Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ignorance...

On my drive to school, I was thinking about why I love my major (Sociology) and in general why I am in love with learning. And I realized that I'm sick of being ignorant. Ignorance is one of the most uncomfortable ways of being.

I remember going to a party with a friend and she started talking to her friends about their major, a subject about which I know very little. As they were talking, I realized how much I didn't know about the world. I felt awkward (which, some friends would say this is a natural state for me). I was unable to contribute to the conversation except to ask "why?", "what does that mean?", or similar questions. We didn't have time for them to inform me enough where I could formulate an opinion, nor would they have appreciated ending their conversation solely to include me. So, I had to content myself by trying to follow their arguments and fill in the pieces without interrupting the flow of the discussion. My ignorance irritated me.

Yet, it is quite uncomfortable for those who are knowledgeable to be around those who don't understand what they are talking about. As a lot of you know, I am working on a project in which I'm interviewing religious people who are attracted to their same gender in understanding how they reconcile their religion and their attraction. I've learned loads from them, not only about homosexuality, but also general life lessons. But then, I go to class or talk to friends and family who talk about how 'homosexuality' is just a choice of a few rebellious people who are trying to make a statement.

Excuse me?

Or that any homosexual can be cured or their attraction can be quieted if they only exerted a little effort.

Well, no.

It really bothers me when people purport to understand other people that they've never met and that they try to group into general categories. Have they really never met someone attracted to their same gender? Just because they share the same attraction type does not mean that they go through the experience in the same way or that there is a "cure-all" or that they even want to be cured. Could it be that they are truly and sincerely fulfilled that way? Who are we to tell them how to live or to suggest that they even have a problem?

But, defending homosexuality is not the point of this post, although I'd do it at any time.What this post is essentially trying to say is that I feel education (both formal and informal) is not only helpful in building character and succeeding in this world, but it is a social responsibility. Think of all the discussions we could have, all the theories we could create, all of the problems we could work on if we all tried to expand our understanding of the world every day. 

What I'm attempting to do in Sociology is learn more about how the world works and how people understand their experiences. As this discipline is intimately connected with each one of us, it also connects to the whole world: every field is connected. From anthropology to physics, statistics to economics, art history to psychology. Ignorance in any one of these fields is ignorance in the rest. In order to truly make society grow and become a better place, it is our responsibility to grow, learn, and explore.

In short: I hate feeling awkward. So, I'm going to learn and I expect you to do the same.

The end.

Peace y'all.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

If the STENCH doesn't kill you....

Well, I had been writing quite an awesome, if I do say so myself, post about society until blogger decided to delete it...so, now I'm writing about one of the funniest nights that I've had in a while. A couple of days ago, a really great friend and I were making dinner while he was house sitting. The family that owned the place told him that he could use anything in the house that we wanted because they were moving in a week anyways.

So, we scoured the kitchen for what food to see what we wanted to make and found some chicken and decided to make a creamy lemon chicken dish with mushrooms. We were excited because that just sounds great. We went to the store to everything else that we needed and return home to start cooking. I started thawing the chicken and I'm still not quite sure what my friend was doing. Sometimes he'd disappear or reappear and I never really understood what he was doing to help with the dinner. But, at one point he was around while I'm defrosting the chicken. I was also sneaking some of the mushrooms and dropped one on the bag of chicken. (Now if you know me, I'm not one to eat anything around raw meat. I hate the thought of it.) So, I was about to throw it away when my friend refuses to let me waste the food and has me give it to him. I'm telling him it will certainly lead to his death, but he eats it like a good kid. This guy can't throw anything away.

I finally decided that I had enough of defrosting the chicken after 15 minutes or so. I start opening the package when all of the sudden ...

What on EARTH was that STENCH!

Sidenote: I was looking up synonyms for the word 'stench' to see if there was a better word to describe the horror of what I was inhaling and I think my favorite word was 'mephitis' - a poisonous or foul-smelling gas emitted from the earth - from the medical dictionary: an offensive smell.  [Just FYI, a word with a more synonymous connotation would probably be 'fetor': an offensive stale or putrid odor.]

This smell was seriously poisonous. I didn't know where it was coming from, but I was sure that my life was ending and all the good in the world had ended. Nothing was happy anymore. I wanted to die because anything was better than what I just consumed nasally. I turned to my friend in absolute horror, with confusion and betrayal in my eyes: why, oh why would he do this to me? I don't care if we are two guys, you just don't do that in front of other people ESPECIALLY when it is toxic.

But then I noticed that the culpable wafts were coming from the other direction - - - the bag of chicken. Can I just remind you how awful this stench was? I gagged twice...it was so bad. It seriously reeked as if Death itself had decided to let loose a millennium of flatulence in one single bag. It was his new weapon to kill us all.

I'm ready to toss the chicken and go on to a new idea for dinner. There was NO WAY in heaven or hell that I would eat something that smelled as though it was crafted in the devil's own rear. Again, my friend decides to salvage anything and asks, with just a hint -- well, more than a hint -- of uncertainty, if we can still eat it. Would cooking the chicken cook the smell out?

I've always wanted to take on death in a challenge. Why not try it out. Remember what happened to the wizards of the Deathly Hallows that were trying to cheat death? We were on that same track. But, I bend to his wishes and plop the chicken in the hot butter. By this time, the situation had become slightly more humorous and I was laughing out of my amazement that I had just witnessed with one of my very own 5 senses the touch of Hell. I'm still trying to convince him that we should scratch the whole thing, but ... let's try it.

DON'T ADD MORE BUTTER!!!!!!!!
No. It doesn't get any better. Instead, the wretched fumes mixed with the butter to quite literally fill my lungs with death. Paula Deen was wrong: butter does not make everything taste better. The test that debunked this hypothesis? Rank chicken does not taste/smell better with butter. I couldn't take it anymore and he called his mom to see if it was alright to eat. After she fiercely affirmed that this was a bad idea, I dumped the chicken in the trash and had him take it out...immediately.

After rummaging some more, we found some pot-stickers and made those with a side of lemon-sauteed mushrooms with parmesan cheese. That was definitely the highlight of our night, food-wise. The mushrooms were delectable.Lies. The dessert was my favorite part: cheesecake brownies with almond touched-cherries. Yum. But, more to that later.

During and after dinner my friend starts getting a little loopy. Well, maybe not loopy, but he was messing up words, phasing out, just random stuff...I wasn't too concerned until once we got the dessert ready to eat, he walks over with his plate to the couch and somehow drops half his brownie/cherries all over himself and this family's couch and rug....all over. He looked down with a blank confusion not knowing exactly what happened. I'm pretty sure he was playing back the last 5 seconds in his mind over and over again trying to understand what happened. He looks at me with this face of utter confusion and shock, and I'm on the floor. dying. laughing.

He goes to set down the plate and pick up what fell, and as he does, he accidentally throws the fork (full of cherry juice and brownie bits) from the plate onto the other half of the couch section and back onto the rug. Again: blank face. Again: I'm suffering from hysterical fits. What was going on with him all of the sudden? And then we realized:

The mushroom that touched the bag. He ate the mushroom that made contact with Death's weapon.  He was dying. Nothing could live that consumed anything tainted by the stench. And so, we made that night a night to remember because it was his last night on earth. What did we do? Watch Mean Girls. What a better way to die than watch Lindsey Lohan relive her real life experiences of plasticity. There is no better way.

So beware next time you are cooking some stranger's expired chicken: if the stench doesn't kill you, the mushroom most definitely will.

In case you were all worried: he is alright and is really still alive. Don't fret.

But really, he must have lost at least a year of his life from eating the mushroom.

At least.