Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lab #4: WORK

  People nowadays spend more time working ad fussing over surviving in the day to day than they did even a decade ago. In a fast paced world, I was lucky to even grab peoples attention long enough for an interview. I asked 10 people about key points in their daily routines: Work, sleep, food, and leisure (which includes all other activities). I asked three elderly, three middle-aged, and four teenage individuals about these points. This is what I found.

Work: Obviously adults work more than teenagers, and the elderly are typically retired. Three of the teens I spoke to said that they have jobs, one of which having a full-time job on top of school. All three adults had full time jobs, one of which working two jobs, and one of which being a full-time stay at home dad. Only one elder I interviewed was employed, and she worked as a basket weaver for a local craft store. All but one employee, who was a restaurant manager, got paid just above minimum wage.

Sleep: No need to mention that the teenagers got the most amount of sleep, though they were nearly beaten by the elders, who said they went to bed between 7-9pm every night and woke up from 9-11am every morning, and had time for naps during the day. The teenagers didn't have much time for sleep at night, on average getting about 7.5 hours of sleep a night, but three of the four said they managed to squeeze in long naps during their day. The middle-aged individuals said that they did not get much sleep, as most of them had children and demanding jobs.

Food: The responses towards food were overall similar: a quick bite to eat is a lot more convenient and desirable than sitting down for a lengthy meal with family or friends. The teens and adults unanimously agreed this, as did one of the elders, while the other two preferred to cook and eat with their loved ones, and rarely ever ate fast food. The two who preferred "slow" food were both retired and lived near all or most of their children and grandchildren.

Leisure: Leisure as a category extends to all activities excluding the ones mentioned previously. The teenagers varied in their ideas of leisure. One said he spent most of his free time playing video games and caring for his brothers and sisters, sometimes doing motocross during warmer months. Another said that she preferred working on her sister's horse farm on weekends, and wrote poetry during much of her spare time. The other said he preferred sleeping and eating to doing any actual "activities." The adults all jokingly made statements about "not having enough time for hobbies," and proceeded to tell me basic and similar activities, such as reading, watching television, playing with their children, and working out. The elders mentioned an array of hobbies, from basket weaving to chicken farming to spinning clay pots, to teaching yoga. One woman described an annual retreat she attended in the Italian vineyards with her friends, and a particular fondness for wine tasting.

  There would seem to be a strong correlation between amount of work during the day and the overall level of enthusiasm and openness with which the participants answered the questions. Those who worked more typically rushed me through my questions, and gave half-hearted answers, and only opened up when I began to pry. It would seem overall that the adults are more busy and stressed, and seemed to lack a sense of self, while the teenagers were almost cliche in their schedules, and the elders much more rounded than the rest.

Lab #3: TRUST

  For this lab, I took a week survey 100 random people around where I live, at places like the mall, restaurants, around school, downtown, and around my neighborhood. The people were not predetermined, and I knew very few of them. I presented them with an anonymous survey and asked them a series of questions about their feelings and actions regarding trust. This is what I found.

1) Generally speaking, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most trustworthy, how trustworthy do you consider people to be?   

0 - 3 people
1 - 7 people
2 - 35 people
3 - 0 people
4 - 0 people
5- 11 people
6 - 23 people
7 - 6 people
8 - 2 people
9 - 10 people
10 - 3 people

2) How often are you asked or required to trust others?

Never - 21 people
Rarely - 44 people
Sometimes - 23 people
Frequently - 7 people
Constantly/Daily - 5 people

3) What level of closeness is required of a person in order to gain your trust?

Stranger - 14 people
Vague Acquaintance - 27 people
Close Acquaintance - 5 people
Friend - 36 people
Best Friend/Family -  28 people

4) Is there any instance under which you would trust someone with your life?

Yes -21 people
No - 22 people
Depends - 57 people

5) Would you risk your own life for another (honestly)?

Yes - 15 people
No - 67 people
Depends - 18 people

6) On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most trustworthy, how trustworthy are you?

