Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Super Alyssa World

If my walk to work every morning were made into a really lame video game (the likes of which you would get as your toy in a Happy Meal) it would be something like this.

Super Alyssa World!

Objective: Get to work on time.

Two Settings: Walk and run. Running is faster, but it makes you more susceptible to slipping on wet ground and running into various objects. Three hits of specific objects mean death. If you die, you get sent back to the beginning of the level. If you die three times, you have to start the whole game over.

Level 1: Wymount. Your goal is to make it from you apartment front door to the corner of 900 East and University Parkway. You have to smile and say some variation of "Good morning!" to every neighbor you pass. Failure to do so will result in a fist fight. Do not get into a fist fight. Halfway through the level, you pass two large dogs on long leashes. Since you are terrified of the dogs, you must successfully evade them while traversing wet sidewalk and cheerfully greeting the dogs owners.

Level 2: 900 East. Your goal is to make it from the corner of 900 East and University Parkway to the lawn in front of the Morris Center. You can either cross the street here at the light or walk down to the flagged and light-less crosswalk. The flagged crosswalk takes much less time, but it is dangerous because there's no guarantee the cars will stop for you. Throughout this level you will have to dodge bike riders and joggers.

Level 3: The Lawn. This is the shortest level in the game. You simply have to make it from the front of the lawn to the Morris Center. However, there are high-power sprinklers watering the lawn and sidewalk that you need to take. If you get wet, you drown. You can either time it just right and walk down the sidewalk, or you can time it okay and make a run for it praying that you don't slip and end up on your can. Everyone who has made it so far has run for it, but it's scary.

Level 4: The Morris Center. Your goal is to make it from the front of the Morris Center to the edge of Heritage Halls. The most direct route is blocked by an enormous gaggle of hungry EFY kids, waiting to get into the cafeteria for breakfast. You can either go around the cafeteria line, which is very safe but very slow, or you can try to push your way through the line. Pushing your way through means you run the risk of being trampled by spiky gladiator sandals and/or smothered by Axe body spray.

Level 5: Heritage Halls. This level is that simple one that everyone thinks has some catch they are missing. Your goal is to simply wind your way through Heritage Halls towards Campus Drive. The only obstacles are poorly placed EFY scripture study groups that you have to avoid. Most players take this level at a run because they wasted a long time taking the long way in the last level because, let's face it: being smothered by Axe is a crappy way to go.

Level 6: Campus Drive. Your goal here is to make it successfully across Campus Drive to the Wilkinson Center parking lot. The traffic lights might seem to be a challenge at first, but they are actually very strictly timed and once you figure that out, it's a piece of cake. The quickest route depends on when you actually approach the first traffic light, but it sometimes requires a bit of running, which as we know holds its risks.

Level 7: The Parking Lot. Your goal here is to make it across the parking lot into the Wilkinson Center. This is the penultimate level, so most people take it at a run. It looks very innocent. But just as you are about to run up the stairs to success, a conglomerate of old ladies from the Nutrition Conference streams out the front doors. Adapt! Adapt! If your eyes are keen, you will notice a side door to the right.

Level 8: The Wilkinson Center. If you get into the building before 7:59 am, you've won the game. You just have to walk up the stairs into your office. However, if you get into the building after 7:59 am, you have to sneak quietly past your boss' office while wearing flip flops. If you make it to your desk without your boss noticing, you're in the clear. If you do not, you will be defenestrated.

Friday, June 18, 2010

To the Parents of the World

If your child is old enough to open the front door and walk outside, he/she is old enough to know when and how to properly cross a street.

Let me explain.

As we were driving home yesterday, we noticed the car directly in front of us unexpectedly stop. Confused, Lewis reached up to honk the horn. We were driving on a fairly busy street and desired to continue smoothly on to our final destination. Right before Lewis actually honked, however, we noticed the cause of their stop. A four-year-old girl was crossing the street.

It was ten o'clock at night.

As we sat there in our car, we watched this small child make her way across the street, never looking left nor right. Her eyes were on one thing and she was determined to reach her goal. She wasn't in a hurry to reach it, as was clear by her slow and even gait, but she knew where she was going. Luckily no cars came from the opposite direction and the car in front of us saw her at all. The driver mentioned later that he thought she was a dog when he first saw her, just out of the corner of his eye.

When she made it to the other side of the street, she opened the door of a car there, calmly climbed in and began honking the horn and playing with the lights.

