Plato believed that we lived in a world of
images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one. What we see with our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.
example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists. We carry on everyday with
flawed perceptions of the true ideal form.
Life After College:
Year 3 - In Transit
[Saturday, January 31, 2004]
Take this bag away from me. Please!
My diet has fallen by the wayside. My roommate's mother mailed us all their leftover Christmas candy. I just ate 12 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Posted by ink |
[Friday, January 30, 2004]
There and Back Again.
There's something about walking home that truly allows the misery of the day to sink in, all at once. During the day, you're too distracted with this or that to really realize you're being shat on left and right. Instead of taking a breath to complain, you run back and forth holding a newspaper over your head trying to dodge the droppings. Damage control. Between two time-consuming classes, a part-time job, and the search for a rotation lab, my schedule has been chock full. On top of it all, I have to turn in my bio-sketch in two weeks for the Dean to read before he writes my letter. I have to answer questions like:
"Why did you choose your undergraduate major and how did it fulfill your expectations?" I think I wrote something along the lines of "Through my double major, my aim was to educate and challenge myself. In the effort to truly challenge myself, I recognized that I would not win every battle." In reality, I was cocky about double majoring and then Computer Science sat on me.
"What were your favorite classes as an undergraduate and why?" How about "none". I should've been an English or Pottery major.
"Please list the honors and awards you received as an undergraduate." Again. "None." It was tough enough trying to keep my head above water.
The above questions repeat themselves, but with "post graduation career" and "graduate career" substituted for "undergraduate". Ironically, my answers don't change much despite the substitutions, except perhaps an answer of "Bra Strap Girl" in response to "Please list any awards or recognition you received in your post-graduation career." I used to think boring people went into medicine. Now I'm seeing that medicine makes people boring. When your life is consumed (quite against your will) by difficult classes, jobs, research, and questions that really don't do anything but force me to write fluffy bullshit answers about how much I loved my career that I quit and how much I appreciated my major that ruined my GPA, you can't help but become bland and stale, like bread that's been left out on the counter too long.
What makes a person anyways? Their thoughts, their feelings, their emotions. What feeds these things? Hobbies, experiences, desires. Those three are effectively wiped out by institutions like medical school and corporate America. Desire remain, but they are stifled. Experiences are limited and sterile. And hobbies are a pasttime of the impoverished or of the intensely affluent. How is it that every 20-something I know has their life consumed by work of some sort? Fisher works till all hours of the night at his investment bank, my classmates and I practically live at the library, and yelofngr is working on his script constantly. Could it be that our lives are consumed by passion? We're young and constantly driving at something, going somewhere. If that is the case, then how are we such reluctant go-getters, each of us dragging our feet as we forge on ahead with brightly fake smiles pasted across our faces.
What is true luxury? Is it money, is it becoming the next Apprentice and living like Donald Trump? With my 23 years of experience, I am re-defining luxury as the ability to do what one wants. Having money isn't going to help you if you don't have the time to go places and do things. Having an excess of time will only mock you if you don't have the financial means to indulge in your next hobby or trip. But between the two of them, I'd rather have an excess of time than money. Given that financial concerns will not be pressing, having time to myself is absolutely priceless. Time in which I can do nothing. Recollect the fragments of myself and reassemble. Time in which the frightened remnants of What Was Ink can peep out and see if the coast is clear without exams looming or the utilities bill demanding attention. What is loss of self but loss of time. Time that is uninvaded by anything else besides us. Alone. Blissfully alone. Time after all, is the one thing we can never get back. And we spend it like water. Like water I say.
Why oh why wasn't I born with a trust fund. Then I could buy time.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, January 26, 2004]
Did I tell you I'm in love with the EMS boy at Harvard Square? He's a grad student doing the same premed program that I'm in, but at a different school. He fitted me for a backpack on Saturday for my imaginary vacation. Yes, I shop for my imaginary vacations. He sounded like he wanted my number since he asked me my name at the end of it all. But he didn't ask and I was chickenshit to offer it so I left the store without giving it to him, although I did say "if you're ever in my area, give me a ring and we'll hang out". I just didn't follow through. And once you've left the store, you can't very well go back just to give him your number.
So instead, when I got home I called the store and left my number for him with whoever picked up the phone. "Hi. Can you leave this for Oregon? Ink: 917-555-5555"
I have envisioned a few possible scenarios.
1) he doesn't call because he's not interested
2) he calls right away because the person wrote the message as "call Ink". He won't remember who Ink is or he won't match up the message with the person he met (i.e. me) but he'll call the number anyways. I'll have to pick up and awkwardly explain that I was the girl from Saturday and I actually left him the number so he could call me for a DATE not because there was anything urgent.
3) he doesn't get the message due to negligent coworker not giving it to him.
4) he gets the message but the coworker wrote my number down wrong. Boston's area code is unfortunately 617, which is awfully close to my cell phone area code of 917 (new york).
I'm in go-for-broke mode. I can see myself beginning to be attracted to my fellow students and it frightens me to no end.
