One of my pet peeves is when I try to log into my e-mail account and type just one letter wrong. The mail service always invites me to register a new e-mail account. It makes me a little bit jealous and possessive to think of someone having an e-mail username that is so close to mine! If I have been a faithful user of lindseywatson625 for so many years, would they just give away lindsyewatson625 so easily?
On Thursday night I felt vindicated as a classics teacher when I heard Latin on LOST! (Yes, I recognized it before Juliet identified it). I gleefully shared this bit of “see, Latin is relevant to your lives” with my oldest Latin students…none of them were super convinced. But since Latin is not a spoken language, it is a rare treat to hear someone speaking it effortlessly. (Even when I hear myself, “effortlessly” is not even close to the truth)
Okay, so I realize that I lose some points as a human here, but I’m coming to realize that, at least for me, sympathy has an expiration date. Even when someone has a sincerely pitiable condition, I just can’t maintain the same level of interest in the malady that the afflicted person has. I’ve felt myself wanting to roll my eyes and make snide remarks to a person who is expressing pain (again!) due to prolonged allergies, stomach bug, fatigue, etc. If I’m not that inclined to sympathize with the person in the first place, my sympathy has about the shelf life of a ripe banana. If I’m not inclined to sympathize with the person in the first place, AND if the prolonged ailment results in more work and inconvenience for me, it’s even shorter. I know it’s horrible, but it’s true.
If you’re like me, any time a movie starts getting Oscar buzz, I lose interest. “Best picture of the Year” translates to me as “Most Boring Film of the Year,” due primarily to an unfortunate encounter with Gosford Park some years ago. So it was not with great expectations that I allowed myself to be persuaded to see Slumdog Millionaire. In this case, I am happy to be wrong. I give this one my own award of “Best Ever in My Recent Memory.” If you know me well, you know that I haven’t been easily affected by fiction in many years. I don’t cry in books, and I don’t cry in movies (maybe it has to do with my shallow sympathy reservoir, see above). But in the case of this movie, I did cry–when I saw it on Friday, AND when I saw it again on Saturday. It’s redemptive, funny, compelling, and clever. See this movie on the big screen, even if you have to pay a babysitter.
If my faith in humanity was restored by my movie-watching experience of Friday and Saturday, I came close to losing it again when I attended our youth group Superbowl party. I have become convinced that text messaging is going to be to American culture what Attilla the Hun was to Rome. I’m not talking about the sort of text messaging I’ve come to rely on– one or two exchanges when talking in person is not an option, or avoiding conversation by asking a direct question and getting and answer in reply. What I saw last night was a room full of human beings who spent as much (and maybe more) time talking to people who were absent as they did with the ones who were present. The TV room was aglow with the faint blue light of cell phone screens almost constantly. At times, texting replaced real conversation even among people in the same room–the girls texted to each other (from one end of the couch to the other) about the boys in the room, etc. Even when normal conversation was taking place, it was always with one eye on the screen just in case anyone with a higher priority buzzed in. It’s all very Fahrenheit 451, and I resent it.
Finally, next year someone could just throw a “Little Smokies in Barbecue Sauce” party around the end of January and I would be just as happy. That’s what the Superbowl means to me.