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The Internet & Me: Why I Need to Participate Less

16 Jul

Like almost any human being on the planet these days, I don’t know what I would do without the internet. There is so much awesome stuff I wouldn’t know, so many wonderful things I wouldn’t have seen. This doesn’t mean I’ve learned anything of value -far from it -but good golly Miss Molly, I have been entertained by this medium beyond comprehension. I am information-addicted, and when my web browser has ten tabs open, it actually means that I need to find more SNL videos/NPR Code Switch articles/meaningless Top 10 lists to fill it up with. I can’t help but feel enriched when I can watch a special about Titanoboa from the comfort of my bed. However, I also can’t help but feel a bit old when my Internet reference-laden vocabulary is unfamiliar to those younger than me. The other day I started talking like the Teen Girl Squad, and called something a betch, and my four years younger roommate had no idea what I was talking about. It’s devastating when the viral videos and memes of yesteryear are abandoned for something like twerking (<–not linked for a reason).

Though I love the internet, and it loves me, there are some ways that I interact with it that need to stop. I mean make like Joey Gladstone and Cut. *Scissors* It. *Index Finger* Out *Backwards Thumb*. Why, whhhhyyyyyy do I still bother to read the comments on articles –and why do I comment on them?? Comments are for trolls and people who have developed an opinion off of one badly researched CNN article. It never gives me any satisfaction or any feeling that I’ve actually contributed something to an actual conversation.

Since I haven’t yet stopped commenting on articles, the universe gave me a reason to just yesterday. I had of course commented on the soon-to-be Pulitzer winning Rolling Stone article, “The Dumbest Band Names of All Time.” Don’t ask me why I still read stuff on Rolling Stone. It used to be my dream job to work for them, and now they are basically one notch above Buzzfeed in terms of quality. Still, I shared my opinion, which I’m sure the world was waiting with bated breath for:

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

I had completely forgotten about making the comment, as one tends to forget about trivial, meaningless things, until I got an e-mail saying that someone had replied to my post. Since I hadn’t put up anything polarizing or inflammatory, I couldn’t guess why someone would actually want to interact with my milquetoast observations. This is what I got:

Idiot Stick

OH MY STARS –someone find me this adorable little devil stat so I can marry him and carry his child. Not to mention the fact that he is about as witty as they come. But seriously folks, I really need to stop doing this kind of thing. Especially on Twitter . . .

I have had a Twitter account for approximately three years. I’ve maybe posted something on an average of perhaps one post per three months, if that. Honestly, I think Twitter is a sack of garbage most of the time, except for stuff from seriously funny comedians like Mindy Kaling who are putting up solid gold pretty much constantly. Somehow I was hired as a social media guru this past year without letting on about my grumpy, grad school grandma distaste for tweeting. The only reason I took to my Twitter this past weekend was because of the ruling in the George Zimmerman case. I got home late Saturday night, and made the mistake of checking the news before I went to bed. Big mistake. Huge. I found myself feeling incredibly angry and worked up over the whole thing, which is not good, because that’s definitely when my foot-to-mouth syndrome comes into play. I went on Facebook and was about to post something angry about privilege and being very, very anti-gun and anti-violence, when I suddenly knew what would happen: my dear mother would ask me about it later on the phone, and would tell me that it was very immature for someone my age to let spew on Facebook. I knew she would be right. So I took to Twitter instead.

When I got there though, I was like an unstoppable machine. I somehow thought that because I don’t think Twitter matters, everyone else doesn’t either, which is so very wrong, especially when it comes to future employment. I put up my post, but was of course then prompted to see what other people were saying about the whole ordeal. Why did I do that? Naturally, the first neanderthal I saw who had said something betraying his ignorance, racism, sexism, I felt the need to pounce. Though I want to maintain calm and have conversations that actually get us somewhere, I have to admit that if I see or hear someone saying something ignorant (*cough*Ann Coulter*cough*), a very small (narrow-minded and size-based definitions) vengeful part of me wants to throw a rabid animal in their face. However, instead of chucking a salivating raccoon at this guy, this “conversation” ensued:

Twitter Fucker

I’m sure the world is a better place for this exchange (please note my deep sarcasm here). This went on for a couple more posts, but here’s the takeaway: I wasn’t going to make this guy a better person, mostly because I don’t think this kid had IQ enough to understand my 140 character messages. Yes, that’s me bashing him again, but what was I going to achieve? I had no chance at all. Ultimately, I had to just quit and try to go to sleep, which didn’t happen because I was still, of course, angry. I think I had to find a YouTube video of soothing nature sounds to get there.

