The Stand Up….

I do not get stood up often. In fact, with one notable exception (very fucking notable) I can honestly say that until the last couple of months I had never been stood up, except by Comcast, (because they are total fuckers and do not care one single iota for the happiness, satisfaction, or sanity of their “customers.” I get so pissed when they answer calls saying “Thank you for choosing Comcast!” like I had some sort of choice in this, you monopolistic jerk-offs? But I digress… as per usual. [Ironically, as I sit here writing this I am in fact waiting for the Comcast guy to show up in his guaranteed time window. It has never happened, but a girl can dream. As, Comcast has now made their “guarantee” window two hours rather than one, I guess the odds are better.])

The real truth of the matter is that I don’t generally get stood up for a two logical reasons:

  • I don’t really put myself in situations where this is any sort of possibility because I trust the people I choose to meet when I go out.
  • Everyone has a phone – so really, in this day and age… is there any possible reason to straight stand someone up? No. No, there is not.

I would like to think that I don’t get stood up because I am a pretty cool human, and what sort of fucknut does that sort of thing to any kind of human… but hey, who knows.

So, of the three times I have been stood up (excluding Comcast) how did they fall outside of those aforementioned logical reasons? Oh, yeah. They did not.

In order of impact – so I guess the severity of the standing up, or the logistics therein – they went like this:

1) “Yeah Yeah Yeah I Can’t Wait To See You!”

We will just say, I should have been suspicious based on the frequency of exclamation points and emoji, but I trusted in this one because this was someone I had met before. In fact, when we met, we really met, if you get my meaning. And we are (were?) in touch pretty regularly. Granted it ebbs and flows, but it is generally not like some weird shout in the dark when we talk to each other.

What made this stand up particularly curious, is that there was confirmation of the meet up happening a mere four hours prior to the stand up. We were in the same town. Plans had been rearranged to accommodate the meet up. Connections had been established. And then, at T minus nothing, we had total radio silence.

Now, that is just rude.

Fortunately for me, I did not have a lot vested in this situation, but seriously, to just ignore the arrangement and go totally dark? Lame. I was also easily able to make new plans and parlay the situation into something awesome, but seriously? Not even an “I’m a chicken shit” text message? Puh-leeze.

Before you think I am just cruel and like, maybe he got in a horrible traffic accident, no. He did not. He just chose to do something else, which is totally legit. But homeboy, MAKE A CALL.

The only explanation for not being grown up enough to cancel (save for some sort of catastrophe) is that you actually enjoy this feeling of making someone super uncomfortable (I mean really, after three texts that don’t get answered, it feels pretty ridiculous.) Maybe it is an ego thing. Maybe you are just busy hanging in mom’s basement. I don’t really know. But standing me up like that was pathetic.

Go sit down.

5f1a2e08494e0e4b0eb2fa3cdc1b5bde

 

2) “We Are Going To Be The Most Amazing Couple Ever.”

To be fair, this is a sort of abstract stand up – but stand up it was. I say abstract because this person stood me up in an unrealized way. I also knew this person. We had hung out together and then decided we wanted to do that again. And we did – in a totally cute, spontaneous, and sneaky way.

And then he started laying out all the plans for the future. Travel, Cohabitation. Dates, Meeting family. Blah blah fucking blah. Suffice it to say I was a very good listener in all of this, and truth be told, he wove fine tales.

But when he was first given the chance to pull the trigger (I found out way after the fact) he balked. When given a second chance he came through. When directly asked about the third chance, he back pedaled (none to gracefully), lied (never very graceful), and cowered a way like a very small, small person.

Again, he had every opportunity to just come out and say, “Yeah, this is not going to work for me.” But no. Apparently his phone(s) and computers no longer work. They sure did for a while there though. (Have you ever looked at the sushi emoji and the eggplant emoji juxtaposed with each other? I am not sure that is acceptable adult communication in hindsight.) After all that, I was not even worth a “thanks for the conversations” communiqué? Really? What a lame stand up.

Oh. go sit down.

