My experience with Meetup.com – AKA: the adventures of being ostracized in a public gathering.
First, a little bit of back story… Meetup.com is a site where people in a certain spot on this vast planet can decide to make a virtual group – usually themed – which allows any other person in the area to join up. Once a group has formed, this themed group of humans makes plans to meet in person. Thus, the premise being, that you get to meet people with similar interests, and you get to do something you enjoy in the process.
I had first heard of group meet ups from my lovely friends Kim and Edicson, both of whom had moved to a new area, didn’t know that many people, then ended up having some pretty good success in making local friends. Similarly, Luuk used meetup.com and was able to hangout with people all the way in the Netherlands, by joining a themeless group of meetup.com people.
So, last summer I decided to try and meet some people. I’d follow the formula that seemed to be working for my comrades:
Sounded simple enough. It had fewer steps than making a frozen pizza. I thought I had this one in the bag; if there were an election for person-who-could-make-most-best-friends I would have been president. Or at the very least…prime minister.
You know, I’ve been thinking, I’ve already kind of incorporated my mom in a few posts now… but no one has seemed to mention if they could relate to her. Maybe I’m the only one who has experienced her type of mom-ing. My bad, mothering. But I’m not so convinced. I’m pretty sure your moms have done some similar stuff, you just haven’t told me yet. Granted, my mother is Cuban, so she obviously doesn’t represent all the moms out there. But, she’s the best and all your moms suck, dayuuuuuuuum. I’m just kidding, I’m sure your mothers are lovely women. Either way, I wanted to share some things that my mom does (or did), because I’m not convinced that she’s the only person that does these things.
Things my mom says.
(1) People are looking.
My mom likes to remind me when we are out in public that we are out in public. What I mean is, she constantly points out that anything I do in public is seen by other people. The phrase she likes to use is “people are looking.”
Example: “Dios Mio, you are not going to wear that in public, people will be looking.”
For those who don’t know, I started my new job a while ago. I decided to take the night shift because I was always interested in it as a student…so I wanted to explore and see if it was something I would enjoy as an employee.
Welp, one thing is for certain…my sleeping pattern is completely fucked up. This became blatantly obvious to me just a few moments ago.
So, something evil happened today…PHOTOBUCKET DECIDED TO TAKE A GLORIOUS SHIT ON MY PICTURES.
I know this is not something that people would consider evil. But it is.
According to dictionary type folks, evil is being morally bad, causing injury or harm to someone, or marked by bad luck or events.
Photobucket has harmed me…by fucking with my hobby. Well, fuck you photobucket.
I’ve been on my feet, running around at work, I come home, and behold – no pictures on my blog! I work night-shift tonight…so I don’t have time to get mad at photobucket.
When someone gives you evil lemons, throw that shit out cause that lemonade is gonna be hella bad luck. Instead, find some solutions to your lemonade problem, like…FLICKR.
Yep, so, bare (or bear) with me as I switch over to the picture beast known as Flickr. Some pictures may not be fully visible at the moment…I want you to just pretend its the funniest picture you’ve ever seen in you life. Lean back in your chair, laugh your ass off, tip your hat to your computer screen, and go about your internet browsing.
I will slave away fixing this issue…slowly. Mostly cause it sounds like work. And I’m not into working right now…like…for my hobby…cause I’m already doing that in the reals.
Friends, I want to ask you all to go back in time with me. But not too far back…I’m talking probably early 1990s…can’t believe its already been 20 years. I’m asking you to go back in time with me because I had a dream the other night…a dream that reminded me of something I thought had been long forgotten. But really, it can never be forgotten…because it was possibly the most important piece of plastic to have ever graced my hands.
Alright guys, I’m about to share something with you that only a hand full of people know about myself. That’s right, and after I discuss this with you, I’d kindly ask you to burn this post and never speak of it again. Sharing embarrassing secrets makes us basically best friends… Mmm, I feel so close to you right now.
So while I was driving back up to my apartment, after visiting family down south, I happened upon a crazy driver along the highway.
She was full-on jamming out to a Britney Spears song, like, JAMMING. Straight up going no-hands-on-the-steering-wheel-I-may-die-call-the-cops-I-don’t-give-a-fuck jamming. I call this kind of reckless singing: Beast-Mode-Acapella (BMA).
Basically, in that exact moment, that random lady was Britney Spears, and she was flipping out all the dance moves she could in the confined space of her motor vehicle.
When I realize that someone is going BMA, I get irritated that they’re jeopardizing the safety of the people around them. I may curse, flip the bird, or honk at them, but the one thing I never do…is judge them.
