Monday, August 15, 2011

The Name Dilemma

I’m really bad at remembering people’s names. And I’m pretty sure I used to be good at it. I don’t know if it’s because college has taken its toll on me or if my friends are right and I am actually starting to lose my mind. But I’m pretty sure it’s because I just stopped caring. I’m great at recognizing faces; the names are my enemy. When I am introduced to somebody, my brain should send out an alert: about to hear name. Listen! In fact, I think I stop listening right before they say their name. There is so much else going on in my mind. All of my social anxieties just take over. Do we shake hands? Or is just a nod more appropriate? If I’m on my way into a restaurant or about to sit to eat, is there a bathroom or some sort of Purell near by for me to use afterwards? If not, how can I avoid touching you with my hands. Sometimes I do the “oh, sorry my hands are busying looking for something in my bag.” If it is somebody I actually could care less about, I might use the “let me just finish this text”.

If we’re in a bar or a more social situation, sometimes girls go in for the hug. Really? You’re hugging me? I barely let my parents hug me. I’d really prefer it if you don’t touch me. I am fully capable of totally avoiding the hug. Being rude isn’t something I’m afraid of. But I was raised in a nice household with morals and values so I do have a limit. The first stage of the almost-hug when they are about to extend their arms, when you can see it in their eyes, I just divert eye contact elsewhere and they get the idea. Still rude, but they get it. Maybe I’m a softy but when I see their hands come toward me (in slow motion- like its out of a horror film) and their most-likely-dirty hands are dangling in thin air waiting to grasp my shoulders, I find it hard to just walk away.

So first days of work (or in my case, internships) are always the worst. There are so many people to meet. People whose names you need to remember. Need to because in about an hour you are going to have to deliver them mail. I know it is customary for interns to be over qualified but really? I’d love to meet the kid who can meet twenty-five people and remember all of their names an hour after. And then people have the nerve to be offended.

So my most recent first day, I had to meet lots of people. Thankfully, this office was sympathetic to the very common intern dilemma and they have signs with everyone’s name next to their desk. It was great. I guess I’m more of a visual learner. So when it came time to meet my co-interns’ names, you’d think I would register that these names are crucial. I tend to make lots of jokes about the boss. And when I have to deliver something, usually I go to them to find out who is who. But of course I don’t remember their names either and have to ask them multiple times.

But then I was introduced to the interns in the other department. Seriously? Those are the least important names to know.. or so I thought. So I meet this girl, let’s call her Sarah. But I think her actual name starts with a J or a D or a K?

Fun fact: I interviewed for Sarah’s position a few months earlier and did not get it. Which was great because when the boss asked me what I wanted to do “in life” (oh how I love that question), and I answered, “write”, he kindly joked, “oh you should’ve been a writing intern”. Which then led me to have to admit that I interviewed for that position, and for the millionth time in my life, was rejected.

“So boss, who controls all progress and opportunities I get out of this internship, just so you know on the first day before you get to know me, the other interns are already better than me.” 

So I’m introduced to smiling Sarah who has the internship I wanted. I didn’t even try to hear her name. In my head I was just going over all of the reasons in which me and her differ and why I already don’t like her.

1.     She smiles. I don’t.
2.     She comes off as very nice and upbeat. I don’t.
3.     If she and I lived in the ‘60s, she would wear shirts that says ‘free hugs’. I would wear ones that say ‘don’t touch me’.

I really don’t blame people for not hiring me. Although I’m a great employee, I am horrible at interviews. I cannot, and will not, suck up to you. And I’m really bad at bragging about myself. If interviews weren’t based upon the false assumption that the intern is given actual responsibilities, I would do great. Why can’t everybody just be honest and acknowledge this.

Interviewer: “Why should we hire you?”
Me: “I’m really good at doing nothing. I have an expert knowledge of coffee. And I’m not the type to get up and ask if there is anything you need, so I definitely won’t disturb you.”

So I shake Sarah’s hand knowing I won’t be seeing this girl ever again. A goodbye handshake I can happily agree to. The rest of the day went great. I sat at my desk and did nothing but talk to my fellow intern about things completely unrelated to the internship. A pretty typical day for us unpaid interns. The day went well and not remembering any names didn’t bite me in the ass. I consider that a successful day.

