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Just A Quick Update, Random Stuff, and Things

Well hello out there, readers of the Internet.

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I feel like I don’t even know where to start anymore.

What I’m not going to start with is my life right now; it’s kind of chaotic and stressful. Even though I’ve got a relatively fun and exciting summer planned, it’s going to be a summer full of work. Work on my writing, work on my reading, work on…finding work. Basically, more work than Rihanna can sing about.

As I look around my apartment right now (I guess I’m staying in and getting real, in a way, even though I was out until about an hour ago), I see remnants of my semester, just strewn around. A pile of papers on the floor, along with some books from sales and the dollar store. Some plastic bags, my green scarf, and my red jacket. Folded clothes, folded towels, unfolded clothes, unfolded towels. All my winter gear, lying in a heap on the futon, like a coat room at a party. A small air conditioner blowing lightly because it’s really hot in here. Receipts, dryer sheets, bandanas, dust. Stuff that belongs to me and stuff that does not belong to me.

What’s great about life? Hard to say in certain moments, but as I think about it, the answer is time. I have now and I have later. This random thought might not make sense in the morning, but basically, I’m just feeling like the last line of Memoirs of a Geisha, “even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.”

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Thoughts on a Tuesday

So many coffee drinks, so little time.

If at Olive Garden, “when you’re here, you’re family,” a) why do you have to pay, and b) why don’t you have to wash the dishes?

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Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 7

I haven’t had the inspiration to write much recently (either here or on my dissertation), so I decided to look back, and the last time I did a post like this was exactly one year ago today.

But here I am, once again on February 19th, once again staying in and getting real, albeit in different apartment, in a different zip code. And I still have trouble concentrating on writing when the TV is on and not muted.

Things here have been pretty normal, I guess. But only here.

Ever since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre last week – a Columbine for the 21st century – things have felt as eerie as they did back in the 1990s. Granted, I was only in elementary school and I did not understand its impact on American life as much as someone a few years older than me would have, but even so, the topic came up in my fifth grade classroom. I remember how it opened up an entire conversation of violence in schools. I remember the images from the news; the low-res CCTV camera footage of the shooters walking down the halls in trenchcoats, the still image of the library window, the video on the news of students in sweatshirts and turtlenecks running away from the camera, their hands covering their ears.

Things should have changed then, but obviously, they didn’t. It’s happened so many times since, at all types of schools, most prominently universities, but something of Columbine-like proportions occurring again – in almost the same manner, just at a different school in a different state – just makes a person feel like they live in an illogical, unfeasible, chaotic world, a world where something like this, which shouldn’t happen, happens. It’s interesting to note that once again, most of the deceased and most of the people speaking out are white, but that’s beside the point. At least this time, social media has captured the unseen angles, the perspectives of the students who were there, in clear and concrete photos, videos, and tweets, and it’s actually done some good for once, helping to spread the word of how these teenagers feel. Who knows what will come of this – sadly, probably nothing – but at least the higher level of visibility is keeping the issue afloat for longer, and reaching farther than Columbine did.

Today, at my office, the fire alarm went off. I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was packing up to go home anyway, so I just hustled a little bit to get my things together and get out of the building, but for a split second, I felt this weird fear, the same kind of fear I felt in the first fire drills after Columbine, and 9/11 (the day which, by the way, the electricity shorted out in my high school and the fire alarm set itself off and everyone went crazy for about ten minutes), and I silently wondered what it would have been like if it was something unthinkable. What would I have done? Hiding under the desk wouldn’t have done much good, at least had I not slammed my door shut first, which is locked from the outside, but who knows if I would have even had the time. All I would have had to defend myself would be a backpack full of books and my students’ work, and maybe two chairs if it came down to it. It’s a thought that now, sounds silly and strange. But due last week’s event, that fire alarm kicked in a reminder, if only for a few seconds, that we still live in a world where things like this can happen and do happen.

Say what you will about guns, mental illness, bullying, but point blank – whatever the reason, there is no excuse for mass shootings.

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Social Media Saturation

So this year’s been off to some kind of start, on the blogging front…anyway, greetings from Milwaukee, where I just went to an APO meeting at Marquette University and am now procrastinating before I have to drive the one and a half hours home.

My parents came into town on Sunday, and since today was my mom’s birthday, we drove 2 hours north to Stevens Point, where one of my mom’s best friends lives, for a birthday lunch. As is traditional these days, I took pictures with my phone, immediately texted them to everyone at the table and posted them on my Facebook with fun captions. And watched the likes and comments roll in. Fun.

Last week, my wonderful friend Kate was in town from Australia, and I got the chance to sit an have a coffee with her for two hours. We had an amazing conversation, about school, life, religion, friends, everything under the sun. As I was walking down the street after we hugged goodbye, I realized that we hadn’t taken a picture together. Part of me wanted to turn around and chase her down to get one, but ultimately, the part of me that was frozen solid and just wanted to get to the library before my fingers fell off won out. Once I was in the library though, I logged onto Facebook, and was going to post something on my page about it, sans photo, but then I realized…

Who am I really posting it for?

Do I care that people know that we had coffee together? Not really. Do I want to make people jealous? No. Was this a crazy, momentous, life-changing event? To me, and hopefully her, it was, but…who else needs to know? And a photo? I know what she looks like and she knows what I look like. Is it like…if it’s not on social media, did it actually happen?

The answer to that one is yes. Remember the days when we didn’t have cameras at the ready 24/7, places to share pictures with everyone in the world, and even cell phones to know if someone was going to be late/cancel or not? In those days, no one cared if every little event in your life was documented. It says so much about our society today that we need to document every little thing, and hashtag it, and link it to every single platform and profile we have. True, I have a blog here, and I have a Facebook, but I mostly use Facebook because I like its interface, I like to use it to communicate with friends who are cities, or states, or countries away, and I have to admit, the way it organizes photos is neat and clean. Even though I feel like I’m always on social media, I still don’t have Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, or even Twitter. It’s like…do I really exist?

The not-so-much-of-a-point-point (aka whatever-don’t-listen-to-me-I-don’t-know) of this story is:s sometimes, it’s OK just to have happy memories of things, without all the documentation and self-paparazzi. Do what you want, but at the end of the day it’s about your experience, and not what you document of it, that makes it worth the memories.

Anyway. I ended up sending Kate a private message, just saying thanks for meeting up with me, I had fun, and I hope you did too, and then logging off and going back to (attempting to avoid) writing.

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Better Names for Jobs

Today, I was driving past the middle school I always pass when I head into town, and I noticed that the crossing guard’s vest said “traffic whisperer.” As I drove away, I thought to myself, that’s interesting. I wonder what other jobs could be like that…

Hearse driver, or Lyft for stiffs?

Boathouse owner, or sea shanty?

Bartender, or cocktail therapist?

Dairy farmer, or moo-keeper?

Rabbi, or Jew-keeper? (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Barista, or caffeine puller?

Front-line soldier, or battle croaker?

TSA agent, or metal wizard?

Drummer, or beater?

Pianist, or ivory tickler?

 

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Shopping and Snacking

Raise your hand if you snack when you shop.

Anyone? Everyone?

I’ve heard talk of eating a meal before you shop to sate your hunger and control your impulse to buy snacks while shopping, but honestly…it’s not worth it. Just get the snack. Don’t make it too unhealthy, but get the snack or else you’ll regret it. Today, I went to 2 grocery stores, a bookstore, and Walgreens. At the first grocery store, I saw a box of tomato basil crackers on the clearance shelf. Nothing wrong with them, so I bought them and enjoyed them. At the next grocery store, I bought a black cherry soda, and I actually forgot about it, so I had a nice treat when I got home. It will make you happier and feel more like an adult. And look at it this way: the more you shop, the more calories you burn.

Does not apply to shopping online.