Knitting Circles: What the Hell?

I’m sitting at a Starbucks on an average day in the Pacific Northwest, waiting for my next class to start. The ominous monocloud has returned, looming over the plaza. I’m wigging out and it has nothing to do with the weather. This is normal meteorological phenomena. It’ll probably be cloudless and sunny tomorrow.

The real reason why I’m wigging out is because of them.

There’s a knitting club seated in the comfy chairs across from and around me. They’re knitting (indeed) and chattering and laughing and just being loud. To be honest, they’re not that much louder than the surrounding din of Starbuckers, but something about these women are inordinately grinding my gears.

What is it?

I’m still trying to figure it out.

On one level, they remind me of the suburban housewife-y lifestyle that I am trying to dodge for my future. The idea of spending the rest of my life flitting from mundane activity to mundane activity terrifies me. That’s not a joke. Living in the suburbs attending to a breadwinning hubby and 2.06 children, while going to mommy clubs ain’t this gal’s idea of a happily ever after. (Not that this girl believes in “happily ever afters,” but excuse my jadedness.) Back to the knitters – they were irritating the hell out of me. Can’t a girl read in peace at a busy metropolitan Starbucks? I mean, really.

However! Yes, there is a “however” to this tale.

The true reason why this little social gathering was bothering me so much – this took me a while to see – was because they were just that: social. Flabbergasted, my conscious mind huffed and puffed up her chest. What? What does that mean?

Subconscious: It means you’re a social retard.

Conscious: Hey, that ain’t very PC to say. And all right, I may be relatively introverted, but I can hold my own in social situations.

Subconscious: But when was the last time you voluntarily attended one of these so-called “social situations”? Sitting around in the student government office eavesdropping on people doesn’t count.

Conscious: *sputters* Well, I never… There was that one time with the people at the place… with the stuff…

Subconscious: Admit it. You’re socially retarded.

Conscious: I am not. I’m fine just the way I am.

Subconscious: I didn’t say you weren’t fine. You’re just socially inept. You’re uncomfortable with socializing and pretend to be above all that small-talk-chitter-chatter. It’s a defense mechanism. Stop being in denial.

Conscious: I am not in denial!

Subconscious: …

Conscious: That’s not fair.

Subconscious: Admit it. And then write a blog post about it.

Conscious: Screw you.

Subconscious: And stop pretending that guy sitting off to the side in the green and grey argyle isn’t cute.

Conscious: Goddammit, you’re right. I- Hey! Stop it!

The main point is that I’ve come to realize the reason why I disdain many social gatherings is because I feel left out. It’s not even that people around me don’t like me (for the most part). A lot of the time, it’s just me sabotaging myself, making excuses about why I can’t or shouldn’t participate. The irritation I feel when I witness events like knitting circles is not superiority – it’s inferiority. The pride in being lonely and supposedly self-sufficient is nothing more than a defense mechanism. Instead of fixing my loneliness by reaching out and being social, I’ve developed a way of shrinking back into myself and shunning everyone else. It’s like being the fox in the Aesop’s fable of the sour grapes. I can’t reach the grapes, so they must be sour and bad anyway.

But what’s so sour about them? The knitting circle is a group of women, who come together to chat and unite in something they all enjoy doing. What’s so wrong with that? Nothing. It’s perfectly fine. It should be refreshing to see hints of communal interaction in our society of individualism and solitude. Isn’t it funny how we’ve been virtually trained to laugh at super nerd herds [see: Big Bang Theory] and appraise the self-serving, self-made man [see: any top dog CEO]? Community is community – barring hate groups (I’m lookin’ at you Westboro Baptist Church) – and we need to encourage people to band together, not disparage it. This is something I’m slowly, but surely working on.

We need to stop yucking their yums and get over ourselves:

What yums do you yuck? What yums of yours do other people yuck? Are you more of a social butterfly or a reclusive hermit crab? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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Talking About Taxes is Fun

April 15th was the deadline to file your taxes. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo.

And April 20th is the extension you get when your taxes are rejected.

Alas, my taxes had been rejected. Something to do with me neglecting to list myself as a dependent for my parents. Fun stuff. However, I don’t really feel like talking about taxes. It’s boring. Unless you’re a lifeless accountant or hyper-enthusiastic IRS agent, you probably don’t want to read a whole lot more about taxes either. So let’s pretend taxes are like Fight Club – albeit a drier, Brad Pit-less, but equally blood-curdling Fight Club. First and second rules: don’t talk about taxes.

And we’re done talking about it!

Instead, let me update you on what’s been happening with my jolly exciting life. (Huzzah for mundanity).

