Tag Archives: society

Scientific Evidence that Grinding is the Worst

grinding1

So, we all know that sociology is the science of assigning fancy names to things that everyone has already noticed but thought unworthy of naming.

For example, take Post-Purchase Rationalization.  This phenomenon is defined by Wikipedia as a “cognitive bias whereby someone who purchases an expensive product or service overlooks any faults or defects in order to justify their purchase.”  Also known as Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome (really?), this epidemic has apparently afflicted secretly remorseful shoppers everywhere.

I mean, duh.  Anyone leaving Whole Foods with his or her reusable bag slightly heavier experiences some degree of Post-Purchase Rationalization.  As in: I don’t feel guilty.  I’m GLAD I spent $14.99 on raw sprouted macadamia nut butter.  It is so natural, no animals came anywhere near it, and I am desperately lacking in omegas.  I can’t wait to carve into it with the bejeweled knife I bought at Anthropologie and spread it on some gluten-free soy crisps.  Also I’m saving the earth with this reusable bag.  

But enough about PPR.  I would like to turn the focus to a different sociological phenomenon, which is so eloquently dubbed Pluralistic Ignorance.  It is best illustrated by an example:

At the end of class, a professor asks if anyone is confused about her dense, rambling and disorganized lecture on the irregular conjugations of ser in the past perfect subjunctive, and she gets crickets in response.  Despite the silence, which seems to indicate collective and complete understanding, however, everyone is confused.  But since everyone thinks everyone else is on top of their shit, no one speaks up.

Get it?  It’s basically when everyone does something because everyone thinks everyone else wants to be doing it, but really no one wants to be doing it.

Keep this in mind while I start talking about something else now.

I couldn’t even begin to give you an accurate estimate of the number of times I have found myself on some dark, sweaty dance floor, lost in a sea of gyrating body parts.

Because everybody loves to grind.

boomchickaboomchickaboomchicka
boomchickaboomchickaboomchicka

Especially this guy Tim (false name, never know), a golfer from Yale, who began to grind with me one fateful night at Princeton.  He was kinda cute and freckly, so when he pressed his front against my back and started to bend his knees and sway to the beat, I figured what the hell.  So I got low… like in that rap song! Ya know??

Eighteen seconds later, my thighs were screaming.  That was to be expected – the price of the grind, if you will.  But then something unexpected happened.  With his hands on my hips – I suppose that’s our modern take on “leading” – and with his left foot as our anchor, he started to maneuver our bodies into a rather dizzying, continuous pivot.

We grinded (ground?) in circles.

He might have intended to keep circling, round and round, chasing ever-elusive tails, for hours… eternities, for all I know… had I not started making desperate, wild hand gestures and exaggerated grimaces at some friends nearby.  The universal signal for “grab my arm and pull me away from this hellish wall-sit-meets-merry-go-round.”

Continue reading Scientific Evidence that Grinding is the Worst

TV Panic

watching_tv

We’ve all experienced that brief moment of crisis, those few seconds of rapidly and exponentially mounting tension, when the television fades to black and remains obstinately so for just a tad bit too long.  Milliseconds, probably, but it feels like…  minutes.

Who knows… maybe some behind-the-scenes monkey dozed off and forgot to ensure that the cut to commercial break be as seamless as a Speedo.  Or maybe the film editors got lazy.  Or maybe you were watching something directed by David Lynch, in which case everything is intended to make you uncomfortable.

The thing is… we’re so used to sharp, quick, smooth cuts, cuts that leave no room for even the smallest lapse of attention.  After all, can’t let those eyes wander.  So when you’re sitting next to your homie on the futon watchin the boob tube while your buttery hands duke it out in the popcorn bowl, and the screen suddenly stays black for just a second too long… you are suddenly and rudely confronted with your own mortality.

Okay that may be a little dramatic.  Or not.  I mean I’m sitting there, blissfully allowing myself to indulge in the cheap and readily available form of escape that television provides, when suddenly my reflection, alongside that of whoever is bored enough to be watching television with me, is on the screen and will not go away.

I almost can’t breathe until the screen lights up again, and, with a sigh of relief, I can bask in the warm, familiar comfort of Alex Trebek doing something horribly condescending.

I think a large part of that panic, during those short moments, stems from the sudden and undeniable realization that I am, to boil it down, sitting still and staring straight ahead at a glowing box – an inanimate object that most certainly does not reciprocate my tender sentiments.  Oh, the horror.

Watching television: the anti-hobby of slightly shamefaced people everywhere.

It’s true.  Rarely does a hefty portion of TV come without a side of guilt and a dash of self-loathing.  Forgive the cheesy cooking metaphors.  (And that half-assed pun).

I mean, you probably didn’t intend, when you first pressed that seductively circled red play button, to spend fourteen consecutive hours watching Downton Abbey (or Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones, or Pretty Little Liars…) on your computer, lying on top of crumpled sheets and an ever-accumulating nest of crumbs. When you finally dragged yourself out of bed to brush your teeth at 3:30am, you probably weren’t thinking, Yes! I can check THAT off my to-do list!

More realistically, at least based on my own personal experience, while scrubbing those pearly whites you were probably slowly and painfully coming to terms with the fact that you do not live in early 20th century Britain, that you do not have to worry about Germans, and that you do, in fact, have to wake up in four hours.

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Sorry, Facebook, but I’ve met someone else…

… Myself. (My sincerest apologies for the excess of cheese that just physically splattered out from this blog, through the computer screen, and onto your pajamas.  Or onto your favorite deep-V, or onto your buff, bare chest… gimme a break I don’t know what you phantom bloggers/blog-readers are wearing.  However, I do encourage you to inform me in the comments.) ***

Here’s a thought:

Have you ever been trying to read a book, feeling, in your head, a vague sense of frustration and unidentifiable strain, when suddenly somebody flips a switch and turns a light on?

You only come to realize that you had been practically squinting, struggling to see through the dimness, after the fact – after you are made to remember, probably with a big sigh of relief, how easy it really is to read in the full light, and how unnecessarily difficult it had been before.  The page is now dancing in front of you, your eyes have relaxed immeasurably and they move briskly over words that leap eagerly into focus.lightswitch

Well, that’s kind of how I felt two days ago, after I deactivated my Facebook. (Please, people, control yourselves.)  There was suddenly room to breathe, clarity, relief from some offending pressure I hadn’t even known I carried with me.  I felt that the Social Network had been, for the past six years, ever so subtly and sneakily dimming the lights, compromising my focus, making it harder and harder for me to be present, making me strain to live simply and easily as I had been before.  Then, with a quick flip of a switch (okay, it wasn’t that quick, you just know Facebook makes you go through hell if you try to escape from its clenches), I was back.  Back to reading with the light on.

Does that metaphor work for you?  I feel like I may have stretched it a bit far; however, it IS already written down, and it would be a pity to delete it all…  so, here’s another one:

Metaphor #2:

It was likstatic_tv_021709e, for all this time, and entirely unbeknownst to me, there had been a TV spewing low-volume static in the background of my life, and someone finally turned it off.

Nailed it.

Continue reading Sorry, Facebook, but I’ve met someone else…