Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Somos Uno

There's nothing quite like getting off a plane hundreds of miles away from home and finding that, for the most part, people are the same.  Dennis and I are in the midst of two months in Guatemala learning Spanish and volunteering in clinics.  What has struck me about my interactions with my host family and my Spanish maestras (yeah, I can make my writing chic by using italicized non-english words) is not how Guatemalan or Latino they are, but how rather unremarkable and relatable they are.  My host mother has been hosting for over 15 years.  She has found Germans to be stern, the French to be of elevated nares, and Canadians incredibly friendly--affectionate observations that we ourselves joke about in the United States.  My current maestra is also a psychologist at a university here.  We both find the mind to be profoundly fascinating and she was an instant comrade with whom I could share my most formative patient interactions.  My host mother's son is a gregarious and eager 18 year old who loves vintage music and vintage studio equipment.  He has a set of 20-year-old Technics studio speakers.  I introduced him to some Mayer Hawthorne and he loved the stuff.  All the while in our language school, Macklemore is playing alongside Latino artists.

People are the same everywhere.  This is not to say that people are all the same, for even in the United States great diversities of personality and perspective exist.  However, this is to say that these same diversities exist all around the world.  Every country has its Davids, Alexes, Pranays, Ryans, and Dennises; its bros, its gentlemen, its realists, its intellectuals, its humorless, its jokers.  Culture and education may skew some distributions, but there are themes that we will find common no matter how far away the arrivals terminal is.

The walls that divide us are artificial.  Certainly, I have less in common with an indigenous Mayan girl than with my psychologist maestra, but this is a discrepancy of privilege and socioeconomic status, not of substance.  I have more in common with my maestra than I do with a girl growing up in the most afflicted parts of Detroit.  Yet even still, what do the four of us all need but to feel safe in our homes, to have and fulfill a purpose, and to love and be loved?  There is no us and them.  There is only us.  Somos uno.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why you don't leave your computer unattended in this house

Left my computer unattended on the table for ten minutes while I was loading the washing machine. I came back to find this guy smouldering at me from the desktop. Thanks, David, you incurable jerk!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Law of Averages

Some bloke who calls himself Jim Rohn at some point in his life once said, "you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

Needless to say, I'm doomed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Desserted by my comrades

It was a long day spent immersed in conversation about bugs and drugs and I trudged home looking and feeling haggard. Having decided to drown my sorrows in sugar, I pulled out my last stock of strawberry ice cream. I walked away from it to put away my bag. I wondered if I should put it back in the fridge lest it melted/was attacked by a stray arthropod/spontaneously combusted. "Naah," I reasoned, "what could possibly go wrong."

The scene that awaited me when I walked into the kitchen would have put Jurrasic Park's velociraptors to shame. Alex, Ryan, and David were swarming over the modest remains of my would-be dessert with bloodied spoons (might have been fragments of strawberry).

They left none for me.

You guys suck! I hope it was filled with an exotic assortment of bacterial endotoxins.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blurb then a story

To answer the question - probably not.  Rabbits likely do not ponder about anything, much less dandelions.  Yet, if we're being honest with ourselves, I think that we would like to think so.  There's something pleasant, but sad, about the notion of a furry woodland creature, let's call him Alvin, dreaming about his favorite flower (ok, weed).

...What the hell.  Storytime:

Alvin sat next to his fellow rabbit friends in silence.  No one talked.  No one knew how to talk as they were all rabbits.  However, Alvin could think.  Or at least he thought he could think.  He wasn't really sure because he had never talked to his friends about it before.  Not that they would know, or could say.  They were rabbits after all.  Regardless, Alvin did something - something that provoked feelings of happiness or uncertainty, or fear.  When he did that something, pictures of things he saw popped into his head.

He tried it now - what came into his mind was a cat that lived in a nearby house.  He didn't like the cat very much; in fact, he was afraid of it.  His heart quickened and he shifted his hindlegs slightly.  He turned his head and saw his friends sitting.  Still silence.  One of his friends was chewing something.  Probably grass.  At this point Alvin would have laughed, if he knew how.  Instead, he just sort of snorted.  That would do.

He tried doing that something again, this time he would try for something less scary.  A picture of dandelion drew itself in his imagination.  He had seen those before.

It was nice.  Alvin felt good.  He turned to face his friends again and saw them looking at him.  He didn't know exactly what he wanted, but if his rabbit brain could have the clarity of a human's, he would have wanted to speak.  He wanted to share the recollection of his experience - the one that he had just now about the dandelion.  But he didn't know how, nor could he, because he was after all, just a rabbit.

Alvin and his friends sat there staring at each other for sometime.  It wasn't awkward, Alvin felt - just sad.  If only they knew.  If only they could also do the same something Alvin was capable of.  His one odd friend was still chewing.  Chewing.  Chewing.  And then, completely randomly, the rabbit congress broke.  All of Alvin's friends turned away, but towards the same direction.  They were looking at a field.  Alvin too, looked over.

 In it, there were dandelions.

 Do Rabbits Ponder About Dandelions?

Sophisticated analysis and application of literary theory to come.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

This is probably a bad idea...

It was a dark and stormy night.... (no, really, it was!)

Alex, David, Dennis, and I were sitting around our reading room, which I insist should be called "the readarium." Our pseudo-intellectual discussions meandered from the need to renew physical diagnosis in modern medicine to musings about the pretentiousness of over-accenting foreign words in one's speech (for example, I recently gave up saying Khwassan when I want a croissant at Dunkin Donuts and David resists pronouncing Beijing as Běijīng).   

It occurred to us, after some less salubrious boy-topics, that we ought to memorialize the bizarre thoughts/comments/conversations/happenings of this house on a blog. So, here we go. Considering the appalling names David suggested for this blog, I'm a bit apprehensive about the lurid stories this blog will display by the time we disband as housemates one year from now. Only one way to find out I guess...

Why Rabbits? Why Dandelions? Ask the other guys; I just work here.

all ideas can be good in a certain situation!