Mardi-Grass Festival

It’s almost that time of year again— Mardi Grass!

I’m not talking about the popular, well-known Mardi-Gras, or Fat Tuesday, celebration. This festival, taking place in a small village known as Nimbin, is dedicated to supporting the legalization of marijuana.

Nimbin is situated in the northern part of New South Wales, and has been described by writer Austin Pick, “as if a smoky avenue of Amsterdam has been placed in the middle of the mountains behind frontier-style building facades… Nimbin is a strange place indeed.”

Known for its cannabis counterculture, as people openly sell and consume marijuana in both smokeable and edible forms on the streets, Nimbin has held the Mardi-Grass reform rally since 1993.

Nimbin Museum

Drug laws are a global scam.

Marijuana is by no means legal in New South Wales, but Nimbin seems to be an exception. It’s like this mythical fairy land where everything is rainbows and smiles. Literally.

Nimbin and surrounding areas are known as the “Rainbow Region”, home to the Australian Aboriginal Bundjalung people. The Bundjalung tribes believe the spirits of wounded warriors are present within the mountains. These spirits are believed to protect the area.

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Our life was freedom.

Nimbin is a really awesome tourist attraction in Australia, especially for people who support this alternative lifestyle. The people in Nimbin are quirky and sweet, and the shops are really funky and unique.

While I am unfortunately not in Australia for this year’s festival, taking place April 30th and May 1, I was lucky enough to attend in 2014. And it was an interesting experience to say the least.

My friends and I bought “Golden Bud” passes, but I’m not going to lie, we spent most of our weekend hot boxing a tent. Other than that we were either eating or sleeping. I even fell asleep at a skate park in the middle of the day for at least an hour. People who say cannabis is dangerous have no idea what they are talking about.

Nimbin Museum

Get out of your own way

There were Hemp Olympix with Bong Tosses and Joint Rolling Competitions, which I totally would have won, had I not been too afraid to enter due to all the cops everywhere. (I might’ve been just a little paranoid).

We also attended a comedy show, where all the comedians were too high so none of their jokes were really that funny. But we laughed because it was so not-funny that it was funny. It might’ve just been an understood We’re all just too stoned for this so let’s just laugh about it kind of funny.

But best of all were the Ganja Fairies. Beautiful, green, shimmering fairies dancing and celebrating in honour of our dearest fairy bud-mother Mary Jane.

Appropriately, at 4:20pm on the final day of the protest, activists participate in the Global Marijuana March. Nimbin aims “to break the world record for the most joints ever lit at once in the same place at the same time.”

Nimbin Museum

Better to be without logic than without feeling

However, it isn’t just about a bunch of hippies getting together and lighting up. Mardi-Grass aims to educate consumers about the medical uses of marijuana and the history of the plant.

I was also lucky enough to see The Nimbin Museum and Rainbow Cafe before they burnt down in a fire a few months later. There has been word of them rebuilding these locations, but I haven’t heard of any progress. I strongly hope they are restored, as they really contributed to the unique culture of this small town.

In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?

One of my fondest memories in Australia took place as I was sitting outside the Rainbow Cafe with a few friends playing chess. An older gentleman came up to us and gave us caramel tart cookies. I know you should never take food from a stranger, but I knew I was in safe hands with my mates around. And let me tell you, there was nothing like this delicious treat. Something about that sweet sugary goodness had me smiling from ear to ear all day long…

To learn more about this reform rally or the facts on this “gateway drug”, check out the official Mardi Grass website.

Note: WanderLUST Mag does not condone participating in illegal activities.
However, when in Nimbin, do as the Nimbinjee spirit people would do.

(All photos taken at The Nimbin Museum prior to the 2014 fire.)

People take drugs to feel better, for pain relief — its hardly a criminal offense. JUDGE NOT LEST… Prohibition of natures best herbs has turned this village into a prison without walls. — WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS

Pubs and Hipsters: Ireland

By Brittany Tedesco

The first time I ever left America was my Freshman year at Arcadia University.  One of the reasons Arcadia is ranked the number one school for study abroad is due to its Spring Preview experience.  Freshmen and transfer students all have the chance to apply for this week long excursion that takes place during spring break for a very small yet all-inclusive fee, as long as they take a two-credit course during the spring semester based on the country they are traveling to.  I can still distinctly remember sitting in my dorm with my group of new best friends (who I now consider family) and discussing the places we wanted to see.  We were allowed to pick our top 3 choices and write a paragraph on why we wanted to go there, and in a few weeks we would find out where we were going.  We didn’t all pick the same choices, but a few of us picked Ireland as our top choice, and lucky for Alyssa, Matt, and I— we all got it!

