Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Facebook: where every day is your high school reunion

My 10-year high school reunion is coming up this year, and suddenly the people who constantly made fun of me amid those hallowed halls (who all won various high school elections and are therefore in charge of the reunion -- ah, the memories) are coming out of the woodwork.

I've received Facebook friend requests from several of them, one of which came in yesterday. I find it interesting that they didn't notice that we HAD been "friends" on Facebook at one time... in the good old days when Facebook first went public and was inaccurately recommending to them that I'm someone they might "like" -- oh Zuckerberg, how wrong you can be -- and I had no idea what was going on so I just accepted everyone's requests whether we were really friends or not. In turn they never realized they had been promptly de-friended once I got my wits about me and figured out that there was no reason for me to be "friends" with people I was never friends with in real life, and no repercussions for their deletion since they really didn't know me at all.

When messages are included with their requests, they usually go something like this: "Ohmigoddd how are youuu?!?! What have you been up to?!" ...In the last 10 years? Oh, not much... ??... "I miss high school, don't you?!" ...Uh... not really, thanks for that by the way... "I hope you're going to the reunion!!" There it is. "We should totally get together, OMGzzz!!!!"

... Wait, we should GET TOGETHER? Um look, I'm all about letting bygones be bygones, but if you didn't want to "hang out" with me when you sat next to me in the same classroom in high school, what on earth makes you think we should hang out now that I live hours away from you and we officially have had nothing whatsoever in common for the last 10 years? How did you picture it working out, did you want me to come to your apartment for the weekend, or were you hoping that instead of hanging out with the people who were actually nice to me in high school on my next trip home, I should spend time with you and your friends who all mocked me throughout my formative years, just for the hell of it? Do you even have my phone number? I guess I'm just having a hard time really envisioning the logistics.

There are a lot of people who were always hoping for attention from these lovelies, but unfortunately I was never one of them, so I am getting nothing out of this except irritation. Sometimes I see people who always wanted to be cool "liking" these people's posts on Facebook, and I think, YOU DO NOT EVEN LIKE EACH OTHER, what are you doing? Which leads me in a roundabout way to my point.

I'll preface this by saying Facebook is great and anyone who is friends with me on there has probably figured out by now that I am clearly addicted to it. But on that note, Facebook is seriously the worst. This is drama I wouldn't have to deal with if Facebook didn't exist. I feel like it's a John Hughes movie, and I am being set up for some elaborate scheme where these people "friend" me and then everyone laughs at me in the lunchroom. In my old age I realize that I am just being paranoid and that people's glory days ended in high school and this is a way to try to get it back. But thanks to Facebook, it's in my face. Why do we even need reunions these days anyway? I can go find, in an organized fashion (occupation, relationship status, interested in: men/women/both) what's going on in all these people's lives. And I still see/talk to the people I like. I don't really need the rest of the updates, in person or online. It used to be that your 10-year reunion was really the only time you'd have to deal with your classmates after graduation. But with Facebook, every day is a f***ing reunion. And the dynamics of our high school seem to be playing out online. The more things change the more things stay the same.

But maybe I'll be a surprise to them anyway. Because little do they know, adulthood has given me the freedom to be even more geeky and bizarre than I ever dared to be in high school. FTW. So here's a someecard for the road, I'm off to listen to the original Carousel record on my turntable, or to watch a documentary about origami, or to read the autobiography of Mark Twain. While deleting friend requests. Suckers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No good deed...

In yet another fit of inspiration so typical in my life, I decided despite the complete disaster of laundry sprawled about my apartment, the cleaning that needs to happen, the Christmas presents that remain unwrapped, hell, the nails that need to be repainted, that my new life project is going to be my teeth. I have fine teeth, routine dentist appointments, you know, but my sister went to the dentist and had cavities and  for some reason I freaked out as if they were in my own mouth.

Evil Fluoride.
I went to the store like a good little human and bought some new floss and some better mouthwash. I didn't know they made Crest Pro-Health with FLUORIDE! And it's purple. It's like a Christmas miracle! Score. For the last several days I've been diligently mouthwashing away, what's another minute if it means no cavities or gingivitis, right? YESSS! It's Christmas, and Jesus loves fluoride! I'm free at last!

But the day after I started using it, my tongue started to feel like I drank a scalding mug of coffee. Yeah, the end of my tongue feels like it's all burned. It looks normal. But it feels burned. And I didn't burn it on anything, believe me, I'd remember, and so would you, because I'm sure I'd be on here bitching and complaining about it. Nope, didn't burn it.