The next day I’m going to class and I see her: Sarah. Why am I so bad at remembering names? She even had a sign next to her desk yesterday. I literally had to go up and offer her lunch. We interacted enough that I should know her name. When we make eye contact, I have to do the whole, “oh, you intern at the same..” “oh, hi! Yes!”. Still so peppy. There are no bosses here to impress. Why are you still smiling? And why can’t I remember your name?

Probably because I just spent the last fifteen minutes trying to avoid eye contact and avoid having this exact conversation. And probably because she just called me out on it. It was really hard avoiding eye contact and staring at the ground for so long. And in such a small elevator. Why do the elevators at NYU go so slowly? Of course it stopped at almost every floor on the way up. I really thought I was successful. I sprinted out of that little elevator so fast, never looking back. If I had, I would have seen that she was right behind me watching my attempt to escape.

After we finished our conversation and had to shake hands again, I went straight to the bathroom to wash them. And I bought a pocket sized Purell on my way home. At least she didn’t try to hug me.

ugly dogs

I don’t have many pet peeves. Really, I don’t. I’m a relatively even tempered person. There are just a couple hundred things that really piss me off… daily.

But one thing in particular, one small pet peeve, is ugly dogs. And I love animals. Especially dogs. My family has one. But lately, walking around New York City I have noticed that so many people have hideous dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for these non-superficial people out there who own these gross creatures. And I get it, personality over looks. But I’m certain that if I ever got a dog, it would be adorable. Similar to the one that is sitting by my feet as I write this. So far, in the past ten minutes at least five people have stopped to comment.  My dog would be so cute; cute to the point that everyone would have to stop. And that is exactly why I can never get a dog.

The idea that people are going to constantly stop me on the street to “oohh” and “aah” at my dog is enough to deter me from owning an adorable puppy. “Can I pet him?”. No you cannot put your filthy hands on my dog. “What’s his name?” Why does that matter? “How old is he?” How is that relevant to your life at all? The only possibly acceptable question (because I am guilty of having asked it in the past) is what breed of dog it is. Because that has a purpose.

Maybe this is a subconscious reason as to why I never go out with good looking guys. I’m going to go with this idea. Yes, it is a choice of mine to only date ugly men. It is definitely not that the only ones willing to put up with me are the totally desperately pathetic ones. No, it is a choice. I don’t want people stopping on the street to “ooh” and “ahh” at the person next to me.

So now that I think about it. If cute dogs are people magnets, that must mean that ugly dogs repel people. Interesting.. Maybe the people of New York are smarter than I thought.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Back

So I apologize for my time away. I took a little hiatus from my blog writing. But I have good news, I'm back and funnier than ever. Well.. I'm back.

So my latest adventure is the improv classes that I started this week. After just two days, I've actually learned a lot.

The first thing that these classes have taught me is that some people are funny and some people are not. You can try to change who you are by taking improv classes and what not. And don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of courage to go to these classes. But I want to remind all of you not funny and annoying people out there, that it takes just as much courage to sit inside and do nothing. All of us out here in the real world that have to listen to your attempt at humor all day long would really respect you just as much for not coming to class. Just putting it out there.

Another thing I've learned is the first rule of improv is to always say yes. Improv thrives on agreement. One must always agree with their scene partner. So I had some trouble with that rule.. to say the least. I kept wanting to scream, no you are actually completely wrong, and correct my partner. Instead I practiced the art of saying "yes" with my mouth and "wow you're an idiot" with my eyes (Thanks Jim Halpert).

I've had about 12 hours of class so far this week. Someone laughed at me one time. It was awesome. We have a show at the end of the week. That should be more than interesting.

I will keep all of you loyal fans updated on my future adventures and endeavors. More blogs posts to come.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What do you do?

I was walking down the street today in the lovely metropolis that is NYC and saw a woman sporting a shirt that read "Dog walker. $10 an hour."At first I was amused by the shirt. Then, I thought to myself, this woman is on to something.

In our superficial society where looks are everything and our professions define who we are, we are all doing what this dog walker is doing, just being more subtle about it. Brands and labels are status symbols to tell those around us how much we make and therefore how much we are worth. We dress the way we want people to view us.

A wealthy banker strutting an Armani suit might as well just wear a shirt that reads "Banker. More than you.". The guy in the big glasses, paint stained shirt and ripped jeans might as well wear "Struggling artist. Broke but happy". The twenty something with gelled hair and the button down shirt might read "Assistant Regional Manager. Enough. (facebook me)." Or the girl in the tight black dress and four inch heels, "Desperate. Whatever you'll give me."

