Charting the Everyday – Spencer Barks

Summarizing Paragraph

Throughout the past seven days I forced myself to observe everyday objects anew.  Through this class my view on technology and how individuals live has expanded as well.  With new technologies being adapted into our lives on a daily basis what one defines as a normal day is constantly changing.  From running water, Internet access, the clothes we wear, to the cell phones everyone heavily relies on, diverse and unique forms of technologies dominate our day to day.  Given that, why is it that one overcomes the excitement of new technology?  How can a phenomenon such as flying a plane, which is a huge hunk of metal, become an aspect of life so simple and normal? Or even the idea of the Internet? What furthered my understanding of this project was when I put myself in a situation where these objects were stripped from me.  Given this mindset I hoped to revitalize my thought process towards technology and allow myself to revaluate the technologies I use and better appreciate the difficulties and time these objects save me.  At the completion of my 7-day observation period, the biggest component that stood out to me was the constant pressure that society is holding over individuals.  For each day I realized how various forms of discrimination, and many other ugly aspects of society can surface.

DAY 1: Electricity


This was the biggest aspect of life that affected me the most.  Think about what happens when your household loses power.  Nearly your entire home becomes useless.  Without electricity you have no cell phone, no oven to cook, no refrigerator to store food, and almost no form of entertainment.  Practically everything I did on this first morning required the power of electricity.   I wouldn’t be able to write this assignment if I did not have my laptop fully charged, or if I did not have the bright from my lights allowing me to see.  Having electricity is a common part of my day that individuals fully expect to be there, and if that is taken away from people they expect all other aspects of life to stop.  But in actuality the world is still spinning, and as a society we but so much necessity in electricity that when it is stripped from us people feel useless.  I know I certainly do.  This sparked me to try and live a day without using the power of electricity, which proved to be extremely challenging.  I couldn’t use the elevator in my apartment, watch TV, and warm up cookies in the microwave.  Eventually I had to cheat and check the time on my phone, and respond to text messages in case of any form of emergency, or what the latest buzz was on Facebook. I unknowingly demoted myself by stripping myself of the privilege of electricity because having and using technology is the standard of our society.

DAY 2: Clothes


Until it becomes socially acceptable to go anywhere an individual wants completely naked, clothes will be a constant factor in one’s everyday life.  According to Wikipedia there are over 360 different kinds of clothing labels.  As a guy I know shopping for new clothes is already a hard enough task for me to do, but when there are over 360 different brands of underwear alone where the hell am I supposed to even start?  I don’t care whether there is a man on a horse on my underwear or a basket of fruit, as long as I have something to wear I don’t care what brand it is.  This really got me thinking about how much power something as insignificant as the clothes we wear can help others define whom you are. Inferences such as the economic and financial stability of an individual may arises or maybe their race, religion, or other stereotypes may emerge simply by observing what an individual is wearing.  Being an athlete, and a basketball player, when one observes the clothes I wear it becomes apparent that I am on the team.  Ranging from the various sweatshirts and sweatpants littered with Maryland Basketball memorabilia, I have been subject to different forms of stereotypes simply because of what I was wearing.  I believe that with so much media pressure used with models and the new fashion trends they start individuals will put extra emphasis in the importance of clothes and always making sure you are keeping up to date with the latest trends.

DAY 3: Hygiene


Waking up and showering has been an almost daily routine of mine for as long as I can remember.  Not only is this something that was stressed to me at home by my parents, but I constantly see commercials on TV soliciting hygiene awareness as well.  When I was old enough to start taking showers my parents stressed its importance as well as brushing my teeth and keeping clean clothes.  As a child I was always taught that this is just an aspect of life that I have to accept and do on a daily basis, and honestly beyond that I never questioned it.  Similar to electricity, hygiene is a standard of today’s society.  The expectation for many individuals is that you take care of yourself.  Commercials and advertisements often depict individuals who don’t take care of themselves (showering, deodorant, brushing teeth) as not as physically appealing compared to an individual that does care about hygiene.  This commercial specifically comes to mind:

Through this example viewers witness two men in a game of poker, one man is wearing old spice, while it is assumed the other is not.  To me this shows how in society that if you are taking care of yourself and wearing the right deodorant, then you will not only get all the girls but you will also be able to overcome extreme obstacles as well.

DAY 4: Transportation


Without the availability of my car I know I would not be as willing to go to certain places.  A quick trip to CVS would easily turn into an hour-long ordeal with out the assistance of my car.  This is easily one of the most convenient parts of my life that I now view as mundane. With no accidents forbidding me to lose my car I have always had easy access to transportation.  Which, like the electricity, made me curious to see how I would manage a day without using my car.  This helped me better appreciate how much father away things are, and how much faster a car is.  I realized tasks such as getting groceries, or a quick visit home become completely out of the question and would require much more time and effort in order to get those things done.  Not only did it take away easy trips to places, but it also took away some leisure time.  Sometimes when I become stressed one of the best methods of relaxation is long drives listening to some of my favorite music.

DAY 5: Putting in my contacts, and putting on my shoes.


Everyday after I shower I put my contacts in. Until now, I’ve never thought about the process of it, or analyzed anything about it.  When putting in my contacts I always put the right one in first, and after placing it on my eye, I look left, then right, next up, and then finally back down until ultimately blinking exactly twice.  Once my right contact settles I repeat the same exact process with my left contact.  Lastly when both of my contacts are settled in I dump the remaining contact solution from the case and tightly seal the case up again.  This made me realize that when putting on my shoes and socks, I also always dress up my right foot first.  Noticing these two simple steps in my morning led me to realize that when I have the option of doing an event between my left and right, I always start with my right.  Which come as a surprise to me because I’m dominantly left handed.

DAY 6: Money


There is not a day that goes by that I am not spending money or making some form of purchase.  Everyday I need to pay for food, gas, clothes, and various other things.  I never leave my apartment without some form of cash.  Not only do you need money for the necessities, but what if you decide you want to treat yourself?  Maybe you see something that really caught your eye and you have an unspeakable desire to obtain it.  The idea of money is indicative how as a society humans place random values on certain items based upon the need for them, and more times than not we will see how the price differences between items are based upon the desire for them, not the need.  An example that really stood out to me was when I went to the common shop to buy a bottle of water.  I just bought the cheapest bottle I could find, but there were other bottles that almost tripled the price I paid.  To me this shows how our society is all about the most top notch items that money can buy.  It gives this level of discrimination over something as small as a bottle of water.  When in reality, they are doing the same exact thing for your body but at different prices.

DAY 7: Homework


Everyday I am finding new ways to avoid doing homework.  Whether it is Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, or some other form social media I am always trying to procrastinate.  With so much going on during my day from classes, to practice, to conditioning, it is hard to find time to enjoy myself.  With so little time leftover in the day it is a struggle to sit down and get the required work done, and as a result I will often times take too many breaks and at times not finish my work.  Too often have I taken a simple 30-minute assignment and stretched it out to last several hours.  Because my brain is tasked with dealing with so many obstacles throughout the day, by the time I am finally settled in my room it becomes hard to push it even further.


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