Category Archives: thoughts

The internet and community

Lately I’ve been noticing more and more organizations that are bringing it back to basics and I love it. Seeing a shift in business more towards community is really an interesting phenomenon and indicative, I think, of how people are really feeling. I would like to think that more and more people are realizing that we aren’t all islands floating in the world alone and that we need each other and our communities to enrich our lives.

I’d like to think that this how my parents grew up and I got to experience this a little before the internet come along and added a new wall to break through. But now that we’ve finally figured out the internet, more or less, we’re seeing ways to use it to supplement this need for community, to connect with the people around us that we may not have before.

I read an article recently about dinner co-ops; where people who live near each other take turns cooking for one another. And shortly after I heard about a company out of LA, NeighborGoods, that helps people put the stuff that sits and gathers dust in their garage to use locally. A similar idea is Freecycle where people post they have stuff they don’t want and someone nearby goes and picks it up. Even Meetup.com is using the internet to bring people together in real life.

So in a way, once we figured out how to use it, the internet is helping us more than ever create that community we’re clearly still looking for. But it’s a fine line, getting people out from behind the screen and in front of each other.

Two sides, people

For better or for worse I work in a mall. Not just any mall, a huge behemoth downtown. Being centrally located we get a lot of tourists through here. Which is why I’m so surprised (and still annoyed) at the escalator problem. Everywhere else in the world I’ve been it’s customary to stand on one side of the escalator and allow people to walk up the other. Not so here. People just hog the whole thing for themselves and I’m forced to repeat, as politely as I can muster when faced with crowds, “excuse me” a million times before reaching my store on the second floor. It’s just frustrating that people thinks it’s any different here than back home, where they’re from.

One day at a time

I’ve been finding lately that trying to plan ahead is absolutely futile.  My life right now is so unpredictable that trying to say in a month I’ll be here and in 6 I’ll be there.  And for me, type a list maker, it’s very difficult to just take a step back and take it one day at a time.

But there is a certain beauty in it as well.  When I was traveling I could hardly tell you were I would be sleeping tomorrow night let along what country I would be in in a week.  But that’s the vacation world.  In the real world I feels like life needs to have a definitive plan.  Many interviews that I go on often bring up the 1 year, 5 year and 10 year plan question.  It’s a little daunting, needless to say.

So I suppose this is a valuable lesson: giving up control and trusting that life won’t do me wrong.  I do believe I’ve had enough bad stuff happen in the last few months that I’m overdue for some good stuff.

Fingers crossed!

Lazy greensters

Living in the Bay Area, one is acutely aware of the green scene.  Everyone here seems to have an opinion and certainly consider themselves to be saving the world.

Y0u can get a bank account with a sustainable bank, a cell phone plan with a green provider, wear vegan clothes, and eat all the proper food.  You compost, you know how to recycle, you vote liberal.  All the right things to ensure that global warming doesn’t win.

But I feel like just with green washing in marketing, there are people that leech off of this and take the easy way out.  As if this is just the latest fad.  At the end of the day you’re really only using your spending power to do what you think will affect change.  And while that,  in and of itself, is a very powerful thing, to me it just doesn’t feel like enough.  Maybe it’s because I know enough people that are actively working to change our predicted future devastation.  Or that I still have a very idealistic view of the world and feel people should really work for what they believe.  Or the fact that I just generally dislike hipsters.  Probably all of the above.  To me I guess it’s just a matter of shutting up and doing it not just wearing a t-shirt that says it.

Once is enough

A friend posted this on Facebook the other day and it really struck me.  I suppose I already know all this but to see it in writing, for me, is always helpful.  However, the “step” that spoke to me the most was to stop telling the story.  The way that I work through difficult situations is by writing in my journal and talking to my friends.  But the thing here is that I hadn’t seen any of my friends in months because of my trip.  So every time I went out with someone to reconnect and catch up I would have to explain the circumstances of my break up all over again.  Certainly talking about it helps, but there is a difference in retelling the story and talking to work through it.  The latter of which being the healthier option.  But I also think after a certain point enough is enough.  You’ve grieved, you’ve subjected your girlfriends to hours of over-analyzing and in the end you are still in the same position.  So it’s best to just accept it and move on.  So this is me accepting it and moving on.

Life’s soundtrack

What is it about music and its ability to move us at the most basic level? There have been so many times when I was despondent or livid or some other SAT word for a very strong emotion and a song comes along and completely changes my mood. Likewise it can be a beautiful, sunny day and a song will come on and the next thing I know I’m holding back tears.

Recently, I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch and as I was heading home last night I was just stewing over the myriad of things going wrong right now. When I walked down to my MUNI stop there were a couple of guys putting up ads and one of them had his iPod hooked up to some speakers. I was planning on writing in my journal about all the things I had just been thinking but I soon found I couldn’t do anything except for listen to the music. It was this happy, catchy, jazzy, sort of Caribbean African music. The wonderful thing was that in one moment I was thinking about how bad thing were and in the next I couldn’t focus on anything except the music. It just sort of fills you up.

While scents still have the most powerful memory associations for me, music is something that has a very powerful impact on me, but in a different way. It just seems to take you with it, on a ride you weren’t aware you were about to go on but are glad that you did.

Our kids vs your kids

So I can’t say I’m surprised by this, but I’m not sure I can explain why.

While I was traveling in Central America, I noticed how impeccably well-behaved the children were on buses. The babies didn’t cry, the toddlers didn’t fuss and even the teens weren’t obnoxious.

Ever since I moved to the city, I’ve marveled at how vastly different people behave on MUNI. I sat next to a high schooler the other day and she was talking about who had sex in the bathroom with her friend. Almost every kid I’ve seen has started whaling bloody murder. And parents seem to either not care or have zero control over their kid.

Now how does this come to pass in a nation that thinks itself to be so progressive – in the first world vs. third world sense? What about the two cultures produces such different results? Is it that kids here are just so over stimulated that when they are forced to sit for periods of time longer than a few minutes they start to freak out? I don’t know, but it would be interesting to find out why…