Archive | March, 2013

secret burdens

31 Mar

A man shuffles through the door with a bundle on his back. He stoops so low his nose whispers to his knees as he bends one knee

after the other

after the other. He drags his way to the front desk, where the concierge’s eyes skim his baggy sweater, his muddied jeans and his hole-riddled sneakers. With a sigh of relief, barely audible, the man gingerly slides his pack to the floor.

thud.

The concierge sneers in disgust as the straightening man involuntarily releases cracks and pops reminiscent of crepitus. Nearby, a woman in a satin dress covers her child’s ears, squints at the man pointedly, then turns her face away. Within moments, the lively hotel lobby turns silent. Nobody dares to face the filthy man in rags.

“A room, please, sir.”

“We’re booked.”

The man cocks his head, and the concierge notices a few crumbs falling from his beard. Perhaps they were the crumbs of stolen bread. Will he be sorry that they’re gone?

His eyes, a soft brown, search the concierge for truth. “What,” he asks, “every single room in the hotel is booked?” As he speaks, a tall man in a fashionable suit strolls up behind and joins the line. The concierge squeezes his thin, pale lips together, perhaps in the attempt to squeeze an idea out of them. A moment later, he gives up, shaking his head and eyeing the ceiling.

“No, SIR, I was mistaken. We do have a few rooms left. But I’m afraid they’re rather out of your…” he glances down at the ill-fitting outfit in front of him one more time before completing his thought. “They’re quite out of your budget.”

The man with the warm brown eyes smiles, sending a shiver down the concierge’s back. “I’m quite sure it isn’t, actually.” The homeless man bends over slowly, deliberately, to rummage through his bag. The satin-clad woman in the plush chair nearby peers at the man out of the corner of her eye. Her head snaps in his direction and her jaw drops as he rises, grunting softly.

The concierge’s eyes bulge at the sight of so much cash. He balks, silent. Then he talks too much and too fast as he tries to cover his tracks with false apologies. The man nods slowly and asks for his keys.

“Please, allow me to take your bags–er, bag– up to your room. Just wait here, sir!” says the concierge, fleeing into the elevator with the man’s giant burden. The man watches him go, and the corners of his mouth curl upwards. He sits in a small wooden chair a little way from the woman and her child.

“Don’t stare at the rich man,” she scolds her boy. “It’s impolite.” She smiles affectedly at the man until she realizes that he isn’t paying attention. Not to her, anyway. She addresses the man, “What do you think of my little Charlie? He’s an ugly kid, to be sure. But he behaves well enough, I suppose.”

The man’s smile fades as he looks up from the child. His brow creases. “How could you say that about your own boy? I may not be much to look at, but at least my mother loved me. Does his father allow you to demean your offspring so?”

The woman looks at the cracks in the floorboards. She says nothing for a long time. The man eventually closes his eyes and rests.

“It’s not my fault,” comes a small and shaking voice. The woman continues to study the floor as if she had not said a thing. “I didn’t want… how can I love an abomination? I’ve tried, he knows I’ve tried.”

Gently, the man asks the question he knows he shouldn’t. “Why can’t you?”

A salty drop hits the floor below the woman’s face. “My child’s father is mine as well.” The man opens his mouth as if he’s about to speak just as the elevator door opens and the concierge beckons. As the man stands, he puts a callused hand on the lady’s shoulder. They look into each other’s eyes for no more than a second before he starts toward the elevator. Silently they part ways, each contemplating the mysteries of the other’s burden.

days

30 Mar

What is there to say?

Today was a day. Yesterday was a day. And before that, there was another day.

I went to school. I took tests. I got my license. I ate too much. Days, days, days are like words, words, words. They are nothing until we put meaning behind them.

But how can they have meaning when the people in my life are so distant? I went to the LDS temple yesterday with the other seniors from my church. I sat next to Tanman, who I find quite attractive. We hardly talked. Even though we’ve known each other for years, we’re strangers.

Today I hung out with Gee and Jurn. I consider them two of my best friends. We couldn’t figure out what to do, so I suggested we simply watch TV. I watched, and they tweeted or snapped.

It’s strange how much more alone I feel when I’m sitting next to my friends.

my addiction

25 Mar

Alright, here goes nothing. I’m coming clean about my super secret addiction.

It’s not pot, it’s not cigs, it’s not coffee. (In case you’re curious, I’ve never even tried any of these things.) It’s not Minecraft or Youtube or Pringles.

It’s boys.

I don’t think I can go a single day without talking about boys, or daydreaming about a boy(s), or making a fool of myself in front of flirting with boys. It’s basically the only topic I think about. I’ve also recently come to the conclusion that when I’m not thinking about boys directly, I do think about them indirectly. Take, for example, one of my go-to topics for girl-on-girl conversation: Prom tables/tickets/dresses. And don’t even get me started on all the prama [translation into old-inese: prom-related drama]. It’s already beginning. This Girl stole That Girl’s dress, while Slutty Susan and Promiscuous Patty are fighting over a date. It’s gonna get catty messy. Anyway, what is my main motivation for wanting to go to prom again this year?* BOYS, of course!

Just today, for instance, I was talking to Bambi, my guy friend from Bio with whom I had an awkward almost-thing misunderstanding in the beginning of the year. We were discussing prom dates because he and my she-friend Biscuit are playing matchmaker. The bulk of our conversation was how difficult it was going to be for him to find me a date, since he was running out of friends to set up. (What luck.)

If I’m not talking about prom, then I’m probably catching up with mah gurls about the latest boy-toy news. Daily updates are necessary because at a given time, I generally have about seven guys I think about incessantly regularly consider as viable options. Honestly, most of my conversations go a little something like this:

Me: Oh. My. Gosh. Did I tell you about Saturday night?

Shmands: No, girl! What happened?

Me: Well, I went to a hangout at Sam-I-Am’s place. Mads and I were the only girls there, which was cool because I hardly ever get to hang out with the guys. I had some pretty interesting convos with them… maybe I shouldn’t have told them all how many guys I’ve kissed. Anyway, we played pool in Sam-I-Am’s basement and then watched a scary movie. But you know how Mads and A-man kinda have a thing? Well I didn’t want to third-wheel, plus I was FREEZING sitting all by my lonesome, so instead of sitting by them I went over and sat next to Roach while we all watched The Possession. It had some scary bits, so I was kinda squealing and squirming like you know I do. All of a sudden, I noticed Roach’s hand right near mine, palm-up with his fingers half uncurled as if he wanted me to hold his hand. I considered grabbing it but decided against it. Then, get this: he TOLD ME to hold his hand. Like, seriously, who does that? If you wanna hold a girl’s hand, just take it. Don’t talk about it!

Shmands: Stop. No way! Do you think he likes you? Do you… I mean would you…

Me: Date him? I don’t even know. I mean he’s a sweet kid, but… 

And on. When the Roach discussion dies I move on, not forgetting to mention the sweet things Mr. Awesome said to me in his weekly email. This week, I told him how my brother gave me a book that had helped him get through his depression, in case I ever got to feeling crappy. My ex-boyfriend-turned-best-friend Mr. Awesome replied, among other things (including a promise to bring me back Cambodian jewelry, to make me some Cambodian food, and to treat me to ice cream when he gets home),

 I am here for you too, though I may be just words on a screen right now there is a person behind the words who cares about you and who would do pretty much anything to help you!

Like the hand-holding earlier, it very well could be platonic. It’s very plausible, and even likely, that both of these examples view me as nothing more than a good friend. But here is why I’m addicted to boys: even when they’re ‘just’ my friend, I can count on the fact that they’ve got my back—whether it’s as a few kind words on a screen or as a hand to hold. I guess it’s true what they say about addictive substances: you really can get hooked by just one. I was spoiled by Mr. Awesome, my first boyfriend, who just loves people. Now, whenever I’m single (and sometimes even when I’m kind of not) I’m constantly on the prowl. But really, it’s hard not to be obsessed when I’ve had a taste of (bowm chika wow wow) sincere, genuine, grade-A good guys.**

*Goin’ for Senior Prom number 3. And yes, the petty little girl inside of me delights in bragging over the fact that I’ve already been to two. Suck it, [insert any non-single girl’s name here].

**For the record, from here out I’m going to attribute my current singleness to the substantial dearth of aforementioned goodies, rather than any personal shortcomings. At all. Because, let’s face it, I’m perfect.

meraki and me

21 Mar

Okay, I know. The title of this post sounds like some cheesy Rom-Com about a Japanese chick and her move to America in search of love—with culture clashes and hilarity following close behind, of course.

Wait . . . you mean that’s NOT what you thought of when you read it? Oh, silly silly me. Forget I said anything. (And I do mean forget it. No stealing my super-original idea.)

Anyway, here’s my take on this week’s Prompts for the Promptless, by the one and only Rarasaur.

As a high school senior, it’s hard to be motivated to do just about anything. Except sleep. Sleep is always good. My friends and I have taken to reminiscing about the days when we used to care. Take last year, for instance. Junior year, I read (almost) all of my assigned books, I did (most of) my homework, and I actually studied for tests. Sometimes two, three days in advance, at that. This year, I’ve read SOME of my books, because I am one of the few who actually loves to read. I don’t do any of my homework at home. My friend Biscuit and I have determined that we are going to start leaving our backpacks at school, for two reasons:

  1. They aren’t opened anyway.
  2. Backpacks can cause scoliosis. Yuck.

And I most certainly DO NOT study for tests. Today, I had the first part of a two-day psych test that covers two chapters and counts as a double grade. The most studying I did was during my three free periods*. And even then, half of the time I just chatted with friends. On a side note, I found out at school today that last night, my non-Asian neighbor (Yes, that’s how my mind automatically distinguishes between my two senior neighbor guy friends. Sue me.) came and jumped on my trampoline in the middle of the night. I can never tell with him whether he’s joking or not. When I said that his night-jumping was fine as long as he doesn’t bring any girls, he countered with the fact that last year, I twice snuck into his house and made out with a guy on his couch. He’s kinda got a point, but I can’t tell him that.

Which reminds me to my next point: not only do we seniors have complete indifference to academics, but I’ve found that I can’t even be bothered to be social anymore. Last year when I moved here, I used to throw parties at my place just about every month. Maybe it’s just that everyone’s become too cool for hangouts, but it almost seems like a chore arranging things with my own friends. Admittedly, spontaneous activities do happen pretty regularly, but they still somehow miss some of that zest, that zing, that flirty LET’S TAKE ON THE WHOLE WORLD RIGHT NOW mentality. In short, our hangouts have all been pretty lackluster.

I remember when I used to do everything with meraki, with love and zeal and passion. From freshman year to now, I’ve had a complete decline in . . . oomph. As a freshman and as a sophomore, I was ambitious, determined. I did track and sang solos and was involved. I was a leader in a position usually reserved for juniors. I aced my classes, but never cheated. It never even OCCURRED to me to cheat. I did splendidly silly things with my friends every weekend, and I attended every church activity I could. The summer I moved here, all in one trip (as a sort of last hurrah) we went to the Maldives and Greece and England and the Netherlands and Qatar. I lived with my eyes open.

