Stoppage Time

by Ryan

I drove home tonight at 1:14 a.m., stone sober and humming along as The Kinks played on my car stereo.

On any other Saturday it was actually 2:14 a.m. The car in front of me — who got there by cutting me off and changing lanes on a turn just before another red light — listened to generic rap music and both passengers were smoking cigarettes. The driving was, unsurprisingly, erratic.

I wonder how different their extra hour of the day was.

Perspective is important, if only because it ruins everything. What we see and how we interpret things is paramount to both creating and destroying any sense of connection we have with the world. We seek opinions and interests in others that match our own. The differences between people are highlighted and create divides in society no matter how silly the conflict.

For example, on Saturday night the Game of the Century in college football boiled down to a field goal battle between two SEC schools. It probably won’t even be considered the ‘Game of the Year’ by January, but the national media supplied a week’s worth of hype and ink to a game that almost had more missed field goals than made.

I was looking forward to watching because I wanted to make fun of the spectacle that was sure to underwhelm. Perhaps that’s unfair of me to do, but as a thinking sports fan it’s tough to take anything put in front of you at face value. Some people loved that Alabama/LSU game. I did not, but I disagree with a lot of things in sports. I think the NFC East is wildly overrated and its media saturation is based on divisional market size alone. I think PAC 12 football is fun to watch and I’m already looking forward to Oregon/Stanford.

There are reasons behind it all. My interests make me more ‘media literate’ than most, and I’m also a bit of an insomniac. My upbringing and economic situation makes me inclined to indulge in underdog storylines. I ask questions, perhaps a bit too often in the wrong setting. Oh, and I go off on tangents. Like this one right here:

I’ve been on Twitter for two and a half years now, and it still fascinates me. Distributing information is just one way to use it, and the information you can obtain can come from an infinite number of places about an infinite number of things. That also means the reaction to an event you receive can vary, but the kicker is that who and what you see is determined by you.

I follow 546 people on Twitter and that’s my choice and mine only. Sometimes we react to Twitter like it’s a singular entity, but it’s organic and ever-changing. It’s different for everyone. Twitter is what we make of it, and we can tailor the feedback to get what we want. The number of followers you have means nothing, but it blows my mind that people actually want to know what I think about things.

In this case, the biases we have are a positive. Someone out there wants to know that I think American Horror Story is hot garbage, or wants to see me use mythic imagery when talking about Thomas Vanek. Or maybe they despise me and secretly make fun of every single thing I tweet. Hey man, it’s your show. Do what you will.

I think you have to make a decision with your biases: Embrace them or learn to counteract them. My unnatural sleep schedule isn’t likely to change, so I’ll keep watching west coast football and laughing at sad frat boys on CBS. I’ll get excited about Bills games to a point where I feel like I need to be there to really experience it, despite the likelihood of it not really being worth it. I’m going to root for the Thomas Vanek narrative to morph into something special, and poke fun at the Bills Mafia even if the players’ embracing it makes it significant.

There are seven billion people on the planet. What makes us different makes us interesting. Without some bias, I think, a ride home is just about the road.