As you may or may not have noticed, depending on your level of patience with my manicness on this blog, I haven’t posted in almost two weeks. Why? Well, I wish I could tell you that I have been off on adventures of Indiana Jonesian proportions, but then I feel the tip of my nose would probably zoom into my computer screen and end up through yours. I ain’t a real boy, Ms Blue Fairy.

No, what I’ve actually been doing are school-related excitements (read: not-so-exciting-drivel) wrapped in trying to maintain a healthier social circle. You see, a college student has the options of good grades, a social life, and sleep – but we can only pick two of the three. Since I’m already prone to bouts of insomnia, I figure I’ll try out the combo of balancing academics and socialization. All work and no play makes the student an axe-wielding maniac dependent on alcohol to get her through the day. (Not that I have any experience in such things, axe-wielding, drinking, or otherwise).

In addition, I have been working with a friend on a new blog, which I will share with y’all as soon as it’s as presentable as a bowl of chili in a chili-tasting contest (what the hell kind of simile was that, goddammit, I’m rusty). It’ll be a forum for exchanging knowledge and talking about society, evolutionary patterns, and observations of life in general – with a bit of humor here and there, as always.

This is a piece of crap update, but it’s an update nonetheless. Better than a jab with a pointy stick. Or perhaps only just as good as a wink to a blind bat…*

Now we return to your scheduled programming.

*Mega Points to the first one to name the reference

Feels like we haven’t had a heart-to-heart in a while. Care to update me on what’s been going on with you? Spill them beans!

I Regretfully Regret: An Introduction

Remember that one time? Yeah, you know what I’m talkin’ about. That one time where you did the stuff that led to the thing with that one person – yep, the person with the hair and the teeth and the other distinguishing features? Dude, that was gnarly sick.

Introducing a new weekly segment called “I Regretfully Regret,” where yours truly divulges in one thing she regrets that week. Sounds exciting, eh? “Wait!” she says, flashing an OxiCleaned Billy Mays smile. “There’s more!” Move aside, Mr. Cockeyed ShamWow Guy.

This is going to be an experiment. Here on the wonderful world wide web, millions upon millions of people from all over the world are able to link in to their Internet-capable devices and explore and share in a mind-blowing plethora of information. The Internet is not an Information Highway; it’s an Information Orgy. If you’re reading this, you are a part of it. Giver, Receiver – it doesn’t matter what your role is. You are a part of it. And you should be proud. The mighty sophisticated Greeks and Romans of ancient times loved themselves a good orgy, so why shouldn’t you?

But I’m being misleading.

Let’s take all that sexually metaphorical language out and start anew.

Join me. Be the Clarice Starling to my Hannibal Lecter. I tell you something and you tell me something. Quid pro quo. [All right, admittedly not a much better parallel, but if you’ve read this far you’re probably a special brand of brilliantly weird yourself. High five.] 

But through this whole mess all I want is to create a spot where whoever stumbles across an “I Regretfully Regret” post can share with me – and everyone else who reads – something they regret. It can be as personal or as vague as you want – doesn’t matter.

Just share. Because sharing is caring and caring is… something nice with rainbows and chocolate or whatever.

You can post about it in the comments or you can send them to me. I swear I’m an honest-to-goodness honest and good person and am not trying to create some sort of blackmailing scam. No, don’t send me your full name and social security number – I ain’t promising you a million dollars from some Nigerian prince. Send me your Regretful Regret and I’ll post it here. Sound fun? Trust me, I’ll make it worth your time and effort.

As I said up top, this is an experiment and with any hope, it’ll evolve for the better.

Without further ado, here is my first Regretful Regret:

“I regretfully regret not being more social. Being a social moron sucks. Being an emotional moron sucks worse, but that’s a topic for another time. Friends – or people I have ignored and must now call ‘previous acquaintances’ – I’m sorry for being a moron and not adding a smiley at the end of my snarky texts. Sarcasm does not translate well in digital 2-D. I realize that now. I really didn’t mean it when I said ‘your mother’s a $2 whore.’ I’m sure your mother is a wonderful, wholesome woman with a respectable form of daytime income. Sorry.”

Don’t leave me hangin’ here. Add your own in the comments (or you can e-mail them to me at stressingoutcollege@gmail.com and I can share them so that you don’t directly have to). “I regretfully regret…”

It’s the End of the World As We Know It (Oh, Shut Up)

The sky is falling! It’s a plane! The British are coming!

Oh the Interwebs just love their daily dose of hysteria. To be honest, I rather dislike the news. To clarify, I dislike the news media culture. Learning about what goes on in the world outside of my little bubble is great. I love to learn and I enjoy, to a degree, hearing about how messed up humanity is. As George Carlin would say “It’s entertainment! Live a little!”

