Appropriate usage of emojis?

The colleagues on my team here in our New York office get along really well. We have our own private Slack channel where we make comments on everything from work and personnel-related questions to the most ridiculous and random banter, complete with moving giphy images and borderline inappropriate commentary on people we know and life in general. We also take coffee break walks and sit around the lunch table when we don’t have lunch time meetings and talk about current events and things happening with us.

Most recently, the topic came up that in the age of the #MeToo movement, it’s as though dating and romantic relationships cannot really move forward the way they once did. When you go in for a kiss, do you actually have to ask permission before you do it, or can you just go in? Or is it possible that could be interpreted as sexual assault? Or, in the case of sending text messages to anyone from colleagues to friends to potential friends-to-life-partners, is it okay to send things like flower or heart emojis? Can those types of “expressions” be misinterpreted as flirtatious or romantic rather than simply being friendly? I was actually a bit thrown off when we started talking about emojis because I use emojis a lot over text and Slack communication, and then I started second guessing myself about how and when I was using my hearts and flowers.

Is this really the era we’re living in, where we aren’t sure when being “friendly” can be interpreted as too friendly?

 

Some edibles gone wrong

I unknowingly accompanied some colleagues to a dispensary after our company happy hour en route to El Farolito in the Mission last night. I didn’t realize what he was talking about when he said he was going to “buy flowers.” He named the place, and to me, it sounded like a bar. So I thought, sure, I could hang out at another bar before my burrito!

I walked in, got IDed, and immediately knew this was not a bar. They were there to buy weed and gummy edibles, and I was just there for the ride. We walked into the smoking parlor next door, and they all began to smoke and eat their gummies. I was debating whether I wanted to try them. I’d had a puff here and there before, but it was never enough (or, well, strong enough) to do anything for me, so I never really cared for it. When I was in first grade, my dad enrolled me i an anti-drug program where I’d get pulled out of class for a few hours each week to attend lessons on why drugs were bad for me, and why I should never try them. Since then, I’d had no fascination with any recreational drugs even though I could easily have gotten access to them. And to this day, I can say with complete honesty that I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. It just doesn’t interest me. And the smell is absolutely hideous to me.

But today, I just thought, meh. I can do this. I’m 32. What’s the big deal, anyway? People take this stuff to relax, as medication. I can do this just fine. And so, I did, and also had a gummy. I was already relaxed from the two cocktails I had at happy hour, but then after this, I felt even more mellow and happy. Hmmm. This isn’t so bad, I thought. I won’t do this often, anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

We went and had our super sized quesadillas with shrimp and steak. I enjoyed my horchata. Then, we went back to the hotel. It wasn’t even 10:30 and I was already sleeping.

Well, then I woke up at 3am with agonizing pain in my left lymph node. My lymph node was swelling, clearly enlarged like a golf ball, and it felt like there was liquid moving around in it. The whole left side of my face hurt. Opening my mouth was painful. I applied some cold compresses to it to make it feel better, but the pain was not residing. Great, I thought. This is what I get for taking what is supposed to be legal recreational drugs in the state of California while in California. Please go back to sleep, fall asleep, let the pain go away, I kept thinking.

I eventually did fall back asleep. When I woke up, the swelling had gone down, but the pain was definitely still there. If someone were to poke me right there, I’d probably scream.

Is the moral of the story here to never do this ever again? Or did I just finally have access to the “good stuff” as some of my colleagues called it to elicit a reaction from my body like that?

 

 

Java Script class, Day 2

While the first day of Java Script and debugging was mostly a review of HTML, which I already understand and is fairly basic (well, it’s not even a language, so it can’t be that hard), today, we delved into the basics of Java Script. So, I started thinking about how miserable I was when I took my intro to computer science course in college just to test it out, and I did a miserable job. And while in class today, I felt probably just as miserable as I did then, except at least now, I don’t have to get graded, and I just need to have the highest level understanding of this.

