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  • ATM Love

    As you may have deduced at this point, I attract weird. Weird people, weird situations... just weird. That being said, this may have been one of the weirdest things to have happened to me yet. (I'm done using the word weird now.)

    Let me preface this story by giving you a little background info. The first thing you should know is that on Saturday night I had girls night with some friends and went to Avondale and then to a concert at WorkPlay. When I got home I promptly put on a big t-shirt and settled onto the couch for as much Criminal Minds as my little heart could handle, which probably equated to 1/3 of an episode before I fell asleep with a face full of makeup. The next thing you should know is that I miraculously slept until 11:30 the next day, which meant me waking up in a panic because I was running late for lunch at Granny and Pawpaw's. Cue me throwing my hair in a ponytail, jumping into jeans and a giant sweatshirt and running out of the door, still sporting last night's makeup. 

    I decided that I needed to swing by the bank because I had been putting that errand off for a couple of weeks and my savings account was thirsty. So I pulled into Wells Fargo and, unfortunately, I chose the one with a walk-up ATM. Let me just say that walk-up ATMs bring out the paranoia in me. You have to drive up and, inevitably, there is at least one other person there. And obviously I have money with me, as I am waiting to go to the ATM, and I have to walk past the cars of all of these strange people to get to the ATM with my stacks of bills (read: $60 in cash). It's prime mugging territory. Not that I've ever heard of anyone getting mugged while walking from their car to the ATM, but I swear it's feasible. So anyway, I pull up and, sure enough, there's one car that belongs to the person already at the ATM and then there's another car with a guy waiting to use the ATM next. So I slip right into the furthest parking spot and get to signing my check and un-creasing my bills and other such mindless tasks to look busy while I wait. And out of the corner of my eye I notice homeboy in the 4Runner keeps looking at me. 

    I tell myself I'm imagining things. He has nowhere else to look and I just so happened to look up when he was glancing in my direction a couple of times. No big. He is definitely not watching me sort my monies in preparation for a deposit. Then I see him looking again. Surely he can tell by my impressive imitation of a homeless person that I am not the person to rob! Finally he goes to the ATM. Yes! Coast is clear. So he makes his transaction as I make my way out of my car and I divert my eyes as I cross paths with him on my way to feed my bank account. I take care of business and turn around only to see that the 4Runner is still there... and he's still looking at me. 

    "Okay Aimee, don't panic... he must realize that you just deposited your money and he clearly missed the mugging window. Maybe he... maybe he's just got another transaction to attend to but it's going to take a while so he decided to let you go first. Yes. That's it... he's just a gentleman is all." My inner dialogue was happening at warp speed as I walked back to my car and then, as I pass the 4Runner, the door opens and I hear him say "hey". Shit. 

    I don't even know what to think at this point. I kept a $20 in my purse... maybe that'll satiate his obviously raging urge to rob someone, even though he was a little gun shy with the whole scenario. So I hesitantly turn and say "hey" right back and, for the first time, fully take in this guy in a t-shirt and wind pants with glasses and tennis shoes. 

    "So... I never really do this, but you're just really, super cute and I can't let you leave without giving you my number. So... here's my card and I wrote my cell number on it. *reaches out and hands me said card* I just went to the gym and I know I look gross but, you know... if you ever want to use it......" 

    I'm sorry... what? Me? Super cute? You realize I'm wearing a 2XL sweatshirt from the men's department of Wal-Mart and I have the makeup on from last night... right? But instead I accept the card and, dumfounded that I'm being hit on rather than robbed, I muster up a "thanks" and go about my merry way. (Aka get in my car, lock the doors, slam my car into reverse and promptly dial my best friends number to tell her the ridiculous thing that just happened to me.) 

    I thought he was trying to steal my money but, as it turned out, he was just trying to steal my heart. (Props to Katie and Taryn for that line.)

    So thank you, David, for the much appreciated ego boost. I don't think I'll be calling you but, shall our paths ever cross again, I'll be sure not to assume you for the ATM-stalking-robber that you appeared. Also, props on the sweet gig at ESPN: it definitely ups your anti. 

  • Gassing Up Your Phone

    I have a proposition...

    I think that, from this point forward, pumps at all gas stations should be equipped with an outlet. Because sometimes your phone dies. And sometimes you need to charge it. (Before you point it out: I know. My co-worker Meghan has already brought to my attention that everyone just uses car chargers. But maybe some people [it's me] don't have functioning cigarette lighters in their car which renders some people's [still me] car chargers worthless.) You also sometimes need gas and like... how convenient would it be to pump gas into your car while you simultaneously pump gas (read: battery power) into your phone? I'm just saying. 

