We are clearly living in a world where using the internet is almost unavoidable. Being an avid user of more sites than I’d like to admit, I kind of love this. The technology that has become so prevalent in my life is amazing, but I have to say, there’s one thing I’ve always disliked: email. When I set up my very first email account at the completely immature age of 12, I could not have been more excited. I didn’t have a cellphone until I was 16, so email and phone-calls were my main methods of communication with friends. Of course, my email account was not used the way it is today. The important part of having an email back then was the oh-so-marvelous “Instant messaging” feature.
As wonderful as it was sending cryptic messages back and forth with friends, the actual use of email today usually baffles me. Every email sent begins with a chaotic scene in my brain:
“Okay. “Dear,”… No. That sounds weird, this isn’t a letter. What about “Hello”? But that’s so plain and boring. Their name, I’ll just start off with their name. Now the actual message… Let’s see. I know what I need to say. How do I say it professionally? That sounds much too formal, they’re going to think I hate them. Why is this so difficult? All I need to do is set up an appointment!! Okay. Whatever, I asked, it’s professional, that’s fine. It’s done. What’s the appropriate way to sign now..? “Best”? Too cheery. “Cheers”? I would never say that, I would sound ridiculous. “Sincerely”? What if I google it? Okay, never mind, google’s suggestions are worse than my brain’s. Forget it, I’m just putting my name there.
Writing emails is a special kind of torture to me. But what really kills me is spending 30 minutes on something that should take no more than 2 minutes and getting a response such as:
Walking on campus is one of my favorite things to do; it gives me a chance to either mentally prepare for classes, or unwind after a long day. On these walks, music is an essential piece of the equation. And because I like to avoid talking to strangers, I’ve taken to using large headphones that make it look like I can’t hear anything (which I usually can’t). I realize this may sound rude, but my intention is not necessarily to avoid people, but to save them from the bundle of awkwardness that I am.
Yesterday, I was going about my day as usual: taking purposefully slow steps, looking ahead at nothing in particular, with the sweet melodies of Atmosphere blasting from the giant circles surrounding my ears. My routine was brought to a halt when I noticed a guy talking to me, probably not realizing I could not hear a word he was saying. I looked at him with a blank expression as I slowly pushed the headphones back.
He said: Hey, I’m a fashion blogger and I really like your style. I was wondering if I could take your picture.
In my 19 years of living, I have never had anyone say something like this to me, so it took me a few seconds to actually respond, and all I could think to say was: uhhh… sure.
Unfortunately, I only got more awkward from this point forward. The poor guy was just looking to get a picture and the lightning was bad apparently, so we kept having to move forward, or walk further. After about 100 feet, he found a spot he said would work and started shooting.
He was clearly in his element. Meanwhile, my thoughts tortured me, “How do I stand? Do I smile? Should I even look at the camera? Is it weird that I’m holding the strap of my backpack? I can’t let go of my laptop bag, it’ll fall. Should I have set it down? Is it too late to ask? Why am I still holding on to my backpack. Oh my goodness, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS?”
Thankfully, the guy was quick. Four or so pictures later he said he was all set. He gave me a card, told me a little more about what he does, said thanks, and was on his way, and I continued on to class.
Thinking about the whole situation now, I can’t help but cringe a little. I was incredibly flattered and all I could think to say to the guy as he left was, “Thanks, have a great day.”
It’s these kind of experiences that make me feel embarrassed at first, but after thinking them over I can’t help but laugh. The guy walks around Denver asking people if he can take pictures of them. I’m sure he has had other weird experiences.
This is my place of zen, relaxation, care-freeness, mindfulness, all-around joy: San Tadeo, Calvillo, Aguascalientes, Mexico. A large portion of my mother’s side of the family resides there, and I’m lucky enough to be able to visit about once a year. Having zero responsibilities means I can sleep as much as the screaming of my young cousins will allow. The internet connections are subpar, which leaves me with plenty of time to read with no distractions. And as far as eating goes, San Tadeo has my favorite tacos.
This bright yellow monster of a truck is The Sheriff:
A man named Ramon, and his family, have been selling tacos from here since before I was born. I’m not exaggerating when I say my mouth is watering as I think about the tacos. The greasy, drenched-in-the-best-salsa-ever, beef tacos. I love these tacos so much it has become a running joke with my family when I visit: “Has Ari had her ten tacos today?” “We made food already, but Ari’s too good for our home-cooked meals, she only eats The Sheriff’s tacos.”
So what I’m saying is, I really LOVE these tacos.
Last summer, I was waiting for one of Ramon’s lively daughters to hand over my order so I could be on my way. As I’m patiently waiting, I notice a familiar face, headed in my direction: David.
David, who dated my cousin and mocked me relentlessly every time my aunt forced me to join them and act as the third wheel that tricycles desperately need but couples do not. David, who tried to set up 14-year-old me with someone who looked closer to 20 than 15. David, who insisted that I was too quiet, and I really shouldn’t be so shy because it made people uncomfortable. Ughh. David.
Just as he was stepping towards the truck, I pulled my phone out. (This has become my instinctive defense mechanism against small talk.) There. I was invincible against the throes of social conventions! Except David was now less than a foot away. I had to keep my attention where it was, really focus in on that screen; that home screen that had absolutely no use because everything required service or a wifi connection, neither of which I had.
What really bit at the core of my being was the fact that I had no reason to feel uncomfortable. I never dated the guy, what was I freaking out about? It was simply knowing him, an unspoken expectation that I participate in small talk, that shook me. I wanted no part of that.
Instead I was forced to stand quietly between him and Jessica (Ramon’s youngest daughter) and listen to their banter:
“Jessica, give me 5 tacos to go.”
“Could you be less polite?”
“I’m in a hurry, there’s no time to be polite.”
“5 tacos, go take a seat.”
“I need them to go, I gotta get back to work.”
“Work? Who in their right mind would give you a job?”
“Don’t be rude, I’m a hard worker.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll have your tacos ready soon.”
Eventually, he left. He went far away. Allllll the way… to the other side of the street, less than 100 feet away, where apparently he worked. Of course, his station was right at the door, with a nice open view of the taco truck. Great. Such was my luck.
I started sending my little cousins to pick up tacos for me after that day.
In a society where we are constantly being judged on the way we look, appearance has become a very important thing. Part of our appearance relies heavily on our hair. The style, the color, the length, etc. Trends come and go, but no matter what’s in style I’ve learned something over the years: I hate getting my hair done. I have had one too many experiences where I walk out of a place wanting to cry/hide/shave-my-head/wear-hats-forever. But I can’t cut my own hair, so I always end up going back. Here’s the thing though: It’s not just that sometimes I get bad haircuts. The problem is my brain will not allow my mouth to say all the things I want to say. So, instead of politely asking the hairdresser to tweak a thing or two, I go home, and experiment for a couple of hours to see how I will rescue the horrendous haircut.
Let’s say, for example, I go in and ask for a trim, wanting to keep the general style I already have. But, I end up with this instead:
And I have no social skills (or self-respect for that matter) and I will reply in the following way:
When on the inside, this is what I’m experiencing:
Hence my hatred of haircuts.
Have you had any bad experiences at a salon? Share them in a comment (I know I’m not alone)!