All in all, I really need to disconnect more (she writes as she types on her blog). I went home for a visit about a month ago, and since I don’t have a smart phone and my parents’ internet service is somehow worse than the service I get from Comcast, I just went offline for over a week. It was actually incredibly easy and wonderful. I couldn’t bear to do it constantly, but it is doable. I also think I should make you a promise: I do so solemnly swear to stay away from article comments, social media rants, and anything that might lead to an awkward situation in any future interview. I’m making it sound like a freak out online on the regs, but I promise that this is not the case. I think it will pay to be overly cautious.

In closing, I would like to share with you one of my favorite things that the internet has produced: cheap scam ads. You know the ones. They have some ridiculous message next to a picture that in no way connects to said message? I’ve amassed a pretty great collection. Have a looksee:

Baby Mortgage Hate

Baby Mortgage Hate

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

Ever been arrested -for over-plucking?

He better hurry up and buy.

He better hurry up and buy.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

Or it will turn into delicious banana bread dough.

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

So many ridiculously easy tricks, that he forgot the simple idea of not going out in a cartoon thunderstorm

Osmosis linguistics!

Osmosis linguistics!

If you are, you better put this thing on so you don't wake up your significant other in the meantime.

If you are, in the meantime you better put this thing on so you don’t wake up your significant other.

More like "Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese."

More like “Woman Looks Covered in Spray Cheese.”

Oh man guys, you have no idea how long I’ve been holding on to some of those. No seriously, it’s kind of embarrassing. I only want what’s best for you internet . . .

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Age Appropriate

3 Apr

Going off of the theme of Kenz’s last post, being in your late 20’s as well as your early 30’s forces a lot of realizations about yourself, your family, your friends, and just the world in general upon you. It’s only natural that people in this age range feel overwhelmed, and I will fully admit that this feeling is coming a little late for our generation. I think the generations before us probably had to make these adult realizations at a younger age than we do now, but for better or for worse, we have been given a bit more carefree time. When I was a kid, I was naturally terrified of growing up since the thought of not having my parents to do everything for me was traumatic. Of course, I grew out of that stage (probably early for my generation) and now I’ve reached the point where the excitement of taking care of myself and making my own choices is SO ten years ago (I was a very independent 17-year-old). Now as a 27-year-old, I can say proudly that I’ve proven myself to be mostly an adult, but there are still some immature things that I absolutely cling to that have been particularly hard to shake. I’ve also noted some other habits of people in my peer group that have made me realize that there are some things that are essential to grow out of. Of course, not every immature thing is something to grow out of -but don’t worry, I’ll get to those too. So here is a general list of things I believe that me and my fellow late-20-somethings and early-30-somethings should try to achieve to earn our adult merit badges.

Create Mature Facial Expressions
I know how weird that sounds, but I seriously have a problem with my expression sometimes. It was really bad when I was in my teens and was a bit more introverted (I had a lot of personality waiting to come out, and sometimes it came to the surface). These days I notice it the most when I’m at my computer at work. My face twitches and responds to everything I write and read, and people must think I’m insane. I’m very grateful that I currently have a desk at one job that faces away from most other people in the office, and at the other job I’m in a side room facing away from the hallway. Last week put this habit into harsh perspective since I was using a different desk and more people could see me. I swear my face was squinched in some unnatural and Picasso-esque way pretty much 90% of the time. I had to constantly look around to make sure no one was staring. Maybe everyone does this, and they’re too busy worrying about their own face to notice everyone else. Either way, I’ve really got to stop since I just caught myself bobbing my head in agreement to myself as I wrote this.

Say Words Clearly Even If You Hate Them
Truthfully, I am mostly having this problem with one word -“boyfriend.” I hated that word when I was single and, let me tell you, I like it even less now. When people ask me what I did over the weekend and it involves the boy I’m seeing, I find myself telling a story about how me and my “befren” went on a hike or we had another failed attempt at getting him to like fish. Maybe I just don’t want to sound like one of those people who are always talking about their significant other all the time. I feel like when I say “boyfriend” I should be twirling my hair on my finger and saying the word like this: booooyfriend! We hold hands and everything! I’ve obviously just been single for a long time and need to get over it, but I’m really having a tough time with this one. If anyone else feels the same way, I completely sympathize. I wish instead of “boyfriend” I could substitute some less fluffy sounding word like “chug,” or something Seussian like “sneetch.”

