THE DINING HALL

“Good afternoon,” a friendly deep voice called to me from down the hallway. The man was a large, aging figure, dressed as a stereotypical butler would be dressed. He even had the covered silver platter balanced carefully in his right hand, which stayed unnervingly still has he sauntered over to me.

“H-hello,” I said back. The butler smiled politely, but I could feel the nervousness in my voice. I had somehow found my way into the house, but could not for the life of me remember how. Actually, calling this place a house was a bit of an understatement. It was more like a mansion from a snobby magazine. The carpets were red with gold, the walls were satin, every painting looked like it had been there since it was originally painted several hundred years ago, and all their frames had the same, faded gold shine to them. There were candles lit down several corridors, and a glimpse of massive rooms could be seen peeking out behind half closed mahogany doors.

Yet the place itself was spotless. There was no hint of dust; no stains, no cracks, no breaks; no unevenness. Everything looked perfect, as though every evening someone went up to make sure everything was in order. Which must take hours, based on the relative size of the place.

I realized my eyes had been wandering for a few moments too long when the butler cleared his throat.

“Sir, I must ask that we make our way to the dining table. The master has been expecting you for a short while now.” He began to turn away to show me the way.

“Expecting…how did I get here?” The butler paused, then turned back to me with a carefully practice patience.

“Sir, please, everything will be explained in due time.” I opened my mouth to respond, but before I could get a word out he had turned his back to me and began walking down the hallway. I fell in step a few feet behind him, my eye fixated on the patterns woven into the fabric. So simple, yet so precisely elegant. We turned a few corners, then passed through one of the large doors to an enormous room. There was a large, fifty foot table in the center, no doubt regularly filled with parties, as there were nearly one hundred placemats set out. Though interestingly, only two chair.

The chair closest to me, which the butler had indicated I should sit at, was a simple wooden chair. It seemed too homely compared to the rest of the house. Almost like they had robbed some poor family of their best chair in the middle of the night. Seated on the other end of the table was a large, black chair, made what looked to be a fine leather material (though from that distance I was not entirely sure). The chair towered over the man inside, who was shadowed mysteriously so that I could not get a clear view of his face. His hair appeared to be short, possibly even blonde, and he held himself like a man used to wielding power.

After I had taken my seat, the butler walked down to speak to who I assumed was the master. He was speaking softly, perhaps asking the master what he wanted to eat. The man waved him away, and the butler turned to walk back to me.

“The master will be dining on lamb tonight. What would you like to eat?” he said in a quiet voice.

“Is there a menu?”

“The menu is whatever you would like it to be. Though I would warn you,” he glanced down the table, “your choice of food will be noted by the master.” I looked down the table, past the perfectly placed candles and table settings, to try to get a read of what I should do.

“I’ll require an appetizer, of the chef’s choice, however it must be served hot and with mozzarella cheese. Then, for the main course, I would like a ribeye steak from a cow slaughtered no more than 3 days ago, cooked with garlic and butter to just above rare, but slightly before medium rare. To pair with it, I would like a merlot from 1950 or earlier, but prior to that I would like a Coca-Cola, from the glass bottle, not a can, served with two spoonfuls of vanilla syrup mixed inside it.”

“Ah sir,” the butler started.

“Is there a problem?” I quipped, trying to appear as regal as possible.

“No sir. I merely wished to ask if you’d like your steak to be twelve ounces, or sixteen.”

“Twenty.” The butler looked at me, then nodded quickly and walked off. I looked down the table to beam at the master, yet he was absentmindedly jotting notes on a pad of paper that had seemingly appeared before him.

——

 

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A FEAST FOR A KING

The first time I ate lunch in bed,

I thought I was classy,

But the second time came ‘round and

I thought it was trashy.

 

Knifing through that royal steak on

A lush, silver platter,

Turned my bedroom to a throne room,

Filled with courtroom chatter.

There were jesters, and dancers, and

A bounty of a feast,

But my eyes were most bound to the

Fine clothing from the East.

