Tag Archives: life

WE’RE HAVING A FIRE! Sale.

Ah yes, another instance where my life’s events bring me right back to an Arrested Development reference.

 

In the middle of the night last night, I awoke to some weird sound in my room. Almost like a spark or something. My roommates, boyfriend, and family have all seen me wake up hastily due to an alarm or slight movement, so this, ‘barely able to open my eyes’ for something potentially harming was new to me.

I saw a red-ish glow and wondered if my room caught fire thanks to some ignition next to my radiator (I’ve never had one before. I have no idea how dangerous these can be??) I wanted to be alert; In high school a classmate of mine burned her whole house down because of her heated blanket. She lost everything. I couldn’t help but think of her story: how she tried diffusing it, but her brother wouldn’t wake up to help–he thought she was crazy.

I didn’t want my whole house burning down, so I tried opening my eyes more, but I couldn’t tell if the red color was from my electrical power strip cord “On/Reset” button, or if it really was the start of a fire. I hazarded a safe guess of power strip cord button.

I couldn’t help but think, What if this really were a fire? I think my mom and I would be able to take care of this quickly and efficiently enough. The firehouse does sit right around the corner from us, if we would need them. But probably not.

And then I thought, Wow, I wonder if I should be more alert about a situation like this?

And then I thought, Never have, probably never will be.

I’ve wanted to talk about my family’s instinct around fires for a while now, and last night’s event” is a good enough spark for me to share.

 

Let’s go back to 2004-ish. I was somewhere around the age of 10-ish. On Christmas Eve, my oldest sister Jodi and her then-boyfriend-or-husband (depending on the year), Josiah, wanted to make the family dinner. My parents owned a duplex: one home sitting one floor above another home. So that’s 2 kitchens, 2 living rooms, 2 dining rooms, etc.

We used to use the upstairs home for renters, but when my parents started to separate, my mother took the upstairs. Since the upstairs didn’t have a family of 7 living in it for the last 15 years, it was much nicer and cleaner: better for family dinners and events.

Anyway, Jodi was cooking upstairs when suddenly she started an oil fire. As everyone should know, oil fires cannot be extinguished from water. The fire was somewhat contained in her pan and she tried using the intercom to talk to the rest of the family below.

She held the button and gently exclaimed ‘fire!’ a few times. Knowing that our intercom system was not the best, she told me to go downstairs to ask for help.

When I got downstairs, one family member was in the kitchen while another read very relaxed in the living room. I could already hear Jodi’s muffled voice through most of the static on the intercom. Someone said, “Is she saying fire?” calmly. The other said, “I don’t think so,” and continued reading. I said “Yes! There’s a fire! She needs help.” This was more exciting for me than worrying. They said “Oh” and walked upstairs.

Josiah rushed to Jodi’s side and said, “Fire! Well put it out!” He quickly took the pan from her, and rushed it under the sink while Jodi yelled, “No!” (the most concerned she got about this at all). The fire expanded in the pan and she took the pan shakily outside to our back porch. On the way, some oil spilled out and burned the carpet. I can still picture it perfectly, though that house has been bulldozed for probably a decade now.

She diffused the fire situation. And that’s the day I learned about oil fires. None of us panicked. Being the youngest, I did what I was told. Jodi being the oldest, she handled it. It seemed like an exciting story for me to tell friends at the time, but as I got older, I realized just how funny it was instead. Not because of the content, but because of how calm we were–and how I’ve learned how freaked-out other people are in emergencies.

 

A couple-to-few years later, I was downstairs when our landline rang. I picked it up.

Caller: Hi, this is Mr. McCorry, your neighbor a few doors down.

Me: Hi, yes!

Mr. McCorry: Who am I talking to by the way?

Me: Tobi

Mr. McCorry: Oh Tobi, hello. Yeah I was just calling to let you know there’s some sort of smoke or fire coming from your backyard.

Me: Oh, really? Huh.

Mr. McCorry: Yeah, so you’ll probably want to tell your parents about it and check it out quickly.

Me: Okay, thanks.

I should note that he did not sound rushed or panicked either. Because of this, I didn’t run to find my mom. I think I had to walk upstairs to get her, then we both casually walked downstairs and outside together. There was some smoke rising in the air. We were not surprised, we still did not rush to the scene. There was a small life-vest from our shed that was in flames that someone threw on top of my mom’s camper. The fire didn’t spread from the vest, but the smoke grew really tall. My mom grabbed the hose and put the fire out. The vest burned a hole in the roof of her camper and I don’t know if she’s ever even used it since.

 

That story, obviously not as exciting as the first still stood out to me. Again, when I continued to tell people these stories, they were more worried than I was in the moment. To me, I know that panicking doesn’t get anything done, but to everyone else it seems that’s their first instinct.

And I’ve realized that’s also why people like me working at my hotel. The building was built in 1876, so there are a lot of things that break and go wrong. Any time there’s an emergency, I don’t have time to freak out. I just have to get it done. And I learned everything I know about the hotel industry from my old boss, who also comes from a large family (so this might be cause for some study or something).

A couple of months ago, my car broke down on the highway late at night, 90 miles from home. My boyfriend commended me for how calm I was. He mentioned that if it were his car, he’d be bugging. I said it won’t get us anywhere.

Now to me, my version of freaking out is calling a family member first. That’s my instinct. And it probably comes from these fire incidents. When my car broke down, I called my oldest sister since I knew she was still awake on the West Coast. Then I called AAA. But really, I should have called AAA immediately. I knew what my sister was going to say, I knew what I had to do. But I still called her first. That’s my version of freaking out.

But my boyfriend still thinks I was calm, cool, and collected.

And when it comes to work, (keeping the thread of my post-grad life), I do my job efficiently and effectively. No time to waste or panic. Just get it done.

So, I guess in a way, my family and I are like Tobias Funke…but only when he adds, ‘sale’ at the end. After all, there was no fire in my room, and if there were, I think we would have taken care of it just fine.

fire this is fine GIF

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The Post-Grad Life

Hi.

Even as I’ve finished school, the common thread of “the Tobi Thompson school life” still persists. I’m reflecting a lot more than usual lately just because today I watched a lot of my friends attend graduation on their Snapchat stories. But in reality, I reflect on this every. damn. day.

It’s been nearly 5 months since I’ve graduated and I have yet to land a “real” job. So of course, the woes of an entitled millennial start here, right? I’ll admit, I haven’t been applying every day, or hell, every week. And I haven’t heard back from jobs I expected to hear back from. Granted, my expectations really only got so high out of hope, but I feel qualified enough to land an interview. Yet, the places I’ve applied request not to be contacted again.

I even turned down a job because I knew it wasn’t the right fit. I’m scrambling for anything, but at the same time, if you just know, you know. I can’t exactly describe it, other than I would not have been able to fill the job correctly. Nearly everyone harrowed me about it: “It’s a start though and you can’t be picky with your first job,” or “This will lead to other jobs” or “Think about what it will say on your resume.” I had, of course, considered all of those things. After all, that’s why I even bothered applying and going to the interview in the first place. But when I was asked to do something that was not in my area of expertise, nor could be taught this either, I just couldn’t follow through. So I politely declined, and let me tell you that I still do not regret it.

Instead, I’ve gotten promoted at my “non-real” job. The job at the hotel that I’ve had for three years now. So I continue to work in customer service, patiently being every guest’s personal bitch. And it’s not all that bad, but there’s a lot of things that are changing in my life, and I just wish a new job position would line up with everything else that’s changing as well. I feel stuck here, while everything else is up in the air. Let me explain.

I still live at my mom’s because affording living anywhere else in New Jersey alone seems to be…how do I say this? Impossible. And all of my friends in this state are forced to do the same. My mom has been trying to leave Belmar for the last 10 years. Well guess who finally sold her condo? My mom did this without lining up another place to live in (and I don’t blame her). So as of July 1, we have no idea where we’ll be living.

My friends are all landing jobs or graduating or doing great things or have steady schedules. And yet I feel so behind for once. My schedule is all over the place, which has always been fine in the past, but again, I’m ready for that next stage in my life. I’m ready for a 9-5. I’m ready for an adventure.

I have a boyfriend. An actual boyfriend for once. And that in itself is so new to me. I can say that I feel stable when I’m with him, which is comforting, of course. But I also don’t want it to hold me back from moving to New York City or landing a real job. So in that respect, I’m terrified of what’s to eventually come.

