Ah, Rochester, nothing like the start of a new school year! Our wonderful maintenance department finally decided to loft my bed today, and by “loft my bed,” I mean “leave all the supplies outside my door.” All the effort I put into lofting is now totally blowing up in my face. The stupid thing nearly killed me this morning. Every night I have to struggle in vain to get my short arms to the top of the mattress and hoist myself up. Plus, I’m never going to get a girl up there – assuming alcohol would be involved, because if she is hooking up with me, that’s sort of a given. Anyway, the mental image of two inebriated people trying to climb up this stupid bed is a laughable idea at best. Then, there is the awkwardness of trying to get down when you are done. You kind of have to jump, which for me is a scary leap of faith each morning.

I think I get scared too easily these days. While walking back from class, a bee started flying around me. I panicked and ran, arms flailing, all the way back to my dorm. Luckily, I believe no one saw this display of unmanliness, or at the very least, probably mistook it for some sort of psychotic episode. After my near-stinging encounter, I began to think about the coming year.

Though being back at school is cool and all, I am currently experiencing a painful revelation. There is an epidemic sweeping this campus, and I can only assume that it is spreading to others at an equally alarming rate. I speak of the “hello factor.”

While walking back from class today, I had to smile and say “hello” to approximately six people. It’s a five-minute walk to Hill Court, for heaven’s sake! You can’t even fathom how many people I have to fake politeness to throughout the day. Stupid society is always holding me back – I ought to club them and eat their bones. I mean, when it’s your friend you run into, obviously you want to stop and talk, or at least say “hi” as you pass. However, at college these lines of friendship are blurred.

I ask you, does the fact that I said something to you at a party, had a class with you, or used to live in your building entitle you to a “Hello” and a wave every time we cross paths? Yesterday, I ran into the same girl four times on campus. That’s the worst – multiple meetings. At first you give the “Hey” and a big wave.

The second time it’s more of a smile and an acknowledgement. Anything beyond that point is simply painful for both parties. Another problem is the premature acknowledgement. When you see each other from a distance and one party makes the mistake of waving too early, you are forced to either enter a meaningless conversation or walk in awkward silence until you pass each other.

Speaking of social faux pas, I’m really sick of AIM. Did you see that, no transition whatsoever. That’s what I love about independent writing. It’s all a big f–k you – got to love censorship – to grammar and that whole sentence structure thing.

Anyway, back to my rant on AIM. What’s up with these conversations that have no real beginning or end? The ones that start out like “what’s up,” or the lazier version, “sup.”

These conversations tend to go nowhere and simply establish the fact that both participants are doing nothing except sitting in front of their computers typing on AIM. And you know how the conversation is going to end. Someone will eventually make a statement that requires no actual follow up, and the conversation will effectively die without either party feeling the need to part ways with the customary goodbye.

The mere fact that AIM has its own evolving grammar should disturb you. Words like ttyl, lol and the use of facial expression to express emotions you were too lazy to write out should all be banned.

Now, for you freshmen out there, I know college can be a big scary place and AIM is just an easier way to talk to people, but at some point, face-to-face dialog is required. And for those of you who know me, I am fully aware of my hypocrisy, as I am an avid user, but it’s a completely different story. I only use it in reverence to the all powerful god of procastination.

Well, I know how you college kids live to skim things these days so I will sum things up with the Cliffs Notes to my article. Be wary of instant messenging, it is a cruel mistress that will leave you alone, sitting at your computer in your underwear, an empty shell of a man.

Make sure to always walk places with your head down so as to avoid the whole issue of saying hello altogether. You will find you get to your class just a little early for once and that efficiency is well worth the marginal cost of a friendly campus, in this humble writer’s opinion.

Kutcher can be reached at jkutcher@campustimes.org.

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