Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Learning to Entertain Oneself Via a Detox

After many months of contemplating and weighing my pros and cons, I have officially committed social suicide. You're probably wondering what form of social suicide I've gone and committed this time. Yes, I am still wearing clothing. No, I didn't get an 80's perm although....hmmm

Okay okay, I'll tell you what social suicide I've committed. I deactivated my facebook account. (gasp!)

At first I wondered what I was missing out on. I ridded myself of a very significant daily activity and I have to admit, it felt weird. It became such a habit for me to peruse facebook whilst not really accomplishing much of anything, when I should have been studying the difference between sibilants and stridents.

The other day I thought to myself "Ive been facebookless for about three weeks now."

And I was wishing I could make that my facebook status. But (sigh) I can't.

If you want to do a media/technology detox. I recommend deactivating your facebook account (you can always reactivate it at anytime). The primary downside is that people use it to spread the word "Hey, we're going to pick blueberries tomorrow, meet under the bridge and we'll carpool." I am no longer a part of those messages. So, I do realize someone has to make a special phone call to me to get the message to people like me. And I appreciate their effort.

But without facebook, I've found that I am spending more time reading the news, listening to NPR and even reading a few more books. (By the way, I highly recommend reading "A Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde). However, I've also learned that there is always something on the Internet to look at, even if you don't have facebook.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Communication Catastrophe

Communication. Like it, or love it. If you're a human, a tree, a t-cell, a robot or a wallaby, I'll bet you have problems with it. We all do. Even those who stand on a platform in the plaza and loudly proclaim "I'm an excellent communicator!" Well, they're probably a well-below average communicator like the rest of us commoners down here in the square wearing our drabby brown peasant fashion and using common street language.

Take comfort in knowing that we all have communication issues.

Here are two examples of miscommunications I have had in my own life.

Example One

At the grocery store, I was waiting in line with all my groceries--milk, bananas, frozen peas, hummus, chocolate and horse meat (just kidding! Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention). When the next line to the one I was waiting in opened. I asked the cashier if he could "check me out." He said, "sure Miss." But he began to scan my groceries and did not check me out. We had made a verbal contract which he was failing to fulfill, I thought about igniting a bitter confrontation. But then I realized what he thought I meant by "checking out," and that I was experiencing miscommunication. This was very disappointing and despaired as I paid in cash.

Example Two

So there I was in Germany, I was at a some social gathering and I kept bumping into the same guy. So, I asked him his name (which I had forgotten).
He said "You again!"
I replied, "Ta da! Me again! Seriously, what's your name?"
"You again!!" This time with more emphasis.
"Me Again!" This was a fun game, and I was enjoying it immensely as I am amused by abnormally simple things. But, I really wanted to know his name. So, I asked one more time.
I got the same reply "You again!!"
And then it hit me, his name was "Jurgen." A very common German name.
And then, like a true ditz, I said "Oh, like, I get it now!"
This was amusing, slightly embarrassing and so I pretended (or perhaps didn't pretend) to be a very silly ditzy girl. Yet another example of miscommunication.

Those are two examples of miscommunication that I have had in my own life.

I have this advice to bestow upon you when you find yourself in one of those miscommunication situations.

"My Really Good Advice:"

1. Don't Panic; this only makes you look self-conscious.
2. Relax; don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff.
3. Act like a ditz, a meathead, a delinquent or someone who doesn't speak the language if you have to. In other wards, fake it 'till you make it.

If you follow these three easy steps, you will walk away from that awkward situation with your dignity intact. (and perhaps even an amusing story to tell)