Making the Rounds

Senior year of high school, applying to college was stress-inducing and anxiety ridden. Would the B+ I consistently got in Chinese lower my chances of getting into the schools I wanted? Would being ranked 10th in my class instead of 1st or 2nd be too low? Had I done enough community service, been involved in enough extra-curriculars, had enough leadership roles? If I had known about Bard’s admissions exam then, I most definitely would have applied.

I don’t always love Rihanna, but the attacks over her dress earlier this week were completely unnecessary. Jezebel does a pretty good take-down of it here.

On a similar note, this blog post wonderfully explains all that is wrong with Washington Post saying women should get married in order to prevent sexual abuse.

Buzzfeed’s explanation of what is going on in Iraq right now is simple enough for anyone to understand, even if you don’t know much about the conflicts in the Middle East.

Finally, some pictures of bookstores that will make you want to travel the world.

Have a wonderful weekend! Sunday is supposed to be beautiful here in Boston-I think I see the beach in my future!

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How Important is Luck?

Almost everyday at the end of work I walk Arthur and Raymond down to either Arthur’s driver, or a taxi if only Raymond is in that day. They’re two wonderful people, Arthur and Raymond. At 91 and 86 respectively, they’ve both lived long successful lives. Being a 20 year old intern at the beginning of my professional career, it has been a fantastic experience hearing the stories of two men at the opposite end of their careers.

Exiting the law firm, we turn right towards High St. There Arthur’s driver, a neighbor who looks after and plays chess with him, or Raymond’s taxi waits. Both use walkers, but Arthur has to concentrate on walking to the car, even with the walker. We usually don’t talk; it is too much effort for him to hold a conversation while walking. In the elevator though, or when just Raymond is in and I walk him to the taxi, I hear fantastic stories and wonderful. Raymond graduated Harvard with Henry Kissinger, and was either in the first law class that had to take the  LSATs, or that last class that didn’t, I forget which. This last winter he spent three weeks in Florida, and another two in London. During the summer he takes long weekends at his summer house in Maine, and he lives in the permanent residence apartments of a five-star hotel in downtown Boston. He, and Arthur as well, is extremely privileged.

I don’t mean to say they haven’t worked hard for their success, because they have. Watching two men close to a hundred years old come into work almost every day and still represent clients, read cases, and do actual work has been an important lesson on work ethic for me. That doesn’t mean though, they are not privileged.

If I had taken a left towards Purchase St. when I came out of the law firm, I would have passed a homeless man who sells newspapers. Across the street is a women holding a sign asking for change. She is unemployed and trying to support her daughter. Outside the entrance to the T is another man begging, and outside South Station a man holds a sign that says, “Obama isn’t the only one who needs change.”

Walking around Boston I see even more people homeless or begging. I know none of their stories; I’m too scared to ask someone I don’t know their, let alone their story, and its especially hard to talk to someone whose begging because it forces you to recognize their humanity. Still, I find it difficult to believe all the homeless people in Boston are lazy, that all of their work ethics are so poor compared to Raymond or Arthur.

 

John Green and his brother Hank are national treasures, and if you haven’t watched them on YouTube, you should. Yesterday John posted a video discussing Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a book I would now love to read. In discussing the book, he specifically talks about luck, and he asks a discomforting question:

How do you make sense of a world where luck plays such a huge role in your triumphs and tragedies?

Is it more luck or hard work that separates Arthur and Raymond from the many homeless in the streets of Boston? If these two men had been born in a different time, place, gender, race or socio-economic status, would they have been able to accomplish all they have? If they man who sells newspapers had been born or grew up in different circumstances, would he now be sitting in the law firm, asking me to get books from the Social Law Library for him? Are our successes and failures, as Green suggests, more dependent on our luck? What do you think?

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This post was inspired by Day Seven of the Writing 101 Challenge: Focus today’s post on a contrast between two things.

People Watching

People are weirdest things on this planet. I know this for a fact; I people watch so am thus an expert on people. During my lunch hour I love to people watch at Dewey Square near where I work and come up with their stories.