    So this weird thing happened to me. I was in Atlanta for a concert (Is anyone surprised? *crickets*) and I was planning to stay at my friend Emily's for the night because I was going to another concert in Atlanta the next night. I don't always think ahead and consider the consequences of things like not charging my phone the night before until it's too late. So I went to the concert and had a fantastic time (if you're not loving The Lumineers already then wake up and get on my level) and when I got back to my car it hadn't been towed so I was free and clear. Right? Wrong. You see, what I hadn't noticed is that my phone battery was on 2%. So I call up Siri and ask her to get me to Emily's apartment and she gets me about out of the parking lot when my phone bites the dust.

    "This is unfortunate," I thought. But have no fear! I had come with spend-the-night supplies so I was armed with my phone charger! All I had to do was find a Starbucks to sit my happy butt and plug it in. And I had just seen a Starbucks and am pretty excellent at retracing my footsteps so I was golden. Right? Wrong. I found 3 (THREE!!!) Starbucks and not one was open. Not. One. "That's fine," I thought. "Just a small hurdle." All I had to do was get to a gas station because surely a gas station bathroom would be equipped with an outlet. Right? Wrong. I went to the first gas station and it didn't even have a bathroom! But, always one to feel guilty for walking in and leaving without purchasing, I grabbed a Coke and got in line. While in line, I looked over and saw the display with phone chargers. "YES! How did I not think of this before?!" So I grabbed one and got back in line with a little spring in my step. Then I was accosted by this weird girl who began talking to me about how unfortunate it is that they put candy right at the register so you have to start at it the whole time you wait. "I mean... how am I going to stand here and not buy something? I keep looking at the Snickers and now I have to eat one. And the Snickers are next to the Baby Ruth and my grandma who died earlier this year loved Baby Ruth so obviously I have to buy one of those. And if I get that then I'm obviously going to buy a Kit Kat, too!" Eventually, when she got to the front of the line, she reached down and grabbed a Milky Way... "If my grandma saw me getting this and not a Baby Ruth it would kill her. Oh wait! She's already dead! I'm going to hell." .......um, nice to meet you, too?

    Armed with a Coke and phone charger I was in business. I went out to the car and pulled up to the pump and put my card in only to discover that all of the pumps had been shut off. Did anyone else not know that was a thing that actually happened? I knew it was something gas stations were capable of but like... who does that? Who actually shuts off all of the pumps?! Not defeated, I got in my car ready to charge my phone and get to Emily's. I plug it in and a graphic pops up on the screen. "Yes! My cigarette lighter has power after all!" I thought, completely smug. Until I realized that the graphic was telling me to plug my phone in. What a tease, iPhone. So I roll on to the next gas station. Now I needed gas and an outlet. I once again stash my charger in my purse and head for the bathroom which, luckily, this gas station had. However I learned a valuable lesson... gas station bathrooms are not, in fact, armed with outlets. So I hope you weren't planning on blow-drying your hair, ladies, because you'd be fresh out of luck! So I went out and tried to fill my tank and... card declined. What? It's payday, people, I know I have money. So I went in and waiting in yet another line with yet another conversation (this one about Swisher sweets, which I almost felt I could contribute to because I listen to Mac Miller) and more discomfort on my end. I finally get to the counter and he runs my card and... declined. I'm sure this has everything to do with the bizarre shut down pump at the previous gas station. So I fork over the $12 in my pockets and put a little somethin' somethin' in Stacy's tank before heading off. 

    At this point I've been wandering aimlessly around Atlanta for an hour, wary of the people and lack of 24 hour Starbucks, and I have no plan. But I do know how to get to the interstate so I do the only thing I know how to do: drive to Auburn. And pray fervently to God that Stacy doesn't break down on the side of I-85 and leave me stranded, phoneless and without hope. 

    What happened when I got to Auburn is a story for another day but I don't want you to be too worn out over my stressful, dysfunctional life. (Plus, I'm attempting to only give my mom one to two grey hairs per sitting. Hi, mom! I promise I'll charge my phone before traveling from now on.)

  • Airport Mishaps, Vol. 1

    I learned a really valuable lesson a couple of weeks ago: not all airports are open around the clock. I know... shocking! 

    My dad taught me that five minutes early is on time and on time is late. That combined with the fact that I'm used to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson, numbers 10 and 1 on the list of busiest airports in the United States (yes, I fact-checked!), left me totally unprepared for what I would find at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport at 3:50 on a Thursday morning. 

    The day began with a gross over-estimation of how long it would take me to get to the airport. My thoughts went something like "okay... airport... 30 minutes at least, probably better to allow for 40." Funny thing, though: there's no traffic at 3:30 in the morning. So, twenty minutes later, I was at the airport. At 3:50am. For a 6:00am flight. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell you. I always allot a full two hours before take-off for security (which I have a bad history with), finding my gate and snack purchasing. As it turns out, security at the Birmingham airport isn't like security in Houston or Atlanta. There aren't multiple lines bottlenecked with an overabundance of people. There are two lines with a one shared metal-detector. And the line that forms is laughable in comparison to what I've seen. (Do I sound like a war veteran here or what?! However if you knew what me and the TSA have been through you'd wipe that smirk off of your face real quick like.)

