Sunday, November 25, 2012

Compliments and Reciprocation - A delicate balance

There are a few things that I really like to study in the process of interacting with other humans, one of these things is how people respond to compliments. Some people, myself included feel obligated happy to reciprocate with a compliment where plausible. Some people do not feel that is necessary, but say "thank you."  Then some are narcissistic douche lords who should learn a few things about interacting with others.

One of the phrases that I overuse like crazy is "I like your face."* I like this phrase. I love that some of my friends have absconded away with it and use it also. You can mean it as is, but it is also a great compliment come-back when you have a loss for ideas, and feel like you can't quite muster the right tone to make an observation seem like a compliment, even though you don't necessarily mean it that way, i.e. "You have a fork in your hair!" Recently I said this to a girl at church.** She said, "aww, thanks. I like your [insert super long pause here] hair." I harbor no ill-will toward this girl, and I'm 80% sure she didn't mean anything by it. I bring this up simply to point out that it seems less like a compliment the longer it takes for you to concoct it. In this instance, probably just an "aww thanks" would have gone a lot further than a compliment come-back.

*Which I have overused for years - way before Bridgit Mendler was ever autotuned.

**"I like your face," not "you have a fork in your hair," although I have absolutely said that before because homegirl*** did have a fork in her hair.

***Fork girl was always super nice, and always showered me in compliments, making me feel awkward that her aesthetic wasn't really something I necessarily appreciated, so "that color looks great on you" (which it did, I wouldn't lie.) was growing a little tired, so I found that if I used the right tone, observations could come off as complimentary. But that can be exhausting, and potentially reinforce things that probably shouldn't be reinforced.   Like a fork.    In someone's hair. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Found in the recycling bin

Today saw a special schedule, bowling in the morning,  what are usually fourth and fifth periods were spent watching that Steve Zahn wimpy kid sequel, then after sixth was a dance party. During this free time, I found a piece of paper in the recycling bin with some interesting art work on it.

When I questioned other staff members, i.e. showed them this hilarious, hilarious depiction of what appears to me to be a nude woman whose arms were surgically replaced with some sort of automatic weapon on one side and a handle on the other, a very pronounced clavicle and no legs, all of them denied creating it. Can you believe no one would fess up to creating this? Surely it wouldn't be a sweet little middle schooler! When we were trying to decide who had done this, a teacher named Matt said, "well I know it wasn't me- I use more shading" at which point I laughed hysterically. We then tried to figure out what student did it - was the artist the same person who spelled out the eff word on the magnet board in the classroom? No conclusions were drawn.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Public Access

Fact: my Algebra 2/Trig teacher Mr. Ford either never learned my first name or chose to ignore it and call me either Blake's little sister or by my last name. I was never particularly bothered by it as I was never one of his favorite students and he was never one of my favorite teachers. He was SUPER nice in every other way, i.e. very generous in my grade, we just weren't meant to be besties. I thought of Mr. Ford today and remembered a mortifying incident from his class and thought you might like to take a trip down memory lane with me.

When the OJ Simpson trial was happening, a group of kids in my class (including at least Kari, Ricky, Adam - who kept a large stuffed moose in his desk - and I) and I decided to parody the trial for a science project. One aspect of the assignment was that we had to do something publicly, so instead of just stealing a camcorder from someone's parent and making a video, we headed on down to the public access station. To say that it was a clever idea would be a complete falsehood. To say that we were well rehearsed and TV ready would be another complete falsehood. This little skit was the worst thing ever. We ever-so-cleverly came up with the concept that "Citrus Juice 'CJ' Sampson" was on trial for some crime against the environment and Marcia Bark and Judge Plants Ito...well to be completely honest I can't really remember what the story was, but it was terrible.

Five or six years later was when I had Mr. Ford. One day after attendance and before the lesson, with the whole class ready to spend second period getting our math on, Mr. Ford turned to Kari and I, who had been in many of the same classes since our public access days, and asked if we had younger siblings. Both being the youngest in our families we were kind of surprised and said we didn't. He then told us of how he saw some kids on public access that looked a lot like us. After we admitted to it being us and remarking that it was amazing that they were still playing that terrible piece of history five years later, Mr. Ford was about to tell the whole class about the plot, I had to deflect the negative attention. "What were you doing watching public access?" At which point the class shifted the path of their collective judgment ray to Mr. Ford, which was absolutely my plan. He then said he was channel surfing and saw kids that looked like us, and then he started in with the lesson. After class he told me that he knew it was the two of us because our names were on the credits and he just wanted to embarrass us. And then I mocked him for sitting through the whole thing, something I'm pretty sure I never even accomplished.

Sometimes I wonder how many times that pathetic little video has been played. Hoping to avoid the inevitable anxiety spiral that would stem from that kind of thinking I lie to myself and think no one except Mr. Ford could ever make it to the end of that trash.