Wednesday, December 15, 2010

people observation #12: women, please don't be afraid to show your intelligence.

[well, it's only halfway through december.]

While babysitting a few days ago, I was watching a new show on the Disney Channel called Shake it Up. Two best friend girls are the main characters and the way they acted made me sick. One of the main characters is an independent girl with cool style, but pretends that she is stupid to get a boy. She ends up getting the boy. I don't know why Disney would portray a girl in this way, a channel dedicated to helping tweens deal with the anxieties and self consciousness we go through in a "funny" way.

There is nothing funny or attractive about playing dumb.
There is no good in pretending you are not
the brilliant woman that you were made to be.

Intelligence is a beautiful thing. And you may think, "oh I'm not very smart," but we are all intelligent in different ways. I have a friend who has an incredible GIFT in being able to read people. She just knows. Some people have ginormous hearts, and they can love and listen to anyone. Some people kick ass at school, some people kick ass at life.

On the finale of my favorite show Amazing Race last week, my favorite team in the history of the show, Brooke and Claire, got second place. I don't think I could say it better than Claire:

"The ideal of being a strong woman either means
that you're a grumpy boots or that you're
this really masculine, gnarly chick. No!
You can be feminine and still tap into
that femininity while still being a very strong woman."

Amen. You can be a strong woman. You can have beliefs, have a brain, use your brain, hold true to your character, work hard, work very hard, treat people fairly, and still be beautiful. In fact, that is what makes a woman beautiful.

all the women who independent
throw your hands up at me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

welcome to december.

possible topics I may or may not be talking about this month (depending on my motivation) :
  • christmas music
  • the columbus blue jackets, my muse
  • cold weather melodies
  • 'tis the season
  • new year's REVOLUTIONS
  • saying things in all caps
  • crowd surfing
  • snow surfing
  • surfing surfing
  • smurfing?
I am on my holiday break from Ohio U so I shouldn't really have an excuse not to, except of course The Sims 3.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

people observation #11: obnoxious cursing, creativity lacking

This is a short post, but I have to tell all of you readers something. I will first explain that I don't get offended by swearing; I don't do it myself very often, but that is because I'm a typically happy individual who doesn't have a need to bring anybody down with f-bombs and s-words.

There are two ways to cuss: the wrong way and the right way. Needless to say, many people take part in the wrong way: This way involves what reminds me of a fifth grader who just learned what a douche bag was. He says the word constantly just because he knows it, hoping some older person will give him approval. At the child center I work at, I had a little girl come up to me and go, "gay! gay! gay! gay!" For no other reason than she knew it was bad. Sometimes I think people swear just because they think it will make them look cool. Just shut up. The wrong way: This way involves throwing out expressions without even thinking about what you're really saying. It is so uncreative. Examples: using swear words as the comparing word in a simile, like, "It's cold as hell out here." Really? Because the usual idea of hell, correct me if I'm wrong, is one of fire, not exactly a winter wonderland. "It was loud as shit." Really? Is shit really something considered to be typically LOUD? I mean sure, we've all been there, but on a regular basis?
the right way: Now, if you are going to take part in the cussing phenomenon, I urge you to do it correctly. Just like any other word, use it creatively, and to your advantage. Something can be hot as hell, or smelly as shit.

Lesson: What I urge you to do is PLEASE think before you swear, because you sound uneducated and totally not creative when you use it the wrong way. Thank you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

twenty things i've learned in my twenty years.

1. smiles are contagious. Most people are afraid to be the first to tip their hat, but being within two feet of another human being requires your acknowledgement of their existence. We are social creatures. and giving a smile to the person next to you will not only give them a boost of confidence, but it will give you a little endorphin promotion as well.
2. you need to fall. I know you've heard it a hundred times, but making mistakes is how we learn. This goes for everything. Especially ice skating.
3. you need to be able to laugh at yourself when you fall. I saw a girl fall down the other day and she was so embarrassed and ashamed she ran away. Oh come on girl, the horror of your tumble would have been eight times less had you been able to understand the fact that we make mistakes.
4. i am very outgoing. some people are not as outgoing, erin. don't take offense to it. Some people may not be as quick to toss that hello around, and if that means I have to
always be the first to ask someone how they are doing so be it. Who doesn't want people to be nice to them?