    ANYWAY. I digress. So, past the fact that security pales in comparison to what I'm accustomed to (which, by the way, TSA was not even there when I got to the airport. Nor were any of the ticketing agents. NO ONE was there, besides one girl mopping the floor and one other travelling couple. I had to sit and wait. In a chair. For the security line to open up.) the gates were also much smaller. You see, in both Houston and Atlanta there are multiple gates within multiple terminals which are accessed by train. Train. Not Birmingham, though. Birmingham has a total of 15(ish) gates. In one terminal. So you can get from security to C14 in proably 6 minutes, if you're walking at a normal pace. And BONUS, Starbucks is on the way! So after I made it through security (unscathed, miraculously), stopped at the bathroom and got hot chocolate and a bagel from Starbucks I was seated and bored at my gate by 4:20. A whopping hour and forty minutes early. And you know the worst part? THERE IS NO ONE TO TEXT AT 4:20 IN THE MORNING. Nor is there anything happening on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Tumblr. Or any other social media anything because it's 4:20 in the morning

    Anyway, eventually my plane came and the SouthWest flight attendent cracked some impressively witty jokes for 5:45am (kudos, lady!) and as I settled in for an alarmingly short nap (because a. BHM to ATX is not far to begin with and b. I had a connecting flight) I consoled myself with the fact that I would never make this mistake again. Or so I thought. 

    Until the following Monday when I made yet the same mistake at a different airport. Yeah, you heard me correctly. Austin airport. Misjudged traffic. Arrived at 3:50. Beat TSA. 

    I can't make this stuff up! (Luckily, I was wearing new underwear.)

  • I Can Hear the Bells...

    Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It's been two weeks since my last post. Not that I'm one to make excuses, but I just got an iPhone (finally!) and, in the name of full disclosure, I haven't been able to stop playing Temple Run long enough to get much of anything done. And, in addition to that, I needed so extra time to contemplate the consequences of telling the story you're about to read. As you may have guessed, I've decided to throw caution (and any hopes of marriage) to the wind for the sake of your entertainment... you're welcome!

    So there's something you should know about me: I love drummers. I'm also a little bit crazy sometimes. 

    Moving right along... I work at a company that employs mostly women. One day this summer I was helping out in the packing department and a co-worker was listing off all of the reasons I should marry her son. We asked another co-worker, Debbie, what she thought of the pairing to which she responded, "well you know, Aimee, I have my own son and he's your age..." And that was basically all she wrote. 

    Let me preface this by first telling you my biggest motivating factor. Debbie would be the best mother-in-law that ever existed on the face of the planet. I'm quite sure of it. (No other mothers-in-law need take offense: you're all quite spectacular in your own way.) Debbie, however, was born to one day be a mother-in-law. (I've only known her for a year and only within the confines of our office building but I have full confidence in this statement.) She is incredibly kind, undoubtedly genuine, full of love and the spirit of the Lord and she can talk football with any man around. She's smart and giving and thoughtful. Plus, she loves Auburn and she's in a book club which is just cool. 

    So, she began to tell me about her son, who (perfectly enough) used to play the drums and was versed in other instruments as well. He was an English major (be still, my heart!) who was very smart (bonus points) and had graduated (on the same day as me, ironically) from the BEST university in all of the land, Auburn. And, just as I believe in Auburn and love it, I began to believe in a future with this boy, too. (Too soon?) There was only one problem: I had never met this boy, nor were we residents of the same state. (Yes, I understand this makes me exceptionally creepy, but I have a wild imagination!)

    The weeks went by and one day, when work was slow, I decided that it would be a worthwhile use of my time to Photoshop myself into their family's Christmas card photo. (Is that weird?) This task was slightly altered into creating a very believable, if I do say so myself, "graduation photo" of her son and I, which I displayed on her desk as a little surprise for her on Monday morning. It's now become a running office joke. 

    So anyway, one of my best friends lives in Austin and I bought a plane ticket out there to visit her and some of our other friends from high school. When I was talking about the upcoming trip at work we realized that (drum roll please) Austin is where this boy lives! My most brilliant co-worker (hey, Laura!) came up with the idea that Debbie should send me with a care package to deliver to her son while I was in town. Life probably comes down to fate but it never hurts to give fate a little push in the right direction... you know? So what began as a total joke became more and more serious as the days went by. We didn't talk about it until a few days before I was going to fly out when we all remembered (in some kind of magical unison that can only mean me and this boy are meant to be) that we needed to devise a plan! 

