A few of my least favorite things

One of my D.C. friends, Monique posted a hilarious Facebook note this afternoon about what she dislikes most in this world. She selected moles, public transportation, and Russia and included anecdotes on all the problems she had with each of these things.

Because I agree that our culture focuses a little too much on positivity and filler conversation at times, I’ll quote Monique’s prompt and add a list of my own three least favorite things:

“I have come to realize that in order to break the ice with someone there are three go to topics people utilize. 1. Animals 2. Jobs 3. Complaints. While not everyone may like animals or have a job, everyone has something to complain about. This being said, I will now compile a list of my least favorite things with the hope that maybe others share in my miseries.”

1. Physical Education class

To call me a poor sport would be the understatement of the century.

Though I personally love exercising, I was never a fan of P.E. class growing up. I may actually be the only person in the history of the world to have been banned from P.E. I was seven years old when prohibited from attending class, too. My teacher coach Kelly just couldn’t handle my poor sports abilities, so every time P.E. began, I was sent to the office, much to my satisfaction, but more on that later.

I thoroughly enjoy running, rock climbing, and yoga, but I’ve never been a fan of team sports. The rules of baseball, basketball, football, tennis, and other mindless ball tossing games are complete mysteries to me. I never grasped the rules of sports at a young age, so why start now?

I knew during my early elementary school days that I was more bookish than athletic, so I spent a lot of time during P.E. class making up stories in my head. Coach Kelly, an impatient twenty-something P.E instructor, got so fed up with my admitted bad attitude and downright awful attempts at sports that she forbade me from coming back to her class ever again. Mind you, the ruling came after several parent-teacher conferences, and the end of the year was close, anyway. I found it rather amusing that she thought she was punishing me by ordering me to go to another location, but I reveled in the chance to miss gym class. It gave me more time to construct fiction tales.

I was like Mia from "Princess Diaries," clumsy with zero hand-eye coordination!

As you may assume, I was rudely awakened by middle school, where I had to engage in P.E. class regardless of my negativity. I had my ways of avoiding participation, however. During  baseball games, I’d run to the very end of the outfield so the chances of having to catch the ball were slim. When I had to wait in the softball dugout to go up to bat, I’d sneak to the back of the line and stay there until someone figured out my conspiracy and told the teacher I was manipulating the system. Fortunately for me, I was such a useless team player that most people didn’t even bother ratting me out because my contributions to the game would have hurt their chances of winning.

In junior high, I wrote myself sick notes, forged my parents’ signatures, and basked in the glory of sitting out of dodgeball. It didn’t always work, though. I was once paired up with a rather large female classmate for scooter hockey, which entailed me sitting on a scooter and being pulled by strings like a sled dog.

Well, my lovely partner was so excited about the activity that she raced around the gymnasium with me trailing behind her. Within ten seconds, she inadvertently sent me flying face first into the mattress-padded wall, the scooter whacking me in the head after I plopped to the floor.

Well, they're playing civilized scooter hockey, unlike me and my classmate did!

As you can imagine, the entire class laughed hysterically, as they should have. If I hadn’t been in so much physical pain, I would have laughed as well, but at the time I was concerned about having a brain aneurysm.

P.E. wasn’t so bad in high school, when I had a stereotypical hippie California teacher who told us all, “As long as you’re doing you’re best, I’m happy. If it takes you 15 minutes to run a single mile, well, I salute you for putting forth your best effort.” This was the same guy that scolded us for “losing our class rubber chicken privileges.” That story is for another blog post.

For sophomore and freshman years, my friends Day, Shannon, Katherine, Josh, and I would just prance around in P.E. class to kill time. Members of the school’s Drama organization, we often sang, danced, and passed notes. The teacher loved us because we were cheerful, and he’d often complain that everyone else was too stuffy and superficial. Suffice it to say, I aced gym those years and did nothing more than don my P.E. uniform.

But I was still haunted by P.E. memories when I hit college. In my final semester at UofA, I signed up for Dance 100, which is specifically marketed as a dance education class, not as a movement course.  Before signing up for what I expected to be an easy A class, I made sure it didn’t require any actual dancing. I love dancing like a fool with friends on occasion, but I have about as much rhythm as Mitch McConnell, so there’s no way I could ever pass a dancing skills course.

