Measured By the Moments

To watch the news is to watch history in the making, to learn what the books will never actually teach.  Some may think the constant fixation on tragedy marks our desire to draw pleasure from another’s pain, but our obsessions are nothing more than curiosity.  Most do not wish to see their fellow humans suffer.  We simply long to make sense out of the horrors that consistently grace our screens.

Ever since the earthquake and tsunami altered Japanese lives forever, one cannot turn on the television or browse the Internet without images, articles and live footage staring back at them from all angles.  Yet we do not point and laugh, sitting idly by to brag about our good fortune.  Instead, we gather whatever aid we can provide, even if only just a few pennies found between the couch cushions, and we forego our economic woes to help those whose homes, loved ones and livelihoods were washed away by the unforgiving ocean.  We come together and lend humanity a hand because our cruel world can still ignite that occasional spark of warmth and compassion.

Every major television network continues to provide extensive coverage, while key news outlets continuously update their homepages and social media accounts in an effort to keep the public up-to-date and aware.  Natural disasters baffle, so we watch the footage incessantly just in case a secret lies within that may unlock the key to controlling such phenomena.  But as of right now, we all cling to the unknown, bound by the fact that we will all inevitably die.

You see, most believe in some sort of higher power.  The “something greater” accounts for all those instances that life and science just cannot control or explain.  Humans have yet to determine what everything means, so we latch onto something intangible in hope that there really is more to our journey than life and death.

Religion holds so much power, in fact, that many die in its defense.  We ignore the fact that many believe in said higher power, and fight over the intricacies.  We disregard the fundamental similarity and kill over the differences.  We neglect the fact that we are all part of one whole and focus our attention on eliminating anyone whose theories contradict or differ from our own.  We are complete fools who insist we know what’s correct, when we all know, deep down, that defending our specific beliefs simply makes us feel as if we have a better grip on reality.

Instead, find solace in the fact that you don’t know the truth, for no one does, and embrace the differences by remembering that we are not alone in our search for understanding.  Help the hurt and save the suffering – do anything you can to ease other’s burdens and lighten their loads.  We may not know if there are truly angels up in Heaven, or if Heaven even exist, but we can certainly spread a sense of peace and hope within our world today.

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If You Need Me, Call Me

Most “creative types” refer to life as a rollercoaster at one time or another.  However, that inane metaphor just perpetuates the rampant lack of originality that plagues our world.  Instead, let’s look at life as if it’s the Mountain Climber game from The Price is Right – Sometimes you’re within the appropriate price range, and sometimes your little climber just yodels his way off the edge.  Sometimes you just need to move on to the Showcase Showdown and spin that wheel to see what new adventures life may bring.  Maybe you’ll head to the showcase, maybe you’ll WIN the showcase, or maybe you’ll simply walk away with a parting gift.  No matter what, there are more thrills than just what happens on that stage.

But we’re all bound to fall off that cliff every now and then.  And though this crushing defeat might make you want to dig yourself a hole and burrow swiftly under ground, you cannot forget that you have loved ones who will be right there to help you brush away the dust and mend your broken bones.

Friends, family, mentors, and co-workers: there are numerous people who want nothing more than to see you succeed, so do not shut them out.  When you feel like a failure that has hit rock bottom, pushing people away and sheltering yourself from the threat of disappointment seems like the only way to carry your load.  You lash out, yell and shun all their advice in hope that they will abandon you and leave you to wallow in your pity party.  Think again.

Those who love you will never give up on you, even when you’ve given up on yourself.  When you feel like you can’t do anything right, they will be there to prove you’ve been doing something right all along.  No one has to love you – there’s no rule that says they must – but they do, so cherish that and build from there, for love makes an exceptionally sturdy foundation.

Learning in the Loo: The Line at the Ladies’ Room, Part Deux

Chivalry might be dead, and people hardly say “excuse me” anymore, but there are certain courtesies that should never disappear.

“Please” and “thank you” are staples, even if they’re increasingly more rare, and holding the door open for someone has always been a much-appreciated gesture.  Saying “I’m sorry” when you whack someone with your giant purse or shopping bag will never be inappropriate, and offering to grab something off the top shelf for the vertically challenged (myself included) will surely lighten someone’s load.

And always knock before entering, whether it be a room, or in this case, a bathroom stall.