That evening we swirled in our

Expensive silk treasures,

But on the morrow I found there

Was poison in pleasures.

 

Come morn I had been invaded

By the rank smell of sweat

And the realization that

I was deeply in debt.

When they finally tossed me lunch

It was this green-grey dish.

Served on a soggy paper plate,

With the stench of old fish.

And I understood that a king

Was no more of a man

Than a child in bed screaming,

“Mom, bring me my lunch can!”

——

 

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PRESSURE (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Haiku Simile

I’m like a haiku.

My life is short and fragile

But I pack a punch.

 

A Dream

I feel a dream

Welling up inside of me

Ready to burst forth

 

Interpretation

“Eat like you mean it.”

Read the ad. Or maybe it’s

“Eat like you. Mean it.”

 

Thank Yous

How do you give thanks?

Is it with actions or words?

Or can they just know?

 

Pressure

I need more people

Interested in my work

Or else I’ll fail.

——

 

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GENDER ROLES CAN BE GOOD

Hello everyone,

Isn’t today exceptionally nice out? Well, maybe not, but a day it is nonetheless. Anywho, I wanted to get away from politics today, and yet that is so difficult with how nonstop this election has felt. I mean seriously, just when we thought Trump couldn’t get any worse, that Access Hollywood tape came out. Now look at where we are. Anyways, today I’ve decided to steer away from politics as much as possible, and instead talk about something different.

Today we’re going to talk about gender roles. However, I am and have been very anti gender roles for most of my time writing on this blog. Specifically about the objectification of women and the role of a “passive woman.” Which I think is totally fair, but I realize that it’s important to look at how gender roles can be good sometimes too. So I’m going to try to put aside how manipulative, unfair, and cruel they can be and see what is positive that we can take away from them.

So what is good about gender roles? Well, although it devalues women as a whole, gender roles do in some ways provide a greater respect for women. For example, while professionally men are held higher, women often get a leg up socially. Phrases like “never hit a woman,” or “daddy’s little princess” come to mind here, in which the female life is being looked out for more than a male life. Women also harbor some more power in their sexual lives because they are not pressured to have sex constantly, which can allow for a greater separation between sexual desire and professional achievement.

For men, gender roles provide avenues in order to succeed. If nothing else, a man can always work hard. He can work, get money, and have a family. Men get to be socially lazy, which permits an exploration of hobbies during their free time (since the gender role for women is to cook, clean, etc.). Men also have a sexual freedom in the sense that they don’t have to worry about being “impure” for excessive sexual indulgence. These can allow for a greater sense of power and freedom, which can relieve mental stress.

Which I think is a good segue into my counter points, which is that I’ve used the word “can” a lot to describe these scenarios. Often times, they do not lead to positive outcomes, and that is the problem with them. While the goal of gender roles are respect when it is not given and freedom of self when it may not be otherwise available, these method cause for pigeonholing people into binary systems that do not work for everyone. Likewise, of respect and freedom are the goals, these can be achieved by actively taking a part in being a better person to the world. Simply working to treat everyone with respect, and helping create programs that provide an avenue to freedom is a wonderful way to promote the core concepts of these roles while not restricting people to them.

What do you think? Is it crazy to say gender roles are productive in this way? Are the aspects I missed? Let me know!

MEETING NEW PEOPLE

Hello everyone,

 

I hope everyone is having a good day. Work has me really busy today so I don’t have much time to write, so if this is cut a bit short I apologize. Today I wanted to talk about how we interact with new people. New people are always an interesting subject, and in all honesty, I bet we act differently with new people based on the circumstances of how we met those people.

What exactly does that mean? Well, basically, I mean that how we meet and view people changes on the context. You will probably greet someone that you meet at a business meeting for the first time differently than you greet someone at, say, your little brother’s birthday party. These differences change how we talk, act, and even hold our self-esteem. Imagine being introduced to Bill Gates at a business party. Wouldn’t you be intimidated, perhaps even a little shy? Now think about meeting little Louie’s aunt Agnes. Suddenly not so scared or shy, right?