I remember being so nervous about the flight because I hadn’t been on a plane since I was four years old, and I had only gone to Florida.  Now I was about to travel to another country for the first time, and when we got our seats, I was nowhere near my two best friends who both got to sit next to each other.  Luckily, I was next to a few of our Professors/Advisors and as soon as we were in the air and it was safe to take our seatbelt off, Alyssa found me to make sure I was doing alright, and I was! I left my nerves on the ground and was entirely full of excitement.

Day 1.

When we arrived in Dublin, the jet lag hit us hard.  The first thing we did was get lunch as a class with our advisors at Gallagher’s Boxty House, and we could barely keep our eyes open (just our mouths) through our meal.  I had some delicious seafood chowder and a veggie enchilada, and cheesecake for dessert.  But even more importantly, I had my first legal drink.  What better way to celebrate being in Ireland than with a Murphy’s Irish Stout.

After lunch, we stopped at the ATM to take out euros and went off to explore the city of Dublin! Alyssa and I got our first tattoos together.  This was becoming a great experience of firsts.  First time out of the country, first legal beer, and first tattoo! Ireland10And it was only the first day.

We spent the rest of the day exploring and shopping, and stopped at Messers McGuire Pub to watch the Ireland vs. Scotland rugby game.  For dinner we ate cheap American food (Papa Johns) for dinner so we could spend our money on more important things like beer, obviously.  Plus it was nice to see familiar places in an unfamiliar place.

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The next morning we had breakfast and our hostel, then Alyssa and I went to a cafe with our hostel roommates.  I ordered a caramel macchiato and it was not at all what I was expecting.  It was so small! All the portion sizes seemed smaller here.  The tables and stuff too. I guess it’s made for leprechauns or something. 

We went to Trinity College later that day with our class to learn and discuss the Irish history and stereotypes more.  We learned some of the lingo like “fags” for cigarettes and “slag” for someone who is a little “loose”. Slag was probably our most used word of the week. 

That night we went to Bachelor’s, a bar next to our hostel, where we got bracelets for half off our food. Ireland3For a total of €5, I got a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich with mashed potatoes for dinner.  This ended up becoming our signature spot.  We did some souvenir shopping that night and then headed back to Bachelor’s to spend our money on the more important things I mentioned earlier.  I got a Heineken, and then discovered my new favorite drink— Bulmer’s Irish Cider.  (Was disappointed to find out they don’t sell Bulmer’s in America, but then found out it’s the same as Magner’s so all is well again.)  The bar played a Bon Jovi song and Matt and I high-fived because we’re both from Jersey just like John Bon Jovi and I guess it was just exciting to hear him in another country and all be from the same place. We were also probably just a little tipsy…

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Later that night I went to a pharmacy to ask for a pack of fags, but the cashier just gave me an irritated look and said “You mean cigarettes? We don’t sell those here.”  I left a little embarrassed and didn’t bother asking for fags anywhere else.  We decided to find some of our friends at Doyle’s Pub, but we got lost even though it ended up being a block away from our hostel.  Alyssa, Matt, Brandon (who became one of our close friends during the trip), and I started singing the Beatles and we magically found Doyle’s.  I drank a Smithwicks and a shot of Malibu.  On our journey back to the hostel we met some Irish kid who played Hurling and we all got delicious ice cream. 

Ireland5Day 3.

Woke up and had breakfast at the hostel again. Our class then went on a guided walking tour of Dublin.  We got to learn a lot and see the sights.
We had lunch at Luigi Malones, where I had a BBQ Chicken Pizza and a Toblerone cheesecake. I don’t know why I was always ordering cheesecake to be honest but it was delicious. We continued on our tour, and one of my favorite parts was the Writer’s Museum. 

