Column: How I became the mayor of Memorial Union
Mar. 22, 2011
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Last fall, I got a BlackBerry.
I had gone for years without a smartphone, instead choosing phones based on criteria like “sturdy” and “cheap.” I could make the owners of smartphones envious with the cathartic "click" of my flip phone shutting, and I could cry out elitism and accusations of bourgeois lifestyles at die-hard smartphone users. People dared not give me patronizing looks of technological superiority. I was proud of my humble, primitive gadgets. I didn’t plan to change.
That is, until my life was increasingly defined by the egregious, excessive exchange of emails and, by extension, the necessity to respond to those emails efficiently. That, combined with the renewal of my phone contract, brought me into the dark, ambivalent world of smartphones. I embraced it hesitantly in the beginning, and outside of using it for email and sometimes Facebook, I didn’t use it too much differently than my retired flip phone. Until I got Foursquare.
Foursquare, you know, the smartphone app with which you “check in” to different venues. You know, so you can let all of your buddies know you’re in Strickland, or eating a hot dog at Ingredient or “getting some” in your partner’s apartment or dorm. Sound vapid? Maybe. Sound like bait for a potential stalker? I can see where you’re coming from, but it’s taken over my life. I think the people who developed Foursquare intended it to be a savvy social media tool, but for me, it’s all about the mayorships, having the prestigious title of being the most frequent visitor. I want to be the girl with the most check-ins.
It’s all about the tooth-and-nail competition, the near-paranoiac defense of the mayorships you already possess and the aggressive ascent to further domination.
For me, my check-ins are fueled with anonymous resent toward those who possess ownership of the venues I desire to control. “Damn you, ‘Kristi M.,’” I say to myself as I check in to Middlebush. “I have class here every day!” I have these conversations in muted whispers with myself as I go everywhere. It might look like I’m super social, texting on my phone as I walk around town, but I’m not. I’m checking in. I’m seeing where people are. I’m ascertaining the progress of my future domination, though that progress is frustratingly slow.
But I do have a few mayorships I’m proud of. I’ve been the mayor of Loop Liquor on Business Loop 70 for months now, a true sign of my character. I’m the mayor of Paquin Tower across the street from my house, though I’ve never set foot in it. I’m even the mayor of a highway!
But recently, I gained the mayorship of Memorial Union. I had been gunning for it for months, but with their recent mention that the mayor would receive a Starbucks gift card March 31, I kicked the engines into full throttle and had at it.
I check in obsessively, knowing full well that 10 check-ins in a day still only equates to 1 check in. I check in when I get my coffee, when I walk by; I check in whenever I think about it. I call Memorial my “turf” now. I scoff at those who feebly attempt to take it from me.
So if there’s a point to my “column,” it’s this: back off. That gift card? It’s mine.
That prestige? Also mine. Your mayorships? All your mayorships are belong to us. Or in this case, me. Me and my fuchsia BlackBerry.