I'm very excited for school to start in a couple days - excited for my class on Monday, excited for my class on Tuesday, excited for the classes I'll teach on Tuesday even though I won't have Zoom as a crutch and wouldn't have chosen to start at 7:30 if it were up to me, excited for what feels like a five-day weekend every week but really isn't because it just means I need to be a very responsible adult and determine my own schedule for the many things I have to do outside of classroom time, excited for the vaccination mandate that USU is preparing to implement because asking nicely just isn't enough in Utah. The future is bright, up until the end of this year when I really need to start getting a handle on whether I'm going to get a PhD or just take a job somewhere and if so, where, and supposedly I'm going to get married at some point before I die and it would be really nice to have that at least underway by then so I could make these decisions with my wife or wife-to-be instead of us both charting our life paths separately and later struggling to mesh them together. But nobody asked me.
You know, my first first day of college was ten years ago. This may or may not be my last one. As a student, I mean. I should be waxing all nostalgic about that, as is my wont, but I don't feel articulate enough to do it justice right now.
Of course, the week or so leading up to school has its drawbacks, and my desire to just relax and savor it was somewhat thwarted. Logan Preferred Property Management sent the carpet cleaners to my apartment complex without telling anyone, sent the normal cleaner to my apartment complex without telling anyone, and sent roofers to replace the entire roof without telling anyone. All of us except my roommate who can sleep through anything were pretty pissed. When the roofers woke me up at 7 a.m. on Monday, I couldn't believe LPPM had the audacity to do that after I complained about the idiots with the chainsaw who had done the same thing despite being ordered not to start until 8. I complained again and got the same empty apology and reassurances. The next day the roofers started later, but on Wednesday they started banging away at 6:30, which is, as I understand it, illegal. So I complained to management for the third time, and apparently "illegal" was the magic word that got them to stop lying about addressing the problem and actually address the problem. I decided I'd file a noise complaint if it happened again, and then I decided I was pissed enough to file a noise complaint anyway.
I know what you may be thinking - Ah, Christopher, you fool, you complain about police all the time and now you suddenly need them. Why didn't you call a crackhead for help instead? Correction: I didn't "need" the police for anything. I could have dealt with the situation myself, but our society has arbitrarily decided that pushing people off of roofs is also illegal. So I looked online for some kind of form I could fill out instead of talking to a human, and stumbled instead on a different form entitled "Personnel Complaint". I got so excited about this that I considered the roofers a blessing in disguise.
As both of my long-time readers are aware, on January 14, 2020, aka the worst day of my life,
D'oh. Anyway, on that day I learned firsthand that police officers are the natural enemies of anyone with a mental illness, when Officer Nelson showed up to "help" me and instead did the opposite of that. I didn't do anything about it at the time. My first priority was to get out of the hospital before I got stuck with a buttload of medical debt (because 'Murica), and then my first priority was to live through the night despite the unbearable pain for my friend Katie's sake, and then I just kind of wandered through life as a shell of my former self for a couple months. I didn't know anything about formal complaint procedures and I feared the police retaliating against me if I did complain to them. You have to remember, this was before George Floyd became one police murder too many, and nobody was putting them in their place. As Officer Nelson was abusing me I knew that he knew he could do it because he had a blue uniform and de facto authority to kill anyone who didn't show him the respect he thought he deserved. If he hadn't been in a blue uniform, I would not have tolerated the way he spoke to me.
Largely thanks to the well-deserved anti-police backlash a few months later, I got over my fear enough that I started to hope he would see my blog posts or Facebook posts and comments where I told the world, usually in rather crude terms, exactly what I thought of him. And I knew I would not respond the same way if anything similar ever happened again. A while ago I had one of my occasional nightmares that the police were coming after me again, and I was terrified, but determined that despite my fear I was going to give them a piece of my mind. I woke up before that came to pass.