Don’t Get Nostalgic All the Time
Yes, I know how fun nostalgia can be, but if I see one more Buzzfeed article about foods from the ’90s you can’t buy anymore, I’m going to throw Gak in someone’s face (because you can buy that again now!). It’s fun to reminisce, but I feel like that whole trend has gone way, way, waaaaay overboard. I think it goes back to what I said above: our generation is leery to grow up, and we want to keep pretending to party like it’s 1999. I’m sorry folks, but it’s not. Even Prince would tell you so. There are plenty of good, fun things going on now that you can get nostalgic about when you’re off at some raisin ranch eating liquified foods with the caregiver who wipes your bum for you. I don’t want to remember 2013 as the year I constantly remembered how obsessed everyone was with Titanic in 1997.

Know When To Talk, and When To Keep Your Mouth Shut
I will be the first to admit that I am a fast-talking, outspoken person. I have many things that I believe in, and there are many things (and people) in this world that I find stupid, worthless, ignorant, and just plain trashy. Do I need to call those things out all of the time? Trust me, I often want to, but what good will it do? This is the question I have begun to ask myself before voicing my opinion on something. If I am going to be hurting my cause by opening my mouth (or potentially starting an argument with someone I care about), I keep it shut. If I have valuable information to pass on in a well thought out and constructive way, by all means, I go for it. I don’t want people to disregard my ideas because I spout off at every turn. Not that I’ve done this many times, but I’ve experienced saying something that I really shouldn’t have. No fun at all, folks. No fun. It only made me more hesitant to speak out when it really mattered. I suggest everyone edit themselves in their daily conversations, e-mails, and especially social media postings (you know who you are). I won’t say “quality over quantity” here; speak as much as you want, but the quality is important. Gone are the days when you can just shout whatever is on your mind at any time you want. You’re not in a freshman year liberal arts class anymore.

Don’t Believe All of the Junk You Hear
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in the age of the internet, it’s that there is a lot of blatantly false information flying around. We all pride ourselves on our ability to throw the BS flag, but honestly, I’ve seen far too many very smart people repeat information or share an article that even the tiniest amount of Googling would discredit. Remember how we all hate stupid people? Well you’re making them stupider. Those dullards will believe anything -especially if you have a reputation for being intelligent (NOTE: Please don’t try to make a zombie mob with this tactic.) But this believing of just anything isn’t limited to the internet. Sometimes you hear something about a friend of a friend from another friend, but this information turns out to be false. Maybe you’ve spread that information. Maybe that information was about a co-worker, and you are about to be fired. I’m just sayin’. The stakes are higher when you’re older, and we have to be even more aware of the consequences. Having worked at an institution that was absolutely riddled with gossip and whispers, I can tell you now that, even if the information is partially true, spreading it is a great way to get people to hate you.

Don’t Get Annoyed At Everything
There are a lot of annoying things in this world. And yes, sometimes they need to be acknowledged. However, we shouldn’t always be looking for situations that we can complain about, or finding people to be superior to. I’ve owned up to my own superiority complex, and I still find myself rolling my eyes at the ineptitude of others, but I have begun to check myself at just what I get annoyed at. Take for example the other day on the bus (I find my attitude gets about 150% worse on buses). When I boarded, the driver had some very fuzzy radio station on at a decibel that would have been uncomfortable even for Helen Keller. I found myself sitting and stewing about what an idiot the driver was to not realize how uncomfortable he was making the riding experience. A few minutes in though, I checked myself and decided to let it go. I had an iPod after all, and my ride never lasts over 10 minutes. Certainly not something I should let affect my mood. And knowing my face, I’m sure my annoyance was out for everyone to read. No one likes a sour puss. However, I do find that I can correct many annoying situations with staring. Undergrad in the library with music on too loud? I stare. Someone talking too loud in a public space? I stare. People whose kids are being allowed to run crazy and wreck the world while I’m trying to enjoy a meal? I stare. It may not work all the time, but I just can’t let everyone get away with this shit. They must be stopped.

