My New Bestfriend, Justin K. and Other Stories

“How’s it going, cuz?”

I picked up my phone and typed back some version of “good, not much going on” – my default response. I’m always some version of fine, good, or “well” if I’m being more grammatically correct. (Although, I would argue that somedays I am indeed “doing good” so don’t assume I mean “well” when I’m throwing off my glasses and donning my cape.)

I’m just not the type who shares a lot in person. (We’re not going to count this blog. Ok? Ok. Good talk!)

I’m the type who’s more content to listen. And honestly, the uncomfortable truth is that when I’m speaking, my stories are actually quite awkward – they’re excruciating to my intended audience. I trip over my beginning, then I’ll blurt out something completely random at the worst moment. So, it’s a kindness that I simply state, “I’m doing good/well. How are you?” It makes it so much easier to simply bow out at the beginning to avoid the blank looks and stares of horror.

Now you understand why my presenting to a large group and receiving positive feedback turned into a bit of a brag. Me speaking successfully, even to just a couple of friends, is a always major victory worth posting about. GO ME!

Also, if I’m honest, a lot of what I do seems tremendously boring despite having friends who think the opposite – from singing improv, to my reverse quinceañeras, to archery, to being a moderately successful fundraiser – it all seems so hem haw – so mundane that it doesn’t seem story-worthy. Thus, I’m doing “good” or “well”.

However, I recognize that some people want to know, like my cousin who was enjoying a beer in a foreign state (aka any state that is not Texas).

This post is for my cousin. (I’m giving you an excuse to bow out now before gets awkward. If it does, feel free to post links to your horror selfies. Selfies of thumbs up are also welcome! )

How’s it Going, Cuz?

Let’s roll up the sleeves while I catch you up!

My Treacherous Foot

Well Cuz, for the last several months I’ve been building up to walk a half marathon. I’d actually been walking pretty steadily over the last year – my tank tops and capris slowly morphing into more wicking layers and fleece as the weeks passed. One weekend I walked 10 miles, then 11, then finally 12 (with a lot of interval walks throughout the week). Well, 12 was apparently too much. Overpronation with poor arch support FOR THE WIN! My ankle gave up the ghost. While it’s slowly gotten better, on Friday, a 10-minute walk set me a bit back. Of course, this is right after I optimistically proclaimed to my doctor, “I don’t need that appointment! It’s getting better!” Oh, Murphy’s Law, you’re the worst.

I foresee a podiatrist in the near future. This irritates me because I want to get back to walking. I like walking.

After My Triumphant Presentation

I went to the conference where I presented with a gigantic “ow” in my heart. I limped through each day, and while “making IT fun” as I spoke, my head was screaming “HEY!!! LADY!!! Why are you standing on us!! Don’t make us set your nerves on fire! Oh, that’s how it’s going to be? Enjoy this!” And they did so quite gladly. I made it home, iced up my ankle, and then headed off on a plane with a friend to visit her daughter.

I got in zero of the sightseeing in a city I desperately want to experience. Aside: a do-over is in the future.

I sat in our hotel room with an elevated foot and an ice pack mee maw style. The only good thing was that it forced us all to just relax and truly visit. There were so many good talks, so many fun games, and an amazing girl’s night filled with facials and poorly painted nails. I marveled at this young woman who was just a wee girl. Was that yesterday? I swear it was yesterday.

I’ve told her and her siblings that they’ve ruined other kids for me. I never cease to rock back on my heels and just marvel at the amazing people they’ve become. There were amazing kids who have grown into amazing humans.

My First Time to Use the Bathroom on a Plane

Of course, to visit her I had to hop on a couple of planes and I guess that morning, I really decided over-hydration would be my thing. My kidneys were excited. My bladder was not. So, there I was in the middle seat with the guy on the aisle fast asleep and I really needed him to wake up. He was that guy who’d snort himself awake, and I had to time my “excuse me, sir” for that right moment. Finally, post a resounding snort, I got this attention and was able to make it to the restroom.

Having never been in the restroom on a plane, I had two important thoughts:

  1. Can someone’s intestines really be sucked out? That’s urban myth, right? (By the way, when I flushed, I had a moment of “OMG! that’s so not a myth!! That sudden vacuum could kill someone!!! Do people check on these things? This is why you don’t overhydrate, Beth!!!!
  2. Remember that time on Dead Like Me when George died by being struck by a meteoric toilet seat falling from an airplane. I bet this is how it started.