When I did briefly look into the possibility of a formal complaint, I read something about a six-month statute of limitations, and looked no further. I also knew that Derek Chauvin, in his nineteen-year career, had accumulated eighteen conduct complaints resulting in literally nothing but two letters from his boss asking him not to do it again. But this complaint form on Logan City Police Department's website said nothing at all about a time limit. And now the climate around policing is much different. I figure there's a very real chance of getting a tangible result. Even if I don't, I at least have the satisfaction of knowing that Officer Nelson has been blindsided by this coming back to bite him in the butt long after he'd forgotten about it, and by the realization that this doormat he trampled on actually has feelings and a brain. I wish I could see the look on his face when he reads my complaint. I'd like to think he already has, and that it ruined his weekend, but with bureaucracy being what it is I doubt it's moving that fast.
Another cop was there, but he said three sentences the entire time and wasn't a bully or a jackass, so I said little about him in my complaint but I did list him as my sole witness despite not knowing his name. I only know Officer Nelson's name because he told me. A few months ago when I was in a car crash and had to talk to a cop, he had his name printed on his uniform, but I'm pretty sure that was a post-George Floyd reform. Anyway, I'm sure they'll ask this cop to evaluate my account, and I can only hope that honesty is more important to him than backing the blue. On that note, the form claims that the investigation will be "objective", which is kind of a red flag whenever I see it because nobody on the planet is objective about things that matter to them at all. Even if they really are trying, police officers investigating another police officer are not going to be objective. They just aren't. They can, however, still do the right thing if they choose to be honest.
They'll surely consult with Brad Hansen, the USU police officer who first received my neighbors' complaint and delegated it to the city police. My neighbors went to him because he was in our bishopric. He never spoke to me again after that day, but I made a point of resting my hand on my face with the middle finger extended when he walked by, and I know he noticed. I'm excited for him to read my complaint too. And they really should ask my ex-neighbors about what they said and how they said it, because they more than likely were overdramatic and told some outright lies that influenced Officer Nelson's response to the situation. I didn't devote nearly as much space as I could have in my complaint to explaining why their complaint was wrong, because that's not really the point, but it is still relevant because Officer Nelson was an idiot to take it as gospel truth and never ask me about my side at all. I have let go of all malice toward my ex-neighbors because, as mentioned in my complaint, one was delusional and the other gullible. (And I was equally gullible, which is how the problem started.) It's the trained law enforcement personnel who should have known better.
I assumed that walking into the police station and handing my complaint to the woman at the desk - I visualized a woman at the desk with a few male cops nearby, and I told myself that was a sexist assumption to make, but of course that was exactly what I saw when I went - would be terrifying. I assumed that I would have to be courageous and push through the fear. But it wasn't and I didn't. It was no more stressful than going to the post office. Maybe God was with me. After the woman at the desk said "Hello" I felt a little bad at repaying her kindness with a personnel complaint form, but I wasn't about to back down at the last minute.
I made scans just in case she or someone else "misplaces" it. Here they are for posterity.
Ventana Student Housing in Orem, Utah learned the hard way last year that evicting a student for vocalizing suicidal tendencies - yes, in case you missed it, that's literally exactly what they did, no exaggeration - is not okay. They experienced a tsunami of thoroughly deserved backlash in which I was proud to play some small part. They responded to this backlash by refusing to answer the phone, deleting comments from their Facebook page, and generally removing any question as to whether they had a legitimate side of the story that would make them look less evil. Now it brings me great joy to know that the student, Austyn Sorenson, and the Disability Law Center of Utah are suing them for this blatant violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. If she hadn't chosen to sue them, nobody else could have done so, and they would escape the legal consequences that they deserve on top of the suffering they've already faced. Unfortunately the law doesn't provide for the management to be imprisoned for life and have their company confiscated and given to actual humans, but at least I can be satisfied that they're not having a fun time right now.
