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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Same space, different world

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: Opinions

A snowflake is a marvel to the desert man. It seems to be that reality is well, all relative. I think that most people have one fixed view of what they deem to be reality. Our experiences, which shape our reality, are intrinsically limited to our immediate environment. You must be thinking, Well, thats pretty obvious., but just think of it. The kid that grows up in the suburbs and has access to a great education may know, in theory, about some genocidal massacre in some far away land, but can he really fathom always having to look behind his shoulder or clutching a blade whenever a stranger crosses by? Can that person really know what it feels like to have such a big knot slowly tightening in their chest? On the other hand, what drives a young person, who seemingly has everything, to suicide? What constant suffocation that person must have felt to seek such a drastic conclusion. What weight on their shoulders was so heavy that they simply couldnt keep going? Seems to me that our personal reality determines the way we choose and the way we lead our lives.

I dont know if Im getting my point across. To be honest with you, Im not really sure what my point is or how to convey it. Im new at this and I must admit I feel a little scattered, but this summer definitely had me reflecting. Lefrak City, Queens is not a very nice place to live, but people get by. Aggression, decisiveness, flashiness, a fast wit and an even faster mouth seem to be common tools found amongst Lefraks populace. Tricked out cars, dazzling clothing, and the almighty Bling seem to make up for all the dull shades of grey that seem to creep all over the city. The apartments themselves all seem similar;

the same thick aroma of hot exotic cooking in the hallways, the lingering smell of urine in the staircase and the same mud colored carpeting everywhere. I might paint a less than stellar picture, but youd be surprised at how often Ive heard the sound of laughter within those corridors.

I woke up one morning to the sound of rats under my bed, which only meant one thing;

breakfast time. As I sat on the couch munching my soggy cereal I watched my cousins roll on the ground with not a care in the world. From their eyes, this was reality. Lefrak City, Queens is what they knew. How funny it was to find myself, a few hours later, in the gorgeous town of New Castle, Westchester. Where Lefrak had towering apartment complexes, New Castle had towering trees and seas of every shade of green. Just sitting out on the lawn and trying to take it all in was bewildering. As I sat on a nearby rock next to the car, I saw in the distance two little kids rolling around in a garden, and I thought to myself, To them, this must be reality, rolling around not a care in the world. How strange I thought that just an hour and a half away sat their counterparts in a world which would seem at the opposite end of their spectrum.

I could go on and on about world comparisons, but youve probably got a class to get to and a latte to finish. So how does this relate to us? Well, we dont all inhabit the same Brandeis do we? This school is comprised of many different worlds. Dont believe me? Try spending a week eating with a group of kids out of your (social, economic, religious, racial, sexual, all of the above) circle. I know what a crazy idea. But youd be surprised at how similar you might actually be to one another, or better yet what wealth of knowledge yall can share and trade. One persons mundane trivial fact may be anothers revelation. After all, a snowflake is a marvel to the desert man.