A Year (And Change) Older

August 21, 2010 at 11:48 PM (Happenings, Musings) (, , )

My birthday was earlier this week, and I am pleased to announce that no one sang that horrendous song to me in public (that’s not to say people didn’t try, though).  That said, it was a wonderful few days of celebration – except the part where the Red Sox got their rear ends handed to them.  By Toronto.  Really, guys?

A lady never discloses her age, but I will say I’ve re-entered the realm of prime numbers as a twenty-something.  That said, when several of my elder friends have celebrated this same year, I heard one particular complaint many a time: “Oh my God: I’m so old!

. . . Seriously?  In your twenties, you’re complaining about being old?  In an age when when we’re finishing school, getting married, settling down and starting families later and later in lives, we feel old in our twenties?  When we typically have a solid 60 years remaining?  Where was I for this?

After hearing this for the third or fourth time, I swore to myself that when my same birthday rolled around, I would not consider myself old, and suffice to say, I succeeded.  As a college graduate still running the internship gamut, still moving at least once a year and still unsure of where or what I’ll be in the next five years, the absolute last word I would use to describe myself would be “old.”  Village elders, you’ll have to excuse me: this whipper-snapper still has some self-discovery to accomplish.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Mr. Jones,” Counting Crows
“Black Balloon,” Goo Goo Dolls
“Push (Acoustic),” Matchbox 20

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iWorld

December 22, 2009 at 3:40 AM (Happenings, Musings) (, , )

It was about 9.30 A.M. on a Tuesday morning, and I was on my way in to work, courtesy of our fabulous MBTA.  Given the three espresso shots I had all but taken intravenously, it was hard not to glance at everyone within my line of sight, what with my caffeine-induced nervous twitch and all.  What was also hard not to miss was that two thirds of the train would not have noticed if I had decided to shout obscenities: that majority was equipped with headphones, listening to podcasts, tunes and television episodes, totally lost to the world that was trying to stare them in the face.

Then I got to thinking about how much of life those people may have been missing because they were too busy listening to Lady Gaga.  Okay, that wasn’t my immediate next thought, but I eventually got there.  Allow me to elaborate.

Sitting on my right was an attractive gentleman.  He was attractive enough that the romantic in me kept hoping, “Oh, wouldn’t it just be so lovely if he had some reason to strike up a conversation with me?”  The romantic in me would then be beaten into a depressed submission by the realist in me who would point out that strangers just don’t talk to each other any more, not when they have the luxury of staying in touch with their friends via their smart phones.

Then I got to thinking about how much of life those people may have been missing because they were too busy listening to Lady Gaga.

We live in an age of “iWant it now and therefore iHave it now.”  Social media is truly an awesome thing, allowing us to access anything we want, whenever we want, but at what price?  We are sacrificing a kind of uncontrollable spontaneity that we experience from interacting with the unknown outside of our iComfortZones.  We don’t much talk to the person sitting next to us on the train any more, or at the bar, or waiting for the bus, or in line at the grocery store.  Instead, we are texting our friends, telling them how bored we are in said train, bar, bus station or grocery store.

The pretty man sitting next to me was one of the few passengers who was not wearing headphones that morning, and as a result, both he and I bore witness to the T driver’s eloquence.  We had been standing by for 15 minutes or so, and finally were graced with this gem over the train’s intercom:

“Once again passengers, there is a disabled train in front of us.  We’re just waiting for it to move ahead of the platform so we can uh . . .”

We waited.

“Uh . . .”

We continued to wait.

“Uh . . . yeah . . .”

He and I laughed.  We were the only ones on the train snickering like the schoolchildren in the back of the class.  And then something crazy happened: we exchanged words.  It wasn’t anything life-altering – just something like “Oh my God, that was brilliant!” – but it was enough to remind me of the fact that yes, there is life outside of  the iWorld.

Tonight’s Tunes
“Have You Made Up Your Mind,” Paul Weller
“Here With Me,” Dido
“Toxic,” Yael Naïm
“The Sweetest Love,” Robin Thicke
“Symbol In My Driveway,” Jack Johnson
“Holiday Inn,” Elton John
“Roll If Ya Fall,” Barefoot Truth
“Don’t Look Away,” Joshua Radin
“Joan,” Timmy Curran
“Hide and Seek,” Imogen Heap
“Vanilla Twilight,” Owl City

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Scroogin’

December 7, 2009 at 1:40 AM (Musings) (, )

Usually I’m all about the Christmas cheer, but for whatever reason, it’s been lacking this year.  We’ve got the decorations up in the apartment, and we all know that the department stores have been in the spirit since Halloween.  I have two, perhaps even three Christmas parties this week, and every time I go to Faneuil Hall for lunch, I see this beautiful monstrosity of a Christmas tree.

