Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In Which Jenn Querulously Writes

I don't know if it's just that time of the semester (where we all need a break) or what, but I'm finding myself becoming crankier.  More cantankerous.  Querulous, even.  So today I shall discuss particular points of complaint.

One: students on campus.  Okay, so I know I work at a university and am a student, so I really shouldn't complain about this.  However, I'm looking specifically at how students move around on campus.  Since I'm on a bike, I'm hyper-aware of my setting (because I want to stay alive to bike another day), but I've noticed that most students don't pay attention to their surroundings.  I've almost run students down because they are too busy texting or looking at their feet to remember that they are surrounded by potential obstacles.  (FYI: they don't even hear my bike bell.) They also can't walk in a straight line, which makes biking around them surprisingly difficult.

But here is my main complaint: I usually ride on the sidewalk for a short bit, then switch to the roads that run through campus.  However, students don't even look before they cross those roads! And I'm not talking about using cross-walks--they just walk.  Wherever.  Everywhere.  And yes, cars do drive on these roads.  Today, I almost ran down three students who just randomly crossed in front of me without even looking up.  Normally, I would just roll my eyes, but today I scolded them loudly.

These kids seem so lost in their own little words (which I'm sure are infinitely fascinating) that they can't even observe the world around them.  This leads me to my next point: individualism is not all it's chalked up to be.  Bear with me a minute as I make the connection:  we as a nation are obsessed with the individual.  Thinking that one is a unique butterfly in a world of unique butterflies leads, in my thinking, to this inability to remember that one exists in spaces with other people.  Be considerate. Look around.  And watch out for angry girls on bikes.

In Feminist Theory, we keep hitting on this idea of the individual, which frustrates me because, yes, while, we are all individuals with individual experiences, we also exist within a social order, a society, a culture(s), structures, and institutions.  We are who we are because of our place in the world, not because of some unique individualism that is inherent to human nature.  We love, share, and communicate because we can understand other people: we have shared experiences, thoughts, ideologies, and perspectives.  Emphasizing individualism is detrimental to society because we all think we're entitled to step on other people to get to where we want to go instead of trying to work together to make the world a better place.  You are not a unique snowflake.  Deal with it, and remember that there are other people in the world besides you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that the intent of your post was not to make this Aunt of yours smile, but in fact that is the impact it had. In spite of the frustration (which is clearly evident) you have captured your thoughts in both a compelling and humorous manner. Your writing draws me in and reminds me that you are an amazing young woman with "mad" skills; your grandmother would have loved this piece. I should acknowledge that I appreciate the lesson in individualism Vs the world around the individual as well.