November 18th, 2014

One of my favorite life-changing movie lines comes from the movie Adaptation. Whenever it gets tough for me, I remember this scene:

Charlie Kaufman: There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh.

Donald Kaufman: Oh, God. I was so in love with her.

Charlie Kaufman: I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was being really sweet to you.

Donald Kaufman: I remember that.

Charlie Kaufman: Then, when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. And it was like they were laughing at me. You didn’t know at all. You seemed so happy.

Donald Kaufman: I knew. I heard them.

Charlie Kaufman: How come you looked so happy?

Donald Kaufman: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn’t have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.

Charlie Kaufman: But she thought you were pathetic.

Donald Kaufman: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That’s what I decided a long time ago.

/\/\

My Running Mantra

Today marks my half anniversary of deciding one day that I want to be more active, and randomly thinking right after work “hey, I’m bored. Let’s go to the employee gym and run”.  I cannot believe it has been 6 months of me going to the gym on a regular basis, because, 6 months ago, I never thought I’d run, or call myself a runner. 6 months ago, you couldn’t even convince me to do 8 minute abs*.

So, to celebrate my six months of running, I decided at that very moment, I would run an 8:34 mile. I dropped the weights, and walked over to the treadmill. I stared at it, and asked myself, “Michelle, you’ve never run anything faster than a 10-minute mile. Are you ready to run a mile in 8 minutes and 34 seconds?” I nodded to myself. Done. I’ve signed my own personal contract.

I stepped onto the treadmill, and hit “quick start” and held the ^ button until it the speed hit “7.0”. Okay. We’re running.

The first minute passed.

“Okay, first minute over,” I told myself. “Just do that 8 more times.”

The second minute passed. I realized couldn’t figure out how to breathe with the speed I was going at, because, I’ve never sustained a 7.0 mph run. Short, sharp breaths.

“It’s okay, another minute has passed. You just have to do that… 7 more times.”

The next minute passed, and I still couldn’t figure out my breathing. I was hyperventilating. It hurt my lungs a little, and I was starting to panic.

“Don’t worry. You just have to do that…. What was the math? How many minutes left?” I was absolutely miserable. The word “miserable” sounded so pretty.

I stared at the stop button. Then I thought to myself, “I’ve never found a mantra to use while running. How could you run without a mantra! God, you’re so weak! You’re so fucking weak. SO. WEAK. If I just had a mantra….You always give up. Always. You’re terrible. Useless. Everyone else can run an 8 minute mile. The world is waiting for you to catch up to them. C’mon, Michelle…everyone is waiting.”

I thought I was going to give up, when suddenly, I made up a mantra: “I’m a pussy, but I’ll do it anyway.” Weird. Yet inspiring. Yeah? Yeah!

3:58. 3:59. Yes! 4:00! Almost halfway there!

I’m a pussy, but I’ll do it anyway!!!

“Finally,” I thought. “I’m about to do something that challenges myself, and I’m about to break my low expectation of myself.”

I hit the emergency stop button at 4 minutes. Fuck that.

 

 

 

*Wait. You still can’t convince me to do 8 minute abs, because fuck that guy, I hate him. According to my research, his name is  Jaime Brenkus, but when I’m doing 8 minute abs, his name is “motherfucker“, “asshole” and other assorted, not-safe-for work names.  “If you do this right, it won’t hurt.” Jaime says. First of all, Jamie (“motherfucker!“), it hurts. Second of all, I never get abs, I get a fucking buff-ass neck. Your video should be renamed, “8-minute neck-straining exercises” or “8 minutes in hell” but not “8 minute abs“. And, yeah, okay, I don’t really think you’re an asshole or anything, but you sure are one when I am hurting like hell and you are asking me to “keep going!” because “we are almost done” (lie).

Writer’s Block

Sometimes I don’t write a lot

I know some folks call that writer’s block

I just call it my process

It comes out when it’s ready to I guess

I don’t wanna let nobody down so

Here’s some new shit you tell me how it sounds

I ain’t trying to be difficult or no shit

It just hurts too bad to try to force it.

 

                                                                                                                                         -Brother Ali

Please Help Find Marizela Perez

Please help me to spread this video to help find Marizela Perez, a UW student that went missing last month.

There is also an event that you can attend to help raise money for the search effort. But even if you can’t go, all you have to do is simply share this video with your friends on Facebook.

Here are the details of the event:

Time: Sunday, May 8 · 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Location: UW Ethnic Cultural Theater 3931 Brooklyn Ave Seattle, WA

On May 8th, 2011 6:30PM
Family members of missing University of Washington student, Marizela Perez, will be holding a Benefit Open Mic Concert: Magiging Maayos at the Ethnic Cultural Theater in hopes of further funding the search.

Magiging Maayos is tagalog for “be well”, which is part of the tattoo Marizela Perez had on her arm. This concert will not only help fundraise but also spread the idea that regardless of any one person’s situation “all will be well” and we will continue to spread this information in hopes it reaches Marizela Perez and others who might need it.

Marizela Perez went missing Saturday, March 5th, 2011 and was last seen 2-3PM at the Safeway in the University District. It has been well over a month and no news of her disappearance has surfaced. The funds raised in this event will go directly into funding search teams, private investigation, and spreading the news.

The concert will have live music, spoken word, dances, and different speakers from the University of Washington Seattle Campus, but will also be open to the audience if they want to perform or say a few words. There will be a silent auction before and during the event with amazing art created by Marizela herself. Other organizations will be selling different things and a portion of their proceeds while help the Perez family. There will also be a raffle.

Doors will open at 6:30PM
The show will start at 7:00PM

The price is a sliding scale of $5-$10.

On behalf of the Perez family, we hope that you can come to this event and help support in any way possible or by inviting others to attend.

Customer Service and Unpronounceable Names

I went to Safeway the other day and bought my weekly set of groceries. As I stood in line, I heard the cashier say the following to the customer in front of me: “Thank you Ms./Mr. (last name on the receipt). Have a good day” As common courtesy, Safeway employees are usually required to say this to every customer they ring up. As I move to the front of the line, my items are scanned and packed into plastic bags.

“Would you like help out?”

“No, thanks.” I say.

At this point, they usually grab the receipt to look at your last name so they can say, “Thank you Ms./Mr. (last name on the receipt). Have a good day” Usually, I see a look of confusion and fear as they stare at my last name. Then they say one of the following things:

  • “Well have a nice day [awkward pause where they were supposed to say my last name]…Bye.”
  • Thanks, Mascara.

  • Thanks Maccarado.

  • Thanks Mascarad.

  • Or my personal favorite,the “thanksMs.madskjafsjioefaj”, where the employee mumbles that whole line, hoping I won’t notice that s/he is too nervous to try to attempt my last name.

Those are the usual situations. However, the other day, I had the pleasure of finding a cashier that understood the real meaning of customer service.

“Thank you Ms….Massacardo?”

“Mascardo.” I corrected.

“Mascardo.” he repeated. “Thanks Ms. Mascardo.”

This was probably the only time I have ever heard anyone put some effort into saying my last name.

See, I don’t care if an employee pronounces my last name wrong. That happens all the time, and it’s an understandable thing that happens. What every employee should realize is that it’s not just saying my last name that brings value to Safeway; a robot could do that. But it’s the effort they put into learning my last name and learning to say my name correctly that makes it personal.