of 22 and it’s still so good.

Ed. Not Mister Ed, not Ed, Ed and Eddy like the internet tried to suggest to me when I scoured it for a place to watch the series. This early 2000s NBC rom-com had the same kind of small town charm as the likes of Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie. Ed Stevens was a New York lawyer until he got fired for missing a comma in a brief and his wife slept with the mailman. He moved back to his hometown of Stuckeyville, where he immediately kissed his high school crush and then bought a bowling alley because of that kiss. Yes, I know, genius.

So Ed, played by the constantly undervalued Tom Cavanaugh, stays in Stuckeville to pursue his longtime love Carol Vessey, a pre-Modern Family and also most of the other things she’s know for Julie Bowen. He knows that he and Carol Vessey (a name that must be said with both first and last) are meant to be, but Carol Vessey is less sure. This is probably because they hardly spoke any words to each other in high school. However, Ed is not deterred, instead he obviously decides to open a law practice from inside his bowling alley.

After moving back, Ed moves in with his best friend, Mike, and his wife and newborn. I love when TV shows cast friendships so well. When Ed and Mike are together it’s easy to picture them as they were in high school- BFFs. Though it takes a while for Carol Vessey to come around to loving Ed, she is always friends with him, and brings along her bestie as well. Molly rounds out the friends quintuplet (also including Mike’s wife Nancy). Imagine Friends set in a small town where they all have actual realistic jobs and homes and more than occasionally, go to work. It’s like a legal drama and a workplace comedy and a romantic comedy and a buddy comedy all in one!

To round this out let me just drop some names. The show is produced by David Letterman and written by two of his head writers. Michael Ian Black plays an over-dramatic bowling alley employee who lives in lane 16. A baby Justin Long is a high school student also vying for Carol Vessey’s attention, and baby Ginnifer Goodwin plays his best friend. Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons and the dad from Two of a Kind all make guest appearances at some point. Tom Cavanaugh got nominated for a Golden Globe and the show did win a People’s Choice Award, so I know I’m not the only one out there who remembers it.

So here’s to you Ed- gone and probably mostly forgotten, but not by me!

“Free” Tanning

The other day I heard a radio ad for free tanning. The reason this deal was appealing is because I’m going on a cruise in a few weeks for spring break. Never hurts to have a little base tan before you hit the Bahamas, right? Just so you know, I’ve only been tanning a handful of times before (also because of free promotions). So all of this sounds cheesy, but this is my life.

The tanning salon was in a smaller town 30ish minutes away, so I made an afternoon of it. Two friends went with me, neither of whom had ever been tanning before. We show up to Sun City Tanning and get a tour of the place. They show us beds that look like space ships. They looked equally inviting and intimidating. Somehow, we were convinced to pay $5 for the somewhat “better” bed. We also bought those little eye protector things and, I admit, I got suckered into buying a natural bronzer cream to increase my color; the girls who helped us were really sweet and persuasive. So my “free” tanning turned into paying $13, but you live and you learn.

I was in the bed for approximately five minutes. I think I wasted about 38 seconds of my UV light because I was still undressing and slathering that cream on my body, which, by the way, had the word “sexy” in the title. After we were all done, we agreed that it was nice to pamper ourselves and collectively noted that we felt healthier and looked a little less sickly. Granted, we probably won’t go again, but it sure was an experience. I’m okay with only going tanning once every four years….

We ended the afternoon noon in a cute, little café on a street corner. I ordered a cup of chicken tortilla soup, split a bagel with my friend (lightly toasted with butter, mmm), and did a little reading. The day began with a loose plan and ended on a great note.

Dear Taylor

Reasons why we should be included in Taylor Swifts’ circle of BFFs:

10) She’s funny. We’re funny. It’s a good fit.

9) She likes to give gifts. We like to receive gifts.

8) She likes jam. Coco works at a jam store.

7) Her other friends include Lena Dunham, HAIM, Karlie Kloss, Emma Stone, Gracie Gold, Jaime King. We would like to also meet those people.

6) She has a brother. We both have brothers.

5) She sings songs. We in return, jam to her songs non-stop in the car.

4) Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake came to her birthday party. We also listen to them in the car.

3) She is sassy. Ditto for us.

2) She likes cookies. We like cookies.

1) We just think that it’s right, so it should probably happen.

Meet Coco

We’ve known each other for three years but in some ways it feels like longer. This morning we sat in Chikfila for an hour just because we could. She loves Taylor Swift but hates stuff like The Bachelor.

Coco graduated from college and has an Etsy store and works designing labels for wedding favors. She’s designed t-shirts and flyers and all sorts of things. She’s really gifted at that.

Coco crochets. She buys gifts for people and puts a lot of thought into them. Her middle name has three syllables.

She silent sneezes. She stays up late. I joke that she knows the lyrics to every song (because she does).

She loves diet coke. Her favorite meal includes mashed potatoes, cheese, and broccoli. She knows a lot about a lot (not excluding Harry Potter and pop culture).

She’s patient. She’s a good listener. She’s laid back. Whether I ask her to run errands with me or drive me somewhere or accompany me grabbing food, she’s always down. She’s a good friend.

She can’t change the pitch or excitement in her voice even if she tries. She talks the same way whether she’s talking to an adult, a baby, or a dog. She wears glasses every day. If she takes them off, she becomes almost unrecognizable.

Coco also loves to read. I feel like she’s read everything, but we all know that’s impossible.

Sometimes people and friendship seem ordinary but then you think about it and begin writing. You write because one morning at Chikfila you get inspired to do something you didn’t think you’d act on, but here we are.

We’re just two friends who decided to start writing one morning.

All that to say, Coco’s my co-author.

A Little About Laurel

A little know fact- Laurel was born at a young age. She came into this world as one half of a pair. While in the womb, she was essentially a vampire and she stole all of her twins’ blood. Don’t worry; her twin was fine. Since then, Laurel has developed a taste for less creepy things such as the Turkey Tom at Jimmy Johns, any sort of gum, (but preferably bubble) and avocado on anything. Laurel and I spend a large portion of our time together in cars, so I know her car habits very well. She loves to jam, which means to turn the music up really loud so that no one can talk, but she can still harmonize to it. She’ll act modest about her voice, but girl can saang.

Before Laurel and I were forced together by the universe, I never knew someone who processed as much as she does. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really think deeply about anything. Everything is very cut and dry, so to listen to her work through everything was really strange at first. However, after spending millions of hours together, I’ve started to do it. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I mean, thinking is a good thing, right?

Her favorite snapchat to send is what she calls her bug face with a turtle emoji on her nose, followed closely by the, “boys only want love when it’s torture” hook from Blank Space. Lots of times when she sends these snaps she’s in her purple bathrobe. Because, why not? She often thanks me for being her friend, because she perceives everything as a gift and is the best at being grateful, but she should know that, like they say at Chick-Fil-A, it’s my pleasure.