Today four people-two girls and two boys-played boccie in grass. They’re young, I’d guess around twenty five, and in their first or second real-world jobs, probably in entry-level positions. They all work together in a company that is now longer a start-up but isn’t old either. You wouldn’t know that there are companies that do whatever their company does unless they told you. It’s likely innovative.

It was the boy in the tie’s idea to play boccie. He’s a people pleaser- youngest of three siblings- and a cheese. Everyone should like him, he’s too quirky not to love. The idea came up while getting drinks after work on Friday. This group developed a few months ago, and their used to each other’s company. Tie came up with boccie to in order to remain a novelty to people who are used to him, to continue to impress them.

He’s the ring leader I think, tie. At one point, before the group had developed, he and black-slacks  were friends, and red dress and pink cardigan were close. Tie thought red-dress was pretty so made an excuse for the four of them to hang out. By the time he found out red dress has a boyfriend (she definitely has a boyfriend) all four of them were having so much with their group that they continued to hang out.

Black slacks likes pink cardigan. He’s cute and shy about it, but I can’t tell what pink cardigan thinks of him. She’ll give him a chance I think, but she’s not sold on the idea of him. Red dress knows whats going on between her friends, but tie has no idea. He’s too aware of himself to aware of what’s going on around him.

As I head inside, they’re packing up. Maybe they’ll be back tomorrow, getting food from the food trucks and sitting in the same grass they played on today. Or maybe I’ll have to find new people to watch.

Carson Beach, Dorchester

Give me a hot day, some great friends, and a beach.

Give me sand, sunscreen, a new bathing suit and some water, even if it is murky.

Give me jelly fish, muddy sand dark with sulfur, and make the water salty.

Give me strawberries and some mixed drinks, shared with eight others.

Give me a buzz, and an expedition for a cafe that we’ll find out is closed summer weekends.

Give me ice cream instead.

Give me more of the mixed drinks, another new friend, a few more jumps in the water and a couple of photos to prove it all happened.

Then give me  a nap.

Making the Rounds

Diversity is beautiful, and combining the best each culture has to offer can result in some beautiful faces.

I recently stumbled on this lovely post, and I think I narrates quite well how we teach men to not respect women.

BuzzFeed LongForm articles are often hidden gems, well-written and sharing interesting stories. This one about the murder of Lois Duncan’s daughter is just one example.

Jaqui Murray’s writing tips have become indispensable for me, and I begin trying to write longer, more nuanced stories, I found this article about character traits quite helpful.

I’ve started the Daily Post’s Writing 101 challenge, and this is a cute little story written in response to today’s prompt.

Finally, Wednesday I wrote about one my favorite songs, so here is the link to the music video.

Que Sera Sera

My grandmother loves music. She often knows the hit songs better than anyone else, has the discography of every musical memorized, and on command can sing almost any current or former pop hit. Many of my best memories of her revolve around songs and singing. When I was little, I would dress up in costumes and the two of us would sing show tunes with the enthusiasm only a three year old can muster. Even now, when I visit her house the radio is always on, and the image of her doing the crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper while singing to the radio is seared into my brain.

I remember a car-ride with her when I older. As we pulled out of her driveway an old pop song, one of her favorites as a child, came on the radio and she still knew every word. We listened to it once threw and then she turned off the radio and taught my siblings and I the entire song. For the entire ride home, about thirty minutes max, we sang this song until we had it memorized, and then we sang it some more.

At the time I was in middle school at the time  and just thought it was a pretty song. I soon forgot that ride; it blended in with so many other memories of my grandmother, until my senior year of high school. Worried about college acceptance, graduating and everything else the future entailed, that song contained a message I needed to hear.

 

Que Sera Sera

Whatever will be will be

The Future’s Not Ours to See

Que Sera Sera

Singing that song loudly with my grandmother, and then softly to myself years later, taught me to take life in stride, one step at a time. It is okay, preferrable even, not to have your entire life planed out to the tee. As I go through the twists and turns of life, this song has become my motto, helping me keep calm in times of uncertainty.

Thank you Gramma.