We spend our entire lives working to get the job we want. We study for years, go on countless interviews and pay our dues at unpaid internships to build up our resumes to get our dream jobs. We're all dying for everybody to know who we are and what we do. In this country, our profession is the culmination of everything we've done in our life up to that point. When you meet someone, one of the first things they'll ask is, "What do you do?". This, apparently, defines us. We want the world to know what who we are and what we do.

That's what style is after all, isn't it? A way to categorize ourselves; brand ourselves. Even the hipsters out there who are 'misunderstood' want the world to know they are misunderstood. Everybody wants to be noticed.

So this woman's idea of putting her business card on her shirt is really just a bluntly honest way of doing what we all do every day: selling ourselves through what we wear.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stop And Smell The Roses

Today I came up with a great analogy for the way I view life. I was walking with my dad when we passed a bodega selling flowers. There were many types of flowers as well as an assortment of colors for each. So my dad's simple question of, "Which ones do you want?", would have been extremely difficult to answer for the old, indecisive me. But the new me had no problem with this simple decision. Actually, no problem is a little extreme, let's just say I've made progress.

Anyways, when choosing the color, I was drawn to a faded purple bouquet of roses. This was the only color that my dad didn't suggest (typical). As I grabbed the flowers, I commented, "I think the color of these roses will look really pretty when they're dead". Only after I heard those words come out of my mouth did I realize that this is a really bizarre way to think. Who chooses flowers based on what they'll look like when they die? Who looks at a beautiful bouquet of roses and thinks about death?

To a certain extent, I think we all do..

As I was putting the flowers in a vase, it occurred to me that if I didn't put them in water, they would die immediately. So I had a choice: don't put water in and immediately have my beautiful dried rose petals OR water them and keep them alive. I chose the latter. My reasoning was this: the flowers will eventually die. I will get what I want, so why not also enjoy them while they're alive, and have both.

THIS is a choice we are all faced with in our own lives. These flowers represent our childhoods. Nowadays, kids are so anxious to grow up and be adults, that they don't appreciate the beauty of their innocence. Once we kill the flowers, we can't bring them back to life. Once we lose our innocence, there's no getting it back. Flowers, as well as youth, have an ephemeral beauty. Meaning that there is an expiration date. We should enjoy the beauty of the living flowers, because once they die, there's no turning back.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about graduation, jobs and "the future". So, I think this is meaningful and relevant. You will eventually end up where you're meant to be, so why not make the best of the journey. What's the rush?

When you're old and wrinkly and gray, sitting on your couch with nothing more than your lovely bowl of potpourri, wondering where the time went (and how you became so boring)... you'll be glad to have the memories of the flower to entertain your thoughts.

Stop and smell the roses because they won't last forever.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Is Normal?

Apparently I'm a really awkward person. I've always prided myself on my ability to not be awkward. I'm pretty sure I've even used the exact phrase "I just don't have the awkward gene". Well, I still personally don't think I'm awkward, but people seem to think otherwise.

This new realization started yesterday when I had my lunch break from my 8 hour class. It was pouring rain out as I left the school building to grab food. More than pouring. The type of rain that broke my umbrella as I trudged against the heavy wind, juggling my umbrella (which rendered useless) while attempting to keep my computer dry without dropping my cup of coffee (the most important part). 

When I arrived, soaking wet, all of my classmates were crowded around a tiny table eating. I didn't mind sitting alone at one of the many empty tables surrounding them to dry off. I had a bunch of calls to make and emails to send. The whole "sitting and eating alone" incident has happened before. In fact, I do it all the time. Apparently that's weird? I didn't think so, and still don't for that matter. After this incident, my classmates starting saying things to me, such as "too cool". This was pretty early in the semester. Since then, they've spent more time with me and have gotten to know me better.. that phrase hasn't been used since.

So I sit down at the empty table and begin dialing. Before I know it the entire table is turned around laughing at me. Not only are they laughing, but more than one of them has their cell phone out taking pictures of me. The word "loser" was shouted multiple times. So finally, after I finished my calls and such, I moved my chair over to their table (peer pressure is powerful). Here I sat outside of their circle of chairs peering over their shoulders to join in on conversation. This rendered useless so I just leaned back and didn't partake in the conversation at all. I might as well have just been sitting at a different table..