5. being able to take a walk in someone else's jeans is crucial for progress. The reason we never get anything done around here often is because nobody gives a crap about things that haven't hit them home. If we could step into somebody else's skin every once in a while, guaranteed we'd all be a little better off.
6. political views are settled. How many political discussions have you had or seen that have just turned into arguments? Once we have established our opinions on issues, room for objectivity is trifling. The truth is we cannot put ourselves into two boxes, not even disperse ourselves into a venn diagram, and because we have a need for organization this pisses us off. My advice is to not be so quick to tell someone the box you most associate with because they will assume much about you that is probably not true.
7. people are human. You cannot expect someone to never make a mistake.
8. 90% of the things we worry about doesn't happen. This could mean that the things we worry about are stupid, but it also explains that because the fact I put some thought into the possibility of alternative outcomes to the preferred, I take caution that these not occur. Example: I worry I am going to fail out of school; therefore, I study and

go to class. I worry someone is going to steal my roommate; therefore, I lock the door. I worry the bottom of my jeans will get wet and I will be forced, god-forbid, to walk around all day with that clammy-ankle feeling; therefore, I wear my cute brown rain boots when it rains.
9. people are afraid to admit they were wrong. Personally, I love having the confidence to admit when I screwed up. Everyone's so afraid for what they have to lose if they admit they messed up. The smallest things too: saying, "Sorry I'm late. My alarm didn't go off," instead of saying, "Sorry I'm late. I didn't wake up to my alarm" puts the blame on an inanimate object instead of yourself. Ironically, people will think greater of you if you can explain it was you who made that mistake. It's an admirable quality.
10. dishonesty is lying on your face. Building off of admitting we were wrong, sometimes people forego the truth to save themselves. This is stupid and selfish.
11. music can move mountains. lyrics are wisdom.
12. "laughter is the only thing that'll keep you sane." -Drew Holcomb.
13. faith is a necessity. I don't know where I would be without my faith. Sometimes I thought that I had lost it, but really it was just needing a workout. I put my hope in Jesus Christ and He will never let me down.
14. don't put extra laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washing machine.
15. everyone is different. get over it. If you think that racism, sexism, and all the stupid isms we have to have because of ass holes are something of the past, you need to lift up that rock that you've been living under because people are persecuted every day. For the dumbest things imaginable. Why it is so hard to grasp and accept the idea that we are different, and born different, I don't know. What I have learned is that I don't have to take it.
16. my parents are incredible. I love both of my parents so much for so many different reasons I'm sure you don't want me to list. The things they have done for my brother and me are countless. I've learned so much from the both of them. I appreciate the fact that they let me make my own decisions. I appreciate the fact that they let me make mistakes. and I appreciate the fact that I know they have been there for me every single one of my 7,300 days. (7,580 if you count when I was in the womb:) )
17. if anything, it is important to be thankful for what we have. Somehow, I was dealt an awesome hand. (which I find funny because in real poker, I have horrible luck.) I am so thankful for everything that I do have, and wishing I had this and that is silly when I take a step back and see the beautiful people and opportunities that have been put into my life.
18. being outside is principal. it's no question that the environment is therapeutic. Humans weren't meant to box themselves up. We started in nature, so obviously we feel closer to the world when we get outside. Camping, Hiking, Jogging, building a snowman for heavensake. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that a weekend away can clear your mind and your soul (just maybe not your fingernails).
19. Everyone has different talents, and it would be a waste of time to sit around suffering through jealousy. I've been there. I've spent too many days wishing I could play like this or draw like that. Trust me. I went through middle school. If there's one thing I learned it's some people can make the softball team, and others cannot. damnit.
20. I am by no means wise; I am by every mean still learning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

people observation #10: a simple thought on relationships past.

it's weird to sit here and think about the many relationships that pass by in ones life. I think back to years ago, and take a look at all of the people I didn't know back then that I do know now. I think back to years ago, and I also realize all the people I did know then, that I don't know anymore. This blog is for the latter.

I hate to say it, but there are so many people in our lives that we click with yet simply lose touch with over time. It makes me sad.

