Thursday, February 12, 2009

Do you not see them?

So, does anyone have an extra pair of headphones? Mine still work ok, but I think for some reason they are invisible to the general public. For some reason, people ALWAYS want to strike up a conversation with me when I have headphones on. One of the worst times was when I was running at seriously, like 8.0 mph on the treadmill and the old man strolling next time thought it was an opportune time to discuss a political commercial on tv. I ignored him, but he didn't stop. I mean, it's not like they are flesh colored wires, or my hair is down and covering the ear buds. It happens at the gym, on the T, in the elevator at work. My question is, if people don't think I'm listening to music, what are they assuming those wires going into my ears are powering?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kids Together

My sister and I are four years apart. Not a huge age gap, but one that neatly placed me just out of the age bracket acceptable for us to be “friends” for the majority of our lives. When she was entering the world of first jobs, first apartments and independence, I was just starting out in my first year of college. When she started college, I was a terrified freshman in high school. And when she was that terrified freshman, I was a horrifically awkward, gangly, permed, 11 year old. We basically just kept missing each other. But for a brief time period of our lives, we were both “kids.” Kool-Aid fueled, cartoon loving, elementary schooled kids. And therefore, we got to share one of our favorite activities together: making up and performing dance routines in our parents’ basement.

This wasn’t a casual, carefree activity… my sister (as she would continue to do for most of her life) quickly fell into the leader role. This was serious. There were costumes, music selection, and at the end, a “recital” for any family members or neighbors that couldn’t think of excuses to get out of it. My sister would gather up the pink Sony cassette player, and the shoebox of cassette tapes, and pick out a Madonna or Gloria Estefan tape and start choreographing for me. Sometimes I’d get confused and forget what came next, or sometimes I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to do a step and she’d always just look right at me and say through gritted teeth “Do it again.”

But when we were all dressed up in our official recital costumes (consisting of a combination of hand me down leotards and discarded Halloween costumes) and performing for our “audience”, my sister was so proud of me and I was just elated that we were doing something together, and that I had impressed her.

After that time period, it took a long time for us to get back to a point where we understood each other again, and could share similar interests, and could be friends. It’s hard to maintain that sisterly bond when you are just at completely different stages of life, both fiercely independent and protective of each other. Now we are both officially grown-ups, and closer than we ever have been. But every now and then a radio station plays an 80’s flashback song, and I am immediately transported back to my parents basement. “Manic Monday’ playing on the pink cassette player, and my sister smiling proudly at me, both of us oblivious to what the road ahead would hold for us… for the time just happy to be kids together.

The quarterback shot an empty net goal in the outfield?

For honestly the first quarter of my life... I was not a sports fan. I was a Majorette for our high school (it was cool, I swear... Sonni Abatta was a Majorette, ok?) but when my mom picked me up after the football games I would seriously ask her who won. And.... ok... my dad was a coach for our high school football team, too. Black sheep of the family. In our house everyone would watch the Steelers and Pens games downstairs and I would watch MTV upstairs.

But really, not a big sports fan, not a big deal, right? Yeah, not in Pittsburgh. Do you even know the magnitude of the exclusion you feel when you aren't a sports fan in Pittsburgh? It is seriously all that anyone talks about, reads about, broadcasts about, throws parties for, etc. etc. Just try to get anyone at work to discuss anything but sports on the Monday morning after a Steelers game. And that's great... it's one of the coolest traits of this city. But I revolted against it. I was always the one who voluntarily took the seat without a view of the tv when we went out for a game. And seriously, I tried. I bought a Steeler jersey to wear when we went to Hi Tops to watch a game. I cheered when everyone else cheered. But I think the problem stemmed from the fact that it wasn't that I didn't like sports... I just didn't understand them. I'm a pretty smart girl, but when you've avoided sports for the first 20 years of your life, it's a little hard to just "jump into it". You think it's easy, because you've been watching them your whole life. I'm still trying to figure out what all the ref's fancy hand choreography means.

And I tried to get people to explain it to me. But just try asking "What does that mean?" during a bad call in a playoff game and see how helpful people are. I got alot of aggravated arm waves and "Just watch!" No one wanted to take the time to explain things. Commercial breaks, intermissions and half times are for pee breaks and beer runs. Not for breaking down penalties and yardlines. You know what? I cheered for the freaking Pirates because I played township softball when I was 10 and I pretty much understood the rules of that game.

So when I first starting dating my boyfriend, I was a little wary of the fact that he was a huge Pens and Steelers fan. But since he is incredibly patient and kind, he was happy to take the time to explain things to me. And you know what? It turns out I like sports after all. I can finally join in conversations about sports. I can watch them in public and make comments that make sense. My friends and family are all shocked at the turnaround, but I'm happy to finally be part of this Pittsburgh Sports clique that unknowingly excludes all of those out there that just don't "get" sports.

So the next time you're at a Steelers Party and there's a girl there with a Steelers jersey on, and she's watching the crowd to make sure she cheers at the right times, but she's staring at the tv with a furrowed brow during the game...trying to figure out what the heck they're doing... take a second during a commercial and try to explain something. She might become a fan too.

Blog you very much...

So... I guess my friends and family got a little tired of me sending them word docs of my stories and observations and kindly asked me (several times) to just start a blog so they could read my anecdotes in one place. I fought it.... oh did I fight it... But I'm not sure why. I always said that writing was something I loved so much, that if I felt any sort of obligation to do it, it would ruin it. Just like I told my mom, "You love to knit... but if someone was like 'Knit something! When are you going to knit something new!' it would take away some of the enjoyment." But whatever, I decided to man up and join the party. I don't know what this blog will be. I just gave birth to it, and I don't know how it will grow up (I hope it doesn't get into drugs... and I hope it gets along with the other blogs). But for now, it's my little blogspot to post my musings. The name stems from, well, the greatest city in the world. I'm a Pittsburgh girl, will always be a Pittsburgh girl, and I use terminology like "Jaggers" and "Jimmies" so that where we are. Welcome.