1 - 0 people
2 - 14 people
3 - 9 people
4 - 8 people
5 - 3 people
6 - 20 people
7 - 2 people
8 - 0 people
9 - 37 people
10 - 7 people

7) Are you ever uncomfortable trusting someone, but doing regardless?

Yes -34 people
No - 66 people

  There were many similarities to the answers, and there were some things that surprised me with the data, though most of it did not. Not many people displayed levels of trust towards others (based only on survey data), and as I asked the questions many people seemed to become flustered either by some of the questions, or by telling their feelings to a total stranger, which not many of them said they were comfortable with anyway. When asking about whether or not people would risk their life to help someone else, many people answered yes immediately, and after asking "Honestly?", more than half of them changed their answer to "no" or "depends," and when asking them what it would depend on, most said it would be based upon how much they knew or cared or the person at risk.
  People had a range of opinions about how trustworthy they are, and how trustworthy the people around them are. And again, after saying that they are very trustworthy, and me asking them "Honestly?", most of them changed their answers to lower numbers after a moment of reconsideration.

Lab #10: FOOD

  Everybody enjoys dining out, whether for a special occasion or just for fun. Over the past week or so I have been observing the people in the restaurants I went out to, keeping tabs on the variety of people and groups that I saw, and in which restaurants. While this comes from a very limited source group, thinking back on all of the places I've been in, I believe a fair assumption can be reached of diners in the south. This is what I've found.

  Fast Food Joints: Fast food restaurants are not known for their inviting atmosphere or friendly staff, and certainly aren't the place for having a meal out with your family or relatives, or date. They are meant for fast-paced people as an on-the-go bite, and not so much for those who wish to stay inside and enjoy their food. That being said, the few joints I observed had a good variety of people coming and going, and even some staying in for a bit. During my time of observation, I went to three different fast food chains, one "legitimate" restaurant chain, a local coffee shop, and two local diners: a barbeque joint, and a small Mexican restaurant next to a gas station.
  The fast food chains were pretty typical as far as the quality of fast food goes; it's not a elite dining experience, and so when people eat in, they usually do it for the sake of company. There were people there eating with their children, old couples, people on their lunch break, or just friends out for a bite to eat. One particularly funny incident occurred when two guys came into one of the establishments with a picnic cloth, a candelabra, full sets of plates and silverware, wine glasses, and a framed panting of sunset on a vineyard. They literally got their food and set up an elite dining experience with the painting propped against the window and coke in their wine glasses. They ate their burgers with silverware and talked in fake British accents until the manager asked them to leave. I thought things like that only happened on the internet.
  The "legitimate" restaurant is a step up from traditional fast food, but is still a chain. We went their for my grandmother's birthday, and we had just arrived in the after-church hour, when the entire place was packed wall-to-wall with church-goers, families and such, all eating and chatting and being social. People even stopped and talked to one another from opposite tables.
  As for the local places, they are not chains, and so much of their success (or prevention of failure) is based upon creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere, or just really good food. Good food is one of the best ways to bring people together, and these two separate places capture the essence of that in their own way. The barbeque joint is a personal favorite of mine that I have been going to since I was young. They are prized for their exceptional food, friendly staff, and vintage decor. Nearly everyone who eats there at any given time eats with others; I can't recall having ever seen someone there eating alone. The small Mexican place, however, is much too small for many large groups of people to eat there. There are only six tables in the whole place, and two cooks working the back. They are very busy, however, and the wait can get lengthy, as their food is wonderful, and well worth the wait. People like to chat in line, however, but many people there only spoke Spanish, so I wasn't able to contribute.

  Family Dining: Less and less people don't have the time, patience, or money for cooking dinner every night and eating at the dining room table with their families, but I am lucky enough to have a household that does. The only times we don't all eat together is when some of us won't be home in time to cook, or when we have copious amounts of leftovers. Lots of families dine together, but they dine out, which in many ways seems less intimate than having an old fashioned homecooked family dinner. There are plenty of other ways for families to connect, and sometimes they just need time apart, but conversing over food does seem to be a funny trait of people that brings them closer together.