Say “No”
Some people have always been good at doing only what they want and need to do. I have not ever been one of those people. I like helping people, and helping is something I want to do, but it took me a very long time to stop feeling like I needed to bend over backwards for everyone. I wanted to be the person who got stuff done and who people could rely on. It took about 25 years to realize that I could still be relied on to get important things accomplished without being stepped on or used by opportunistic folks. Ultimately, saying no to something you really don’t want to do shows self-respect and honesty. If you say “yes” too often people will either suspect you just like everything, or that you’re just a pushover. I doubt you’re a pushover, so stop it.

Be Done With Drama
Let’s play a game. I had a friend tell me that she was at a party where a few peers of ours were intoxicated and hanging out. Two of these peers were in a relationship, but were having trouble. The friend of one of these peers started hitting on their friend’s significant other. One half of that couple started screaming, freaking out, and carrying on, ending the party with tears, vomiting, and general unhappiness. This situation occurred A) When I was in high school. B) When I was in college. C) Just after college. D) Two weeks ago. If you guessed D, go get yourself an Oreo and commence feeling sad about the state of “adulthood.” Granted, two of these peers have just finished college, and one has been a graduate student for many years. Still, the behavior in this scenario is just generally unacceptable, even for just after college. Stop being that girl. Stop being that boy. Be a woman, and be a man, for crying out loud.

Don’t Find Yourself In These Places
If you’re in your late 20s, you are free to be anywhere. HOWEVER, there are some places you just shouldn’t be. Just . . .no. One of these places is a bar that has a reputation for catering to the cougar/older creeper crowd. You aren’t 21 anymore, but you certainly aren’t a 50-something divorcee. You also shouldn’t be at any bar where 21-year-olds are braving creepers more in their age-range to get a specialty shot that anyone with seasoned drinking habits wouldn’t drink for all of the microbrews in Colorado (and there are a ton!). As far as clothing, I shouldn’t catch you at Sears/Coldwater Creek or at Vanity (or Hot Topic, or Wet Seal, or Maurices). Oh, is my snob showing? Trust me, I don’t have much money, but I can be thrifty and still look better than I did in high school. Kenz could show you too. (Look for that future blog post!) And as for concerts, I would like to prevent you from attending anyone in the Taylor Swift/Carly Rae Jepsen/Miley Cyrus family, but I can only go so far. I know you’ll do it anyway, just like you drank in high school even when you told you told your parents you didn’t. I promise I’ll still love you, kind of.

Just Have Some Confidence Already!
I am very fortunate to know many cool people whose coolness partially comes from the fact that they don’t give a flying fudge if people think they are cool or not. Part of the beauty of this age is that all of the things that you might have been insecure about when you were younger are now probably traits you would never give up. In my experience, some of my favorite things about me were what made me an oddball in high school and slightly beyond. However, I am always amazed to find people who are still worried about how “cool” they come off to others. It is a widely known fact that worrying about your coolness is the least cool thing you can possibly do (see: every movie ever where the dumb sidekick friend cares too much). Everyone since you were a kid has told you to “be yourself,” and it’s actually really great advice because you are bound to feel awkward and out of place at some time during your life (if you haven’t, I just don’t understand you). As long as you are being yourself, you are not being a fake, a follower, or just a goon. And trust me, all of those things are worse than being uncool. Self-Respect: Just Do It. (Sorry to get nostalgic there with that ’90s Nike tagline).

In general, I have compiled this list to help you feel confident in your role as an adult, but truthfully, it is also to help you successfully blend into the adult world. Most of these habits or tendencies I’ve listed are worth shedding anyway, but there are some things you should never, ever stop doing. However, you might have to acquire some extra skills and finesse to maintain them. Never fear though, I am the master of maintaining the habits that some adults consider “juvenile” (or as I call them, fun).

Don’t Give Up Your Snark, Get Better At Hiding It
I know how it feels to have a witty comment or hilarious thought, but not be able share it because of my environs or the people I am with. It’s absolute agony to have your genius go unnoticed. So what do you do? Well, why do you think any number of electronic communication gadgets have been invented? Text a friend, e-mail them (NOT on work e-mail!!), keep a running list of scenarios and your reactions to them, start a semi-anonymous blog . . . Anything that gives you that gratification, but doesn’t put you in a bad position with the people in your life or your job is just fine. You certainly shouldn’t chastise yourself for having these thoughts. Celebrate your snark! What would the world be without it?

