Friday, September 14, 2012

David Wygant Email Newsletter: Why I Don’t Hang Out With Drinkers

I just checked my Google email and read a wonderfully well-written email from David Wygant's email newsletter series:

"Hi Michael,
People always wonder all the time why I don’t drink.
It’s a personal preference of mine because to me, I get high off of life.
And most drinkers annoy the hell out of me.
Most people can’t control their alcohol. Meaning, their personality switches at one point or another during the imbibing
I have a lot of friends that will suck down a glass or two of wine, and you won’t notice a single difference in their personality at all. Great, I got no issues with that. A friend of mine, he does that and has eight Scotches. You would never know it, ever. He basically is the same person the whole time.
But the majority of people annoy the shit out of me when they drink.
Drunk talk is stupid talk.
Their voices get higher–especially women. They get more shrill, almost like nails on the chalkboard.
Men, they get so loud and obnoxious. It’s unbelievable. And they start calling each other ‘brother’ or ‘dude’. It drives me nuts.
I’m pretty mellow. Not a loud person at all. I don’t like to be around loud people. To me, drinkers are loud, and it gives me a headache. I tend to leave when the drinking begins.
No problem, they can all hang out together.
If I’m sitting in a room full of smokers and they want to smoke and talk about their nicotine high, then I’ll walk outside and let them enjoy it. I don’t want to rain on their parade, so you’ll never really see me hanging out at high alcohol consumption events.
Not my style, not my scene, not the type of people I want to hang with, but they can all hang together.
That’s really the reason why I don’t hang out with drinkers. Now, my drinker friends can control themselves, and that’s great. But I find most people can’t.
Most people get loud. They get obnoxious. They start saying things.
And a lot of people get really insecure too. The alcohol plays with them.
A lot of people get liquid courage, or they think it’s courage. And they go and approach the opposite sex.
It really is bullshit. It’s not courage at all. It’s the louder version of yourself, and that’s it.
A lot of women I’ve been with, when they drink, they get insecure. Drives me fucking nuts. The alcohol starts to get inside their brain, and then they start to ask stupid questions.
“Do you still like me?”
I did two hours ago before you started drinking the wine and then the Vodka. No, it’s all your own fucking paranoia right now, due to the fact that you’re drinking.
Keep your brain clear, your mind clear. You can handle alcohol, great, then you can hang with me. If you can’t handle alcohol, then you’ll know. If you’re at a party, and you see me leaving and everybody’s drinking, you’ll know I’m just around a bunch of loud, close talkers.
I also said when I owned a bar years ago, on the side of an alcohol bottle, that they should add this warning label:
Warning: Consumption of this beverage may make you sound and act like an insecure asshole.
Like I said, let the smokers hang with the smokers, let the pot heads hang with the pot heads, let the coke addicts hang with the coke addicts, the meth addicts hang with the meth addicts, and the alcohol consumers hang out with the alcohol consumers.
Nothing wrong with it. Let the vegans hang with the vegans. Let the meat eaters chow down on a steak with each other. Let the beer consumption people hang with the beer consumption people. We all like who we are, we’re all comfortable with who we are. We all know what we don’t want to put up with.
So, people, choose your friends wisely, and don’t just go with the crowd.
That’s how I roll.
Your friend,

After reading this, it makes me feel proud that I'm not a drinker either. Many of David's reasons are similar to mine. To know that such a great conversationalist and someone whom I have a lot of respect for focuses on having relationships based on who he is and his preference of conversation further inspires me to be myself. He does not go with the crowd because it seems to be the popular thing to do.

I personally have tried alcohol a couple times but only to try the taste. People who go to parties because they truly get stimulation from having lots of people around (more extroverted) are fine with me. It's those who go to parties solely to conform and be part of the in-crowd that annoys me. I do not enjoy the abundant small talk that is required at parties. I do not enjoy the raunchy life that is associated with alcohol. The types of conversations that are typical at parties lack depth, intellect, and manners. I love intimate conversations with depth and to do this, one must be fully aware of the conversation and the dynamics that are going on.  Don't get confused though, the types of conversations I like to engage in aren't ALWAYS serious. We joke, tease each other every now and then, and have more than enough laughs for my taste- I don't want my jaw to be sore at the end of the day.