In a Salt Lake Tribune editorial, Robert Gehrke summed it up pretty well: "Unless you’re vying for the title of 'Utah’s Worst Person,' it’s hard to comprehend that your reaction when someone comes to you and tells you a young person is considering suicide would be to evict that person from his or her apartment." Indeed. I read another editorial months ago about the ignorance around mental health, which is a legitimate problem, but not relevant to this case. Evicting someone for vocalizing suicidal tendencies isn't ignorance, it's sociopathy. I also appreciate that Gehrke mocked the author of the eviction notice for writing "undo" instead of "undue", one of three spelling errors that I noted in my previous evisceration of that damnable document. Since then my English graduate instructor training has taught me not to criticize people's spelling and grammar, but I'm still going to make an exception for this person and I hope Beth can forgive me for that. I only criticized people's spelling and grammar mistakes when they were being jerks anyway. And people like this person, and everyone else at Ventana Student Housing who either signed off on it or did nothing to stop it, are the reason hell exists.
Yesterday I went to the park to read The Merlin Effect, one of the scores of books I've acquired over the years and never read because I was too busy wasting time on social media. It's part fantasy, part sci-fi, so I could kind of justify reading it for my thesis even though it wasn't on my list. It's very creative, tying together a bunch of ideas and plot hooks into a strange and satisfying whole, and I really enjoyed it even while silently critiquing its shortcomings, such as entire chapters of expository dialogue. (I have to notice those things for my own improvement as a writer.) I just breezed through it and didn't count down the pages until I could be done like I did with some of the books on my list.
A group from Gospel Peace Church had set up a pavilion in the park with free Popsicles, face painting, and cornhole. I got invited over there twice. It's an evangelical church that's just been planted in Logan a few weeks ago as a spinoff of a church with a similar name in Salt Lake City. (Proactive church planting is often a far more effective method for growth than my own church's preferred method of waiting until congregations reach a certain size, which may or may not ever happen, and then splitting them.) Leadership had come from as far away as Michigan, so I can only assume that this church was planted specifically as an outreach to Mormons, whom many if not most evangelicals assume are all going to the same place as the management of Ventana Student Housing. Of course they asked about my religious background and I told them, and they were chill about it and didn't criticize. They said their LDS neighbors are all really nice and the temple grounds are beautiful.
I hope they stay that way. I hope they aren't like those guys who used to set up on USU campus and seemed far less interested in promoting their own beliefs than in tearing down other people's beliefs. There's a big difference. By all means, promote your beliefs, explain why you find them credible and compelling and whatnot, and let people decide for themselves whether they then find your beliefs more credible than their current beliefs or lack thereof. I have no objection to that. I have no objection to everyone enjoying the same right to proselyte as my own church's missionaries - but my own church's missionaries aren't trained to go around poking holes in other churches' theology or history. Taking that approach is far less likely to persuade someone than to make them think (correctly) that you're a dick. Atheists who go around social media comments trying to deconvert people from belief in general, offering literally nothing in exchange, are even more obnoxious.
I also welcome any increase in Utah's religious diversity. Even believing, as I do, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the "most true" religion, I don't want it to monopolize any area because that results in too many of its members becoming arrogant narrow-minded jerks (as is human nature with any lack of diversity) - and since it explicitly teaches that people who don't join it in mortality can still do so in the next life, there's no downside. (That's often the elephant in the room with religious diversity. "I love you and legitimately respect your differences in belief, but according to my beliefs you're still going to burn in hell forever." My church's workaround for this problem is one of my favorite things about it.) And if they do end up pulling their future membership from my church's current membership, oh well - my church has plenty of people that I would be happy to give away.
Today is, appropriately, the anniversary of my most popular blog post last year. The bar for that is pretty low, but it still made me happy. So here it is again: Newly Discovered Ancient Document Sheds Light on the Origin of Our Species
I hadn't been to Institute for two semesters because although the organization was taking appropriate health precautions, I knew for a fact that most of my potential fellow students were out having large social gatherings with no masks on a regular basis. Now I'm vaccinated so it's fine. I even had prolonged exposure to a Covid-positive neighbor a week before my vaccination reached full efficacy and nothing happened, so after all this time I can finally relax and stop thinking about the potential life-ruining long-term side effects that an infection might have on my brain. I missed the first couple weeks of "Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel" due to my visiting family. I've taken this class twice, as I've taken every class that interests me at all, but I still have great need to increase my relationship with and faith in Jesus Christ. It was a powerful experience the first two times but it wore off after a while.
