It was the year I went on a road trip with a potential serial killer. It was the year I ate dog soup. It was the year I became the editor of a magazine. It was the year I fought a woman with terminal cancer. It was the year I lived with a paranoid schizophrenic. It was the year I illegally disposed of human remains. It was the year I learned I was Rambo.
Basically, I rocked this year so hard it died of an intracranial injury.
Now, 2010 in review:
I survived Americorps. Barely. One of the various inane requirements at my alma mater was a career aptitude test. Our high school guidance counselors supposedly used this test as a means of pointing wayward students in the direction of a viable career. Unfortunately for my counselor, I very quickly realized that this test was a sham – surely, no one could fall for questions like, “Do you want to rescue infants from burning buildings?” No, I didn’t want to rescue infants from burning buildings. It would be nice if someone rescued infants from burning buildings, but it would not be me. Were they trying to be sneaky? Clearly, this question really meant, “Do you want to be a firefighter?” Why wasn’t the test a piece of paper with a box that said, “Write your desired career here”?
I deemed that the test had no intrinsic value and answered the questions accordingly. When it came time for my parents to meet with my counselor regarding the results, the appointment was a somber one.
“Well,” said my counselor, “Brittany seems to be equally disinterested in everything.” This was not what my parents had been expecting of the daughter who was on the high honor roll and a member of the California Scholarship Federation.
“Although,” – we waited with baited breath for the good news – “She really, really doesn’t want to help people.”
As it turns out, I should have heeded the results. After college, I had one of those typical what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life panic attacks and signed up for the Americorps VISTA program – as suggested by my mother, who, as it turns out, is in complete denial about the type of person I am.
While everyone’s Americorps experience varies, the general consensus seems to be that the VISTA program in particular is a soul-sucking hell hole. In the end I learned a very important lesson: organizations only value what they pay for. Also? I am terrible at working with wealthy housewives. In conclusion: my year in Americorps helped me come to terms with the fact that there are many jobs I would immediately be fired from. Most of them include ill-behaved homeless children and fundraising events.
[Sometimes, you can only afford Mexican goat milk caramel spread.]
I lived in a two bedroom apartment with three other people. My measly Americorps stipend was meant to force me to live in poverty, and that I did. My roommates and I quickly learned that some things were worth splurging on – bleached toilet paper and quality cuts of beef, for instance – while other things could be purchased at the local Mexican market. Most of our income was reserved for alcohol.
My roommates were so awesome that they made up for the fact that we were collectively starving to death. That is, with the exception of one roommate who taped a piece of paper over her laptop’s webcam “to keep the Feds from spying on her.”
Cancer Dad was cancer free. In a surprising twist, my father didn’t get cancer in 2010. He had spent the past few years being diagnosed with cancer on three different occasions and then subsequently declaring that his death was imminent (usually in public places). In 2009, he very nearly became the Bionic Man when a surgeon decided that the best course of action would be to replace Cancer Dad’s entire sternum with a titanium plate. That didn’t happen, and the doctors never did figure out what kind of cancer he had. Yet, he’s still here.
Grandma only made it to 99 years of age. While Cancer Dad surprised us all by not getting cancer, Grandma surprised us by passing away. We thought she would live for eternity, so it was all really quite shocking. She didn’t go silently though – rumor has it that some hospital employees might be filing lawsuits. You see, she didn’t kick the bucket. She kicked an orderly. In the face.
I illegally disposed of my grandparents' bodies. Because Grandma passed on, we finally carried out Grandpa’s wishes to have their ashes mingled together and spread over a horse corral. As it turned out, this was the worst plan of all time. However, I am determined to make this a tradition. Yes, that’s right. I intend to dump human remains behind the same house in the future. Although Cancer Dad disappointed us by not keeping his word and dying, I intend to forge his Will so that he, too, can be mixed with horse manure when he finally does pass on. And then I will make my children do the same to me.
[I really think that is supposed to read, "God Forsook Texas."]
I went to Texas and it was every bit as awful as I suspected. I still cannot comprehend that there is an entire state comprised of strip malls, vacant lots and herds of cattle.
I took The Boyfriend to South Korea and we survived. Barely. The Boyfriend is the worst traveler of all time. But he decided to take our relationship to the next level by inviting himself on my second Korean excursion, possibly as a romantic gesture. He packed for our journey while downing Four Lokos and the next thing I knew, we were in Bucheon and he had only one pair of clean pants.
I got a job as a writer. Though my mother constantly bemoans my "Que Sera, Sera" attitude, it tends to work for me. Despite the economy, I was only unemployed for a week and a half after the end of my Americorps service. I threw a bunch of resumes out in cyberspace, and now I'm a full time assistant editor for two trader magazines (and I have fun benefits like health insurance and a 401k plan). The whole thing is really surreal. You work for some newspapers, maintain a terrible blog, and then people are all, You should be a writer! And I’m like, That’s kind of hard to get into, yo. And then I get this job and people are like, What’s a trade magazine? And I’m like, It means I’m the reigning expert on bus chassis and mass notification systems (well, maybe not)! And they’re all, Wait, you don’t get paid to write about zombie cows?!
I got my own apartment. One of the huge upsides to being paid a living wage is that you can afford to live on your own. I now reside in a kick ass apartment walking distance from the beach. And although I’m too much of a bum to ever actually go to the beach, I do reap the other benefits of single living. Those include watching Netflix in my underwear and drinking wine in my bathtub. Judge away.
I discovered that I have two secret half uncles. Turns out, all the men in my family have been married multiple times to women who mysteriously died. Subsequently, the offspring resulting from these unions were abandoned. Said uncles were discovered by my brother Topher, via Google.
I found a 200-year-old book in the trunk of my car. I’m on the verge of being signed up for the television show Hoarders, but my pack rat ways have led me to several exciting genealogical discoveries. Turns out I’m the descendant of the commander of the IX Corps of the Union Army (Civil War, yo!), Brigham Young, and the founders of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. I am also a descendant of Peter Gunnarsson Rambo, a Swedish immigrant who came to the New World in 1640. Turns out Sylvester Stallone's Rambo character is Peter's namesake. Basically? I'm awesome.
[Cat? Or space mutant?]
I was deemed responsible enough to adopt a furry creature. Three weeks ago, I adopted an Ewok from a rescue agency. Okay, so maybe it was a Himalayan cat. Either way, she looks like a space alien, performs complicated aerial assaults, and has the uncanny ability to look exactly like Jabba the Hutt when necessary.
In summary: I have no idea how it happened – but I started 2010 as a confused, poverty-stricken recent college grad and left it a self-sufficient professional writer with a pet Ewok and a roof over my head. It’s astounding how quickly things can change.
I conquered 2010, bitches.
And then, with astounding speed, 2011 conquered me.
That's right. I already failed to uphold my one new year's resolution - to eat breakfast. But I'm going to have to blame Apple for this one.
On Monday, January 3rd, all 15 of the alarms I had set for myself failed to go off. Apparently, Apple experienced a massive failure in which iPhone alarms malfunctioned in the new year (how is this shit even possible, yo?). It was like Y2K all over again. Except it really happened this time.
In summary: I was late to my first day of work in 2011, and subsequently I did not eat breakfast.
That's got to be a world record in resolution breaking.