9370f29564e2c17a51befb1fcb7a1400

 

3) “I cannot wait to meet you in San Francisco.”

This was the first of the epic stand-ups. And really, I had this shit coming for sure. But still, at the time… it was awful. Like way worse than the other two that make this list because I was less prepared, more fragile, and I had flown 8,000 freaking miles to make it happen.

No lie.

I took a total chance here, and I guess I was in the mood for it. This person had found me via my blog (look at my ego grow just typing that) and was super smart (and super well-versed in internet wooing it turns out) so he always said just the right things. We talked on the phone for hours and messaged each other and wrote blogs laden with private jokes and personal references. It was clearly ridiculous.

Me, being me (as I was in both the above mentioned situations as well) was very much in the shit or get off the pot mode with this person. If we were going to b like this we needed to meet each other. He agreed. Enthusiastically.

We bought airline tickets and counted down days. It was all very romantic and exciting and the stupid shit that fiction is based on, because: FICTION.

The morning I was flying out he texted me – no call – to say, he was afraid he might miss his flight to SFO (he was flying from the southern US) because he had some sort of work emergency. *cough*bullshit*cough* But I was en route to a trans-pacific flight. Was I supposed to cancel? No, he said, he might still make it. What? Not even committing to the stand up? I should have told him to sit the fuck down right then.

So I flew the 12 hours to San Francisco and landed… And he was still telling me maybe he could come. How lucky for me (and him really) that I am from San Francisco and so I had friends to stay with and to visit. As I sat at the airport ready to return to Asia after my whirlwind weekend, he kept telling me how terrible he felt that he was unable to make it and thinking of me “so sad” was so hard for him. Huh. Well, you certainly could have done something about that. At that point I was sad, but I would eventually become enraged. He tried to become invisible, but it was a challenge for him. And I played him one final time in a sort of way that was truly hilarious and fodder for an entire different post. (Play with fire? I got you.)

In the end, I somehow reaped great benefits from this debacle of an adventure… it was when I first started getting upgraded at Cathay and they put me into Marco Polo, we still never worked out why – but really, why ask why? In an ironic twist, this little weasel now lives in the community where I work. And being that the Bay Area is such a small place, I am sure that someday, some way, the unfortunate circumstance of running into each other will unfold. And I will only have one thing to say:

Sit the fuck down.

photo-62

 

For what it’s worth, today the Comcast guy got here ahead of schedule and sorted his shit out clearly, amicably, and effectively.

So maybe there is hope after all.

What’s the time?

I went out in the neighborhood a little while back. I haven’t been hitting my locals so regularly anymore. I’d like to say this is a reflection of better judgement. But it is more likely just because I am sofa king tired I would just rather not. However, I rallied because one of my bebe cousins was in town, and, well, I mean this is the neighborhood to bar crawl in if you’re going to go for it.

And I do love a quality dive bar.

We started with a happy hour tipple at the Toronado. This bar is not in my neighborhood. I have had some legendary nights at the Toronado. And let me assure you that when anyone says that something in a bar was legendary, they mean, God, I did WHAT?!? In fact, even recalling some of it is cringeworthy. But the Force is strong in this one, and so, there I was.

In and out of my own volition. Win.

After getting back to the Mission we made dinner at home and then headed out – a little early for most of the non-neighborhood types who would certainly be filling the streets eventually – but as I may have mentioned, or soon will: age.

I took the bebe to the Latin American first, because one cocktail = done. In hindsight, this may have been poorly thought out. But, live and learn. Or at least I have heard some people do that… The Latin is a formerly great dive bar that has become a little overly self conscious about that status, but still serves a margarita that can knock you over and if it is not too crowed with an equally overly self conscious crowd, can be fun. Also, props to door dude for being the first to tell me that my drivers’ license was expired and he was doing me a solid to let me in. [I may have already mentioned I am in no way akin to someone who might actually need an ID check.]

After the Latin we headed to Doc’s Clock. I love Doc’s. I bring everyone there I can because I love it so. They also have shuffle board and a long bar. I adore a long bar.

