Monday, February 26, 2007

Up in Smoke

Certainly there are insane stories about questions asked when checking out boys for Shidduchim.
I have few "make or break" factors before I am willing to give the guy a date. Most are workable, but the issue of smoking is the one I won't budge on.

I've had guys sound great and all that, but once I hear that they smoke, anything you say won't be able to change my mind.

I am not ready to watch a husband actively shave years off his life.

"It's so hard to quit," people justify. Hey, buddy, it's hard to get up early every day. It's hard to take 18 credits in Brooklyn College. It's hard to be a working mother. It's hard to diet. It's hard to get up and go to work day after day. It's hard to do a lot of things. Yet, people do them.

One person compared smoking to Lashon Hora. "You speak Lashon Hora, don't you?" he asked. "Yeah, I do," feeling ashamed. "Well, it's hard to quit that, isn't it?" he asked. "Yes," I replied. "Everyone has a weakness," he explained. "Yours is Lashon Hora, his is smoking."

I don't know how true that is. Can one compare Lashon Hora to smoking? Smoking takes years off someone's physical life, but Lashon Hora certainly doesn't help the Olam Haba'ah situation. Smoking is purely physical, and emotional. Lashon Hora is more spiritual-especially since we don't have Tzora'at nowadays.

When people tell me the guy is "Great but he smokes," that's an oxymoron. He can't be great if he smokes.
He's either a very nervous guy, and needs to calm down, or he's an addictive personality who's weak without self-control. Or he was weak in terms of peer pressure and felt the need to fit in. Are these characteristics one needs in a husband?

My friend told me about a 25-year-old single woman in her office who said, "I used to be like you. Worried about whether the guy smokes. Now I'm just happy if it's only cigarettes."

That's further proof of this idiotic society making this woman feel like crap because she isn't married. I don't think anyone should have to "settle" for a smoker if they are adamently against smoking.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What, me Brooklyny?

I've mentioned that my friends and I are often told that we aren't "Brooklyny," or that we arent "Typical [insert school name here]." This statement is taken to mean that we do not fit the mold or the stereotype associated with the place we live or institution that we've attended.

So, there I was at a wedding, when this young woman takes a seat next me. "Where are you from?" She asks, "Brooklyn, but I'm not Brooklyny," I responded.

"What does Brooklyny mean?" She asked. You've got to be freakin kidding me. Everyone has their own opinion about what Brooklyn is about. The same way almost every school, camp, and shul have a reputation for being a certain way. Are they accurate? Who knows. Besides, there are always just a few people who completely do not meet the stereotype--about 1/4 of the girls in my grade, for example.

After a little prodding, she confessed. "Okay, you know what I think of when I think of Brooklyn?" I see huge fancy houses, with gorgeous downstairs, living dining room, and everything, and the upstairs is plain, and run-down. Because not everyone has money, and they want everyone to think they do, so they make a really fancy downstairs, and then have nothing left for the upstairs." I'm sure some of you have a really confused look on your face. Probably how I looked when she shared her analysis.

Keep in mind, however, a frum Brooklynite's opinion about Brooklyn people differs from that of out-of-towners'.

I met another woman the other day, who asked the same question. I told her as well that I'm not "typical Brooklyn," and "You wouldn't believe I actually go to [another thing].." She responded, "Yeah, but what does that MEAN? What does Brooklyny mean??" I don't have to spell it out for you. I won't. So I decided she was Brooklyny herself.

It's like in high school, when girls in the "in crowd" denied the fact there were cliques, and there was politics. Or the fact that my school has quite the reputation for being a certain way. Puh-leez. (Although the reputation has changed since I left).

My conclusion: Those who deny the existence of the stereotype FIT the stereotype.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Can I Borrow Your Notes?

Last semester, I lent my notes to a few people in my class who had trouble understanding English. They showed me their notes that they felt were lacking. I noted that they had been to almost every class, and certainly put in effort. Therefore, I was happy to lend them my notes.