I'd never even seen Rand Curtis before and didn't know what to expect. When I came in and saw on the screen "Lesson 4: The Creation", I got a bit queasy as I flashed back to past experiences with this topic in Institute classes. Listening to teachers who know nothing about evolution mock evolution while I sit there with the expertise to know it's real as surely as I know the sun shines has never been a pleasant experience. The last time was a few years ago, and the Institute faculty may have caught up with the last century of scientific discovery by now, but I just didn't know what to expect and it was kind of tense.
So he kind of started off with a painting of a primordial-looking Earth with Jesus flying above it looking pretty epic with his hands and feet angled toward it as if to say, "KAZAM!" He made us talk to our classmates and discuss what we think the creation of the Earth may have looked like. I told my partner that I accept the scientific account of the creation of the Earth, so I think it took a really long time and if you floated there and watched you wouldn't notice anything happening. (Granted, if you timed your observation just right you might see the hypothesized planet Theia crash into it and knock off the big chunk of debris that later became our moon, which would be almost but not quite as epic as Jesus saying "KAZAM!") I phrased my opinion as inoffensively as possible, as if accepting science were only one of many possible options. My partner kind of nodded and accepted that.
Brother Curtis then had a slide that showed a diagram of the Earth with its layers, and a timeline of its scientifically established history starting at the north pole and going around its circumference. I wondered, did he put that up there just to dispute it? But he reassured me very quickly. "Was the Earth created in six days?" he asked the class. I kind of went "Eh" as if to say "I don't believe so, but you can believe what you want." But he answered his own question like, "No! But a thousand years are as one day to God, so was the Earth created in six thousand years?" And I kind of went "Eh" again. But he answered his own question like, "No!" And he had a spiel about the ultimate compatibility of scientific and religious truth, and he spoke against checking your brain at the door of a religious classroom and suppressing secular knowledge or the questions it raises. Stuff I've read and written ad nauseam, but a welcome surprise anyway. He basically straight-up said that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old. That was more than I could have hoped for. I get so tired of people pretending that if the Church doesn't have a position on something, any view on the subject is equally valid regardless of basic facts and common sense.
Granted, I had another teacher, Kurt Reese, who said that the Earth isn't 6,000 years old and then said "If anyone here believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, I'm sorry... that you're bad at science." I guess that counts. But he wasn't teaching about the Creation per se - it was a church history class and we were talking about Joseph Fielding Smith's ridiculously fundamentalist readings of scripture, and he liked to joke around and tease like that in general. He would tease you for being from Colorado or being a Democrat even though one of the points he tried to hammer home is that you can, in fact, be a Democrat and still be worthy. He went so far as to imply that it's okay if you observe rampant poverty on your mission and come home feeling "pretty disgusted with capitalism". And he's a Republican himself, but not the evil kind. Where was I going with this? Anyway, his discussion of the age of the Earth was cool and all but not quite as impactful in that context. Maybe I was just desensitized to his heretical teachings by that point in the course.
Brother Curtis pointed out that on this little Earth history timeline, dinosaurs don't seem so ancient anymore, and human history was too brief to even show up. And then he said three incredible words - "Fifty million years." Not phrased as a question. Oh boy. The Earth itself is one thing, but this strikes at the very heart of some people's spiritual identity. Of course, it's the sort of perceived chronological discrepancy that some Latter-day Saints think they can just handwave away with suggestions like "wE dOn'T kNoW hOw LoNg AdAm AnD eVe WeRe In ThE gArDeN." Yeah, whatever. They're the only two people in the world, they can't have sex, literally nothing has been invented yet, and I'm supposed to seriously consider for one moment the possibility that they just chill in the Garden for, say, the entire time that dinosaurs are roaming around elsewhere? Nuh-uh. I give them three months before they eat the forbidden fruit as an attempt at suicide.
