I’ve been called many things in my life. Like most kids, I had nicknames. Family nicknames (Leedy, Leedybits, Bitsy, BeeBits, shortened now to just ‘B’). School-yard nicknames (Alida Enchilada, Alida Enchilad-y, Alida ItchMyBody). Regular, personality-inspired nicknames (Sunshine, Booyah). But one word has been used more often than others to describe me, from my childhood through my adolescence, carrying now through my twenties. One word has been the common theme of my life, when people describe me.
I know. You (yes, you) thought I was going to say precious. I wish I could say precious. Because I am precious, you guys. But apparently it’s too difficult to focus on all my preciousness. Nooo, everyone gets all distract-y by the *handful* of times I can honestly be described as weird.
I call bunk. Just so you know. The evidence of my weirdness? Not as solid as the evidence of my preciousness, my friends. But, in the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, and just because I *am* so precious (and people who are precious are honest and fully disclose), I will examine the evidence with you. And then, at the end, I’ll let you decide.
That’s right. It’s the Ultimate Grudge Match.
Weird vs. Precious 2008
LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!
This week at work, our water cooler (yes, cooler) started boiling the water. I have no idea. So I called the company who provided said cooler, to alert them to our issue. The lady on the phone asked me to describe the problem.
Me: Hi, yes. My water cooler is boiling water.
Her: Boiling water?
Me: Yes. Can I please have a cooler that doesn’t boil water?
Her: Well, did you unplug it?
Me: Yes. It’s still boiling the water.
Her: Hm. Okay, I’ll get someone out there.
Me: Is it Holy, do you think?
Me: The water. It’s boiling on its own. Does that mean it’s Holy water?
Me: I was just wondering.
(As an aside, I understand most of you would say water that boils on its own is most likely being controlled by…*not* the Lord, but something more *inclined* toward the Hot. To you I say, “Nay.” See, I have this theory God was messing with me. Like saying, “Hey. Ha. Remember when you were a fundamentalist crazy Christian? That was so funny. Heh heh. I’m God. I can be funny, too. Go look at your boiling water.”)
(That is only a theory.)
So they send the service guy out today, finally. He swaps out the cooler for us and all is well. Our water is sufficiently cooled. But I couldn’t let it go. So I asked him if he sees this a lot, water boiling in a water cooler, seemingly of its own accord. And, if so, does that mean the water is Holy? He did *not* know what to think of me and beat a hasty retreat. So I looked at my coworker and asked her this question:
Me: Am I as funny in real life as I think I am in my head?
Her: Maybe not to strangers.
And this conversation reminded me of another for instance in my life, an instance from whence derivith the title of this post. I was in Houston, visiting some of my favorite people. We had just finished dinner and decided a field trip for gelato was very much called for. Off we went to the nearest gelato place, all excited to get a treat. So we’re standing in line, choosing our flavors. There’s a guy working behind the counter, probably 21 or 22 years old. He and I had this conversation:
Me: I have a question about your gelato.
Him: Sure, shoot!
Me: If your gelato had to battle ice cream, who do you think would win?
Me: Like, if there was some sort of dessert cage fighting competition. And say your gelato beats the hell out of the cupcakes and completely crushes the pies and then it’s the final match against Ice Cream, the reigning champion of Sweetest Cage Fighting International. Do you think your gelato would win? Or would it be the underdog?
Me: I just want to know if you stand behind your product.
Him: Would you like a sample or do you know what you want to order?
So I ordered my tiramisu gelato and went to join my friends. Travis, who had been standing by me in line, stared at me as I sat down. And kept staring at me. And then said these words:
“Why are you like that, do you think?”
I had no answer for him then. And I have no answer now.
Which begs the question, once more. Weird? Or precious?
Allow me to lay out one more scene, in order to help you make a fully-informed decision. I’m a friendly gal. And I like being friendly to lots of different people. And I like jobs where I get many opportunities to be friendly to many different people. This is why working in the cafe of Barnes and Noble was one of my best jobs ever. I got to be super friendly, make coffee, AND wear an apron. What about that is not awesome? So connected to our Barnes and Noble was a GameStop, and inside the GameStop was a dude called Robert. Robert did not enjoy being friendly. Robert’s favorite things were scowling, ignoring, and mumbling.
My favorite thing was Robert.
I also enjoyed projects. And winning people over.
Robert became my project.
He would come over to the cafe on his breaks to get a cup of coffee or a cookie. And every time he came over, we’d have some semblance of the following exchange of words and ideas:
Me: Hi Robert! How are you today?
Him: blank stare
Me: That’s so great! Yeah, my day has been good too. I just got here, so hooray for 8 hours of making coffee! Did you get to play outside at all today?
Him: blank stare
Me: Yeah, I didn’t either. I had to do some homework. It was a bummer because it was pretty today, huh?
Robert: mumble mumble grande caramel frap mumble
Me: Rad, good choice. Caramel is the best flavor, don’t you think?
Robert: blank stare
Me: (starting to make his drink) So what did you do last weekend?
Robert: blank stare
Me: Yeah, I had a good weekend too. I did some shopping and I got some new shoes. Oooh, do you want to see my new shoes?
Robert: still nothing
Me: (coming around the counter to show off my shoes) See how rad they are? I really like the sparkles the best. And look, if I stand like this I look like a ballerina! See?
Robert: never looks at the shoes
Me: They had them in hot pink, too. I almost got hot pink. But then I went with black because black goes with so much more. But I kind of want to get the hot pink also. Isn’t that funny? It’s like, how many sparkly shoes does one girl need? Am I right?
Robert: glares at the floor
Me: (handing him his drink) You’re right. There’s no such thing as too many pairs of sparkly shoes. I’m going to do it! Thanks, Robert. You have a great day! I’ll see you on your next break! Hooray for us working at the same time!
Now. I know what you (yes, you) are thinking. This is bordering on Weird, says you. Nay again, says I! Because a very interesting thing happened. As the weeks turned into months, Robert began to respond to me. His blank stares turned into bewildered faces. His bewildered faces turned into bemused shakes of his head. Until one day, as he and I finished a transaction, something amazing happened. My coworker put it best:
Her: HOLY CRAPBALLS. Robert just SMILED at you!!
My manager bought me a cookie to celebrate. And from that day forward, Robert continued to only ever smile at me. Once, he even asked to see my hot pink sparkly shoes.
So I ask again. Weird? Or precious?
As I sit here, recalling these moments, I feel confident that I’ve come to my own conclusion to the quandary before us. And I feel as though I can honestly answer the question posed to me, so many years ago.
“Why are you like that, do you think?”
“Because I’m precious.”