So that was my first sign that my ideas of "normal social behavior" were a little different from the people around me.

Later that night, around 7:30, a friend texted me asking if I wanted to go to dinner with him and some people. I responded that I had already eaten. So apparently it is also weird to eat before 7:30? There are so many rules on how to be normal, I can't keep up. He insisted that I could just get a drink with them and I should come. I then responded that I hadn't planned on going out. So again, apparently it's not normal for a twenty-year-old person to not want to go out on a Friday night. Long story short, I went.

Farther into the dinner conversation, as I cracked joke after joke (obviously), my other friend made a comment about how fun I am to talk to. How nice! Right? Just wait. I responded "because I am so funny?" He corrected me, "You aren't funny at all. You are just really awkward". I thought dinner had been going well. I thought I meshed well with the crowd.. but again, proven wrong.

After the whole night out, when I was thoroughly exhausted and finally going home (at 12:30), somebody texted me asking what I was doing. This is how that conversation went:

person: "I'm at a fun bar with a friend, you should meet up."
me: "I'm exhausted and going home. I'm a loser" [which I had learned earlier that day]
person: "Haha not cool"
me: "I'm sorry for misleading you into thinking I was cool."
person: "No it's ok, I was never misled"

I'm glad it's apparent to everybody just how awkward and uncool I am.  Awesome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photoshopped First Impressions

Facebook has completely changed the world of dating. We interact more with other people's facebook pages than we do with the actual people. Now, all that matters is how you look online. Think about it.

You're out, you're drinking, you're meeting people. The night continues, maybe you get lucky, maybe you don't. But for now, let's pretend you do. You hook up, the night is great- best night ever. The person you just got with is so hott. Next day, you wake up, look around. Shit, you're in the same clothes from last night. You were more drunk than you thought--that never happens! But wait.. you hooked up! Last night was awesome! He/she was so hott! Well, you thought she/he was. Let's check..

THIS IS THE MOMENT WHERE WHAT YOU LOOKED LIKE NO LONGER MATTERS. FROM HERE ON ALL WE REMEMBER IS WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE ONLINE. All those five minutes you (guys) spent getting ready just disappeared. Girls, well we won't talk numbers but about half of your day's thoughts just became meaningless (because they had so much meaning before)..

So here is the moment of truth. Even if that person looked amazing last night, if they look gross in their pictures, which do you think you are going to remember more: the way they looked when you were borderline blackout or how they look as you soberly stalk their entire lives?

[This is the reason that so many girls have since changed it so you can't see their photos, guys too. Yeah there are lots of reasons they'll give, but let's be real. Facebook was created so people could look at other people's pictures. What, they made their photos private for jobs? BS. If they're worried about jobs, they wouldn't write/post half of the stuff they do.]

Nobody remembers how you looked in the dark lit club when they were on their seventh shot.

A drunk person will get with anything. A sober person won't text/call anyone.

But to be fair, I said Facebook changed the world of DATING, not whatever we call what people do in "college".

So let's say you have groomed your facebook profile and you look good in it. Great in it. So the next morning, after you wake up and reaffirm last night's escapades, and then after you wait a day or so for the person to get over their ego and text you, you two decide to go on a date.

(If you are in college at any campus school, this no longer applies to you. BUT it could be useful after you leave the bubble of college and have to start talking to the opposite sex soberly. Also, potentially useful regarding a second "hook up".)

Before the date, your friends want to see who you are going out with. Is he hott? Is she slutty? The usual questions.. so you go to their facebook. And now, for the second or third (girls.. 10th or 11th?) time, "stalk" their profile. By the time you get to the date, you know who they are friends with, where they're from, where they work, their likes and dislikes. What else is there to talk about?

The "first date" has completely changed thanks to Facebook. The purpose of the first date used to be to get a sense of the person, to see if they are worth seeing again. But now, with social networking, we can find out so much about a person's life beforehand. The fact that you actually want to see them in person is a huge step. The first date is now more like a third or fourth date. Maybe that is why this generation is considered so sexually active and "fast".

So here are some guidelines to increasing your chances of an actual date (or second hook up):
1. Make your profile picture some sort of cartoon character and/or baby picture so we can get a sense of you but still have no idea what you actually look like.

