Saturday, December 27, 2014

What I "Dislike" In People

Yeah, I know. The title is reminiscent of an annoyed-by-all-teenager. But it's what I am going to say. Remember my last post about how much I hate condescending people? And I mentioned that I also hate pompousness, for example? Yes, well, here is a list of all the qualities (or behaviours) that I hate in other people. In no particular order.

1. When they're condescending. I may need to recap this, as I might not have explained it too well last time; maybe a summary would be good. Condescending can be detected in three ways. A) If they speak to you in a slightly higher pitch than they do to other people, B) If they act as though you need to be humoured (like a five-year-old!) and C) if they don't take you seriously. This behaviour is mostly reserved for the way adults treat children ( ... "Now, sweetie" ... "You'll understand when you're older" ... "Well, I don't expect you to understand" ... ) but can also be seen in adults as well. It's rarer, though. I especially hate it when you tell them something, and they say "That's nice." Like they're indulging us by agreeing with us about something we like. Not that this has ever happened to me, but I can imagine it, and am constantly on the guard for it. I would rather an adult said "That's horrible! What were you thinking?" than use that cloying, sweet voice.

2. Pompousness (a.k.a. self-importance). E.g. Percy Weasley. E.g. Steven Mahoney. My mother told me about this telemarketing message Mahoney (ha, even the name makes me think of falseness) had left on our answering machine. He'd basically bragged about his connections and experience in politics and had said something like "My opponent is attempting to deface my past political record, but that's just because she doesn't have one of her own."

(By the way, Bonnie Crombie's telemarketing message had been nothing like that. And what does it say about her (and Steven Mahoney, for that matter) when Hazel McCallion took sides in the election, making it a rare occasion? She had said before that she would only take sides in an election if she felt that a contestant would make a much greater contribution to Mississauga, or if a contestant would be a much more negative influence on Mississauga. Well, well, well.)

Anyway, back on track: self-importance! I think we can all agree that people who take themselves so seriously - shaking-hands, "I'll-Check-My-Schedule", "As You Know, I Know Very Important People" seriously - greatly annoying. I think the British term would be "prat". It sums up a lot of things, actually.

3. The "Awkward" enforcers. I hate it when people act like a situation is awkward - by their tone of voice, by their sign language, what they say - and thereby make it awkward. You know the one - someone says something remotely up-for-interpretation (e.g. "I like apples") and the person dramatically freezes up and looks at you with wide eyes and an Oh-No-You-Didn't smile.

This may also apply to situations where they a) are introduced to other people (in which case, the whole GROUP may act awkward), b) around someone who doesn't act the way they do. In which case - it's just a very subtle, passive-aggressive, and intuitive (the different someone would probably pick up on the awkwardness by intuition) form of exclusion.

Also: elevator awkwardness. I may say something to the people occupying it, and they give a "Thanks, but no thanks" polite smile and remain silent. It's really not that hard to make idle conversation, as long as it's only a short while. I like people who can be pleasant and relaxed among elevator strangers. Just make the best of the temporary confinement! At least it's temporary!

4. The Swear-A-Lots. I can get along with these people just fine, but come on. Really? You have to use the coarse language all the time? There's using swear words once in a while, and then there's vulgarity. If you use swear words ALL THE TIME, they lose they effect - kind of like getting used to drugs, or to something new. They don't mean anything anymore.

5. Those who DON'T TRY in projects. I mostly get this in drama class, where many boys were put against their will. Do you know how IRRITATING it is to work with the boys that fool around and be silly and have to be DRAGGED to practice, the ones that don't really make an effort? UGH! And being the one trying to convince them to practice the performance, I always feel like the bad guy, the control freak. But someone has to do it.

Have you non-existent readers noticed any of these things? Any behavioural peeves of your own?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Condescending People

There is one thing that I hate in adults above all else - especially teachers. It's not superiority. It's not torrid amounts of homework and other expectations. It's not even pompousness (though that is a close second. Self-importance makes me want to spit).

It's condescension.

When you meet an adult, you can tell right away what kind of an adult they are by the way they treat you. If they treat you as an almost-equal, like most normal teachers, who have expectations of you and will not be pitiful if you do not submit your homework on time, then they are respectable adults - at least, they would have your respect.

If they smile a lot and talk to you in a cloying, sweet voice, if they give you super-easy things to do and say "Gooooooood!" when you reach their expectations - they are condescending and I would have just as much respect for them as I would for a spider.

Which is to say - enough to restrain myself from doing what I want to do, but not much.