Maintain Your Hobbies, Loves & Guilty Pleasures
I know that sometimes the tendency for people to be nostalgic stems from the fact that they yearn for a time when they were free and encouraged to do all of the things they loved (college, anyone?). However, in the midst of graduate school, new jobs, bad jobs, evolving careers, new relationships, and more responsibilities, you really should prioritize doing what you like. There’s no downer feeling like when someone asks you what you’ve been up to, and all you can say is that you’ve been in a rotation of school, work, etc. Isn’t that the lifestyle we always said we would avoid? Don’t make excuses. If you really like something, you’ll find a way to do it, and you’ll be happier for it. And let yourself have those guilty pleasures too. I know I gave some of you Taylor Swift/Miley/Carly fans a hard time back there, but if it makes you happy, you have my consent. I will always have my Presidents of the United States of America CD to rock to (Kick out the jams!!) In a crappy economy, and in a time when the plans that you had made may be starting to take another direction, this is where you have control, and it can make you very happy. You may not always make your money doing exactly what you love, but as long as you’re doing it, you have made yourself accountable for your own happiness.

Doing Voices
So maybe doing impressions and accents isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely mine. As long as you’re not offending anyone by being sexist, racist, etc, it can be a fun way to lighten moods and give people a laugh. Back in my old job as an advertising representative, I really solidified my relationship with one of my co-workers by doing a Yogi Bear impression (I think he was mostly happy that I even knew who Yogi Bear was, but still). Even if it’s not doing voices, let yourself be funny -it makes things a lot more interesting and enjoyable. Don’t be the office stiff.

Be Open To Others
While it is harder to make friends once you get out of college, it is not impossible. Since college, I have made several friends who I absolutely love. There have also been some people who I hung out with, but later found to be not the best. Ain’t no thang. Unlike the school environment when you might constantly come in contact with these people, in the real world, you have more say about who you want in your life. It’s a good policy to always be kind, but don’t put up with people you don’t like because you think you have to. Most people have their group of friends who will always be there for them, but you should never see yourself as being “set” on friends. You don’t have to like everyone, but you never know who you might miss out on if you don’t open yourself to the people around you.

Goof Off
Some of these other categories could generally be put under this header, but I feel like I need to emphasize it. Never. Stop. Goofing. Off. Think of how much better the world would be if everyone were a little less serious. Even with my personality I find myself acting way too serious for no apparent reason. At that point, I have to ask myself what’s up my rear end, and find a way to stop it (stop being up my rear end? Don’t read too much into that). Again, don’t go getting yourself in trouble at work and blaming me, but find ways to make your environment better, or at least more tolerable. You should also goof off in big ways, like planning a weekend trip on the fly, throwing a random costume party not on Halloween, have a Pee-Wee Herman-themed movie night. Whatever you’re planning on doing, make it less mundane with a touch that will make it more memorable and more enjoyable.

In closing, you are no longer the responsibility-less spring chicken you were a few years ago, but you aren’t dead yet. Our life expectancies keep getting longer and longer; do you really want to spend 75% of your life being lame? If there’s one thing you should take away from this, it is that you should never use the “old and lame” excuse. If you’re telling your friends about how old and lame you are, and you’re not even old enough to legally be president, it’s your own damn fault. WAKE UP! You’re still in the prime of your life.

Life Achievements

29 Mar

Recently The Onion posted a hilarious faux article about how certain Facebook, or FB, friends should just stop with the life achievements already. Like, for realsies. Some of you people need to stop.¬† There is the girl I know from college who always looks ridiculously adorable because she is ridiculously adorable and you can’t even hate her for it. The worst. PS – she’s married and somehow has some miiighty deep pockets cause the girl is constantly travelling and making me jealous. That’s just one example out of many, many examples of people achieving things on my facebook homepage.