As David Wygant stated: "Drunk talk is stupid talk". It's one of the main reasons I don't go to college parties. Parties have booze and marijuana. People who engage in stupid talk hang out with those that engage in stupid talk. Not my scene.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Top 5 Instrumental and Terminal Values

My Top 5 Instrumental Values:

1.       Open-mindedness/ Understanding and Accepting
2.       Polite and Well-mannered
3.       Ambitious and Hard Working
4.       Honest and Sincere
5.       Reflective and Intellectual

My Top 5 Terminal Values:

1.       Freedom to pursue what I want, when I want (Wealthy in Time, Money, and Independence). Not being bound to other obligations.
2.      True Friendship (Friendship based off of a strong, deep emotional connection/ intimacy rather than just hi-bye friends or activity-friends)
3.      A Life of Adventure
4.      A World of Beauty (Nature and the Great Outdoors)
5.      Wisdom (Having a mature Understanding of Life)  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Thoughts of the Day: Sunday; September 2, 2012

Wow it’s already Sunday night. God time seems to fly by when I’m back here on the weekends at my hometown. I read and bookmarked an article I really liked some time ago that I just revisited today. It’s called, “How To Have More Best Friends in Life: The Heartfelt Guide”, written by the Personal Excellence blog.

I feel like this article put into words very well the types of friendships and conversations I desire. I often feel frustrated when conversations are just the, “superficial discussions and slapstick jokes, which fade away in distant memory the next day, never to surface again” (Personal Excellence). As I’ve said before, most people put up a barrier towards other people so that their friends can’t really get near the true them. I’ve been lucky to have experienced a friend who is open to discussing more personal stuff. He seems to have a knack for taking conversations deeper. I’ve been trying to learn from him. He’s leaving for Davis in a few weeks. It feels somewhat unmanly for me to say this, but I’ll certainly miss the times we’ve had together on Friday and Saturday nights where we just sat and talked about our lives- many times about his life more than my own but that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy listening to other people’s intimate thoughts.

I’m not sure what it is. I just can’t seem to recall how I feel at times throughout my day. These emotions are strong in the present moment when they happen but the events are not significant to the point where it’s on my mind 24/7. Someone reading this might not have an idea what I’m talking about. I’ll attempt to give an example.

Today after playing basketball at Saratoga, my brother and I decided to go to Subway. Not a big deal, I’m not going on a trip or even visiting an amusement park. It’s Subway. After getting home and lying on the ground next to Lucky and stroking her fur, my brother said, “Ok, let’s go to Subway”. You would imagine I would just reply, “all right” and head out. But I responded, “Why can’t Grace (my sister) go?” My sister commonly buys outside food for my brother and I when we request her to due to laziness. However, I had an underlying reason for wanting my sister go.

The very last time I went to Subway to purchase a foot long, I ended up recognizing the girl who worked there. She was a girl who was in my De Anza Literature Mythology & Folklore class that I took over the summer. It was a Saturday night, and I wondered to myself, “what the hell? Should this girl be with her friends on a Saturday night?” I’m quite sensitive to the image I give out and hence I am also sensitive to any sort of underlying message other people’s actions or words give out. Being a Saturday night, I thought all girls who are at least semi-attractive and wear miniskirts to class would be out partying. I know I’m stereotyping with the word “all” but I certainly feel strongly towards the belief that girls who stress sexy- regardless whether their attractiveness is based more due to make up use or not- are out with their friends and strutting their stuff on weekends. So here I am a bit shocked to see her here and begin to feel some self-consciousness- as I usually am around attractive women. It did catch me by surprise though since I did not know the girl working behind the counter was my classmate until she was ready to take my order. I proceeded with my order and asked her opinion of the class we had finished. She replied that she liked the people in the class but I knew she was referring specifically to the people she was sitting with who they together were loud and “the popular group in the class”. Yea it sounds weak to still care about popularity since I am out of high school for more than two years now but it bothers me. So no doubt I found them somewhat annoying. My sister was there with me and my brother that day ordering Subway and my sister asks her, “oh, did you go to Lynbrook High School as well?” My sister had the unfortunate luck of being appointed by a late and irresponsible doctor thereby resulting in her being somewhat oxygen starved in her brain. So unfortunately she is a bit mentally challenged. She was in Special Education when she was in school. She was not the most challenged of the special educated students and she actually would have ranked as one of the better off students who had a mental disability. Although she is 24 now- four years older than my brother and I- her English is still a bit choppy so one can deduce from her not-so-perfect English speaking ability that she is either a foreigner or a somewhat mentally challenged individual. I’d imagine that the girl working at the Subway that night would have thought that something about my sister seemed a bit off. Although regardless of my sister’s annoyances and irritations, I care about my sister and don’t want others to mistreat her, treat her different, or poorly in any sort of way. I cringed when my sister asked the obvious question, “what’s mythology?” to my ex-classmate. My brother replied to my sister.

