Wait…you mean I have to keep doing this? EVERY WEEK, you say? * Sigh * (Repeats to self) I (still) believe. I won’t quit. This matters. Even if it doesn’t matter, then either way it doesn’t matter.
The “Occupy” “Movement”
It’s not that I don’t appreciate people protesting the system. We do need change but something tells me that protesting, or even overthrowing the currently established system will do jack squat to solve our problems. You need only to remember, um, nearly every political movement in human history.
“All rebellions are ordinary and an ultimate bore. They are copied out of the same pattern, one much like another. The driving force is adrenalin addiction and the desire to gain personal power. All rebels are closet aristocrats.” —Frank Herbert
Any transition into a new reality, if it is to last, must be managed peacefully, en masse, and that includes you. These protestors have no real agenda other than anger and frustration. Believe me, I feel that. Yet that kind of undisciplined energy is exactly the excuse the Powers-That-Continue-To-Be are looking for to stamp us out. I already shudder at how I see other protesters in this country get treated by law enforcement. I go into all out hyperbolic convulsions when I think of how many of our “freedoms” have already been taken from right under our third eyes. Actually, I just pity the protestors. They’ve been slaves to the system for so long that they can’t even form a clear collective vision of the change they seek. I felt the same way about the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
“People who hate people, come together!” —Bill Hicks
This article perfectly articulates what I’m talking about: Undifferentiated Mass of Human Dignity.
At times like these I find it helpful to ask myself, “What would Noam Chomsky think?” I think he’d feel enthusiastic at the evident desire for change but he’d also feel disappointed because the movement itself may actually be counterproductive.
Fluorescent Lighting and Recycled Air
I hate fluorescent lighting. It’s been my personal mission in the last 10 years working in the school system to encourage the use of natural light and fresh air in classrooms as much as possible. I also dislike air recycling systems, specifically the ones that never work properly (heating one room, freezing another) or ones that recycle the same stale, germ-infested air. I sincerely believe that natural light and fresh air are two simple ways to solve some of our major health issues.
Yes, I know that we use fluorescent lights because they conserve energy. Yes, I know that air recycling systems have tons of obvious benefits. It doesn’t change the fact that these two things are SLOWLY DESTROYING YOUR SOUL.
The rooms in our new building have giant windows that fill up a whole wall. It’s perfect for natural sunlight and fresh air. It does my heart good to see so many teachers with their fluorescent lights off. If I ever decide to get my future together and go get a masters, I’d want do a comprehensive scientific study of the effect of fluorescent lighting and recycled air on academic performance, then publish the results as my dissertation.
I’m Sick of Reading Tweets/Posts About Sports
I didn’t say I’m sick of sports. I’m sick of reading about sports. Specifically, on Twitter and Facebook, where I spend most of my time posting things that only nerds might find funny or interesting. But seriously, if I posted about ANYTHING as much as some people post about sports, you’d think it was LAME. You may counter with, “But sports aren’t lame.” Yes, but reacting to every single play in your tweets and status updates IS. That’d be like me commenting on the novel I’m reading after every chapter. It’s ridiculous. These people only get away with constant sports posting because they are the same people who love to read and comment on each others’ sports posts. It’s a vicious cycle.
A quick side note: I think commentary during games should be optional. Like, it should be something you can turn on and off, like subtitles. I love listening to radio sports commentary because I just pretend that they’re talking about me. And apparently I haven’t had such a great season.
I’m Sick of Hearing Your Reactions to the Weather
This is as futile as trying to get people to stop talking about sports. People will always comment on the weather. It’s the last refuge for those who have nothing interesting to say. But it’s REALLY annoying. I get as annoyed by people who say what nice weather we’re having as I do with people who bitch about the weather. Weather is like life– either accept what you’re given and make the best of it, or shut the hell up. Complaining about the weather is a classic ego trap. In essence, you’re sharing your disappointment that reality doesn’t always conform to your expectations. Welcome to reality, asshole! If you think it’s too warm or cold where you live, then move somewhere that has your temperature range year round or ADAPT. I try to be tolerant of all kinds of weather. I love sunny days and stormy days. Over the years I’ve built up a tolerance to hot and humid days. I’m still working on my tolerance for cold and windy days. Point is, whatever the weather is now is what it’s supposed to be. Enjoy it and just be grateful you have so many things to protect you from the elements.
Weatherwise, this past weekend was what we racially insensitive people like to call an Indian Summer. 80+ degrees in October. I noticed one of my friends complaining about it. Meanwhile, I was on the beach, storing up Vitamin D for the long, cold winter ahead.
Speaking of Long, Cold Winters…
WEAR EAR MUFFS! I love how people stare at me because I wear ear muffs during winter. They’re not fluffy or anything. They’re solid black and slightly convex to cover the ears…one of those parts of the body which LOSES A LOT OF HEAT. I watch everyone else cringing from the cold and to me they are all fools because they don’t realize how simple and extremely effective a good pair of earmuffs can be.