These situations alter how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive others. Let’s take the romantic standpoint. Let’s say you’re a person who likes meeting people whom you wish to date under relaxed, no business like settings. Do you think you could make an acquaintance and foster a relationship with someone you met at your law firm? Probably not, right?

There also is the aspect of our selves. You know who you are, right? But does your coworker? What about the new guy at the restaurant you go to every week on Fridays? When you interact with each of these people, are you indeed the same person? My answer is no, you probably act enough like a different person that you are perceived differently. I made a new friend under circumstances I had never dealt with before, and apparently I came off conceited to the point where she thought I was a Trump supporter. Which, to make very clear, I am not in the slightest.

But that’s interesting, isn’t it? Most people who meet me when I am with friends or family recognize me as a pretty progressive person, though with a level enough head to pause and try to at least understand the perspective of people who are more conservative. What does that say about how we view and judge others? What does that say about the way that we hold ourselves up based on different pre-existing circumstances? What do you think? Am I right? Is it more complicated than that? Let me know!

ANALYZING A FOUL-MOUTHED FEMINIST

Hello everyone,

 

So I was checking out the photos of this cool Facebook page (which is apparently now inactive, as I noticed after writing this) called AFMF – A Foul Mouthed Feminist, and I was struggling with a concept, which is what I would like to talk about today. The specific picture was a picture of a quote that read “Men who want to be FEMINISTS do not need to be given space in FEMINISM. They need to take the space they have in society and make it FEMINIST. –Kelley Temple.”

Now, I have some issues with this statement, but the quote is out of context (I assumes) and therefore I don’t want to say that Kelley’s position is invalid. Yet at the same time, it makes some borderline assumptions. First of all, the statement uses the verb “want” to describe these men. While that, in one perspective, excuses the men who are feminists, it more so creates a dialogue that men are not feminists. Or that they are less feminists than women are. Which is not true. I mean, it is true that there are men who are less strongly feminist than other women, just as it is true that there are women who are less strongly feminist than men. But that might be a little nit-picky. Then again, our word choice defines how we are conditioned and how we think about various concepts.

In addition, but opening the statement with a phrase that implicates men for not understanding something, there become a tension within the statement that implies that to learn how to become a feminist, one must follow the instructions that are to come: “they need to take the space they have…and make it feminist.” And this statement, again, is engrained in some good perspectives. By “make it feminist” I assume Kelley means a space that is as safe for women as it is for men. Which, while something that our country/our world has struggled with for many years, is a great point. That’s how it should be. Yet this idea that men do not need to be given space in feminism, rather, they must create it, is dualistic.

Feminism is dualistic. Inherently, feminism is contradictory, because perspectives and interpretations of reasonable human beings often contradict. And that’s fine. It provides a safe space for multiple perspectives to be contradictory, so long as things remain respectful. However, as some amount of self identified feminists are in many ways for the progress of women, rather than the equality of them, there becomes an awkward dialogue. If this statement is interpreted as a saying made by one of these extremist feminists, it could be interpreted as saying men are incapable of providing an avenue to the success of feminism. Which I think is a narrow perspective, if not unreasonable. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to cut out the people trying to help you—male or female. I’m sure this could come off as a man trying to assert himself into feminism, which I really don’t mean to do, but then again it’s hard to point out potential errors like this and not come off poorly.

Again, this is just interpretation of a quote, and very easily could have had more context to negate these opinions. But this quote was taken out of context and presented. So I wanted to share the various flaws with how it could be interpreted. What do you think? Are these unreasonable? Is the quote unreasonable? Are both fair? Let me know!

WORKING FOR EACH OTHER

Hello everyone,

 

Wow a Monday that not everyone hates?! What’s going on! Alright, so today is Labor Day, which you probably were already aware of. Now, if you are anything like me, then you probably have had that conversation where someone says “isn’t it funny how we don’t work on Labor Day?” and everyone goes “oh yeah you’re right” or “that’s so interesting.” Which is a great conversations starter, but altogether not very hard to figure out.