Some things were meant to be. Coding and me were not.

Processing medical claims

I was at the office today after over 2.5 weeks of not being around, either due to vacation, being in San Francisco, or being sick. It felt really good to be around my colleagues again, listening to what everyone has been up to in the last few weeks, and listening to stupid jokes and sarcasm again… and being sarcastic myself.

What was not fun was figuring out how to file my claim for my medical treatment while being in New Zealand. It’s like health insurance companies want to make everything so difficult for you when trying to get your money back that they make the entire process more and more cumbersome. No, you cannot just file the claim online. You actually have to copy every single form the doctor gave you outlining the treatment and your condition, plus any prescriptions or medication recommendations, plus all your receipts, and snail mail it to their designated PO box. And even that will not guarantee that you get your money back because they need about 15 different things explicitly called out and highlighted in the documentation they give you.

I feel like I am putting these documents together blindly, and putting them in the mail is like a gamble. Am I going to hear a response? Will they actually pay me back? Who knows.

Personal history

Tonight, in the midst of cleaning the apartment and doing laundry, I sat down to do one of my original favorite pastimes of coming home from work while living in New York City: reading the New Yorker. Some of my all-time favorite articles and spotlights on quirky famous individuals have come from this magazine. Nora Ephron is one of them. And she just happens to be a Wellesley alum. In this Personal History piece originally published in this publication back in 2010, she wrote:

“I always hoped that he (my dad) would show some interest in my kids, Max and Jacob, but he didn’t even remember their names. One day, Jacob answered the phone and my father said, “Is this Abraham or the other one?” I consider it a testament to Jacob that, at the age of seven, he knew it was funny. Still, it made me sad. You always think that a bolt of lightning is going to strike and your parents will magically change into the people you wish they were or back into the people they used to be. But they’re never going to. And even though you know they’re never going to, you still hope they will.”

You know what’s so funny about this? This is kind of how I imagine my dad will be with my future children, his grandchildren. I imagine that my mom will remind him of their existence by her endless obsessing over them, but that without her, he’d be clueless and not really outwardly care. Like Ephron, I also still imagine my parents will be something else they aren’t, think about things they don’t think about, and want to do things they have zero desire to do. These thoughts come into my head at the most random times: when I am running on a treadmill, perusing books at a bookstore, or even hiking in Cape Breton. It’s like hopeless undying hope.

Sightings

I woke up this morning at around 5:30am after thinking that I saw my brother. What’s really frustrating is when you have very vivid dreams, and you wake up thinking that what you dreamt really happened.

In my dream, I was at our parents’ house standing at the top stairs of the back porch. I heard a familiar voice which sounded like my Ed’s, and I peered down the stairwell to see him there.

“Hey!” he called up to me, smiling. “You’re back!”

My heart almost stopped. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “Don’t move! I’m coming right down!” I yelled back down to him.

I ran down the stairs to meet him, but he wasn’t there anymore. My eyes welled up in tears. Fucking hell. He’s really not here.

Minutes later, Chris arrived at the house with his roller bag, and he gave me a big hug. I immediately started sobbing. He had no idea what was going on.

“I saw him,” I wailed between sobs. “I know I saw him. He’s definitely here somewhere, but I can’t see him anymore.”

Chris said nothing. He just held me tighter. There was nothing to say. There’s nothing any of us can do anymore.

This may be the first time I can recall dreaming about Ed while being home. Usually when I’m back at our parents’ house, he doesn’t visit me in dreams. This time, he has. Perhaps a tide has turned.

Forgotten

We finally received the results for Chris’s parents and brother’s DNA via 23andMe, and we shared their logins and information today. The funniest thing from these results is that there is actually Northwestern European and Jewish lineage on his parents’ side. The Jewish lineage comes from his mother, while the Northwestern European lineage comes from his dad’s side. It’s really amazing what a vial full of your spit can reveal to you.