Even last year, I learned to drive (in theory) and took an EMT course, and got used to my new home and school. I went to Ghana in the summer and lived in a volunteerhouse there for two months. I was one of the youngest. Over the years, I did all these things the best that I possibly could. I remember numerous times when I stayed up for hours because I wanted everything to be perfect.

But this year? It started yesterday and it’ll be done tomorrow. I’ve done nothing I care about. It feels like a waste of a year, and when it’s over, I can only hope that it’ll never happen again.

It’s not even so much the fact that I haven’t done anything that sounds impressive or exciting. I don’t mind that at all. WHAT you do doesn’t matter. It’s what you put into what you do that makes all the difference. It’s meraki that gives life its meaning.

*Again, the fact that I have almost as many frees as I have classes has got to mean something.

the joys of being a senior

18 Mar

Today, I woke up too late to get to seminary. I really didn’t feel like going to school.

I got up, I went upstairs, and I asked my parents if I could take a “mental health day,” simply because I was tired.

And then I proceeded to sleep until twelve.

Win.

boys, church, and what NOT to say

17 Mar

I’m trying to absorb as much of the weekend as I can before I have to once again face the reality of sitting down and doing work looooooong procrastinated. Yesterday, I worked with my friend Goldfish in the bakery. She’s a nice girl, and since I wasn’t with Gee I made good tips. Gee is a sweetheart—one of my best friends, really—but she isn’t the best worker. I consistently make more money without her. She went to the city yesterday with her friends for her birthday. She went to the same karaoke place we went to as our joint birthday party last year.

Me "singing" at karaoke. believe it or not, I'm actually completely sober in this photo.

Me “singing” at karaoke. Believe it or not, I’m actually completely sober in this photo.

While she was in the city, I stayed home. I can’t even really remember what I did, to be honest. I know that when I got home, we were going to go exercise but my dad and brother went to Kohl’s instead. When they got back, it was too late to go to the nice gym, so my bro started to drive me to the town Rec Center. On the way, I had another one of my spontaneous Chloe cries, where I just sobbed uncontrollably about anything and everything I could think of. My main points were that I was fat and that I should be able to run farther and faster than I am currently able to.  That and I felt that I had wasted the last two years of my life because I hadn’t done very many extracurriculars.

My brother’s tires were extremely flat, so we had to refill them. By the time they were full, we’d already wasted too much time to get to the Rec center, our plan B, before it also closed. We went back home (and I think I was still in tears). When we got home, we realized that our old gym, which is open 24 hours, still hadn’t retracted our membership. I finally got to go for a run.

My run was slow. And it was hot. And it was sticky. And it was laborious. What normally should have been a mild jog was making me heave and stop for water breaks. But I didn’t care about that, and I didn’t care that I was the only female in the whole gym. All that mattered was that I was working out again. I did 5K, the very distance I’ll be running this upcoming Saturday!

It’s going to be a 5K for Newtown with about 20,000 people in it. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to realize that the citizens of Newtown don’t really need much in the form of money. It’s not like their possessions were all taken away to Oz via tornado. I mean, MAYBE they could use the money for therapy and the like. But from what I understand, the people of Newtown just need love and some time to let the pain subside a bit.

Anyway, the workout was just what I needed. I felt like I was on my way to becoming strong again. Maybe I will be able to do a half-ironman this summer, after all!

This is one of my favorite Race-Day photos. On the left is me in my hot pink tutu, on the right is my mom in hers. Tutus are our tradition. Who needs training when you have a tutu? Last time, we also had a giant bubble blower. That was magical.

This is one of my favorite Race-Day photos. On the left is me in my hot pink tutu, on the right is my mom in hers. Tutus are our tradition. Who needs training when you have a tutu? Last time, we also had a giant bubble blower. That was magical.

After the run, my whole family watched X-Men first class together. I have NO idea how I hadn’t seen that movie yet, because it was just a work of art. I highly recommend seeing it at least twice. And this is coming from someone who sat next to a girl who kept calling the Beast “SO CUTE!” in every scene before he became the Beast. Ugh. Tor’s become such a dork ever since she became infatuated with a nerd from her school. She likes her men tall, pale and lanky. British dorks are preferred, though not entirely necessary.

In all his state and glory.

In all his state and glory.

Actually, confession time. I kinda dig the whole dork thing, too. Mr. Awesome was 6 ft. 5 and white as can be. His game was tennis and he rode a longboard. He also enjoys Swing Dancing and partaking in University-wide Zombie vs. Human battles. Some of his long-term goals still include creating video games. Total catch, right?

For those of you who are scoffing at my taste in men, I do have some points in my defense:

  1. Geeks will probably end up as jocks’ bosses’ bosses.
  2. Be honest, girls, you have to admit that sometimes the whole nerdy-and-nervous-bumbling bit is just plain ADORKABLE!
  3. Nerdy guys will adore you. Time and again, they will shower you with cheezy compliments, pull out your chair and pay for your dinner. They won’t judge you at all if you act ridiculous. They’ll always give you the respect that you deserve, and they’ll be completely understanding even when you don’t deserve it. They will treat you as if you’re the only girl in the world—even if that’s only because they’re certain that you are, in fact, the only girl in the world who would date them. Really, you get way more out of a relationship with a dork than they do.

However, this isn’t to say that I exclusively look for geeks. (If you happen to be a sexy lacrosse/rugby player who also sings and regularly opens doors for people, PLEASE leave your contact info and also please don’t be gay.*) This being said, I’m not the kinda girl who’s gonna say no to someone just because their IQ is over 80.

Here's a looker. (I'm here all night.)

Here’s a looker. (I’m here all night.)