2. Make all of your photos hidden.

3. Take all of the time you used to spend in front of the mirror trying to look like you rolled out of bed that way and now use that tactic for your Facebook page.

[There's always the option of not thinking so much about this stuff and maybe spend more time reading the news than stalking people's Facebooks.. but what kind of loser would do that?.. But then again, what kind of person spends his/her time writing a blog post about this stuff.. ]

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Little Monsters

When I was in the fourth grade, a group of girls in my class kept getting in fights with one another. Not fun physical fights, but the annoying girl kind where people cry and it gets emotional. The kind of fight where we are taught to use our words to solve it. Well, little did those teachers know what kind of monsters they were creating. Maybe this is where I was conditioned to find all dramatic people horribly annoying and unnecessary in my life. And this is definitely when I realized that words are the most powerful tool (and/or weapon). If you have an understanding of a person, saying the right thing can hurt more than getting punched in the stomach, or for the guys, a little lower down.
I vividly remember my teacher bringing five of us girls out into the hallway and explaining the best way to solve a fight. She said, always start out with a compliment. Then, tell the person what they are doing that bothers you. For example (and what I immediately thought to myself): Ms. Purdue, I think you are a cool teacher but it really fucking pisses me off when you make me miss my recess to sit in this dumb hallway to listen to crying girls.

After that ridiculous hour of talking about our feelings, I was, and rightly so, not in the best mood. It wasn't about the fact that I had to miss my recess. It was that I had to listen to girls complain and whine and cry. So, just as I sat down for lunch, one of the girls in my class came over and tapped my shoulder. She wanted to talk to me for a second. Worst combination of words in the English language. I hate having to "talk".  She pulled me to the side of the cafeteria and said, "Hannah I really like your shirt today, but it really bothers me when...". Now she continued on to say something but I most definitely didn't hear it because I was LAUGHING too hard. (I know that makes me sound mean, but this girl was actually a huge bitch. So if I was mean, it was well deserved.)

I'm not insulting Ms. Purdue's method because it really does work. Over the years I perfected that method. By the seventh grade, I was a bitch. I'm not proud of it; I'm just being honest. But, only towards my friends and family (my poor mother). How I still have a loving family and good friends is beyond me. Not exaggerating, I still apologize and thank them to this day for staying my friends.

A few weeks ago, a friend told me we needed to "talk". She told me that because we are such good friends, she feels that she can be honest with me. And she is only telling me these things because she has my best interest in mind. She proceeded to tell me that I should stop trying to be someone that I'm not. (A little background on that comment: I just transferred schools, changed my major and for the first time in forever, I am actually happy.) So I would like to thank that friend for having my best interest in mind and being honest with me. I mean, what are friends for? Right?

After that comment, I started thinking about my younger self. I mean, I invented the "I'm just trying to help you" angle. And looking back, all of the mean things I said came from some sort of jealousy or insecurity. But most of all, it came from pretension: the "I'm better than you, so therefore, I can treat you however I want" attitude. The way in which I had no regard for other people's feelings.

The thing about looking back at our younger selves is that we have such a clearer understanding. We see things in ways we wouldn't have been able to comprehend back then. The funniest part about my "pretentious" attitude is that I in no way thought I was better than anybody. I had no confidence in myself. But the best way to cover up insecurities is to seem unbreakable. For guys, they become macho and strong. For a girls, they become mean, with no emotion. Nobody messes with the bully.

So now my sister is in high school. She is dealing with girls who are way meaner than I ever was. Now don't get me wrong, I still could put anybody in his or her place (it's a talent) but I have no interest. Maybe its the Buddhist in me. But high schools are becoming more vicious than I ever remember them being. As an older sister, I used to tell her that all she had to do was survive high school. That once she gets to college, everybody matures and there isn't as much drama. Turns out I was wrong.

So, my friend did open my eyes to something. People will never stop being mean and manipulative. No matter your age, even when you are way too old for petty high school bullshit, there will be somebody trying to put you down. So rather than telling my sister to wait for it to pass. I now tell her this, all you can do in life is focus on yourself. Figure out what you want to do and go for it. There will absolutely be people who tell you that you can't do it, that you're not good enough. Don't waste your time worrying about what other people say. Be who you want to be, try as hard as you fucking can, and ignore everyone else who tries to stop you.

[I know how corny that all sounds. But I do tell her that stuff. Ask her.]