Ordering Coffee: A Field Guide

I know the look. If you work at any kind of fast-food – or coffee, in this case – establishment that requires someone to stand at a counter in front of you, you’ve seen this look too. That glazed-over, slightly confused look as they stare just slightly above your head. Maybe they squint as they do so. Maybe one single syllable will drift out of their partially-opened lips, “ummmmm, ahhhhh…”

We’ve all been there. We look at a menu and it might as well be in Greek. Or Italian, if you’re at a coffee shop. What the heck is miel and why is it in my coffee? Is it ex-presso or ess-presso? Why do they give me a funny look when I say “medium” instead of “grande?”

As someone who’s been on the other side of that counter, looking back at you and watching you have an existential crisis that is choosing what kind of specialty latte you want, I want to help. I don’t even know if this little field guide will help at all, but maybe it’ll make things less scary the next time you walk into a Starbucks or – even scarier – a local, privately-owned shop run by a free-range hipster named Alix who has a tattoo of a hemp leaf on his neck. So let’s jump into it, shall we?

Vocabulary: The first thing you should know is what kind of hip lingo you should use when you walk into a coffee shop. First, I’ll tell you words to avoid:

  • Frappucino: DON’T. JUST. DON’T. Frappucinos were invented by Starbucks to siphon money from an unsuspecting public when it’s just a glorified slushie. If you’re at Starbucks, go ahead. Order a frappucino. But EVERYWHERE ELSE, ask if you could get your drink frozen or blended. They’ll know exactly what you want.
  • Caramel macchiato: Freaking Starbucks ruins everything for people. If you order a caramel macchiato anywhere else, your barista will look at you like you just shot their grandmother. If you want the same experience as a caramel macchiato (which tastes like sadness, if I can be honest here) just ask for an unstirred caramel latte (that’s exactly what Starbucks’ caramel macchiato is.) A traditional espresso macchiato is a tiny cup of espresso with a dollop of milk foam. And that’s what you’ll get when you order a macchiato at any establishment that’s not Starbucks or a chain that’s fallen prey to the dreaded Starbucks Lingo.
  • French vanilla: This is basically just redundant. French vanilla isn’t really a thing – it’s just a fancy way French people make ice cream (trust me, I googled it.) It’s also a weird powder that they put in those gas station machines so you can get a little cup of disappointment when you stop to fill up your tank. Just say “vanilla.”
  • Venti: Yes, this is basically a list of Starbucks terms that you should never use anywhere else. Venti only exists at Starbucks, and Starbucks has conditioned us to speak their language. Thanks, capitalism. (Just say “large” everywhere else.)

The Basics. So you want a cup of coffee. That’s why you’re here, at this metaphorical coffee shop. Unless you’re over 60, you probably don’t go to coffee shops just for a cup of black coffee, unless you’re a hipster who’s into those weird glass contraptions that take five times longer to brew than a normal percolator but apparently bring out different “notes” in the coffee. (Hipsters like the term “woodsy” and “nutty.” Most other people just taste “coffee” because we don’t have a “sophisticated palate.” Apparently palates can be “sophisticated” – like did they go to Harvard or something? What am I missing here?)

First, it might be pertinent to talk about what kinds of drinks are available for your enjoyment – because after awhile, all those Italian names start to sound the same, which makes perfect fodder for old people complaining about younger generations (“those darn kids sipping their mochachino macchiatto grumble grumble.”) So I present to you a very short dictionary of coffee terms and beverages:

  • Espresso: [ess-PRESS-oh] It’s a tiny cup of coffee (if you want to get fancy, it’s a demi-tasse, which is French for “teeny tiny cup that makes your hands look gigantic, even if you’re the president” (exact translation)) It may be small, but don’t be fooled – espresso is one tough cookie. If you’re not a fan of strong coffee, don’t order straight espresso or extra shots of it in your drink. Most of the fancy drinks on the menu will involve espresso. If you’re not a coffee fan, you can probably order any of these without espresso – just ask for a “steamer.” However, in most coffee shops, you can get your espresso served in a fancy way, like an espresso macchiato (see above) or an espresso con panna (that’s espresso topped with whipped cream, and yes, it’s delicious.)
  • Latte: [LAH-tay] The oldest coffee trick in the book – pull some fresh shots of espresso and pour some warm, frothy milk over top. Add flavor if desired. Typical lattes come with two shots of espresso, but you can specify how many you want (single, double, triple…I’d probably stop at three. Like I said, espresso packs a punch.)
  • Cappuccino: [cap-uh-CHEEN-oh] Lattes and cappuccinos are not created equally. Gas stations may have fooled you into believing a cappuccino is a cup of overly-sweet disappointment – it’s not. A cappucino is like a latte, but fluffier. When you pick up a cappuccino, it will almost feel like you’re holding an empty cup, because all of that frothy milk has been turned into foam – there’s a deep “cap” of it on top of your espresso. You can order it “dry,” which means you want all foam and no frothy milk. Order a cappuccino and you’ll be instantly classy.
  • Americano: [ah-mair-ick-KAHN-oh] Europeans think we’re weak and can’t handle espresso – therefore, they named a drink after us. An Americano is espresso that’s been diluted in hot water. No milk is involved unless you decide to add cream. If you like a good swift kick in the pants and the mouth, then Americanos are for you.
  • Mocha: [MOE-ka] Think of this as a grown-up hot chocolate. It’s a latte with extra fun – dark chocolate. Basically perfection in a cup. Usually it comes with whipped cream. If you’re a decent human being, you’ll keep it that way.
  • Red eye (also called shot in the dark): A cup of black coffee with a shot of espresso (or two or three, depending on your level of exhaustion.) Not for the weak. Pack a defibrillator.
  • Cafe con miel: A latte with honey and cinnamon to sweeten it. If Jesus were a drink, he would be this one.
  • Cold brew: Different than iced coffee. No espresso is involved. This kind of coffee is brewed cold over 12ish hours, bringing out a different taste than hot-brewed coffee. Iced coffee is usually just hot-brewed coffee that’s been poured over ice.

Your head might be spinning right now. “Audrey, there’s so many options and I don’t know what I want! I’m standing, helpless in front of a counter facing this stranger who is probably judging me! You’ve just made this more confusing!”

Unfortunately, I can’t help you here. Coffee people, especially baristas, have gotten a bad reputation of being overly judgy. And…that reputation kind of hits home. So I’ll just give you some advice depending on what kind of coffee shop you’re at.

  • A chain coffee shop (ie, Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for you West-coasters, or Dunkin Donuts for every American who drives long distances): Don’t worry! They’re not judging you. They deal with coffee laymen most of the time. Just order with confidence, exchange a joke or a little small talk with the cashier, and give them a nice tip. These people are on your side, and they appreciate you and your business. Their jobs are hard enough as it is, and they deal with difficult people all day, so a chipper and good-intentioned customer like you will brighten their day.
  • A local, privately-owned coffee shop (ie something with a weird name like the Brown Crepe or Ground Up Ideas…wait…): Sorry, but these people are probably hardcore judging you. They journeyed to the deep caverns of the Himalayas in order to learn how to master the perfect pour over. They wake up at 3:30am every morning to milk a cow in order to make your latte later. They personally grind the espresso beans between their teeth to give it a more natural flavor. Of course they’re judging you when you order a caramel macchiato. And they’re definitely going to spell your name wrong on the tiny ceramic cup, because they have names like Leif and Alt-Z.

I hope this brief field guide helped you, or maybe I deeply offended some of you. If you have any further questions about coffee and how it can be served, drop a line in the comments and I’ll address it when I write an entire book based on this post (just kidding, never gonna happen.)

No matter who is standing behind the counter facing you, waiting for you to “just order already,” remember that it’s okay to ask questions. I’ve given you a brief skeleton of the kind of things you’ll encounter at a cafe, but chances are you’ll come nose-to-nose with something I didn’t outline here. Ask questions boldly. The worst thing the barista can do is answer you with a slight note of disdain in their voice.

In the meantime, friends, may your drinks always be caffeinated and your milk frothy. That’s kind of an awkward sign-off, but I’m going to leave it at that. 1237519_10204006906851497_6422427241302713823_n

 

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1910 Dating Advice: 2016 Edition

Remember when newspapers offered dating advice? Me neither. But sometimes those old-timey “This is what dating is like in the olden days! Weren’t they silly?” things pop up on Pinterest, Facebook, or other various social media platforms usually populated by older people wishing it was like the olden days (Quick question: is “olden” even a word? Seriously?)

But they weren’t the only people who were silly.

For example: hipsters. Everyone thought it was just a phase, but it looks like 1880s chic and something-press coffee is here to stay. I guess none of us should be surprised. There’s a counter-culture to every culture, and a counter-counter-culture to every culture, and millennial hipsters are an odd mixture of both.