This morning I went to Church. I got some brownie-cheesecake-chocolate pudding thing in Young Womens’ and I got a homemade powdered wafer cookie from my Sunday School teacher, Brother Pain. He is about a gazillion years old and knows just about everything there is to know about world culture, economics/finance, the LDS faith, and smartness-in-general. His policy is that if you make eye contact with him, he will ask you a question. (That isn’t even a joke. He says it just about every week.) I think he knows every single scripture by heart and somehow expects us to, too.

It was a bit awkward today because we have a kid in our class named Kay. I think Kay has Aspergers’ syndrome, or something like it, that makes him a bit clueless when it comes to social norms. Every time Brother Pain asked a question, Kay would raise his hand and groan because Kay just KNEW he knew the answer. Then Brother Pain would call on him and the answer was invariably completely wrong or simply incomprehensible. If Brother Pain just ignored Kay, as he began to do halfway through, Kay only got more insistent.

“Please,” he’d say. “I know the answer. Can I say the answer?”

“Would anybody else like to give it a shot? Anybody?” Sigh. “Anybody at all?”

I felt bad for Kay. It obviously bothered him so much whenever he got ignored. He got up to walk around the room several times. I bet he gets ignored all the time. I wish I knew him better. I mean, I’m always civil with him, but since he lives in Newtown (the next town over), we don’t cross paths that much outside of Church. It’s hard to really get to know someone when they’re so far away. What’s worse is that Kay rarely gets invited to the few gatherings we do have.

During class, I was sat in between Tanman and this guy named Gregarious. Gregarious is about as tall as I am, with dark buzz-cutted hair and a scar through one of his eyebrows. He’s broadly built, a wrestler. He constantly obsesses over his weight and fitness. When I first met him, I don’t think we had any conversations at all that didn’t include how sore and exhausted he was from his super-manly hard core workouts the day before and how he hadn’t eaten anything all day. (This is, remember, all mentioned to the girl who often eats the extra donut that Shmands wont eat in front of boys.) I had a huge crush on him when I first moved in, partly because he was one of the only guys who’d talk to me (like I said, gregarious) partly because he was a convert to the church—he believed in the church so much that he joined even though nobody else in his family would—and partly because he had a dark past. I guess I have a thing for religious boys. And something about people who grow up with hardship just really makes me go wild. But I think I stopped liking him around the time when mentioned that that he sometimes gets so angry that he gets a little homicidal. He’s a bit of a hot-head, to be honest, even now.

Take today, for instance. During class, we kinda chatted a little here and there while Brother Pain wasn’t watching. After class, I was just about to leave the room to try and chat with Tanman when he called my name. He told me how he just wanted to slap Kay after a while. I mean, I could understand where he was coming from: his arguments that he was trying really hard to listen and focus on the spirit, but that Kay was really distracting him from the lesson, were pretty valid. It makes sense. But I guess I just felt something different when Kay spoke. Maybe it’s just that I don’t know him as well and I haven’t had enough time to get annoyed by it, but every time Kay opened his mouth I would smile and think how cute and innocent he was. I know, I know, I sound awful and patronizing. I’m just being honest. But if you’re getting angry and annoyed by somebody like Kay who really truly means well, then are you really “feeling the spirit” at all? Last time I checked, church is about loving one another.

But maybe I take that whole “love” thing a teensy bit too far. I sometimes wonder if I’m going to church for God or for boys. Honestly, I can hardly have a conversation with Gregarious without falling half in love with him. And Tanman is just so cute with kids. And then there’s A-man, who lost his best friend when he was in 8th grade. And don’t even get me started on Roach, who lost his mother when he was very young. I just want to hug all of them forever.

This is what happens when I try to hug boys.

This is what happens when I try to hug boys. (Not my image, as usual)

I think one of the worst things I’ve ever said was when I was teasing Roach a few weeks ago. I was trying to call him a baby for some reason or other, but I accidentally said something like “is your MOMMY gonna XYZ?” As soon as I saw his face I realized what I’d said and quickly tried to cover with “I meant your dad.” But the damage was done, even though he regained his composure quickly. I could hardly talk to him for the rest of the night because I felt so awful.

But I don’t think that was the single worst thing I’ve ever said. No… that was when I asked a blind girl what her favorite color was. TWICE. It wasn’t on purpose! She didn’t speak very good English, so I was trying to ask her questions that she would understand. When she didn’t answer at first, I thought she hadn’t heard me. So I asked her again. It was only when she hesitantly responded,

“Umm… black?” that I knew that I was going to go to Hell.

In other news, I watched The Princess and the Frog again today and I wanted to cry. Love the songs, love the story. Definitely recommend this one too. Also, we played family Texas Hold ’em again and I won so hard.

*This isn’t homophobia. It’s just that gay guys are always hottest and it’s so not fair.

Matt Bomer is living, breathing proof that gay guys are just so much hotter. Can we just all step back and say YUM?

Matt Bomer is living, breathing proof that gay guys are just so much hotter. Can we just all step back and say YUM?

life is good

15 Mar

Oh, how I love Fridays! This morning I rolled out of bed at six, an hour too late for my much-needed shower. Instead of going caveman, I decided to do something I never do: I skipped Friday morning Seminary.

So you can grasp how shocking this is, you must first recall that Seminary is the name for my morning church classes, during which I and the other Mormons from my school gather at a teacher’s home to learn about the Bible. Mondays generally have a decent turnout—it’s much easier to get to class at six when you’ve had a weekend to rest and catch up on sleep. Wednesdays rarely have more than five students, because it’s hump day. The days in between generally have a few people there . . . even if they do have drooping eyelids. On Fridays, everyone comes to class. Friday is breakfast day.