So, when the professor announced three weeks into the class that he’d amended the syllabus so we’d be dancing five times a month, my palms began to sweat and I experienced heart palpitations.

It wasn’t until the following Friday, when I actually had to partake in his salsa dancing lesson, that I knew I absolutely needed to get out of that class at all costs, even if it meant having to graduate an entire semester late or taking a summer session. I was seriously willing to put off my graduation if necessary because the course brought too many traumatic memories of my clumsy, disoriented old school P.E. days.

As soon as the session was over, I sprinted to the administration building and asked if there were any teachers still accepting students into their classes so late in the semester. Sadly, most professors were unwilling to add me into their sections by that point because I’d already missed too many assignments and sessions.

But this is where I take some time to worship the ground of Dr. David Soren, who I’d previously taken a class from.

His late dog, Angel, who he used to bring to class. She was sweet, just like her owner!

He was the greatest professor I ever had at during my entire undergraduate career, so even though his only open course section would be held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9 a.m., I jumped at the opportunity to get in his Classics class. Sure my schedule looked nothing like a graduating senior’s should, but I didn’t have to dance!

He was welcoming and extremely helpful, and he saved me from having to endure a semester of torturous and humiliating physical activity. I didn’t go to college to relive my horrendous childhood P.E. days, and it’s because Dr. Soren was generous enough to let me into his course that I didn’t have to go through any terrible flashbacks. Thanks, Professor Soren, for being the reason I graduated college on time!

2. Fancy Food

If you’ve ever read my French Riviera travel blog, you know I think the foodie lifestyle is overrated.

Italian/French delicacy: Moldy cheese. Just looking at this actually made me salivate and feel my gag reflex kicking in.

I’ve kind of been at war with fancy food since age ten, and by fancy food, I mean anything deviating from simple American style cuisine. I can’t get enough grilled cheese, soup, eggs, chicken, and sandwiches, but I won’t try most new foods, and it’s actually strained some friendships of mine. Thankfully, my high school boyfriend only jokingly teased me about my picky habits and called me a bird, but family members continue to shake their heads and wonder where they failed at breaking me of this habit.

You should check out my slideshow on protected foods to take a look at some of the meals and food items that repulse me.

I’ve tried to explain my theory to others before, and no one seems to understand. In my opinion, the most demanding thing you can request of someone is to put something gross in his/her body. The way I see it, you’re asking me to taint my most precious God given gift for the sake of politeness. When I eat something I dislike, I almost immediately feel ill, whether that means experiencing headaches, vomiting sessions, or unease. Hence, I opt for the kid’s menu more often than socially acceptable for an adult, and I rarely experiment with new foods. It’s too bad there’s such a stigma against unadventurous eaters. Really, though., who wants to live life around food? What kind of a fulfilling existence revolves around consumption? Deadly sin, anyone?

3. Pageboy hair

My parents never allowed me to have long hair when I was growing up, so I always had a sad looking pageboy cut.

For the longest time, I actually believed my mom when she said my hair was too thin to grow out like all the other little girls I knew. In reality, long hair was too much upkeep for my parents. I don’t totally blame them, being that they had other children to attend to and full-time jobs, but I do fault them for not even at least allowing me to have a trial run of long hair.

Me and my sister
She was older, so she had long hair. No fair!
Awkward family photo of me, my mom, and two brothers, but at least my hair was growing by that point!

I’d always pray for my hair to lengthen, but as soon as that happened, my mom would schedule a salon appointment and assure me that I’d stop in for “just a trim” and nothing more. Lies!

In middle school, I was old enough to take care of my own appearance, so I let my hair grow. Aside from severing split ends every few months, I haven’t had a noticeable hair cut in more than a decade.

I don’t think I will ever, ever, ever opt for the short hair look, all because I grew up loathing my pageboy style bob. Even so, I take my hat off to the ladies who can pull it off. Whether or not I’m in that category, I just don’t want to be, having spent the first eleven years of my life wishing to look different.

Mark my words: I will be that 60-year-old woman with extensions. My hair will never hang above my shoulders as long as I live. If ever I have to shave my head, I’ll purchase a long wig, but short hair will never again be in the cards for me.

Yay for long hair!

If you read through this entire 1,700 word post, your name is either Scott McGrath or you’re just plain awesome. Merci!


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