I am so relieved that winter break is coming up soon. I don’t know about you, but coming to school every weekday is completely draining. It starts when I have to wake up, at a time way earlier than they should be making all high school students do. Luckily, after years of my parents struggling to get me out of bed, I figured out that I can force myself to get up if I put my alarm clock across the room. Then I eat breakfast, which is crumpets and microwave bacon every day just so I can have some sort of stability. And then it’s time to take a shower, which means a lot of time adjusting the temperature so that it isn’t too hot or too cold, then repeatedly washing myself despite the fact that I’ll never feel clean no matter how long I spend in there. The school bus shows up to take me, and I’m off to another exhausting day.
There are eight different subjects in one day, each with a twenty minute lecture and a twenty minute section of individual work and instruction. The working sections aren’t so bad since we get to actually do things during them, but I don’t understand why they still have lectures at all. No offense, but I can’t pay attention to any of them, and I usually get by with relying on the provided notes. If I wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom whenever I wanted to get a reprieve I’d probably have had a meltdown by now. Even lunch, where I’m with people I enjoy talking to, means tiring social interaction. And after all that there’s still a twenty minute bus ride before I can finally get home.
Once I get home I have to spend about an hour just doing very little in order to de-stress from the day. My father always talks about how he did his homework right after school before he did anything else, and he wonders why I can’t do it too. But I don’t have the energy to do more schoolwork after being in school for six hours. Eventually, I obviously have to finish the work I didn’t get done at the school, but only after I’ve recharged. Sometimes I need more than an hour to recharge, and on the nights where I also have a lot of homework to get done I get to bed so late it makes the next cycle more difficult. Luckily, I get to spend most of a week doing nothing but resting and preparing myself for the rest of this semester and the start of the next one. Despite the fact that I have a few doctor’s appointments during the break, most of the days I have for myself. I have no plans for what I’m going to do, but the fact that I have control over the time is the important part. Of course, the break doesn’t start until Wednesday, so there’s still another two days of school before I can relax.
(Back to the Table of Contents)
Christmas is coming soon, which means everyone is expecting gifts. I can barely figure out what I want for presents, much less what other people want from me. I settled this with my parents for the last few years by asking them to tell me what they want for Christmas as a pre-Christmas gift. So I’m going to get my mother seat covers for her car and my father electric gloves. Luckily, we give the rest of our relatives’ gifts as a family, so I don’t technically have to be involved. For the rest of my gifts, I was going to ask for a game console, but I figured that was too expensive. So I just asked for some games and gift cards for future purchases. Gift card aren’t the most unique thing to get someone, but at least it has more of a personal touch than just giving them cash.
I wonder that by not coming up with gifts for them it makes my parents think I don’t care about them. This is especially important for my father, because he grew up giving and receiving a certain level of affectionate signals. Greetings, small facial gestures, thinking of gifts; what does he think I think about him if I don’t do those things? He may be able to read my face better than most people, but I’m not very expressive to begin with. And if I’m ever in a relationship with someone, how are they going to feel like I’m committed to them and want to be with them? If they’re like me, they won’t like that, or constant greetings, or be able to tell what my face is expressing. Some people even have touch sensitivity so badly that don’t want to be hugged or even touched in any way. How can you show someone like us you care without repeating it over and over until it loses all meaning? Unfortunately, I have no idea.
Kat and Mark also decided to use my idea for giving gift ideas with their parents, although Mark calls it his birthday present instead of an early Christmas gift since he was born on December 8th. Paul thinks we’re all ruining the spirit of Christmas or something. I don’t recall the actual spirit of Christmas entirely revolving around gift giving, although three of them are a small part of the original story. I do remember being a kid and being so excited I was unable to sleep Christmas night because I couldn’t wait to see what was in all those wrapped boxes in the morning. But all of those toys and clothes are now either given away, thrown out, or sitting in the attic somewhere. People make these goods, other transport them, and more work at stores that sell them. I just find it a shame that they’re work is going in large part towards the need for people to exchange gifts in order to show that they care for one another. But since I haven’t thought of a better way to show affection, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.
(Back to the Table of Contents)
On Thursday at lunch Paul asked us, almost whispering as if we were under surveillance, if any of us had Myspace accounts. Of course none of us did, which didn’t surprise him but he said it was worth asking. He’s used to communicating with people using it, including his friends from his old school and his family. It’s a very popular service among people like him, including my father, where they can share all sorts of things about their lives and keep up with the details of whatever the people they care about are doing. Users post pictures of themselves, tell people what they’re doing at any moment, and sometimes post pictures of themselves doing something at any moment. It’s just a constant stream of personal information that I don’t understand anyone wanting to go through constantly. But it remains popular, even though I’ve seen articles complaining about its interface and bloated features, because nobody’s created a competitor.
Obviously I use the internet quite a bit, but usually in anonymity. I find it a lot easier to converse through typing, since you can take time to properly prepare what you’re trying to say. Since most of the communication is through typed words, I’m not being judged on my tone of voice, stumbles in my speech, or my physical appearance. I’m just being judged for what I’m saying. As opposed to Myspace, which turns the internet into an extension of your offline life. I prefer keeping my internet life and person life separate, since my internet self is perceived better than my real life self and I’d like to keep it that way.
I do plenty of socialization online with complete strangers. I post on message boards, I have a group I play games with, and sometimes use chat rooms. I don’t know where exactly these people live, or what they look like, and, except for my gaming group that uses voice chat, what they talk like. I just know the words they type, and that’s all I can judge them on. Kat uses a website where she catalogues and ranks her music, but she does it under a pseudonym because she doesn’t need the world to know that she thinks Highway 61 Revisited is a five star album when Blonde on Blonde is only worth three stars or that OMD’s Maid of Orleans is the 53rd best song of the 1980s. I only know about it because we saw her using the account on her laptop, and she was reluctant to share it at first but then explained her methodology at length. Mostly she just communicates with strangers on that website that share her interests, and don’t care if she flaps her hands when she’s excited. The internet is a great tool that connects you to the entire world, from people posting tons of information on Wikipedia to video sharing sites to meeting people who you otherwise would never meet. It would be a shame to see it turned into a digital reflection of the real world.
(Back to the Table of Contents)