Oh the life of an intern.
I hadn’t had to do an internship as an undergrad since I was in ROTC, so this is the first time I’ve had to live the life of the inexperienced intern. It hasn’t been bad so far. Because this is also my first civilian job since the retail jobs I’d worked in high school and college, it’s definitely been an eye-opening experience.
My one complaint is that I do wish I were in a different city. As the theme of the blog would suggest, I’m not altogether happy in DC, and it’s even worse now that many of my classmates are out of town. I’m a bit bored during the week, which has the potential to lead me into trouble.
I mentioned before that I had downloaded WeChat while I was in China. I had done it only because we were told to by our professor, and I had initially only planned to use it during our trip and then delete if afterward. However, since it was the only way to keep in touch with the university students I had met, I decided to leave the app on my phone.
It’s actually pretty cool – China’s government blocks almost all of the social media apps that the rest of the world uses, so WeChat has evolved to take the place of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and in certain countries can be used to make financial transactions. People in China use it more than text messaging, and during our consulting project with the nanotechnology company we learned that the sales associates conduct all of their business on WeChat. Plus, the chat feature enables you to download these silly animated characters that Chuck and I used to great effect.
That black cat (“LuoXiaoHei”) is totally how I feel on the inside.
One evening when I was bored (after work, don’t worry) I decided to check out some of WeChat’s more social features. There’s a “Message in a Bottle” game where you can write anything you want, stick it in a virtual bottle, and throw it into the virtual ocean for someone to pick up. You can also go looking for bottles that other people have thrown, and either respond to their message or throw it back. The idea of meeting strangers on the web has always made me nervous, so I like this feature since it lets you read what others have written without actually having to talk to them (unless you want to; I usually don’t so I always throw the bottles back.) Plus, it amuses me to have my silly haikus floating around in cyberspace for anyone to pick up and ask “Um, WTF is this person on?!”
I also tried out the “Shake” feature, which connects you to people around the world by shaking your phone. The app will look for others who are shaking at the same time, and give you the option to message them. Again, I never interacted with anyone because I was only doing this out of curiosity, but it was interesting to see where other users are located. (Mostly Turkey, Italy, and the Middle East. I had no idea that this app was so widespread outside of China.) Also, I don’t know if it’s because it has a smaller user base or if the users are more mature in general, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I got almost no raunchy messages. It was nice to not have to root through a bunch of garbage.
My big mistake came when I clicked on “People Nearby,” and unbeknownst to me it sent out my location, allowing anyone within a certain radius to see me and message me. And boy, did I get messages.
I know I’ve lamented getting old a few times, but this is an instance where I’m happy about it. I am so, so grateful that my dating years were done before Tinder and other apps became the norm, because I’ve heard enough online dating horror stories from my friends that make me so glad that I never had to go through that. For one, the idea of taking multiple bathroom selfies to find the perfect profile picture annoys me, so I don’t think I would have inspired people to swipe right. For another, having to weed through the troves of dudebros who are trying to send you naked pictures and what-not would just get on my nerves.
Anyway, before I realized what I had done, I had basically broadcast to every guy in the DC metro area my profile picture (that isn’t a bathroom selfie, thank you) and was suddenly inundated with requests to connect from allll the bros. Gross. And while most gave up after an ignored message or three, there were a couple that just didn’t get it.
Let me say this again – I am so glad that I never tried to use an app to find a date. Younger millennials, I feel for you.