    Enter the mandolin... or, as I like to call it, the foundation of our relationship. It just so happened that this boy, perfect in so many ways, had an antique mandolin that he had asked his mom (Debbie) to ship to him so he could take it to be salvaged/repaired. So I jumped at the opportunity to both save her a boatload in shipping and rack up cool points carrying a mandolin around the airport, not to mention meet her son. (Is it too soon to refer to him as my soul mate? Yes? No?)

    I arrived in Austin a couple of plane rides and airports later, armed with his mandolin, his phone number and not an ounce of shame at this scheme, to which he was completely unaware. I got in touch with him (after ensuring that my text message had the perfect mix of nonchalant and wit) and we made a plan to meet on Sunday evening. So there I sat, sippin' on some hot chocolate and counting down the minutes until the rest of my life began. And then in he walked, with a big, flashing, neon arrow above his head under the words "your dream man"... or maybe that was a figment of my imagination. He walked over and spotted the mandolin and so began the loveliest 9 minutes of my life thus far. Okay, okay, I'm kidding. We just chatted for a few minutes: exchanged pleasantries and all of that. I was sure to slip in a few "Oh yeah, I love your mom! She'd be the perfect mother-in-law"... I didn't, really. But I thought about it.

    And that was it... that was our fateful meeting. I'm pretty sure we're in love. And in the unlikely event that he (you?) are reading this, I hope my pre-meditated crush won't hinder our future together! I wrote you a little something:

    Hey, I just met you
    and this is crazy.
    But, you have my number
    so call me, maybe?

    Hmm... now that I've put it on paper that sounds oddly familiar, like I didn't write it at all. Shoot. But really: call me. Beep me. Don't be too creeped out by me. 

  • It's the Circle of Life

    Let me preface this story by (hopefully) making you feel better about your Monday. I'd like to think that mine, by comparison, was worse. There I was, driving down 459 on my morning commute, when I noticed my car was pulling heavily to the right. Like really, really pulling. So, figuring something was wrong (I'm so smart, you guys) I started to cross the lanes to pull off at the next exit. But before I made it there I heard that sound: the one that sounds like a helicopter is flying next to your ear but is accompanied by your car bumping along leaning lower on one corner. The one that can only mean one thing: a flat tire. I know this sound pretty well because I few months ago, as I was driving down 459 on my morning commute, also on a Monday morning I heard the same thing. And they say people never get struck by lightening twice? I'd be willing to bet if anyone did, it'd be me. So anyway there I was, waiting on a tow truck (because no, I'm not going to try my odds at changing a tire on the side of 459 in Monday morning rush hour traffic... though after two occurrences I may have to next time) when the A.S.A.P. man pulled up to "check on me." One thoroughly awkward conversation later and a few minutes more my knight-in-shining-armor... er, redneck-in-a-yellow-tow-truck... arrived. So I climb on in and wait for him to load Stacy (my car, if you didn't know) up on his truck. And then as he climbs in and starts driving he looks at me inquisitively and says "We've towed your car before, haven't we? I thought I recognized you!" Yep, you read that correctly. I've always wanted to be a regular at a coffee shop but I've one upped even myself... I've become a regular with a towing company. The rest of the ride was spent listening to his thoughts on Alabama's lack-luster win against Florida Atlantic and if you know me at all you know that was the cherry on top of a terrible Monday morning. (I hope Monday was far kinder to you, my sweet and supportive reader whom I love so much!)

    Now that I've talked your ear off about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I'll tell you a short but sweet tale of a time my life came full circle. 

    Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been sitting somewhere, doing something and all of a sudden realized that, in that moment, your life had come full circle? I guess there are varying degrees at which your life can come full circle and this example is at the lesser end of that scale but still, realizing it in the moment is a really odd and cool thing. Almost like an out of body experience, you know?

    So there I was. Riding in a car with an acquaintance that was kind enough to drive me home. This girl and I had known of each other for a while because we have quite a few mutual friends but hadn't ever hung out on our own. If we're being honest I had spent a little while kind of resenting her because a. this one boy I used to have a crush on had a crush on her and we all know that you always secretly resent that person no matter how cool they actually are and b. she (probably unintentionally) hurt said boy's heart and I went all momma bear and harbored a little anger in my heart. Karma will get you every time though because, as it turns out, she's totally sweet and completely undeserving of my secret resentment. But I'm only human and at least I've seen the error in my ways!

    Back to the story. So we were in her car, just chatting about life and getting to know each other when she switched the CD and one of my favorite ever musicians came pumping out of her stereo. This wouldn't be so weird, except I know exactly how she got the CD. I gave it to aforementioned boy who gave it to her. And that was it. That was the moment my life came full circle. I was riding in the car with a girl who I momentarily resented and now genuinely liked listening to a CD that she had because of me. 

    It was strange, guys. But like... a really good kind of strange. Because who doesn't like to spread the love of seriously awesome musical talent and see it continue to spread? I know I do!

