The 1st Day of Oceanography 101

In my 2nd semester at college, I took a general education course, OCN101: Our Dynamic Ocean. I thought it would be fun to do a geoscience course that wasn't geology, and of the physical science requirements this one sounded the most interesting. 

When I showed up to a very packed class, where people were standing at the back wall of the lecture hall because every seat was filled, I found an empty seat in the very front of the room. After a few minutes of people wondering if our professor forgot the class or cancelled it and didn't tell anybody, the lights dimmed and "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin starts playing. In walks this tall, lanky, and quirky man dressed in bright pastel colors, with a striped jacket, a cane that he is twirling and dancing with, and a top hat. The entire class is staring as this very weird man starts dancing and grabbing students by the hand and giving them a spin. He dances his way around the auditorium for an entire three minutes without saying a single word, stretching his cane out in the air every time the drums reach their crescendo, getting up on some of the tables and hopping across them in tune with the song's tempo, and finally waving goodbye from his top hat with a mild salute as the song starts to fade and Bobby Darin says goodbye, so long, bye bye, sailing. By the time that song is over, he turns around from being in the center of the front of the class and introduces himself as "Ocean Matt" and welcomes us to Oceanography 101. I want to say that was the most eventful thing that happened that class, but it wasn't. How could somebody outdo such a performance? In the middle of a very long rant about how people are forced to take classes to be "well-rounded" but makes them uninterested in the actual subject matter of the important classes that teach you about material that is actually happening in real time, where just several thousand feet away we can see it, he starts yelling about people turning to technology to distract themselves from the world. He then grabs a green bottle that was innocently sitting on the front table where the TA's sat, and talks about the importance of water. As he gets louder talking about how important water is and that its not an infinite supply but yet people ignore it and just focus on their phones and technology, he shouts that we all need to put away our devices and pay attention to whats happening around us. When most of the class has long been ignoring his very drawn-out rant, he takes a sip of a regular water bottle and puts it down, and says something along the lines of how refreshing water is when we finally let go of distractions and recognize it. He then violently shakes the green bottle he is holding, and the few students who were paying attention got up and moved to the sides of the room. Myself being one of them. He aims the seltzer at the crowd of distracted students, in the middle of class, and unscrews the lid. Continuously shaking it and spraying everybody with sparkling water, he keeps shouting "It's just water! We don't need to learn about it !". The look on everybody's face was precious. Fury, disgust, and some of them actually laughing at what had just happened. Those of us who stood on the side were obviously laughing. This was going to be a fun class.

Update : July 2023

 As I write this, I am struggling with decisions to make regarding my future. Ever since I had my life stolen from me, abruptly, 6 years ago, my decline in physical health put a heavy burden on my already fragile mental health. I wanted to apologize for not posting the past few weeks, and that guilt was another burden I don't think I should be bearing. 


My social life is almost entirely digital. I have few friends I would ever allow see me today in real life. Mostly because I don't want people to see how far I've fallen from what I used to be. I worked hard, took 18 units a semester, worked 32-44 hours a week, managed a store, exercised, went out with friends weekly, and had a great life. Its unfair that it was all taken from me. Now the most I can manage is doing laundry, and that takes all of the energy I have in a day. According to my last test results, after walking at normal pace for me (2mph @ no incline),  I enter anaerobic exercise within 4 minutes. I quite literally cannot do anything. So, in order to have a social life, I've used PlayStation for the longest time. Granted that the online world can be much less personal than the real world, but after talking to people for 10+ years or some for 3 years every single day, you know them on a level that is on par with a physical friendship. 


I don't even feel like getting into the psychology or sociological benefits or physical vs digital friendships on a person's social needs, but know that I have never felt a lack of friends or support for the longest time. Until recently. Lately, I have been alone. Day after day, not playing with anybody or talking to anybody. Its been like this for at least a month now and the amount of damage it does to a person's psyche is real, very real. I feel like I am alone in the world without my friends to talk to, and though I understand that many of them have justified reasons for not being there to play games or to even talk, there are those who don't. There are those who I've known for 11 years and have even met in real life and I feel like a stranger now. Perhaps, after all of this time, I am just a ghost. Living in fear of what people's memory of me will be but no longer able to build memories with people. The level of depression I have makes me think of asking my doctor to write my referral for another round of ECT treatments. The positive side is that I will no longer be depressed, but the negative is that I will lose more of my memory and have more cognitive damage. To summarize: I haven't been writing a blog post this month much because I've been weighing an important decision. When your body is your own enemy and the only friend you have is your brain, it becomes a battle to contain the id when your superego is wounded; the ego no longer can protect the boundaries. I think I've thought too much. Until next time. 

Roadtrip

July 2, 2018
My dad and brother arrive and take a taxi to where I live. They pack everything into my car as we're preparing to drive from San Francisco to New Brunswick, NJ. I'm supposed to be going to Robert Wood Johnson and go in through the ER, where they'll no doubt admit me for heart failure and then the transplant surgeon will look for me under the patients under the rotation list. That's the plan, and since Dr. Pham arranged it, I trusted it. It wasn't his first choice, because I was supposed to go to Drexel's hospital, Hahnemann. Dr. Pham knew the chief of cardiology there from annual transplant conferences, but their low number of patients cost them funding which, in turn, cost them their renewal money for licensing as a UNOS heart transplant center. 
I said goodbye to my friend who owned the house, Mary, and my other housemates Sebastian & his brother Christopher. I left behind several things that either were too large or just not a priority over what else would fit in the car. I'm hoping to this day that somebody appreciated my cologne collection because I had a very fine one. 
The drive to NJ was either 3 or 4 days long. My brother and dad complained how cold the car was, and always were wrapped in blankets or wearing hoodies, despite outside in some of the areas we crossed being in the 100s. Inside I needed the car to be cold because it helps me breathe easier. Even to this day I thrive in the cold and suffer greatly when it's hot or even warm outside. Each night we stopped at a hotel so they could sleep because they wouldn't let me drive. The only good thing about the road trip was my cat lying on my chest the entire ride. Fast forward a few days and we arrive to RWJ, where I could tell nobody talked to each other on their cardiology team. 

Question for you

Just posting today out of curiosity while I work around writer's block. 

What is one song who's lyrics are especially impactful to you? Comment or use the the submission form the the bottom of the page please.