I go to a small, private Christian university where hipsterism is alive and well. Before college, I considered myself a hipster, but now, based on the people I’ve met, I’m seriously reassessing. There are some people out there who have read every chapter of the Hipster Playbook. Just because you wear a sweater in 70-degree weather doesn’t mean you’re a hipster. Nope. It’s basically a religion.

How was I supposed to survive in a world of such seasoned hipsters, mid-grade yuppie that I was? I had to learn, and learn quick. Especially at a Christian college where “ring before spring” is not just a fun saying, but a lifestyle. I had to do a little bit of anthropological studying to figure out the mating rituals of these exquisite creatures, but here I am to offer you comprehensive dating advice, old-timey magazine style, of how to flirt like a 2016 millennial hipster.

1. Location. Before you initiate communication with anyone you desire to date, you have to choose the right environment. Your apartment by yourself is not an option, which already puts me at a disadvantage. Find an obscure local band (preferably that has several uses of the word “grassroots” in its Facebook description and a lead singer that blogs) and figure out when they play next. Arrive at venue, dressed in concert chic (not festival chic; there’s a difference). Don’t make contact with anyone at first; just stare down at your phone with furrowed brow until the opening act. Nod appreciatively along to the music of opening act, but don’t seem too invested – you don’t want to make it seem like it’s your first rodeo. After the opening act, say something vague about “their sound” to no one in particular. Someone is bound to hear you and possibly say something in return.

Alternative: If it’s early afternoon and you need to study, find a coffee shop. I cannot stress independently-owned enough. You know who goes to Starbucks? Dirty venture capitalists who are just trying to steal money and Wi-Fi from the little guys. Also, there will inevitably be cute baristas at any given independently-owned coffee shop. Walk up to the counter, give the barista a smile (but not a big one, just a small grin acknowledging their existence – you’re not clingy, you just want a drink) and take a second to look at the menu, even if you know what you want. Those baristas spent a long time writing out that menu on that chalkboard in perfect Times New Roman font. Appreciate the menu as its own work of art. Don’t say anything about the prices – only angry old men and suburban moms do that. Order something pretentious, like a cortado, even if you don’t know what it means, just so you can say the word. Don’t ask what it is; you’re looking to make friends, not enemies. Tip the barista (they spent a long time writing that poem on the tip jar too, so appreciate it). Watch the cute barista make your cortado as if he is making an absolute work of art (because in his mind, he is) and then ask for the Wi-Fi password. Then talk about how you are going to camp out there for the rest of the day and work on your novel (whether this is true or not). Proceed to do so, even if you’re merely scrolling through Pinterest the entire eight hours you remain in the coffee shop.

2. Dress. Dress is almost as important as location. It’s extremely important that before you dress, you know exactly what environment you’ll be entering into. “I-dress-homeless-but-my-parents-pay-for-college” dress is vastly different from “photoshoot in an open field during optimal sunlight” attire. I would recommend the more homeless route for everyday ventures like coffee shop hopping or wandering around the city taking artsy Instagram pictures, and a more “photoshoot” esque wardrobe for events like barista competitions and 16mm film festivals. Don’t be afraid to be picky. Choosing the right wardrobe is like choosing the right band to be your favorite – it has to be so incredibly calculating that it looks authentic. And that’s the baseline for your wardrobe choices as a Hipster. At all costs, it must be authentic. And even if it’s not you have to tell people it is. Remember: At all costs.

Make sure that, if you have a tattoo, your clothes reveal it, but only slightly. You don’t want the full-on tattoo showing like you’re some loose sorority girl on spring break – so tacky, right? No, you simply want a subtle hint at a possible tattoo. It’ll make people look twice, which is exactly what you want in the game of attraction. Make sure you only reveal your minimalist tattoos with vague meanings, not the portrait of your dog you had done on your shoulder after he died (it was very sad and we all understand). Then an attractive hipster will intevitably ask you about what it means. Have a scripted response available.

In general, you want to follow the basic rules of hipster dress: don’t wear socks unless you’re wearing Chacos, two types of denim is okay, either wear no makeup or a ridiculous amount, etc. My next blog post will be a 1300-word summary of what your eyebrows should look like. If you’re wearing long pants, roll them up to an inch above the ankle, no matter what the weather is like. This isn’t Edwardian England, ladies. We can show our ankles now. If you have time to dye your hair a color that is opposite your own on the color spectrum, add that as a finishing touch.