I’m not sure what food I missed, but for once the sleep seemed worth it. After pretending to be Ella Fitzgerald in the shower, I had a realization: not only did I have an extra hour because I skipped seminary, but I also had FIRST PERIOD FREE!

sleepin

An extra thirty minutes of sleep. Life is good.

I got back a calc quiz. The day I took the quiz, I walked out knowing that I’d failed. I’d had no idea how to do the problems, really, because I hadn’t done the homework in time to ask the teacher questions about the topic. Today, I was joking around with one of my classmates about how I was sure I’d get an all-time low (which for me is saying something). Just as I said that, my teacher plopped down a blissful, blessed number. 80. 80 is a pass. That’s all I can ask for in the second semester of my senior year.

test

I didn’t fail at math. Life is good.

My English teacher gave us pie in class today because he made us take a practice exam on Pi day yesterday. Then he let us watch parts of the David Tennant version of Hamlet. Love love love.

Oh, um... you might want to wipe that saliva off your chin before you leave.

Oh, um… you might want to wipe that saliva off your chin before you leave.

Pie and magicalness. Life is good.

After school, I did have to go to work. But I got two pay checks. Together, they ALMOST made 200 dollars. What up.

monayyyy

Moolah. Life is good.

My brother came home from Princeton. The whole family was home for once, which was nuts. We were all laughing and mocking each other. My sister Tor was the butt of most of the jokes, because she’s convinced she’s going to die of anaphylactic shock if she doesn’t go to the allergy doctor. The poor thing has been plagued with stomach gas, excema, and various allergies for ages. She also has asthma. If you can name it, she’s probably got it or is gonna get it. My mom made fun of her and called her a hypochondriac. Then my brother made fun of her and said she should go to the allergy doctor, where her back would turn completely red because she’d be allergic to everything. Also, they’d discover that she does indeed have a sensitive nose/eyes/ears, as she’s been claiming all these years.

Years ago, she claimed that she could change her eyesight. That was back when we were fighting the War for Optometry, and she was loosing. She’d have tantrum after tantrum because she can focus her eyes so she can see better. Not unlike a superhero’s supervision. We all mocked her because she had discovered squinting.

squinting

But she persisted with the sensitive XYZ idea. Once, my family had driven about six hours to get from Tokyo to Oosaka to go to Universal Studios. (We are a Disney family through and through… Universal has nothing on ol’ Walty’s place.) After a long day of “fun,” we had to drive all the way back. I sat in the front seat with my mom, while my sisters sat in back. At around midnight, I began to feel ill.

It came on too fast to get a bag in time, so… I got sick right in my lap. But we were only about half an hour from home, so we were very lucky there. My mom was busy comforting me, asking me how I felt, when all of a sudden we hear from the back seat,

“CHLOE! How could you? Don’t you know I have a sensitive nose?!” from a cantankerous and half asleep Tor. I was known as Pukerella for a few months. Tor still is teased whenever she cries over something silly, because she has a sensitive heart.

My mom brought me a Chipotle salad for dinner. Life is good.

So, no, I didn’t eat as well as I could have, and I didn’t get a chance to exercize. I still have to get up for work in the morning, and I’ve decided I’m not having a birthday party because I don’t want to bother my parents by having friends over.

But at least today was Friday. What more could I really want?

smiley!

What little things made you happy today? Go mention them to someone you love. Make them happy for your happiness, and they’ll be happy, too.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, none of these images are mine. And I didn’t cite a single one. Deal with it.

my day in wu wei

14 Mar

Thanks to rarasaur for the prompt 🙂

This morning, I ran late. I was supposed to bring in some treat for my AP Psychology review session, but I’d forgotten to make something last night. I grabbed some marshmallows, butter and store-brand rice crispies and started stirring.

As I mentioned, I was in a rush. So mine looked nowhere near this perfect. I think I also accidentally used about 30% more marshmallow than the recipe called for. It felt right.

As I mentioned, I was in a rush. So mine looked nowhere near this perfect. I think I also accidentally used about 30% more marshmallow than the recipe called for. It felt right.

According to the concept of wu wei, or nonaction, I did what felt natural: I continued cooking my rice crispy treats despite the (purely metaphorical in this strictly digital age) ticking of the clock. I wound up (pun unintended) leaving the house twenty minutes later than I’d originally planned, and got caught in traffic that made my travel time just over double the norm.

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite this bad. But it felt like it. (Especially when my teacher actually CREATED a grade for being on time today, and gave me a fifty.)

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite this bad. But it felt like it. (Especially when my teacher actually CREATED a grade for being on time today, and gave me a fifty percent.)

Embarrassed, I walked into a silent double classroom where everyone was already taking their test. I went to my teacher to get the materials, and she actually hissed at me:

“You’re thirty three minutes late for the practice test. You only have half an hour to take it.”

“Okay.”

When the thirty minutes were up, she told me I had to come in later to finish. Fine. She started up the video the class was to watch, but neglected to give me the question packet. It was probably only because she didn’t realize I was sitting there (I had gone to do the natural thing and engorge myself on the various refreshments), but it certainly went through my mind that she did it to spite me.

I went back later and finished the test without further incident, then headed to the library to complete my Gov-Pol homework. My free period went shockingly slowly. After the second (of four) lunch wave, I asked another student which wave it was just to be sure.

He crinkled his eyebrows at me in that most infuriating way. “That was second period,” he said. “No lunch waves today.”

Well. That’s just peachy… I had finally finished my homework for the class that I had just unintentionally ditched. To top it off, I had actually talked to the teacher earlier that day, so she KNEW I was in school. She must hate me now.

After school, I saw my sisters playing in the yard. One sat on the trampoline, throwing a hard yellow ball at the one with a lacrosse stick. Tor kept missing, and afterwards she swung her stick in anger. I sat out with them on the trampoline, sometimes jumping and sometimes simply basking in the sun. Whatever felt natural.

Trampolines are my favoritest invention in the world. Besides teddy bears.

Trampolines are my favoritest invention in the world. Besides teddy bears.

When the sun began to fade, we went inside. I was just about to go for a run when my dad yelled downstairs that I needed to hurry up.

I had a doctor’s appointment that he’d forgotten to mention. I quickly changed my underwear (the doc probably doesn’t wanna see the ones with a hole in front and a hole in back… I know, I should give this pair up to the trash can gods. It’s just so darn comfortable that I can’t bring myself to do it.) and went mumbling into the car.

It was just a check-up. After lacing up my disposable gown, I got onto the scale and

Y

I

K

E

S.

When the doctor reviewed my height and weight, she informed me that my height was the same as last year. My weight… well, all you need to know is that it went way up. I filled out a mental health questionnaire. It asked about my sleeping and eating habits and whether I feel good about myself. I answered as best as I could.

As she went over it with me, she asked about why I ticked “most days” for undereating or overeating. I explained that I tend to overeat. Then she asked why I also wrote that I feel bad about myself most days. It seemed pretty obvious to me:

“Well,” I explained, “it kinda has to do with the overeating thing.”

She continued reading her survey. When she finished, she concluded, “I don’t think you’re depressed, but you should be careful. Just try to trade an unhealthy snack for some exercise. It’s not gonna happen overnight, but just try.”

So here’s what I don’t understand: according to the principle of wu wei, should I NOT try to exercise more? If I let myself do what comes naturally, my little X on the height vs. weight graph will continue to go up and up and up. Then, knowing me, I’d likely spiral into depression. Why, you ask, would I be unhappy with myself? Because even if I follow wu wei, that doesn’t mean the rest of society will, too.

Maybe I’m just not Tao enough, but I don’t think I could take on society’s scorn without letting it get to me. While action without action sounds nice in principle, I simply can’t see myself being happy with that kind of lifestyle.

I mean, is everyone’s wu wei different? For instance, if we all reached perfect nonaction, would we all eat the same amount? Would we have the same opinions? Would we all be peaceful? I guess the idea is that eventually everything will go back to natural harmony, but I don’t see it. What’s the point of making yourself into a freak if not everyone is willing to commit to wu wei? I mean, doesn’t it only work if everyone does it?

And you can’t really commit to wu wei, either, can you, because then you’re consciously TRYING to have wu wei…. AGH!

I read parts of this once. Or maybe the whole thing... oh, bother.

I read parts of this once. Or maybe the whole thing… oh, bother.

I give up on understanding wu wei. I’ve had it with this post. I’m just gonna go back to writing whatever I feel like writing.

P.S. I also had to get a shot at the doctor’s. Humph. I think I’d rather get tetanus.

completely competent… except for the being stupid parts

13 Mar

Today was not the best day for me. I woke up realizing that I had yet to finish my project for AP psych. I spent several hours working on that, and then an hour studying for today’s AP biology quiz. I had hoped to spend that time eating everything and everything or sleeping like a baby going running or swimming. I just barely finished my project and ran out the door.

The meme I stole from the google device

The meme I stole from the google device

When I got to class (five minutes late), my teacher was lecturing. She talked for half the class, then allowed only one group to present in the remaining time. I’d wasted my morning FOR NO  REASON! Bio was at least a little bit better: I actually aced my quiz. Come at me, science.

Notice how he cowers for fear of the sciensplosion.

Notice how he cowers for fear of the sciensplosion.

Straight after school, I walked through the pouring rain into the school parking lot, trying to find my mom. By the time car and human were in the same place, I was sopping wet. My mom was frustrated by the lack of service near my school because she was supposed to be on a conference call. She drove me to the DMV for my license test.

I’ll just come out with it really fast, like ripping off a bandaid.

Again, not my image. And again, not gonna properly cite it.

I failed.

What did I do wrong? Well, for starters, I probably should have practiced a little bit BEFORE last week. That done, I maybe perhaps sorta kinda should have gone the speed limit in rainy conditions.

And I probably should have driven in the right lane, as well. It mighta helped, just a teensy bit, if I had actually bothered to obey the law.

To be honest, I really COULD have passed that drivers test. The scores I got for driving ability were perfectly adequate. The only issues were… not being an idiot. For some reason, (maybe it was my nerves or my lack of practice or my incessant insanity) I had it in my head that the dash on the spedometer corresponding to 30 miles per hour was actually the one for 20 miles per hour. Whoops.

And it really wasn’t my fault that I drove on the wrong side of the road. No, I’m not going to blame my time in Japan. It was all because there were too few parking spots at the DMV. I pulled into the parking lot and followed the instructors oddly soothing commands as we searched for an empty space. Since there were none available, she told me to exit the lot and then re-enter it. I obliged.

Understand that there is a very narrow margin separating the exit and the entrance. To me, it made the most sense to simply pull a U-ie right back into the lot. I realized as oncoming traffic loomed in the not-so-very-far distance that one is actually meant to pull all the way out into the right lane, wait for traffic to pass, and THEN make a super duper sharp turn back into the parking lot. Nobody’d ever told me that, so how was I supposed to know?! Clearly, not my fault…

Okay, fine. Looking back it’s completely obvious. At the time, it seemed almost right, though! My mother couldn’t stop laughing when I told her I’d failed.

“Well, yeah…” she said, “It’s generally a good idea NOT to drive in other people’s lanes.” I made my mom promise not to tell the family about the second half of my fail. If word got out to my older brother that I actually drove on the left side of the rode during my driving test… there’d be no end to my misery.

They still torture me about my first trans-continental flight all alone. My parents were flying me on Singapore Air, which is a great airline renowned for its entertainment systems. When I arrived in Utah from Tokyo, my parents could hardly hide their excitement as they asked which movies I watched.

“Oh, about that…”

Unknown-2

I couldn’t figure out how to turn on my personal media system, so I’d gone without. For all fourteen hours. I HAD A REALLY GOOD BOOK, OKAY? Stop judging me. Now I know that the controls are hidden in a super secret compartment on the armrest. And maybe next time this AP scholar will be able to figure out how to do every day tasks without making a fool of myself.

But then again, that’s never really been my M.O.* I once was unable to put together a lamp. From Ikea.

*Modus operandi. I like the way it sounds all latiny, and stuff.

the fairy tale boy

12 Mar

In Mormon culture, you’re not ‘supposed’ to date until you’re sixteen years old. I grew up with that ingrained in my head. My brother, always a wild child, had his infamous first kiss (that we know of) when he was fourteen. It was with Rachie-poo, the blond whose mock petname remains to this day. He wouldn’t have told us about it at all, except for the fact that he was spotted macking in the theater. By our Bishop (comparable to a priest or father for our congregation) and his ENTIRE family, small children and all. My bro still brags about how that story made it to Massachusetts. Anyway, I learned three valuable lessons from his mishap:

  1. Don’t lie about going on a date. Especially if you live in a small town where you’ll probably get caught.
  2. Don’t date before you’re old enough.
  3. Don’t sit in the front row when on dates.
theater kiss

How to properly kiss in a theater. Note the people IN FRONT of the couple.

Still, I’ve always been a bit… boy-crazy. In kindergarten I liked a little boy who punched me in the stomach. I think his name was John. In second and third grades, I liked my neighbor who ate worms.

What a catch! (Ba-dun-ts)

What a catch! (Ba-dun-ts)

In fifth grade, I liked a blond boy with surfer hair whose catchphrase was “pie.” Looking back… had he been a bit older, (and I a bit less naiive) I would not have been surprised if he smelled like grass all the time.

From age twelve on, I went to an all-girls’ catholic school in Tokyo. It had a uniform. My friend Mayonnaise always teases me about how when we first met, I supposedly asked her,

“Are there any boys at this school?” Clearly, little me was a champ.

My lil sis, Tor, rocking the uni

My lil sis, Tor, rocking the uni

Anywho, I didn’t have much luck at this school. The only times I came into contact with the mysterious other sex was at Church and, after seventh grade, at school dances. I think after one of the dances, I actually had the hots for a gay guy from the all-boys catholic school my brother went to. It was not a bright time for me.

Still, I had plenty of crushes. Most of them were from church. None were reciprocated. I started going to church dances when I became eligible at fourteen. They were the highlight of my social life. At one of the first dances I went to, my brother shoved me into my crush, a freckled Californian ginger with an ex-CIA father, as he was asking another girl to dance. I never forgave him for it… and come to think of it, never thanked him for it, either.

In sophomore year, I grew closer to the big one-six. Soon, I would no longer have an excuse for being single (that useful excuse is yet another reason not to date young). As my birthday drew closer, I could sense my own excitement as clearly as static electricity. I really was only looking forward to the dating aspect of sixteen: in Tokyo, you can’t drive until you’re 18.

On February 5th, I went to Mayo’s birthday party. It was a blast. We went to dinner in a  restaurant with live Spanish dancers. Just afterwards, I went to a dance of my own. It was the valentines dance for my church, and as always, it came with great expectations (despite previous let-downs). While scanning the (only slightly) dimmed room, I looked out for hotties I’d never seen before. Or, frankly, ANYONE I’d never seen before. I noticed one really tall guy dancing with the older kids. After a few looks, (and possibly a few quick judgement checks with mah girls) I determined that he was, indeed, cute.

A few fast songs after we arrived (fashionably late, of course), a slow song came on. As I was looking around at my options, a pair of electric blue eyes locked onto mine from across the room… and about a foot above. Like in the movies, he crossed the room just to ask me to dance. And we did, and it was great. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about, but oh, his EYES! And then at the end of the dance, he took both of my hands in his and thanked me for the dance. I was a goner.

I was elated. Every song after that was fantastic, and I felt wild and free. I danced like the white girl I am and everyone loved it. I distinctly remember looking over at Mr. Awesome at the end of a slow song, and with a pang of jealousy I noted him doing the same cheesy hand-holdy  trick with one of my girlfriends, a blond girl named Brie with hair (almost) as curly as mine. Later, we both talked about him and fought over him. For some reason, at one point we were shoving each other and running after each other through the hallways a floor above the dance.

I had one of my trademark brilliant ideas. I quickly assembled an impromptu post-dance McDonald’s run with my friends… and invited Mr. Awesome, who’d joined our circle. Either at the McDonald’s itself or before it, Brie and I continued to bicker over who would get Mr. Awesome. I kid you not, it actually got so bad that we had begun quoting Finding Nemo’s pelicans. (And I don’t mean that we were just having a “mine!” match… we were actually quoting the movie as we’re cool like that.) I sat next to Mr. Awesome at the McDonalds, where he tried to impress me with his vast knowledge of useless facts. It worked. (And, for the record, half of the time I managed to beat him at his own game.)

Maccers in Jay-land

Maccers in Jay-land

After the successful fast-food hangout, Mr. Awesome began joining my group of friends in our weekend hangouts. I also talked to him so much it was almost creepy plenty on Facebook. We could only hang out on the weekends, since he went to a co-ed school in Yokohama (about 40 minutes away by train). The group got to liking him. And I… I was nearly sixteen.

If you recall, nearly sixteen means still too dumb to date. When Mr. Awesome asked me on a date for the first time, I was overjoyed. Or at least… I would have been, if I had known he was asking me on a date. He’d asked me if I wanted to get lunch with him, and the naiive child I was asked if I should bring Mon-Mon and Brie. Oops. While I did have some inkling that it was meant to be a date, I wasn’t sure. So I did the sensible thing and asked if I should bring my friends. Obviously. When I double-checked with my big brother, he laughed at me and then made fun of me and then laughed some more. Then he helped me fix it. Soon enough, I’d patched things up and we were ready to roll.

I wasn’t yet sixteen, but since my birthday was on March 6th, I only had about three weeks left. My mom gave me the go-ahead when I followed rule number one: don’t lie about your dates.

Skipping forward, I turned sixteen after two or three dates with Mr. Awesome. I had good feelings about our hangout on Friday the 11th, the first weekend after becoming datable. The plan was to ditch Bingo Night to go to Karaoke with my group of friends plus Mr. Awesome. Due to tragic events, we were unable to get together that night. Little did we know that Mr. Awesome was to be evacuated later that week, going all the way to Utah. Even in countries halfway round the world away , we continued skyping or facebooking at stalkerish rates, talking every day that we were apart. We cheered each other up after morose moments.

My friend Mayo sent me a link to a cool website where you could ask questions, and it would generate an answer. I asked (of course) if Mr. Awesome liked me. I got giddy when the computer told me that he did. After a few more questions, I got the prank. It was Mayo all along.
BING! Lightbulb moment. Epiphany. Trademark brilliant idea.

I sent the link to Mr. Awesome, and hoped with all my heart that he would ask about me.

His first question: “If I ask Chloe out, will she say yes?” It gave me immense pleasure to type back, in the guise of some mystic computer, “Yes. Do it.”

His second question: “Will Chloe and I ever get married?”*

Wait. WHAT?! 

That one… gave me quite a pause. After too long, I wrote back “Only if the circumstances are right.” Hey, it was a fair response, right? A few questions later, he admitted that he had figured out the joke. He asked me to be his girlfriend then and there, apologizing profusely for not doing it in person.

Get this: he’d been planning to ask me to be his girlfriend on the day of the earthquake, when we were ripped apart like the prince and princess of a fairy tale. We didn’t see each other in person for another month. While apart, my family evacuationed to Saipan, a US territory near Guam, where we had already been planning to go for Spring Break. My mom and I attempted a triathlon while we were there, with disastrous results. But that’s another story for another time.  All you need to know about my stay in Saipan was that a hot Islander-lifeguard tried to kiss me while playing laser-tag. I told him that I had a boyfriend.

I. Had. A. Boyfriend! (And, now that I think of it, I never did tell Mr. Awesome what almost happened in Saipan… oh well.)

I couldn’t wait until I could see him again. The next time we were finally both back in the country was in early April. We planned a date for April 8th, which I remember because it was his 18th birthday. (And if you think a two year gap is gross, divide the older age in half and add seven: 16. See? Our relationship was legitimately deemed not creepy by a well-known and semi-reliable creep test.)

I got him a very lousy gift, but due to its sheer cheesiness I am obliged to share. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what the proper thing to get a boyfriend for his birthday on his first date should be. So I went with the personal/homemade category. I took a cute little jar which I had decorated with Japanese paper. I then filled it up with little notes saying all the good qualities he had that I enjoyed, and wrote on the top of the jar: “For your 18th birthday, here are 18 ways you make me smile.”
I know, I know. Try to hold in your gags.

The thing is, though, that he actually got ME a present for HIS birthday. He we exchanged gifts after he bought me dinner in Yokohama. His gift showed me up by far. It was a little stuffed jaguar (my favorite animal) for whom he had handmade a necklace and a bracelet. The necklace had beads on which he’d written the name of my future pet jaguar (I WILL get one!), Saphira. I’d had no idea this was why he asked me about it. The bracelet also had beads with writing on it. If you turned the beads just right, they spelled a message: “Will you go to prom?” Of course, I said yes. I still resent him for getting me a better gift than I gave him.

Afterwards, we walked together around Yokohama, a city just going to sleep. He had his arm around me as we walked, or else we held hands. We were always touching somehow. We wound up stopping to look out over a bridge into the night. A few meters away, one of Japan’s famous sakura (Cherry Blossom) trees looked down at us. There was jazz playing somewhere in the background as our conversation slowed. I peeked over at him, but couldn’t bring myself to look him in the eyes. I felt myself grinning as I looked at the sakura tree. It was breathtaking. I looked over at him again, then away, then back at him again. Before I knew it, we shared our first kiss on a bridge before blooming cherry blossom trees.

This is the actual bridge where we had our first kiss. It is one of many painted scenes of Yokohama on a deck of cards Mr. Awesome gave me before we broke up. (Gift jealousy again.)

This is the actual bridge where we had our first kiss. It is one of many painted scenes of Yokohama on a deck of cards Mr. Awesome gave me before we broke up. (Gift jealousy again.)

I’ll spare you the details, but it was definitely not the last kiss we had that night.

And that’s how, a long long time ago, I met the boy who appeared out of nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d come right out of the storybooks.

Mr. Awesome and Me

Mr. Awesome and Me on My Tip-Toes (not used with permission)