To prove just about everyone I know wrong, I have gotten my mission call (to San Jose, California) and leave on Wednesday.
As can be expected, the last couple of weeks have been pretty busy with many things - finally throwing out all the junk in my room I only keep for appearances and sentimental value (leaving nothing but an old soiled pillow, a bottle of water, and a small box of crayons - coming back home is going to be great), returning borrowed items to friends, and writing several more apology letters to teachers from high school.
A few things changed after I got my call, some of which were nice. For one thing, I quit my job. While I miss the people and the money, it has freed up some time I very much needed to work on my memoirs. However, most of this extra time was spent sleeping in, biking, and finishing the authorized New Kids on the Block biography (A much-appreciated birthday present from Talisa).
Another good thing that has happened is suddenly hearing from, and hanging out with old friends I haven't seen for some time. This can go one of two ways. 1) You have a great time together, having much to talk about and you wish you had more time to build the friendship back up. Or 2) After 5 minutes you realize why you stopped seeing this particular person and suddenly regret paying up front for the rented bicycle-built-for-two for the whole day. I enjoy both possibilities.
One more change that happened is that while in conversation with certain girls, I could say just about the stupidest, most idiotic thing and they would just laugh and laugh, ostensibly showing how clever and hilarious they think I am. Example:
Me: What's the biggest city in Ireland?
Girl: I don't know. What is the biggest city in Ireland?
Girl: laughs long and loudly.
Me: And why is Dublin the biggest?
Girl: Ha ha ha! Why?
Me: Because it keeps on doublin'!!
Girl: Laughs without restraint, hitting you on the leg or arm if you am sitting or standing, respectively.
Me: You're not too bright, are you?
If I have offended any of my female readership with this, I apologize. To any who are offended, I assure you you were not the type of girl depicted in the dialogue. That type of girl, bless her heart, is laughing her head off right now as she reads this. Plus, this is not a good example because the Dublin joke really is kind of funny if you think about it.
One word of advice for those considering doing their mission talk any other Sunday other than the one right before the Wednesday you go into the MTC: DON'T DO IT! I had no choice but to do this, being strong-armed out of that Sunday by the Primary Program and the wrath of the Primary Presidency who, while seemingly ever-cheerful and helpful, will surprise you with their viciousness and ruthless threats. Very intimidating.
The reason why you must speak on the last Sunday possible is because, at least in my case, all your family and friends are there enjoying each other's company, everyone shares the bitter-sweet feelings of a goodbye party, and you are left with only the best feelings for everyone there and have a strong determination to work hard and that you are very supported and loved. Sounds good, huh? Wait a week. There might be one or two more get-togethers, but the excitement of it has dulled. You see friends and acquaintances here and there and you struggle to even make small-talk without bursting into tears. No one says it, but you know everyone is thinking Why is he still here? Hugs turn into handshakes, handshakes turn into high-fives, and soon you are so starved for affection that you ride the bus all day, hoping that someone, anyone, will try to grope you. You lie curled up in a cold corner of your room, clutching your soiled pillow, only getting sustenance from eating old crayons and drinking your own urine, continuously shivering and repeating the words, "I hope they call me on a mission when I have grown a foot or two" over and over until the words lose all meaning. Later that day you will be dropped off at the MTC.
I hope this description wasn't too graphic for any young or squeamish readers. But the truth must be told.
Anyway, I'm going to try to have my mom keep this blog up with some of my less boring letters from San Jose and some nice pictures of me in a suit standing next to people you don't know.
Feel free to comment on any post to your heart's desire, as I will not be able to regulate them. If you wish to tell me about how good your life is going, or what a great day you had, letters can be sent to:
Elder Matt Karlsven
California San Jose Mission
3975 McLaughlin Ave. Ste. A
Happy blogging, everyone! See you in 2010!