I have never had such a relationship as I did with my best friend from fifth to eighth grade. We came of age together. But then she moved. and simple as that, everything changed. All of a sudden we no longer knew each other. Don't get me wrong, we tried. But over time we find things out about ourselves, and we gain new sets of values.

Every now and then I will stumble upon an old picture or song that reminds me of old friends. The picture of us standing on the stairs, the picture of us after the Summer of Hell, the picture of us in the RV on Spring Break; "Build me up Buttercup" by the Foundations, "The Freshman" by The Verve Pipe, "Float On" by Modest Mouse. Nostalgia.

I miss you guys.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

people observation #9: The cruciverbalist don't know what she got til it's gone.

This is where the story begins: Tuesday morning in Morton hall.I sit on the floor outside of my philosophy class waiting for the previous one to get out. I always have about ten minutes to spare, a perfect time to eat an apple (which by the way will do a better job waking you up than a cup of coffee!) and start on the daily Post Crossword. Literally, my favorite thing to do during my six hours of class everyday is this Crossword. Lame? I think not.

So here I am, skimming through articles. (I don't want admit to being one of those people who pick up the paper JUST for the Crosswords and Sudokus in the back, but I totally am.) I always fold the newspaper nicely into three sections so I can easily pull the crossword out as I'm working on it throughout the day. But on this particular day this is what happens: I get to the back page -and remember guys, this being a newspaper it's probably janked with bad news- I see the worst news in the whole issue; the crossword had been placed in the middle of the fold.

That's right. I had to readjust everything. Pain in the donk.
Call me crazy, but I am not alone. Later that day in US History, I saw the kid three seats over whip out the crossword for a little mid-lecture entertainment, and with a sigh, a similar expression to mine that morning wiped across his face. He was all"who the H laid out this page? What were they thinking?"

I gotta tell you three-seats-over kid, clearly, the answer to your question is that they were not thinking. So next thing Greg sitting next to me leaned over and told me about his internship at a newspaper this summer. He said that the day the publication received the most complaining phone calls was the day somebody had moved the crossword onto the fold.

At that moment, I was embarrassed. Like, was I really wasting my energy on a complaint so stupid as the placement of the crossword puzzle in the school newspaper? Really, Erin? The CROSSWORD PUZZLE? Like you couldn't find anything better to complain about? The clouds? The heat?

Well, I've made this point in a previous post that complaining is something I hate, and I can't help but stress that it's something we all do. Sure, the crossword is the one thing in my day that I can call a part of a routine. My life is jam-packed full of a beautiful brand of spontaneity, and as much as I love it, I'm an American too, which means I like my same-old same routine. I just think sometimes we like our little daily quirks, and god forbid the inevitable change messes that up, right? Wrong. I love the quote, "the only constant in life is change." Because it is so true, and the more we can understand that, the more we can fall in love with it.

So I stopped myself from calling and complaining to the Post that day. I can assure you though somebody noticed; the placement of Wednesday's crossword was the best damn layout I ever did see. Sudoku and Crossword on the same. side. of. the. page. All I gotta say is Amen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

people observation #8: music is memories.

I sit down to list some of my favorite songs, and realize they are more important to me because of the memory that they hold than the actual grace of the notes themselves. Five examples:

1. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen reminds me of blasting the song with my father, always messing up the lyrics, singing it, correction, screaming it in North Carolina while using the dash as a keyboard.
2. Wonder - Natalie Merchant: practicing my vocals, wishing I could sing like Natalie, hearing this song at Mad River Mountain on some of my favorite high school snowboarding weeknights with my best friend.
3. Lazy Eye- Silver Sun Pickups reminds me of my junior year in highschool, just first meeting someone, and hearing this song everywhere we went.
4. One Love - U2: Not only do I absolutely adore this song and what it means, this one reminds me of first loves, as well as my mother and how it's her favorite u2 song. Every mix I have ever made for my mom has included this song on it.
5. Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers: Driving around with my babysitter Sarah, this was just one of the many 90s-early 00s songs that I know and love thanks to her. I remember this song specifically because we had no idea what exactly the chorus was saying and all had our own personal renditions of "with the birds I'll share this lonely view"

Monday, June 21, 2010

people observation #6: we have nothing in common, so of course I can decide for myself exactly how you feel.