 If I am treated condescendingly, like a little kid that needs to be humoured, then I will not restrain myself in the slightest in giving them a piece of my mind. Or, at least, I wouldn't restrain myself if I could get away with it and not be assailed by all the respectable adults around me. Which, if you have failed to guess - I can't. Never could.

So why this sudden interest in bashing the condescending adults?

Today for jazz class we had a substitute teacher - a ballet teacher standing in for our jazz teacher. And she was horrible. She made us GALLOP IN A CIRCLE! Like three-year-olds! She did some sort of hip shake for a warm up - and the whole "Look up, look straight ahead, look down. Repeat. Look to the right. Look straight ahead. Look to the left. Repeat" neck exercise. Ridiculous! And then - much too soon - she made us do the splits! With hardly any preparation at all! I didn't even try, knowing I would probably bust something without the proper exercises.

I was steaming with negative thoughts by the end of the class, with unused sarcasm and biting words that social normality would bid me not to use. When I went to sleep, I was still imagining using a bit of the Teenager Attitude that, like a kindergarten teacher, she would defend herself against with more condescension and raised eyebrows and a pouty voice. "Now, now, is that any way to speak to me? What will your mother say when she comes to pick you up? Hmmmm?"


Actually, this brings up something interesting I saw the other day. I was walking down a locker hallway and up a set of stairs when an adult - a hallway supervisor, I think - and two teenage girls came down the hallway. It went a little something like this:

Supervisor: [coming closer] . . . asked you nicely, but you didn't do as I asked! Now, come this way. [leaning towards stairs.]

Girl #1: [heads further down hallway, against Supervisor's wishes.]

Supervisor: [sounding scandalised] Excuse me? Excuse me? [Obviously trying to retain control as the girl walks farther down the hallway] All right, let's go to the office. [Laying on the superiority.] Excuse me, what's your name . . . ?

I wonder if that girl got away, or if the pressure eventually made her stop and face the You'll Be Sorry You Assumed I Was Just A Lowly Hallway Supervisor, I Know Your Superiors! wrath of the hallway supervisor? It would have been worse the more she'd resisted that adult, but if she'd got away, she may have had temporary relief from the authorities - a rare feeling.

I wonder if she'd started running, in the name of getting away with it, or if she'd continued with the restrained walking, in the name of keeping her dignity and her temporary upper hand over the supervisor?

Stick around for Part Two: What I Hate In People. Other behaviours, like being condescending, that make me want to hit something.


My classes are pretty much full of the Popularese. No one else seems to have felt any sort of difference between those who ARE the popular type, and those who are not . . . probably because they are all part of one we-are-all-friends-here grapevine, which I just CANNOT get used to.

If you need a refresher on what Popularese are - something I made a name for - see my post on them:

Anyway: I no longer think that there are Social Blocks here. I've been talking to almost everyone now, without problems - I mean, I'm reining in my stuttering, so I'm not too embarrassed. But I think that if I speak to them, they will speak back. I don't think they've noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Okay, that came out wrong. It sounds like I was expecting them to feel so awkward around me that conversations would be short and kind of painful. But . . . they're not. I've asked them for directions once, for instance. That went all right. I suppose I just have to maintain Casual Normality. I don't have to do that around friends (or, at least, Hopefully To-Be-Friends), but around the Popularese, you never know. Maybe a Deep Thinker is hiding under that popular demeanor, yes, but you can never be too careful.

And that last bit - "they haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary" - I meant about me. I don't fit into most social circles, and I felt sure that within a week of being in the same class with me, anyone would have felt it. Humans have great instincts when it comes to social standing (and facial recognition, but that's another long post).

It doesn't seem to have happened that way. Maybe it seems to every one that we're just in different groups of friends, but that we can intermingle as much as we like. And maybe it is that way - maybe I'M the strange and paranoid one, which wouldn't be a first by a long shot. Maybe no one feels that I feel out of the ordinary - maybe I'm camouflaging, somehow, having had casual conversations with several of the Popularese I'm not technically friends with. Maybe I'm a Deep Thinker hiding beneath the thin veil of Casual Normality.

That's not a good thing.

I mean, yes, it's a good thing that I have some sort of protection, but as a general rule of mine, Casual Normality is bad bad bad. I don't like being moored between full-fledged, Neon Lights Announcing Deep Thinker, and someone living by Casual Normality. With me, I think the veil is thinner than that for most people, but still.

I'm not announcing my relative strangeness, but neither am I hiding it. All my Hopefully To-Be-Friends have noticed these strange bits, and everything's still all right. Hopefully that's all it is.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Reader's Code

There are two types of readers in this world.

There are the readers that do it for fun - for something to do, for following trends (e.g. the Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.), for finding out what happens. Those are the readers that will leave a book unfinished more often than not, who will think of a book as just that - a story about things that happen.