I started reading forums and health websites and gave myself a self-diagnosis of either:
  • Tongue cancer (80% sure this was it)
  • Thrush (a disease I'm pretty sure only babies or horses get) (5%)
  • An STD born in a manger (since I have no idea how the hell I would have contracted it considering the fact that I am basically a hermit who boys hate) (5%)
  • A reaction to an antibiotic that someone crushed up and mixed into some other food I ate, since I haven't taken one in like a year (10%)
So I took a walk outside to get some fresh air and stop myself from fainting, and it dawned on me that the only thing I really changed in my life was that I started using that fluoride. (And that I started listening to Christmas music but that couldn't burn my tongue... could it... hey wait could it? Stupid Amy Grant...) I came back inside, turned off my Christmas music, did another quick search and found other people online who had this exact reaction from that exact mouthwash, and then I asked two friends, and they also have had this reaction from fluoride in the past.

And just as quickly as my illegitimate, ill-fated and ill-begotten love affair with dental care began, here it ends.

Here I am, trying to be conscientious and plaque-free, and it blows up right in my face. So I figure I might as well throw it all to the wind and go buy some pixy stix and a pack of Fruit Stripe gum. Goddamnit.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Think what you want about WikiLeaks but stop what you're saying about rape

I know that I've been absent from here for a while, but I've been wanting to write something about this and have just been too busy. I was going to let it go, but I read more things today that made me realize I can't not say something. So here I am.

I have friends who have strong feelings on both sides of the WikiLeaks debate. I think it's all interesting, and I'm really not sure how I feel about it. But it's beside the point. What I do have strong feelings about, completely separate from anything related to WikiLeaks, are the things people are saying about the rape charges against Julian Assange.

Whether he raped these women or not is not the point. The things people say because of it are really destructive and seriously not okay. Making jokes about it, making fun of his accusers (Naomi Wolfe, I'm looking at you), dismissing it automatically because you're in love with Julian Assange for creating WikiLeaks... these are severely destructive reactions to a serious topic like rape. Trivializing rape itself, whether it happened at Julian Assange's hand or not, is only going to dissuade people who actually have been raped from reporting it. Yes, it's horrible and destructive when people who have not been raped say they have for fame or attention or whatever the reason they do it, and those people are just as culpable and to blame for all of this, but honestly you or I have no control over that.

What we DO have control over is our reaction to discussions about rape.

I really wish people would stop and THINK about the fact that hello, some people actually HAVE been raped, and mocking or discrediting anyone who says they have been raped, just because the person who may have raped them is someone in a position of power or a celebrity you like, is only serving to discourage people who actually have been raped from ever reporting it. You have no idea how many people around you have been raped/sexually assaulted, and guess what? It's a lot more than you think. There is already a social stigma associated with having been raped, and with reporting rape. Can you imagine what it's like to have been raped and then to be debating whether you should report it because you don't know if anyone will believe you, or if they like the rapist better than you and so they think it couldn't POSSIBLY have happened (hello I'm not just talking about celebrities, this happens on college campuses ALL THE TIME, especially when it involves athletes or frat boys), or because of what they might say about you and about what kind of person you are? It really makes me mad, I'm sorry, but it's unacceptable.

What you say about rape matters, because other people can hear you. I can't bear to read comments online about any of these Julian Assange stories or posts, because it destroys my faith in humanity, and people are saying such disgusting things that it makes me want to cry. If you think sexism is dead, read comments on an article about this and you will see that you're wrong. That's just a fact of life, and again there's not much I can do about that, but I BEG you to please stop and think next time before you say something about a rape case. When it's a celebrity, everyone always assumes it didn't happen, and maybe it did and maybe it didn't, but it DOES happen and could have happened to anyone you're talking to. And it will make them feel horrible. And it could happen in the future to the person you're talking to. Or to their sister. Or their daughter. Or their son. (!) And they will remember what you said. And they will remember other people's reactions to this. And they will probably not report what happened to them. And the person who raped them will probably walk around and, who knows, rape someone else. This happens every day.

Whether or not Julian Assange raped someone, please stop talking about it the way you're talking about it, because not everyone is a powerful celebrity and this is just going to perpetuate the already impossible situation of people you know reporting actual rape. Think you don't know anyone who has been raped? Maybe they never felt comfortable talking with you about it because they heard what you said when someone else had been raped.

People Who Agree And Have Said It Much More Eloquently:
Who Hears You When You Speak About Rape
Talking About Julian Assange Has Become Utterly Terrible
When A Feminist Trivializes Rape
Some Thoughts on 'Sex By Surprise'
Silence Around A Fraternity Sex Assault Case