I Think, Therefore I Am: Jaw Troubles

There’s this really weird thing that happens to me every couple months or so where I suddenly don’t know where to place my jaw.

 

I know.  It sounds absurd, but I’ll wake up one day suddenly feeling that my jaw is out of place.  Not so much in the sense that’s it’s been dislocated or anything drastic like that.  Only that I don’t know where to put it.  It seems as though there isn’t a position that seems natural anymore.

 

I’m suddenly asking myself, “How do I usually hold my jaw?  Do I usually have the teeth on either jaw touching each other, or do I usually have my jaw in a loose position?”  And usually as a result of all this clenching and unclenching, I feel exponentially worse, my jaw have tightened into an unnatural position.

 

It’s the most confounding thing to wake up one day and find that you don’t know yourself.  I mean, it’s something that we humans pride ourselves on, right?  “I may not have a clue as to what’s going on in the world or if any of it has any meaning, but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that I know myself.”

 

“I think, therefore I am,” right?  It’s that one thing that the average everyman can agree with those lunatic philosophers on.  That we may not agree with all the rational nonsense that follows that premise, but we can agree that the one thing we know without a shadow of a doubt is that #1:  I exist and #2: I’m therefore the chief consultant as to all the nitty gritty details of that existence.

 

Because, well.  I’m me.  And who could know more about me than me?

 

Who could possibly know me better?

 

I’m the person most concerned with me despite what I might choose to believe about love and the nature of that loaded L-word.  There’s no one on the planet who could possibly be more obsessed about my existence and the well-being of it than the wonderful, talented, consequential, worth paying attention to, special in every way, moi.

 

And yet, there are days when we wake up, and we suddenly don’t know how our jaw is supposed to go, or if it ever went, or where it went for that matter. 

 

How can I, the one and only specialist on me, claim to know the stuff I’m made of when some days I don’t even know how to use my body.  How can I when I find myself wondering if there was ever even a set way that I held myself to begin with?

 

If I can’t even figure out how to gain control of my body, how can I ever hope to gain control of my mind, never mind my spirit, the very essence of who I am? 

 

I don’t want to act like I can speak for the rest of you, but sometimes I wake up and wonder how on Earth I got to where I am and if that even happens to be where I intended to go in  the first place.  I have these short and long term goals set for myself.  I take note of them in journals and write them on my walls in the form of handy little sticky notes.  And even while I find myself satisfactorily check marking and taking them down from my walls, I always ultimately end up in the same place. 

 

“Wait, why am I doing this again?  This is what I intended to do and where I intended to go, right?  Have I accidentally turned down a side street and completely lost track of the main road?”

 

I always find myself questioning who I am and whether or not this is the stuff I want to choose to make myself out of.  Will I be satisfied in the end?  Will I be able to sigh a contented last breath and know that I took my freedom to think seriously?  Will I be able to look back and see footprints burnt into asphalt from the sheer decisiveness of each step that was taken?  Will the direction of those steps reflect my inner most thoughts and convictions back at me?  Will I recognize myself and the distinctive angle of my jaw?

 

I guess all I’m trying to say is, I DON’T KNOW.

 

And I like to tell myself that this is a good thing, even though it’s pretty contrary to any linear and straightforward form of logic.  Because I don’t believe in straight lines.  When I was child a visual arts student once told me, “There are no such thing as straight lines.  Only dozens and dozens of hesitant strokes that trick you into thinking they’re straight.”  And at the time that I heard this, something resembling an unanticipated breath of relief escaped my body.  Like I had been trying to conform myself to something I knew I never had been and could never become, and now I was free.

 

I didn’t know why at the time, but I believe that this revelation was one of the many beginnings of the unbelievably sketchy circle that is my life.  I believe that I discovered the secret that it’s okay not to know, or maybe even better.  If you’re constantly willing to admit that you don’t know, won’t that just keep you in check and make sure that you keep verifying whether what you think you really knew you actually know?

 

But who knows.  Maybe that’s just another thing I like to tell myself.

 

After all, I simply don’t know.

 

~LDA

 

 

Cosmic Shrapnel

 

There are times when you have stayed for so long in one position thinking about nothing at all that you become unexpectedly acquainted with yourself. Suddenly you’re faced with the reality of your own mind against the backdrop of the world.