  • Rules of the Road

    There has been this recurring, albeit uncomfortable, trend in my life lately: interstate flirting. Come on, you know what I'm talking about. You're driving and you look over and "hey, cute boy!" If you're lucky you make eye contact, maybe swap smiles and, if it get's really crazy, you might exchange a wave and/or wink. Lately, it seems, that this innocent flirtation has been taken to a whole new level. 

    I was sitting in the passenger seat of my roommate's car riding down 280 a couple of weeks ago. You know how when you're a kid you try to get truck drivers to honk at you? Especially when school busses and field trips and road trips are involved? Well, there we were, crusing in the left lane, when I hear it: the unmistakable sound of an 18-wheeler's horn. Surprised (because I hadn't even been trying to win a honk!) I look over and find the driver of said 18-wheeler is waving at me! Always one to make a new friend I waved right back and my ever-cautious roommate (who often thinks I'm ridiculous) sped up. Which is when we encountered danger number one of interstate flirting: a slow car in front of you. Sure enough, there was a 4-runner going right at the speed limit and totally blocking our exit. That only meant one thing: it was time to re-encounter my new best friend truck driver. This time he took it to the next level: he blew me kisses. I'll let you chew on that mental image for a minute. I couldn't help but giggle and be flattered. I'll give myself a little credit: I had just washed my hair. You'd think the story ends there, but you'd be wrong. Because we still had one pass left with my newest admirer. And he was not about to let his last opportunity slip past him: I was greeted out of my window with a smiling face and ten fingers held proudly in the frame of his window. You heard it here first, friends! I'm a perfect ten! (According to at least one highly regarded class A license holder.)

    The next weekend I found myself in another odd interstate relationship, if you will. I was coasting along on I-12, impressed with how well my trip was going (my first mistake), when I quickly learned danger number two of interstate flirting: stand-still traffic. Everything was going just fine and all of a sudden my car was in park. Two problems came along with this traffic jam... well, three really. First: the air conditioner in my car only works when I am travelling at a quick clip. Sitting still does not qualify as a "quick clip." So I was hot. Second: I was dangerously low on gas. And this traffic wasn't going anywhere soon so that left a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. (Don't worry, though, I made it safely and easily to the next gas station.) Third: I quickly noticed that I was being watched. Before you flashback to my previous post I was actually being watched this time. By the boy in the white truck in front of me... in his rear view mirror. And side view mirror. And any other reflective surface. It didn't seem that strange at first. We were in traffic in the middle of Louisiana: there isn't a whole lot to look at. We made weird eye contact a few too many times for comfort before I started looking at anything but his mirrors. My steering wheel has never been so interesting. Every time I did happen to catch a glimpse of his mirrors there they were: his eyes. Sometimes he smiled, sometimes he shook his head (we shared a moment being irritated by our traffic situation), and once he even winked. And this went on for the entirety of the 40 minutes we were stuck in traffic. FORTY MINUTES. It was so uncomfortable. 

    I've been ragging on these traffic creep-stars but... I can't say I'm entirely in the clear here, either. It's time I own up to my own traffic flirting... incident. While I was merely an assistant in this interstate flirting gone too far, I will share it with you in the name of full disclosure. I have a best friend who is passionate. She puts her entire heart into everything she cares about and she chases after things she wants. Remember that later in this story. This best friend, we'll call her Jung Pow, found herself in a perfect interstate flirting scenario one Sunday afternoon. She had a 5-hour drive back to Auburn, we won't say from where, and she noticed that she had been driving behind a Jeep with Auburn stickers for a while. Eventually she ended up passing the Jeep and was pleasantly surprised to find a very attractive boy behind the wheel: one who also seemed to notice how very attractive my girl Jung Pow is. For the duration of their ride Jung Pow and Jeep boy casually took turns passing each other and exchanging smiles and innocently raised eyebrows until, sadly, their ride came to a close. However when she came home and told us all about it we... well, we took fate into our own hands. In a Mountain Dew induced craze and armed with sticky notes, we went looking for this Jeep. You see, Jung Pow had fantastic sleuthing skills, which can only be attributed to the hours upon hours spent watching Veronica Mars, and had noticed that our new favorite Jeep driver had a RO-Zone parking pass. So a few of us piled in the car and headed for RO-Zone. I'd be lying if I said we didn't drive down every single row of every single RO-Zone parking lot... because we did. And somehow we never saw that Jeep again, though we did continue to look for him from time to time as we drove past the lots. We just settled on the fact that Jung Pow and Jeep boy were not meant to be. 

    Enough with the stories, though. All of this was just to say that interstate flirting is not what it used to be, folks. It's a whole new game out there! You never know who you might find in the driver's seat of the next car you pass! (Disclaimer: always keep your doors locked. And don't wink at people in stand still traffic... that's just asking for trouble.)