But to go back to news media culture and why it sucks – it’s ratings-driven. HBO’s The Newsroom offers a really neat – if overly dramaticized – view of the politics and backstage workings of newscasting. Jeff Daniels plays the highest paid news anchor on TV, who seeks the good old days of hard-hitting journalism. It’s reality. The powers that be of the news media culture know what we want to see because they have skillfully manufactured it. They spoon feed us stories of terrorism, poverty, political scandals, showing us how dark and miserable the rest of the world is (and how lucky the first world is). And then they give us pieces of hope, where they shower us with stories of found puppies, revitalized children, and stupid renditions of that awful, awful “Harlem Shake” trend.

It’s the end of the world, folks! Have you heard? North Korea’s gonna’ nuke us! Duck and cover, kids – they gonna’ go Gangnam style on our asses. Haven’t you seen that Olympus Has Fallen movie? Did you see how easily those Koreans took over the White House? It’s totally plausible. Secret service agents are obviously inept. They’re trained to mindlessly run out into the front lawn to get mowed down by superior Korean weaponry. Gerard Butler, save us!

Olympus Has Fallen - secret service agents mowed down by North Koreans

Shown: Convenient stupidity of unimportant characters for purposes of plot progression.

And to hell with international politics – have you heard that Roger Ebert passed away? A moment’s silence please for the king of film criticism.

Silenced yet? Give yourself and Mr. Ebert a thumbs up.

All right, moving on.

In happier news, the Craigslist Killer has been sentenced to death! Yippee…? Yeah. You see?  The news is depressing. Death, death, death. Well, death sells. If modern executions were broadcast on television, you could bet that that would get some of the highest ratings of anything in the history of “entertainment.” However, that’s actually a topic of discussion for another time.

Now that I’ve raised your spirits, here’s R.E.M.’s music video of “It’s the End of the World.”

What do you think of the news? Informational? Entertaining? Trash *cough*FOX*cough*? What’s your favorite recent news story?

The Vacation Hangover: Why Short Academic Breaks Suck

Spring Break is the worst. No sooner do you strip into your beach clothes and fling your nubile body into a sea of bad choices than you find yourself (no worse for wear, of course) stranded back in the Land of Higher Learnedness. Fan-freakin-tastic.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – as long as you’re thinking what I’m hypothetically thinking, which is probably likely if you frequently think in Oscar Wilde quotes and dirty limericks –

“Yet another display of the ingratitude of our lazy, worthless youth. Higher education is a privilege! It is only possible for you to experience this opportunity of enlightenment because of the work of my back-breaking generation, young whipper snapper. In my dinosaur-wrangling days, we didn’t even have a spring break! And the only purpose of summer break was so that we could earn our dues working in the fields. You and the rest of you worthless ingrates don’t deserve a break from all the ‘work’ you do flushing your education money down the bloomin’ toilet.”

Yes, I hear ya verbatim.

The technically 9 days of break that we get is not enough for us to relax. It’s like telling us we can sleep in and then waking us up in the middle of REM sleep. This does not a motivated student make.

I got 99 problems and yep, short breaks from school are one of them. Why do we even bother with a few days interrupting the academic year? I’m not quite sure how semesters do it – does spring break split up your semester? With quarters/trimesters, spring break marks the end of the winter term and the beginning of the spring term. Even then, spring break is more of an unsatisfying tease than some long romance. Darn those Bacchus-worshiping Greeks and Colgate University swim jocks. Spring break isn’t freedom. It’s our 30 minute recess before we shuffle back to our cells. According to a comment on this article, all spring break is now “is a bunch of immature, drunken, TOO sexually active teens, and of course rapist on the side line just awaiting another drunk girl to attack.”

Spring Break Drunk at the Beach

Not pictured: Predatory man awaiting anything (expect aspirin)

What has this world come to? Tsk, tsk. O the moral fiber of our country ruined by this one week of bad decisions and illusory freedom. Ha! And for many, it’s just a week of sitting in front of the TV/computer catching up on episodes of Parks and Recreation and re-enacting the days of the freshman 15. And some people are vying for another miniscule breakduring the fall! Do these fools not understand? Do they not see the economy of it? What is better – mini-breaks throughout the year or one lo-o-o-o-ong break over the course of the summer? Either that or give us summer-equivalent breaks throughout the year. Yes, someone get on this now. No more one-weekers – that’s communist crap. Give us three months of breaks at a time! That way, we’ll be refreshed and completely slated clean for those soul-sucking faculty members to try to actually learn us some good edjumacation.

It’s so crazy it just might work. Maybe.

How was your spring break? Feeling refreshed and raring to get back to the daily academic grind? Got any good spring break/vacation stories? (Don’t worry, your shenanigans can’t possibly be traced back to you). 

Keep calm and read on: