Human empathy is so natural that whenever we see someone in need, our first impulse is to help. Considering that we are in a society where newborns are helpless for the first few years, society couldn\’t have survived without it. I remember when I heard about the disasters and tragedies in the last few years, only when I saw the faces–expressions of pain, fear, and anxiety–it\’s when I understand. It\’s when I have the urge to make a difference.

But on another subject…that I can\’t stop thinking of…
\”When guys have something broken, they get as much attention as girls normally do. But when girls have something broken, oh they have the entire world in front of them. You should take advantage of that.\” Carl said to me today. \”Show that you can stand in the face of adversity. But if they open the door for you, help you with your bag, offer to help you with other things…\”

Last May, I was sitting downstairs when my housemate was struggling with her moving boxes. We hadn\’t spoken for several months over trivial arguments and issues. Simply put, we didn\’t like each other\’s presence. But as I watched her carry a box, I couldn\’t help but ask sincerely, \”Do you need any help?\”

Simply saying that, we reconciled (for at least one day). Amazing.





I hate being dependent, because I know that I look down upon those who take advantage of others. And yet, I can barely wrap my bandages myself. I can’t open bottles anymore. Eating is extremely awkward (and so is washing my hair as well as putting on my contacts). I am certainly not very left-handed, so swiping my cards and signing is stressful.

But yesterday, someone gave up a seat on an extremely crowded bus…to me. Perks are nice too. Yet I am sorely embarrassed to some extent.

At least, now I know how to design interfaces for the “disabled”.

In an e-mail from this morning:

We are happy to inform you that your paper

Whisper: analysis and design for a community event service

has been accepted to CHI 2006 Work-in-Progress.


Off to Montreal I shall go!

\”You\’re so lucky!\” my friend said after I told her how I spent my entire Saturday in the lodge talking to people, meeting random people. Because my splint is an easy conversation piece. \”You\’ll definitely meet someone just in time for Valentine\’s day!\”

To which, I grimaced and scoffed. I would never do such things to get attention.

Yet yesterday, while at Starbucks, one of the guys behind the counter gave me significantly more attention, ignoring my better-dressed, better-looking friend. And while at my friend\’s super bowl party, definitely a lot more attention. People holding out bags of chips for me. And salsa, and the like. People getting ice for me, even though I am perfectly capable of walking and using my left hand.

My friend joked, \”You did this on purpose huh!\”

I went to a doctor today (and a couple of med students) who said there was a benign cyst in the bone of my right hand that made the bone weak. So even though the fall wasn\’t that bad, it was significant enough to fracture that part of the bone. The bad part is that I was told to avoid most activity with my right hand. Considering I am right handed, my life is so much more difficult. Fortunately, nobody has commented on my credit card signature.

But that extra attention. Needed, perhaps.

Maybe. Maybe!

But remind me not to talk to my parents about money and insurance. I personally would pay more to get more exams than to go for the next few months not knowing exactly where I am in the healing process.

“How would you have prevented this accident?” the ski patrol guy asked.

“Um…” I said surprised by the question. “Not fall?”

Painful injury on my first, only, and last run at 7 springs. Ski patrol advised me against going back up. I have skiied or snowboarded at least once year since I was 5 and this was the first time that I was injured that I had to sit out for the rest of the day. The ski patrol gave my right hand a splint made out of cardboard and I sat ridiculously in the lodge until people decided to leave. I chatted with robotics, lti, and the little of hci that went.

Can’t write. Can’t sign. Can’t eat. Who knew that this world wasn’t made for one-handed people?

At least now I have a reason for not bowling!

Pittsburgh is way too full of hardcore fans. My roommate last year told me (in possible pretentiousness) that she chose CMU over other schools because she loves the Steelers. *cough* Surprising for someone who is not a Pittsburgh native.

Black andd gold flies everywhere. I had a slice of the Steelers cake at the grad student happy hour today and cut in line to get a sugared pretzel.

But if I hear the chant \”Here we go\” one more time…

The bus did not come for the second time in the last 2 weeks. When I had to go to work.

Did I ever mention how much I dislike Pittsburgh Port Authority? Unreliable and inconsiderate.

Out in the wintery cold of Pittsburgh, I stood at the bus stop waiting for the 64a. A busy interaction of cars and people. I saw Queenie, the administrator come by. She asked me if I needed a ride…to campus. Then I saw Kayre going to the bus to campus. I saw myself standing there for almost an hour, seeing people I know.

I apologized for taking up space in front of the Curves doorstep, eating my breakfast near the newspaper stand. Yogurt. My badly cooked cranberry pancakes drenched in syrup and butter to hide the taste. I had a weak smile on my face as I saw the 61D pass by me, then the 61C thrice.

I finally gave in and called my co-workers, feeling carless and helpless standing on that intersection of Forbes and Murray, surrounded by people going to work.