Archive for September, 2011


Semantics

I feel like I made a gross error in titling that previous blog. Calling something 2.0 generally means that it’s a major improvement over version 1.0. It would be silly to state that this version of Floor 12 surpasses last year’s.

Indeed, there’s very little resemblance between the two. Last year’s Floor 12 was defined by the cast of characters that comprised it. It was such a beautiful mix of backgrounds and personalities that wove together into this beautiful tapestry that for eight glorious months was the best part of all of our lives.

This year, instead of a tapestry we have more of a carpet. Mostly homogenous, with a few stains here and there. The majority of people this year are white and from within 100 km of Toronto. As someone who grew up in a place where everyone is the same, I don’t see this as a good thing.

To be fair, these newbies are still decent human beings, for the most part. And they do have distinctive personality quirks. And they are capable of some moderate-level banter.  But nothing that nearly approaches what we had last year. That connection – that intangible spark that bound each of us to one another – simply isn’t there this year.

As such, rather than referring to this year as 2.0, it should more properly be called Floor 12 II. It is a sequel; not an upgrade, and as is the case with many sequels, it doesn’t quite live up to the original.

Floor 12 2.0

Well, I’m on floor 12 again this year. Could there have been any other way? Not only that, but I’m in a room which previously belonged to one of my friends here. Can’t say I’m that surprised either. It almost had to happen.

Some of the old characters are back on my floor again as well, so that’s awesome.

The question is, can this year’s floor 12 equal last year’s capital F Floor 12? Probably not. Can it be a damned good year in its own right? Sure it can.

It all comes down to the newbies. Yes, these dozen or so fine people that appear to be forming this year’s gang will play a large role in determining whether or not this is a good year for me.

See, being on the same floor means that I’m constantly reminded of the thousand or so great chill sessions that happened in these same hallways mere months ago. Even in my room, I can’t escape these memories. Here’s the spot where that infamous lap dance occurred. There’s the place where I was dared to lick that guy’s back. There’s the window where she flashed the people across the street.

My hope is that I’ll be able to add to those memories this year. If this year comes to an end and all I can see in that hallway are ghosts of 2010-2011, then I haven’t done a good job.

How does it look thus far? Well, they certainly haven’t shown the same propensity to discuss their reproductive organs as last year’s motley crew, but perhaps that’s to be expected. Still, they appear to be slowly gelling. The jury is still out on them.

If all else fails, we’re just 225 or so days from summer ’12.

Learning To Lose

Losing sucks, or so I’ve heard.

All joking aside, I think that learning to lose gracefully is an important social skill.

I didn’t always have this skill. I used to be a terrible loser. I recall many times spent playing sports with my dad in the basement or in the backyard, and crying every time he beat me. Not only that, but I became furious when I realised that someone was taking it easy on me or letting me win. Imagine the dilemma my elders faced: If they beat me, I cried. If I beat them, I accused them of letting me win, and cried. What a prick I must have been.

Recently though, I’ve learned that it’s okay to lose, for a few reasons.

1. Winning is overrated. Unless you’re a professional athlete who’s getting paid to win, or involved in a meaningful competition of some kind, winning isn’t important. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter whether or not you beat Cousin Jorge at tiddlywinks on August 9th, 2011.

2. When you lose, someone else usually wins. In general, it’s a good thing when both people in a relationship are happy. This applies to family relationships, friendships, and fuck buddies equally. If you lose a well-fought checkers match to a friend, or a family member, or a fuck buddy, odds are that you’re going to make them happy. Maybe they’ll even do a little victory dance. And as tempting as it may be to absolutely loathe the person in that moment, don’t. Your defeat, humiliating as it may have been, has served the purpose of putting a smile on their face. And putting a smile one someone’s face is rarely a bad thing.

3. Losing keeps you humble. Let me tell you from experience: There’s nothing like a 26 game unbeaten streak to inflate one’s ego. Be it Smash Bros., Pokemon, Slime Soccer, or Battleship, I have put together some colossal streaks where I’ve been completely untouchable. And while it’s nice to completely dominate another person over and over, it’s really not that fun from the other person’s perspective, especially since so much winning tends to make you an asshole. And when they finally snap your streak, they will knock you off your high horse with the force of an F5 tornado. And that’s okay, because nobody likes an asshole.

4. Sometimes, other people need to win more than you do. This one is more of a plea to human decency than anything else. If someone’s had a crappy day – maybe work was hell, maybe they received a poor mark at school, maybe they bombed a job interview – and they ask you to play a game with them to take their mind off it, you don’t go and bury them into the ground in Monopoly. I’m not saying that you should ever let anyone win – I still find that highly insulting – but you’ve got to take that competitive edge right off. Don’t shout “IN YOUR FACE!” when they land on your Boardwalk hotel. And, if defeat is imminent, don’t fight it. Just let it come to you. Like I said, there are times when other people just need to win a little bit more than you do, and if you’re a decent human being, you shouldn’t deny them.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I still don’t enjoy losing. Me and Defeat aren’t good friends or anything. But I think that it’s important to acquaint yourself with Defeat, and at least be tolerant of him when he shows up to greet you.

Driver’s license acquired. Thank fuck.

I ended up doing worse on the test this time, barely squeaking by the passing mark. In particular, I made a real mess of the parallel park and the three-point turn sections. On my first test I had a combined 19/20 on these sections. This time I managed to score a cool 10/20.  In one laughable segment, I was honked at by an impatient driver, and prompted by fear I attempted to drive off with both my parking brake on and the car in neutral. Ouch.

Upon completion of the test, the administrator said to me “You made a lot of errors, so that’s not good.”, which caused my heart to sink into my intestinal tract. Then he handed me a paper which had PASS checked off.

Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m now free from the pressure to drive everywhere, free from the pressure to get my license, and most importantly, free from driving tests. At least for the next sixty years.

And that, kiddies, wraps up Summer ’11. Yeah, there are still a few days left before Monday’s move-in date, and yeah, school doesn’t officially start until the 12th, but I’m going to just go ahead and declare summer over right here and now so that I can end it on a high note. It’s been a beauty, but all good things must come to an end.