Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roanoke Hazing

I would like to begin this post by exclaiming my love for Roanoke prices. I dry cleaned five pairs of pants for $20. It's like Disney World for people with too many pairs of business casual pants. ...I'm just saying. Onto more important things...

Tailgating and Football
My family is not athletic. Hopefully Brother & Sister will not take offense to this statement but I think it's safe to say that I was definitely the most athletic of my parent's offspring (which is not saying much). While my siblings gave up on soccer by about 4th grade, I stuck it out until 8th and even tried my hand (legs?) at cross country for a hot season. That didn't work out so well, because I have a bum knee, and my genetics were like, "Psh? Athleticism? You're deranged." Thus, I gave up.

Athletics here are like a way of life. I'm on team for a high school retreat here (religious retreat. I do not mean "team" in any way that could imply sports), and every single high schooler on the team was like "I go to this school and play these three sports." I would have died had I spent my childhood here - they would have eaten my non-athletically-compatible self alive. Even the people who you don't think would play a sport still did. The local news covers high school football. I kid you not. Their slogan is "News 10 - On Your Sidelines." (Correction: OfficeMate has complained about my improper statement here. The News 10 slogan is "On Your Side." But they do use "On Your Sidelines" when covering high school football.)

So when OfficeMate invited me to go with him to a Virginia Tech game, I wasn't quite sure what to do. People are serious about their football here, and my family only gets serious about football when we're playing croquet at 3am in the summer with a glass of wine and you're trying to cheat by kicking your ball through the hoops you can't see. (I really hope someone followed that sentence.)

I get football - no really, I do. I understand the concept behind the game and more or less what the various positions do. I can even watch football and enjoy it. It's just not something I do on a regular basis.

I agreed to go, because it's an experience. Having gone to a small liberal arts school, I was seriously jipped when it comes to the legitimate football experience. Tailgating? School spirit? A stadium that seats 60,000+? It's a whole different world at Tech. I even called up my father about an hour before leaving, wandering Kroger, asking what on earth one brings to a tailgate. I also reprimanded him for raising children that can pair wines and cheese but cannot interact with people who tailgate.

Tech tailgating is like nothing I've ever seen (perhaps because I had never tailgated before...). People have flat screen tvs hooked up on their tailgating tents, connected to a dish so they can watch their Pre-Game Sports shows. There are grills of all shapes and sizes, and so. much. orange. Granted, it comes with the territory of Blacksburg. But it was definitely an experience.
The game was phenomenal; Tech ended up doing some serious damage to ECU. I saw cheerleaders actually engage a crowd in cheering and learned a few cheers myself. I also decided that the turkey noise they play at third downs sounds disturbingly similar to a cassette getting stuck in a tape deck. I high-fived a stranger after Tech scored a touchdown. Twice! All in all, a solid experience. Roanoke is getting me out of my comfort zones in more ways than one, and I'm learning a lot from it all.

On Wednesday, I was feeling good. I was getting the hang of this town, making progress on various projects at work and was already signed up to donate blood and later volunteer at a food distribution center in the evening. I was an altruism machine, cranking out happiness and good deeds like a champ, and I was feeling good.

I was late to the blood drive... because I'm hispanic. No big deal, though, because no one seems to be in much of a rush in Roanoke anyways.
Then the woman who stuck me for donating missed my vein like three times. She kept looking around nervously and asking me if I was sure I'd donated before. No, no I must have dreamt those other times. My bad. Now my arm is looking rough - all bruised and what not.
I finished donating, enjoyed a free sandwich and that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you know you've actually been a productive and helpful human being, and left to meet a friend (right!! another friend!) for volunteering.

Let me explain to you, intertubes, how great it felt to be back out volunteering. We'll ignore the fact that this whole year is theoretical volunteer service. While I know my job is necessary and important, there is still something to be said for volunteer work with a quantitative aspect to it. Say, we fed X amount of people today. The people were so grateful to have something to hold them over and I was just thankful for the opportunity to help. The children were thrilled by the idea of a single donut and were always impeccably polite. I was blown away. I intend on returning as often as possible.

So I then went out with New Friend (who's not really new, but that's just too complicated to get into on the blog) for dinner. I enjoyed some good company and some delicious sushi, my first sushi since Lord only knows when. And that's when it happened.

I went to pay my bill. And they told me my card was rejected. Twice.
Now. I don't overdraft. Ever. I knew how much money was in my account. I had enough for dinner and then some.
I went home and called my bank. Somehow, someone had gotten my card information and essentially spent all my money. How considerate. After a long discussion with my friendly neighborhood bank teller first thing this morning, I've filed all the necessary paperwork and had all the expected migraines. I should see my money again in a few weeks. For now, I'm just living even more cheaply than usual. It's not like I had a social life for this to affect anyways.

Rest In Peace, Debit Card. Seeing you get mercilessly cut up this morning was rough. We had a good run. I hope Debit Card heaven is nice and full of fun places to be swiped, like all those places I promised you we'd one day go and never made it to.

For those of you who are unaware, my housing situation is in a state of limbo at the moment.
I have very limited access to what small amount of funds I now have left.
My arm is all bruised and makes me look like a heroine addict (thanks, blood donation)
Two of my three friends in the area are leaving way to soon.

For those of you familiar with the play Avenue Q, I feel like I'm rocking out to the song, "It Sucks To Be Me." Today's been a little pity party, and now that I've moped sufficiently, I have every intention of bucking up tomorrow, realizing that, while things are bad, they could be a lot worse. I have a good support system in this town (thank GOD), and I'll get through it. And you know, I'll be all the better and stronger for it in the long run.

But, for real Roanoke, what is this? Your version of hazing? I'm not down with it.

And here's some silver lining just for fun! Today, I paid for gas with cash. ...for the first time in my life. I felt so legit being like, "Oh, I'll just take $15 on 7." I bet the guy at the register had NO idea I had never done it before. I'm a pro. There. optimism. Suck it, cynicism.


  1. check your last picture, its hot linked.

    Also, paying cash for gas makes me feel really.... I don't know what the word is... but like I'm doing a under the table deal because I'm holding paper money.

    Also, I wonder how your debit card got stolen. That may be something worth investigating? maybe.

    Also Tech really has an experience, and at least they're good at the game.

  2. Um...The evolution of your headings is quite discouraging: Altruism -> Fraud -> Disappointment. I'm very happy to know you end capped those thoughts with a silver lining of sorts! Roanoke will improve (spins around twice, hops on one foot, crosses two fingers, and does an impromptu rain dance for good can never be too careful with luck.)

    P.S. I never thought about it, but it IS really odd that we put such emphasis on covering high school football. No, it really is. And I never questioned it until now?