We took seats at the bar.

Bebe saw a sign behind the bar that said, “Welcome to San Francisco. Now go homo.” Being from a special part of Southern California she was beside herself as a result of this sign. She took out her phone to take a photo. As she was working out her shot, unaware that she had the flash on, there was a perfect convergence of her photographic explosion and the arrival of the bartender who was clearly temporarily blinded by this situation. And she made no mystery of her displeasure with the situation. Bebe was embarrassed, but I was more embarrassed for the ridiculous overreaction of the bartender. As she acted like Nosferatu having seen the first light of day, I said, “It’s cool, you can help those other people first, we are not in a hurry.”

“Look, I’m already here, what do you want?”

Oh really?

We ordered drinks. I stuck with my standard clear liquors. Bebe began making unwise choices. [My neighborhood is going to be a lot nicer when all the people insisting that they actually enjoy bourbon just stop pretending.]

As we sat at the bar chatting, and apparently being hilarious – we were talking about our family – the bartender started hanging around quite a bit more. Soon enough she was chuckling along with us, and before long adding asides.

At this point the bar was getting pretty crowded and a big group of Woo Girls came in.

The bartender came over and we said at the same time: “God. The Woo Girls are here.” I think that is the point I won her over. The next thing I know she was telling me how smart I was, and that she could tell I was from the neighborhood. [This is also rather a big deal, as it is fairly common for people in this neighborhood to tell me things like I have “Marina hair”, or ask, “Are you from Marin?” Really? Sigh.]

When Bebe was ready for her second round and I was holding steady, Lisa, my new BFB, topped me off for good measure.

Now the touristas were flooding in. I have to say it is fun to be a local in this neighborhood when everyone else wants to be here if for no other reason than a nice angle for snobbery.

A group of young men came in and were suddenly positioned right next to us. One introduced the other, saying, he is visiting from Seattle. “Oh yeah? I lived in Seattle.” I tell him.

“No way!” he says. Why is this a response to a statement I am wondering. I mean, is it a challenge? Or is it too unlikely that to previously unknown humans could have lived in the same place? Or is it lack of a more clever answer? As I contemplated this he said, “But I am not from there.”

“Oh? Where are you from?”

“San Diego.”

“How funny, I went to school there.” I brace for the ‘NO WAY!’

“Where?!” He comes back with instead.

“UCSD.”

“NO WAY! [there we go] I am from Encinitas!” [As a side note, the number of people I meet from Encinitas outside of Encinitas is freakish.]

After some amount of bar conversation that can only achieve the level of enthusiasm it does when enhanced by liquor, we determine that we have had these (even I admit) strangely parallel life experiences. San Diego, Seattle, he is also a history teacher… Wait what? His buddy is beside himself. Do we know any of the same people, he wants to know. I mean, how can we not, he claims.

And here is where the real fun begins: The guess how old I am game.

I gently suggest that it is unlikely we know any of the same people because although we have had similar paths, I am old enough to be his mother.

“Maybe in Kentucky!” He says. Okay, fair play, that was clever. Although, I was getting nervous that he might throw his hands in the air and woo.

So he is 28. He guesses I am in my thirties. I no longer know if this is a ploy, or at all sincere. Bebe and I laugh.

“Uh, no.” Unsure how long I want to keep this guessing game going on I cut to the chase. I tell him I am 44.

Wait for it…

“NO WAY!!”

Yeah, anyhow. We talk some more and then they walk away. Soon there is another group and we chat, it is easy enough when plied with Lisa’s liberal pours and the general silliness of the Woo Crowd.

Pretty soon, Lisa tells us she is getting off her shift. Shame, things were really working out. But she walks over her replacement and assures us (or him?) that he will take very good care of us. The next thing I know she is standing next to us and telling me I have got to get out more. There is a lot of hugging and enthusiastic regard for all things us. I view this as a win all the way around.

The next thing I know San Diego-Seattle-History teacher dude is back. He does not have a lot of new material, but he is cute and funny. He tells me we should get out of here.