Fact: I have really profound thoughts sometimes.

I returned to the seat prepared to face the same blank faces I was cursed with sitting next to the remainder of the flight. Great. I’d decided I’d just throw in the earbuds again and fire up the audiobook.

Something I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is now I don’t mind chatting with a stranger on a flight as much, but these days, everyone has their heads bowed to their glowing new digital messiah.

So, I amble down the row and discover someone is missing from our row. The person walking behind me then tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could get into the row first. Ah, window guy! And that’s how I met my new best friend Justin K.

My New Best Friend, Justin K.

Justin popped down and the conversation started. One of those great conversations which lasted the entire flight and ended with an exchange of phone numbers. (He agreed to talk to a college student I mentor about a potential job since my new best friend Justin K. works in an industry this young man is interested in.) Throughout my trip, I managed to get a lot of mileage out of “my new best friend, Justin K” stories. Hey, we got a lot of talking in. He was an interesting guy! And I learned things, too. Like I now know not to blow my nose if my occipital bone is broken as well as how doctors handle your eye if it sinks to its respective occipital floor post said blowing. Arguably gross, but knowledge is power, right?

As an aside, almost everyone I know has a goofy honorific to help distinguish them when I tell a story. There’s Tank Commander, John; My Kiwi Doctor Friend, Julie; David the Professor in Japan (aka, my editor who again received no warning that I was about to write again and will perform the thankless task of cleaning this up – hopefully. Please, David???), and of course Jim, not that Jim, the other Jim, no not that Jim either (in hindsight, I need to work on the Jims). And thus, “My New Best Friend, Justin K.” was born.

For the record, Cuz, I’m known affectionately known as “the Texas Beth” to some.

My Mad(s) this Week

Now onto the less fun. The thing that almost became its own post/rant. It has to do with a friend and a mental health discussion. The long and short of it, to avoid a full-blown, “I’m going to lose my mind” rant is this: We were talking about how certain mental health issues, when untreated, can be very limiting and isolating and how some people see it a mental illness as “a choice” or “a weakness in constitution”. I stated that no one would willingly choose to be debilitated by depression or any number of mental health issues (albeit saying “no one” is a generalization, because you can always find that one exception). My major point was that when it comes to mental illness, it’s typically not a matter of people “not trying hard enough to be happy”. My friend’s response: they disagreed.

That kind of attitude, which unfortunately is not uncommon, is why it’s so very hard to get people proper mental health care. It contributes to why: 1) people won’t seek it out, because of the stigma attached – they just need to toughen up, and 2) why it’s so damned hard to get legislation that would make it more accessible. I’ll say it again and again and again: mental health should be treated like physical health and it should be easier for those suffering to have proper/easy access to doctors and medication.

The same person later went on a rant about how they couldn’t visit parts of the country because of their politics.

Fact: You can’t catch political cooties by stepping into a city where the majority of voters vote a particular way that’s different from the way you vote. You’re not going to wake up blue if you were red or red if you were blue. In fact, I’ve heard you can even go around and still enjoy the sights, restaurants, and other local offerings without anyone ever knowing which way you vote. The novelty!

Politics don’t affect how I enjoy the outdoors.

Cuz, I’m currently working on not blowing up at this person; it’s a challenge. Apparently, you can’t curb stomp the stupid out of someone. Also, you probably shouldn’t say “curb stomp” ever.

An Archery Competition

Well, Cuz, you’ve made it to the end. We’re almost through and I want to end more on a high than a low so here we go with archery stories!

In May I’ll be competing in my first archery competition. Until three weeks ago, I honestly didn’t realize I could shoot at 30m (the distance I need to shoot in order to compete), then someone said I could and I did. Words have power.

I’d post a photo, but I’m way too lazy to upload one. Just know my groupings were really decent.

The main point of competing at this point, according to Coach Nick, is for me to become socialized at competitions. I mean, did you know I can’t have my bow next to me on the line? Monsters!

I’m both nervous and excited.

That’s All Folks

That’s all I have for now, Cuz. I hope you’re doing both well and you’re doing some good, too.

I love you!

Beth

2 thoughts on “My New Bestfriend, Justin K. and Other Stories

  1. azzageddi says:

    Only 1 character deleted! (double thumbs up!)

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