Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My carbon footprint is smaller than yours...

I'm a bus-taker. A slave to the Capital Transit Bus system. It's...whatever. I live at point A, walk for a little while, get on the bus, get off the bus, walk for another little while, and I'm at point B. It's effective enough and keeps me from burning my weight in natural resources every day. I also don't have a driver's license.
Gasp. I can't believe I just admitted that on the internet. Everyone in Juneau seems to have a driver's license, but not me. Upon hearing this absolutely earth-shattering information, I'm often presented with a very typical follow up question: why not?
For a while, I didn't have a license because I didn't want one. I was fine not driving because it didn't appeal to me (I also failed my learner's permit test twice when I was a teenager). Now, I don't have a license because I just don't. Too busy to learn, too broke for a car. Same old story. So, I take the bus.

Public transportation is a writer's wet dream. If I had a bit more sense in me, I'd carry a notepad on the bus and begin writing a novella. In an enclosed space under fluorescent lighting, everyone is fascinating...
I can never figure out where drunk people need to be in the morning, but more often than not, a man will get on the first bus of the day with a stumble his step and a lazy twinkle in his eye that indicates intoxication. The stink of his breath when he passes lets me know it's fresh. He can still taste the whiskey. Everyone else can smell it.
On the afternoon bus, the drunk man sleeps, but the schizophrenic woman is wide awake. She sits in the back, wears sunglasses on a cloudy day. Sometimes she'll mumble but she usually keeps to herself. I've heard that on a rare occasion, this woman will have a paranoid meltdown that really freaks everyone out. I've never seen it happen myself, but my boyfriend tells me it isn't pretty. He says that when it happens, she forces everyone on the bus to face a reality that we often ignore. Life isn't always beautiful. For some people, it's a terribly frightening experience.
The evening bus is the worst because it's rowdy as hell. Loud teenagers love to talk about sex, alcohol and drugs. I can't blame them, all are worthy topics for discussion, but I just can't stand the way these guys do it. They announce, with intimate detail, their sexual experiences at the top of their lungs; forcing the entire bus to listen. Boys feel like men, want everyone to know they're growing up.

There was a time when I saw the city bus as a window into the seedy underbelly of this town, but I was wrong. There is no such thing as a seedy underbelly, just differing realities. Everyday I spend time observing people who I would otherwise never come into contact with, and it serves as a constant reminder that there is a world outside my little college bubble. It is no better or worse than my own but it is very, very different.

Currently drinking re-heated coffee from this morning. Wishing it were Lady Gray...

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Last week, here in Juneau, we had amazing weather. Ten days of sun in mid-September. Unheard of. The man on the local news said the uncharacteristically good weather was due to a fluke-like change in weather patterns. The fluke has now passed, and familiar rain and wind have settled in. I've said goodbye to the blue sky of summer, and am trying my hardest to welcome back the Southeast Alaska gray. It'll be here for a while.
When I think about how quickly the weather changes between summer and fall, I cannot help but compare such changes to myself. It is not that I feel sunny in the summer and gray in the fall, but there is a certain transition that I find myself making in unison with the leaves.

I spend my summers working in tourism. For ten hours a day, I do a job that I can do in my sleep, one I've done for four summers now. A large part of my job includes talking to tourists--not about anything in particular, just keeping them happy. I tell them about Alaska and myself. When they talk, I listen. Hundreds of people per week.
When I'm not at work, I read fiction for fun, hike with friends and drink on weeknights. My job is easy and my free time is my own. The word 'homework' never touches my lips and academia stays far out of my mind. Yes, summers in Juneau are delightful. In a word, refreshing.
But, because I tend to be a 'grass is always greener' type of girl, I usually find myself craving intellectual stimulation by the time August rolls around. At this point, I begin thinking about school; and as quickly as the summer began, it comes to an end. Back in the classroom.

The transition from a life of partying with friends, hiking on beautiful days and reading whatever the hell I want to one of high expectations and responsibility shouldn't happen overnight, but it does. I talk less and think more, re-teach myself (for the thousandth time) how to format an MLA paper and keep my friendships on reserve for weekends. My free time does not belong to me, instead it is given to books, papers and power point presentations. Dishes pile up in my sink and even my eyebrows go un-plucked. All in the name of education.
Please don't mistake these facts for complaints, I am not complaining. I am only showing you, my reader, the stark contrast that I've seen every September since 2007. In some ways, it is difficult to adjust--but more than anything, it is rewarding. I am fortunate to have such wonderful summers, and likewise I am lucky to have an enriching education. If I didn't love this (caffeinated) life, I would've quit college long ago. But the truth is, I don't know who I'd be without the things I've learned and the habits I've formed in college.

Coffee: Home-brew. Third cup today. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh hi there

Hello Readers,

Welcome to This Caffeinated Life, a blog about coffee and college life. Honestly, there isn't too much I can say about coffee aside from the obvious: it is amazing. So instead of writing sweet nothings about my favorite drink on the internet, I vow to only write in this blog while I am drinking coffee (exception: right now, its like 10:30pm right now).
With my handy webcam, I will photograph myself drinking coffee before each post to prove my dedication to blogging on caffeine. It will be a lot like the photo below, except instead of proudly and awkwardly displaying a bowl of ramen, it will be a big steaming cup of joe. I realize this is narcissistic, but that is nature of blogging...

I created this blog for Eng. 461, Advanced Creative Writing. It is supposed to be personal, so I will try and be as honest as possible with my thoughts and musings on college life. I am excited to reflect on life as a poor, twenty-one year old full time student. There is much to say. Right now, I've got ramen to eat...