The conversation pretty much ended from there as I don’t really remember anything else being said. After paying for our Subs, we headed out the door with me not saying any form of, “bye”. It was a tad bit rude to not have some form of formal exit but based on the distance I was standing from the checkout register, I just turned around and headed for the exit. I didn’t give a formal exit due to multiple reasons. I did find her decently attractive, and not being a stud with the ladies, I have come to dislike what I don’t have. I found her group loud and attention seeking in class- but who isn’t right?- and since I sat a few rows behind them in the back of the classroom, my direct line of view was their group, so my overall feeling towards them was and is one of annoyance. Thus this also played a part of me disregarding any sort of formal exit. Another reason would be the fact that I did not want to say “bye” and risk having her not say anything back. If this was going to be the last act or last time seeing her, I wasn’t going to let her be the one to ignore me. Yes it is being passive aggressive. I realize that but people do react passively aggressive at times. The conversation did not flow fluidly either which if it had, it would have left me feeling more on a positive note, so ending the somewhat awkward conversation, saying “bye” seemed to me to be a bit of a “suck up” response. This coupled with all the previous three reasons, I subconsciously felt that saying “bye” just wasn’t going to happen. 

Well this story is an example of a seemingly trivial event while in reality, it had an effect on me, my thoughts, and my feelings after leaving Subway. This experience is also the reason why I did not want to go to Subway today after playing basketball. I imagined the likely scenario that would have played out had she been there again and I did not want to deal with that. These on-the-surface and seemingly trivial events that in actuality elicit and harbor strong emotions happen relatively frequently. It’s always situations like this that is on my mind for a while; yet, when some time has passed (maybe a couple days or so) and it comes to meeting with a friend and they ask, “how’s it going?”, I can’t seem to remember these events and my thoughts and feelings. Of course one may say, “well, that’s just means that the event wasn’t worth mentioning if you don’t recall it when your friend asks ‘how you doing’”, but it’s everyday things that happen that reveals our more inner thoughts, personal feelings, and similar memories. Unless something very significant happens- like winning the lottery- anything else is not worth mentioning and connecting on? I don’t think so.          

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thoughts of the Day: Saturday; September 1, 2012

(Typing this after playing tennis with Anup, Varun, my brother, Gokul, and Shashank- Labor Day weekend) 

At night every day, write down thoughts that you feel are worthy of mentioning. This is a way to keep track of what’s been on your mind lately. Intimacy is simple. It’s how much you reveal of your inner more personal thoughts and feelings to others. There are friends of all kinds. Some of which we are closer to than others. Those closer to us have more similar values, thoughts, and feelings. I really care about intimacy in relationships. Friends that I play basketball with but some of whom I feel a certain amount of struggle to create more depth in the conversations and ultimately the relationship.

One thing I have noticed of my friend whom I am close with is that in regards to the question, “how have you been?”, his response is never just, “fine” or “okay”. He close to always gives a response that is unique in comparison to the standard “oh I’m doing alright” response. His response always reveals how he has been feeling and thinking lately. Just yesterday I met up with him and asked him, “how have you been?” and he responded with a minimum of, “surprisingly bored”. I don’t believe he plans his responses and I feel he is very honest in the fact that he will tell you what he has been thinking and feeling lately on a more personal level. I’ve always admired his choice and ability to reveal himself on a personal level. I’ve been stumped in situations where I’d respond with the standard lie, “oh I’m doing alright”. This response reveals nothing about what you’ve been thinking and feeling lately. I know for myself, when asked the question of, “how have you been?”, my mind cannot remember the more personal thoughts that I am preoccupied with when alone and feelings that I experience when alone. I’ve dreamed of having a machine that automatically writes down all the thoughts I have as I have them. This way I can pull up what I’ve been thinking lately and analyze and understand the content and go through the logic and my train of thought as well. This is something I need to work on if I want to develop more intimacy in relationships. Well here’s my list for tonight then:

-          I admire the fact that my friend can reveal and connect with people on a more personal level than the relationships that most friends who hang out in big groups do.
-          I want to get better at revealing my inner more personal thoughts and feeling comfortably because I fear not being able to experience relationships like this one anymore
-          Take advantage of the question, “how are you” and “how have you been?” Really answer these questions honestly. Do not just give the standard lie. Instead of saying, “alright” say, “I feel more comfortable and used to using and filling up the free time I have out of class at USF. Before school started I worried what I would be doing with my time. I may not have been using my time very productively but I’m not just sitting around bored out of my mind either…” This would be a much better response as it is honest, revealing, and helpful for the conversation as it helps the listener get a better idea of my thoughts and emotions and be able to connect with them better. 
-          Keep track and jot down your thoughts that you find of importance to be more in touch with what you have been thinking and feeling lately. Potential antidote since I commonly  forget what I’ve been thinking and feeling when asked this question and initially engaged in social situations (more often than not, my inner thoughts and feelings I have when I am alone begin to resurface to my consciousness and awareness after some time conversing in a social situation).

Done typing at Sunday; September 2, 2012; 12:54 AM