His next slide showed a bunch of skulls of our ancient evolutionary cousins and ancestors - either that, or just skulls of people who think Derek Chauvin should have been acquitted. He asked if we have room for these people in our view of the gospel. I discussed with my partner. Yes, we both did. Cool. But Brother Curtis overheard someone say "It doesn't matter how we got here, just that we're here" and called him out on it because that kind of intellectual apathy "won't make us like our heavenly parents." Brother Curtis was very big on intellect. Most religious teachers are in theory, but it's another thing to actually be so in practice and not the type of person who starts sentences with "I love science, but..." He did say he wasn't going to get into all the details of how he worked out science and religion together, which is fair, but I wish he hadn't just said "I find no physical evidence for a flood covering the entire planet a few thousand years ago. None" and left that for us to grapple with. I think the story of Noah is much easier to reconcile than most people give it credit for. I don't know why so many are locked into this false dichotomy that either the flood covered the entire planet or it never happened.
Speaking of heavenly parents, that was a big thing with him. He always said "heavenly parents" where most Saints would just say "Heavenly Father". I don't think he said "Heavenly Father" one time. In fact, in one of his slides he had written "Heavenly Father" and read it as "heavenly parents", which suggested to me that perhaps he, too, just recently had a feminist awakening. These small and simple vocabulary replacements are a huge step toward promoting true gender equality in the Church, showing women that they, too, have a significant eternal destiny and role model, and really leveraging one of the greatest doctrines that separates us from the mainstream Christian world and by all rights should be shouted from the rooftops, not treated as an open secret.
Since this was a ninety-minute night class, we then had another lesson, which was about commandments and stuff and not nearly as interesting because science, but still good. Yes, commandments can change; no, Jesus did not drink grape juice. Brother Curtis remained an engaging and effective teacher but tried a little too hard to relate. He shared that he still hasn't mastered the don't-looketh-upon-a-woman-to-lust-after-her thing. He said, "I'm old, but I'm not that old." TMI, my dude. But I'll let that slide. His whole perspective on things was such a breath of fresh air as I've grown so disillusioned with the rampant stupidity and willful ignorance that sometimes make me very embarrassed to be a believer. It's above and beyond what I've come to expect from an Institute class. He even expressed his gratitude for the LGBTQ community. The experience had me looking at him like
I hope my classmates don't complain and get him fired.
A couple of videos he shared which I'd seen before but were worth rewatching because space:
If you're stuck at home tonight because of the you-know-what, here's something to keep you entertained for a little while. Note that "The Monster Mash", "Spooky Scary Skeletons", "This is Halloween", and "Thriller", though all excellent songs, have been excluded from this list on account of being way too overplayed.
Erica Silverman - Big Pumpkin
If your kindergarten teacher didn't play/read this for you, you had a deprived childhood and may be entitled to financial compensation. Don't quote me on that.
Erutan - Come Little Children
A full length version of the song sung by Sarah Jessica Parker in the cult classic "Hocus Pocus". It's a silly movie, but what really ruins my suspension of disbelief is a straight teenage boy running away from Sarah Jessica Parker.
Sierra Games Staff - Consumite Furore
Creepy Latin singing from the intro to the gory and highly controversial 1995 computer game "Phantasmagorica", which, as every article about the game is obligated to point out, was banned in Australia.
Chorus Girls - Don't Feed the Plants
This original ending to the dark comedy musical "Little Shop of Horrors", replaced because of test audiences' negative reaction but now widely regarded as superior to the happy version, ranks as one of the most expensive deleted scenes of all time.
Iced Earth - Dracula
Rather sacrilegious, except that Dracula's rebellion against God is driven by the abhorrent false doctrine that his girlfriend has been damned for eternity for killing herself, so really, with the information available to him, he isn't wrong to respond as he does.
Rob Zombie - Dragula
Not really scary so much as too epic not to include. ("Epic" is professional music critic terminology for songs with loud electric guitars.)
The Key of Awesome - Emo Vampire
Believe it or not, there was a time when the Twilight series was cool, at least if you were a girl between the ages of twelve and fifty. My mother was possessed by it, and when I first met my friend Rachel at Youth Conference, her name tag identified her only as "Edward's Girlfriend". The backlash was inevitable.
The Living Tombstone - Grim Grinning Ghosts
A better cover of this song has never been found. I say that as one who watched on older version at the beginning of Disney's "Boo Busters" and "Witcheroo" VHS tapes (ask your parents what those were) and had a huge crush on live action Maleficent.
