There’s a challenge that’s been gaining traction lately to bring attention to malnourishment of those living under extreme poverty. The challenge is to live on just $1.50 worth of food per day for just 5 days. I pay more for coffee every day, but I feel this would be a good exercise to begin to understand just how bad millions of people across the world have it.
However, I want to kick this up a notch. I plan on doing the 5 days, but I really want to do 14 for a number of reasons. First, just to see if I can. I like challenges, and since food is remarkably important to me I would simply like to see if I have what it takes to not starve for two weeks while doing this. Second, I want to save money. I’ve been spending way too much the past few months and this would be a great excuse to not have to do that for two weeks (and I’ll drink less, which will be great for me). Finally, a forced change of perspective from time to time is never a bad thing. I already feel for the plight of the poor, but this may take me over the edge and finally do something to truly help them. Maybe. I am a piece of shit, so no guarantees.
When it comes to relationships of all kinds – family, friends, romantic – it takes a lot for me to become annoyed if the relationship has already been established. However, I’m human, and as such do have a few pet peeves that I have found can in the long run ruin my relationships. One of those mortal sins is the guilt trip.
Guilt. That ugly, base emotion we all feel at one time or another is never considered a good emotion and by its very nature shouldn’t be a common feeling. But when a friend uses guilt as a weapon to curry favor or force you into something a line has been crossed. This has happened to me numerous times in the past, but one of my lab mates has this line of “friendship” down to, well, a science.
Take Sunday night as a typical example. I went in to lab on Saturday to knock out an experiment early in the day so I could still go out and have some fun that night. I had WAY too much fun and didn’t wake up until noon Sunday. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be making it into lab that day like I thought I would. No worries, I thought, I still have plenty of shit that needs to get done around the apartment, I needed to get a decent workout in, et cetera. Essentially, my way was full.
Enter Steven (clearly not his real name). He texts me saying he’s going into lab around 9PM and wanted me to come too. That’s fine and dandy most days since I actually like midnight recording, but I really wanted to get a decent night sleep and do what I could to get back on a quasi-normal sleep schedule so I played it diplomatically and said, “maybe.” I get, “so that’s a no. Sleep man. I would like some company. But I’ll be fine.” in return.
I know that doesn’t seem like much to someone else reading it, but it means quite a bit coming from this guy. This was him saying, “I clearly don’t mean as much to you as you do to me.” I don’t deal well with that type of attitude in any person, let alone someone I truly consider a friend. However, considering I’ve dealt with this type of passive aggressiveness before I’m willing to do it again to just push off the inevitable one more day. There are more pressing issues at hand.
Like getting laid.
I’m growing up and becoming less shallow.
It took long enough, that’s for sure, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion of the type of person I’m looking* for. It shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who has ever been in a relationship but coolness is really one of the biggest factors you should use when finding someone you want to spend time with. Shifting to this from picking women based almost exclusively on attractiveness like I did in high school and college is actually quite the change for me, and one I like.
I began thinking about this a few months ago when my PhD program was interviewing candidates. It’s tradition that at the end of the two day marathon we take the candidates out on the town and end up at a bar where we unwind and really try to bond with the kids. We typically have three rounds of about twenty candidates each, and I typically do what I can to meet with each group at least once over those two day spans. This year I met with the first two groups and was extremely disappointed with the caliber of candidates, but a buddy of mine told me that the third group was, almost to a person, fucking awesome. Of course, I didn’t believe him, so I had to see this for myself.
We invited the group out to a bar where we were already having another celebration and I met the group. Needless to say, all of them I met were cool and interesting, but there was one stand-out even among a group such as that. That girl (woman? I don’t know what to call ’em anymore…) was just really cool , no way around it. The only thing is that she wasn’t exactly what me or my friends would call “attractive.” It didn’t matter for my two friends though, they both wanted to fuck her. They’re attractive guys too, so it’s not like they were just digging at the bottom of the barrel; she was just that cool.
That’s what cool does. It brings you in, and if it’s great enough it keeps you there.
That actually was part of the reason my marriage ended, and I’m finally beginning to realize that.
* I’m not looking in the traditional sense. I’m not crazy. I just got divorced, it’s time to shop around and play the field for a while.