I mean lets think about it. A holiday is a celebration of something. So a celebration of labor is what happens on Labor Day. So what should we do, work? No, celebrate! But today I’d like to talk about why we celebrate. I mean, there are a few reasons, but mostly because we work for each other. The whole point of working is to have an alternative to struggling through life that requires us to provide everything for ourselves. It’s significantly easier to have one person that makes food, one person that is a doctor, one person that hunts, and so on, that to expect everyone to be able to do it all.

Of course, our society is more complex than that. Which is part of progress. Unfortunately, we have nobody to monitor the value of each position. Well, we do, but we also don’t. For example, we have bosses and CEOs that are capable of deciding what people “deserve” to be paid. And that’s all well and good, because for the most part, it’s their money. However, the problem with this organizational tree is that it leads to a corruption via greed.

That is to say, greed often leads to a pinching of purses, or abuses of power. It’s easy to write off those at the top being the best choices to make pay level decisions. Or those entitled to it. But that defeats the purpose of working for each other. Which is part of why we have Labor Unions. Which is good at combating the CEOs of the world who are lost in their own greed.

Realistically, if we wanted to simply have businesses that worked to provide people with good jobs that also was progressing the world, we would have someone capable of limiting those in power. I’m not entirely sure how to do it. It could be going through another group who are capable of doing so. But this sounds like an unfair requirement to put on businesses, since then they are at the mercy of if these groups become corrupt.

Personally, I think that the best way to tackle this problem is to have an employee who’s job it is to figure out all pay levels—including CEOs. Unfortunately, this could lead to someone abusing their power, but this person can still be fired. Of course, to avoid employee bulling they would need to have some amount of job security (for example, they can’t get fired for not giving a CEO a raise).

Regardless, we should take the day to enjoy and appreciate the work we do for the world, as well as the work the world does for us. What do you think? Does having someone capable of monitoring pay levels seem fair? Let me know in the comments!

CELEBRITY STATUS

Hello everyone,

 

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a celebrity? I certainly do sometimes. It would be kind of cool to have people pay for your drinks, be seated earlier because the whole restaurant recognizes you, and have the general public aware of the good you do in life. Of course, it’s not all perfect. In fact, it’s probably harder in many way to be a celebrity than to be someone more average. For example, because your every movement is tracked, it certainly seems possible that if you ever had an affair that the whole world would know about it. Which maybe is fair, since cheating is a pretty immature thing to do in life.

But lets say its something more innocent, like, let’s say that you, being rich, decide to splurge a bit and buy a fancy car that isn’t the best for the planet, around the pollution levels of an average car, then you are questioned about your commitment to the Earth and its well being. You say you love the Earth and want to see it flourish. A magazine writes that you are misguided and a hypocrite because you have the money to afford a car that will actually help the planet. Now, for you, have things really changed? Probably not, but the world would see you as someone who could do better, but decided not to, simply because you bought a nice car.

It’s things like this that make the position of celebrity a blessing and a curse. Leonardo di Caprio is another example of a celebrity where this is potentially true. By being extremely outspoken about Global Warming and other aspects of society, he puts himself out there to being ridiculed for various issues. I mean, lets say he just goes out with some friends, and one of those friends drives a Hummer. And the paparazzi takes and publishes photos of him getting out of it. Suddenly there’s a whole story about how his caring for the planet is some false public rhetoric in order to gain support for liberal candidates that are also hypocrites.

See how easy it is to be the blame? Some celebrities have accepted this and even embraced it. Take Kanye West, he’s a prime example of a celebrity that has accepted all the hate and shot it right back at the world—calling the screams of his haters his superhero theme music. Then again, Kanye is often seen as the kind of person that we should try not to be. Generally selfish, vain, abrasive. He’s not really a stand up citizen. He is, however, one of the biggest names on the planet. So I suppose there’s something to be said about that. Meanwhile, the celebrities that are doing good for the world—including Leo, Emma Watson, and a slew of others—are kept relatively in the background of the media coverage. So…maybe we should critique the media as well as our own television watching selves, rather than the celebrities? Is that fair? Let me know in the comments!