“Uh, yeah. I coud have been your teacher. I have rules about that. I mean, you are 28, and I am 44. Ew. No. We are not even existing in adjacent decades.”

He laughs. Now, again, I am confused if this is sincere, flattery, a con, or just confusion.

“No, come on it would be fun – look how much we already have in common… think what else there might be!”

Wait, what? He said that out loud.

Aiyah.

Thankfully, my friend Ken has now arrived and Bebe is in need of my assistance so I have other things to do.

“Actually, I have to go. But, thanks?”

“Aw, come on, come back in,” he says.

Seriously? No. Just no, you lovely-but-daft-man-child.

We walk out and meet AJ. AJ wants to roll with Bebe. Ken and I are suspicious. He says he wants to take her to his hotel. “Does she want to go to your hotel?” I ask. Bebe seems unconvinced, or undetermined. She says “Yes.”

“Okay, where is your hotel?”

“Right down here,” he says pointing down 24th Street. Ken and I exchange looks. As if there is any sort of “hotel” down that end of 24th. Next thing we know he is faking a phone call. TO THE MARRIOTT.

Ken and I are dying, and not even really hiding it. He really must be drunk or stupid, or I suppose, he thinks we are.

He goes through this whole song and dance on the phone about “How could they not have his reservation? He paid through the weekend!”

Dying, I am.

So the next thing you know we are walking back to my place because the “Marriott” lost AJ’s paid-in-full booking. Maybe it got lost when they had to relocate the property from downtown? At my door it becomes clear that he thinks there is a fucking chance in hell he is getting in the door.

As if.

Ken is still there and I see my Jordanian chaperones from my liquor store keeping an eye on things as well. This will not end well for AJ if he annoys me. In the end he sort of dumbly slinks away. I almost feel sorry for him but for the fake phone call for which he forgot to turn the phone on.

I get in the apartment, thank Ken, and look to Bebe, who says, “What’s the time?” As she falls into bed.

A good question I think to myself, and on seeing it is just gone midnight I feel like throwing my hands in the air and yelling ‘Woooooooooo!’

Maybe I will go out in the neighborhood again one of these weekends. Hard to say no when… wait for it…

 

Fall Semester Endeth. Finally.

photo-124

It was rather a long haul, I must admit. And when pressed for reasons why, they do not easily come to mind. For the first time in many moons I was teaching a known and familiar curriculum, my class sizes are totally manageable, my life, fairly stable. So, what then? What made this the longest-semester-EVER? It could be that I closed it out with some truly funky gross sickness. Or that the election made it all the more tense. Or perhaps it was the unfortunate placement of the winter hols (not to be misconstrued and unfortunate hols….) I am not knowing.

But I am glad it is over.

Or mostly over.

Now that the window to turn in work has really closed, and my grades are all done and entered, comes the most aggravating part of being a teacher. The begging for grade changes. And these come primarily from able-minded students who chose to coast all semester for various reasons, approaching all sorts of threat levels on the teenage drama thermometer, but rarely from the kids who really, truly, need to speak up.

It gets me thinking about grades: the medium of exchange in the world of academia, and it is a conundrum. How accurately can a grade reflect ability? Hard to say. But a grade certainly can reflect intention and adherence to protocol. And I wonder which might be the more important.

There must be a medium of exchange. Of that we all agree. Just look at UC Santa Cruz where for years they endeavored to do away with grades and offered narrative evaluations at the end of courses. (I weep for those graders). But in the end, they all had to be translated to grades anyhow if a student had designs on graduate school of any sort. So they were rendered moot. Now the professors there spend hours upon hours writing narrative evaluations AND give a grade. Awesome.

Anyhow, since there must be some benchmark, something that says, yes, this student was conscious, this student learned the ‘majority’ of the material, this student made academic gains in skill, this student improved upon their understanding of…. of what? We have grades.