Faneuil Hall Christmas tree Boston

That, combined with the street performers and the Christmas songs coming from every store’s doorway and the veterans with their Santa hats and bells asking for donations outside of MBTA stations serve as constant reminders of how hopped up on eggnogStarbucks holiday red cups I should be by now (oh, and of course we can’t forget the omnipresent red cups at Starbucks).  For goodness’ sake, it even snowed last night!

So what’s missing?  I thought that my first Christmas that didn’t include the stress of classes and final exams would have allowed for even more holiday giddiness, but I suppose I was wrong.  While the threat of semester’s end is gone, so are most of the friends with whom I spent most of my last four yuletide seasons, and with my grandfather being ill, being home will probably never be the same again (and with my current work schedule, it’s tricky to score more than 36 hours back home at a time, anyway).  “Scroogin'” is definitely an exaggeration for this post, because I’m most certainly not bitter about the time of year.  I love Christmas, and I’m just bummed that I’m not feeling it this year.

I have a fantastic internship with one helluva firm, and I know that I’m privileged to have even one paycheck right now, never mind two,  but admittedly, my life is still probably the most unsettled it’s ever been, and I think that may be detracting from my would-be cheer.  I’m so used to this time of year being a particular way, with a certain atmosphere, but nothing in life is static, I guess.

During some research for holiday stress relief tactics for a client, I came across several articles that warned against trying too hard to keep every single tradition; in some cases, it may be better to try something new.  Perhaps I’m waiting for things to be the way they’ve been before when, due to silly little details like Time, it’s impossible for them to be that way again.  That doesn’t mean the spirit of Christmas is a thing of the past, though.  It is simply in a period of evolution.  I just have to be a little more open-minded and proactive this year in my search for holiday glee.  Or at least good spirits.

Today’s Tunes
Remembering Christmas, David Benoit
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio
“Mad Russian’s Christmas (Instrumental),” Trans-Siberian Orchestra
“Good King Joy,” Trans-Siberian Orchestra
“Ornament,” Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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A Moment of Reflection

March 19, 2009 at 3:59 PM (Happenings, Musings) (, , , )

Last week, BU senior Victoria “Tori” Rubino died in her sleep.  Although she lived in my building and was in the College of Communication (as I am), I didn’t know Tori, but I know people who did.  I won’t say what other people said about her, save that from the sounds of it, she was a good, talented person and she will be missed terribly.  There will be a community gathering for Tori in Boston University’s Student Village at 5.00 P.M. today, Thursday, March 19th.  It is open to friends and family.  Non-Student Village residence need only to identify themselves at the front desk.  I will not be in attendance, but my heart, thoughts and prayers are with those who will be, or wish they could be.

At my age, I know that I never go to sleep at night asking myself, “Did I say everything I needed to say today, and did I say it to the people who needed to hear it?”  I know that I can answer that query with a confident no, and I don’t know how I feel about that.  Sadly, BU loses students each year (I would guess maybe 1.5 to 2 on average).  We go to college, and we NEVER think that we may not live to May each year.  Between the ages of 18 and 23, we still think we’re invincible: death can’t touch us.  Then tragedy blindsides us and we realise: “That very well could have been me,” and we’re shaken for a bit, but it wears off soon enough if we didn’t know the student (I can’t speak to those who’ve known students who have passed).  Then we’re back into our invincible mentalities, having all but forgotten all that has ocurred in the last month.

I don’t want to forget this time.  Life is precious, and I never know when it will be taken away from me, so I had best live it to the fullest.  When my time comes, whenever that may be, the two words Idon’t want crossing my mind are “If only . . .”

Today’s Tunes
“How to Save a Life,” The Fray
“Chasing Cars,” Snow Patrol
“Everything’s Not Lost,” Coldplay
“Evacuee,” Enya

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Didn’t See THAT Coming . . .