  • Aimee Truman

    I fell in the trashcan at work today and I just had to wipe a bacon bit off of my computer's track pad to begin typing this. I just thought you might like to know how my day was going. 

    Anyway, we've been together for a few weeks by now and we're getting to know each other pretty well. I've told you about my underwear, my date with a Puerto Rican, the one time I was cool and a truth or dare jenga game gone wrong. So, I think it's time to let you in on a pretty big secret, one that I've mostly kept between my mom (hi, mom!) and I for fear of being... punished. 

    You see... I'm being watched.

    WAIT! Before you x out of this page because you think I'm a total nut job, give me a chance to explain. Let me start in... well, seventh grade. I was really into lavender. Like... really, really into it. So I painted my room this great lavender color and my bedspread was blue and purple and green stripes. Really cute, if you ask me. And really fresh... not something you saw plastered all over every teen girl magazine. Until a few months later, when I got PB Teen in the mail. (Before you even have to ask, yes, Pottery Barn Teen was the catalog I looked most forward to. My mother raised me right! [Hi again, mom!]) The catalog was full to the brim with lavender! Not to mention blue and green accents. It was a little weird but didn't faze me too much. 

    Fast forward to my sixteenth year. Ever since I outgrew the "I want a Volkswagen Beetle!" phase that every young girl goes through I set my sights on the real dream: a Jeep Wrangler. It was the epitome of cool and I had to have one. So I saved and saved and that June once I had enough for the down payment, Butch and I went to see a man about a car. And that baby was BEAUTIFUL. It was this great greenish/blue with tan interiors and a brand new ragtop. And it was mine! (Well, it was Butches, but my payments to him each month allowed me to drive it and call it my own.) The best part was that I was the only kid I knew with a Jeep... but not for long. In no time it seemed that everyone and their mother had a pretty little Jeep Wrangler. And I clearly started the trend. 

    A year later my mom and I embarked on re-doing my bedroom. I had my heart set on Paris with lots of pink to go along with it. I got a black iron bed with an amazing black and white floral bedspread and shams and the walls (and ceiling) were painted the prettiest shade of pink. Lime green was the accent, covering my desk and appearing in artwork and flowers. It was very grown up and tres chic. And, again, completely original: no one had a room like mine. Then PB Teen came a few months later and guess what? Pink and black and white with lime green were IT. Then, when my mom (hi, mom!) was in the Pottery Barn store she found a sheet set that was brand new. White sheets with hot pink and green stripes. You know how Pottery Barn names all of their sheets and things with human names? Guess what this one was called? AIMEE. I'm not kidding, guys. I think we probably saved the packaging because we were so shocked. 

    That's when my suspicions became more serious: this was no longer a coincidence. I was being watched. I was living in the Truman show. Any day now I expected Butch would start looking over my left shoulder and talking up his Kingsford charcoal while suspiciously holding it with the logo facing out. Drew would be all too cheery as he remarked on how incredibly white his teeth were after just a week of using Crest toothpaste! Travis would be even more into his hoity-toity brands of alcohol, doing the Vana White flick of the wrist as he pulled it out of the liquor cabinet. I even expected the dog to start speaking in the heavily accented French-English we have grown to expect from her and tell me how great her new sweet-potato-french-fry-flavored treats were. 

    It didn't stop in high school, though. When I got a new car for college, had I ever heard of a person driving a Hyundai Tiburon? Never! Guess how many are in our neighborhood these days? THREE. I looked high and low for a denim bed spread to bring my dorm room the ultimate effortless-cool vibe I longed for but they were (literally) nowhere to be found. Guess what you can buy in any old department store AND Wal-Mart now? Denim comforters. Just last year I bought a big window at a thrift store and, in order to amp up my shabby chic style, I had the stroke of brilliance to staple-gun burlap to the back of it. Guess what was the craft idea on the Nate Berkus show THE NEXT WEEK? Burlap stapled to the back of an old window. I decided to use a funky turquoise color to pop against all of the earthy tones I have going in my apartment... especially painted onto old furniture and distressed. You've probably noticed an incredible influx of turquoise everywhere, especially in the form of refinished furniture, haven't you? 

    You can't make this stuff up. It's real. I haven't found the cameras... yet. But I know they're there. 

  • The Hidden Dangers of Truth or Dare Jenga

    It may come as a surprise to many of you that there is such a thing as truth or dare Jenga. I know it did to me. I grew up playing a lot of Jenga because, surprisingly (or not?), Jenga was (is?) the favorite game of one Butch Belcher: father of three by blood and many more by love. However, in all of my years of playing this puzzle game, famous for testing how steady your hands are, how strong your patience runs and how long you can hold your breath (for me, at least), I never knew there was another variety, where, believe it or not, tensions run higher and scandal abounds.