I am currently reading an awesome piece by Cornel West, Democracy Matters. West makes an excellent point that I think many Americans fail to grasp:

The United States was designed with the democratic ideology and, subsequently, capitalism. The problem is that our participation in the free market and democratic processes should be separate things. When one participates in the market, he is thinking about what he wants, how he can earn that extra penny, and what food to put on his table. The idea of the voting booth is that one goes there to think of the whole, and he or she looks at which issue to vote on that would be best for the country or community.

The problem: people bring their market minds to the voting booth. They ask themselves, how can this issue help me? Is this going to raise my taxes? The problem with this is that we get a selfish nation, nihilistic and pessimistic, where government becomes a part of the market, with lobbyists and campaigns running completely on a spending platform.

When we go to the voting booth (which not participating in is a slap in the face to so many countries and people I can't even begin to count) we need to understand the process of what we're doing. It is taking part in an idea that asks what is best for society. In times of economic trouble, regardless of how great ones business may be doing, one cannot go wondering whether their taxes will be raised, but instead vote on representatives that have the experience, knowledge, and ideas to help all citizens get out of the hard times.

I am so sick of votes being swayed by a simple idea that taxes may rise. I refuse to believe this inevitable; there are so many more important things that citizens need to know.

With the knowledge of another's suffering comes compassion, and I believe that the reason America has such trouble deciding which is right to vote for, rather than which is the most economically good for me, is because Americans are simply unaware of the problems that those unlike them are experiencing. Take the middle class for example. Middle class Americans are notorious for blaming both the rich and poor for not working enough. They hear stories of the Cincinnati mother who has rigged the welfare system, drives a pink cadillac, and gets her nails done four times a week. They hear stories of rich corporate tycoons who spend weeks at a time on their yachts in the Virgin Islands and hire a bunch of other people to do the work for them. These, however, are not the rules, but they are outliers! Most of the Americans on welfare also have jobs, many of them two or three. Middle class Americans, whose families have been middle class for generations cannot physically understand because they are not in that situation. What they can do is get to know someone in a different situation, learn about those people, and guaranteed comes the compassion they deserve. Many people turn a blind eye to those suffering here in the United States because they know that if they knew about it, they would become uncomfortable.

Unless going through the same situation as another, empathy is impossible to experience. I am a white middle class girl. I will never know what it is like to be black or gay or a man. But I can learn from history and from others' different situations, I can understand that I do have a huge privilege, and I can speak for those who do not have a voice. If we take what we learn and our compassion for others to the voting booth, instead of our market minds, the gears of democracy can begin to turn in the way that they were originally intended to run, for all of its people.

Monday, June 14, 2010

lucky me.

it is my first day of my summer job and I couldn't ask for a better opportunity nannying some really great kids.

Reasons for my optimism:
  • My best friend is the babysitter of people down the street, and the kids are friends. Lucky me.
  • The kids are not picky eaters. I just made one a big salad with carrots and grape tomatoes and balsamic vinagrette dressing. The other isn't a big meat eater, but makes up for it with her undying love for black beans. Amen for not picky kids!
  • I am so blessed to have a job right now. Some people who have gone to college and beyond don't have jobs right now. Lucky me.
  • Every morning I get here early about an hour before the kids wake up. This forces me to be awake in a silent house. Coming from someone who, this past year, got five minutes of alone time every three weeks. I am so excited for a daily devotional and time spent with the Lord.
Couldn't think of a complaint.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

people observation #5: ...and so she admits it; she's a cold hearted bitch.

Look, don't get me wrong, I know that people in this world are selfish, and I spend every single day of my life trying to prove to myself that we are not all selfish, but sometimes it just isn't so easy.

Here I am. I love people! Love em! I love smiling at them, and asking how they're doing, and I love hearing what they have been up to or what their lives are like. I spend countless hours working to help others, even contemplating whether my being here at college as too selfish or preparing me to perform some greater good down the road.

I can't take the idea that this is a world of every person for him or herself, and I have no understanding, I have no mental capacity to fathom, the idea that anyone would sincerely believe the world was all about them.

