10. I’ve learned that a person’s TV consumption is a pretty good indication of his sanity. Steve and Lori have been telling me this for years, but I’ve always been a student of the Stephen King school when it comes to the television. He tells us that writers should pretty much never watch TV, but I’ve come to disagree with him. I think people who don’t watch TV are crazy. I think they (generally) have an inability to relax and build comfort in relationships, because TV is one of the easiest ways to connect with another person on a deeper level without forcing it. People who don’t watch TV also frequently don’t appreciate story as thoroughly as they should, and I, of course, believe that story is built into human psychology, wiring us to relate to each other and the world through story. Also, consider how much you learn about a person by observing his entertainment choices. You can tell what sort of jokes he will laugh at, who he wants to be (because he probably emulates the characters he watches on TV), and how to be a better friend/sister/lover/etc… to him.
*Disclaimer: watching too much TV will rot your brain, so enjoy in moderation.
9. Even though I hate YouTube for turning us all into idiots, my life is occasionally enriched because of it. Example:
I came across that video while completing the four required hours of defensive driving class I had to complete because of my stupidity in speeding. I’m not sure if this counts as a lesson I’ve learned well, but I wanted to include it for your enjoyment anyways.
8. I’ve learned that belly-button lint is a real thing. I honestly thought it was imaginary until Eucalyptus Biscuit explained it to me.
7. I’ve learned that students want to have fun and will intentionally try to improve my mood if I’m having a bad day. I should be gentler with them.
6. I’ve learned that civil wars are more fascinating than most other pieces of history. First of all, I love the oxymoronism of a civil WAR, but I also just wonder at the variables that make for a split of that magnitude. Civil wars are divorces of gargantuan proportions, and, after watching several history channel specials that I checked out from the library, I learned that George B. McClellan had an exponentially more difficult task than Lee had in the U.S. Civil War. McClellan was criticized and was even removed from command because of his slow and somewhat gentle decisions toward the South. However, Lee just needed to win the war, but McClellan was trying to win without crushing his opponent. He needed to win without making it impossible for the South to hold their heads up as they rejoined the Union. Perhaps that’s how all battles should be fought… especially those we fight with friends.
5. I’ve learned that the library is a shining replacement for Netflicks, Redbox, Blockbuster, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Cable, the internet, and high school. I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing about it, and yet, “I will sound my barbaric yawp from the rooftops of the world!” The library is AMaZING!
4. I’ve learned that I’m a better person when I don’t have to go to work. I know that makes it seem like I’m a lazy bum who just wants to play Assassin’s Creed III when she should be contributing to society (which is sometimes true), but if you were to send my console up in flames, the likelihood that I’d hit you for it substantially decreases when I’m not teaching. In fact, if I were on Winter Break when you did it, I might throw my TV into the flames as well and then dance around with joy just for the fun of it. Working drains me of kindness, humility, and humor, which makes me wonder if there’s any remedy for my constant case of the Mondays that doesn’t involve arson and/or unemployment.
3. I’ve learned that my beliefs about home aren’t what one might expect. In my previous house, there were Alix (aka Eucalyptus Biscuit) and Amy. Alix hugged me every morning before work and texted anytime she went to the store just to ask if I needed anything. Amy did my hair up pretty anytime we went out looking fancy and she taught me how to paint. I struggled a lot living with them, because in addition to being lovely girls who made life fun, they like to talk and I don’t really. Also, it was the first time I’d lived with anyone other than my parents, so I didn’t know how things should work or what was expected. My current home is lovely for opposite reasons, like alone and quiet time. Yet I’m also sad that there’s little for me to mention about the apartment because nothing much happens at home nowadays. I don’t have a nickname for Shasta and there isn’t a mysterious gnome war to fight; she’s never farted in front of me or introduced me to odd British TV shows. She comes and goes, and I come and go, but I find myself wishing home had a few more quirks to it. As I prepare for home-ownership, I also hope for another roommate or two. While having extra income from rent would be nice, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to potentially bless others by keeping that rent low, I also savor the anticipation of the next roommate(s). Both my joys and growth of the past three years can only be accounted for in the context of home, and I’m looking forward to the promise of tomorrow.
2. I’ve learned that giving up Cambodia isn’t all that bad. Some of you have been around to read my yearnings for a home overseas, but Cambodia isn’t just Cambodia to me; it’s symbolic of flight. Being tied down to Tucson and the people whose lives I inhabit is terrifying, but keeping Cambodia in my back pocket is a cheap defense against vulnerability. While I know that buying a house doesn’t equal a travel-less, adventure-less life tied to those 1600 sq ft forever, it is a step toward the abyss of normalcy. It’s a veiled admission that I don’t have to be more than normal, although I’ve always expected myself to do and be more.
1. I’ve learned that friend is a silly word because of its vagueness. After all, I’m friends with the teacher who has a classroom next to mine; I’m friends with that boy who didn’t take the risk; I’m friends with people I’ve known for ten years, as well as a few I’ve only known for ten days; I’m friends with my current roommate and the ones I used to live with; several of my students even insist that I’m their friends (although I deny it vehemently); I’m friends with people I like and a few I don’t. Luckily I don’t have a Facebook profile, otherwise the list of complications would continue indefinitely. So… the truth behind this lesson isn’t that friend is a silly word, but that there are varying levels of friendship, and the greatest betrayal comes from one person believing the friendship is of the highest degree and priority, while the other is only in up to his ankles.