3. Conversation topics. Remember that hipster conversations occur either on or about social media. If you’re not on social media, you’re talking about it (“Did you see Daveed Diggs’ newest Instagram post?” “Did you see what The Atlantic retweeted?”) However, you might be of that breed of hipsters that goes on Facebook every three months and only follow your aunt and Barack Obama on Instagram because you’re “above that culture.” Whether you are of the first or the second breed, you will eventually have to use hipster buzzwords and phrases, like “doing life” or “Buzzfeed” or “paleo.” You will inevitably also talk about popular fiction, coffee, and architecture, even if you know nothing about any of the above.

Bonus tip: Say “authentic” as often as you can. It’s the icing on the cake, and a buzzword that eligible young men are always listening for. Everyone wants to date the girl whose Twitter bio says “authentic.”

Another bonus tip: People assume that all hipsters like things that “aren’t cool.” However, this is not the case. Hipsters like things that are slightly less cool than other things. They can’t stand Beyonce, but they love Saint Motel. They are all caught up on Game of Thrones, just like everyone else. The only things they read are on the New York Times’ bestseller list, but never the first one. Usually the tenth, because then they sound interesting. Keep this in mind when you go on a search for obscure things to develop an interest in. And speaking of developing interest, stay cool about it. Don’t be extremely passionate about one thing; rather, say that you “dabble” in a lot of things, but you’re still trying to “find yourself” (more buzzwords to add to your hipster dictionary.)

4. Make your move. You’ve found yourself a good environment, you are dressed appropriately, and you’ve struck up a conversation with someone who seems decent and misses the 90s as much as you do. What’s your first move? Do you ask for their number? Of course not. You go home and friend them on Facebook. If they accept you by that evening, they’re interested. If they do the next morning, they thought they had a good conversation with you but aren’t too invested. If it’s a few days, they’re either one of those every-three-months Facebook-checkers I talked about earlier or they’re simply not interested. They might not even remember you, but friend you anyway for “networking” purposes (another buzzword for you). If they friend you, you now have access to all their past information – including high school photos. Proceed with caution.

At this point, I should probably tell you that most hipsters aren’t interested in a relationship. They won’t tell you straight-out, but they’re afraid of commitment. They really just need some time, you know? They can’t settle down just yet. They haven’t quite found themselves. They don’t know what they want. Be prepared; all of the previous statements are things you will hear if you sit down for a good old-fashioned DTR. “I’m just really focusing on my art right now” is another one that might come up. So, you might as well disregard all the advice I just gave you and go back to your apartment and your Netflix original that’s not Narcos or Making A Murderer.

There you have it. A comprehensive, old-timey-style guide to flirting like a 2016 hipster and on your way to inevitably finding yourself in an ambiguous 21st-Century relationship. In fact, in a hipster sense, this entire post is ironic, considering that hipsters rarely read literature longer than a Facebook status.

And on that cheap shot, I’ll leave you to it. Go out there, and find that fish in the sea that belongs to you. Hopefully that fish is wearing a cardigan, even in the middle of August.

 

Why Wanting to be a Kid Again is Overrated

Hi, it’s me again. I’ve been dropping super-serious truth bombs on you lately, so let’s lighten the mood a little. I’m not feeling extemporaneous or prosaic today, so we’re gonna do a Buzzfeed-style list for this blog post, only with fewer Zodiac signs. If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of your time daydreaming about those beautiful, sun-soaked days when you were young. Not Adele-song young, but little-kid young. When you were still innocent and thought babies came from mommies and daddies going to the baby store. When the worst thing a boy could do to you was steal your cerulean crayon (none of us knew how to pronounce it, but we all loved it.) When snacktime meant Dunkaroos (if you’re from my generation) and not a small handful of almonds (all celebrities swear by it). You get the picture. You think about that time in your life a lot, don’t you? I mean hey, there’s a reason we reminisce. It’s because all that stuff is familiar to us.

But GUESS WHAT. You don’t want to be a kid again. Here’s some things you forgot about being a kid.

1.  Remember how short and small you were? You literally couldn’t reach anything. If you wanted something from the freezer, you’d have to ask Dad, and he might not even oblige. This was your life until you were “like 12″ and your growth spurt set in (that’s how it was for me; I was 4’9” until I was in 5th grade). Isn’t it fun to be able to reach everything (most things, I mean. Unless you’re really tall)? Now you can get that ice cream out of the fridge like a champ without having to hear your dad say, “You’ve already had some.”