“Wait, you can’t judge the lady swerving into every lane while shrieking incoherent words?” I hear you ask. Yes, I have no fucking grounds to start judging that lady. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to speed ahead of her and make sure I stay at a safe distance, but that’s only because I understand the great, involuntary power of BMA. You can’t control that shit. When BMA takes you over, all bets are off.
You see friends, there was a time when I would make the great trip from central to southern Florida basically every two weeks. It was a happier time, I had money left over from a few months earlier when I held two jobs concurrently, and my posse was still located in the same area; which made the trip to see friends a sort of one-stop kind of thing. The only problem is that the drive really killed me. Depending on the location of where I would be staying, the drive down south could be anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. I don’t mind making a trip that long maybe once every couple of months, perhaps even every month, but multiple times a month??? Let’s just say it takes boredom to a whole other level.
So, I decided that I should take advantage of the fact that the CD player in my car could hold more than one CD and indulge myself in some new music. Back in the day, the place I used to hang out the most was Borders (a super cool bookstore-cafe-awesome-adventure-building). I had a membership card so I got some coupons all the time to get discounts on CDs. One day, after I had gotten sick of my self-made mixes, I thought I would be a rebel and buy a couple of CDs from Borders at random (I live life on the edge). So I literally walked into Borders, went straight to the bargain CD bin, dug my hands into the mountain of plastic cases and pulled out two CDs. I was excited to listen to my random findings.
Turns out the two CDs I chose were the greatest hits of Cheap Trick (which featured some live tracks, pretty cool) and a Sarah McLachlan Remix CD from 2001.
So, I’m cultured enough to know who Sarah McLachlan is – some of you may recall she did a bunch of advertisements for animal adoption recently. You know, the ones that make you question the type of person you are for not saving every sad kitten or battered puppy? Spoilers, you are a fucking terrible person. As depressed as you are when you watch that commercial, you can’t deny the sweet, sweet serenading voice that Sarah McLachlan has man…its like…undeniable.
The thing that made me question my purchase was that this CD remix was from 2001. So I’m thinking…this is like…a weird, cheesy techno compilation of Sarah McLachlan’s stuff that I could find on those old-school Dance Dance Revolution arcade machines; you know what I mean?
But it was too late to panic, I had to be down south in a few hours. All I could do at that point was cross my fingers and hope the CD didn’t suck.
The second I loaded that bad boy up, something started happening… The song “Fear” came on. I had started the domino effect that leads up to a full-on BMA.
Phase 1: Introduction.
It starts simple enough, you’re just kind of listening to the music. You might not catch all the lyrics, you may even completely space out. You’re just kind of shaking the hand of this song, getting to know them a bit better. Nothing out of the ordinary per say.
Phase 2: Infiltration.
Things are picking up, you’re getting the beats of the song all up in your car. Yeah, you like those beats. Not bad for a techno song. You’re paying a bit more attention to the lyrics, you may even be bouncing your head along to the rhythm. This is the song’s attempt to give you a false sense of security. You my friend, just let your guard down and personally escorted that slimy mother fucking song worm right into your brain. But you’re having such a good time you don’t even know what just happened.
Phase 3: Infestation.
The damage is done, you can’t go back now. That base is sick and already getting stuck in your head. Those beats got you moving your whole body. You are clinging on to every song lyric, those words were written for you man! This is the infestation of the song. It has tricked you into thinking it knows you on a deeper level, you guys have chemistry, you go way back – this is the one that got away. This is your lover. You got to move your body, you got to seduce that lover back into your life. You can’t stop now. You wouldn’t even if you had the option. This is your life now.
Phase 4: BEAST MODE ACAPELLA.
I AM SARAH MCLACHLAN. LISTEN TO MY FALSETTO MAN, I AM A GIFT TO MANKIND. I SHOULD BE FILLING UP STADIUMS WITH THIS VOICE. HOW DO I NOT HAVE A GRAMMY IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW? AM I DRIVING? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW. LISTEN TO ME. THIS VOICE CAN SOLVE WORLD HUNGER. OR AT THE VERY LEAST PROPEL A ROCKET INTO SPACE. MY VOCAL CORDS HAVE THE POWER OF A THOUSAND SUNS.
Do you see how dangerous this shit is? I could have caused an accident. That’s 4 minutes and 46 seconds of pure, reckless singing.