In political theory yesterday, someone explained to us that she wholeheartedly believed other people's problems to be ones that she would never be able to help out with. And I quote, "Maybe I'm just a cold hearted bitch, but we're really all here for ourselves," She continued to explain to us that even if her very best friend needed a place to stay, or a month's rent, even if she had the money, she couldn't help her out because it wasn't her problem. I have never been so appalled in my life.

We're young! We're in college! We're hopeful! We're suppose to look cynicism like this in the face and tell it to shut the hell up! I can't imagine how different my life would be if I had this kind of attitude. Oh, litter, I'm not gonna pick you up, someone else's problem. Oh, high schooler, I'm not gonna worry about your addictions, that's your problem. Oh, grandpa, I'm not gonna worry about your sickness, not my problem. (not my chair, not my problem..I always say) I can tell you that the incredible people I have been able to learn from all across this country would not be. I can tell you that the nine months I have been away from my boyfriend would not be. and I can tell you that the incredibly loving relationship that I have been blessed to have with my family sure as hell would not be.

I cannot imagine being here simply to help myself. I cannot imagine my political beliefs to be an ideology based on which one would help myself. It's not about me. What I'm saying is that I came to college for a greater opportunity to make a difference in the world. I'm here because someday I am going to have some skills of use, that can help somebody somewhere with something. Vague? Good. Because you can do it too.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check; we've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. barackobama.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

stream of consciousness, stream of CONSCIENCE.

you cannot sit in your white house of comfortability.
not when those who pass by don't know what you do.
you cannot sit and judge someone who "doesn't know jesus"
because clearly you must have forgotten who you are.
We all have different gifts,
and the fact that I am busy outside meeting god's beautiful children,
being a light to a dark world,
the mouth that cannot quote the words to perfection is still loved, and beautiful,
and belongs to a good person.
i have been given a gift of being able to love everyone. not those like me. those not like me. those not like you.
hide it under a bushel? no. I'm gonna let it shine.
i can no longer dwell in my fears of being judged,
at the very least,
by the ones who I thought were the judge-less.
our bodies are beautiful,
our brains our beautiful,
our inevitably different grasp of the ways of the world..why, that's beautiful too.
the ultimate beautiful.
I can no longer sit as the gossip continues,
I am a doer.
I am ready to do.
We have been assigned a position of serving those around us,
and this does not confine us to the schools of the county.
nobody said that we had a quota to meet,
that we couldn't work overtime,
that we couldn't smile at the house two doors down.
there are people starving in our own closer backyards,
and you sit on your couch and glare.
"they don't know jesus".... as if there were nothing you could do.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

people observation #4: We are happy.

I love the days here at college when the sun comes out for the first weeks and everyone is outside smiling.

I can pass people and smile at them like I do on a daily basis and I don't get looked at like I am a boob. I get looked at like, "today is sunny and we both share this joy which gives me grounds to smile back
to you."

I play a game that I learned a while back from my grandmother. She would try and see how many people she could make smile in the amount
of time she had with the stranger. At work, this is easy. Every person that comes in is someone I can say hello to and ask how they are doing. I look at them in the eyes and I smile to them. It isn't creepy if you're being sincere, and frankly, people love it.
Smiles are contagious.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

people observation #3: you know who you are.

