Tuesday, May 03, 2005

to drink or not to drink: also some thoughts on "diversity"

i was so wiped out today. over the weekend i studied to a point of exhaustion and overload for my exam yesterday. despite my best efforts to prepare adequately, it was totally and awfully difficult. today my brain was still fried so i ran errands most of the day. i went down to fourth street on my bike which was lovely. i wrapped a present in brown paper. i made a cd filled with songs for moving. i drank a homemade smoothie with pomegranate juice as a super secret and tasty ingredient. i "studied" in north berkeley and borrowed a dollar for coffee from a liquor store employee who, despite his best efforts, did not convince me to drink wine while "preparing for my take-home exam." i had entered the store, cash poor, in search of an ATM thinking that virtually all liquor stores house ATMs along with their selections of fine wine, cheap 40s, courvoisier, jager. some liquor stores even have ATMs which will read and withdraw cash from food stamp EBT cards. sadly, these are the sort of ATMS that also tack on at least three dollar service charges. this liquor store, in contrast to its peers, had no ATMs of any variety. the kind clerk suggested that i purchase some alcohol and get cash back. i declined. he offered to buy me the coffee i so desired and i declined again. finally, i was persuaded to borrow a dollar so long as i would buy the coffee from the small place next door and smuggle it to the larger shop down the street with better seating. this turned out to be excellent advice. the coffee from the tiny shop was both cheaper and more delicious than the joe next door.

my day continued, more or less uneventfully. i'll spare you the details but close with some thoughts from a former RA on university housing. just today i read an article in the "maroon" about one of my many former dormitories. in it, broadview was (somewhat) accurately described as a "insular lunatic themed" dorm. although i agreed with the general characterization of broadview, i can't stand behind the rest of the article which lambasts multicultural housing for enforcing segregation. the author's call for diversity as part of the "college challenge" is all well and good but seems to place an undue burden on students of color to be the token faces of diversity for "stuck-up Manhattan girls." this seems misplaced and would appear to equate all people of color by saying that viewpoints within minority communities are all the same, and that diversity cannot exist among ethnic groups. since these multicultural houses, at cornell and, i believe, at berkeley too, are open to anyone - i can't see a problem with them. if multicultural housing is really going to lead campuses down the path of resegregation, concerned folks like this author can simply move in. for more on this topic look here.


dirteens said...

come to think of it, i can't stand behind the description of broadview in that article either. it's not that the description is inaccurate. it could just be more accurate. "insular lunatic themed" seems to better befit maclean house.

rortina said...

As an insular lunatic, and a Broadview resident, I take offense at your suggestion that the label is misplaced. Good night, and how dare you!

Anonymous said...

Memory Sequel: On Cities and Rationality
We walk a straight line that corresponds with a linear form of rationalization upon which the choice of our next step projects the restraint of our past. Only when we give wings to our imagination can we truly break free from haunting historical expectations of a one- way street. Disguised in the form of multiple vendors, our reason coupled with a questionable virtue we call self-preservation finds attraction on these bustling streets filled with pushers ultimately selling the common product of objective affirmation. A dead-end to subjective diligence perhaps? In part, we are but our past and the influence of others. Alas, the rest of our existence depends not only on circumstantial differences but follows a heartbeat that plays coherent tunes to which transcending spirits of sublimation and anguish make sweet love around the distinguishable element upon which the warmth of tomorrow shines—possibilities. The heart has its way of rejuvenating the narrow street we tread upon so heavily with steps of the world by the hands of constructed entropy adding vibrant value to grim repetitions. But if the walls of linear habit and ropes of fear tame the explosive dimension of human courage, can we ever cleanse our static presence with art that defines the realm of ahistorcial existence stripped away from power dynamics of an imbalanced system of self-preservation? Without the vision and intent we cannot crumble the walls of our dead ends and walk the streets of affirmation transformed with welcoming pleasantries of creativity inspired by the leap of faith concerning the desire to plunge into the unknown realm of illogically reinforcing possibilities. A city connected by such paths feeds its wondering inhabitants with the courage to face one another beyond the predictable direction leading to past mishaps. How do we intend to live in such high times if our habits blind our recognition of self-oppressive conditions that further burden the collective weight of hidden apathy? Clearly, life is more than simply intentions. For what it is the use of intentions if the way we intend to live in our everydayness to begin with provides minimal goodwill beyond anchoring stances of self-preservation? Is it then better to strive with self-criticism and break from the habits of linearity through the acknowledgment that acts of self-other deprivation should not concur with consistency in the presentation of one’s walks? Intending itself is an inherent malaise that should not be distinguished from the habits of our imagination and explosions of the heart. Sometimes, we just need to dive into the unknown without the baggage of calculated logic based on selfhood. To give up one’s sense of self-victimhood from linearity and breaking the walls for others to roam is liberation manifest at the gates of the generosity and non-linear self love.