Tag Archives: Philadelphia

My Lack of (Social) Skill

This is about how I wonder why I still live here at times. This is about how I lack social skills. This is about me ranting about my generation, again.

In first grade I was given the insulting name “Barbie girl”, this stemmed from my apparently age inappropriate fondness for Barbies and Barbie merchandise (yeah, in first grade). To this day I cringe whenever I hear that Aqua song. This morphed into a plethora of other nicknames throughout the years until I stopped caring and started dyeing my hair odd colors. I was a very sensitive individual and an easy target. Making me burst into tears wasn’t a very hard thing to do. I kind of wonder how much I have changed over the years in retrospect, but more on that later. [see also: thicker skin]

I don’t find myself comfortable in crowded places. Things like New Year’s Eve in Times Square honestly give me nightmares. The normal day to day crowded spaces I encounter don’t bother me. I either keep myself glued to a book in the subway or on my phone scrolling through one of many unnecessary playlists I’ve created in the past year. It’s incredibly dangerous and anti-social but I feel I keep my ear buds in so much as some weird defense mechanism.

I get scared and ask myself things like:

“What if I run into someone I know”,

“What if I have to deal with the actual world and hear the beggars on the street as I stride down the sidewalk towards my workplace knowing very well I’m nowhere near mentally equipped enough to deal with human beings yet today”

“What if my earbuds become unplugged and I don’t realize it and it’s like that day the people on the subway car heard me listening to Jawbreaker at an uncomfortable volume?” (Since then I of course double check my connections before I leave)

When I should be asking myself things like:

“What IF I run into someone I know”

“What if strangers actually feel like interacting with me like other normal human beings sometimes do when they’re not constantly sleep deprived creatures like myself”

“What if I get mugged?”

I moved to Philadelphia in late 2011. I wanted to escape Berks County and most of my close friends had already completed the migration normal 20-somethings do from a more boring town to the closest metropolitan area. The difference is that now I feel like for the most part I’m not even included here.

I know I’m an interesting person. I know I over utilize puns and think my jokes are about 1000x funnier than they actually are. Lately I’ve started noticing my tendency to talk with my hands. I caught myself giving someone a “thumbs up” sign at work and just stopped. Thumbs up signs are what the cool guy in 90s cartoons are known for, not me. If I act polite like always I “say sorry too much”. I didn’t know there was some book where these social cues were written down, if found please clue me in on its location.

Sites like MeetUp.com exist to help other anxious people like myself in part but even then I’m sure there are cliques. THERE ARE ALWAYS CLIQUES.

Casually saying things like “oh that’s so awkward” and “oh, I’m so awkward” is not cute. Neither is using the word gay in a negative context, so stop doing it.

My social awkwardness isn’t some cliché 20-something problem you see people complain about between tweets about how excited they are for some overpriced makeup line and kale smoothies. I would much rather have a conversation about gentrification and it’s negative effects on Philadelphia over whatever “twerking” is, which I’m still not entirely sure of.

Part of me kind of wonders if our culture of narcissism from things like social media perpetuate this issue. Especially as products of the “Myspace Generation”. There was an even smaller subculture of Myspace kids and we (not legally) trademarked our display names. We took really pretentious portraits with even more terrible captions. Basically the years 2005-2009 were a big mess of eyeliner and angst. The point behind this all is that we amassed these friend lists containing thousands, literally thousands of friends. Despite the 17,000 “friends” you have, you might know less than 50 of them in real life. Myspace kids are still around and are the only reason Hot Topic still continues to stay open at one of many convenient locations for suburbanite children to buy hot pink faux-extensions. The point is we liked the attention. The point is we thought we were cool.  We just moved on from these services and evolved.

We are constantly connected to these digital portraits.  Much like a painter with a canvas, we craft our personas with pixels and clever phrases. There is no Instagram filter for our scars and no comedy writers for things that spew from our mouths. The main thing missing from our generation is authenticity.

“Oh, it would be great if I could just deal with it”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

But the wind went and pulled me into the hurricane

hurrrrrrrrrricaneeeeeeeeee

Weather on the East coast has been pretty bizarre as of late. From an unexpected earthquake felt across the Eastern seaboard to our new best friend Irene. Oh Irene. I have never been quite a fan of any Irene I have ever met in my 21 years of life. In school there was a pretty hostile girl named Irene that was not very fond of me. She was what one would consider a “wankster”. A wankster is one that is caught up in the insane delusion that they ARE in fact gangster. She should have known better than to mess with me. Although quiet and shy in high school, I was pretty strong. I was a band-hoodies-and-always-has-headphones-on kind of kid. When I was not listening to the newest Silverstein album I was busy being angsty, going to shows, and spending entirely too much time on xanga. Of course I had friends, everyone had friends. Thankfully I’m blessed enough to still maintain close friendships with my best friends from high school. Anyway, before I get even more off track. (no pun intended)

The hurricane raged up and down the coast hitting and causing havoc. The category of the storm changed faster than my hair color in high school. Mayor Nutter was quoted saying that it would be “the worst storm in at least 50 years”. Philadelphia residents were told to gather supplies like food, water, batteries, candles, and other typical survival supplies. People took this very seriously of course. So seriously in fact that the Target near my house sold out of bottled water. I started a new job that day and was being told that other stores had the same problem. I wasn’t too concerned, I had a flashlight with low batteries and a Brita filter bottle. (very prepared as I would later find out) I had carried an umbrella around the entire day since I’m normally not so lucky when it comes to avoiding the rain here. (The month I moved in broke the record for rainfall in August) After many incidences of inside out umbrellas I had gotten frustrated and made a mental note to research if military grade umbrellas exist and are available to the public. Septa was said to be shut down for the first time in history. At work every hour there was a new time, it was kind of like a game of whisper-down-the-lane and no one was winning. I went back to my good friend’s apartment after work and visited a bit before braving the walk back to the subway to go home. This is of course after taking the precautionary measure of getting money out from the ATM. The subway was set to be shut down at 12:30AM that night. I later found it was actually shut down early at 11PM instead.

Meanwhile, I tell my roommate I’m coming home and and she kindly offered to pick me up from the station down my street. (a god send, truly). When I get in the car she informs me that the power is out at our house. After mocking the hurricane all day on social networking sites…this what I deserve. Luckily it only went out for around 20 minutes. I end up being saved by another friend soon after and we spent the night watching the storm. Waiting and waiting for the big guns to come out, we were disappointed. I was expecting downed power lines, bent traffic signs, and total destruction when I walked out the door the next morning. After taking the Broad line home I was met with this:

Yes, in South Philadelphia this was the extent of the damage. Surprisingly enough, my street did not flood.  Other areas like Manayunk got hit a LOT worse than we did. Checking Facebook the next day I see my friends talking about losing power, fallen trees, and school closings.

Other states were not so lucky and I can’t even imagine what it’s like to experience a disaster such as this on a larger scale. My thoughts go out to those affected by this tragedy. Mother nature is a force to reckoned with.

You can visit the link below to get more information on the after effects of Irene and to donate.

http://www.redcross.org/

Tagged , , , , , , , ,