My brother and I were recently discussing the irritating people we encounter on a day to day basis in our classes. Only two days in, I can tell you that the roster for my spring quarter is already irking my drawers. The problem of the annoying classmate is an epidemic that has struck colleges for years. They come in all shapes and sizes, and their weapons can range from talking too much to not showering enough. I give you my diagnoses:
  • The know it all: This person's hand is in the air every question asked, and ofcourse, they have a very logical response to it. I know it's good for your ego, but let somebody else give the question a stab for once, at least ONCE.
  • The Distracter: I am already distracted enough as it is. There are so many things that are easy to control, but hard for others not to watch. To name a few there's the gum chomper, the kid who talks to the person behind them, laptop movie kid, laptop facebook kid, laptop bejeweled kid, Smelly Dude, Texts McGee, etc. Just try to be aware of your classmates, Maybe start taking a shower twice a week instead of once a month, and I know they're nervous habits, but for the love of God, please keep the foot twitching, chair bouncing, and pencil tapping to a bare minimum.
  • Kid that extrapolates their own personal experiences and tiny worldview to explain an entire history or event being discussed: self-explanatory. Get some observation goggles. There's a whole world out there, and just because your father knows a guy who etc., etc., etc., doesn't make it the rule.
  • I'm the only one in this class person: He or she asks questions as if they are the only one in the entire class. "Hey Prof, did you get my email?" or "I'm not gonna be here tomorrow is there anything I need to do?" I'll give you something you need to do: take off your blinders; there's 300 of us in here.
  • Loud Conversation Group: The people who sit and discuss their dumb philosophies, fest-filled weekends, or latest vom incident. Chat all you want, but I shouldn't be able to hear your embarrassing stories from the classroom next door.
  • Question Girl: Finds any excuse to ask a question. Wants the teacher to recognize and know her, but moreover, she wants the class to recognize and know her. Question Girl is the first cousin of Tell Dumb Stories Boy.
  • isthisgonnabeonthetest kid:This student will never participate in class discussions. They will only raise their hands to ask the professor one thing: Is this gonna be on the test? Asking this question shows much about you. Not only, does it tell the professor you couldn't care less about their class, it tells them you care even less about your true learning Word up to these kids, your professors hate you.
There was a student in my politics class last quarter who was the perfect example of a good classmate. He was smart. He knew his crap. He could have easily answered every question brought up in class, but he didn't. Then, when he did answer, it wasn't bull shit. It was logic and reasoning, examples and intelligent wording; the kid practically sung his answers in perfect tune. It is because he knew we'd have to spend the next two hours with him, and being an idiot wouldn't help the situation.
Folks, I suggest you take this student's example, and be considerate of the others in your classes. You don't have to know everything and you don't have to tell all 500 of us how awesome you are. If you do the work, share what you know when the professor asks this of you. Otherwise, pay attention to them because, who knows, maybe you'll learn something.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

people observation #2: i'm a freshman in college, therefore I reserve the right to bash everything my doctorate grammar professor has to say.

Every Monday and Wednesday from 10-12 it is the same thing. I run in a few minutes ahead of schedule and quickly delayer my parka, mittens, hat, and extra sweatshirt before I break a ridiculous sweat. I give Megan a cheerful hello and ask her if she did the homework from last night, because I most likely did not. We take our seats and cross our fingers that they aren't going to sit behind us, but there they are right on cue.

The recipe of their conversation always consists of the ingredients from my last observation, quite complainy, but this one has just a pinch of arrogance. Of course being me, I cannot help myself but eavesdrop, and with the volume of their voices, it would probably be harder not to. Their conversation I am talking about is how they feel that they are much cooler, and clearly much more intelligent than our professor. All through class, literally, everything that comes out of our very intelligent professor's mouth is something for them to make fun of. I don't know why they don't get up in front and teach the class themselves. Actually, I do. Their making fun of her is caused by a little thing inside of them named insecurity.

These students are not alone. It is an epidemic that began when we were in middle school and being able to poke fun of someone made you superior in your LizzieMcGuire-mimicked clique. From then on, pointing out an elder's flaws was an easy thing to do, because one could assume these elders were never going to hear it. There you go, easy way in to that group.

I have always had a problem with making fun of the established elders, and this is most likely because the older people in my life have always been very incredible role models. They were successful yet not afraid to admit their humanity. They taught me what respect was by respecting me and most importantly respecting others.

I feel that another important factor as to why I get so upset about this topic is that I have had some great relationships with my teachers throughout schooling and I've learned that teachers are people too, and that they do have lives outside of the classroom. I do not think some students understand this concept.

Just the other day, we were going over a grammar rule that was rare, and confusing, because so many people mess it up. When our professor explained what the rule was, a student answered her hand, and in the most arrogant voice imaginable says, "I have never seen or heard that before now." I was appalled. Who do you think you are? As if your nineteen years of life gave you more credibility than our PHD grammar professor, with years of journalistic experience, who studies the concepts of these simple rules on and off the job.

Sure, I understand that sometimes professionals are wrong. Scientists do not find the solution on their first experiment. Sometimes Ryan Howard strikes out. However, we have no right to undermine their knowledge, and we most certainly have no right to blatantly disrespect what they have to say because of a mistake. (That being said my grammar professor knows her shit. She was not wrong, and she went on to give us five more examples of the questioned rule, thus, embarrassing the class. As we say in my family: face.)