Times like when you’ve been driving for so long that you’ve spaced out and started contemplating strange things, some even bordering suicidal. You become so attuned to the sound of your infinitesimal existence that you begin to fade in and out of your surroundings. You start forgetting where you end and they begin, and so suicidal thoughts aren’t so much melancholy or malicious as they are sobering.

It suddenly occurs to you that you could drift onto the median and watch as your car swerves, tumbles and careens from a third person perspective. Or maybe gently let go of the wheel and let the tires take you where they will…

You’d be content and at peace with this too, because the blinding truth that you once knew as you floated in the embryonic fluid of your mother’s uterus has suddenly re-dawned on you.   And this truth is that you are but a tiny piece of shrapnel in the cosmic explosion that is the universe.

And that’s not to say that you are without cause or without purpose. Just that you are only a microscopic cog in the mechanic master plan, and you realize that if you were to fade out a little “too” early, another microscopic cog would quickly lock into position and take your place.

And this happenstance wouldn’t even have to be sad, or unfortunate, or particularly depressing. It could be just another beautiful explosion of a sun. Another pinprick fading in the fabric of our sky.

~LDA

 

Core Persona (NatureVersusNurture)

We say all the time that you should be yourself.

Don’t change for anybody or anything.

Just be yourself.

But who are we really? Aren’t we just the sum of our experiences, a conglomeration of changes we’ve made? Some conscious, some unconscious? I mean, even deciding to take your next breath is a decision you’re making, even if your body is automatically making it for you. You have the autonomy to choose otherwise.  And each breath is causing minuscule changes in your body’s chemical makeup.

Some changes sort of just happen to us more than we choose to make them happen. Like how a traumatic experience such as the loss of a loved one or an abusive experience changes who we fundamentally are. But they’re all still changes nonetheless.

So what makes some changes considered things that turn us into phonies or posers, while others are just considered personal growth or collateral damage? If a person chooses that they want to change how they manifest their personality by changing a clothing style or hanging out with an entirely different crowd, how is that different from if a person chooses to continue wearing the same clothing style or to continue taking part in a particular hobby. At what point do we identify or become ourselves?

Where does the core of our persona lie?

In some super secret sequence of our genetic code?

In the most inner reaches of what some might call the soul?

Who are we really?

Aren’t we all just constantly changing beings who are always in flux?

Or is there an essential part of us that never changes? A solid constant that we must stay true to?

Who exactly are you?  Do you know? 

 

Your Fellow Identity Crisis,

~LDA

Psychotic Breaks Are Sexy

So I rear ended a guy the other day.

In reality it was his fault, because he stopped ridiculously short.  But we all know how the insurance companies see it. If you’re the rear ending party, you’re automatically at fault and now you have to deal with the repercussions of some prick practically setting you up.

These are the thoughts that should have been going through my head at the time of the accident.

LadyDerpsALot that I am…of course they weren’t.

Instead of thinking “Frickety frick!” when he got out of his car, I found myself thinking

“Hey, he’s pretty cute…”

I know, I know.

“Like, really? That’s what you’re thinking about, Lady?!”

I’m ashamed. Really, I am.

I’m not usually this shallow. Honest. I realize that I should have been freaking out or doing something else similarly productive, but instead I was busy admiring how clean cut he was. How for some reason I didn’t expect him to be young. Those are the turns my mind chose to take in such a high stress situation.

I’m pretty amused, really. It was so uncharacteristic of me. I’m not going to straight-up lie and say my eye isn’t caught by good looks, but I’m usually so oblivious to the people around me that I don’t really notice. A handsome guy will only catch my attention for a few seconds at most.  Sure, I’ll drink my fill for a few seconds, but that’s pretty much it.  It’s inner quality that I’m truly a sucker for, which I guess is why I don’t usually pay attention to looks.

But for some reason, this guy’s beauty did not escape me.

Instead of chocking up strategies, I was purring out melodies.

I choose to blame it on the high stress situation. (;p) Something with my adrenaline must have turned we wonky.

