Sunday, July 31, 2005

Fun with maps

If you're like me and could spend an entire day just looking at maps you'll have fun with google maps. Search for your city of choice, click on satellite, then zoom in to look around. I zoomed in to the point I could see cars on the driveway at my house.
http://maps.google.com/

Friday, July 29, 2005

Life is good


Life really is good.

dreaming of old ladies

Apparently I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places and especially in the wrong age bracket. At Macey’s yesterday my sixty-something cashier made me smile the first time she called me “honey.” When she called me “dear” I thought “that’s nice.” When she called me “dear” and “honey” about a dozen more times in the course of giving me change and handing me the bag I started getting weirded out. Do I remind her of her 12-year-old grandson or is she flirting? Hard to tell. Strangely, I prefer to think she was flirting.
Later that night at the Mormon Handcart Pageant at the Juab County rodeo grounds in Nephi (don’t ask how I ended up there) I was surprised to feel someone behind me tap my shoulder. I turned around to find an old woman seated with her husband. “I’ve just been looking at your hair all this time and I think it’s just the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen,” she said. How do you respond to that? I know most married women know better than to hit on boys in front of their husband, but again I prefer to think this woman was simply so swept away she just couldn’t resist.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why I love Provo

I’m an independent person. I don’t like to stay in one place for too long. Don’t like to make too much of an emotional investment in any one person or have any one person make too much an emotional investment in me. I can’t handle that sort of pressure. So I had fun here in internshipland, but I’m starting to make friends and I’m starting to like it, so I better leave before that all explodes.
I’m up late tonight procrastinating packing all of my stuff into my little car. Why do I have so many clothes? Why do I hang on to every letter, note, or interesting little print out I ever get? Usually I don’t feel bad about being a pack rat but when it comes time to move I realize I might have issues.
If I can motivate myself, I’ll pack up my car and head to Vegas tomorrow. Vegas gets a bad rap in the movies as the Mecca for those with ruined lives. I don’t think the city’s publicity campaign with the theme “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” helps that image any. But can you imagine if what happened in Vegas really didn’t leave Vegas? If Vegas were some miraculous Carnaval of sin just beyond the periphery of God’s eye and all repercussions. Then I’d love Vegas.
Because I have nowhere in particular to go until school starts next month I guess I could stay in Vegas a few weeks and lose my hard-earned summer internship money on booze, gambling, and cheap women but I’m afraid “what happens in Vegas could haunt you the rest of your life” keeps me from doing that. Instead, I plan to spend a night with cousins there, then leave that Babylon in the desert to return once again to my Mecca- Provo. Since I graduated from high school six years ago, Provo has become my home. Sometimes when people ask me where I’m from I even find myself slipping up and saying “Utah.” Sometimes I pretend to hate Provo just cause that seems to be the fad. But the truth is I can’t hate Provo. I have a huge crush on her. I keep thinking that maybe if I spend a lot of time with her I’ll get tired of her. I mean she has plenty of weird quirks. She seems very vanilla, somewhat judgmental, a little simpleton, and sometimes she totally ignores me. I know she’s got the cool mountains and great sunsets but really, there are lots prettier cities. So why am I so in love with Provo? Let me count the ways:
1. I think it’s her perpetual smile. I try to pretend it just the ignorant smile of the brainwashed masses but then I talk to the brainwashed masses and realize that’s only partly true. I’ve never felt more at home or like more people genuinely cared about me than in Provo. I guess the cool Provo weather plays into this too. I love the sunny days in Provo, the fall, the spring, the rain storms, and, yeah, even the snow.
2. Her shopping. Three malls within 15 minutes. A nice Wal-Mart. Tons of cool restaurants—especially the little ethnic ones. I love the little El Salvadorean restaurant on Center street. And Macey’s. In Provo I make excuses to go to Macey’s pretty much every day. Some of my best bonding with friends is when I’m driving them to Macey’s or racing carts inside. When I’m sick of studying I make a Macey’s run for candy at like 3 in the morning and always find it pretty much full and always see people I know.
3. The big rock behind the temple. The temple is beautiful but that rock is just amazing. Have you ever fallen in love with someone you found fundamentally unattractive? But something about them, their eyes, their skin, something mixed with their personality just became totally erotic to you? Well I don’t know if I get erotic about Provo but that rock is the thing I love… well and Mt. Timp… and BYU campus... but the rest is essentially ugly, you get the idea.
4. The Mexicans. I already did a post on Mexicans. I love them. When I go to a restaurant and get to enjoy my meal watching a little Mexican family interact, I’m thrilled. In Provo I get that chance a lot.
5. School. Learning is fun.
6. Her size. She’s just big enough to not be boring but not too big to handle. At this point, I feel like I own Provo. I’ve run, biked, and driven almost every one of her streets. I know the little acronyms for all the BYU buildings. I know the secret passages to cross campus without having to interact with anyone (why do I do that?). I know the best place to get my hair cut, best place to waste a Saturday night, and best place to buy burritos. I never feel lost, overwhelmed, or confused (at least not because of my physical surroundings).
7. Friends. I pretend I don’t have friends but when I leave Provo I find myself missing my coworkers, roommates, study buddies, and the few crazy enough to hang out with me for no particular reason. Nowhere on earth is there such a congregation of people kind of like me.
Well that’s I’ll I want to say about Provo for now. I think I’m in love. Even when I thought distance and time would weaken that emotion I’ve discovered that it’s done quite the opposite.
Sometimes I do get anxious to leave Provo, but I’m always a lot more anxious to get back. So tomorrow I’ll be back on the road, once again bound for my Zion. I can’t wait to see the Towne Center mall and the other familiar sites and give Provo a big wet kiss.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Low Expectations

Old scary Mexican men aren't so scary




Today my summer internship ended. I stayed until 11:30 pm today cause honestly, I didn't want to leave. It's not like I loved the internship. Really, there was plenty to hate. But after three months the ghetto office had become familiar and leaving the familiar is always a little tough.
I know what I'm going to miss the most-- the Mexicans. I was surrounded by Mexicans this summer. I've gotten really close to all the old mexican men I work with and they love to joke around with me and stuff. Mostly I think they like me cause I'm easy on them and not much of a supervisor but we get the job done and everyone tells us we do a great job, so I guess its all good. Today I was having the typical "it sure is hot today" conversation with one of the guys and suddenly he begins in spanish "I've had a lot of women." I'm not sure why he decided to tell me that, but I got to hear about ever woman he's ever dated- the old woman he has his kids with, the white girl from Mississippi who did drugs, the 18 year old latina who liked her mom more than him, and the best was the black girl. He described her real slowly like I should be fornicating in my mind at the thought... "I dated a black girl once. She was black, but she was white...." I laughed in his face. "She was black, but she was white? How's that?" He explained that she had an afro like a black girl but she had skin like a white girl. Well, still not sure why he decided to tell me about all those women, but at least I learned that the word for afro in spanish is just "afro."
Earlier in the week I was talking with another old mexican who I'm tight with and we were on the subject of women and all that and he surprised me by saying "you're not mormon, you're something else. You like las muchachas, none of the other mormons talk about girls but you talk about them all the time. You're not mormon, you're just like one of us." That of course made me laugh for so many reasons, but I guess I've mastered the facade.
Have you ever noticed that latinos are just affectionate people? I should have been a latino. Latin men aren't afraid to hug, punch, jab, and tease. White people are so formal about everything and scared to get personal. I guess that prevents lawsuits but its no fun.
Oh, to be fair, I should say that latin women are cool too. I don't have as much interaction with them, but when I do its all good. Last week I went to talk to another supervisor and found him on lunchbreak with his employees. As I talked to him, the ladies near him told me I was too skinny (they love to tell me that) and offered me a burrito. I accepted and enjoyed some interesting conversation. The next day, as the same lady was entering her shift, she passed me what looked like a wad of paper towel. Turns out there was another burrito inside. Score. I was hoping that would be a daily thing, but hey, twice was nice.
Now that it's over, I'll miss hearing about the romantic lives of old men. I'll miss the teasing. I'll really miss the burritos. I'll even miss my crappy little office and thankless work but I guess life goes on. I actually have no idea where I'll spend the rest of the summer. I know I have to go back to Utah to drop some stuff off and find an apartment at least. Luckily Utah's got lots of Mexicans.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The beginning


Welcome cyber drifters:
You've discovered the blog of a very lonely boy who hides it very well. I look nothing like the man pictured above except that my hair does have some waves, my smile is cheesy, and I occasionally do the suit/tie thing.
I recently followed an interesting blog trail that lead me to a virtual community where people share profound friendships behind psuedonyms and slighty veiled outpourings of the heart. Along this little trail of blogs I was surpised to find some people who I've met before in similarly ocult circumstances.
So here I am starting my own blog and trying to force myself into the blogging world. We'll see how it goes. I've got a lot to say. Just wondering if anybody's listening. So if you got to this point, thanks.
-El Veneno