PRODUCTIVITY AND CONVINIENCE

Hello everyone,

 

What? 20 minutes till I have to do something at work? AH! Ok, time to type fast. So I was curious what everyone thought about convenience and productivity, and have decided to go into a discussion about it today. First of all, if you don’t know these terms, or have a different definition than I do, I’ll share how I define them. Convenience, in relation to business, is effectively the idea of a drive-thru of a McDonalds or Starbucks. It’s quick, easy, and at your disposal in minutes. There’s one close to nearly everyone, and it’s relatively cheap (at least, McDonalds is). It’s also lower quality.

To contrast this, productivity is loosely antithetical to convenience. Productivity I define as something requiring more work, and then following through with it. For example, at the small business I work at, productivity overall is fairly low. Typically people on shift don’t do a whole lot. I like to think of myself as the exception to this rule, but I’m sure I have taken more lax days. Typically though, the store will fall into states of minor disrepair, and to compensate this I will clean things up, as well as organizing things so that they become more streamlined. Alphabetizing things often helps with this, but in general maintaining a level of consistency throughout organization is typically more important.

Sometimes, sorting too much can cause for a lack of productivity as well. Eventually, if everything is sorted, and then sorted again, and then sorted again, the time spent sorting again becomes a waste of time. I said a few moments ago that productivity was antithetical to convenience. It’s somewhat true but also is a bit unfair to say, because they take up separate roles—the role of the consumer versus the business. The higher productivity at an establishment, the higher the level of convenience available for the consumer. This provides an avenue for customers to feel less stressed about their shopping.

Alright, well that’s all I have time for today, have a great day!

TALKING ABOUT GOSSIP

Hello everyone,

 

We’re here, we’re beer…wait. Ok. No. Anyways, today I wanted to talk about conversations really quickly. Specifically, I wanted to talk about how people talk about others behind their back. Lets face it, everyone has done it at some point. Even if the intentions weren’t the same as what “behind their back” sounds like, it has still been done. It’s a part of human nature—we talk about each other, because, inherently, we talk about our experiences as social creatures.

That being said, anyone can take this too far. Talking about how one of my friends is pregnant behind her back isn’t that harmful. Saying something like, she’s slept with 15 different guys and doesn’t know who the father is, would be very hurtful. Especially since it’s false. Yesterday I experienced some of the worst smack talking like this from some coworkers at one of my jobs. Two people who I was driving with that I didn’t know personally but have interacted with over the last couple years were discussing the other members on staff. Now, while they made some fair points of when the staff was being unreasonable, they also made claims like “we are the only two people that do anything here” and “Mrs. X is awful at her job because she takes 6 weeks to sign anything.” Now, I’m a pretty low level employee, so in all honesty I don’t know all of the goings on, but, at the same time, I know that these claims are hyperbolic. In addition to that, to make these claims seems blatantly unprofessional. I mean seriously? What is this, high school? Can you not just nut up and tell this person that they need to do a better job signing things?

It may seem really obvious but this is not my first experience with immaturity at the office. At my other job, where I am a bit higher up on the totem poll, I get to see people who don’t do work and am constantly annoyed with them. At the same time, the owner of the store I work at will refer to people as “lazy” or “not hard working” instead of actually asking them to do a better job. Now, I’m not some high level employee, I can’t go around ordering other employees to do a better job. All I really can do is say something like “hey, you should get off your phone and get to sorting.” Which I do, though it’s their choice to ignore me or not, and the former of those happens quite often.

This immaturity is something a bit stressful for me, because the reality is that if there is a real issue, it should be brought up with management. And if that management is the issue, then it should be brought up with their superiors, or you should go directly to those people. If it isn’t important enough to bring up, then why is a person inclined to talk to their coworkers about it behind their backs? That’s just a divisive maneuver that lowers a team of work’s self esteem. What do you think? Is it ok to talk about people behind their back, even if it won’t get back to them? Let me know in the comments below!