The lineage goes back over four to six generations, too far for any of us to know of any of these people or have photos or any types of mementos of them. But this actually makes me quite sad. People oftentimes say when they procreate that they want their name or their blood line to carry on, but does that really matter at the end of the day when you yourself are long forgotten? Why does that matter when you are long gone and forgotten, and your photo albums have either been destroyed, recycled, or simply diminished because as we all know, paper doesn’t last forever?

This reminded me of Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite writers, and a quote he once had in a book that my friend recently shared with me again: “If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.” But the depressing thing here is, the “you” in this quote will eventually die, which means, everyone at the end will be dead and forgotten. We will all be forgotten.

“10 pounds”

After dinner at the Standard tonight, I went to use the restroom, and while washing my hands, I overheard a conversation between two women, one of whom was planning her wedding. She was telling her friend a dilemma she had: she wanted to ask one of her friends to be her bridesmaid, but she felt conflicted because apparently, said friend had gained over ten pounds in the last year, and therefore she would not look very good in the bridesmaid dress she picked out for all her bridesmaids. So, she decided she would confront this friend and basically say, hey, so… I really want you to be in my bridal party, but only if you can lose ten pounds between now and the wedding. The friend she was telling this to, trying to be supportive (yet, she was just as stupid as her friend), simply expressed shock that said friend would have gained that much weight in the last year and that she was sure if she really wanted to be a bridesmaid, she would lose ten pounds for her. And really, it wouldn’t be for the woman getting married; it would be for herself because who wants to weigh more?!

This is one of the reasons I oftentimes cannot stand women, and also the reason I pretty much never, ever want to be a bridesmaid ever again. The chance that I will ever be asked to be one again is quite slim since my close girlfriends who are unmarried are fairly unconventional, but just hearing this story made me so mad at the entire wedding industry and women who think that their wedding is the time when they can demand whatever they please and get away with it, even if that means completely disregarding the feelings of everyone who is supposedly important to them.

Knowing

My cousin in Sunnyvale texted me to ask what my dates home will be in September. I figured my aunt, his mom, had told him I was coming home. I don’t really proactively tell any of my cousins back in the Bay Area I’m coming home now because I don’t really care that much. This cousin’s brother and wife would probably only come to the city if it were my funeral, so why even bother making the effort?

This cousin is probably the most loyal to my aunt, though. He tells my aunt everything, all the time, and he calls her pretty much every day. I get that every family is different, but I can tell you that if I were dating someone who called his mom willingly every single day just to exchange meaningless information regarding the weather and what I ate, I’d be worried. Yes, I’m aware I used to call my mom every day. But part of me, like you, is sexist, and so I give girls the benefit of the doubt versus boys.

Oddly, I found out today that my cousin may tell my aunt everything, but my aunt certainly doesn’t tell my cousin everything. I told him via text that his mom told me she’d be back in San Francisco on September 6th. He didn’t know she’d be away, and so he asked me where she was going. Strange, I thought. She would tell me she’d be going to Oregon for over a month and not tell her own son? So I told him, and he seemed surprised.

I love finding out information before other people do. It makes them feel like they don’t have as much power.

Pokemon Go craze

When I was in Seoul, my friend texted me to suggest that maybe I should consider downloading Pokemon Go and playing it in Seoul, where she heard this game was huge. I didn’t really know what she was talking about until I came back to the U.S. and heard many conversations at my office and on the street about it, not to mention my entire Facebook and Twitter feeds full of people “catching” things via Pokemon Go, as well as news stories of people getting robbed due to location targeting in quieter places due to playing this game.

My colleagues have complained about people running into them while having their phone up looking for the next thing to catch, as well as people walking into oncoming traffic because of this ridiculous game. Two people have reportedly fallen off a cliff from playing Pokemon Go and not paying any attention.

These are the moments when I think that technology is making a lot of us a lot, lot stupider and less aware of the real world around us.