Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where I'm From

This post has actually been a long time coming, but I just haven't sat down and actually written it yet. College has, for the most part, been kicking my ass. Repeatedly. With a stick, too.

This year, for some reason, really makes me take a good hard look at myself and really be proud to say, "I'm glad of where I'm coming from, and I'm glad that I'm the person that I am."

Which translates to, my family raised me right.

This goes beyond good manners like saying, "Please" and "Thank you," (which my mother seems to think I'm going to forget to do every time I leave the house) but just to being a good person in general. That when someone needs help, you simply don't walk away and say, "I don't have time," and instead, you help them. Even if it's something small, like helping them pick up loose change that they dropped, it only takes a moment. Like holding the door for someone who has their hands full and can't really reach their keys or the door handle. Common human courtesy, really, but you'd be amazed at how many people simply don't do it. It doesn't take a lot of effort, even if you're in a hurry because you're five minutes late to class, to, when someone's making your delicious white chocolate mocha on a Monday, ask them how their weekend was. Ask a simple, "How are you?" And when you get your delicious white chocolate mocha, smile genuinely and say, "Thank you." Maybe it's because I'm in the food service business and I know what it's like to go through a lot of effort to make a night special for someone or to accommodate them for some reason. If they can't have strawberries on their cheesecake, I make sure that I don't bring them strawberries.

And I think, that in today's society, we've forgotten how to be nice to each other. Simply nice to each other. Without asking for anything in return, except company, and probably a smile. It seems as though everyone has to have a purpose, a motive. Or, if not most, then quite a damn few. It's the little things that we can do for each other that compound into larger things, and those larger things are often what make or break your day.

Like, yesterday, when I went out to the school where I do my teaching thing (observing, really, sometimes actually doing things) and there was a substitute. Yes, I knew there was a sub (my teacher had emailed me) but I was clueless as to what I should do. So I sent a message to my professor, who encouraged me to go and "help out" the sub.

You know my relationship with Murphy. There is really no good way for this to end.

Combined gas law, once you know that you need to find in the question (the given information) and plug everything into the formula, really only involves cross-multiplying and solving for a variable. But, when you don't know how to set it up properly, and you don't really know all the pieces of information (or can't seem to find them in the question) it can be difficult. Which is why, in a room full of 28 Regents Chemistry students, with me filing between the rows and trying to help, I looked like a moron for about 30 seconds when the sub said, after the nth student said they were confused, "I don't know anything about this. But we have a person who knows a lot about chemistry." Which, through logical reasoning (not my strong suit, but Spock would approve of this), was me.

"Can you do number 1 on the board?"

I wanted to glare at whoever had said that, but couldn't pinpoint the voice. I'm not even considered an assistant student teacher. I'm considered a "tutor." But guess what I did.

Took a deep breath, picked up the green SmartBoard "marker" and said, "All right. First thing we need to do is read the question and see what they're asking. This is really what you need to do for any Chem question that you get asked, especially because the Regents really likes these types of questions."

In the end, I don't think I confused them too badly. And, actually, the next time I walked around, most of them had a really good grasp of how to use the combined gas law equation. Mission accomplished, in a way.

Which, of course, didn't mean that I couldn't freak out about it later. Which I did. Which most of my friends found hilariously funny.

Almost as funny as what my director said to me at rehearsal earlier this week.

When we first had rehearsal, all of us in the five plays together to run through, it was also the first night that we were in costume (or had brought the costume we were going to wear to see what management thought) and, because the play that I'm in is really modern, I'm wearing clothes I would normally wear. I wore my blue vest with a white long-sleeved undershirt and jeans. Pat, the director, liked it. But it also needed more color, especially under the lights. So, he tells me on Monday, "Molly, I like the vest, and we got you a pink turtleneck to wear under it."

I have no issues with turtlenecks. Really, I don't.

It's the pink I'm not a fan of.

I get they need a contrast color. It will probably look really good. And the only pink the audience will see is what will be on the sleeves. Really? My favorite color is red. The last time I wore anything remotely pink, my father said to me, "Molls, you look like a girl from this movie." I stupidly went, "Oh yeah? What movie?" He goes, grinning ridiculously, "Pretty in Pink." My own father. I expect this type of stuff from my sister, not our dad.

But I will put on the pink turtleneck because that is what is expected of me. Because it is a challenge, like my placement yesterday, and not only will I rise to the challenge, but I will attempt to beat it into submission.

Which, while difficult and sometimes nerve-wracking, can be a lot of fun.

Huh. Kind of like life.

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz