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Why I hate alphabetical order


My last name is Vaz.  Which starts with a V.  Anyone else who has a last name which starts with a letter near the end of the alphabet will probably share my dislike of alphabetical order.  We’re always last.  And it isn’t fair.  I was last in enough things in school, like 3 blocks runs and being picked for group projects.  Did I really need the additional misfortune of being last for things simply because of my last name?  Apparently.

I’m taking a class right now at UBC, which is what reminded me of this today.  At the end of class, our assignments were handed back.  And our names were called out so we could go get our assignments and then leave.  And of course they were called out in alphabetical order.  What else is new?  And so I sat there.  Wanting to leave.  But unable to.  Because the people with C last names were still being called.  It was going to be a long while…

I’ve had to go through this in all my years of education, ever since I can remember.  When lining up for things, we would do it alphabetically.  Which meant you were always stuck in between the same two people in the line up.  And if you didn’t like those people, well, that was just too bad.  And sometimes that would be how groups or partners were assigned.  So if I didn’t like the kid who’s last name started with T, or the other kid who’s last name started with V, it didn’t matter.  We were stuck together.

When tests and assignments were handed back, I would always have to wait, much like I had to wait today.  And yes, people say that sometimes the teachers would mix it up and go in reverse alphabetical order instead.  But I feel like that rarely happened, if ever.  I cannot recall a time when it did.  Maybe my childhood memories are just biased and blocking out the few good experiences that may have occurred?

So I had to wait a little longer for certain things, so what?  Would I have really done anything important with those extra minutes that I spent patiently waiting?  Probably not.  But that’s not the point.  It’s the principle of the matter.  And sometimes it wasn’t just time that I missed out on.

In elementary school, we would have “hot lunch” every so often, maybe once a month?  This was basically when the school allowed us to order food, since there was no cafeteria or place to buy food and we would always bring it from home.  For hot lunch, we would have to bring in money and check off what we wanted days in advance.  They would order from places like Subway or Pizza Hut, or sometimes it was just hot dogs, catered from I don’t know where.  When the lunches arrived, guess what order they called them out in?

So I had to wait longer before I could eat.  But that’s not all.  You would also have the option of ordering a drink and a donut.  You could specify what drink you wanted, but the donuts were just a first come, first served thing.  And everyone wanted the long johns.  But there weren’t enough long johns to go around.  So when it was finally time for the girl with the V last name to get her food, there were only jelly donuts left.  And I didn’t like jelly donuts.  It wasn’t fair.

I suppose things could have been worse.  There were always kids with last names that started with W and Y.  But were pretty much in the same boat.  But at least since they were there, I was never dead last.  I guess at least that was something.  I think if I were a teacher and I was handing back assignments, I would just mix them all up and read them out in a completely random order.  That way no one is at a disadvantage.  Although then you wouldn’t know when to listen for your name.  At least alphabetically, you knew when it was going to be your turn.  Damn, I guess it is the most efficient way.  But still.  It wasn’t fair.

The things I missed out on.

My Christmas Letter

There are some people who, every Christmas, send out letters to family and friends wishing them happy holidays and outlining what they themselves have been up to throughout the year.  These are written generically, to no one in particular, and sent out to whoever is important enough in their address book.  I have never done this, nor do I ever plan to.  When I write Christmas letters, or any letters for that matter, they are personal and unique.  Each and every letter from me is one of a kind.  And I think that’s the way it should be.

I have a problem with generic Christmas letters because they’re just so impersonal.  If you really care that much about the people you are sending them to, you would take the time to wish them well and update them on your life individually, not as part of a mass produced note that everyone and their dog is also receiving.  Also, some of the things written in these letters about their lives, don’t really need to be included.  Do we really care about the school play that your kid had a minor but important role in?  Or that you’ve recently joined a  a new book club and are loving it so far?

But, in the spirit of Christmas and tradition, I will take this madness one step further.  Rather than wasting paper and postage to send out my useless thoughts to a selection of people I care about, I will wish everyone who chooses to read it, in this very blog.  So here we go…

Dear family and friends and random people I don’t know,

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  All the best to you and yours during this joyous season.  Where has 2011 gone?  It seems as though it all went by so quickly, don’t you think?  I don’t know about you, but I still managed to accomplish a lot.

As you may know, I finally graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UBC.  And where has that taken me?  Well, apparently I loved the university so much, I decided to stay there as an employee at the bookstore.  Something I didn’t actually need a degree to do.  But nevertheless, that’s what I’ve been doing since graduating.

I also started a blog, as you can see.  Why?  No reason really.  I just have a lot of thoughts racing through my head and this is one outlet of expressing them.  I also recently diagnosed myself as having what I like to call ADHD of the mind.  I’m not crazy and hyperactive on the outside, but you should see what goes on inside my head.  It’s not as calm up in there.  Hence, the blogging and the randomness in order to let it all out.  I’ve heard some people make money through blogging, but I’ve never bothered to look into that.    I suppose I really should, since I could use the money.  But oh well.

Something else I’ve been meaning to do is move out of the house.  No, I haven’t done that yet.  And no, I haven’t started looking for a place yet.  And no, I haven’t decided when exactly I would like to move out.  But it’s the thought that counts, right?  And I’ve thought about it a lot.  So that’s something, right?  I just wish the price of living in Vancouver wasn’t so high.

I have also continued my combination of hatred and dependence for translink.  Why do I hate them?  Well, quite frankly, they suck.  Why do I depend on them?  Well, quite frankly, I  suck.  Why do I suck?  Because I don’t drive.  But I also can’t afford a car.  Instead of saving up money for one, I would rather spend it on shoes.  They get me where I need to go as well, it just takes longer.

What else have I accomplished this year?  I haven’t taken up any new hobbies or anything exciting like that.  Unless you count blogging?  Does updating my facebook status count?  I do a lot of that.  And that’s an understatement.  2011 was a good year for status updates.  I’ve also been more active on twitter as well.  That’s something to be proud of I’m sure.  I also started watching some new tv shows, some good, some bad, some so-so.

Oh, I also started going to gym.  Sort of.  It’s been a while, I haven’t gone that often, but I’ll try again next year?  And I did the grouse grind for the first time.  And I got a massage for the first time.  And I started doing a lot of online shopping.  It’s been a good year for firsts.  This also happens to be the first generic Christmas letter I’m sending out.  While not really sending out as such, but whatever.

So yes, that’s what I’ve been doing this year.  A successful year, no?  I thought so.  And what made it that much better was having all of you as a part of my life throughout it.  So thank you, for allowing me to share this wonderful year with you.  I do hope that the coming year will be filled with as much excitement for you and for me.  You are in my thoughts and prayers always.  Best wishes for the future!

With much love,

Dominique