Separate Worlds, Wasted Humanity

Separate Worlds, Wasted Humanity

A poem conveying sadness for the American disinterest in the Syrian bombing.
6
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As I sit here, sipping coffee

talking with friends,

In another world, someones life

is ending.


As I walk down the street,

wearing too expensive shoes,

A family is ripped apart

by a war that isn't theirs.


As I drive down the street

to go to class,

A student in another country is

denied the right to learn.


As I eat fresh fruit

from a silly health store,

A child on the other side of the world

starves as his country is torn apart.


As I breathe in fresh air,

the air that I take for granted,

An elderly man breathes in

rubble and debris from a bomb.


As I sit here,

living in freedom,

Another soul is suffering,

because of politics.


What has happened to

our humanity, I

must wonder.


Others starve while we,

Americans, gorge and

waster, thoughtlessly.


People suffer, cough, and

bleed, we sit and

have lunch, carelessly.


Children cry for their

lost parents, and our own children

whine for more toys.


Students can't attend school because

it is now rubble, yet we waste

our education.


Our humanity has

withered, replaced only by

the singular thought:

"I"

Cover Image Credit: Syrian Arab News Agency, McClatchy-Tribune

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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When We As A Society Stop Choosing To Turn The Other Cheek, True Change Will Come About

In the true spirit of America, silence is the vice that perpetuates inequality and injustice.

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At the heart of today's America, it seems imperative that we have a thorough understanding of the foundation of this country. Social, economic, and political progress has been built upon one thing: civil disobedience. The power of fearlessness and passion is unmatched in a world where power imbalance continues to be a monumental factor in our society. Erik Killmonger understood what it meant to be a man that acts.

On the surface, he was just the main antagonist of "Black Panther," but as I sat in the theater, I recognized that art truly does imitate life. To me, Killmonger resembled Malcolm X with his extremist mentality but unfaltering sense of purpose. He demanded that Wakanda, and the African country of great wealth, use their resources to provide aid to black people that face deadly oppression throughout the world, particularly America. Although his means of getting what he wanted were abrasive and he suffered a tragic demise, his voice was heard, and change manifested from his persistence.

In this world, we champion silence and denounce those who refuse to be muffled. I can vouch for that. In the third grade, I was a tattle-tale; if anyone said either of the "s-words," (stupid or shut up), Mrs. McCallister would be notified pronto. There's this rule that every teacher embeds into your head: "Hold your questions because I might end up answering them when I give the instructions." Despite this, there always seems to be at least one kid that doesn't understand this concept, and unfortunately for them, if I'm around, I'll be the first person to inform them of their infraction. For me, that kid was...let's call him D. He would purposely raise his hand in the middle of a lecture and ask a dumb question that pertained to what the teacher had just said seconds before.

To say the least, it irritated me. To say the most, I wanted to rip his head off.

In my mind, his behavior was detrimental to everyone else's learning environment, and as no one spoke up to correct his actions, it just made him think it was okay. I refused to stay silent. I defended my teacher, and although D kept quiet for quite some time, it seemed as though D, the class, and even Mrs. McCallister were upset that I had said anything at all. I didn't understand why I was being ostracized for speaking up, but now that I'm much older, I notice this reluctance to speak our minds freely has become a trend among people of many lifestyles. That should be a concern. If our society continues to have a disinclination to speaking up, we'll miss out on so many instances where our voice could have made a great impact. It's just as activist and founder of the Grey Panthers, Maggie Kuhn expressed about segregation: "Speak your mind even if your voice shakes."

The Paris attacks were my first primary introduction to the world of Islamophobia, and consequently, my perspective on selfishness broadened in a way that I could not have anticipated. We are self-centered. We are malicious. We lack empathy. I only had one Muslim friend at the time, and on the Monday after the 2016 terrorist attack in Paris, she was asked by a white boy at our lunch table why "Muslims are always blowing things up." I recognized his patronizing tone and waited for one of my other friends to say something.

Of course, with everyone at the table (except for the boy) being a minority, I figured there would be a collective outrage. But his comment was only met with silence and a few uncomfortable laughs. Needless to say, my blood was boiling. In the midst of my anger, I started a full-blown argument with the insensitive racist among us, but the silence of my friends on that day still bothers me to wits-end.

Minorities cannot afford to be selfish. We are not able-bodied, straight, Christian white men. Hispanic women should care about the issues of those who are disabled. Black men should care about the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Muslim-Americans should care about how Native Americans are treated. By "care," I mean "defend." Our voice is irrefutably our most powerful weapon. The power of the mind is overestimated; if the ideas and opinions of forward-thinking individuals are confined in the small space between their ears, what good can they do? So many of us find comfort in our silence, but we have a unique duty to bring change even when we feel that change won't affect us.

Imagine if every minority (including white women) had a sense of passion for all other minorities. We'd suddenly be the majority. Our attempt to avoid conflict only allows those with the institutionalized power to continue to wreak havoc. Cultural appropriation, intersectional feminism, and institutionalized racism are only a fraction of the concepts that have been widely discussed on platforms like Twitter and Tumblr. As a teen with access to all the knowledge the world has to offer, creating change has become an idea that no longer sounds bizarre.

I understand the power of silence in an outspoken world, however, it is our responsibility to distinguish between the times to be silent and the times to speak up when things continue to be left unsaid. There will always be D's doubting our opinions, and we may not always inspire a room full of students. But imagine living in a world where Martin Luther King Jr., and Malala Yousafzai and even Emma Gonzalez chose to turn the other cheek. We have as much power as we choose to give ourselves. Class dismissed.

Cover Image Credit:

The Guardian / YouTube

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