If I ever get called in by a boss to be let go, or you know, stabbed to death by a guy on a psychotic break, I guess we know how I’ll react then. If it’s anything like this high stress scenario,

I’ll probably be thinking about how chiseled his chin is or something.

 

Sincerely,

~LDA

Bare Butts and Toilet Stalls

Before I dive into the logistics of the anecdote I’m about to address, let me give you the down low of what happened prior. It’ll enhance the experience and help you blush in informed embarrassment along with me.

So don your Lady caps.

Forget about the identity you have been building up for yourself since you’ve been born.  Forget all that sweat, heartache and tears.

You are now me.

You’re me and you’ve just screwed up big time.

Twice.

You’re in college and the class prior you flipped a figurative bird to the world by showing up an entire two hours late to the only class you had for the day. As if that isn’t bad enough, you did it quite unapologetically. You’re too tired to care about impressions, so you swag on in with your insolent self.

There are only about twenty people in your class by the way. So your belated entrance is well noted.

But you plop down into your seat while flickering a gaze over each of their stupidly dumbfounded faces anyway, as if everything is hunky dory. In fact, your composure is so nonchalantly apathetic that someone watching only you might have thought you’d just strolled in two minutes early rather than two hours late. 

The class moves on without comment and it ends uneventfully enough, but you can tell the professor is silently stewing.

How dare you be so brazenly uncaring.

The next class—today, in fact, you waltz in five minutes early with perky countenance hoping to erase the indiscretions of the previous class. You’ve got a presentation to give so you need to remove any possibility of your prior behavior affecting your grade.

Wipe the slate clean so to speak.

The prof doesn’t really seem to be holding latent feelings of malice against you, but she isn’t exactly Bear in the Big Blue House either. She crosses her legs in the corner and calls you up with a slightly warm quality of voice.

“Slightly positive undertones,” you note mentally.

You may have a chance yet.

You parade up to the front of the class, feathers puffing with anticipated success.

You get off to a moderately adequate start.   Everything’s going fine.   And then, all of a sudden, you fail miserably.

You’ve forgotten an entire segment of the presentation.

There’s no compensating for it.

You fumble to make an on the spot modification, but like I said,

you fail miserably.

At the end of class, you trudge out with tail between your legs and head metaphorically hung. You just want to get out of there. There’s no salvaging your grade. Or your dignity for that matter. All you want is to run home crying to Netflix and a bucket of homemade popcorn.

But first, a slight detour.

You head for restroom.

And this, my friend, is your third mistake.

Let me tell you…

There ‘aint nothing more awkward than peeing next to your professor. I mean, really.

Out of all the bathrooms and all the stalls in the entire university, to end up dropping your pants next to the one superior you just made a fool out of yourself in front of, is just one of the most unconventional forms of divine retributions there is.  It’s entirely too deliciously ironic.  You’re standing there trying your best not to acknowledge the fact that you can see her foot beside yours on the other side of the barrier, but all you can see are her pale toes scrunched up in their surfer flip flops.  Undoubtedly in response to hovering over the toilet seat in a squat, just as you are.

Your over active imagination can’t help but imagine what a pair you must make from an aerial view. Teacher and student. Sage and apprentice. Oblivious and embarrassed. Side by side. Both reduced to facing the reality of your pathetically practical existence by assuming deuce dropping position in close proximity.

Letting loose a stream of piss, the only thing between your bare butts a flimsy plastic wall, is a surprisingly effective invasion of privacy. And, of course.

OF COURSE.

You happen to be having a Nile River kind of pee. You know.  One of those infinite pees where just when you think you’re finishing up, another wave comes blasting through?

“Sorry, thighs. You won’t be receiving relief from your excruciating position any time soon,” says bladder. “I’ve decided to expel every ounce of moisture in this body in this single moment in time.”

You want more than anything to get away from this secretly compromising situation, but your bladder has other ideas.

Now, I know this may be TMI, but you all know what I’m talking about, okay.

Don’t act like you haven’t the slightest clue what I’m saying and I’m just some weirdo going on for an entire paragraph about the process of urination.

