Monday, January 24, 2011

A Contemporary Fairy Tail

Of course I understand that the world was once fresh and green- that things, new things, could be discovered everyday but that’s not the world I live in now. I only know of the green Earth from the textbooks I read in school. This sea of concrete is safe; the strong, germ resistant reality that I live in protects me from the unknown… or at least that’s what the adults tell us.

About forty years or so ago a strain of Ebola hit what was once California and killed 25 percent of the population. A virus is a very strange thing; it changes itself over and over again. The first signs of Ebola originated in primates and then climbed the species’ hierarchy by killing humans. The disease was one of the few times in which humans didn’t seem so invincible. Apparently, from what I’ve heard every able adult within the US dedicated time and even years trying to understand that certain strain. After about five years of testing and hoping they moved most of the state into the desert because in the desert life cannot thrive. There are currently about twenty military bases throughout eastern California. All of the bases look identical, the same monotone buildings, the same tall cement walls, and all lacking anything from the outside world, which makes life quite mundane. There are no trees, no flowers; no life… life lets in too many secrets and the outcome can be scary and unknown. The bases are restricted areas and only a select few can leave; they are the military doctors, the only people with hope. People like my parents, and teachers have adapted to this boring lifestyle because most of them remember the bad times, where just being alive was enough of a victory.

I, however, cannot accept this life because frankly, this is no way to live. I never experienced the hard times and have never- in my whole fourteen years of living have seen this great disease. I’ve never even had a cold! I’ve never been able to climb a tree or play in the dirt because I’m always watched. That’s why I’ve decided that during the second Sunday of this month, when the doctors leave our base for more supplies I’ll be going with them. I heard my mother telling my father of this upcoming trip- my mother generally hits the news first since she’s a nurse here.

People in the medical profession always are the first to learn of new advancements and that’s why, for the first time ever I’m lucky to be the daughter of a nurse. Most of the kids at school dread the doctors because; initially they are the ones that got us stuck here.

So, the night before the long journey to San Francisco I’ll be going to work with my mother… although she’s not quite a part of my plan once I get to San Francisco. After dinner, I’m telling my parents that I’ll be staying at a friend’s house- because, after all, it is a Saturday and they always pester me about having friends. Instead of the friend I’ll be spending the night in our cozy van for when mom goes to work. I’m very thankful for our large American car because I can easily lay down behind the first row of seats… and once my mom leaves I’ll hop out and slide into one of the open military ambulances that are being loaded up for the journey… yeah that sounds easy enough- hah.

I can’t believe it… I can’t believe it. I actually am in the ambulance! Luckily the staff parking is towards the back of the hospital, where the vans and cars are being loaded. The only thing I’m not too sure of is this refrigerator that I’m hiding behind- who knows what it carries. Well, since I didn’t get much sleep in mom’s van the night before maybe I’ll try and just rest for a bit. I have a feeling this will be quite the drive.

Hmm, I wonder how long I fell asleep for… I don’t even remember leaving our base. Did we leave the base? The van seems to be parked and everything seems too quiet. I guess I should have paid more attention so that I could have gotten out to explore. I finally stretch my neck and try to peer over to see the driver. There’s no driver. No anyone. The car’s still running though and the sight of this refrigerator is making me ill, in theory that is. I look once more to make sure I won’t be seen… although I don’t think anyone is here to watch me leave. I get up and jump over to the front of the ambulance from there I leap to the ground. The ground! There’s grass everywhere. The smells are so intense as well coming from all forms of life up into my nose… and that’s when it happened. I sneezed. The sound echoed across the floor of the woods- at least I think this is what woods or a forest would be. The sunlight seems to radiate off of everything. It’s far more beautiful than any base could ever be. Maybe I should look a little more, or at least take a step. I examine the flowers, and trees and the way they all coexist in perfect harmony and then in the midst of my thinking I heard a small crunch. I turn around in a quick whirl and see no one… I haven’t been found yet. I figure I’m just being paranoid so I go on ahead. Not five minutes pass until I hear another soft crunch. While turning my head I see out of my peripheral a small creature… it’s not a mouse, which I know from many children’s stories but it’s a little larger with a bushy tail.

It’s a squirrel! I have never in my fourteen years seen something so cute and innocent. How can something so small feel so at home in an endless space?

Wanting to somehow be closer to this creature that I’ve only ever read about, I bend down and extend my hand. That’s what people do isn’t it… offer themselves to appear less grand. To my utter delight the tiny animal slowly inches towards my hand. I whisper for it to “come on” and it does. The little squirrel reaches out a tiny hand and places it on my finger- it twitches its tiny nose and then suddenly chews my finger.

Oh no. Could I have caught something… it did bite me after all. I’ll just have to go find someone and tell them I came by mistake? Will they believe that?! If my mom could just quickly look me over I’m sure she’d say I’m fine. Which I think I am…

That’s when it hits me. No one ever comes on the base. People only go to the doctors’ or hospital with self inflicted injuries.