Take a moment to recall my previous post and you will notice that those who design many women’s bathrooms fail to do so properly.  (Yes, most women’s restrooms are, indeed, crap – pun intended, of course.)  Not only are they impractical, but often highly dysfunctional.  Often times, the locks don’t line up with the doorframe, while, other times, the locks simply break, or people tear them off, rendering the stall completely useless once again.  (Perhaps maintenance and housekeeping shouldn’t solely focus on replacing the toilet paper?)

Unfortunately, when you combine faulty craftsmanship with the generally self-absorbed, oblivious woman that has become all too common, you cook up a recipe for disaster.  Surely there are a vast number of women who defy this annoying (but truthful) stereotype; they just don’t seem to ever use public restroom facilities.

Countless women enter the restroom and, without peering under to check for feet, or knocking to see if the stall is occupied, just try to shove their way into the stall.  While it’s highly unlikely that your door will open, there are those times when you cannot avoid the broken lock stall.  Sure, you have to awkwardly hold the door shut while you try to take care of your business, but sometimes it just can’t be helped.  Now, enter No-Knock Nellie, the kind of woman who barrels in without any regard for who may or may not already be in the restroom.  You hold the door with all your might, hoping she’ll pass you by, when suddenly the door get ripped from your hands (or smashes into you, depending on which way it opens) and you’re caught with your pants down.

Personally, I say go for it.  The other party will always be 10 times more embarrassed because, frankly, I have nothing to hide.  (It’s the ladies’ room – we’ve all got the same parts, or at least we better.)  It’s the principle of the incident that gets me riled up, especially when the offender has the audacity to get angry with you for getting angry with them.  They’re mostly just mad at their stupidity, so laugh it off.

And, when you’re dealing with single bathrooms that make it impossible for you to peek under the door for feet, knocking is the only solution.  Knocking allows any occupant to shout “just a minute” before you barge in and embarrass yourself and the lady on the loo.  You’d show such consideration in your home, so don’t disregard the public.

(Image courtesy of Tumblr.)

Who Would’ve Guessed…

Just a few weeks ago, I posted a link to an entry I wrote for All Pomp & Bad Circumstance, a blog I maintain with my good friend, Allison Floyd.  Nicknamed Pointless Placemat, we write about our seemingly futile search for employment after both graduating with English degrees.  If you recall, the link led readers to a post chronicling my experience interviewing with an exceptionally unprofessional company.  To refresh your memory, click here to read the entry in full.

But the story doesn’t stop there.

About a week after posting that entry, I discovered that this company posted the exact same advertisement on the very job board I found them on in the first place.  Though I spent a few days pondering the potential outcomes, I inevitably decided to experiment by applying again —

Fool Me Once, Shame on You:

Knowing they had completely disregarded my existence the first time, I decided to see if they recognized my name or résumé in any way by reapplying using the exact same cover letter. (If you’ve ever read my cover letter, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s not all that conventional and would probably stand out if actually read twice by the same person.)

(Click the entry’s title to read the entire post.)

Prepared for the hilarious, I went into this interview nerve-free.  Somehow, when one approaches an interview with no expectations other than to learn an entertaining life lesson to share with friends and strangers, all nervousness and jitters fall by the wayside.  And when you know where one person’s (or company’s) true colors lie, it’s even easier to see them shine through —

Don’t Worry, I’ve Got This:

Finally, a reluctant employee saw me through the glass door, rolled his eyes and pressed the buzzer that unlocks the door. He disappeared as I entered, leaving me to stand there unattended. Eventually he passed my way again and snidely asked if I was waiting for someone.

There will surely be at least one more update, whether I hear back from this company or not, so stay tuned!  Subscribe to Stop & Smell the Roses, All Pomp & Bad Circumstance or follow me on Twitter (@bonitianniti) for update announcements!

The Pressure’s Off: Valentine’s Day in Retrospect

Just as ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ claims “they should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves”, I’ve always wondered who thought giving a tiny, diapered child a bow and arrow was a good idea. Considering I’ve spent my entire life BB Gun-free for fear of losing an eye, I’m convinced that this winged, weapon-wielding weirdo can’t possibly be healthy for humanity. (Though many wish they could blame their relationship woes on this fantastical fool, I’m sure.)