Granted, I am a weirdo,

but I’m not speaking about anything you haven’t admittedly experienced before.  We’ve all had our bladders bursting at one time or another. It’s practically a rite of passage for homo-sapiens or something.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that lovely anecdote of mine with you. It was such a surprisingly traumatic experience that I just had to vent about it. I ended up having to ask her a question about an upcoming assignment on the way out of the bathroom too, by the way.

Delightfully awkward for me, but hey. I’ve just kind of accepted these kinds of occurrences in my derpy daily life.

How about you?

What kind of professor and/or bathroom mishaps have you had that left you cringing?

~LDA

The Dream Universe

So I’m one of those derps who’ve decided that they want to learn how to speak Japanese just because of the sheer amount of Japanese language input they’ve received from watching so much anime.

Except, I’m not one of those unmotivated people who learn how to say “kawaii” and how to stick a “desu ne” in the correct place and then abandon ship.  I’m really determined and am being awarded for my efforts by understanding more and more of what I listen to, (both in anime and music).

Anyway, the only reason I bring this up is because I find that this new language acquisition has reached the point where it’s affecting my dream universe.

Each and every one of us has a dream universe tailored to their specific subconscious that picks up signals and images throughout their entire waking day and then plucks and chooses which details it wants to reincorporate into dreams.  These reincorporated signals become our personal”dreamscape.” 

I read somewhere once that everyone you see in your dreams are people you’ve seen in your waking life.  That no face you come across in your dreamscape is not a person that you perceived while you were awake, whether consciously or just on a subconscious level out of the corner of your eye.  Now, I don’t know whether that really is a statement of fact or not, but I think it’s a really interesting thought to entertain nonetheless.

It makes enough sense.  Our brains, (even the most creative ones of us), are not as innovative as we might wish to think they are.  A lot of what we come up with (if not all) are just a conglomeration of signals that our brains have somehow made connections between and re-outputted.  The most creative ideas come from a combination of two unrelated things that have now come to be related.

For example: 

tweeting birds + social media = twittter

AND

cannibalism + giants with freaky faces + cool fighting gear = Shingeki no Kyojin (AKA Attack on Titan)

AND

giant talking turtles + Italian plumbers + bromance = every Super Mario Bros. game ever made

It’s a good system that has churned out a lot of awesome stuff.  Our dreamscapes are constructed in a similar way, throwing stuff together in cool and/or weird ways and calling it imagination. 

Last night, a new thing happened in my dreamscape that I found really amusing once I figured out what was going on.

I was derping around, going about some unimportant task that I can’t remember when everyone started speaking to me in Japanese.  So…everything was cool, everyone was speaking English and helping me go about my business, I was just about to solve some crucial problem, and then all of a sudden, all these Japanese phrases were being spit out at me.

Confusing much?

I was like, “Ohmigrob, ohmigrod, ohmiglob.  Why is everyone speaking to me in Japanese all of a sudden?!”  After I stopped freaking out I told myself.  “No, wait.  I can do this.  I got this!  I’m barely at an intermediate Japanese proficiency level, but I should be able to understand at least some of what they’re saying.”

Being the ‘dream turned nightmare’ that it was, they of course were all speaking to me at the same time which only compounded my frustration.

“Why can’t I understand anything?!  All I can understand are a particle or two and a few words here and there!  Oh man, all of my studies have been in VAAAAIIIN!” I thought, pulling out tufts of hair and letting my knees dramatically hit the floor.

Then, suddenly, one of those wonderfully magical things happened and it became a lucid dream. 

“Heyyy, waaiit aaaa minute. This is a dream, isn’t it?   Which means…that everything going on in here is only a product of what my mind already knows.”  A smile spread across my face.

“Which means…”

Having calmed down and logic-ed everything out, I listened to the people spouting Japanese at me more closely.

Turns out they weren’t really speaking Japanese at all.  Well, they were speaking some Japanese, but the rest was just gibberish!  Since I’m not at all at a fluent level of Japanese yet, my brain was filling in the gaps of speech between words with gibberish since it didn’t know what else to do.  I was freaking out about not understanding but I couldn’t have no matter how hard I tried because neither did my brain!  

How’s that for inception?

Of course, once I realized this, the magic of my subconscious was disrupted and I woke up laughing like a hysterical idiot.  Dreamscapes don’t take kindly to being figured out so they often kick people out of lucid dreams pretty quickly.