Ireland30When we finished our class tour and got some free time, Matt, Alyssa, Brandon and I all took the Dart (bus) to Howth, a port village outside of Dublin, where we got some beautiful photographs of the bay. We returned to Bachelor’s for dinner again, a toasted cheese sandwich and mashed potatoes again, and the waiter made fun of our usual, saying that must be an American thing.  I had a couple of Bulmer’s and then we headed to O’Sullivans where I had one too many “Baby G” (Baby Guinness) shots.
Coffee liqueur and Ireland7Bailey’s Irish cream is dangerously good.  The bartended joked that he would cut me off unless I could walk in a straight line, so I got my shit together and nailed it.  Another Baby G shot and a Bulmer’s please. 

Day 4. Ireland16

Another hostel breakfast before my favorite day of the whole trip.  We went on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour so we could get on and off this bus pretty much whenever and wherever we wanted.  We went to St. Stephen’s Green  (so pretty), St. Pat’s Cathedral, and the Guinness Factory.
We got a free pint at the end of it but I ended u giving mine to Matt because I discovered dark beer wasn’t really my thing.  We also went to some prison but I don’t remember the name of it.  I was too hungry at this point so I went to the cafe with one of my other classmates while the rest of our group explored the jail’s museum.  I had a quiche with a surprisingly really good side salad, some coleslaw and this delicious apple and celery thing.

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After our bus tour was over I treated my friend Brandon to the leprechaun museum for his birthday.ireland1  I also wanted someone to come with me and no one besides Brandon had even the slightest interest (their loss).  Brandon and I had done a little shopping beforehand and my camera died from taking pictures of all the Euro hipsters so I bought a disposable camera to take photos at the Leprechaun Museum which ended up being really fun.  We basically got the experience of being leprechauns and learned about the history of these mythological creatures.

That night, our class saw ‘Da’ at the Gate Theatre, and we ended our night at the pubs yet again.

Day 5.Ireland21

Today was a long day spent getting on and off a bus with our class.  First we stopped at Bayne Valley.  Then Battle of the Boyne.  Brandon got me a hot chocolate there because it was so cold.  We stopped for lunch at a little place in Trim before going to see Trim Castle which was absolutely stunning.  Then we visited Hill of Tara which was so fun and pretty, and then we headed back to Dublin for another night at our favorite pubs O’Sullivans and Doyle’s where I continued to quench my obsession of Baby G shots and Bulmer’s.  I also added some Bahama Mama’s to the mix tonight.

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Day 6.

Our last full day in Ireland was spent on a long bus ride to Belfast.  Our class had been based on the split between Northern Ireland from the rest of Ireland, so our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to the capital of Northern Ireland.  It began with a lecture at Queens College, followed by a bus tour of Belfast with some fascinating political murals and graffiti.  When we returned to Dublin, we spent our last night shopping and buying more souvenirs, and ended at our two favorite pubs one last time.  After some Bulmer’s, Baby G shots, Woo Woos, Bahama Mamas and White Russians I had somehow run out of all my money— €400 well spent!

Day 7.

We left bright and early for our flight home.  I’ll never forget that post-travel depression when I arrived back home and thought to myself how the grass was literally greener in Ireland.  It was the experience of a lifetime.  I left with crazy memories, new experiences, lifelong friendships, and the ever-so-contagious travel bug.

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Ireland20

Another Day, Another Dildo: The Story of My First Internship

My internship search started off a bit shakey. I honestly had no idea where to even start looking.  I asked some professors and classmates for places they recommended, I e-mailed a few small businesses, and I even conducted some internship searches through Campus Philly, but I either had no real interest in the company or I unfortunately didn’t hear back from them.  World – 1 Brittany – 0.  It just wasn’t working out.  Until one day I got an email from Arcadia’s Media and Communication page, with links to blog posts that previous students had written about their own internship experiences.  I saw that two girls had written about a place called The Velvet Lily, so I checked it out. Immediately I knew I wanted this internship.

The Velvet Lily is a female-owned erotic boutique and novelty store in Philadelphia.  I emailed the owner Khara and set up an interview.  A few days later, I caught the train into Philly and made my way to 1204 Chestnut Street to meet with her.  The store has an alluring and sensual vibe from the moment you walk in with an assortment of products ranging from lingerie and candles, whips and handcuffs, condoms and lubes, vibrators and strap-ons, fleshlights and cockrings, anything you could imagine.  I was led to the back room to sit and wait on a luxurious black couch until Khara came to the back, pulled up a chair, and told me to make myself comfortable.  After we discussed the position, I met another girl who had previously interned and was now employed there and we all sat around the couch brainstorming ideas for the stores future videos. I got the internship and started later that week.  It was really fun and exciting to hear all their ideas and be able to share my input. I left the store and caught the train home feeling like the Carrie Bradshaw of Philly. 

