also

Thanks for going with me on my journey to Lonelytown. I’m a big believer that we do each other no good by keeping our true selves secret. So. Maybe hearing about my Lonelytown makes your Lonelytown feel less lonely. Or something.

Today I’m feeling pretty stoked. I corrected Esquire’s grammar on Twitter. (And yes, this is a highlight of my day.)

So far no response. It’s okay, Esquire. I’ll wait.

Llamas love toilets.

Good Friday, readers! This week Random Llama is using her powers for good. It’s World Toilet Day, so let’s start gushing about flushing…

random llama

I gave myself a suggestion this week, students. Did you know today is World Toilet Day? This is a very important day in the world of llamas.

See, the llamas are an unbelievably clean species. Their standards of public hygiene are unparalleled. The bathroom is the most important room in the llama house, and the toilet is the most revered seat. Even the bathmats are woven from the finest alpaca wool…

Okay, okay, you’re right. Llamas don’t use toilets. (Can you imagine a llama with a roll of toilet paper? The little hooves! Come on!) But they do use public forums as opportunities to talk about important issues. (I’d say “soap box,” but llamas don’t use soap either. Dirty llamas.)

World Toilet Day isn’t just a special occasion set aside to celebrate going potty, cool though it may be. It’s a day to raise awareness about sanitation and clean water issues worldwide.

Here are just a few facts from the worldtoilet.org:

· 2.6 billion people worldwide live without access to proper sanitation.

· Diarrheal diseases kill five times as many children in the developing world as HIV/AIDS.

· That’s 5,000 children who die every day.

It’s hard to imagine that many people dying each day because of poor sanitation. In fact, we have trouble processing that kind of tragedy. It’s so widespread and so far away. The fancy-pants term for this is “psychic numbing”—meaning our individual capacity to care is overwhelmed in the face of large-scale suffering. It’s a coping mechanism, partially, because if we kept thinking about all the world’s ills all the time, we’d feel helpless and sad. (Wow, Random Llama. Way to not be funny this week. At all.)

But there is good news in all this, and that’s the point of World Toilet Day: it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some hopeful facts from water.org:

· Local partners are at work right now bringing clean water and proper sanitation to people all over the world from Bangladesh to Haiti to Uganda.

· Microfinance loans are helping communities to help themselves and develop sustainable solutions.

· A $25 donation can help bring one person clean water for life.

So I hope you celebrate this World Toilet Day and consider donating to an organization like water.org that is working to make life better for those 2.6 billion people. I hope you at least feel a little gratitude with every flush. Don’t do it for me; do it for the llamas.

Don’t forget (as if I’d let you!) that you can help support my half-marathon efforts to raise money for water.org. $1/mile can help make a difference for someone in the world without clean water or access to a toilet on this World Toilet Day. www.firstgiving.com/sjenkins

Loneliness is S-wordy…

Disclaimer: S-word‘s about to get real personal and confessional, folks. Turn back now, while you still can.

(“S-word” is my favorite way to swear at work. Office culture is totally kosher with saying things like “s-word”, even the occasional, well-placed actual s-word is tolerated.)

My high school english teacher gave us this exercise for writing poetry (It’s a tool that i’ve used to get unstuck with writers block, too.) where you take an inanimate thing like an emotion and then flesh it out through the five senses. Goes a little something like this:

For loneliness, say:

sounds like…a song you can’t quite remember.
looks like…the sock that’s left behind after laundry day.
smells like…someone you used to know, in a magazine cologne sample.
feels like…listening to jeff buckley on your car stereo while you drive in the rain. empirically.
tastes like…(for the life of me, I can’t think what loneliness tastes like. Maybe that’s ’cause food is my friend, so I can’t feel lonely while I eat. ha.)

So you can guess what’s on my mind tonight, readers.

I had the idea over the weekend that one huge perk of marriage must be that there’s always somebody there to listen to your stories and care about your shit. (s-word.)
(A perk of being single, no doubt, is having good stories to tell…)

Brace yourselves. I’m going to say the thing that I’m not supposed to say; that our mothers fought so hard in the 70s so we wouldn’t say it, etc.: sometimes it’s really hard work to be alone.

Some nights it just sucks, y’all. You sit in your house and cry while you watch The Daily Show and your cat looks on, concerned. Hypothetically.

And some nights it’s not so bad, true. If I weren’t single I wouldn’t have finished The Handmaid’s Tale in 4 days. (You guys! I finished The Handmaid’s Tale in 4 days!) And I wouldn’t have all this free time to train for my race and write and do all the other good stuff with my time (e.g. watch hulu).

I really, really liked Handmaid’s Tale. (Book Club discush coming Dec 2.) I read this little bit on Saturday morning at Einstein’s Bagels:

You don’t tell a story only to yourself. There’s always someone else.
Even if there’s no one.

My mind perked up a bit, bc I’d just had that thought about marriage and stories on my way in. (I like little moments when life connects like that. It’s what we writers live for, sort of.)
And then five minutes later, kid you not, in walked some ex-couple-friends with their adorable kids. (You know, we hung out when I was in a couple. They were his friends. Now we aren’t a couple. So we’re ex-couple-friends.) And I honest to god wanted to hide. I plotted escape. Is there anything more lonely than seeing ex-couple-friends when you’re out alone?
Out alone on a Saturday morning, reading a book?
I don’t think it gets more tragic.

But I was nice and said hi. We chatted.
Then I went back to my book. And they went back to their kids.
And I felt grateful, sort of, that at least I didn’t have to tell anyone to sit on their bottom, please.
And no one was telling me where to sit and when. So there’s another perk.

Welp. Sorry you had to be the victims of my loneliness, readers. At least maybe I’ll keep writing more. Writing is good company.

(This post brought to you by Edy’s Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip and too many repeat viewings of You’ve Got Mail.)