Week Eight

In which I put my skills to practical use, get a visitor and eat meringue.

My desire to work in advertising is sort of…and I’m not a huge fan of this word, but it’s sort of random. It’s at odds with what younger Hannah wanted to do with her life, from “policeman” (thank God I outgrew that one) to veterinarian to nurse. Eventually, I landed on “writing” as the most important career requirement, and I went to Mizzou fully intending to become a journalist, an arts & culture reporter, a movie reviewer like my boy Roger Ebert. Strategic communications and advertising didn’t really even register as options for me, not for those first few semesters of college at least. Now I can’t really even picture how my life would be if I had stuck with news writing – it just doesn’t fit me, and I don’t know how I didn’t see it before. And sure my number 1 passion is still storytelling, but there’s just something so satisfying about finding those few words, that one sentence, that one phrase, that just works. You know it when you see it, and you know it when you think of it. The words swirling around in your head bump together just right, align in a way that is so obviously good, so deliberate, you just can’t believe there was a time when you hadn’t thought of it yet. People like to trash talk strategic communications, but the first time you come up with a perfect tagline, it feels like a real accomplishment. It’s like you could change someone’s life, even for just a minute, with the words you’ve tied together, the combination of text and visual you’ve created out of nothing. And that, chasing that feeling, would probably be my number 2 passion at this point in my life. So I’m now someone who could describe themselves as “passionate” about advertising, and though I did not see that coming at all, I really am okay with it.

This week, in working on a class project, the directions for which started as “unclear” and morphed into “puzzling” as the weeks went by, I got to play at making advertisements, and for a cause. The project was about raising awareness of the state of the Brussels sidewalks, which really are atrocious in places, hard to access and navigate. So I created some Twitter advertisements, and once they were produced by one of our talented designers, they looked damn good. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was still encouraging, and I still get excited whenever anything goes even remotely well for me in this field.

There was no trip this weekend. Instead I stayed in Brussels and received a visitor from the Mizzou program in London, the friend we went to visit at the beginning of our trip. It was so, so good to see her, and we took her around to see all the Brussels sights, of which we realized there were surprisingly few. The charm of Brussels isn’t quite like that of London. London is bursting with historical landmarks and destinations and every corner has some rich history behind it. Brussels is more fun to walk around and look at, not because something important happened in such-and-such building, but because it’s beautiful. I’m glad I got to experience both kinds of sightseeing while I was abroad, especially with such good friends in tow. We made our way down to Grand Place again, saw Manneken Pis and the town hall and rubbed the Everard t’Serclaes monument, which was oh so smooth. You know, from all the rubbing. We also found a chocolatier and, as soon as I laid eyes upon the giant meringues, I knew I had to launch a game of odds. For the uninitiated, odds is a game of dares and statistics, sort of. That makes it sound somewhat intellectual, but so far we’ve only used it to get people to eat soggy vegetables and buy shrimp-flavored Pringles. Here’s how it works: Have something sort of unsavory you want your friend to do? No problem. Odds them. They pick a range, and on the count of 3, you both say a number within the range. If you say the same number, they have to do it. Like so:


INT. CHOCOLATIER – NOON.

CAROLINE, smart and smiling, mills around the floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with packaged meringues, each the size of a small boulder. HANNAH, perennially sullen, takes Caroline’s lingering as a sign of her latent desire to obtain a delicious boulder-sized meringue and decides to act. For Caroline’s sake, of course, and not at all for her own amusement. BRENDAN, squeaky and exasperated, eats chocolate-covered marshmallows out of a crinkled plastic bag, looking on in mild interest.

HANNAH

Caroline, odds you buy a giant meringue.

CAROLINE

Out of 20.

HANNAH

Done.

After a beat spent staring each other down and thinking about numbers, Hannah starts the countdown.

HANNAH

One…two…three–

HANNAH AND CAROLINE (in unison)

Fourteen.


And that, friends, is how odds works. Shout out to Katie for teaching us about that. And the meringue was, indeed, delicious.

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