Thursday, June 23, 2011

Friend Defragmenter

One of the best things about being a teacher is that Facebook, YouTube and Gmail's chat functions are blocked on all Department of Education (DOE) computers and wireless networks. This means, on a day like today, when there's absolutely no one in the building and no one taking state exams, I am literally bored out of my fucking mind. The school feels like a ghost town.

One of my esteemed colleagues has taken it upon himself to enter my room any time he has to rip some serious ass. In the past four minutes, he has entered my room three times, and cranked out four (maybe six, if you count the little ones) loud, solid farts. Although, it might be more appropriate to say liquid farts judging by their sounds: some of them might've been a little wet. Pretty impressive, I'd say. Graduation is not until next Monday, so tomorrow looks to be more of the same.

It's depressing: my room is barren, all the other classrooms are barren, and there are no gangster-wanna-be students roaming the hallways thinking they can rap. I guess it's true, you never know what you appreciate until it's gone.

During lunch, I was somehow able to bypass the DOE's proxy on one of the computers and began going through my online contacts in GChat. What I suddenly noticed was how a lot of my friends are fragmented across the U.S. and the rest of the world. Friends I used to live with for years in college are now spread out in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. My closest friends at the investment bank I used to work at are now in Bulgaria, England, and the Philippines. More friends spread out in other U.S. cities. Even more friends in Canada, Germany, Pakistan, India, the list goes on.

My experience in New York City has taught me that it's really hard to maintain a close social circle in the city, as a lot of people in my age group use it as a platform to move onto something else. So, it was strange when I learned from my students over the past two years that they would rather stay in their "hoods" all times if possible. A lot of them told me they try not to venture past a 10-12 block radius and don't particularly care about exploring other parts of the world, or even New York City for that matter.

Last summer, when I told my students about my trip to Pakistan, I mentioned I went to the beach with a lot of friends and had a blast being in the water.
"Mista, that's so lucky, ain't no beaches around here."
"Uh...  what? Dude, there's shit tons of beaches. Coney Island, Far Rockaway, Jones Beach..."
"Those be out in Brooklyn. No beaches in Harlem."
Originally, I thought I was just being naive. I didn't like to travel much when I was younger too, but this became a pattern, particularly with students who were likely affiliated with gangs or wanted to be in a gang. What is it about this particular population that makes them averse to travel or leave their territory? Is it safety? Comfort?

There is one benefit I could see if you never leave your block: your friends don't either. Everyone stays together and as a result, your friends probably aren't as fragmented around the world. College forges strong bonds between people from all over the world, but when you graduate, you decide how hard you want to work to maintain those relationships.

It would be great to have my closest friends in the city with me, although, it's nice to be able to visit a foreign country and crash at someone's place...

8 comments:

Mr. T said...

thus, you should spend more time with the friends you do have... for as long as you have them

Yo Mista said...

Thus, we should all meet on Governor's Island this Sunday...

janelle said...

When I studied in Brasil, I lived in a coastal city that had a plethora of accessible, beautiful free beaches (way way way nicer than Coney Island) and heard stories about how some people from the slums had never even seen the ocean. Sad. If you don't leave your neighborhood, NY can be a very small place.

nh said...

dude - this whole post was clearly a ploy to talk about farting. i know you too well.

Ahsan said...

Sorry to be a pedant, but you can't "literally be bored out of your fucking mind". That's literally impossible.

Yo Mista said...

@ Ahsan:
Oh snap, I didn't realize you had to know English in order to design fashion apps!

Ahsan said...

Um...wrong Ahsan dude.

Yo Mista said...

Shoot! Hahaha! I knew I would eventually confuse you two. Don't you feel flattered?