I swear, this doesn’t happen to me every time I hear a song. I’ve listened to so many freaking songs on my travels from north to south… but this is the only one that makes me go BMA. This song did something to me, and no matter how many times I hear it, it is still as powerful as the first time it seduced me. Self control doesn’t exist with this song. I have to flail my arms to my terrible, improvised choreography and scream bloody murder to reach the high notes that only I can hear.
This is why I can’t judge that girl I saw today, driving like a maniac. Because the second that Brittney Spears song ended…she grabbed her steering wheel and went about her business as usual. Like nothing had ever happened. The song still possesses her, but it won’t come out until the next incantation.
So about that thing that I mentioned earlier, the one about the secret and the burning and the stuff… yeah. If you guys ever mention to anyone that I listen to Sarah McLauchlan techno music, I will disown you and deny this entire thing.
So, for those who were curious. I got the job that I previously applied for. I’m really excited about this. But it also means that blogging has slowed down – you may have already noticed. The hiring process involves a lot of question answering, phone talking and person meeting. Basically, a lot of my time.
Something else happened, a close family member of mine passed away. So I haven’t really been feeling all that blog-ish – despite being gifted a tablet that I didn’t deserve by a beautiful friend that I love to pieces. I have come to find that the grieving process goes in cycles. Sometimes I’m totally fine and I can work on my course work without a problem. Sometimes I just break down and cry. I was advised to keep busy while I process this, so I will force myself to do things that normally entertain me in an attempt to distract myself (exhibit A: blogging). But at the end of the day, and really at the start of it too, I am alone and a giant mess of feels.
This happening has really put a lot of things in perspective for me. I know I couldn’t have known it was going to happen, but when it did, I really took in the responses people gave me. Without trying to sound like a complete asshole, and I mean really I don’t give a fuck if I do, I know now who supports me and who doesn’t. Thanks for giving up on me, it made it easier for the both of us. Today I have realized that I don’t have any guilt left to give, just anger.
Going back to that previous comment, the one about blogging slowing down. I’ve been recently nominated by my peers for some awards. I am always honored when someone does this, but as of recently, I haven’t had a lot of time to respond to those posts. So this is my shout out, don’t let my lack of response make you feel ignored – I haven’t forgotten you – my head just isn’t fully in the game. Ya feel? I hope so. This message goes out to Teepee12,Annie, and Sheen Meem – you guys already know you’re cool, just bare with me on my slowness.
Anyway, to avoid this post becoming a giant hunk of lame, I’d like to throw fun things at your faces.
Alright, so I’m sure I’m not the first person that this has happened to, but I thought I’d rant about it anyway.
Actually, this is going to be a two part rant. Part 1 is about my lack of eyesight abilities, part 2 about the superman effect.
PART 1 – I CAN’T SEE
As a kid, I don’t remember gradually losing my eye sight… even though it probably was gradual. According to my memory, it happened in the matter of a week.
First I recall my teacher coming up to me and asking me if I was having a lot of trouble looking at the board, cause apparently I was squinting my eyes. Then in my phys. ed. class the following day we had like some eye vision test thing. It wasn’t random, they did it every year, but this year they sent me home with a note. Then I remember my dad driving me to the optometrist and telling me that I needed glasses.
Now, my dad has worn glasses since the beginning of dad history. So, it was explained to me that crap eyesight was passed down to me by the biological miracle that is genetics. So, I was kind of always destined to wear glasses. At some point, one way or another, my vision would start to deteriorate, and I’d have to get glasses. There’s no way to out run fate kids…especially when you can’t see where you’re going.
After the eye exam, I waited patiently with my dad in this museum of glasses. They came in all shapes, sizes, colors, it was crazy overwhelming. I have always been very indecisive, so my dad helped pick out my first pair. They were this kind of light brown, very circular shaped, pair of glasses. I was excited to try them on.
Okay, so here’s the thing. Before I got glasses, I had no idea that I had crooked ears. SURPRISE – I know now.
Even worse, because I had never had glasses before, I wasn’t used to having to keep tabs on their location all the time. So one day I accidentally sat on them…and made them even more crooked.
Yeah. I had to go to school looking like that.
These glasses weren’t doing me any favors man, my nerd factor just exponentially skyrocketed. Silver-lining – I could see with crystal clarity the looks of pity on the faces of my peers.
It’s the little things in life…
Anyway, as my eyes slowly started to decompose in my skull, my eye sight started getting progressively worse. I’d go back and get new pairs of glasses over the course of my life. Here’s a quick recap of the pairs I’ve owned:
I guess I was never really into loud or bright colors. Also, I didn’t discover contact lenses until I was like…17, so until then I had to always choose colors that would match the majority of my wardrobe.