Information Society feat. Ayria - Heffalumps and Woozles
I found the original sequence quite unnerving as a child. As an adult, I find this cover both unnerving and lots of fun to dance to in private.
Hex Girls - Hex Girl
From "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost" (1999). Nowadays, this song is problematic because it promotes a double standard about consent, but we can still appreciate it as long as we recognize its historical context. It turns out this video also includes "Earth, Wind, Fire and Air" so that's a bonus track.
Debs & Errol - If I were an Undead Crawler
Parody of Barenaked Ladies' "If I had $1,000,000". Are zombies overrated? Yes. Is this song underrated? Heck yes.
Baha Men - It's Spooky in Here (Digimon Halloween Song)
You've probably never heard this, because it's from a CD called "Rhythm and Boos" that came in boxes of Count Chocula, Boo Berry and/or Franken Berry cereal in 2001. Some of my students weren't even born then. That's scary.
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Jurassic Park
Not that I've seen a lot of horror movies, or plan to, but I find "Jurassic Park" scarier than any horror movie I've seen. The Tyrannosaurus rex in particular always stops my heart. As a creature both fantastical and real, it's scarier than either a made-up monster or a random human serial killer. This music video is ironically much gorier than the actual movie, but it's all played for laughs, and the song's ending is unironically beautiful.
Judas Priest - Night Crawler
Personally my favorite Judas Priest song. And as dark and creepy as it is, it has a happy ending, or at least as happy of an ending as one could reasonably expect under the circumstances!
Jonathan Coulton - Re: Your Brains
The song that introduced me to the genius of Jonathan Coulton, and still his best work IMHO (though his music and lyrics for the Portal anthem "Still Alive" comes in close). Even my freshman year roommate playing it twenty times in a row failed to make me hate it.
Ozzy Osbourne - Scary Little Green Men
Even with his advanced age and ill health, the wizard of Ozz managed to release a killer album this year, which features this gem that beats out his other Halloween classic "Balk at the Moan" for a spot on this list. Aliens > werewolves.
Rammstein - Spieluhr
The gist of this song is that a small child wants to be left alone, so it [sic] pretends to be dead, and gets buried with a music box in its hand, and then the music box and the child's singing can be heard from beneath the earth.
Meco - Werewolf (Loose in London)
Even though werewolves < aliens, they still deserve some recognition. And so does Meco. Despite scoring a number one hit in 1977 with his disco cover of the Star Wars and cantina band themes, he's fallen into almost total obscurity, which isn't fair.
Hap Palmer - Witches' Brew
Once upon a time, one of my Primary teachers had us sing this in Primary. I liked it better than most of the boring church songs we did.
Because I find rituals comforting, I habitually listen to both of these entire soundtracks on Halloween.
Jonne Valtonen - Alien Incident
This 1996 point-and-click game ("Muukalaisten yö" or "Night of the Aliens" in the original Finnish) actually takes place on Halloween, so it's appropriate that the aliens look like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Its rather strange music has really grown on me. I converted and uploaded the music files from the free Abandonia download, though there is additional music in the game that I don't know how to find and wasn't patient enough to record directly.
Alain Goraguer - La Planète Sauvage
This bizarre animated 1973 French-Czech co-production isn't a horror film as such, but the soundtrack is creepy and unearthly enough.
You know that gag book that's called Everything Men Know About Women and all the pages are blank? I'm going to write one like that, except I'm going to call it Ventana Student Housing's Guide to Effective Damage Control. As previously reported, Ventana Student Housing in Orem, Utah gave a tenant less than a week to move out after she violated her contract by vocalizing suicidal tendencies. I'm not kidding. That's literally what the eviction notice says. Now, I think the social-media-driven outrage machine is usually a plague on society, but this time it was put to good use and I was happy to participate. How did Ventana Student Housing respond?
