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MIT staff blogger Kellen M.

the one where i talk to ameer by Kellen Manning

what is real again?

So, let me set the scene for the garden-level Admissions office.01 Some would call it the basement There’s me, in front of me is the Jeremy, behind me is Ariel, DJ to my left, and right behind him is Ameer. Scattered throughout the rest of the office is Danielle, Grant, Christine, Julia, and then in the middle is a giant, egg-shaped table with a puzzle on top. Five or more days a week, eight or more hours a day.

That was us. And then…one day…it wasn’t…

Everyone went from tangibly real, to digitized clusters of pixels on a Zoom call. What is “real” anymore? In an effort to figure that out I wanted to have a conversation with someone. So, I reached out to Ameer on Slack and said “Ameer! Let’s talk about stuff so I can blog it.”

And, that’s what this is. Ameer and I talking about stuff.

Ameer: Yerrrrrr

Kellen: Ok, so in this new world of social distance and Zoom, I figured we might as well try to blog a conversation. So, the floor is yours. What do you want to talk about?

Ameer: Honestly, I’ve been doing like a TON of thinking about like how I’ve been managing/mismanaging my time since the WFH-life started up, and how much like harder it’s been to be engaged in general

Kellen: Yea, man. It’s crazy out there. Working from home is cool in doses, but overall I just find it’s a bit more tiring and really tests the attention span that I’ve spent the last decade destroying.

Ameer: EXACTLY. Like the first couple days I was like “Oh word? I can eat whenever I want & just turn off the Zoom camera a couple times to sneak some snacks? Say less” but now I’m confused as to what day of the week it is lol. And there’s like no end in sight either

Even my cat looking at me like “yo what are you still DOING HERE”

Kellen: YES! I feel so judged by my cats. Every time I come into the room and they look at me like “you again?” and all i can say is “yep.” I guess the better question is, why do you feel the need to turn off the camera and sneak snacks? This is a safe space, man.

Ameer: I feel like if during our meetings everyone was like killing a package of wheat thins like I’m doing then I’d feel less subconscious about it LOL but if I’m the only one then it’s a little awksauce you know?

Now if your saying that you’ll join me in solidarity for eating snacks during the next meeting then WE OUT for sure!!

Kellen: Snack liberation is very important. And of course, you know I’m with you. In this new digital world order we should all be free to snack in public and on camera across the interwebs.

Ameer: I love that!! “Snack Liberation” let’s make it a movement! . Now I got a question for you along the same kind of topic lines of WFH; how have you been like managing checking in and speaking with like friends and whatnot?

Because I miss my homies. So. Much.

Kellen: It’s actually interesting, because i feel I’ve become a bit better at it. I’ve always been TERRIBLE at staying in touch with people, but now I feel like there’s this little voice asking me if I’ve checked in with my people today. I feel like you and I are on opposite sides of this, because I’m a natural homebody and you…well…you are really out here.

Ameer: The terminology of “Catch me Outside” I think adequately defines the way I love to be out and about haha so for sure I hear you on that. I think what’s been tough for me is that like I’ve usually been the type to try linking up with my friends like every other week or so, so the need to check in virtually often wasn’t like a huge priority. But now it’s like I don’t know when I’ll be seeing anyone outside of my cat (who definitely is not feeling me lol), so I’m trying to make the conscious effort more to check-in with EVERYONE. I’ve really been missing that like “in-person” vibe.

You DEFINITELY though are a natural homebody that is true . That’s why we get along though! Opposites attract.

Kellen: There’s always TikTok, my friend.

Ameer: “Bored in the house and I’m in the house bored” I’ve made multiple variations of that song already

Kellen: Seriously though TikTok was pretty big before but I feel like this kind of pushed it over the edge to where kids are going to have to find something new because the elders have kind of made it mainstream.

Ameer: Oh yea definitely. I feel like Tiktok is taking that space of like “comic relief” content. Instagram I feel is becoming more and more a platform solely for like post a picture/poll/quick update, while TikTok is becoming the new innovative fun spot for kids

Kellen: Solid point. But i also see a lot of people doing the same TikTok dances everyone on TikTok02 The amount of times we used the said TikTok in this stretch is horrendous was doing six months ago. It’s a weird balance of people just trying to fill the time and also letting everyone (including themselves) know they still exist.

Which honestly, I’m starting to question. i’m about a week away from accusing everyone of being AI.

Ameer: TRUE you not lying! And having everyone quarantined at home is definitely perpetuating the increase in TikTok usage/copying too

Speaking of AI, Alexa & Siri really been holding it down for me man

Kellen: That’s your new crew?

Ameer: We basically the new Team 7! They always available and willing to talk to me and answer my requests, real BFF material I didn’t even realize

Kellen: You know I was wondering how long before a Naruto reference would show up. But yea, I asked Alexa the other day who her favorite rapper was, and she said Andre 3000. That’s how i knew what her and I had was real.

Ameer: Andre 3000 I would say is top 10, but favorite? You have to give that to Nas

He’s the equivalent to like the 4th Hokage lol “Believe it”

Kellen: Haha that seems like entirely different conversation we need to have, because I have some thoughts. But overall Nas is all right, I wouldn’t say my favorite, but I can see it. And again, with the Naruto reference. I’m glad the I’m not going to be known as the only Admissions Officer Naruto fan after this.

So, my cat is basically giving me that look that says, “If you are going to sit around all day, you might as well feed me,” so before we wrap up is there anything we missed?

Ameer: I feel you on that, I hate that look. And besides a robust discussion about who’s more overlooked as a character Kiba or Yamcha? Nope we can save that for next time

Kellen: Yamcha was my guy, the Dragon Ball world doesn’t deserve him.

Well, all right, man. This was good. We planned on some really serious life changing content through this conversation and I feel like we accomplished that today.

Ameer: LOL glad I could be of assistance

  1. Some would call it the basement back to text
  2. The amount of times we used the said TikTok in this stretch is horrendous back to text