Then there are the Deep Thinkers. This is, in my opinion, a whole category of personality, but it also is a type of reader. If someone is a Deep Thinker, they will almost certainly be a serious reader.
Serious readers don't just read - they take in the book, they want to know what's next - they give it a little place in their heart. Every book you read marks their view on the world a little - alters how they think in almost unrecognisable ways. But these changes are there. How different would a person be if they had never read those books? How different are the minds of light readers and the serious readers? My guess is . . . pretty damn different.

I don't know about other Deep Thinkers/serious readers, but me? I read for the SOUL. I fill up my soul with stories and reading and grand escapades, characters and different worlds. Writers are creators of worlds, (and I could think of so many "what if's" on that tangent, but that's another post) creators of PEOPLE - like they are the gods of their little created worlds. And when I read, I immerse myself in it completely. It's like a time warp: I can sit down to flip through a few pages, but I end up being sucked in - and after what feels like ten minutes, I look up to the clock and am shocked to see that a whole hour has passed.

Me in a book store is like an alcoholic in a liquor store. There's so much potential, so much to be read, so many unsung and undiscovered gems possibly lying around! I discovered the Lunar Chronicles, and I can only hope it's possible to find a new series just as good after I have read it all (only 2 BOOKS LEFT. And they haven't come out yet).

But what if I never do? After I've read those last two books for the first time, I can never read them for the first time again, and though they will still be spectacular, magical books, it's never quite the same as reading it for the first time (though the Lunar Chronicles feel fresh upon every read, something you don't really get with other book series). What if I will never discover gems again, and will spend my life mourning that?

What I was hoping to say, without having to go too off tangent, was this: an important value in a serious reader is that they follow an unanimous code:

1. You must never, ever spoil a story for someone. This includes giving away the plot twists, the book endings, and giving them any information as to what happens in the story - whether it's just one book or a whole series. Trust me - serious reader or not, that someone will not thank you for it. And you will have violated your honour as a reader who respects the sacred sanctity of reading.

2. If reading a series, you must read the books in their proper order. Skipping a book, because it isn't available in the library or for whatever reason, isn't a good option. It spoils the book you missed, so that you won't be surprised and will never know the joy in reading that book for the first time. You will never know what you were missing in that. Also, it's just proper to read them in order.

3. If a movie based on the book comes out, you must read the book before watching the movie. More often than not, the book is the better of the two - and besides, it tells how things really happened. A movie might give you a distorted view of the story. Also, movies include surprises (audio sets the mood, and visuals - well, we all know the monster-jumps-out-of-the closet-theme!), but if you read the book after seeing the movie, you can't really be surprised. The experience of watching the movie is so much better when you know how things happened, but have yet to a) cement your mind's eye visual of the proceedings, b) see it all come to life.

If there's anything you think should be included in this code, leave a comment, but I think this is what's most important. It sort of encompasses the respect for reading that we should all have.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Coming Back

High school is not quite what I expected.
What WAS expected: increased homework. Also, for the first time in, like, three years . . . I'm actually learning something NEW. Science is a big example, and also why it's probably now my favourite class. Before, it was all just projects and reports based on what we already knew . . . but now, I'm actually having to STUDY. It's weird and I feel like I'm out of practice, because I haven't had to technically study for tests for so long.

Oh, yeah - there are tests! Real tests! Not once-a-month checkups like I've grown used to, but once-every-two-weeks tests! I almost like it. You kind of miss the challenge - the . . . I don't know . . . requirement - when it's gone. If you bunched all the test-related-academic stuff from the past three years I bet you would have found a certain amount of uselessness.

I know that sounds like a load of peach fuzz - no tests would be like vacation, right? That's the reaction I got when I explained about the no-test thing to my out-of-school friends: "Oh, you're sooooo lucky!" Not. School is just so much more enjoyable when you're learning new stuff - well, when it comes to science anyway. When it's math and geography, you just take it with a roll of the eyes.

Aaanyways: what WASN'T expected was how NORMAL it feels. No social hierarchy, no cliques, and I got used to it after a few days. The homework feels normal. The rising number of people I know is normal. The extracurriculars are normal too. It's all falling into a routine now, sort of.

What also wasn't expected is the occasional PDA. For example, I see people holding hands a lot, and, yes, I have read about high school romance, but come on! Now that I'm a teenager - and I think I've given this lecture when I talked about my expectations - I realize just how young we actually are. This is no time for getting a romantic record. I cannot possibly VISUALIZE myself in that sort of position, even though I have imagined it countless times.