2. Remember the pRISON OF JUDGMENT known as middle school? I do. I remember my first pimple. I remember those cOLD STARES from thirteen-year-olds who wore mascara and drank frapuccinos and had a cell phone (with a CAMERA), while I thought makeup was satanic and my beverage choices peaked at a can of Coke. If you peaked in middle school, I’m sorry. I’m also not sorry, because that means middle school was easy for you. For the rest of us, it was like having cavities. Which we probably also had a lot of in middle school. Because it’s hard to brush your teeth around braces. BRACES. Mini prisons for your teeth. Let’s face it – middle school was like having a headache for three years.

3. One of the most devastating things in the world is not having anyone to play with during recess. Maybe you didn’t have this problem, but sometimes all your friends are sick or gone to Florida (remember how everyone just “went to Florida” randomly?!), or your fair-weather friend doesn’t want to hang out with you, so guess what? You’re left alone on the swings. You’re the loner. You’re already self-conscious without being seen as the loner. If you’re really brave, you could sheepishly walk up to a group of people you sort of know and ask to play with them, but what kid is that brave? And if you ever asked that to a group of boys and you’re a girl, they’ll immediately shun you (Trust me, I learned this the hard way. Boy’s Club isn’t just for CEOs. It starts at a tender young age.)

4. Remember how, for most of your childhood, you were cONFINED TO FOUR WALLS AND A WHITEBOARD for 80% of your day? Yeah, me too. Ok sure, kindergarten through second grade were kinda fun. But there was still math. EVERY DAY. And spelling. SPELLING. And (gasp) cursive. Do you remember those cursive books with their deceptive, colorful covers? Do remember thinking “I’m never going to write a 5 that way”? I do. Now you do too. You might still be confined to four walls in higher education and/or a job, but at least you’re not doing cursive every day.

5. When I think about my blissful childhood years, one reminder always yanks me back to reality: I COULDN’T DRIVE. Remember when your Mom and/or Dad had to truck you around (literally in a truck or a van) everywhere you wanted to go? Want to go to Jimmy’s house? Your desires hinge on the whim of Mom’s fancy. She could easily say “no.” Well go ask dad, you may say, because dad always says yes. Dad’s busy. DAD’S. BUSY. You’re stuck at home. Congratulations. No Jimmy today. Fast forward to sixteen, driver’s license, beat-up car. Want to go to Jimmy’s house? gET IN YOUR CAR AND GO BECAUSE YOU’RE AN ADULT AND YOU CAN. Jimmy has missed you.

6. Remember when you had that thing called an “allowance”? It was that little piggy bank of money that your parents allotted you each week for chores and existing and whatever. Usually that piggy bank peaked at five dollars. Oh, so you want to buy that Barbie cruise ship that’s fifty dollars? You’re gonna have to wait tEN YEARS before you accrue enough allowance to buy it. Or pool your money with your siblings. But that means you have to sHARE THE CRUISE SHIP. Guess what? You’re an adult with an income now. You can buy stuff. You want that cruise ship? You go buy that friggin’ cruise ship. Heck, go on an actual CRUISE because you have mONEY that’s not in a pIGGY BANK. Boom. Adulthood. (I’m not saying that’s a financially wise investment, but it’s a thing you can do. If you want. Because hopefully you have more than five dollars in your bank account.)

7. Remember watching movies as a kid? Neither do I. Because I don’t remember movies from my childhood because I didn’t understand them. You know how terrible it feels when someone is laughing at something you don’t understand?! Like all those double entendres in Disney movies? Aren’t Disney movies more fun to watch when you’re an adult and actually uNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE SAYING instead of thinking “oh her dress is pretty and I’m going to marry a prince someday too”? LAME. Disney movies were made for adults. So were all movies.

So here we are. Adults. Doing adult-y stuff. But wishing we weren’t adults. Wishing we were still dunkin’ those roos in whatever frosting stuff that was. Wishing we were still in Playskool and not actual school. Wishing we were still pretending to make dinner with food made out of plastic instead of faced with the daunting task of having to make actual dinner without setting things on fire.

BUT. Keep things in perspective! Remember, childhood wasn’t always perfect. We like to think it is because we like to romanticize the past. We remember the snow days but forget the skinned knees. We relish in memories of going to the zoo but suppress anything having to do with the dentist.

