I have taken the second-largest step thus far toward the eventual publication of "Space Girls" (the first, of course, was getting a manuscript completed from start to finish) by sending it to two of my professors asking if they would like to tear it apart. They are busy, and it's long, but I don't feel that I'm selfishly taking advantage of them because they've both praised my writing enough that I imagine they would enjoy the process. Neither of them has responded to acknowledge receipt of the file, so hopefully that just means they didn't think it necessary, as opposed to being a passive-aggressive way of saying screw you. Also, a draft of "Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars" should be posted on the site soon.
As fate would have it, I was standing near Phil while he was talking to a couple of girls at a fireworks-watching activity and they said they should get a group and go down to one of their homes in Star Valley to ride horses, so I ended up getting invited to that, though I won't hold my breath for it to actually happen or for them to remember to mention to me if it does. I've never ridden a horse. I'm wary about it because I know that even if you have a well-behaved horse and do everything right, there's still a teensy chance that it will throw you off and break your spine. Still, I'd rather be maimed by an intelligent creature than a mindless machine, or more likely a mindless Utahan driving a machine.
The Mormon Section
I'm not sure where this came from. He is the Elders' Quorum president of the ward I've been attending and maybe he's forgotten that I don't actually belong to that ward, even though he did know and told me to just not tell anyone. Nearly four years ago, I attended the wrong ward for a while and then they made me go to the right one, telling me that I needed to be with my own bishop because he had stewardship over my geographical area, and that if people just went to whatever ward they wanted they would all just go wherever the cutest girls were. Since then, I've seen the bishops in this stake ignore that rule for over a dozen other people. When I was ward clerk, to name the most extreme example, I discovered that a girl in my ward was 37 years old. She just didn't feel comfortable in a family ward so they let her come to this one instead and that was that. It was just really weird because my aunt was 38 and I saw her as a "grown-up" while I saw this girl as a peer.
Now, of course, leadership in both wards know that I'm going to the wrong ward and none of them care. "Just go wherever the cutest girls are," our assigned high councilman told me. "That's what I would do."
My bishop did caution that it could cause problems if I wasn't around to perform my calling, but I hadn't done anything there for months and months anyway because the ward mission leader – I don't even remember who it was last – hadn't arranged anything for months and months. The new one is super gung-ho about it so we'll probably go visit people every week now. He didn't call ahead so nobody we were supposed to visit this week was home, but at one of the houses the door was answered by a guy with tattoos all down his arms and a T-shirt of a skeleton flipping the bird. He was very friendly and courteous and told us a bit about how he's agnostic and believes in a benevolent higher power but nothing super specific. That was far more interesting than visiting someone who's already an active member and pretending to care about the town in Idaho where she grew up.
Earlier in the week, for the second time, the Chinese missionaries stopped me and asked me if I know any Chinese people for them to teach. They don't ask first if I'm even LDS, and the other missionaries never stop me at all, so apparently I just have that glow. I don't currently know any Chinese people, but three competing responses popped into my head simultaneously: "Sorry, I only know Americans." "Sorry, I only know white people." "Sorry, I only know English speakers." And all three of them would have made sense. Isn't that weird? I guess the last one would have made the most sense in this context, though. I used to have two Chinese roommates, and one of them couldn't put more than two English words together, so we didn't talk much but he was one of the nicest guys in the world. He was already meeting with missionaries but I don't think he got baptized before he went back to China because he was still smoking. But I hope things worked out for him when he got there.