I feel busy every day and I don’t seem to have a ton of time to dedicate to applying to places (right now I’m actually at work). And I don’t even know what I’m doing every day. I feel like I’m in a black hole right now and I know it will pass.

Sometimes I remind myself that I only just graduated and that something will come my way and it won’t be so bad. This was, after all, the sage wisdom I had given to my friends (and felt justified in giving since I took that year and a half off from school. This feeling is similar, but I can say that it is not the same) after they graduated. But sometimes I’m like, It’s already five months and it’s gone by so fast. Next thing you’ll know, you’re 25 and everything’s the same.

And while some people relish in continuity and repeated sameness, I just don’t feel happy feeling stuck or no room to grow. It’s probably part of the reason why I travel so much.

And even though I just went to Atlanta last month, and going to Puerto Rico for a wedding in June, I’m already getting an itch to get out of here.

So that post-grad life has a lot and nothing for me all in the same package. Where to next? And when? The eternal post-grad questions.

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One Deep Layer Uncovered:

“Pity the living” …but please do not pity me.

Sad, but true.

Life seems so vicious in the most cruel and unexpected ways sometimes. Not even just your life, but when looking at others’ lives, you wonder when your chance will come. And even if one doesn’t believe in destiny or fate or any predetermined matters, a little girl (whether deep down or literally) is wondering when she’s going to get married. Or a father may even wonder when he’ll get to walk his daughter down the aisle. Sadly, out of 4 daughters, my dad’s only walked one.* And girls never think of life that way. Not only are we, as women, racing to fall in love and quick to dream, but perhaps our fathers are wondering when is our time as well?

Ogres Have Layers, Onions Have Layers...People Have Layers

Now as stated in my last post, I’m a big dreamer. I’m always imagining situations that never happen, but I have fun with those goofy little pictures in my mind. This is where my stories and novel ideas originate. But in ways, it’s been the most debilitating quality for me to have. And this is why life is so vicious: I carry on in my mind about people I know, people I’ll meet and people that have something else to say–but meanwhile no one carries on about me in their minds. I hate someone who pities themselves as much as the next guy (or girl), but it’s the honest truth. There’s no reasoning behind it. Just one of those things that just doesn’t happen.

And I watch so many carry on with others that I wonder if I’m cupid. You never hear about cupid having his own love. And you don’t think about it either. Just one of those things that doesn’t happen.

I must constantly remind myself that horoscopes and zodiac signs are somewhat unreal, too. As much as I want to believe, that as a Pisces, I am “sensitive, romantic, creative, dreamy, etc.” Heads up everyone. We, as humans, are sensitive. If you’re a part of American society that watches too much TV and movies, you’re probably romantic too.  As far as creativity goes, I mean, some people have it, and some people don’t…there’s a 50/50 chance on that one, most likely. And we all would love to fulfill our very own American Dream. Now, tell me if those traits don’t apply to you. You probably can mold it into your own personality.

These traits are definitely malleable. Does this mean that I don’t occasionally read my own horoscope? Or compare my own zodiac to those friends and family members around me? Of course I do–in fact, I love that stuff–but I think we’re so caught up in ourselves, that we can’t just remember that my 75 year old father is wondering if he’ll make it to my wedding.

*and that relationship didn’t even last.

MY COLLEGE LIFE

In my mind, I often come across myself saying, Life is so cyclicious. I then realize that if I were to say that out loud, no one would have any idea as to what I’m talking about. It’s a word my subconscious phrased together, meaning cycling and vicious at the same time. When my mind gets trapped in these circles I come across so often, it’s almost like a predetermined curse to me. I shuffle through all of the events that led to the terrible happenings to make it all come back and start all over again, and know that I can’t control that. Generally, I don’t get too upset over something that’s out of my hands, but I only get mad when I’m not gaining or learning anything by the end of each path. If nothing is gained, that’s how I know it is a cyclicious event or occurrence in my life.

I watch so many friends go through their loves, and battle with their experiences. But I don’t get that. That’s never happened to me. The only hardship I have dealing with relationships, is the hardship of the lack of relationships in my life. And I’ve heard for so long now, that love comes at the most unexpected moments, when you’re most vulnerable, or when you’re not trying.

I’ve taken both approaches of, trying, and not trying. And I feel it gets me no where. And this is why Life Is So Cyclicious. Because I am a hopeless romantic, and I think I finally know what that means.

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