These days glasses are cool and hip. I see kids running around with frames that don’t even have lenses. ARE YOU MOCKING ME CHILDREN? Why couldn’t glasses have been cool when I was growing up?
I think I’ve had this conversation with a couple of people who wear glasses before. It’s the Superman effect.
Okay so everyone knows (the audience) that Superman is Clark Kent; but no one in Metropolis would ever be able to finish that puzzle. Makes you wonder, like, they could have done anything to Superman – ANYTHING – and these Metropolites would totally buy it.
The thing is that, in the real world, this happens all the time.
On several different occasions, I have introduced myself to someone without my glasses and if I ran into them again with my glasses they would re-introduce themselves to me.
The other thing that happens to me is that people will call me another name. I’ll show up to class one day with my glasses off, the professor calls me by my given name, no problems. I show up the next day with my glasses on, suddenly I’m “Melissa.”
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THE GALAXIES IN THIS UNIVERSE, WHY AM I ALWAYS MELISSA? SERIOUSLY. Was there a memo that went out about how if you forget my name the automatic default is Melissa? Where did you even come up with that! Is everyone in on this? People who have never met each other, that I have met separately, have mistakenly called me Melissa.
YEAH I MAY LOOK DIFFERENT, CAUSE THERE’S AN OBJECT SITTING ON MY FACE – BUT NOT THAT DAMN DIFFERENT.
What is it about my glasses that makes people think I’m a completely different person?
I’ve heard of the Doorway Effect, where when you walk through a doorway you subconsciously forget about whatever it was that you were doing. Maybe glasses are the same way. Maybe when I put on my glasses, its like a reverse doorway effect – people who see me subconsciously forget who I am. My glasses open a realm of random forgetfulness.
The reverse doorway effect wipes away my identity when the glasses situate themselves on my face. To outsiders who may have known me, their memory of me becomes erased. This has to be the reason why people don’t recognize me…IT HAS TO BE.
What do you guys think about all this? Can you relate to any of it? Or is this just something I’m cursed with… TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.
Okay, so, as a person who has a biology degree I feel that I should be able to appreciate all of the little creatures and critters that roam this earth. Their anatomy is beyond interesting, studying their traits and characteristics makes for great insight into what makes this little world of ours so majestic. We have something to learn from even the smallest insects.
That being said, I think butterflies are the spawn of Satan.
I realize, after reading that last sentence again, that it sounds pretty harsh. So let me try and come up with another way to convey my feelings…uh…uhhh…um… Yeah, no, I stand by that statement. I really, really don’t like them.
But if those flying devil creatures come near me…I can’t help it. Some kind of deep, instinctive, survival adrenaline rushes over me when a butterfly crosses into my personal space. I just freak the fuck out. I scream bloody murder, my hands thrash around defensively, I run around in a random zig-zag pattern.
I don’t even fully understand why I’m so afraid of them. I mean, I am a giant human person, I have the means to destroy every inch of those savage butterfly beasts if I wanted to…
My fear of butterflies just can’t be explained. Like, I know why I hate roaches – they’re grimy, they infest your home, they can outlive you (I don’t trust immortal things). I know why I hate mosquitoes – I have an allergy to their bites so my skin puffs up like a fucking balloon if they decide to feast on my blood, also that buzz noise they make is annoying. Moths eat my clothes, so I hate them too.
But, butterflies? I got no idea. I love everything about them except when they’re on me. Kind of like kids with runny, dripping nose fluids…they’re cute but don’t put them near me.
One time, I went to this place called Butterfly World. I agreed to go to this place because the way it was explained to me was that it was like a caged zoo for butterflies. You would enter a room and there’d be a net shielding you from the demonic flutter monsters, so you could look at their pretty colors and shit but you were totally safe.
I was wrong.
Apparently, these net shields were optional – like my sanity. This place was like a free-range chicken farm. Those motherfuckers were all over the place and I was scared for my life. I had my hands up in front of my face, waving sporadically around my head to make sure they wouldn’t land on me.
I just kept chanting Ace Ventura’s bat cave mantra – “I am not afraid. I am NOT afraid. I really like it here. I will fear no living creature...”
Then we entered a room towards the end, where apparently prehistoric giant butterflies lived. Descendants of Mothra took shelter in this butterfly zoo, and they were thirsty for my flesh. Mothra was a defender of earth…but her children only wanted to terrorize me. In my head I instantly came up with a million escape routes, my mother and brother looked worried about my bizarre demeanor. They didn’t understand, they couldn’t save me. No one could.