This dream was one of the funnier, quirkier dreams I’ve had in a long time so I thought I’d share.

What about you?  Have you ever had any lucid dreams?  Tell me about them in the comments. 🙂

~LDA

Driving Your Destiny

This one time…

I stopped writing for a really long time just to see what it would do to me. (And I mean a REALLY long time. An entire year and change.) I did it to see if maybe I didn’t love writing as much as I thought I did.  I wanted to see whether I was worthy of picking up a pen (or tapping away at a keyboard).

If it wasn’t my calling, I felt I had no business dabbling in it.

Out of a sort of respect for the craft I vowed that if I didn’t feel a sort of supernatural push to write, if I didn’t feel compelled beyond reason at some point, if I didn’t have a defining moment where I felt the very flesh from my bones would peel away and leave me a broken corpse if I didn’t write, then I wouldn’t ever seriously pick up a pen ever again. 

That was one of the worst decisions I ever made in my life.

All it proved was that just like anyone else, my motivation and inspiration wells were capable of being dried up and I could become a boring old worse than average Joe who was wasting potential.  Too much of the world is.

It made me bitter and insecure that I wasn’t feeling some supernatural urge to vomit out an entire novel in one night.

Why weren’t the clouds parting?

Why wasn’t a great booming voice from the sky resounding, “My child, it is time to return to your notebook and recommence the penning of history’s greatest literature! You have arrived at a critical creative state at long last!”

Where was the convictive divine splendor?

If I waited long enough surely it would show up. Thunderclouds, writing in the sky and all, right?

Wrong.

I felt pulls and little nudges of inklings that I ought to get back to my craft. I still jotted down the little spontaneous spurts of inspiration I had while passively riding the bus home in the evening or in the dead of night.

But I was being stubborn.

If God wanted me to write, he would tell me so. And he would tell me my way too.

Well, lemme tell you something.

God’s got all day. In fact, he’s got all eternity. That’s an awful long time to wait for writing on the wall and if you’re smart you’ll realize you can’t out-stubborn the guy who made mules and Steve Jobs. (They get that impressive head strength from somewhere.)

Eventually I realized I had to stop waiting and take action. Benjamin Franklin didn’t harness the power of electricity by twiddling his thumbs. He took his ‘lil kite and strut outside.

I’ve recently bounced back and started grabbing my destiny by the horns for myself as I’ve learned that things don’t happen to you, you make them happen.  I’m re-realizing that one’s creative flow needs to be nurtured. That river of ideas needs to be coaxed into flowing freely and powerfully before it can regularly break down a few dams of setbacks on its own.

Because of my foolishness, my creative river has trickled down to a stream and I’m paying for all the debris that’s gotten in the way.

Everybody has their calling and sometimes we let tiny nagging doubts get in the way of us reaching out and capturing them. Don’t be stupid like me and stunt your growth. Push forward and bust those conscientious “boo hoos” in the balls.

Whatever your destiny may be. Be it computer programming or cartooning, or writing or football..

It’s called your calling because YOU call the shots, not because you’re sitting there waiting to be called on.

Regrettably Delayed,

~LDA

Confession

So…

I have a confession to make:

I’m an anime lover.

Yup, I said it.  I’m an adult who still likes to watch “cartoons.”

For those of you who don’t know, anime is essentially Japanese animation.  The word “anime” is short for “animation,” as the Japanese language has many loan words from the English language (among other languages)  which they like to abbreviate for convenience of pronunciation.

Anime has a very large following and fans of this niche of animation tend to be very loyal and, shall we say, “ardent” about their views of it.  Unfortunately, as passionate as some of us may be about whether we think *yandere or *tsundere characters are better, not all of us have educated ourselves about how to support the industry that we enjoy so much.

So today, I’d like to take a moment to bring to my fellow otakus’ attention the fact that they may indeed be harming the industry that they love so much.

[For those of you who are not fellow anime lovers and have no interest in what I’m talking about, feel free to skip this particular post.] 

First, let’s just get one fact out there and out of the way:

Fact 1: Anime is awesome.