    I was introduced to this game almost a year ago today. It came on the tail of the worst summer of my young life. I was having a crisis of identity. I lived at home, hours from my friends. I had a job that didn’t fulfill me. And I was getting over a crush on a boy. It was the summer of New Underwear.

    It had finally arrived: the weekend I would fly back to my college town to hug friends, watch one get married and live in the past for one moment more. And extra celebration was in store! I had new underwear on and was in my “two weeks notice” phase of my old job and anxiously anticipating my new job, one that would bring me back to this state, back into the arms of these people. Nothing could bring me down. (Famous last words.)

    I found myself sitting at my friends’ “dining room” table as the truth or dare Jenga blocks were dumped out in front of me. (I used quotes because we’ve all been in college and know that a college “dining room” isn’t always what traditionally comes to mind… it’s more like “that open floor space where we can fit a table.”) For those of you who don’t know, in truth or dare Jenga there are two colors of blocks: red, which have dare questions printed on them, and black, which have truth questions printed on them. Upon inspection, all who were present decided that the truth questions were stupid. So we did a little re-write: enter masking tape and sharpies. That’s when it got interesting… it quickly became a free for all of creating pointed questions sure to embarrass at least one of the players. The question directed at me? “Who was the last person you kissed?”

    A little background: the last person I had kissed was a friend of mine in a drunken pre-graduation haze and one of my friends (coughjackiecough) found it to be one of the more hilarious stories in my repertoire. It was also no secret that the aforementioned boy I had a crush on at the end of my college career and I had not shared a kiss, despite the desires of at least one involved party. (Okay, it was me. I wanted the kiss.)

    So, as fate would have it, said crush walked through the door as the ink was still drying on “my” question. What happened next is all a blur of voices and chaos, but I’ll do my best to recount it. Everyone was looking over the questions we had created with a healthy mix of pride and horror, when the crush, we’ll call him Hugh (What? Two Weeks Notice was just on E! and I love me some Hugh Grant.), read the question out loud. I don’t know what my face looked like… I’m sure it was something akin to shock, and giggles erupted from my “friends” (coughjackiecough). He said “do I know who it is?” and as he was whispering the name into my ear, for confirmation, another friend was saying it out loud… a friend who didn’t know, but had somehow deduced. The previous giggles quickly grew into a roar of laughter and catapulted the whole situation into a thoroughly confused chaos and the next thing I remember were the words “well, I can fix that”, hands on my cheeks and a very unfamiliar pair of lips pressed against mine for the longest two seconds of my life. You guessed it: Hugh. Hugh, whom I had a crush on for months. Hugh, who talked about kissing me but never did. Hugh, who I was just managing to not like.

    I don’t know how I reacted. I don’t know if I reacted. It’s all a whirlwind. But that was the moment that I decided I would never (ever) play truth or dare Jenga with a boy I used to like again. (If we’re being honest I’ll probably stray from it altogether.)

  • How to Gain an Article

    It’s probably time I let you in on a little secret about myself: I’m not very cool. Temperature wise I am… I’m always cold. I wore a sweatshirt to work on Friday… it’s August. In Alabama. (In my defense it was a cloudy morning and there was a “cold front”… and if James Spann said it then it must have been so.) But I digress. When it comes to social status I am not now, nor have I ever been, “cool”.  Actually, one of my best friends from high school, Colleen, thought that we were cool. That has never been confirmed, though. So I’ll stick with my gut: I, Aimee Ellen Belcher, am not cool. (Please note that I’ve added the ability to comment on New Underwear posts so if you’d care to refute this fact… well, I won’t fight you!)

    However something strange happened to me recently. I was in Columbus, GA watching my best friend Kyle play the drums in his friend Carson’s band Cracker Jack Prize. (I just solidified myself as a total name-dropper with that sentence, now didn’t I?) Prior to this night I had never met Carson, despite my almost two-year-long best friendship with Kyle. So Cracker Jack Prize played, we drank and danced and watched with a mix of shock and awe as a man barrel-rolled across the dance floor, and, eventually, it was closing time. And by closing time I mean hurry, quick, and introduce yourself to everyone you accidentally haven’t met yet time. As Carson began to pack up his things on stage we had what would quickly become the greatest exchange of my young life.

    “I’m Carson.”

    “Hi! I’m Aimee!!!” (The extra exclamation marks are necessary to properly convey the excitement in my voice when I say… well… anything, really.)

    “…THE Aimee?!”

    YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY! THE Aimee! I’m not just Aimee anymore, people. I am THE Aimee! My reputation precedes me! I HAVE AN ARTICLE! And, for that brief moment in time, I was cool. I was cooler than cool! So, I’ve decided to share the wealth. Since I’ve clearly done something right, I'm compelled to share the wealth. I’ve compiled an easy 6-step program for you: How to Gain an Article. (Disclaimer: I have no idea what actions, characteristics or events allowed me to become THE Aimee, but I’m choosing to ignore that small fact for the purposes of this guide. Please also note that it was never confirmed that being THE Aimee is a good thing, but I'm choosing to believe it is.)