My first day was just as interesting as I imagined it to be.  It started out slow with some video editing on a promotional video.  Then I got to search for youtube videos about fleshlights to post on social media.  The next task was where my skills were really put to the test- I had to plug in a bunch of vibrators to test if the batteries were working. The lovely little task paid off well when I got to pick whichever one I wanted. Of course I took the LELO Mia 2, a cute little pink one that looks like a lipstick and has a USB charger so it’s discrete and travel-friendly. But that wasn’t all…  I was handed a fleshlight and asked if I wanted it “for a friend maybe”, and boy did I have the perfect person to give it to.  That’s when I knew this job was perfect for me.

The next few shifts were pretty similar. I had to do some minor but crafty little tasks like tying ribbons around the Kama Sutra boxes we were selling to some fancy hotel, which I then had to deliver on my way home. But I also started writing product descriptions, and of course I was asked to write one for my new toy. I had to come up with a list of ideas for videos we could shoot for the store’s website/blog and then edit those videos. I got to search youtube and buzzfeed for more videos we could use to post on social media sites, specifically videos relevant to “cock rings” and “beginner vibrators”…never a dull moment. And my favorite part was definitely the customers.  Although I was usually in the back working on media related tasks, I often overheard some interesting things.  Like men trying out different whips or crazy old ladies, or sometimes old men, trying to return underwear. 

One weekend after a staff meeting, I decided to stick around for an event we were hosting called Fifty Shades of Play: an introduction to bondage. (Check out my blog about it here ). It was mostly an introduction to all the kinky things out there and different toys to use but also some valuable information about the media’s portrayal of sexuality and what is considered normal and how to become comfortable in talking to your partner about things you want and don’t want to do.  The woman who led the workshop is a licensed social worker and sexual health educator who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in human sexuality from Widener University.

Overall, it’s been a really fun experience.  I’ve learnt a lot more than I ever expected to know about sex toys, but I’ve also learnt a lot involving different aspects of media that I want to work with in the future.  It is also refreshing to work with so many empowered business women who are comfortable with sex and sexuality and make it their job to help others feel comfortable as well.

How To Get Screwed By The System

Holy hell friends, have I got a how-to for you. Angry Ian is driving, so buckle up as tight as you possibly can. All strapped in? Good, ‘cause we’re about to get violent up in here.

But first, some soothing backstory. I’m a college student. I’m a college student who’s about to graduate. I’m a college student who’s about to graduate with a B.F.A. (Bachelor’s of Fine Arts) in Acting. This is the part where established adults ask, “So what do you want to do with that?” When I say that I want to go into film acting (or really, if I say anything at all) they follow with, “Oh, okay. So what’s your backup?” Then I tell them that backups are for chumps, punch them in the face, and ride into the sunset on my hover board, flipping the bird to all and sundry.

Or at least, that’s what happens in my head.

So to begin with, I’m looking at little to no support for my prospective career path from most adults in this world. Totally fine, I can handle that shit. I know that I’ll be making damn near no money when I get out of school, even if I do wrangle a money job or two.

But then, this college thing; it costs money, y’know? Like, an ungodly amount of money. So much money that I can’t even conceive of how some people pay for college upfront. I’ve got a hefty amount of scholarships because I put just enough work in in high school, but I’ve still got (four year total here) tens of thousands in loans both to the government (hey, Big Brother!) and to private assholes like Sallie Mae.

Let’s add that all up then: I’m planning on going into a very competitive, low-paying field (that I have a passion and training for, mind you) when I graduate, after which I’ll need to pay for housing and basic needs (food, mostly) by acquiring one (or two) money jobs, while at the same time paying off my megatons worth of student loans and trying to maintain some semblance of happiness and sanity in my life. Have I mentioned that jobs are hella-difficult to come by when all you’ve done for six years is work as a lifeguard at various pools?

I’ve gotta tell you, friends; it’s kind of a bleak outlook. Living at home is out of the question, my parents are public school teachers, and I’ve got no rich aunts or grandparents, so I’m about as on my own as it gets. Even with a paying job, I’m in the hole ‘til the loans are paid off (and stop accruing a daily interest of almost two dollars), which is unlikely to be anytime prior to my death. AND I actually plan on having a family at some point in my life; how the fuck am I gonna support that?

Guys, gals—people have told us all our lives that to do what you want, to get a good job, you HAVE to go to college. Although that’s painfully untrue, I’ve had a great four years here; I’ve been in shows, I went to New Zealand, and I met my significant other of almost two years (whom I love the most) here.

Now, money against experience, was it worth it?ecard I honestly can’t tell you, because I don’t know how I’m gonna fend out there. On darker nights like this one I find myself cursing the system that tells us we can do anything and then severs all lifelines the moment we reach for them. I find myself despairing that I’ll be homeless and broke in a couple years, unable to support myself, much less anyone else. The shackles of loans weigh heavily, friends, and I haven’t even started paying them off yet.

Older generations speak of us as being greedy; they call Millennials self-centered and the “Me” generation. But I find that, if one simply asks us what we want, the responses are remarkably simple. “I want my own apartment.” “I want to pay off my loans.” “I want a job that I can enjoy.”

On nights like this I can get lost in the fears and the woes and the worries that plague our generation more than any other in our nation’s history. Collective student debt is in the trillions, and unemployment rates and depression among young adults are higher than they’ve ever been.

But there’s something that I tend to overlook on nights like this. I forget that it’s not just me, that we’re all having these struggles to stay afloat. We know who we are. And we have to know that we’re together. So when you find yourself getting angry about all the injustices that we face when we’re literally just trying to survive in corporate capitalist America, call up a friend or two, or twelve. Get angry together.

We’ve all seen the power of people tired of being screwed over who rally to a cause. The system is big and the system is scary, but we can be scary too. And here’s the thing: we’re the ones in the right.

Don’t let the nights like this eat you up, because then they win.

Start something. Who knows what you’ll do.

Can’t Help But Brag: Study Abroad Struggles

We live in a society where everyone asks, “What’s new?” or “How are you?” but no one seems to care about the response. We reply with a dull “not much” or “good, how are you?” And then wait for another meaningless answer. We ask these questions to be polite, but how often are people genuinely interested? Especially when your response is a lot more exciting than theirs would be. We are jealous, bitter people– it’s in our human nature. But we ask these questions because it’s common courtesy, and we don’t want to seem rude (even though we are).

The worst case comes when you study abroad because you have so much to share, but to be honest– no one back in the small town of Glenside, Pennsylvania wants to hear anything about your life-changing experiences because while you spent a weekend partying in Amsterdam, your friends went to another shitty house party that probably got busted before midnight. Your constant traveling and experiences in a foreign country will never fail to make everyone sitting back home hate their boring, routine lives. And you.

Some people who study abroad understand this, while others think that everyone is fascinated by their experiences. This doesn’t mean absolutely everyone isn’t interested. I’m sure your mom and dad actually care. But the stories you really want to share are probably the ones best kept from your parents. But how many times can your friends handle listening to you go on and on about your beautiful foreign roommates before they start ignoring your messages. You can’t be mad at them for this. They want to be interested in your life. But while they’re staring at the same four walls of their Oak Summit apartment, you’re out getting a taste of all different parts of the world, and they’re going to get tired of hearing about it.

Even if someone is honestly interested in your trip and wants to hear “all about it” you would never be able to describe it all. Too much has happened. I would never be able to explain in detail all the amazing opportunities I’ve had, the people I have met, and the adventures I’ve taken without wasting hours of someone else’s time. When someone back home asks me, “How’s Australia?” I couldn’t even begin to describe the highs and lows and craziness of everything that has been happening.  Maybe I could tell them about how I spent an entire weekend on North Stradbroke Island learning how to surf and sandboard and kayak, and didn’t have to pay for a single thing (thanks Arcadia!). Or I could mention how last weekend I went to the most beautiful beach in the world, got to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and found my potential Australian husband (just kidding, maybe). I could tell them about the first time I got to hold a koala and pet a kangaroo. Or explain the difference between a nice Australian accent and a bogan one. But no matter what I tell them, it just sounds like I’m bragging. Instead, maybe I could tell them how I felt really homesick so I stayed in bed all day watching Netflix and eating overpriced Nutella out of the jar. Or that even though I’m in Australia, I still have classes to go to and essays to write and all-nighters filled with red bull WITHOUT vodka.  But how lame doeDSCN0530s that make my entire semester seem?

We can partially blame social media. Most likely everyone has already seen all your pictures on Facebook and read all your tweets and hate you enough as it is. The constant upload of beautiful pictures from weekend excursions and simply everyday life in a foreign country is enough to drive anyone crazy with jealousy. Especially when it’s somewhere they wish they could be. Or somewhere they’ve already been that they wish they could go back to. Or when it is winter in PA, and your friends are dreading leaving their heated apartments, meanwhile I’m posting pictures of the beautiful, sunny beaches around Australia.

But what else are we supposed to do? We have to share our experiences with someone. And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it. I guess that’s why blogging has become so popular. But while it may seem like we are having a much better time than those of you at home (and not gonna lie, we probably are), we still get that FOMO too. Sometimes there is nothing I want more than to be hungover on my best friend’s couch eating mac n cheese and watching Food Network. No matter what great experiences I have abroad, there will still always be a nostalgia for people and places (and pizza) back home. So to all the friends who haven’t had the opportunity to travel and are stuck listening to our awesome stories, try to be patient with us. We’re not bragging on purpose. And I’m sure you have cool stories to share too. Even if it is just about another drunk night at Towers. And to anyone who has studied abroad and has had this problem, try not to brag TOO much to your friends. Keep it subtle. Start a blog. Or share your experiences with us at WanderLUST. And in the midst of all the bragging, don’t forget to remind your friends back home how much you still love and miss them.

Stop Calling Me “Entitled”

by: Kara Mendez

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It seems like the generation that raised us are so desperate to prove we are a problem. We constantly see articles about young people not being educated, being dependent on electronics, or being a generation of hoodlums. Shaming about teen pregnancy or female promiscuity is all over the internet. Shaming young people about being on social media too much or texting too much or not being able to have a conversation because we have too much internet time. Everywhere I look there’s a journalist in his/her 50s telling me that my generation is fucked.

Well, I have a problem with this. I am a woman in her early 20s who attends college, who is an activist, a vegetarian, a reader, a writer, a theatrical professional, and I don’t appreciate anyone telling me that I am the downfall. I go on job interviews all the time- and more often than not, I am offered the job. I am a junior in college and already working in my field. I am a feminist. I am an animal rights activist. I am a functioning member of society. I work two different part-time jobs and I intern part-time. (All in my chosen field, might I add). I have wonderful pets who are more spoiled more than most children. I pay for most of my own things- my parents help with transportation costs, some clothing, and food. So please tell me again that I am a waste to society.

Most people in my age bracket are exactly like me. They are going to school and working extremely hard at their craft. They are most likely receiving help from their parents. However, if you chose to bring a child into this world then you are signing up for all of this. I had no choice about whether I wanted to be born. That was out of my hands. My parents understand that in 2014 you cannot graduate from high school and be okay. You cannot get a job that pays enough to live. You cannot work full time and attend school full time and do all your extracurriculars unless you plan on not sleeping and having a mental breakdown by age 22. Even if you are working full-time, most jobs you get right out of high school are not going to pay you enough to cover tuition. My parents understand that they chose to bring me into this world, so they are going to do all they can to make sure I succeed. There is nothing wrong with receiving any kind of help from your parents.

Okay, so now I’ve proved that I am a hardworking, functioning, important member of society who isn’t mooching off her parents and just getting by. This is where the “social media” dependent argument comes in. Yes, I have a facebook, an instagram, and a twitter. Yes I use them daily. Facebook allows me to keep in touch with tons of old friends and family members who do not live close. It allows me to upload pictures of things I am doing, of my pets, of my boyfriend, etc. and my family members who I haven’t seen in two years can feel connected to my life. It allows me to promote tons of awesome things in my life. My upcoming productions, causes I’m serious about, etc. It allows me to get my opinion out there. It’s my space. Twitter is more for fun, at least for me- and contrary to the popular belief we are allowed to have fun. Finally, instagram is awesome. I have gotten so many food recipes, clothing suggestions, and confidence boosters from instagram. And guess what? I do love uploading pictures of my food. I eat a gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian diet and I love sharing great food with people. It’s not exactly easy to find restaurants that cater to people like me so when I do and it tastes good, you better believe I’m going to share it. Same with food I made myself. I’m proud of what I’ve made and what I’m putting into my body. I am allowed to share that with people.

Finally, cellphones/computers are great inventions. The internet allows me to learn so much more than I ever could without it. In seconds I can know all about theater all over the world. I can find job listings and send out my resume. I can find a restaurant in the area of NY that I will be working in tomorrow. For my last term paper I found a book from 1906 that I never would have found in the public library. I found books that I could only find in museums. I have read so many ebooks that I would never have read without it. Yes, the internet can be used for terrible things. However, terrible things happened before the internet. Terrible things will happen whether the internet exists or not. I love my cellphone. I can quickly text my father and let him know I am safe when I’m working late. If I make a wrong turn, my phone tells me in a matter of seconds where I need to go to get to my destination. If I am hungry, I have apps on my phone that tell me the closest gluten-free/dairy-free safe restaurant. I have an app that tells me when trains come, so I never miss my train or end up waiting at the station for an hour. My cellphone makes me safer. I can call the police if I am trouble. I can let my parents know where I am. I can use my maps application to get me to my destination and assure I never get lost. I can call my mom and talk to her while I’m walking to the train station at midnight in the dark streets of Chelsea. I can feel safer and have access to programs that make me safer.

Making a broad generalized stereotype about my generation, IE: The Entitlement Generation, is the same thing as making a broad generalized stereotype about anything. If I wrote an article about black people being lazy, white people being snobby and rude, asian people being smart, old people being annoying/rude/hard to handle then I would get nothing but hate and bad criticism. So why is it okay for anyone to write an article stereotyping my generation? Especially since you’re the ones who raised us.

Tell me again that I a mooching 20 year old who doesn’t understand the importance of hard work or education and is just glued to an over priced piece of electronic crap. 

I dare you. 

 

Photo Credit: Difei Li via creative commons.

Miss Lotto

by Derek Shuffield

I hate riding the bus.

First there’s the smell. Every bus somehow contains the smell of hours of physical labor mashed together with greasy McDonald’s food and indigestion. Even after you get over the stench, there’s still the noise. Children fighting and parents scolding, some headphones blaring music that Satan himself must have created while someone else is screaming incoherently into a phone.

I stood staring blankly into oncoming traffic hoping to see that massive vehicle with my number on it: 22. My bus was ten minutes late and the next scheduled bus arrived in another ten minutes— I had to catch that one to get to work on time.

I took my eyes off the road and looked over at the no-name gas station across the street. There was only one car there and a pack of cigarettes would be lovely.

What the hell, I had ten minutes. That’s plenty of time to run in, grab a pack and run back out.

When I got there only one lady was standing at the counter.

“Ok, for daily numbers, give me 2-2-2, 3-3-3, 4-4-4, 5-5-5, 6-6-6, 7-7-7, 8-8-8, 9-9…”

Jesus Christ, I thought. This may take a while. The cashier stood looking just as confused as I did punching in numbers into a register.

“And for the Big 4, give 1-2-3-4, 4-5-6-7, 8-9-1-0, 1-1-1-2, and 7-7-7-7. And for the Treasure Hunt I want 10-20-30-40-50, 11-22-33-44-55, and 12-23-34-45-56. For the Mega Six…”

Fantastic. I’d seen this before. Due to my smoking habits, I’m no stranger to gas stations and to lotto freaks. I shouldn’t even say freaks, most of the people who buy lottery tickets have some reason. Old ladies trying to pass the time are the usual buyers, followed by your blue collar workers just trying to make a few extra bucks so they can get that special something they can’t seem to save up for. But she was neither of these. She was the unpredictable kind—the kind that begins buying lottery tickets the day they turn 18 just because they can.

It’s easy to tell how old a lotto freak is, especially the unpredictable kind. All you have to do is see how long they can continue to spout out the same numbers they have been saying for years. The older the lottery player is, the more numbers they will be reciting because God knows that if one day you don’t play that one set of numbers, it’s gonna be the day that those numbers were worth a few million bucks. If she didn’t shut up soon, she’d be 45.

I looked at my watch. I had seven minutes til the next bus arrived. I began to tap my foot and the lady paused in the middle of reciting her Mega Millions numbers and turned to me.

“Are you waiting to buy gas?” she said, wiping some of the stray strands of hair out of her face.

“Just cigarettes, but—“

“Oh, ok. Well for Mega Million I want…”

For Christ’s sake, woman. When she finally finished with her numbers she paid, took her tickets and began to make small talk with the cashier.

“Where are you from, honey?” she began to ask, swaying her weight from one over-burdened leg to the next.

“Pack of menthols?” he asked me cutting her off. He knew what I wanted and that I was in a hurry. I was in this gas station all the time.

I nodded my head as he went to reach for my smokes.

“I’m originally from North Carolina, and whereabouts are you from?” he asked her back as he grabbed the pack and handed it to me.

“Ah, I’m from Pittsburg, but I wish I was from the South. You know, we may have a tough history with the South, but with the good Lord’s help, it’s a place many of us can call home now.”

I handed him my cash and said not to worry about change, and jumped towards the door.

There it went by.

My bus.

My numbers.

22.

Gone.

“Shit!”

“Ah, hun, did you just miss your bus?” Miss Lotto asked me.

I told her I did and it was my last chance to get to work on time.

“Well I know the feeling. Come with me. I’ll help you catch it.” Her face was shining with pride.

She shoved all the tickets into her purse and started out the door in a panic.

I opened the passenger door to her sedan and hopped in. As I buckled up I started to search for my bus money so that when we caught the 22 I could make a quick transition from car to bus.

“Oh, don’t you even think about it hun,” the woman said. “I won’t take your money. I don’t normally do this sort of thing. But you know what, the good Lord blessed me so I want to bless you.”

I tried to hide my surprise and look grateful as the car jerked forward and careened onto the road.

“Hold on now,” Miss Lotto said looking at me. “We’re gonna catch this thing.”

As she straightened onto the road, I watched the speedometer climb from the speed limit of 25mph to 45. Miss Lotto jerked the car to the left. I looked out my window and saw the double yellow. The speedometer began climbing up as two cars on our right fell behind us. Our car swerved back into the correct lane of traffic just as oncoming cars began to blare their horns in shock and horror.

We flew down the road at 60 mph. I prayed there were no school zones between us and the bus.

I closed my eyes and tried to picture anything that wasn’t moving as fast as I was. Snails, sloths, and California traffic danced for me as I felt the brakes being applied.

“There it is, hun!” Miss Lotto said. I opened my eyes and it was only three cars in front of us stopped at a red light. As we pulled up to the light and I slid my buckle off and wiped the sweat off of my forehead in one swift motion.

“No! It will turn green! We’ll catch it at the next one,” she said. She pulled into the turning lane and clenched both the steering wheel and her jaw preparing for what she seemed to be picturing as the drag race of the millennium. The light turned green and she bolted past the rest of the cars and the bus.

I really wanted one of my cigarettes.

“So do you work around here?” she asked casually.

“If I make it there alive—“

“Well, praise the Lord! Lots of people don’t have jobs right now.”

With a radiant smile and glowing proud eyes she began to scan the road for the next bus stop. When she found it, she slammed the brakes. I jumped out of the car, thanked her and stood at the stop holding out my money.

The bus never even slowed down.

“Get back in, we got this!”

I hopped in, buckled up, pulled on the buckle to make sure it was nice and secure and she took off again honking the whole time. Within seconds we were on the bus’s tail.

The 22 stopped at a red light to let someone off the bus. Miss Lotto drove right past the bus and the red light, stopped her car, and put it in park. I couldn’t believe it. We were holding up traffic coming from every direction.

I thanked her again, got out of the car and ignored the blaring horns as I ran up to the bus blocked in by Miss Lotto’s sedan.

Brakes screeched and people started screaming from every direction. I hurried toward the bus trying to look only at the pavement beneath my feet. Once I got to the bus door I knocked on it a few times before it opened.

The driver glared down at me. I looked around me at the people on the bus. All eyes were on me.

“Just pay already, kid,” the driver said.

I stumbled onto the bus, took the two dollars back out of my pocket and fed them to the money machine. Turning my head toward the aisle I was met by those familiar smells and sounds that can only exist on public transportation. I made the walk of shame to an empty seat, put on headphones, cranked some Satan music, and began to stretch out my hands. The harsh stares began to subside as the bus began to drive again. I was one of the people on the bus I hated now. And I didn’t even care. I was gonna make it to work on time. And I was gonna get there with a fresh pack of smokes.

Photo courtesy of SEPTA <http://article.wn.com/view/2014/02/19/February_18_2014_A_SemiCentennial_of_Service_SEPTA_Celebrate/&gt;
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