Anime has a special capacity to enrapture and inspire its viewers in a way that makes it a mode of media all its own.  You’d think that because it is technically a form of cartoon and fits under the genre of animation it would just drop itself under that label and leave it at that, but Japanese animation has such a particular flair to it that it has managed to carve out a separate niche altogether in the eyes of its international viewers.  The combination of eye-catching visuals, rich storytelling, dorky comedy, and often mature themes create a very distinct and beloved genre.  The fact that it has caught the world’s attention speaks for itself.

Fact 2: Anime is well-loved and has many viewers.  

Considering the fact that anime is awesome, it stands to reason that it has a lot of viewers.  And a lot of passionate viewers at that.  Some anime lovers are so serious about their love of anime that they go so far as to doing things like dressing up as characters they like (cos-playing) or writing fan fiction.  While  these things are great and dandy it does not erase the truth of fact number three.

Fact 3: Anime is a commercial industry. 

And as such, it needs consumers.

I know, I know.

You’re thinking that you know what I’m going to say next and you’ve had quite enough of that spiel.  But the only reason that I feel the need to bring it up is because it’s so true.

Not enough anime lovers are banding together to support the media that they so love by buying it.

Now, the concept of buying anime has changed much over time though.  Before, buying anime just meant picking up a copy of the video cassette or dvd at the nearest store that provided it.  But the concept of this definition has changed and broadened to include buying merchandise and, dare I say it, paying for online subscriptions.

Some of you may be thinking “Meh, I don’t trust online subscriptions.  I rather keep my money than send it into the hands of greedy middle men in hopes of maybe a couple nickels reaching the actual anime production companies.”

I have to admit that I was of the same mindset but I’ve since read a couple things that have made me think maybe I need to kick that old excuse in the tush and open my mind to the possibility that this suspicion may not be true in all instances.  Among these things things that I’ve read, one of them that really got me thinking was this article.   (<–Clickety click the hyperlink, you might be pleasantly surprised.)

Now, I’m a broke college student so I know the pain of what some of your pockets might be feeling.

“I ‘aint got no money for that!” you might be objecting.

And I accept that this may truly be the case.

So for those of you whose pockets have a fly or two buzz out of them when you reach in like me, I say that the best thing you can do is try to watch as much of your anime from streaming sites like Crunchyroll who have paid for the license to show them.  Because even if you don’t pay for a subscription, these sites make money off of the minute and a half ads they show you and are hopefully sending a portion of that money to the anime producers you are so grateful to.

STILL NOT CONVINCED that you need to do your part, even if you are reduced to having faith in middle men?

I urge you to watch this very informative video published only about a year ago, talking about how very much some studios are indeed suffering from a lack of support from their very large audience.

I think that just as a rule you should contribute to the people who put so much hard work into creating the amazing product you love.  Because if you never bother then you don’t have the right to complain when shows are discontinued and less high quality anime is made.

It’s sad that studios who don’t deserve to go bankrupt or may be struggling when they have such a large audience.  I hope that this post convinces some of my fellow otakus to make a change, even if only a small one, toward preventing this from happening more than it has to in the future.

Sincerely Yours,

~LDA

*yandere-the specifically overly affectionate, overbearing archetype of an anime girl who tends to show their love through violence

*tsundere-the specifically slow to warm up, but very loving when they do, archetype of an anime girl that starts off very cold and strong-headed

*otaku-this word generally means “nerd” but has come to take on a more fanatical meaning, and has evolved to more specifically mean”extreme fans of anime”

Building a Self Image

I feel like it’s once you hit the 4th grade that you start questioning how cool you are.

How hip.

How on the level.

How legit.

At first you judge yourself based on what you yourself think is cool, but then you quickly realize that when it comes to the world, they care more about what they think. So you start to conform and forget about your own opinions.

And it just gets worse as we grow older,

but hopefully we reach a point when we realize that most of the world is basing their judgements of “cool” off of what others are doing anyway.

Including you, who is basing yourself off of what the world is doing,

thus creating a vicious circle.

It’s at that point that maybe, just hopefully, you realize that you’re in fact the coolest person around.

That is, only if you come to terms with being totally and completely uncool.

Yes, you read right.

Uncool is where it’s at.

