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Posts tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

Under the Influence – Song 2

Welcome back! This was a bit larger break than I intended to take, but the weekend was BUSY! Continuing from where we left off, let’s talk about song 2 on my list of five songs that have influenced my life. Of course, I feel now like it should be Song 2 by Blur, which ps I love, but it’s not.

2. The Victors – The University of Michigan Marching Band

I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s college experience helps shape her, and I thought long and hard about choosing a different song from that time of my life. This song might have been the most difficult choice on my list. But then I realized that it wasn’t just that era of growth and independence that shaped me; where I went to school was a huge part of it, and nothing represents that better than the greatest fight song ever. Oh yes, should I mention that I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor? (Wooo, Go Blue!)

And that right there, that parenthetical, is partly what this is all about. I have a pride and allegiance to my school that is part of my fiber. The Michigan experience creates a common bond, a community, a family of literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world. If I see someone wearing a Michigan anything, I know I can walk up to that person and say, ‘’Go Blue!’’’ and those two words will be an instant icebreaker. And I have, many times. In the grocery store. In airports. And it never fails – connection established.

I know everyone feels like a misfit in high school, that she doesn’t quite fit in, but for me it was true. (You were probably popular, admit it.) It wasn’t that I had a bad experience; I had friends and fun. But I was kind of a nerdy bookworm, and remember those liberal hippie parents of mine rubbing off on me? Some of that didn’t really jibe with my peers. Plus I was one of only two Jewish kids in the school – just a lot of not really being like everybody else.

When I got to U of M, I felt like I had finally found my people. People who got my sense of humor. People who shared my values. People who helped expose me to new things. It’s not that everyone at U of M is the same – that’s ridiculous – but I had finally found people who spoke my language and understood me, who were open-minded and inclusive.  There was diversity galore – it was very, very, very different than what I’d known up to that point, and it was what I’d been looking for.

And football Saturdays? Hello, is there anything better? I didn’t go to a rah rah

high school, didn’t have a rah rah

family –

my parents went to Michigan, but weren’t not superfans (although they try now, for my sake, and my dad loves to watch hoops). I developed a passion for college sports. There is nothing like being in the Big House  with 100,000 (+) of your best friends on a crisp fall afternoon. When the band high-steps out of the tunnel and onto the field (‘’Band…..take the field!’’ Rum pum pum pum pum pum pum pum!) to the driving drum cadence and they line up to play the fight song, it is thrilling. Sometimes, as we go all Pavlov’s dogs and begin to clap and pump our fists in unison, I feel like maybe I joined a cult, but it’s a really, really awesome cult.

I know this is not necessarily unique, what I’m describing. But it was special for me, and still is. I’m proud to be a Michigan Wolverine, and Ann Arbor is maybe my favorite place to pass time. And who doesn’t love marching band music? So here you go, enjoy!

OMG. Was searching on YouTube for a good clip of the band in the stadium (to no avail) but now I am trying to refrain from sharing with you all these other amazing Michigan moments….that’s not why you’re here….ok, maybe just this. Come on, it gives me goosebumps every time! THIS IS MICHIGAN!

 

 

After beating Ohio State in 2011. :)

After beating Ohio State in 2011. 🙂

 

 

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Facebook & Politics

Lately a lot of people have been bitching and moaning about all the political posts on Facebook.

“No one’s ever going to change anyone’s opinion by posting something on Facebook.”

People seem put out by the sharing of articles and cartoons and videos and ideas and opinions.

Not me.

True, I have hidden and unfriended some people. Mostly people where there was never any reason for us to be friends – I don’t actually know them in real life, and they don’t contribute in any positive way to my Facebook experience (and where I’m not sure why they friended me in the first place). I’ve also had that moment of shock & dismay when a FB friend shows up in my stalker feed as having liked Mitt Romney. (This is my blog, I don’t need any pretense of neutrality here, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise anyway.)

I try not to take it personally, too – the complaining. I am a heavy FB poster, and it is a rare day that I don’t post something political or current eventsy. Some days, lots of things. My joking defense is that I haven’t amped up for the election season – I post like that all year ‘round. But I am sure people have hidden me, and that is fine (their loss).

I find that many of my Facebook friends read and share interesting things, from a broad pool of sources I could only scratch the surface of on my own. I really appreciate the things they share; it’s like having my own personal shopper for reading material.  Hopefully some of them enjoy some of the things I post in return.

Do I think people’s minds are being changed? Probably not. However, some of the conversations I’ve been in have been lively and interesting and respectful. (That last one is key.)

But here is the real reason I am not only not pissed off by political posting on Facebook, but truly grateful for it.

I have lived in Fort Wayne most of my life, other than a handful of glorious years in the Ann Arbor area. I have spent most of my 41 years in a world where I am different, suffocating under the blanket assumption that we are all the same here. We are all Christian, we are all straight, we are all Republican, we are all socially conservative. “Midwestern values.” I’m not those things. (FYI, I am straight. Not that it matters. I feel the need to include sexual orientation because like my Judaism, it isn’t visible like skin color. Does that make sense?  Because I identify with anyone who is different.)

College was so liberating. I didn’t have to think twice about voicing my opinion or finding like-minded friends. There were lots of Jewish kids – I was no longer the only voice representing an entire freaking religion. I went to Washington with a roommate for a march for reproductive freedom. Ann Arbor wasn’t just a liberal haven – it was equal opportunity. Every culture and way of life in the world had an officially sanctioned student group.

Moving back to Fort Wayne was a bit of culture shock. I had gotten away from that assumption of sameness, and I resented being lumped back in again. My then husband worked at Lincoln, and we joked that finding other Democrats was like a secret society.

It’s not even a question of discrimination or something overt. It’s just the idea what we’re all the same. We all agree. The way people assume.  If you’ve never been the one sneaking peeks around the room to see if anyone else is sneaking peeks around the room, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s exhausting just trying to make people grasp the concept that maybe the person sitting next to them doesn’t share the same belief system. And not only that, it’s a good thing.  Celebrate diversity. It’s boring when we’re all the same. Quit trying to make it so.  

Anyway, back to Facebook. Glorious Facebook with our rampant oversharing and lack of filters. You know what I found when Facebook came along? A whole bunch of people right here in northeast Indiana who are just. like. me! Who I can relate to. Who share my values. Who I can talk to about stuff that gets me fired up. For the first time in my life I feel like I have a large pool of people who get me. It’s not a secret society. It’s a community. And I love it.