It reminded me, however, about a girl in my seminary class who put up a fuss about girls refusing to lend her notes.

This girl was the typical slacker. When she decided to show up, she misbehaved, passed notes, TXTed, and interrupted the teacher. Fridays we were allowed to ask anything that was on our minds. She asked the Rabbi, "I don't understand. Why do people deny me the right to borrow their notes? It's not my fault I'm not good at taking notes, so why should it bother them to lend them to me?"

Luckily, someone else spoke up before I was able to respond. "Well, we put in the effort to take good notes, so why should we just give them away? It makes our work feel worthless." The girl said calmly.

The Rabbi chimed in and said, "Zeh Ne'eneh V'Lo Chosser"- loosely translated-one can enjoy while the other won't feel a loss.

"Why is that fair?" I called out. "I come to school everyday, I work hard. I put in my effort, and take pride in my work. Why should I just give this all away to a girl who doesn't even show up most days?"I wanted to continue, but I didn't want to be ex-communicated.

Needless to say she wasn't too happy with my statement, and responded in kind, "Excuse me? What if I just can't take notes? You don't know if I try or not..."

"You can take notes if you want to. You just don't want to." I responded.

I remembered my friend in high school who frequently lent her notes to her classmates. She once received a copy of her notes instead of the original when it was time to return them! Sometimes they were bent, or dirty-they hadn't been treated with respect. That is "chosser."

There was a class in high school that everyone considered boring. Well, most people. I tried hard in the beginning, but soon realized it was worthless. My notes made no sense. From December and on, I didn't take notes, but I knew what I was getting myself into. I was not about to ask a random girl in the class I had nothing to do with to borrow her notes. I knew I wasn't going to do well on the test. I just gave up because she was a hard teacher to take notes with. Sure enough, I ended up with some notes from someone, and flunked anyway.

Then there was a class that I was the only one who enjoyed--American Politics. Nobody bothered to take notes (even though she dictated them!!!) she constantly had to shush the class, but I consistently took notes. I don't know how this happened, but she ended up basing the test on my notes, which were distributed the whole class. In a certain way, these girls deserved to flunk. They didn't bother to pay attention, they disrespected a teacher in the process (one my faves :-) ) and expected someone else to do the work for them!!

Why do people always expect others to pick up the slack for them?

I say, if you put in effort, and are simply incapable (which could happen once in a while), and prove that you've tried, you deserve help. But if you were busying TXTing, why should I waste my hard work on you?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Be A Mensch-Guest Post

Many times, people approach me with topics to cover on my blog. Sometimes they ask if they could guest post, but I'm usually not too hot on that. When my mom recently asked me, I couldn't resist!

Too bad I didn't inherit my mom's diplomacy!

I thank my daughter Michelle for allowing me to "guest blog" today.

B"H, we are invited to many Smachot in our neighborhood. The hosts really do their best to ensure that the seating arrangements are favorable to all guests.

At the most recent Simcha I attended, the table seating seemed odd. Although I know many of the guests, I was seated with people from a different "circle." I sat at my assigned seat, and waited for the other guests to join me.

Two people I know approached the table and surveyed the situation. Although the seats on either side of me were available, they sat two seats away from me and didn't even say hello. I felt like a leper. I shower, I brush my teeth, and use deodorant. What gives? People have feelings.

Luckily, the other tables weren't full and I was able to change my seat. I personally find it very distasteful and unfair when people seat themselves wherever they please. Many times they occupy a seat that was assigned to someone else. Sometimes the latecomer is left with no place to sit.

This situation, however, warranted my going against my principle. It was either switching seats, or being miserable the entire night. The people at my new table were friendly and nice.

I just wanted the wonderful people of this terrific blog to remember one thing in life:


Thank You.

This is directly from my mom's handwritten paper--I am simply the messenger.
I had similar situations at classmates' weddings, and I once even tried to sit with those people and see that they aren't that bad. Ha. Unsuccessful.