In a couple weeks, yours truly, will be celebrating a milestone event. The one year anniversery of dating. Say what? I know, a relationship that didn’t end after a couple months! I’m feeling rather nice and adult about the whole thing, thanks for asking ūüôā

Now for me, this achievement is Big. Huge! (For those that got that Pretty Woman reference you are amazing). For some, my little one year of dating, ain’t got no thang on what they’ve got. Engaged, married, doctors, master’s, lawyers, homeowners, babies! It’s truly overwhelming at times. And let me show you the statsFB

Sorry if that’s hard to read. But yeah, I mean, considering the vast majority of my FB buds are my peers, the stats are daunting. I count single as you would if you file your taxes, so there are many in the single slice-o-the-pie that are dating, living together etc. Of course that’s just relationship status wise. Take a look at the babycentric pie chart. Though it’s only a third of the chart, I feel like my Facebook has utterly exploded with babies and pregnancies. Which is weird for me because I eat cereal for supper far too many nights a week to be considered mom material at this point.FB2So yeah. I even did a graph for the single with kids. I wanted to call it the bastard chart, but being the sensitive and¬†culturally aware person that I am, chose “Single with kids.” And look! Turns out my friends are more traditional than I thought.

FB3Does anyone else feel like this is happening to their homepage? Or are you an “other” with your wedded bliss and baby glow? I jest. Of course I want all of that someday – marriage and 2 fat little babies (who grow up to be not fat) to love. Someday.

Peace out and have a great Easter. I’ll be paper writing. Woot!

Kenz

It’s Bred For Its Skills In Magic.

11 Aug

Ligers are real, you guys. Ligers are actually real. Whhaaa? Is this common knowledge?

So it’s Friday night. Got to get down on Friday! Or…even better stay in bed with your laptop and watch a Discovery Channel show about big cats on Hulu. Oh, and my cat is watching with me. #imnotaloser

It ended with them discussing the “ultimate cat” which is the liger.

Napoleon Dynamite Liger Scene

While it doesn’t look like this:

It does look like this:

Mind.Blown. A liger “is not naturally occurring in nature” and is born when a male lion is bred with a female tiger. For some unknown science-y reason, ligers are HUGE! They can be as big as their mother and father combined!

Seriously though. How did I not know they were real?

This is me and Lucy. I’m a lunatic making her learn about her brethren. She’s super happy about this.

Ali Has A Superiority Complex

3 Feb

I wasn’t able to admit until very recently that I have a bit of a superiority complex. ¬†Not that I think I’m better than absolutely everyone, but when I decide that someone has done something significantly “less than”, I tend to hop onto my high-horse very quickly -we’re talking John Wayne moves. ¬†(I think John Wayne had moves when he got on a horse? ¬†I guess I wouldn’t know since I think most Westerns are boring as hell.) ¬†I could probably chalk this attitude up to being the oldest child on both sides of my family and being given more praise than any normal person should have (can’t thank you enough for it though, loving relations!).

Most of the time my disdain for the ineptitude of others stems from a lot of the general public not being aware of proper manners or social mores. ¬†These are things people should just be aware of, but sadly, not everyone is born with innate hyper-awareness. ¬†My opinion?: They freakin’ should be, the mouth-breathing cretins. ¬†If people fail to know or act on certain accepted rules of human interaction I either A) Want to maim them in some creative way (i.e., plucking their eyeball out with a fork, sucking the blood from their face, etc.), or B) Worry that they’ll eventually drown in their own spit. ¬†Here are some of the social faux pas and dunce moves that really get me (with examples, of course):

#1 Coarse Conversationalists¬†– We’ve all been the subject of a put-down or worse, a backhanded compliment. ¬†However, I feel that it is almost worse for both parties when the Put-Downer is unaware of just what they are saying to the Put-Downee. ¬†A great example came a couple weeks ago from one of my very first students. ¬†It was the first day of classes, and the professor I assist had just completed her lecture. ¬†A few of the students approached me to let me know that they had to go sit in on other classes they wanted to get into, and that they might not be at the recitation that I lead. ¬†Being the “cool teacher” I am, I let them know I was fine with it -until one girl approached me with her story. ¬†She told her spiel about wanting to get into a Psychology class that was at the same time as the recitation, but she also told me that she might not get in, meaning she would show up for class the following week. ¬†I wished her luck, but immediately wanted to rescind it when she said, “We won’t really be doing anything in recitation today anyway, will we?” ¬†Ummm excuse me, Little Miss Teen Beat? ¬†What I wanted to tell her was, “Oh yes, of course I would have class just to waste your precious time. ¬†I was planning on sitting silently while staring at all of you for 5o minutes!” but I also wanted to say, “I guess your crack whore mother didn’t teach you proper manners, did she?” ¬†(I don’t take well to being insulted in any capacity) ¬†Though¬†I was dumbfounded, I know that the girl probably wasn’t even aware of how rude her question was. ¬†So these things often go. ¬†Unfortunately for this girl, she ended up in my class. ¬†I’ll make a marginal effort not to hold it against her.

