I would like to pause for a moment to say how much I truly love The Bitch Bible and appreciate all the much-needed Gone Girl advice that @jackieschimmel provides on a weekly basis. Her weekly podcasts are one of the few high points of my never-ending work and study schedule; topped only by my nightly glass of wine and hours spent cyber-stalking my SO to ensure he really is just with “the guys” at “some new bar” in “the city”. If I had more free time I would definitely implement the great tips she shared on this week’s podcast. iTunes password? How did I not think of that? I truly pride myself on my unhealthy ability to hack into anyone’s social media and e-mail accounts, but Jackie and her guest this week (sorry, really do not watch Vanderpump Rules though maybe I should start) proved to me that I am just a beginner in the world of Gone Girl. Just like her, I fall short of actually murdering someone, but I am addicted to know “the Truth”. I suggest everyone start listening to the Bitch Bible asap.
An overachiever’s nightmare (09/21/2015)
Thanks to the advancements in digital communication and the tiny size of seminars at my public university, graduate students like myself get to have a less formal relationship with our professors. By “less formal” I mean we can e-mail them our essays a few days late and receive feedback via Word’s “review” and not crossed out and scrawled over in red ink and ilegible hand-writing. Really, it is something to be happy about. Yet I’ve found that this lack of formality results in some slacking off on the student’s side. Though sometimes the professors have taken up a laid back attitude in which they allow the students to “debate it off” Hunger Games-style while the sit and listen only occasionally throwing more lighting fluid onto the fire. But that’s another story, this one is about the fact that this morning I received the grade for my second essay for my Shakespearian Literature course and, after scrolling past all the detailed comments, say a big fat 85%!
Ok, so maybe right about now you require some background information. I have never scored below a 90% on pretty much anything academic in my life, I specify academic because my conduct in elementary and high school were far from ideal. Smart kids get bored easy and all that. I graduated from my BA summa cum laude (highest honors) with a 3.97 GPA (this is not the correct forum to get into why it’s not 4.00). I have always believed that a B means “smart, but too lazy to try” so when I saw that 85% I had a small existential crisis and began reflecting on where in my life I am going wrong. Something like this:
Needless to say, I immediately whipped my agenda open and began re-structuring my schedule around reducing my practically non-existent social life and increasing my studying time. This caused another mini-crisis because the reality of the matter is that 24 hours a day is simply not enough and, no matter what I do, that 85% will still be there like a dark cloud hanging above my head and following me around. My first mid-term is tomorrow, let’s just say this is the worst possible way to start my week. It is an overachiever’s nightmare.
Summer Reading List:
“The Human Condition” by Hannah Arendt
“La Ciudad Ausente” by Ricardo Piglia
“Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys
“War & Peace” by Leo Tolstoy
“Three Kingdoms Romance” by Luo Guanzhong
“Foucault y la literatura” by Carlos Rojas Osorio
“Nación postmortem” by Carlos Pabon
“Orientalism” by Edward Said
“Night” by Elie Wirsel
“Black Butterfly” by Robert M. Drake
“Testament of Youth” by Vera Brittain
Wanted: “Awesome” Housemate
In the current economy, particularly in Puerto Rico (the United States’ abandoned yard), anyone between the age of 18-30 needs to either live at home or share an apartment. There are, of course, the blessed few who found awesome jobs right out college or their graduate degree and bought a new car and are now looking at houses with their SO, but for the vast majority of us that is a dream as attainable as winning the Triple Crown with a pony (yes, I am hip and up-to-date on current events, even sporting events). Now, in this world of being a broke young professional pursuing a graduate degree that we hope is slightly more useful than our BA, it is a savage hunt for the perfect housemate. Taking into consideration that you will be sharing living space with this person for a minimum of one-year, if you are not a total flake and move out after three months because you can’t make rent or stand the other person, things can get pretty desperate. I have been living on my own since I was 21. You might think this is old but I’m Latin American and in this part of the world people don’t move out until they get married (my brothers are still living at home because they lack my “rebellious and independent” attitude). Anyway, I had previously moved away for my freshmen year of college but that was around the same time when the housing market collapsed and everyone making less then six digits loss their job (and quite a few making more than that too). So I transferred to the state public university and moved back in with my parents (which totally sucked because, after losing his job, my stepdad was regulated to the couch). Really, my bad roommate streak started back in this first year of college when I met my roommate: blonde, white, Christian, adopted, and a cheerleader. Contrast to me: brown, brown, agnostic (most days), born ten days late through C-section (I must have suspected my life was gonna suck for a while), and a cynic. Anyway, a year or two after I moved back home I fell in love with the wrong guy (who I still happen to be with, honestly very little idea on why or how other than he puts up with me but that’s a topic for another post) and decided to move out of my mother’s home so I could have sex whenever I wanted. Of course, this only slightly worked out for me since all I could afford was to share a bedroom with a virgin. No offence to virgins, but you make women with an active and healthy sex life feel weird. Anyway, it’s been a couple of years since then and the streak painfully awkward living