Everything’s got a little good and a little bad. The past, the present, and the future. Today’s been a little good, a little bad. It’s okay to remember the fun parts of being little and cute and stuff (like no pimples, am I right?!) but don’t let that take away from your present. Because there’s plenty of good stuff here too.

Keep going. Keep living that awesome life of yours.

Self-Entitlement and the American College Student

 

I’m going to sound like a mega-grump in this post. Just thought I’d warn you now, so you can back up and switch tabs to the “Which Loaf of Bread are You?” quiz on Buzzfeed. Because that’s probably more important (aren’t we all just carbs on the food pyramid of life?)

What I have to say may not come as a shocker to most people. We all know college students, right? I mean, you must know at least one. Based on the general demographics of the readers of this blog, you probably are one. And for that, I applaud you. You decided to take 4+ years of your life to get a handshake and a piece of paper and maybe a job that relates to that piece of paper. Or maybe a job at McDonald’s. Because does anyone really hire people who got a B.A. in Art History? (Art History majors, I’m sure you’re wonderful people. I’m just using you as an example of the cruelties of this economy.)

Because we all (probably) know (at least one) college student(s), I think it’s safe to say that the following question has crossed our minds:

Why the heck are college students so dang self-entitled? 

You may or may not have used expletives stronger than mine, depending on your level of feeling for this topic. I’m assuming that if you are in the older demographic, you’re thinking, “College kids think the world is gonna be handed to them. They think they deserve everything that comes to them and if they don’t get what they think they deserve, they complain about it to their parents. Or they Tweet about it. Or they move back to their suburban home and live in their mom’s basement until their 30, just waiting for their career in cartooning to kick off.”

Maybe not those exact words, but close enough.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re of the younger demographic (aka an actual college student, or a recent graduate), you might be thinking, “Heck yeah I deserve something. I just spent 4+ years of my life studying graphic design. Where’s my interview with Pixar?”

My cop-out response is that both groups of people are justified. It’s easy to look at a college student and see an entitled brat who drives around the car that Daddy bought for him and actively complains about the dearth of cafeteria food available to him on a daily basis – when he’s one of the few people in the world who eats three meals a day.

Let me put it this way: College students, by nature, invest a lot of time, effort, and money into themselves. They’re probably going to school for the sake of their future, so it’s not hard to become a bit ego-centric when you come to college. Every day is about you – your classes, your job interviews, your activities, your choice of what to watch on Netflix.

(Some of them even blog about these things.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not justifying the self-entitled college student. No one is entitled to anything. I am not entitled to an education or a job. I’m not entitled to awesome food in the cafeteria or kick-butt student activities. I only deserve these things if I’m willing to work for them. But if I don’t, I shouldn’t rant about how I got cheated by society or the economy or whatever nameless philosophical blob I could blame. It all comes back to me.

How am I using this situation, whether I’m where I want to be or not?

So consider this an open letter to self-entitled college students. Let me offer you some unsolicited advice, since everyone has probably been giving you unsolicited advice at this time in your life.

1) Guess what! The world doesn’t revolve around you. You’re shocked, I know. But I think a lot of times, we young, spunky college students like to think the world is our oyster…and it is, but it also isn’t. Just because it’s our oyster doesn’t mean we deserve the pearl. We gotta work for that pearl. So we can pay for that pearl. And turn it into a fancy necklace. Or an earring. Or an iPhone case. Whatever you dig. 

2) Sometimes people are simply not going to like you. That’s a thing that happens. Just because they don’t like you doesn’t mean a) you’re unlikeable or b) they’re unlikeable. Sometimes professors won’t like you. Sometimes bosses won’t like you. Or that guy who lives down the hall from you and exclusively eats honey-nut Cheerios. And you just have to live with it. Because trying to make people like you is legitimately exhausting. And you already have enough stressing you out. 

3) Complaining is not your friend. Complaining will make you sad and grouchy, like a shriveled-up onion, or something gross like that. Just because the cafeteria is serving chicken for the 14th day in a row (yep, that’s a thing at the school I go to) doesn’t mean you need to go complaining about how “oh my gosh I’m so sick of chicken this is so disgusting why *sad face*.” I’m going to play the guilt-trip-mom card on you: a lot of people in the world don’t get to walk into a cafeteria and eat stuff. So you choke that chicken down. AND YOU ENJOY IT. 