    1. Do ridiculous things. Any friend I have would probably back me up when I say this: I regularly do ridiculous things. Whether it's going on a breakfast date with a Puerto Rican, playing with a Ouija board in a locked cemetary after dark or paying my best friend to dance with a guy wearing the shortest shorts I've ever seen, I aim to do things that are worthy of re-telling. 
    2. Say ridiculous things. If I'm not doing something ridiculous, I'm probably saying something ridiculous. It's not uncommon that things will slip out of my mouth before I realize the gravity of what I'm saying: much to the pleasure of those around me.
    3. Laugh in the face of danger. I like to think that I am unafraid of most things. (Unless we're talking about cockroaches... but we aren't, so moving right along.) Because of this, I am always getting myself into very bizarre, very notable, very hysterical situations. 
    4. Befriend everyone. This really goes hand-in-hand with laughing in the face of danger. Ask my roommate about the guy with two full rows of silver teeth that I talked to outside of a concert. Or ask my friend young Maggie about the time I shared a booth with a guy with a full head of dreadlocks and a bunch of really great stories in the back of the bar. These people can provide more entertainment than you can imagine... but you have to seek it out!
    5. Hug. A lot. And tightly. I can't stress this one enough. While it is the least likely to have any bearing on whether or not you gain an article and become THE (insert your name here), it's just important to your general well being. 
    6. Be best friends with Kyle Yarbrough. This is the only really relevant piece of advice I have to give. Because the only reason I was known as THE Aimee is because of whatever Kyle said about me. But really, you should want to be best friends with him because he's a good drummer, a great hugger, tells funny stories, the ladies love him and he's probably blushing as he reads this.
    Good luck on your journey, friends!
  • Breakfast Date

    I live by the philosophy that you should try everything at least once. This applies to everything: food, music, activities and breakfast dates. Today, I bring you an account of the time I agreed to go on a breakfast date with a Puerto Rican army man.

    It began where many tales of failed dates do: at the bar. I remember the date well because I, along with most of the nation, had just watched LSU beat Alabama in what had been deemed the game of the century (round one). The city of Auburn was out in full force... most of them were quite excited to see our biggest rival defeated and there has never been such a show of purple clothing downtown. 

    I'm not entirely sure how it all began. I just know that I was sitting around a table with my friends on the deck in a chair that had only one arm, which I vaguely remember complaining about. The next thing I knew a boy was pulling up next to me and offering up the use of his chair's arm. He was wearing a white blazer... there are quite a few things wrong with a white blazer in November but we'll overlook all of them except the most minor: he was at Sky Bar. In Auburn. Alabama. People don't wear blazers. They just don't. Especially white ones. That was the first sign. 

    Signs two through seven came pretty quickly as well. This guy was suave, if you will. The things that came out of his mouth were so stereotypical that I almost didn't believe they were really happening. My personal favorite? When my friend Lauren said "Yes, come over tomorrow morning!" and he, without missing a beat, said "She can't, she's going to breakfast with me." Most people would run... right? Right??? But I like to live on the edge. So I agreed. (If we really want to boil it down to motive, it was free breakfast at the place of my choice. I'm not one to turn down free Big Blue Bagel! And I just knew that one day I'd be able to relay the tale to you all! Plus my friends told me to.) 

    I learned one of the most valuable lessons of all time on that breakfast date: perfect on paper does not always translate to perfect in reality.

    I learned a lot about that boy at breakfast: he had graduated from West Point, was serving in the army for a few years until he went to Harvard Med School (where he had already been accepted), after which he intended to be a doctor in the army and see the world. This is the moment where any sane woman gets excited... a doctor who travels the world? Helloooooooo, Mr. Right! He also loved his mother and Jesus, visitied his family in Puerto Rico at least once a year and was in a band. Jackpot! Then he revealed that he had been engaged and I was, in fact, his very first date since it had been broken off a year before. And he had driven 45 minutes home the night before and 45 minutes back that morning to take me to breakfast. I'm sorry... why? He continued to seem more fantastic on paper and I continued to grow more uncomfortable. I couldn't tell you why... we'll call it a God thing. Also, the fact that he kept asking me to "tell him something interesting" about myself wasn't my favorite. (Take note all future boys who intend to court me!) It became more and more evident that I had no interest in this boy... and that he had plenty of interest in me. I gracefully bowed out after what felt like years, citing that I had plans. (Plans which I very quickly fabricated.) 

    The funniest part? As I opened my car door, he said he wanted to keep in touch... and asked for my gmail. Welcome to the 21st century? (And guess who I never spoke to again...)