#2 Ignorance Enablers – It never ceases to amaze me the things that people will admit they do not know. ¬†Some may see this as a great act of honesty, whereas I can’t help but feel embarrassed and ashamed on behalf of the person since they obviously aren’t feeling it for themselves. ¬†Another side to this whole issue is that these same people often refuse to use very simple channels to rid themselves of their ignorance. ¬†I ran into this problem this week while working in my job as a writing tutor. ¬†On this particular day I was tutoring a girl who wanted help with a journalism assignment. ¬†She was a nice young lady, but a bit, erm,¬†dense, if you will? ¬†She wanted assistance reviewing an article about how employers view the millennial generation as “entitled”; this article was of particular interest to her since she is a part of this generation . . . but she sadly had no idea what the word “entitled” meant. ¬†Yes I know -I was shocked and appalled too. ¬†Even worse was when I offered to show her how to get to Merriam-Webster online, but she let me know that she would “figure it out later”. ¬†This was as we were trying to finish her paper. ¬†She also consistently spelled the term “millennial” wrong, though it was written correctly in the article roughly 5,000 times. ¬†Since the article was sitting right next to her this meant, basically, that she was just refusing to turn her head slightly to the left. ¬†If the crop of humans just a few years younger than myself is really that lazy, I hope I’m dead by 46.

#3 Story Interrupters – This incident doesn’t happen weekly, or even monthly, but when it does happen it never ceases to irk me immensely. ¬†You’ve all probably noted my love of telling stories (if you haven’t, I hope you’re not one of the people I’m writing about in this post). ¬†Though I love telling stories in this blog, nothing beats a live retelling of Ali lore. ¬†I get to use my arms, hands, facial expressions, voice inflections and impersonations . . . Truly, it is a sight to behold. ¬†Looks something like this:

Usually I don't have a flame coming out of my head. Usually.

So imagine the murderous rage I feel when someone cuts in with their own retelling and STEALS MY STORY THUNDER!! ¬†The worst thing is that often these story seizers are people who weren’t even involved with my tale, but have heard it before (Just because you know the story doesn’t mean you get to tell it. You should be bawling and thankful at the privilege of getting to hear it again.) ¬†Of course, since the people who know my stories are some of my nearest and dearest, I don’t quite feel so murderous. ¬†However, it does leave me miffed and a bit sulky. ¬†I still love these folks a ton, but let’s just set a rule: don’t interrupt Ali when she’s telling her stories. ¬†Also, to those general interrupters of everyday conversation: the next time I hear you interrupting, I am not afraid to flick or bop you on the nose like a dog that crapped on the carpet. ¬†Embarrassing, right? ¬†If you don’t realize that you are embarrassing yourself with this rudeness, allow me to assist you. ¬†No one wants to have snot potentially jarred out of their nose during daily conversation.

#4 Identity Teasers – Everyone has something about themselves or their heritage that they cannot stand to be teased about. ¬†For some people it’s the already-touchy area of their religion, or perhaps a hobby they have, or a favorite sports team. ¬†My personal area of sensitivity is my status as a Forever Iowa Girl. ¬†While I am a very proud Iowan, like most people who move out of the state, I have had to defend my homeland like mad in the face of people who, frankly, often think they know a lot when they really know jack squat. ¬†One of these people is my former boss, a transplant to Boulder who is originally from the east coast. ¬†While I think he liked me as a worker (I pride myself on being a good employee even at the worst of jobs) this man would not give it a rest with the Iowa teasing. ¬†He was also a big know-it-all, but he admitted to not knowing much about Iowa besides his opinion that only hillbilly farmers live there (obviously he didn’t see the Iowa Nice YouTube video). ¬†For some reason, he didn’t see the irony in teasing me for something he was ignorant about. ¬†While he made several unprofessional jabs at me (among his many, many unprofessional remarks at the office), the one that really sent me over the edge was when he called me out for calling soft drinks “pop”. ¬†As we all know, there is often a popular name for soft drinks in all areas of the country, but I see no reason to tease about it. ¬†However, he felt the need to tell me that my “Iowa was showing”, as if this was something to be ashamed of. ¬†Oh how desperately I wanted to reply that his “Self-important East Coaster/Boulder hippie was showing” every time he made a loud, f-word infused rant of his opinion for the whole office to hear and wore his Birkenstock sandals (his feet -and especially his toenails -would probably make the most seasoned pedicurist pass out). ¬†However, I feel I got my victory when this map began appearing on Facebook last week:

Care to notice what name for carbonated beverages most Coloradans use? ¬†I’m sure he’s seen this since he did spend a majority of his office time on Facebook. ¬†Not everyone can have the Iowa work ethic, suckah.

#5 Well-Meaning Mortification Machines – There are some people who are so unaware of themselves that I can’t feel embarrassed for them because I’m too busy being embarrassed for myself. ¬†I haven’t encountered this type often, but of course I would run into one just last week while I was at the grocery store. ¬†I had gone into Safeway to fully stock my kitchen and was helping one of the workers bag my plethora of food stuffs when the cashier, a middle-aged woman, gave me a meaningful look. ¬†This conversation ensued:

Cashier Lady: *Points to man leaving the store* “That guy is so gross.”

Me: (Very awkward) “Oh? Um. Yeah?”

Cashier Lady: “He was STARING at your BUTT! ¬†I just think that is SO disrespectful!!” ¬†*Turns to lady in line behind me* ¬†“Don’t you think so? ¬†I mean, his eyes were just BORING into her! ¬†What a creep!”

Lady in Line: “Oh I saw.” *To me* ¬†“He was definitely staring at you, honey. Gross!”

The women continued their conversation about the evils of staring at someone’s bum without me, unaware that I was rendered completely silent out of titanic embarrassment. ¬†I don’t feel this way often, and I just wished that neither of them had said anything. ¬†What was that guy going to do? ¬†While I didn’t appreciate the fact that maybe he was staring at a body part of mine that really isn’t much to look at in the first place, I would have handled it if I’d actually caught the guy. ¬†I’m sure he was just your run-of-the-mill asshole, if indeed he was staring, but the point is: I really didn’t need to know. ¬†Their pointing it out to me actually didn’t make me feel like I was empowered by the knowledge, but like I should feel horrible and degraded for a while for having been objectified. ¬†Ultimately, they made me feel more like a piece of meat than he would have. ¬†Perhaps it was an odd reaction, but I think Cashier Lady should have just glared at him for me and left it at that. ¬†Sometimes it IS better to be happily unaware.

#6 Uncomfortable Confessors – Perhaps the most prevalent group of socially-unaware people are the Uncomfortable Confessors. ¬†Who hasn’t had that person who volunteers any and all information from the state of their sex life to the last time they made a bowel movement? ¬†While this has happened to me almost too many times to mention, a notable incident occurred this past summer while I was back in my hometown for a wedding. ¬†I had been pre-warned by my mother that an old acquaintance of ours who would be at the wedding had recently gone through a divorce because her husband cheated on her. ¬†Knowing that I would likely ask about her husband if I saw her, my mother wanted me to be prepared (she wants to protect her child from awkwardness, but sadly it follows me wherever I go). ¬†Inevitably, I ran into this acquaintance at the reception, and in my preparedness, asked her what activities she was up to, what her kids were doing, etc. ¬†Anything that didn’t directly touch the subject of her husband I felt was fair game. ¬†This was all for naught, however, since she insisted on asking me if I had heard about her divorce (I can’t remember how I responded because I was probably too busy vomiting down the front of myself from awkwardness). ¬†She went on to describe the details of said divorce, and any story she told thereafter was labeled as being “before” or “after” her husband “went crazy”. ¬†I felt very sorry for her, but her extreme detail (which she shared within earshot of about half the town) left me feeling like I had walked in on someone in the bathroom. ¬†This is definitely why I advocate having a great group of friends to share all of your dirty details with; it prevents you from sharing them with people you only see at your local community center every four years or so.

I’m sure many of you have plenty of stories about these unaware people who live among us. ¬†Feel free to share them here if you do. ¬†And for those of you who think I am as rude and/or blunt as the people I’ve described here, hear this: at least I know better. ¬†And doesn’t that make all the difference?