As my one year anniversary date draws nearer, I find myself experiencing a touch of senioritis. Senioritis is a colloquial term used in the United States and Canada to describe the decreased motivation for studying by students who are nearing the end of their high school or college years. 

To some degree, that does not accurately define what I am feeling because I am 100% motivated to finish this project. I think where the term seniorities fits for me is in the sense of excitement about honoring my commitment, combined with a tinge of sadness. 

Seniors experiencing this malady want to skip school, blow off assignments, hang with friends, and party hearty. I believe there is another part of senioritis that is rarely discussed. A very real component of the ailment is uncertainty and unfamiliarity. There is a degree of fear when a senior realizes what they have known; their daily schedule, their safety net, even the seemingly-confining boundaries of home will soon be changing. 

I think that is where I am right now. I am ready to finish strong but a significant part of my day, my life, will change after August 21. Though we often balk at routines, we need them. We like them. We have an intimacy with them as our tethers to comfort and security. 

However, as in all things, time heals, smoothes, prepares, anticipates, presents, and acts. The wane is beautifully answered by the wax.

Elevator Alleviator

The last Friday in July is designated National Talk in an Elevator Day. 

I do not love elevators. I mentioned that in a previous post. I mostly do not like to ride alone. Here is the thinking. If the elevator gets stuck, I want there to be another person on whom shoulders I can climb in order to crash through the ceiling lights to reach the escape door. I have seen Mission Impossible movies. I know there is one in every elevator. Right?

In the pre everyone-has-a-smartphone days, when riding an elevator with other people, the standard code was to stare up at the lighted numbers in silence. Now, the phone is a perfect prop to eliminate any possibility of eye contact. We’ve all done it.

What would we say anyway? Most likely these are people we will never cross paths with again so why bother with niceties? 

There may be a reason—human interaction. It is the same reason we choose the grocery line with a live person at the cash register. And to that point, do not be on your phone unless it is an emergency. It is entirely rude. I have witnessed far too many people going through the grocery store line, throwing their items onto the belt, yakking it up with someone about what they are wearing to the party tonight and not make one moment of eye contact with the cashier. It is crushing to witness.

The elevator conversation does not need to be soul searching questions about the meaning of life. It may be as benign as “That is a beautiful scarf you are wearing” or “It’s great to be out of the rain” or “Your baby has a lovely face” or a simple hello and then “Have a good day” when stepping out. Even one authentic smile can awaken the endorphins in another person and change their day. 

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a person in a retirement home. When the elevator door opened, there was one small, frail-looking woman in her 80s. I quickly assessed the situation as to whether or not I could climb onto her shoulders to make the escape. I decided that was a no then gave her a kind smile and told her I needed the exercise and would take the stairs. 

Yep, I have my issues. As do all of us. 

The next time you are in an elevator, take a step of boldness. Don’t look at your phone or the lighted numbers at the top, make a connection with another person. Sure, it’s a risk. This action has the potential to be interpreted in another way, but the risk may be worth the endorphin spike you both may feel. 

World Emoji Day

As a general rule, I dislike emojis. I did not use them until about a year ago. They felt juvenile and silly and unnecessary. I still feel that, to a degree.

Emoji is a Japanese expression, which roughly means “picture world”. It was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita designed picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens. 

When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to grab the Japanese market. It was not intended for the U.S. users to find. However, they did and quickly figured out how to use it. 

Every year new emojis (by the way, both emoji and emojis are acceptable plurals of the word), are developed. The keeps tracks of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis and they cover much more than just emotions. Transportation, food, wild and domesticated animals, weather, bodily functions, and many more virtually speak for themselves. 

Though I do not want admit it, there are a couple of emojis that I use often because the facial expression is so incredibly fitting. One is the ‘laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes’ face. The other one is the face that emotes a humble, sweet smile. It is a fitting complete answer to many text messages. Another few favorites are a smiling face with a blue halo, a fuchsia heart, and a cup of steaming coffee.

I distinctly remember my small cell phone of 2004-05. I believe it was a  LG TU500 flip phone. I wasn’t texting much then but I did occasionally send a message that required a smile, to ensure ‘just kidding’ or ‘sorry I was a stinker’ or various other statements that require an extra amount of emotion. Early on, I actually typed out the word and put it in parenthesis, like this (smile). Then I learned that I could use a colon and one side of the parenthesis which worked beautifully for a long time. 

Emojis have come a long way since then. I still dislike symbols because it feels lazy, but I have come to appreciate them. 

I will, however, never understand the fascination with the poop emoji. If we are going to be that invasive, why don’t we just go ahead and make different colored poop emojis; mahogany, burnt sienna, sepia, raw sienna, burnt umber, desert sand, tumbleweed, and van dyke brown. I borrowed these color names from the Binney & Smith crayola chart. 

If we are going to keep advancing emojis, we may as well go all out. It seems a bit narrow-minded to have one plain brown poop.