But, since we can’t place direct blame on the illusive Cupid, the brunt of the blame falls on our significant other’s shoulders.  Men have a reputation for avoiding Valentine’s Day like the plague, while all the ladies of the land build their expectations higher than their heels will help them reach.  Such high hopes leave both parties doomed, destined for disappointment and failure.  Men feel pressured to spend money are their girlfriends and wives, thinking the more lavish the gift, the better, while many women feel unloved if they don’t receive the fanciest chocolates or the finest jewelry.

Yet once you move past all the pink and red hearts, heart-shaped doilies and chocolate boxes covered in red cellophane, you’ll notice that we’ve once again turned a day based on meaning into a day fixated on materialism.  But all the diamonds and stuffed teddy bears in the world could never replace the joy that comes with a shared experience.  Whether it’s an extravagant vacation, or just a simple dinner and a movie, time spent together is much more meaningful than money spent on each other.  Material items cannot compare to memories, for these gifts are merely momentary.  Some gifts break the barrier, but most of those bought in the last minute haste go forgotten days later.

Memories withstand the test of time and inevitably bring a couple closer, for shared experiences are what help us build those unbreakable bonds.  You cannot reminisce about that box of chocolates your love gave you last year (unless you’re lamenting over the weight you gained, of course), but you will always have those memories to hold onto for a lifetime.  To know someone wants to give you their time is the most precious gift of all and exemplifies their love through action, not empty gestures.  And when you stop to realize how very little time we have with those we love, these moments are true blessings that money could never buy.

Lessons Learned: The Vaguely Uplifting Death Film

When people say there’s nothing on television, I truly believe them. Networks flooded with reality shows (that are far from realistic) fail to provide the quality programming that ruled the airwaves when I was a child. So when one channel shows two fairly decent movies in a row on a Saturday afternoon, no less, I jump for joy to know I do not have to sit and write in silence. (I concentrate better with background noise most of the time.)

Yesterday afternoon, TBS seemed set on cornering the market of vaguely uplifting death movies. The double feature began with Phenomenon, starring John Travolta and Kyra Sedgwick, followed by The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Both worthwhile films in their own right, they focus on similar themes. Each movie revolves around the main character’s inevitable death, inspiring others to live and love life to the fullest.

However, one cannot help but contemplate their own mortality and what truly matters in life. Notably, Kyra Sedgwick’s Phenomenon character, Lace, experiences a bought of anger when she discovers John Travolta’s character, George, has bought all the chairs she made — the ones he claimed to have sold. Assuming one has their whole life ahead of them, this short-lived anger may seem like nothing more than a blip on the radar. But when you account for the unpredictability of life and the possibility of this day being your last, you begin to realize that misplaced anger really serves no purpose.

To waste time with anger is to lose track of love. Moments spent holding grudges or arguing will only rob you of the precious time you’ll be longing for in the end.  When our pride gets the best of us, we need to take a step back and wonder what we’re really accomplishing when we wallow in our anger. Trying to punish someone for their actions inevitably punishes all those involved.  We should spend our time with loved ones showing them how much we truly care.  Besides, a vast majority of our issues stem from perceived problems that don’t even exist.  Arguments come and go, but deep down, all that matters — what ties us together — is love.

Do Unto Others…

This week, my efforts took a turn toward the untouched.  You see, I also maintain another blog with my friend, Allison Floyd, entitled All Pomp & Bad Circumstance.  Nicknamed Pointless Placemat, we share our thoughts and experiences, focusing on what it’s like to be an English graduate facing the job market in this horrendous economy.  My search has increasingly intensified, so, thanks to my depressing quest for the almighty dollar, Pointless Placemat was unintentionally pushed to the back burner.  However, recent experiences left me inspired to, once again, share my latest bit of wisdom.  Below, you will find a short excerpt from this recent post.  Click through to read the rest of the entry and check out All Pomp & Bad Circumstance!

Honestly, a simple “no” would suffice – yes, it’d be curt, but at least it’d be definite – except they seem to fail when it comes to professional courtesy.  They make you dress up, put you on the spot, and make you feel as if your fate is in their hands, all just to toy with you later.  Pulling at the strings of hope, they yank until you’re unbelievably tense, then snip the wire as they cut you down to size, allowing you to fall harder than ever before.  You must jump through hoops, but they don’t even need to respond to your email if they don’t feel like it?

Click here to read the entire entry!