I've been ill this last weekend so I haven't been very active during the day, which is pretty normal except for at some point I'll usually go to the gym and soak up the culture. Unfortunately it feels like a melon baller is being dragged up the inside of my trachea every time I cough so I'm trying to limit my breathing. It's coming along remarkably well (one of my gifts is incredible willpower, but that's a story for a different day). I've been spending my sick days reading Gulliver's Travels, the second book my delightful English professor has assigned us. It's questionably a satire, possibly a joke, it could be a fairytale, it might be the first novel, it was definitely written by Jonathan Swift and it depicts the travels of Lemuel Gulliver, an adventurous surgeon. I don't want to talk about what the book means--Jonathan Swift was a terribly intelligent man, far more intelligent than you could ever hope to be, and I suppose me too, and so whatever analysis we came up with probably would only scrape at the surface of what he's really saying. He managed to create a book that can be reasonably interpreted a million different ways, from political satire to children's book (although I would never read this to my children, it's brutal), but mostly I think it's funny. For example, the title of the fourth section of this book is A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan. It's genius. Japan has been rendered ridiculous simply by association--I wish I would have thought of this first.

Rather than dwell on this, I added it to my mental list of things I wish I could do, which includes a really good Jamaican accent (I have the opposite problem of Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man), become a member of British parliament, and eradicate the world of bed bugs and cigarette smoke. Both are vile.

Another facet of the Lauren Turns 20 Program is not letting the little things bother me. I let the disappointment of Jonathan Swift getting ahead of me before I even started roll right off my back. I said to myself, Lauren, this is no reason to get upset! He was the light of his generation! He was a Prior! He was Irish! The cards were stacked against you from the start! And I instantly felt better. I have realized through much thought that I spend a lot of time and energy being stressed about things that are completely out of my control. How other people behave is a big one. A lot of times I can get my peers to do exactly what I want them to, but sometimes I can't. That's when I just have to put my hands up and say, sadly, this is out of my control.

Other things I am able to let go of that previously would have thrown me into a tailspin: when the LBC doesn't have the bottled water I like. When library patrons can't find the print button and ask me to show them. When ugly people sing the song Pretty Girl Rock. When the turn signals on the line of cars at red lights don't match up. When Hulu won't load the Bachelor and I have to wait to watch it. When people walk slowly in front of me. When the ladies at Einstein Bros move at a glacial speed, especially when there's a line a mile long. When people talk on their cell phones in public. When people misspell common words. When people bring aluminum water bottles to class, set them on the floor, and constantly knock them over. It's so obnoxious.

But it's fine! What can I do? Nothing. So I let it go.

I will say though that are a few things that I can't stand, and try as I might I can't stop being annoyed. One are these semi-feral cats that Tulane is overrun with. I hate cats, I really do. They're so damn smug. Nothing grinds my gears like cats do--sitting around and looking haughty. Every time I see one I just want to give it a solid kick to the ribs and say, you're not better than me, you dirty vermin, you eat roaches and rats! I try to not let them get the best of me but they are an awful, awful species and I can't get over it.

The other are these judgmental lizards that hang around outside my door. They're rude. Call me crazy but I always feel like they're on their little railing making comments about what I'm wearing and what time I'm coming home. It's usually really reasonable, I don't know what they have to complain about.

Anyway, I'm working on it.

xoxo, Lauren