I won’t be able to come back.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Platonic Dialogue Concerning Social Interaction

Media is such a broad term that is seems almost impossible to base a conversation or dialogue off of its meanings. The first thing that media generates is communication and generally the particular media source makes communicating easier. My quarrel with making communication easier is that inevitably the interaction between others will cease. As humans, we are social beings and we thrive off of others- with social networks, such as facebook people grow accustomed to flat dialogue and unrealistic physical and emotional responses. These sites and communicating online as a whole can give people a false sense of power and control. Because the conversing party is not present, unusually harsh words can be exchanged with little remorse. Social networks enable individuals because there are no consequences for the context for what is exchanged.

The below dialogue will be based off of an instant messaging conversation relating to a misconstrued relationship.

X: Hey! How was your weekend?!

Y: … Alright, I guess. I didn’t really do much. What about you?

X: I just hung out with Michelle and Sarah. Pretty uneventful too hah

[new photos of this past weekend just became posted online]

Y: umm, uneventful?

X: what?

Y: You said you didn’t do anything… but it appears you did go out.

X: Oh, well it was a REALLY small get together and it was at Michelle’s house so it’s not that big of a deal.

Y: Okay, well don’t tell me that we’re going to hang out and not get back to me. It’s especially rude when I see that you were at a party.

(Assertiveness that wouldn’t be as abrupt if it the context of the conversation happened in “real life”.)

X: Sorry. I didn’t know I was obliged to ask you to come.

(This statement, being very much a part of the platonic argument proves that not all people share the same logic of what is ideal and what is not.)

Y: A friend should always be included or at least KNOW what’s up with the situation! I feel like the last person to know about these things. I’m only ever “notified” when I receive a facebook notification!

X: I just didn’t think you’d enjoy it and quite honestly I like to do spur of the moment things. It’s not that big of a deal.

(“It’s not that big of a deal” seems uncaring and makes the other person feel inadequate in their emotions)

Y: I don’t know… it just feels like we never really hang out anymore..

(Facebook becoming a substitute for social interaction)

Y: Like, we always say we’ll do something when talking online but in actuality we never do.

X: I guess so. It just seems so hard to actually get out and see someone, you know? Talking on here just seems easier.

Y: It is easier haha but I feel like we need to hang out… in person?

X: Definitely! Well call me after class tomorrow and maybe can just hangout?

(An actual phone call would provide more information within the context of the dialogue based on tone and understanding)

Y: Sounds good! bye

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Reading Situation

As far as reading is concerned, the practice seems almost habitual to me. My mother is librarian and has been for my entire "situation" so reading never seemed like a chore for me- it has always been fun and imaginative. Reading is a lot more personal than watching t.v. for me. A t.v. program is formatted so that every viewer has a similar take on what they viewed... it's kind of monotonous. Reading, however is designed for the creative mind and can be interpreted into many different fashions based on the individual reader. Growing up, I was always told by my mother or instructors that I had a "different way" of thinking and I didn't necessarily learn the "right way". Reading is very forgiving because there is no right way to read or understand the words. Being a visual person, reading allows for me to envision the story through my imagination- once into a story it becomes like an addiction because I don't want the story to stop or my visualizations.

As far as how I read I tend to read silently hah. But on occasion I'll read some passages aloud because I like to feel the words escape and how they sound. Sometimes the intended tone is not specific so saying the words in different ways makes the story richer and less flat.

I tend to read fiction because isn't it always better than what actually happens? I recently finished "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins which is fantastic, especially if you enjoy post- apocalyptic stories that involve a corrupt government. The tale of survival is one that never seems to age or be dated and that is a factor that makes many timeless stories.
Hopefully this course will lessen the gap between my latest reading because I do find myself not having enough time to read or read the way I like to, which is continuously.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Plato's Phaedrus

In Socrates’ Phaedrus the topic that appears quite frequently is the issue of love.

Socrates begins the dialogue between himself and Phaedrus by inquiring about Phaedrus’ whereabouts. The story within a story allows for some growth within the dialogue and the theme of Lysias “is a paradox about love”.

Socrates incourages Phadrus to at best try and retell Lysias’ tale of love. The telling does not have to be verbatim but he wants the gist of what was told to Phaedrus first hand. After some harassment Phadrus agrees to “give [him] you a summary of the points in which the lover differed from the non–lover”.

· One of the most apparent issues with being a lover is that the individual lover wastes his love on others and leaves nothing for himself. Being a lover is a selfless aspiration and one wonders if they are loved back.

· The non-lover has more control since nothing conflicts with his emotions. It is a less complicated roll.

· The divine madness was subdivided into four kinds, prophetic, initiatory, poetic, and erotic.

· Love is most often corrupt and will tarnish existing relationships. A non-lover does not have the same kind of commitment as a lover; therefore he can appreciate existing relationships.

· Their friendship seems to be somewhat competitive, especially when speech is concerned. (After Phaedrus’ initial speech concerning love, Socrates felt that the topic could be better explored.)

· Socrates brings up the valid point of desire and how that manipulates love into being irrational.

· Within Socrates second speech he ponders about love being madness. Madness is also present in poetry… “inspired madness”.

· Rhetoric also becomes an issue concerning how it can strengthen one’s speech and how politicians come into play.