I had a dream last night in which the UBFM was present. I think he had come over to my apartment/house (in my dream it wasn't my actual current place) in order to talk to me about something or try to make nice again or I don't know what. He looked exactly the same, and I wanted nothing to do with him. At least dream me can be sensible.

Some other part of my dream had a friend of mine (who I never see anymore, and has been dating the same girl forever) whose identity I will not name to protect him, trying to sex me up -- with the girlfriend's knowledge (in my dream, their relationship was an open one). We ended up in the backyard of whatever house we had been at, near a cheap metal jungle gym (the kind we all had when we were kids), me floating on my back with flood waters rising around us, me wearing a motorcycle helmet and vibrating underwear, and he pressing his mouth against me to make the vibrations more intense. My head kept dipping slightly under the water (who can blame it, I was wearing a heavy helmet), but my face never got submerged, and I wasn't freaked out or concerned or anything, just enjoying myself.

Let's all pause for a moment to express the thoughts we're all having together: Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot?!

I concur.

Fortunately for my sanity, the two parts of the dream weren’t connected.

Now, moving on to a few rants I’ve been allowing to fester for a little while now. I email back and forth with a few friends when I’m at work. One of these acquaintances and I were speaking about motorcycle etiquette one time after he asked me if I’d ridden to work that day. He had to work overtime and wanted a lift home, as he didn’t particularly care for riding the bus. My first response was to say that I hadn’t ridden in that day (which was true), and the conversation carried on from there. I’ll repost it rather than try to summarize it for you:

Him: Hey, you still breathing over there? If not, can I have your motorcycle?

Me: Yes and no. My dad's already claimed first rights should I decide to sell it, even if it's not his dream bike. I also have a friend whose brother is in love with Ninjas and would probably love the chance to buy it.

Him: I don't imagine you rode it in to work today, did you? I have to work overtime tonight and I don't feel like taking the bus at the godforsaken hour of 8 o'clock with all the cannibals and CHUDs and other assorted lowlifes. :)

Me: I thought about it, but didn't for various reasons. You're welcome to climb on board if you have your own equipment and feel comfortable with a driver who's still quite novice and is only still getting used to driving herself around, let alone a passenger. I've once taken a friend for a drive around a large parking lot, but haven't been out in public or at speed with anyone.

Plus, if you've never ridden a bike before, there's a fair bit to know if you don't want to kill yourself and the driver.

Him You mean apart from the "don't hold your hands over the driver's eyes" rule? How much more complicated could it be? You did trust me enough to let me drive you around without fearing for your life, I could probably return the favour.

Me: Lean with the driver, don't lean too far over and don't fight the bike when it does lean. Keep your feet on the pegs at all times. Keep close to the driver. Don't suddenly throw your weight around. The bike also handles *hugely* differently when there's a second person on it vs. just me. Given that its max weight capacity is meant to be 396 lbs, two people on it is starting to get very close to that. More expensive on gas, too.

It's a lot of balance and safety issues. Again, I've never ridden in traffic with anyone else, and I'm not about to start in the middle of the fall, when there are environmental conditions to account for as well as passenger safety ones. Not to mention that my bike is not especially suited to having a passenger -- if I sit on the back, my knees come up past my dad's hips, and I don't have long legs. I've had many people ask to be driven around, and I turn them all down.

Him Those rules are all common sense, but remembering them in the middle of a turn if you're not used to riding on a bike might be a bit difficult. Whoa whoa whoa, two people on the bike approach 400 lbs??!? You're what, maybe 130? I, my dear, am nowhere near 270 lbs. I'm proud to say I'm hovering near 155.

Me: Exactly why I'm not rushing to put someone on my bike that isn't used to riding on one. It's not common sense -- it's that if you don't follow these rules, you will screw up the driving. It'd be the equivalent of the passenger, while you were turning the steering wheel to the left to make a left-hand turn, reaching over and pulling the wheel to the right. If someone tried to ride with me and couldn't keep things straight, I'd feel no compunction whatsoever about leaving them on the side of a road somewhere. I'm not about to die just because someone can't follow simple rules.

And no, I weigh around 150 lbs. Many of my friends are anywhere from 180-200 lbs themselves, and over 6 feet tall. All of these influence how the bike performs.

Him: You don't look 150. And geez, get some skinny friends already.

And fine, I'll take my chances on the bus. But if you read a story about a half-eaten corpse found on a bus tomorrow, remember I asked you to give me a lift home.

Me: I'm talking about male friends, and they're hardly fat people.

Also, you may recall I said at the beginning of all of this that I didn't take the bike in.

Him: Yes, I do recall that, but I could hardly use the line in an obviously vain attempt to plant guilt if I adhered to that, could I? I mean, come on.

Me: Whining about me not giving you a lift home is hardly going to inspire a shred a guilt in me.
I got pissed around the time he said the line about how all of that is a lot for someone who’s never been on a bike before to remember. I felt as though he was telling me that my safety didn’t matter – that if someone couldn’t be bothered to remember a few simple things, it would be okay that they might do something to make me lose control of my bike and possibly even cause an accident. Needless to say, even if I were taking people for rides on my bike routinely, I wouldn’t be taking him out.

Brief rant: Why is it that whenever there’s been a pregnancy scare in my life (and there haven’t been any that were realistically a concern, just one broken condom at a not-ideal but still okay time and one or two bouts of extreme paranoia based on nothing), the guy goes off on how he isn’t ready to be a dad, doesn’t want kids right now, etc., etc., making it sound as though I’ve been dancing around, begging to be impregnated, desperate for sperm, poking holes in condoms and forcing him to fuck me without protection? Who the hell said I was ready to be a mom right now, or give my body over to another human being in that sense? Argh.

Next longer rant: I’m doing a masters of communications degree with a focus in media studies. My thesis will be on portrayals of masculinity in contemporary television, using Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a case study. Sure, it may not win be a Nobel peace prize, or solve world hunger, but I think it’s an interesting subject to explore, and it’s where my interests and supposed talents (may) lie.

I also have a bachelors degree in communications. I went to school full time at that time and worked part time in order to pay for it. My BA qualified me for my previous and current jobs, and the skills I’ve learned through school and through practical work experience have further qualified me and sustained me in my career. They will also help open doors for me in the future.

Now, that’s me. I went the education route because I like school, I like learning, and it was where my interests were. School has always been important to me, up to and including times where I was upset enough about a failed grade that I did cry, because I was and am a loser.

That said, I have friends who have either not done or not completed post-secondary education and they have gone even further in their fields than I have currently, and are successful for whatever given definition of success you care to use. I’m using it in the sense that they have careers, roofs over their head, food on their plates, clothes on their back, and aren’t having to count pennies from month to month. I’m happy for them.

However, some of these people don’t seem to understand why it is that I have chosen to do post-graduate work, or why I even did an undergrad in the first place. That’s fine; I may not understand other peoples’ life choices, and I’ll certainly question them to others, but I try to avoid doing it too much to them.

But what it has meant is that there’s a notable lack of respect for my chosen path(s), and that does bother me. I distinctly recall telling a friend while I was doing my undergrad that I couldn’t go out a particular evening or as often as he was suggesting because of reading/papers/exams/classes. He said, though maybe not in so many words, that I should blow off said work and go out or meet up with him.

I’ve had put down the amount of work that is going to have to go into my thesis, and I’ve had a friend state that he and his wife got into a fight over his belief that I didn’t need to do a masters degree – he told me that while he still didn’t think I needed to do it/understand why I was doing it, that he supported my choice to do it.

Uh, thanks.

I realize that not everyone thinks studying pop culture or the media is important. I think it is, and I won’t bore you with the reasons why. I realize that not everyone needs to pursue formal education in order to learn or further their prospects for career advancement. I realize that some people can take a textbook, sit down with it and learn its contents without a great deal of struggle.

But – there is much more beyond that that goes on in university. It’s discussing the concepts, the theories, the history, the practices of your chosen field. Not everyone professor teaches word for word from a textbook, and not every idea expressed by fellow classmates, guest lecturers or professors is written down somewhere to be absorbed. Not everyone engages with the material in the same manner, and not every thought one has is sparked simply by what’s on a page somewhere.

I’m not knocking reading – I love to read. I stayed up until midnight last night so I could finish Terry Pratchett’s latest book. But there are so many people who don’t learn everything just from reading a book, and to assume that one can gain the equivalent of a bachelors degree or masters degree’s level of education through self-study may be laughable.

I say may be; I know there is much to be gained from practical experience. I have a coworker who’s worked for the government in some capacity or another for 16 years; he has a much easier time writing ‘government-ese’ than I do, and he doesn’t have a degree. But because of our backgrounds and our training, we process information differently, and that’s to both of our advantages.

But when someone belittles my choice of education or tells me I can blow off this or that for entertainment, it makes me feel as though they don’t respect me. I realize that communications is a field that’s regularly mocked. But I tell everyone who does so or brings up that point that an arts degree is far from a bird degree, especially if your skills don’t lie in reading, writing and processing information and conveying it coherently.

Those of you who read this site recognize that I don’t always explain things very well. It’s common – what I think is explained clearly won’t be to everyone, either because of my choice of words, or the other’s manner of interpreting it. But I can generally write clearly and my thought process, when I put some into it (instead of a brain dump such as this) is usually – I’ve been told – fairly easy to follow. Hell, I’ve been told that even my brain dumps can be easily followed. Who knew? I can’t say it’s all because of my education, but I can’t help but think that it certainly hasn’t hurt.

So to summarize? I take joking and teasing as well as the next person, and sometimes maybe even a bit better. But when it comes to something I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort pursuing, and it’s currently influencing and shaping my career path? Yeah, it bugs me to have my efforts put down.

Just some venting that no one will read… you want me to update, yet when I do, you tell me you skim. ;)

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