4) Hating on people is also not cool. I usually don’t like using “hate” as a verb, but I think it’s justified here. Seriously. I hear people talk trash about other people a lot. Sometimes I even partake. But it doesn’t do anyone any good. It might make you feel good about yourself to put someone down, but that feeling doesn’t last. Just because you think someone is weird, nerdy, or different from you doesn’t give you the right to say so. That guy who eats the Cheerios? He’s got a full, dynamic life just like you. He just happens to have an affinity for fiber. Get to know people. It’ll help you understand why they do some of the quirky things they do. And usually, those quirky things are really awesome. 

Here comes the part of this post wherein I descend from my soapbox and join reality once again. Like I’ve said before, this blog is my space to try to figure things out, and maybe get some help along the way. I’m simply ruminating on some things that have been rattling around in my head recently. Thanks for letting me ramble on and be cynical about people. And whatever you decide to do with this slew of information I just threw at you, continue living your awesome life. Wake up, drink something caffeinated, step outside, and join the many confused human beings out in the world who are just trying to figure things out along with you. And then take a nap when you’re done, because that is one thing you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: It has been brought to my attention that this post sounds slightly pompous and, upon reading it over again, it does seem like a bratty trend-piece writer wrote this (Who? Me?) I forgot to mention that I myself am a college student and a lot of this stuff is me telling myself to not do stuff like this. Because believe me. I do. So I apologize if I came off as obtuse. Also, this post is categorized under “satire.” Read into that what you will. 

And thank you for understanding my somewhat obtuse and close-minded views on the world. 

Everyone Needs to Calm Down About Everything

And that’s not a blanket statement. That’s pretty much true.

Awhile ago, there was a meme floating around social media that was a stock photo of someone shouting (or something, I don’t remember exactly what it was) with the white, blocky, meme-esque letters that read, “Good morning, America! What are we offended by today?”

When I first saw that, I almost threw something because that was so accurate. It seems like very day someone is telling someone that something they did was offensive. Just today, I looked on my Facebook newsfeed (the most relevant of news sources, second only to MSNBC) to see that The Gap had recently apologized after a seemingly “racist” advertisement. I thought to myself, “What horrid, detrimental propaganda could The Gap have possibly coughed out this time?” When I looked at it, all I saw was an ad for kid’s clothes. I didn’t quite see anything inherently racist. It could be that I am an insensitive bigot and am blind to the race issues that plague America and clothing ads.

Or, maybe everyone needs to calm down a little bit. And by a little bit, I mean calm the eff down about everything.

Remember I told you that I’m never going to tell you what you should think? I’m not trying to tell you to not get riled up about things that you think are wrong. But when one man says something that might possibly offend a woman in some way, it doesn’t mean all men are evil misogynists. When one person, corporation, or advertisement says something that peeves you off just a little bit, you don’t have to demand a full-out apology. Sometimes it’s just better to turn the other cheek and focus on more important things in your life. (Seriously, who has time to flip through the Sunday ads and put a red circle around things that are offensive? Everything is offensive to someone. I can show you fifty examples just walking through Abercrombie and Fitch.)

All of that to say, sometimes people will offend you. Sometimes their opinions will offend you. You have to decide whether it’s worth getting worked up about, or if you should just forget about it and keep living the awesome life you’re living. Because guess what? Sometimes you will offend people. I offend people all the time. Do you want everyone you offend to pick a fight with you, express their outrage on social media, and demand a public apology from you?

So, dear everyone: Please just calm down. People say stupid things and do stupid stuff. Ad agencies put out weird ads that are occasionally stupid. But guess what? You wake up every morning, and you probably have a bed, food to eat, and a way to get yourself to work or school. That’s a lot to be thankful for, and not a lot to get offended by.

So why let something as small as a clothing advertisement make you go crazy? Why stop the presses and demand an apology, all over a brand of overly-priced clothes? If you want to live as a perpetually-peeved, tight-knit ball of angst and anxiety and be self-entitled to have everyone apologize to you, then you do you. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you that some things aren’t worth your time. Like Gobstoppers. And the DMV. And somewhat offensive advertisements on the Internet.

And if you do find yourself outraged over something, definitely put it on Facebook. That’s what everyone wants to see. There’s nothing I like better than logging on to Facebook to see a tl;dr post of some news article about some hot button issue like whether manatees have feelings or not. Whatever people get excited about these days.

So, calm down. Take a bath. Eat an oreo. That’s what I do when I’m angry and it makes me feel better. Just keep living your awesome life.