I shoved my way to the front of the room where the door was, but I was too late. Mutant Butterfree did a kamikaze nose dive straight into my face. SHIT!!!!!!!!!!
I screamed and treated it like fire. STOP. DROP. ROLL. My arms flailed around, I wanted to call for help but all I could vocalize from my mouth was something that sounded like a cross between a whale giving birth and the Silent Hill siren.
Suddenly I could hear my moms voice, she brought me back to reality.
Mutant butterfree had spared me. Besides the emotional harm that came from embarrassing my family, no one was physically harmed in the altercation. I consider myself lucky to have survived. I went into Butterfly World and made it out alive. I hope I don’t have nightmares tonight.
Also, can we like, take a second to realize that Butterfree – the pokemon – is 3’07” feet or 1.1 meters tall? I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE AFRAID OF THIS.
What about you guys? What fear do you have that no one else seems to be able to relate to? What fears do you have that not even you understand why you have them?
BARE FEET IS HOW WE ROLL, SHOES ARE FOR ZUMBA NERDS
When I’m at my apartment I chill with my brother a lot. I love that kid. My brother has told me before that he wanted to try yoga. He and I used to be gym buddies. But lately our sleep schedules haven’t quite been overlapping all that much and to avoid sitting at my computer chair on a daily basis I push myself to go to the gym at around 6-6:30am; when, unfortunately, my brother is still snoozing. I miss tag teaming with him at the gym, but if I don’t push myself to go to work out then it doesn’t happen.
So recently, I’ve been riding solo to the YMCA closest to my apartment (I have a free membership through my university). When I get there I pop on my earphones and get in the zone. I don’t talk to anyone really (its mostly empty in the mornings), and I try to do a little bit of something in each of the rooms (weight room, cardio machine room, other machine room, etc..).
SQUATS ON SQUATS ON SQUATS
Well, one day, I decided to do my work out out of order (usually I do cardio first in the cardio machine room), I started in the weight room and did some squats. On my way back to the central area of the YMCA I saw that people were setting up for a yoga class in the main group workout area.
Now, I have tried yoga before, I think four years ago. It was not the most pleasant of experiences. When I was completing my first degree my university dropped some mad amount of money on a new gym and recreational center for its main campus. Kosmonat and I decided to explore the group exercises one day and we ended up going to a yoga class.
This class was hard as fuck. The yoga instructor would keep saying things like “I can see we have some new people” and “Try and keep up if you’re just a beginner” or “These are simple positions so it should be easy for our beginners”… I think those comments just made me look like a bigger jack ass for not being able to pretzel my way into whatever the hell position she was trying to make us do. I literally fell on my face the majority of the time and the other half of the time I was asking Naty if it looked like I was doing it right. To which she would tell me she had no idea.
That yoga class was going 150 miles an hour and I didn’t understand any of it.
Fast forward to my curious gym morning this past week, I cringed at the sign that said yoga. Gross. But then I thought about how my brother really wanted to try the yoga sessions at this gym. As more and more people started piling in I found myself just kind of standing there looking at all of them. Then I thought, “You know what? I don’t feel like doing cardio…so fuck it”. I grabbed a mat, took off my shoes and sat my ass down.
A really thin, short haired blonde woman made her way to the front of the class, she had a super cute yoga outfit on. And when she opened her mouth, a super strong Russian accent coated her words.
OH SHIT, I LOVE HER ALREADY. This is gonna be good.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find that my instructor was far more easy going and explanatory than my previous experience. She would give two to three suggestions about alternative positions we could make if we wanted to “challenge” ourselves. As in, if we were more advanced. So the majority of her instructions were for the most basic positions. AKA – PERFECT FOR ME.
She was also really big on the calming and relaxation part of yoga, which is cool because I could use more of that to subdue my anxiety. Her inhale and exhale instructions were really detailed – from your nose, from your mouth, while lifting your arms or lowering your leg. It was awesome.
This was the bomb. I was able to follow every instruction using one method or another. I felt like a badass.
And, to my surprise, I was drenched in sweat by the end of the session. I had no idea that yoga could make me feel like I had just done a twelve mile marathon without so much as moving one foot in each direction of my mat.
I enjoyed myself so much that I think I’ll be incorporating these yoga sessions into my weekly gym routine.
What about you guys? Have you ever tried yoga before? Was it everything you’d dreamed it would be? Or was it a huge ball of festering failure?
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