What was somewhat expected: there being a few people I can't exactly talk to - social blocks. They're popular, they talk to everybody . . . except me. Two of them, I think it's just natural . . . the third, I think she may be very well aware of how she talks to all my friends (or friends-to-be) but ignores me. Even when I try speaking with her. This particular person will be known as Shriek.

I heard from one of my friends that at one point, when things between me and Shriek got slightly awkward - when we were both sort of giving up at friendship attempts - she asked her what she thought of me, and after giving her opinion my friend asked, "Why? What do you think?"

And that's how I found out Shriek thinks I'm annoying.

It's so funny - we're in ideal positions not to like each other. Shriek is the mature, slightly chilly in demeanor, reserved type - you know, not someone who would declare a thumb war or run through sprinklers. I think she finds me over-enthusiastic, or childish, or both - or something. So see, I think she's too Popularese, and I suppose she thinks I'm annoying in the way that kids can be annoying.

It's always nice to hear someone's opinion - NOT an opinion that is "She's okay, I guess" which I feel like would apply to almost everyone else. Too wishy-washy. Blurred, not definite - always there, but not quite in the picture. An extra.

But the thing is, extras and wallflowers are good at watching. Watching the people, watching the stars of the show - and I hear that's something that could make me a better writer. Besides, I'm kind of used to it by now. Whether that's kind of sad, I don't know. But at least I'm not too involved in any soul-sucking social hierarchies.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Serendipity: a fortunate accident. Tied with destiny and fate - but sort of like a sub-branch of the two. I know it's supposed to be a feeling you get when it happens to you, but I can't help thinking:
Does serendipity have rules?
Because the way I see it, luck doesn't have any rules - it's just luck - but maybe serendipity could. Ah, the possibilities!
1. Does serendipity happen to everyone? Or a select few?
2. If 1 = yes, then do people get multiple serendipities? Or is it just, like, one per lifetime?
3. Do you have to deserve a serendipity?
4. What are serendipities for? Finding your soul mate? Figuring out your goal in life? Generally the different aspects of destiny?
5.  Does it happen only to the people to need help finding the aforementioned?
6. Is it random?
7. Can it happen if you try to find it? Or does it happen only when it's unexpected, like the wardrobe leading you to Narnia?
8. Could serendipities have a scale of seriousness? For example, a 1 on the scale would be happening upon your lost iPod by chance . . . 10 would be help with something that affects your whole life in a very positive way.
9. Is serendipity like a push when you need something to tip the scales, when you're struggling? Or can a simple act of serendipity do all the work?
10. Is serendipity even common enough to answer all these questions? Or is it just a rare set of circumstance?


Summer will be officially over in 7 days (!!!). It's sad but inevitable and the past summer (the part after Camp PEAK - that was clearly and wonderfully real) felt a bit like a dream anyway, it passed so quickly. It's so short compared to the school year of 10 MONTHS . . . but it was sufficiently relaxing.

Maybe the dreamlike quality of the summer was due to my extensive reading? I notice that reading makes time fly by and feel flimsy - and I did read a lot this summer. Maybe I'll do some book reviews later.

Last weekend my family and I went camping to Killbear, a good camping place that's only about 2-3 hours worth of driving away if you live in Mississauga. One of the best things about it is how little mosquitoes there are compared to some other places you might go to, like Sandbanks, and there aren't any marshes (which are generally good mosquito habitats).

There were good hiking trails, blissfully cool water and bright sunshine . . . just to make us miss summer all that more. Like giving someone a delicious slice of cake full of custard and icing, and taking it away when they've only half-finished it. Yanked from our grasp.

One thing, though, stood out for me for this camping trip. It was the sight of the stars.

It was like diamond dust had been sprinkled across the sky - the stars were shining like jewels, of varying size, some even flashing colour. The sky itself was deep, velvety indigo - almost black, but not quite. You could tell where the black shapes of the tree leaves above you ended, and the sky began.

My mother tested my eyesight - she told me how one of the stars in the Big Dipper constellation had a twin star, and that in ancient times, eyesight was tested this way too. I found it - the centre star of the handle. The twin was the size of a pinprick.

You never see this many stars in the suburbs - let alone the city! The horizon is always full of this ugly orange glow from the street lamps, and too often the sky is clouded, probably for unnatural reasons.

There was a light smudge stretching from one part of the sky to the other - like a cloud, but it was behind the stars. The Milky Way. Full of stars, some bright and standing out - the others fading into the smudge. It looks like a smudge, I suppose, because of the glow of the stars in it that are too far away to be seen as individual light sources from here. Amazing - this is the first time I've seen the Milky Way like this.

Magnificent. Magical.