Sunday, January 24, 2016

Being Cyber Bullied

I'm doing research on cyber bullying for a project I'm working on. (Okay, it's a sketch show. Sounds hilarious, right? See you all there.) Cyber communication was a really big part in my adolescent experience. AIM was King, y'all. To be honest, I miss it sometimes. There was something very sweet about having to login and see if that person you were friends with that week was online.

A giant forgotten aspect of AIM was the profiles. Profiles were the blank space under your name where you could write anything. Common profiles would typically be song lyrics, the date you started dating someone, an inside joke for only one person, a funny quote. I was always gunning for being the funny quote in other people's profiles. There is an actual entry of my freshman year diary that reads, "I am in five people's profiles right now!"

I've been grateful while reading these bullying articles that most social media hit the scene after my school years. Maybe I wasn't aware of it, but I don't think there was much cyber bullying with simple chat. Occasionally a rando would talk to you, and you'd block them. The end. But then I totally remember that I totally was cyber bullied, but I didn't think much of it?

When I was 15, a short strange thing occurred while I was at speech team practice. It happened in about two minutes, and I bare considered it, but I guess it probably changed at least one student's life pretty significantly. A Girl asked about some cans of pop in the classroom (no teacher there for about ten minutes). Henne said, "You can't have any," thinking that's why she asked. "I wasn't going to steal any," she said, "Do you think I was going to steal them because I'm black?" Very confusing escalation. I didn't know if she was kidding or not. I didn't know Girl very well, but she was usually friendly. Another guy there (and there were five of us in the room total--the fifth sitting at a computer, her backs to us), let's call him C, said, "Take this" and pulled out a switchblade. Girl took the switchblade and pointed it at me and Henne. "You take that back" (or something along those lines). I don't even remember what happened next. I think Girl started laughing and we all kept working. I literally did not think of it again.

Until a week or so later I was pulled out of a chemistry test and asked to come to the security office. I was told to write down on a piece of paper what happened after school on an arbitrary date. I said, "Nothing." The officers kept pressing me. I had no idea. Finally one said, "No one pulled a knife out after school in a classroom?" I said, "Oh. Yeah." They smirked. I think they thought I was trying to cover up something, but I sincerely had forgotten. I said it wasn't a big deal, and they told me they needed documentation anyway. I was in the middle of a test and eager to get back to it. I wrote down a very simple statement that C had a knife, Girl held it briefly.

So, a couple days later, I find out C is expelled. How I find out is my friend Smidge IMs me and asks what I did to make everyone so mad. Apparently a dozen or so people changed their profiles to "We will miss you, C. Alice _____ will die." I guess C must have assumed I was the only one who told on him? But someone must have first? The girl at the computer? Who can say. Mainly, the result was a bunch of people at my school publicly wrote me a death threat. The weirdest part how I reacted. I asked Smidge to tell me who hated me. I didn't know most of the people--C was in a grade above me. I only knew one guy, and we didn't have any classes together, so I was like, "Oh good, won't be a problem." I didn't tell a teacher or my parents or confront anyone who said they wanted me dead. I avoided those people in the cafeteria, and went on with sophomore year. In hindsight, I'm not sure how I feel about it all. Obviously I didn't feel I was in actual danger, but maybe I was? (Probably not.) It certainly wasn't right for those kids to do that, and maybe they should have learned a lesson? But somehow I was unaffected, so maybe it all worked out just fine?

I wonder how the rest of C's schooling went. I actually liked the guy. I wonder if he remembers me as a person who ruined his life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Manufactured Magic

Still magic.

Dad on safari.

Happy moment in Norway (EPCOT).
Remember the time we wrote our names up on the wall.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Watched CNN as I worked out yesterday. An money expert was talking about how 900 mil is better to nab in a lump sum instead of over time. "Maybe I should buy a ticket," I thought. In the afternoon two new gal pals came over to watch The Bachelor. Bisque came home from his haircut, apartment smelling like brownies and ladies a chittering, and asked if I would mind stopping at 7/11 on the way to my show. He wanted a Powerball ticket. Neither of us had ever bought one before.

It was snowing last night as I made my way to SC. I saw Kit on the platform and we caught up. I excused myself and got off a stop early--where a 7/11 is. There was a dozen people milling around waiting to buy a shot at the treasure. I asked the guy behind me, who had his lucky numbers filled in, how to do it. We were all buzzing with possibility.

When I walked into rehearsal my director asked me where I got my ticket. Kit must have told him that's where I was. He was going to get one while the opening act went on. I mentally wondered if he would give me a gift if he were to win. We had a dynamite show. I played a mosquito who questioned the existence of God since my best friend got malaria. Later, after gabbing and hanging, I googled the numbers.

Today while I looked for a sports bra at the bottom of my dresser I wondered what I would do with that money. Charity, Bernie Sanders' campaign, a vacation, setting up my family. But, in terms of day to day...I think I would still teach community college. Probably not three classes--but I would teach one. I would still take improv classes. I would take more Ubers and I would eat more Potbelly salads, but I like where I am.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Show

I've been nervous all week about starting this new show process. I've been holing up in my room wondering if I'm making something wonderful or something terrible. Our first rehearsal was Tuesday. Bisque texted me on my way home.

BISQUE: How was the rehearsal?
ME: It was scary, but I did it.
BISQUE: Yeah, you did!
ME: I feel a lot less scared, but still scared.
BISQUE: It's scary to create something!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Look at Community College

Who are these people I hear about on CNN? These people who allegedly hate immigrants enough to believe they are evil? Who put them in giant trash bag of "Mexican" and want to staple them to the curb? Look at community college and you will find out. You will read, in these squirrel-eyed students first "choose your own" persuasive paper, the meanest, nastiest, most bigoted beliefs about how the country has gone to squat. And you will not be able to argue with the student, but you will get to write "can you give me examples of when immigrants have taken a job from you?" in the margin. You will be able to say, "Very powerful language, but the word 'always' is illogical."

And then in class this student will be part of the group that chooses to explain a good introductory paragraph via interpretive dance. He will be very sweet to his group mates. They will make him laugh, and he will treat them like daughters--or at least cousins when they do partnered grammar work. Those two girls he worked with on misplaced modifiers and he all have something in common-- they talk about God openly. (Something I forgot people did when I worked at a state school. Look at community college.) They all wear crossed on their necks, and this student high fives them. They are latino and definitely in this course because English is their second language.

And then this student's mother will die. And he will be crushed. And he will try to take the final exam early and crumple up his papers and say, "I can't turn this in." He is forty years old and he says, "I really want to cry right now." So you hug this person who recently explained in a footnote of his essay on taxes that we shouldn't be using time and energy to give homosexuals rights (they are sinners). Who are the people out there who still hate gays? Oh, you're looking at community college, and you are hugging one.

Those "idiots" who don't know how an election works. They are ruining the country. But they also have two bullet wounds from taking a walk at the wrong time in their neighborhood. Look at community college. This grocery store manager wrote a scary story about his grandfather visiting him from hell on Halloween. This girl complains she doesn't have a single friend from high school who went to college. Watching K-Pop videos gets her through the long commute. Look at community college. You will see all the worst--the prejudiced, the annoying, the can't works, the won't works, but you will see every single one of those humans try to analyze a Carly Rae Jepson song as poetry, have a distinct option on which Chicago ballpark has better parking, get nervous when it's time to debate school uniforms on the big scary podium. Look at community college.