The use of grades is not a new rule. It is not like last week I told my students, “Okay, we are going to give you a grade at the end of all of this so impress me!” All along, students know that the grades are what come at the end and that this will be the measure affords them choices down the road. Or not. Seemingly, if one is aware of all this, then they would make decisions accordingly. Even if they are teenagers who are categorically not renown for decision-making skills, this seems like a fairly cut and dried situation. Recently I was handed my high school transcripts, along with my original college applications (mom has been cleaning out the garages…) and I had a look.

I graduated from a very mediocre school, it seems that should be admitted. We didn’t have too many AP choices (though I took them all) and I took PE every year. I also recall being fairly disenchanted by high school towards the end (par for the course, I think.) This being said, I graduated with a 3.76 unweighted GPA and ranked #16 in my class. I entered UCSD as a sophomore by credit (partly due to AP scores and partly due to an exchange program in Guadalajara.)

What is more striking to me now is not the difference in my grades to those of my students, but the other little things. Like, in a million years I would have NEVER contacted my teachers about my grades. They were what they were. [I think my mom talked to three of my teachers in my high school career about grades… Geometry, World History and Economics…. the first for a cheating accusation – which still stands as one of the most hilariously inept suggestions ever, not because I never cheated, but in this case because of whom I was accused of cheating from (!) – the second for a D on a test that was clearly a teacher sending a message – got it – and lastly for a personality conflict (shocker) with a teacher that had compelled him to lower my academic grade rather than my “citizenship” grade.] In fact, I remember getting report cards and that was how you knew what your grades were – there was no online program where you could track the entry of every grade. The equation seemed simple: do work, get points. Don’t do work, don’t get points. The consequences were also simple. Bad grades, no sports eligibility, or something. This was not within my high school self’s ken. For me bad grades equated to, as my mom often plainly reminded me, limited choices down the road. “Huh,” she’d say. “Well, that will eliminate some of your choices in the future.” I have told you already that she was a master of PsyOps.

Now we are working with kids facing the following realities:

  • Far greater competition to get into college
  • Far less significance for having gone to college
  • Far greater uncertainty about the future
  • Far less cultural and social value on education outside of performance markers like position of status and salary

Knowing this it is shocking to me that some of my students who, with more resources and support than I can articulate, still do so little while having this strangely passive attitude about it all, like, maybe something will miraculously happen at the end and that D- will become a B or even an A. And if this does not happen then it was not their fault and it just is what it is.

Then comes the justifying. My favorite one is the whole, “Oh, I could totally get A’s I am just not into it (the more honest among them will just say they are lazy – though with a disturbing hint of pride.)” There are also the blame shifters: this is not my fault it is… my family, my job, I can’t take tests, I suck at math, I got a concussion, my — died, I got suspended, you don’t grade fair. There’s the bargainers. If you change my grade I will: never be tardy again, do all my work next semester, whatever. The latest addition to the repertoire has been the intellectual entreaty. This I find most interesting. Not just for the semantic two-step it affords, but because of the ultimate irony that it exposes.

As a high school student, grades are not a measure of intellect, it is a measure of the ability to be a student. While these two things certainly overlap and intersect at various points, the reality is that they are very different. In high school, grades are measuring the degree to which you are able to demonstrate skills that will help you develop and refine your intellectual acumen down the road. If you glean some cool information along the way that is awesome, but it is a bonus. As your high school teacher I am looking at your ability to get shit done. Can you be on time? Can you remember a writing utensil…. ever? Do you meet your responsibilities? Do you do what you say you will do? Do you take the steps necessary to allow yourself to succeed? (Assigned reading for homework does not mean you have no homework, FYI.) Do you know how to effectively and appropriately communicate with peers and teachers, and do you realize that unique approaches are required? Do you turn in the work which you clearly think you are above doing in spite of your opinion? Do you know how to find answers to your questions? Do you know what questions to ask? Can you manage all of the above 90% of the time? Okay, then, you get an A. If not, then you did not take care of your business and you do not deserve an A. Truly. It is not a mystery.

And don’t worry, it is the job of graduate school to access your intellect, so that is waiting for you down the road.

That is, assuming you made a couple of wise choices along the way, and remembered to bring a writing utensil to class, at least occasionally.

graduate school