situations only broke recently. Last summer I moved in with two girls who are the same age as me, are as nerdy as me but still like to party, have loud sex on a regular basis, and clean up after themselves. Also, they read and watch supernatural TV series like me. Really, it’s ideal. Sadly, it couldn’t last and now I am out on the hunt again. So, now that you know a little about me here is the ad… I am looking for a housemate to share a two-bedroom apartment with A/C and laundry facilities in San Juan, Puerto Rico within walking distance of a train station and in a good neighbourhood. If you know someone searching for a housemate then they can contact me through here. The other qualifications are as follows: clean-freak, neat-freak, bookworm, 24 or older, owns a vagina (because boys are just eewww), cat-friendly, works or studies (graduate school, please), and only dates and/or sleeps with members of the population that are actively trying to become responsible adults. Now, I have been housemate searching for about a month and haven’t found anything. There was one good possibility but the girl does not want a housemate (she went through a recent break up and is a total control freak/psycho so can’t share space). I am still searching because I need to live somewhere and don’t want to have share space with people I can’t even speak to because we are so different that any attempt at conversation is painfully awkward. I hate awkward and I love to talk after a long day of work and studying. However, nothing has turned up! Is it really that hard? Or is it time I move out of the “college” scene and closer to the financial district, where “young professionals” live? I mean, I still study full-time and only work as an assistant part-time. But I have a narrowing amount of things in common with those that inhabit the neighbourhood immediately adjacent to the university. Right now is “moving” season, in which student’s one-year contract is up and they begin searching for another apartment or renovate their lease and all the options are either run-down one-bedroom apartments that make me cringe or large apartments with three or bedrooms shared with first year or second year undergrads whose parents pay for everything. I am a graduate student and work to live (as I like to say), so there is always a kind of disconnected between my life and theirs. I have traded in beer and shots of chichaito (local drink) for wine and whiskey and I cook dinner most nights of the week or eat at pricey restaurants. I watch film festival movies are overpriced theatres and spend weekends working on my writing because I am edging dangerously close to being 30 with no career. Therefore, I would like to live with someone that is currently in the same place in their lives, but sadly responsible and ambitious people my age leave the island as soon as they have their diploma. I see it all the time on Facebook: one picture of a diploma and the other of an acceptance letter to a graduate program in the US or a job offer in the US. So, there is really a very limited population of graduate students who work and live on their own looking for a housemate. Thus, I have gotten to the point that I am desperate enough to post this ad in a forum where no one will see it because I really don’t want to live with a psycho. In sum…Wanted: “Awesome” Housemate. Where are you?
I have this close friend who regularly calls me when he’s driving by himself and is either stuck in traffic or has a long commute. The sole purpose of his calling me is for me to keep him company on his drive. Needless to say, in our high-tech instant messaging culture this might seem awkward or weird or far too intimate for friend, but I find it more natural than texting. Maybe I am a bit weird because of it, but as Marnie from “Girls” says” talking on the phone is second-best on the totem pole of communication and I agree because it allows you to respond to the emotion in a person’s voice.
There is something about that gesture; that calling someone to talk to because your car and the road ahead, actually empty or not, are empty of any connection. There is something deep inside of mw that resists the ‘millennial’ notion of individualism, the one that suggests we do not need anyone to feel fulfilled, and finds it aberrantly wrong. Refraining from going into the developmental reasons for which we require companionship (biological survival, physical security, and cognitive development), I know that, even when we are physically and economically self-sufficient adults, there is something that will always depend on others. I do not mean friends to drink with or coworkers to exchange witty e-mails and banter with or distant family, because distance within families is common amongst millennials who do not live with their parents or economically depend on them and not because of negative pasts. What I mean is something which should be a self-evident truth: we are not ‘humans’, we are ‘human beings’ and the ‘being’ in human is intrinsically, inherently, and necessarily derived from deep emotional connections with others. Why is it that my friend, an extrovert who is quite independent and actually prefers to be alone, needs someone to talk to on his long drives? What drives him to seek to not be alone in his journey? And that really is the core of it all: we cannot be alone on the journey which is our lives. It begins when we are conceived and ends when we die and in order to really live, to know what it feels like to ‘live’, we need to connect. Connect is not a message or a conversation. Connection is when you can see the vulnerability in someone else and they can see yours and you do not shy away. Connection is when someone calls you to make conversation while he drives and for that hour or two you put your life on hold just to talk about unimportant things with him because he is not afraid to show you his loneliness and you are not afraid to try and erase it with your presence. Connecting is necessary to life, to live like beings and not like humans. It is connections which give meaning to life and make it worth living. Connecting with someone makes us feel alive.