We pulled over, as did the car in front of us. Lewis was ready to call 911, but I told him we should go knock on doors first to see to whom she belonged. The driver and passenger of the car in front of us were knocking on the door of the house it looked like the kid might have come from, while Lewis knocked on the door of the house across the street. They said that it wasn't their kid, but nobody answered the door the other driver knocked on. That is, until he gave up and was halfway back to the street. Then someone finally came to the door.

If I was a mother and someone came to my door telling me that they had almost hit my child because he/she had crossed the street by him/herself without even looking I would have freaked out. So I guess maybe this lady's stoicism is something to be envied because she didn't bat an eye. Rather, she stood there calmly while her ten-year-old daughter walked across the street in a remarkably similar fashion as her little sister to investigate. Mostly, however I was just disturbed by her behavior/attitude.

That mother should be counting her blessings that nothing happened to her daughter. This occurred on the main road of a neighborhood. Now to be fair, at that time of night (ten freaking o'clock!), it is normally not a very busy road. However, last night was Game 7 of the NBA finals, and it was clear from the volume of cars parked on the street that many households in this neighborhood were hosting parties for the game, and since the game had ended by this time many people - us included - were driving home from watching the game. PLUS the stupid Lakers won, so I'm sure lots of people were riled up about the outcome, not to mention the near-disastrous placement of that Amber Alert. In short, good thing that one driver was paying enough attention to notice a tiny person on the street in front of him.

I keep replaying it in my mind. It was freaky the way that girl was just all of a sudden there, barefooted and ghostly in the headlights (although the freaky aspect might just be because I've been watching too much Heroes on Netflix). What if the car hadn't seen her? What if he managed to miss her and we hit her? What if she had made it across the street safely without anyone noticing and tried to cross it again to get back? What if a creepo saw her and took her? (Like I said, there was an Amber Alert so kidnapping was on the brain)

The point is, keep an eye on your four-year-old, lady! Especially at ten o'clock at night and especially on a busy street like that. More importantly, teach your kid how to cross the street! A four-year-old should know that she shouldn't cross a street without an adult. At the very least, she should have learned to look both ways before crossing!

And for goodness sake, care more when somebody tells you they almost killed your child! Or at least show it more! Good heavens.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Am a Total Summer Junkie

The other night when we went to bed, it was a little bit hot in our apartment. Holding off on putting the air conditioner in the window for as long as possible, Lewis put a fan in the living room window on full blast. We closed all the doors except for the one to our bedroom, hoping to tunnel the cool air straight to us.

As I settled down under the covers into the soft folds of our pillow-top, a wave a comforting nostalgia washed over me. I remembered many summer nights from my youth where it was just this side of too hot, but heavens I could never sleep without the covers (still true). Those summer nights were the eves of glorious summer days full of running in the sprinkler, climbing trees, and washing the car - aka the best dang times ever.

Sure. I complained all summer that I was bored. I probably was even excited to start school again when the end of August showed up. But after a week of that crap, I was ready to be back to summer vacay.

As I grew older and my parents realized how expensive I was to keep around (I'm very high maintenance, you know), I obtained a summer job. Lifeguard. Pretty much I was paid to go swimming and get a tan. I spent most of most days in nothing more than a swimming suit and a tank top and/or swim shorts (although my parents preferred me to put on pants at the dinner table). My only regret from that three summer long job is that most of my heroic saves occurred on the cold and drizzly days where you had to pay me to jump in that frigid water (good news for the drowning kids: they paid me).

Back to the other night and the nostalgia wave. As I lay there in bed, I thought about all the things I wanted to do the next morning. I wanted to go swimming. I wanted to run around aimlessly outside. I wanted to climb a tree and read a book. I wanted to eat an ice cream sandwich on my porch.

Then I went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I went to work and spent six or seven hours in a chair at a desk in front of a computer, listening to screams of delight from the EFY kids during lunch.

Now don't get me wrong. I have a great job, a fact of which I was forcibly reminded of just last week. But man-oh-man. I most definitely picked the right career for my desired lifestyle.

The good news is, I have a dear husband who has a similar attitude toward summer adventures as me. Our apartment is a mess right now because we chose to hike around Y mountain, go to an outdoor barbecue, and engage in a summer evening swim rather than clean it. Such activities are bound to continue during the evenings and weekends until July the twenty-third when I am done with my job. Then we can play all day for almost a month before we have to start making the big bucks.

But in the meantime, I'm just dreaming of the future. A life of summers off? Yes, please.
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