A Nice Young Lady

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Well, here we are. It’s Tuesday, I’m tired, and I feel old today. It could be the 7.32 miles I did at the gym yesterday after a half hour of lifting, followed by an early morning of skating, but that would require me taking responsibility for my actions, and honestly? When have I ever…

It is of note that both nights I have spent here in Atlanta, I have automatically assumed the ‘Z’ Tetris shape required for me to co-sleep with the huskies. So apparently, I am easy to train. However, it makes things awkward here in Atlanta when I feel two hands on my back shoving me over to the other side of the bed and I yell, “No! Kina! Stop!”

Amazing. My life is amazing.

Anyway! Status quo boring adult life over here, but some fun reverse culture shock is happening and for whatever reason, it cracks me up.

So I was different when I got back to Chicago. I was definitely handling life at a much quicker and intense pace, and the people around me called me, ‘a nice young lady.’ I even heard the word ‘patient’ twice. The lady at the bank, the manager of my building, new coworkers… “She’s so nice!”

I always look around to see who they’re talking about. Me? Nice?

When I first moved to Atlanta, the feedback was the opposite. I would get, ‘abrupt, direct, blunt, mean,’ as a reaction to my overall natural demeanor. Often, some good ol’ boy would tell me to smile more and that old flies to honey analogy. Madge was scared to death of me for the first three months he knew me because of my bluntness and the way I walked. The only people who got me were fellow Yanks and people not from The South. Whatshisbutts, not from The South, laughed his ass off a couple of years ago when Madge admitted his initial fear of me to the group…

“HER? Jenn? She’s a giant marshmallow. She’s just a bro.”

While I feel I haven’t changed all that much, I must have a little, because back in Chicago I AM SO NICE OH MY GOD. I learned to wear lipstick and use passive aggressive language. Go me.

It goes both ways, of course. Now that I’ve spent two full weeks back home, when I got back to Atlanta, changes were noticed as well. First of all, my accent is back with a vengeance.

“Good GOD, Fargo,” Gertrude replied when I gave him my lunch order, and others around us fainted with bleeding ears.

The other thing broadly noticed?

How dang wholesome I am. See? I just said DANG.

If you’ll remember way back when, I arrived a modest Midwestern lass who loved long sleeved t-shirts, cuffed jeans, one piece bathing suits, and Toms shoes. I loosened up quite a bit in Atlanta because it’s FREAKING HOT AF, and I also gained an appreciation for a more feminine look under the tutelage of my dear friend Louis and my former boss Isaac, who upon seeing me for the first time was like, “Oh no, no, no, Zheneee, we must make you more feminine.”

So back in Chicago, I kept the hair and makeup, but I went back to my crew necks and Birkenstocks. I also went back to using a lot of Midwest vernacular. There’s a lot more ‘ope’ and a lot less ‘motherfucker.’ I’m also way more laid back and a bit less intense since going back. I do have a lot more patience.

Yesterday, I had to squeeze past Madge in the hallway and I said, “Ope! Let me just squeeze past ya there,” in full horrifying accent wearing a floor length dress.

“Oh my god, you are literally Mayberry. I am calling you Mayberry forever. You’re just so… so… milk maid wholesome! It’s weird! Say fuck!”

Ope, sorry, can’t.

I don’t know, you might find all of this ridiculously boring, but I find it interesting and hilarious. Two totally different worlds 800 miles apart. Bananas.

I am having a good time though. I got my hair done for my birthday, and I went back to my natural dark strawberry blonde with some gold highlights. I kind of love it? Like the haircut in April, I’ll get bored in another three months and I’ll want to do something different, but for now, i love it.

I also got to go skating at my holy church this morning which was everything. I was jumping like a lead legged hippopotamus because I’m so tired and sore from yesterday, but it was nice to have the whole rink to myself and move a bit. I definitely need to skate more when I’m in Chicago.

Well, that’s about all I have for today. I’m getting a birthday sushi dinner tonight and BABY ORCA IS HAPPY. Have a good one, freaknasties.

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Jennifer Gulbrandsen