They didn't. They continued ignoring all media requests for comment and refusing to answer the phone - so if you thought for one moment that they had a legitimate side of the story that could exonerate them, you were wrong. They disabled the option to message their Facebook page and deleted comments on said page. In fact, they deleted their one post from this year, apparently thinking nobody would be smart enough to just comment on the next one. They were mistaken about that. And somehow they got Facebook to take down my review for "violating Community Standards", which, after a solid track record of Facebook refusing to do anything any time that I report blatant hate speech or pornography, confirms my suspicion that the Community Standards are enforced by lobotomized gerbils. So I immediately left another review and that one has stayed up for a week now. Their rating is at 1.1 stars, which sadly is the lowest it can go because they have some ratings above 1 star from back before they showed their true colors. I'm not sure why 1 star is the minimum anyway. They deserve negative stars. What's the 1 star for, having the audacity to exist when they shouldn't?
I still hope, of course, that Ventana Student Housing will get sued out of existence, but even if that doesn't happen, at a bare minimum they've been taught a lesson they'll never forget.
While these ingrown hairs on Satan's butt are persecuting a student whose vocalizing of suicidal tendencies, according to them, was a "breach by the Tenant of the quiet enjoyment of the premises or surrounding premises of other tenant's [sic]", my neighbors are actually breaching my quiet enjoyment of the premises several times a week, but I don't want them to get evicted because they're nice and I'm not a complete sociopath. A few days ago one of them started screaming over and over and over so I rushed outside and banged on the door. Michaela's face greeted me in the window beside the door, as with a cheery smile she said, "This doesn't concern you, Chris!"
Kaylee was, as usual, the source of the screaming. Michaela and Hailey had her on the floor, cornered. Hailey also greeted me at the window and explained, "She's afraid to text a boy."
"Oh," I said, "you should just take her phone away and do it for her."
"That's what we're trying to do!" Hailey said.
"Help me, Chris!" Kaylee said.
"Don't let her out!" Michaela said, but I couldn't anyway because the door was locked. So I left them to it.
Of course I couldn't help but think back several months, to their predecessors, who were much quieter but did far more to breach my enjoyment of the premises. Talease gave me Calise's number one evening when I dropped by to invite her to go hiking and she wasn't home. Talease said I should just text her to invite her to stuff, but I didn't dare use her number without permission. Talease assured me it was fine, that she was Calise's best friend and it was fine. And then Calise came home and interrupted us, and on my way out I said that her roommate gave me her number and wanted me to text her. She said, "You're welcome to text me," and then Talease's little dog Paisley ran out the door and we spent the next ten minutes chasing her down and I didn't forgive her for weeks.
So I'd texted Calise a little bit, probably less than I could have, always hesitant and worried that my unnatural luck would run out after she actually responded the first few times, when I became frustrated by my lack of progress and solicited Talease's help and she said Calise loves going for walks and I should invite her to go for a walk. She basically promised that Calise would say yes, but I didn't believe her. I said I was too nervous. She said, "Then we'll do it together. Give me your phone." I did, and she wrote the text and sent it with no input from me, and when I saw it I nearly had a heart attack.
It's funny how perception and memory can be so wrong - for me, at least. Maybe I'm exceptionally stupid. Because this is what the text actually said: "Hey Calise, I was wondering if I could take you on a walk on Wednesday. Are you free?"
But this is how I read it: "Hey Calise, I would like to take you for a walk. Do you have some time on Wednesday?"
First of all, I wouldn't have said "take you for a walk" because she wasn't a dog, but I guess "take you on a walk" is a little more ambiguous. In any case, though, I read the text as expressing a desire without an actual request attached to it, and then operating on the assumption that she had already agreed to the nonexistent request and we merely needed to work out the details. And I nearly had a heart attack because it was so bold and presumptuous. "No, it isn't," Talease assured me. She said that Calise was at work and would probably respond in about an hour. She responded in nine minutes.
"Sure, I have some time after 6- I usually go to the temple on Wednesday as well if you'd like to join me"
So I thought about that when I told Kaylee's roommates they should take her phone and text the boy for her. In hindsight, I'm not sure if I was trying to help her or if I am just a bit of a sociopath after all. But tonight I heard she got a date out of it, so she's welcome.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.