You discover the truth that if you derp around confidently enough, others will almost unfailingly follow you.

In truth, this is basically the primary law of the entire “Hipster Movement,” if I go so far as daring to affiliate myself with such a thing.

“If I walk around in these uncool clothes, with this uncool attitude, and my uncool ideas with just the perfect amount of confidence, then the world will submit to my views because I’ll have convinced them they simply must be missing something if someone like me manages to walk around with as much conviction as I do,” the dutiful hipster thinks to themselves.

And better yet,

I’ll manage to convince them, and myself, that I don’t even care what they think to begin with. Because who wants to be mainstream, anyway?”

Perhaps regrettably, there is a grain of truth to this logic in that if “you” just “do you” you’ll end up looking put together no matter how scattered you really may be, simply by virtue of being comfortable in your own skin.

People will look at you and think, “Gee, that person isn’t looking to the left and to the right every five seconds to see what everyone else is doing like I am. They must really know what they’re doing.”

Because those hipsters, they were really onto something.

That is of course until everyone started trying to be “hipster cool” by being uncool, thus negating their uncoolness, which if they actually took a moment to think about it brings them back to being truly uncool…because they’re only trying to be uncool because it is cool, which is decidedly, uncool.

‘Naw mean?

In other words,

My true derpaloids are only those who derp truly.

Shout out to you derpaloids.

You the real MVP. 😉

~LDA

An Entity with Hands

A while ago I meandered into one of my favorite Italian restaurants to pick up an eggplant Parmesan sub I’d ordered over the phone.

I’d hustled in, looking down, already searching for my wallet in the bottomless pit that is my backpack, when an unexpectedly friendly greeting reached my ears.

“Welcome!”

Not a “Welcome, how may I take your order?” or a “Hi, would you like to try our new Stromboli?” But a genuine hello that resonated with agreeableness. 

I actually had to look up from my rummaging to greet the person at the counter correctly.

“Uh, thanks.”  I was quite taken aback.

Usually it was routine to mutter a barely intelligible “Hey, here for pick up,” but this time it seemed that I would actually have to muster up some semblance of congeniality.

(Spoiler: I suck at unexpected human interaction.)

“Hello, how are you doing today?” the twenty something year-old behind the counter asked me smiling.  Again, with the authenticity dripping from his voice.  His face made it seem like he actually expected a genuine reply.  Not a dismissive “Good, I’m here to pick up my sub,” but an actual description of my state of well being. 

Whoa.  This guy’s almost making me believe he really cares even though I don’t know him from Adam, I thought to myself.  Is this a trick?  Did someone tell him how inept I am at social interaction so he could see for himself or something? 

I squinted my eyes,

“Uh, goo~d,” I said, drawing the word out as I looked around for hidden cameras.

“Great to hear!  What can I do for you today?” he replied still smiling.

The rest of the exchange was fairly normal after that but I was struck by how sad it was that I was so shocked by someone taking the time to look me in the eye when they spoke.  So much of the service industry is so mechanic and geared toward efficiency that genuine social interaction surprised me more than it should have.  It seriously confused me that had I chosen to actually give him a couple details about my day, I’m almost positive he would have engaged me in real conversation.

How sad is that? 

I’m so used to the go-go-go nature of life that the fact that a cashier didn’t only view me as an entity with hands who happened to hold a credit card, was nearly Earth shattering.  In that moment, I almost preferred he view me as a number, just customer number 486, rather than an actual person.  It made me uncomfortable that I was expected to rouse myself out of my habitual stupor to interact with the world in front of me.

This hits me as a tragedy.

We so often wander around zombie-like in our predetermined routine that we’re startled and almost troubled when a drop of humanity ripples the still pool of everyday life.

After that encounter with the peppy cashier and realizing how ashamed I was at having turned into a walking dead, I try to stir myself out of my own daze by trying to startle others with unexpected interaction.

You know, just little things.

Beating the door greeter to a friendly hello.  Asking a waiter how their day is going.  These small plot twists go a long way.

I find these simple things help make at least a little piece of the world a little more awake. 

Have you ever had an encounter that made you suddenly realize something was wrong with how you were viewing the world?  Feel free to tell me in the comments.  🙂

~LDA