September 30, 2008 at 6:34 PM (Dance, Friends, Musings) (, )

It was 7.00 A.M, and I was putting the final touches on a presentation I’d be delivering in a couple hours.  I was also waiting quite impatiently for my coffee to finish up, because once again, I was running on precious little sleep.  I chanced to look out my window at the loading dock of the stadium next to my building in time to see a pack of techies flooding out of a truck that had just pulled in for whatever performance is happening tonight.  I saw that many of them had Dunkin’ Donuts cups clasped in their hands, and I suddenly flashed back to when I was the captain of my college’s ballroom dance team.  I remembered cursing existence as I would drag myself out of bed as early as 3.30 A.M. to get myself ready and out the door by 5.00, to get to the team’s vans by 5.15, to meet everyone by 5.30, to call the latecomers by 5.45, and to be on the road moving by 6.00 to arrive at a comp by 7.30.  What would follow would typically be a 13- to 14-hour day of dancing and team parenting, and eventually another hour-and-a-half ride home.

I guess seeing the techies clinging to their coffee reminded me of how we usually had time to stop for caffeine on the way to a competition.  The strange thing was that I didn’t look back on that time with any distaste or regret.  As a matter of fact, I found myself missing it.  Yes, we all loathed being up at some ungodly hour of the morning, but we loathed it together, and we did it in anticipation of a great day ahead.  During the van ride, as we gradually woke up, the adrenaline slowly began to take over, and by the time we got to the competition, most of us were chomping at the bit and in high spirits.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my current team, even more so than my collegiate team.  We all support each other like family, but there’s something particularly adhesive about a group of people all forced to be up at the same early hour to pile into the same van to go to a comp and be stuck together for the greater part of a day.  Not only are members obligated to themselves and their partners to be at the van on time, but they are also abligated to the rest of the group: everyone got up at 5.00 so that everyone could get to the comp on time; it only made sense that they should cheer each other on, as well.  My current team has the luxury of personal automobiles: couples may not show up to a competition more than a few hours before their events, rather than getting there in time for the first team members’ events.  If they have their own means of getting to the comp, why lose sleep to be at an event by 10.00 A.M. if they don’t have to dance until 6.00 P.M.?

This has been a little bit of a sore spot for me on this team.  Because my partner and I compete at a lower experience level than most of the other team members, we typically get stuck with the Sunday 10.00 A.M. events.  That means that I’m usually up by 7.00 or 8.00 in the morning to deal with my hair and makeup, and that’s frequently after I stayed up past 11.00 P.M. the previous Saturday evening in order to support my higher level teammates compete.  Meanwhile, the friends I just spent $40 and three hours of sleep to watch the night before enjoy the luxury of sleeping through my heats.  Or, if we’re all competing the same day, even if my partner and I are competing in the afternoon, too frequently do I realise that our more advanced friends are busy warming up, or getting ready for their events, and can’t spare the time to watch us.

I understand that we’re all at the competition for the same reason: to dance, and to dance well.  It’s up to each of us to determine our priorities so that when it’s time for our events, we’re all in the best condition to perform.  That said, none of us are obligated to watch each other dance, especially if it may affect our own dancing later on, or in a slightly less relevant case, our wallets (ballroom entry fees can get pretty steep, depending on the competition).  It is my choice to go support my friends when they are dancing.  We have no written contracts bonding us to reciprocation of support.  I also understand that no matter how frustrating it is when my partner and I dance in front of an audience of strangers, that I will continue to support my friends when they dance, anyway.  It’s in my nature.

WARNING: Whining Alert!  The author is about to talk about the way things should be versus how they are.
That said, I do wish people on the team felt at least a little obligated to support all team members, not just the ones whose events fit conveniently into their schedules.  Out of curiosity, I just consulted the good ole’ Oxford English dictionary for a definition of “team.”  These two seemed relevant:

4. a. fig. Applied to persons drawing together.
b. transf. A number of persons associated in some joint action; now esp. a definite number of persons forming a side in a match, in any team sport; hence, a group collaborating in their professional work or in some enterprise or assignment. (http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50247958?query_type=word&queryword=team&first=1&max_to_show=10&sort_type=alpha&result_place=1&search_id=peAc-usXT7i-11125&hilite=50247958).

Okay, so there’s nothing about mutual support in order for a team to be truly cohesive, but there should be.  As I’ve mentioned many of these people are not just teammates: they’re friends, as well.  We hang out after practise.  Sometimes we even do non-dance stuff together.  We’re hardly strangers to one another.  If nothing else, as my friends, should I still have to ask them if they will watch me compete?

It is my choice to go support my friends when they are dancing.  We have no written contracts bonding us to reciprocation of support.  I also understand that no matter how frustrating it is when my partner and I dance in front of an audience of strangers, that I will continue to support my friends when they dance, anyway.  It’s in my nature.

Apologies – I definitely wasn’t counting on this turning into a rant.  That said, it’s my blog, and I’ll write whatever I gosh-darned well please!

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