Thursday, April 30, 2009

i will survive!

the other day, ok, maybe a few months ago, i read this article about how dirt is good for you. and it got me thinking about a lot of things.

1) i was born in minot, nd, which is about 5 hours from fargo in the northwest corner (sometimes i get directions right!) of the state and we lived in a brown house on a hill. when you would walk out the front door, you would walk right into a brick planter box (you had to turn right to go down the stairs - it's not like you cant get out of the house). i distinctly remember being little (we moved to fargo when i was 7) and walking outside and picking dirt out of the planter box and eating it. i actually really liked the taste. minot dirt has found memories for me. somewhere along the way, however, i developed an insanely negative reaction to dirt. i HATE getting my fingers dirty - if i eat something and there is food on my fingers, i will WIPE THEM off. i do NOT stick them in my MOUTH. ewww. curly sue always grossed me out. i don't like walking on grass and dirt and you will NEVER see me walk on grass without shoes on. my first employer out of college was this small consulting firm in newton, mass. for a summer outing, the owner paid to send the 25 or so of us on a hiking trip. as soon as i found out, i went up to my boss and asked if it was optional. since it was during a workday, it was not unless i had a health reason for not going. i could not come up with one. whenever the planning committee would meet, i would join the group so i could get an idea of what was going to happen. i constantly reminded them that i had never gone hiking before and generally didnt like being outside in the city, much less outside not in the city. i asked if we were doing the type of hiking where you walk in the woods. and were we going up or cross country hiking? and were there a lot of bugs? and were there proper bathroom facilities? and what was i supposed to wear? did i have to buy special hiking boots? everyone in the company knew that this was a momentous day for me. i think they didn't really believe me and so it became a joke. so the day arrives and we get in these caravans and drive into new hampshire to go hiking by the man in the rock (whats that called?). apparently they chose an "easy" path with a little rest area halfway up so that people could stop there while the others continued on. i wore a tank top and brought 3 different types of bug repellant. i put bug spray on, sunscreen spf 500, and i had these bug wipes that you could wipe on yourself. i rubbed ALL of my clothes down and tied one into my ponytail. i had extras in my back pocket. people stared at me finally realizing how serious i was. we started off on the trail and i was right along with everyone. then my friend, jen, and i fell behind. i dont even remember it happening. it's not like i was going slow. i walked the same pace i would walk in a mall. are you supposed to hike FAST? i just didn't get why people were going so fast. what was the point? one tree looks the same to me. then, the cute guy, jim, stopped to wait for us. the three of us being separated didnt make me want to catch up with the others. :) i was sweating faster than i was drinking water and my clothes were completely soaked. no one else had wet spots under their arms! i couldn't understand why, despite going slowly, i was so hot. we finally got to the halfway point and there were a few other people who decided not to go to the top waiting there. jim went on because apparently it was really beautiful or something. definitely not motivation enough for me to go. we waited at the rest area and i spent about 5 minutes with my head under the faucet in the bathroom. the water was FREEZING cold because they had no heater way up in the moutain. and there was this cabin where people could eat and hang out. apparently they had people who LIVED there during the hiking season. ??!?!? who would CHOOSE to do that?? someone made trail mix, which i did not like, but ate about half of because i was so hungry. once the really stupid ones came back from the top, we all went back down and you should've seen me going down. i was leaping and bounding and jumping all over! i was SO EXCITED i had gotten to the halfway point and no bears had eaten me and i had hardly a few bug bites. it was easy going down and everyone was really proud of me. then, we drove to this lake thats up in the middle of the mountain and its perfectly clear blue. i'll admit it was beautiful, but honestly, it would've been just as nice in a picture. i got in my swimsuit and went swimming immediately. everyone was surprised that i would get into the water since i have such an aversion to nature, but that's where it's ironic for me. as long as it looks "clean" i would go in the water ANY time! i love water. it's just bugs and trees and dirt that i don't like. and hot weather. and animals. since that was the end of our day, i sat in the van on the way back to boston completely pleased with myself. you will NEVER.
catch me hiking, but at least now i can say that i've tried it and rightfully hated it. but i survived! and as long as i know how to love i know i'll stay alive - err... yeah. it was very hard for me to hide my disdain for all things dirt- nature, i mean. i only worked at that job for 3 months, and i'm pretty sure if any of those people remembered me, they'll remember my hate for all things outside. i wouldn't even go sit on the picnic bench outside the office and eat my lunch. i'll take the fake wood desk with my computer any time.

2) maybe i should've gone to africa. it might've cured my hate for dirt and hot and all those uncomfortable things. but then again, maybe i wouldn't have survived and everyone would be at my funeral by now. in reality, if i had gone to africa, i would be coming back this week. funny how things change.

3) i was once at my old company's office in burlington, vermont and the attorney walked into the room where i was working. i had just gone to the restroom and washed my hands and i have this major compulsion to immediately put lotion on my hands after i wash them (i HATE dry hands, but this is why i have nice soft hands now). so i was putting lotion on and i asked her if she wanted some. it was one of those lotions from bath and body works that have the antibacterial beads in them. she took the bottle from me and laughed. it was kind of a half-funny, half-disgusted laugh. "no! why would i use that?!" she exclaimed. and when gloria is aghast with something, she exlaims. "what? what's wrong?" i asked. i told her how i was afraid of germs. she then gave me a long lecture on how by using all these antibacterial products, i was actually weakening my immune system and making me more susceptible to germs and disease. her rationale was very convincing (she is a lawyer in vermont) and i agree with her 100%. and after reading that article, i understand. but no matter what, i will not like getting my hands dirty. and if someone coughs on me, i will instinctively hold my breath and run to the bathroom and wash every part of myself that i can. dirt. i just dont like it! and you can't make me! but i really do remember liking the dirt from my childhood. maybe it was specific dirt. in minot. i bet if i went back to that house, i'd probably crave the dirt again. but only that dirt. and in small quantities. it's not like i'd eat a dirt salad.

but this also makes me feel ok... part of the article talks about how, by being exposed to different bugs and viruses, we're actually helping ourselves. so this makes me think that i can go to mexico. my little brother was home a few months ago because he had influenza A. i was exposed to his coughing and runny nose and overall germ-filled contagiousness and didn't get sick at all! and since swine flu, excuse me mr. president, n1h1, is a type of influenza A, maybe i have built up a part of immunity. which makes me feel a bit better about going.
and as far as cancun goes, i'll sit on the beach and go in the ocean, but most likely, you'll see me sipping margaritas at the swim-up pool. mmmmm. margaritas and dirt. sounds good.


  1. ok i'll comment. you missed so many good times while camping with all the cousins! sad... also i can't believe you ate that dirt. second i don't think you would do that again even if we were in minot... you know what kind of insects, worms, bugs, etc live in the dirt??? ask yourself if you want to eat that..

  2. that's the point! sometimes you eat things you dont like...

  3. i found out what its called thanks to my 365 amazing trivia facts: the old man of the mountain, the 40 foot tall stone outcropping that resembled a gnarled face in franconia notch state park in nh.