Hope For The Concrete
Fire drill. It was cold, grey, damp and windy outside. As we headed toward the door to go back in, some kids pointed out a monarch butterfly laying on the concrete under the black iron fence that surrounds our building. It was the most colorful object in the entire 3-D scene. How and why would a butterfly end up laying on the concrete, so far from light and warmth and green? I placed it gently in my hand. I could swear it moved. My God, is it still alive? It’s not moving now. Did it just die right here in my hand?
Many students gawked. They’ve spent their whole lives growing up in the city. It felt like they didn’t know how to process something so daringly beautiful as a dead butterfly.
The principal looked at it as I walked past. He said, “Yeah, I saw it happen this morning.” What? What happened? What happened to this poor butterfly? I later found out that earlier that morning, a 6th grader had stepped on it. Seriously? Are you kidding me? I’m not convinced that it wasn’t still alive when I picked it up. I placed it in my insect examiner, a clear plastic case with magnifying glass embedded at the top. It is currently decomposing in my classroom. Thinking about it later that day, the sadness actually overwhelmed me. So I’m grateful to that butterfly for helping me feel something.
Insane in the REM Brain
Doug gave me a bottle of this highly touted herbal supplement, Alpha Brain. I used it all last month and there was definitely an increase in overall sense of well-being, mental clarity and lucid dreaming. However, at least half of lucid dreams turned into nightmares. I think I need to get my body and mind in better shape to handle the subconscious bubbles that burst during REM. In the meantime, I’ll settle for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. The main ingredient in Alpha Brain is Choline, which I recently found out causes anxiety if not balanced with a serotonin boost. Unfortunately, onnit.com is currently out of stock on RollOver. So I’ll just have to settle for my ritual nightcap consisting of 2 – 3 bags of Sleepytime Tea, soy milk, honey, cinnamon, lavender, jasmine, heather blossom, and 5 or 10 mg shot of liquid melatonin.
I’m Too Old for That Young
Last weekend the girl who lives in the downstairs apartment of our house had a bunch of guests at least ten years younger than me over for a party. Let me say right out that I have no problem with this whatsoever. I don’t believe in strict yet arbitrary standards on what is appropriate social interaction between people of different ages, genders or occupations. Human bonding knows no distinctions, and you shouldn’t have to fight for your right to party.
That night I had settled down on the couch for some much needed nothing when suddenly techno music started blasting and the sounds of young girls and boys wafted up to the living room. I had already been depressed thinking that on such a beautiful night at the start of the 3-day weekend I should be out having my own fun. Instead a great fatigue had gripped me and all I wanted to do was rest. But the music got louder and louder and until I may as well have been living above a nightclub. When my roommate came home I went into the bedroom, which is right next to the stairway leading downstairs. I told myself I could block it all out, the way I block out the noise of the school cafeteria while reading a book during monitor duties. It didn’t work.
At one point the lyrics of the techno blared out the awful fact, and the kids downstairs all screamed along, “WE ARE IN THE HOUSE! WE ARE IN THE HOUSE! WE ARE IN THE HOUSE!” I got up, threw on some clothes, packed my book-bag and high-tailed it out of there. Any decently extroverted person would have said, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Plus, who in their right mind would miss an opportunity to hang out with some nice young women?
I guess someone who in their right mind realizes that the chances of sleeping with any of those women by the end of the night are slim at best. It would be hard enough just to RELATE. Maybe not for you, Mr. Machismo, but I have too many insecurities to even deal with women my own age. So I hung out in the parking lot of the nearby QuickCheck for 3 hours, listening to audiobooks and fueling my own self-disgust. I wasn’t ever angry at my housemate or her guests. I’m always angry at myself for refusing to dive into ANY moment, touch the bottom and swim back up again. It’s a vicious cycle.
Maybe it all boils down to the music. It may be the real reason I hate hanging out at bars and clubs. Because literally everywhere you go they have to blast the music, making it impossible to have a real conversation. I don’t even mind listening to music I don’t like as long as it’s low enough not to drown out conversation or force everyone to yell. I have trouble hearing as it is. When music blares in a crowded setting all I see are moving mouths spouting gibberish.
The only thing I ever wanted, the only thing I thought I ever needed, was one woman to unconditionally love spending the rest of my life with. One woman. One face.
And Another Thing…
Not long ago a student of mine from last year stopped by to visit. He asked me, “Mr. D, how’s your book coming? Are you close to finishing?” Before I could answer I thought, I almost forgot about the book! He remembers and I almost forgot, ever since the 2nd half of chapter 4 was lost on a damaged hard disk, and I lost the will to start writing Chapter 5, if not the will to eventually finish. I can’t let this kid (or myself) down.
Speaking of Letdowns