SmartAssy

Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

People Change, Judgments (Sometimes) Don’t

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Earlier this week, I met up with my high school friend Luke and his new boyfriend at our favorite hometown coffee shop. Despite our devotion to their house blend, we can’t really claim to have “liked it before it was cool,” mostly because I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t widely beloved. I rarely set foot inside without bumping into a familiar face.

When I was younger, this meant a quick hello to someone I saw on a regular basis. Now it more often means deciding whether to acknowledge an erstwhile acquaintance I haven’t seen in four years or just avert my eyes. It’s not that I’m an unfriendly person. I think we all have people from our childhood who it’s weird to run into now that we’re X years out of puberty. Whether you’re wondering if they even remember you or hoping they forgot about thatonethingyoudidthatonetime, it can be uncomfortable coming face to face with the past.

Luke demonstrated this truth brilliantly by refusing to reenter the coffee shop after we had claimed a table on their patio. He wanted a refill, but not so badly that he would subject himself to the awkwardness of walking by Nathan, a ghost of high school past. Luke’s boyfriend, who isn’t from our hometown, was a little perplexed by this refusal. Luke explained it like this: “I don’t want to have to say hi to Nathan. He doesn’t like me or, for that matter, people in general.” In response to this not unfounded remark, I suggested that maybe Nathan had changed since the age of 20, around the last time we had had the chance to judge his soullessness. Luke agreed, but I wasn’t even sure I believed it myself.

As we move through our lives, we develop these deeply entrenched judgments of people we used know, who we used to interact with on a daily basis. This static picture forms in our minds, and it doesn’t change as the actual person presumably matures outside of our own little world. Would we now like or respect people who were once unwelcome fixtures in our lives?

This phenomenon doesn’t only happen with those we disliked or haven’t seen for years on end. Sometimes, I feel my childhood friends with whom I’ve kept in touch view me as a younger version of myself. I was immortalized at 18 in their eyes; I still say “fuck” too much and hate to be hugged. While this can be frustrating, it shouldn’t really matter how others see us – even our friends – so long as we’re happy with who we’ve become.

And I guess it wouldn’t hurt to cut everyone else some slack on the judgment front. Because, who knows? Maybe someone who once appeared to lack basic human emotion is now a nice guy. Then again, there’s no need to get carried away.

Sans judgment…mostly,

Leah M.

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All About That Wanderlust

In Just for Fun on June 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Right now, I’m in the beginning stages of planning a road trip to Canada with my boyfriend, Jared, for later this summer. We are thinking three stops: Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal. I’m excited to revel in the delightful campiness of Niagara (and, sure, the natural wonder, too), experience Toronto without the frostbite because my parents had a strict 20 below rule for visits there, and unpack what is left of my high school French amongst the Quebecois. Plus, there’s my stubborn belief that everything is perfect up North and no one pretends like socialized healthcare is an assault on freedom or Stalinism 101.

And they have Roots.

In terms of festivities, I’m not a big think-ahead person. I see it like this: why plan something fun when someone more motivated will step up and do it for me? (And if no one does, we can just drink.) Unsurprisingly, then, this is the first time I’ve been in charge of a vacation. My trip planning credentials start and end with “Orbitz search expert,” but, who knew, the Internet makes it pretty easy. As I read through the Lonely Planet website on all things maple leaf, I can’t help but think about past trips and where I still want to go.

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During college, I was lucky enough to visit the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Israel, and after graduation last year, British Columbia. Vacations are great because they can revolve around so many different things: friends, partying, family, nature, culture, etc. You can hunker down on the beach with a margarita and learn what’s new in sex from Cosmo, enhance distaste for Americans by expecting all Europeans to speak English, or hike through the Rockies.

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Personally, I’m really into the exploration side of vacations these days. My freckled cheeks can only take so much sun time, and I’d rather get burnt sightseeing than crisping beside a swim-up bar. This simple Midwestern girl is turning over a new leaf and making big plans. Vague plans, yes, but plans nonetheless. I want to see all the awesome things in my own country, for one. I’ll criticize the U.S. up and down, but I’ll always love America and want to make it better.

Recently, I’ve realized that there is so much of it I have yet to see. What’s in South Dakota? What about Arkansas or Mississippi? I hear Oregon and North Carolina are pretty, but I wouldn’t know. It’s funny how I become exasperated when other Americans don’t think like me, while entirely disregarding how big and diverse this nation actually is. I think it’s important to know about where you’re from, not just your town or state/province, but your country as a whole. Thus, to see something beautiful in every state is a new bucket list for me.

I also secretly want to backpack across Europe by myself. This desire started as more of an it’s-the-only-way-I’ll-get-to-do-it resignation than as a true dream. My oldest friend (since age five!) and I used to talk about doing a Euro trip sometime after we graduated from high school. We even did a little research and decided on which countries we wanted to hit. Sadly, these plans have not yet become a reality, and I’m fairly certain they never will. With her almost engaged and in grad school and me “finding myself,” it has started to look like I’ll also have to “find” a new plan for Europe. But I’ve decided that that’s okay. We don’t need London or Paris to be friends. And honestly, the idea of weaving my way through the Netherlands and Germany all by my lonesome doesn’t sound lonely to me at all, but, rather, extremely liberating.

There was this one time in college when Maya Angelou came to speak at my campus, and I really wanted to go see her. I asked a bunch of my friends, but everyone was either busy or uninterested. I’m somewhat self-conscious, and I had never gone to any sort of performance by myself. Thankfully, I realized that that was stupid and went anyway. It was such a cool experience, and I couldn’t believe that I even considered skipping out on M. Angelou just because no one wanted to come with me.

So that’s kind of what backpacking through Europe is for me, on a much larger, and more interactive, scale. For all my self-consciousness, I do value independence, and I think it’s good to be able to enjoy time by yourself. And what better way to do that than while soaking up foreign culture?

Of course, all of this is in the abstract at the present. For now, I’m focusing on my next exciting journey to Canada with my best friend.

Carry on, wanderlust.

Freely,

LM