Thoughts: Taken for Granted.

I live in Brooklyn. After work I walk through rainy streets, or along the river. I see men and women in denim jeans and canvas jackets, sipping from plastic cups of frothy caffeine, or downing a neon bottle of dark, saccharine pop. We have the best water in the country, they say.

I should know, I'm from Missouri.

New York water is clean and safe, they say. But we don't drink it.In Missouri I grew up in many towns. Before I was five I had lived in four houses. By the time I was 15 all I wanted was to belong.

When I found him, I knew I finally belonged. He kissed me, and held my shoulders tightly while he smiled.When he took me bowling he held my hand and taught me how to hold the ball.

We shared a salty tray of french fries and stayed until close. I found home in his eyes. I knew he felt the same.At work my coworkers laugh over cups of coffee and cans of Red Bull. I join them with my 24-ounce canteen, stainless steel.

They notice but don't say a thing.

I know what they're thinking: Why is she drinking water?The water is good here. It's pure and clear and perfect. At home my childhood friends crack open a bottle of Mountain Dew if they're not downing a beer. How can they laugh at water?At first he didn't leave me.

He just ignored me, drifting away.

He didn't call me, and I saw him laughing in the halls at school with other girls, avoiding my pleading eyes. Why?A week later he calls and says he wants to take me to the movies. I cry when he hangs up, and wipe away my tears.

We go.

We see Transformers.

We don't kiss after the movie.

He doesn't call.

It's over.

Twenty percent of people on Earth live in regions suffering from severe water scarcity. They cannot drink the water, though they want to. We send money. We drink soda. We write. Our own clean water we pour on our grass.

One of my coworkers drinks water, too.

She drinks Fiji water.

The boy I dated for two weeks at 15 never left Missouri. He drinks Mountain Dew. He works nights at McDonald's. That's ok.Only, he takes it for granted


Why do American men wear class rings, but won't use their postnominal degrees on door signs and business cards?

American women wear class rings, too. I wear mine.Generally speaking, displaying where you got your degree from on a business card or a door sign would be seen as odd, at best. If somebody handed me a business card with the Harvard logo on it and he didn't work at Harvard, I'd probably ask about it: "Oh, do you do work with Harvard University?" and if the answer was, "No, I just attended" I'd find this an unpleasant level of showing off. Not classy.A lot of Americans will have college-related paraphernalia in their offices, though.

Like, you may see a pennant or they may have their degree(s) up on the wall. This is a more casual display of affiliation.Likewise, the ring is casual. Class rings are usually not that obtrusive, particularly the signet variety.

Usually, the signet is only immediately recognized by others who attended the university (though I have had people ask me to hand over my ring so they could take a closer look at it before), and thus it kind of acts like a secret handshake. I've had people from my college recognize my signet ring on sight, and then we have an instant connection.It's just a lot classier than shoving it in everybody's face all the time in an American social environment, basically.

Thoughts: Taken for Granted. 1

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