What I'm trying to explain is just a small part of my daily life as a freshman in college, surrounded by intelligent students that sometimes let this trait get to their heads. I can understand frustration with a class, I can understand insecurity breaching from that, however, what I cannot understand is the finding it necessary to use these previous reasons to excuse us from respecting anyone. Word does get back to our elders, and not only does it look really poorly on you, it looks really poorly on our generation.

Monday, February 1, 2010

people observation #1: complaining is our favorite pastime.

Complaining is a sad invention, but we do it all the time, and I didn't notice how much people complain until I came to college and moved in next to the most complaining female of mankind.

Our paper-thin dorm room walls leave no room for privacy, and much room for the ability to hear every single pain and imperfection in the hermit that I call my next door neighbor's life.

At the beginning of the year it was that she couldn't understand her math teacher *insert ridiculously racist stab at accent here* and was going to drop the class.
The next week, she was beginning what was to be the daily cellular argument with her significant other, who I hypothesize just mutes her from the other line until the "I don't need this fucking drama" ends. In the bathroom, its always a complaint, "The weather sucks today, I lost my phone, My favorite show got cancelled for the freaking Presidential Address, fml, fml, fml, wah."

Then, I came to the obvious realization that people in general are very very whiny. It makes sense, I understand the conversation starter, at a coffee shop, "Jease, If I wasn't so addicted to coffee, I wouldnt have to wait in this ridiculous line" or "Where is the sun? It's raining cats and dogs out there and I'm drenched!" Understandable. In class, "I'd rather be listening to Nickelback than this damn professor." or "I got a 56% on the exam last week, and my mom's gonna foam at the mouth when she finds out." Makes sense. We always need a reason to socialize with those around us; it would be awkward to stand in line, make eye contact with that total stranger, and not say anything, right? The reason we complain: Empathy. It gives us a way to be able to connect with the people around us. For example, yeah it's raining outside for these people too, there's something you two have in common. I understand, however, imagine if we gave positive comments in these situations instead of the negative attitudes.

The other day I was getting a chipotle burrito. You know the drill: Wait in long line, get up to the front as a dude in a chipotle tshirt steams your tortilla only to get very upset when you explain you would like your barbacoa meat in a bowl instead, God forbid. I gotta say, although burrito means "little donkey" in Spanish, my server that day was a huge ass. Noticing their frown, and negative attitude towards their world (which was clearly out to get them) I asked them how they were doing as they globbed hundred of calories of sour cream and cheese into my dish. I am not kidding, it was as if the world stopped. I swear, every chef in the back dropped their grease covered spatulas. Every Chipotle team member up front dropped what they were doing. Even the managers were confused. How dare this person try to interrupt our day of pessimistic venom! My server looked up, "What?," she said. And I asked her again, "How are you doing?" She smiled! She explained that she was doing pretty good. She thanked me for asking. I could have said, "Gosh its the weekend and you're working right now, sucks to be you!" but instead I asked her how she was doing and at least lifted her spirits for the few seconds I spent with her.

My point is that an attitude is nothing anyone ever wants to deal with. When we complain about our crap, it just makes us all look more self-centered. Here's the thing: stuff happens that we can't control. Stuff happens that we have absolutely zero control over. Charles R. Swindoll said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. God, was he right. The truth is, we could throw a fit in the airport because the record-breaking hurricane across the country has delayed our flight or we could spend that time thinking of solutions to the situation or looking on the bright side. We could spend twenty minutes yelling at the waiter for the undercooked steak that SOMEONE ELSE, the chef in the back, cooked, or we could do something about it.

Someday, perhaps, I will work up the courage to ask my next door neighbor what she exactly did for the world to always be out to get her, or maybe I will get some sort of strength to explain to her that there are almost seven billion people in this world, and that it was not made to fit her needs. As for now, however, I am just going to smile and set an example of someone who can spread the love. Instead of being pissed off at the world all the time for the little things that we can't control we can realize that here comes the sun, little darlin, and for goodness sakes, it's alright.