For the past year and a half, I’ve woken up at 4:35 AM one day a week. On these early mornings, I pull on some black workout pants in the dark and drive to the Wisconsin Athletic Club. As I stand behind the front desk, I say the smiley-est, bright-eyed “good morning” I can muster at 5:58 AM to the first member walking through the automatic doors. While I ask if she has a locker preference, I’m wondering how tired I look, if my name tag is on right-side up and how disheveled my hair is after that sprint across the parking lot.
My responsibilities are simple: fold towels, check in members, hand out locker keys, clean women’s locker room, make coffee. As employees, we are supposed to ask each member “Do you have a locker preference?” and use their name when they check in and check out. I’ve taken my responsibilities pretty seriously. I hate standing around with no towels to fold. I recognized how pleased people were when I actually remembered their name and/or their locker number, so I took this as a challenge of my memory. And with a six day hiatus between shifts, this is no easy task.
Like clockwork, the “regulars” arrive and request their preferred locker. There are people who want the same exact locker every day and those that never care. There are people who are always smiling and those who barely have their eyes opened. There are people who make small talk and the people that are talking on their phones. There are people who are rushing to get through their workout and those who are leisurely looking at the paper or getting coffee.
If you ask me the last time I cried (at any point in time), I will probably say yesterday or the day before yesterday. I’ll round down my average cries per year to every other day. I think crying gets a bad rep as a result of runny make up, swollen and red eyes. Crying may take a physical toll on your face, but it’s great for the soul. It’s okay to cry…
When Babies Are Born
I watch TLC’s A Baby Story. I am fascinated by couples who decide to have children together, yet alone those that let a camera crew follow them into the delivery room. When I see that blue little creature, cord still connected with all the goo on him, my tears are flowing for the next seven minutes until the end of the show. I’ve never seen a live birth, but if I did I think I might be screaming instead of crying.
When Moms Cry
If my mom started crying about a crooked rug in her living room, I would cry. If you love your mother, you would cry too.
Today is my birthday. I’m twenty-five. I’d like to thank my parents and siblings for tolerating my shenanigans for the past two and a half decades.
A birthday is the most exciting day of the year in the life of a Facebook user. Grade school classmates, co-workers, high school friends, random people I’ve only interacted with once (or twice), my mom’s friends, college acquaintances , and a few cousins will fill my email inbox with notifications from Facebook. I will feel appreciated and loved by the people saying “Happy Birthday, Ali!” and “Miss Webster, have a great bday.” My bestest of friends (and potential stalkers) will wish me a happy birthday on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, via text message, email and possibly create a YouTube video in my honor…
At the end of January, I reported to my co-workers that I hadn’t fallen down this winter. Once February hit, I was regretting my bold statement as winter wreaked havoc on my otherwise uneventful, organized little life. I’ve come to accept the following inalienable truths of Wisconsin winter…
You Will Fall Down
I was on my way to a Super Bowl party, with an appetizer, Smirnoff Vodka and a lovely Orange/Mango fruit juice. As I came around the corner, both my legs slipped to the right and the rest of my body fell on the pavement. After a surprised shriek, I heard glass breaking and smelled Vodka piddling on to the pavement. Although I was tempted to lay there until someone offered me a fresh handle, I got up & smiled proudly at the amused bystanders. My father always said, “Don’t cry over spilled vodka.”
My sister & I watch The Bachelor every week. Every time the Chris Harrison asks, “Would you like to date the next bachelor or bachelorette? Go to abc.com and click apply.” My sister raises her eyebrows and says, “Ali, this is your chance!”
As you know, I like to make my own rules. And when those don’t work out, I just make my own rules again. I’ve given the idea some thought and have developed a game plan for being on the Bachelor. If I don’t get my shot, maybe you will.
1. Make An Entrance
The “first impression” does go a long way. After all, Ali gave Roberto the first impression rose. Try not to trip on the cobblestone on your way out of the limo. Be sure to think of something clever to say (and try not to make it look too rehearsed). Make him remember you. And make sure you don’t have anything on your butt. He is watching you walk away while desperately trying to remember your name.