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, January 24, 2004]
"There was a time when I thought the web was filled with adventure and opportunities. Six years later I know that, at five a.m. the web is filled with horny middle-aged redundant men who've spent most of their golden handshake on a microchip sex seeker. "Hey Babe, A/S/L?" With chat and message boards behind me I needed something new, something that didn't attract horny middle-aged men. I found blogging. Excited, I created Lighters, Lipstick and Tampax. It achieves everything I intended & more. A bonus. Oh yes. Most of my passing readers are middle-aged horny men. " from fascinatingedna
I am apparently search result #12 on Yahoo under "pictures of nude women sitting on badass cars".
p.s. I love VH1's The Best Week Ever and I (heart) the 80's Strikes Back.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, January 21, 2004]
So. I had both my plans to Phoenix and my plans to Ireland scrapped in one day. Needless to say I'm grouchy and irritated. Phoenix was scrapped due to US Airways telling me that every single flight running on a Friday from now until end of July was booked and I couldn't use my travel voucher. I was livid. I got bumped off a flight for a travel voucher that I can't even use. Ireland was scrapped because I realized it would cost me close to 500 dollars to go. All those days spent browsing the Thorntree boards are now completely wasted. I had even started to visit outdoors stores to look at backpacks (the Gregory Palisade was the only one so far that fit comfortably although it was a bit large for my purposes) and had started shopping online for travel clothing. To add insult to injury, I was browsing cnn.com and came across their recommended travel areas Not that I have anyone to go with to these so-called romantic destinations, but really, I wouldn't mind going on my own. Particularly interesting to me is the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec (you get your own private elevator!) and Lizard Island. Sadly, I will probably never have enough money to go to either of these places. I can't even try and save for them because I have no income as I will most likely be in medical school for the next 6 years of my life. I didn't need the Magic 8 Ball to tell me "outlook not good". If I manage to save enough to go to Australia for a few months summer '05 (backup plans if I don't have enough money are London or Costa Rica), I'll try and squirm my way to Lizard Island this way.
I suppose until then, the only fun and exotic places I'll go to are the ones inside my head. When I was 15, I started making a list of all the places I wanted to go to before I hit 30. That list is starting to get extraordinarily long and unmanageable. For some unknown reason, the 15-year old me thought I was going to be well-off in my 20's. For some unknown reason, I was very well-off for a 22 year old, one year ago, and for other unknown reasons, I gave it all up for this indentured servitude called "graduate remedial program for wannabe med students who partied a little too much as undergrads and are now making up for it."
Posted by ink |
[Tuesday, January 20, 2004]
I've turned the corner.
I can tell because when I'm inbetween sizes, I no longer buy the smaller one thinking that this extra weight is only temporary and I'll slim down naturally. And if not, then this will be incentive for me to work out. Now I buy the larger size. Admitting that this waistline is here to stay, and planning when it grows larger.
I can tell because I book tickets a month ahead of time to travel to Phoenix, AZ for Valentine's Day. So that I can hang out with my high school girl friend who just moved out there. I assume I won't be doing anything that day.
I can tell because I have less to write about. Because I feel like I've deteriorated into nothing but a bunch of anecdotes about cuts on thumbs, boys, and frilly pink girl stuff. Because I have this sneaking suspicion that maybe my creativity stemmed from being miserable. From struggling. Because I hated corporate America and maybe I need something to hate to be creative, to crack jokes about. I've stopped struggling and I no longer hate anything. Because I'm happier or because I've accepted my situation and given up? Gwen Stefani wrote her best stuff during her breakup with Tony. When she was miserable.
My neighbor's high school son: "Well, I'd rather be happy and suck at writing."
Wisdom from the mouth of babes.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, January 19, 2004]
I used to have the most vivid nightmares as a child. It was the stuff of horror movies, and they were always in such painfully excruciating detail that I woke up terrified. There was the nightmare of being in a church at night and inadvertently witnessing a vampire resurrection. There was the nightmare of a hobgoblin knocking at my bedroom door and whispering my name menacingly, telling me to open the door. I glanced up towards the crucifix on my bedroom wall for help and found that it had suddenly disappeared. There was the nightmare of falling off my bed in front of the doorway, looking up and finding a sinister hooded monk-figure looming over me, outlined by the light in the hallway. He leaned over and dripped three drops of icy cold blood onto my cheek before I woke up screaming. Evidently, going to Catholic school as a child was the source of a lot of my terrors. Worst of all was the nightmare in which I was packing up my gear in the wings of the theatre after a dance performance, and a filthy man in rags lurched up from the shadows. As I desperately tried to wake myself up from the dream, he reached out a hand towards me and roared, "No!! DON'T WAKE UP..."
I haven't had a nightmare in a good long while, to my own relief. More terrifying to me than anything else is my own subconscious and imagination. A lot of my dreams tended to be epic material. Intricate with plot twists and turns and always chock full of characters that don't exist in real life. Funny, I very rarely dream of real people. Even more funny, I have a cast of characters that pops up over and over again. Whenever I dream about school, it's always the same imaginary friends. Whenever I dream about college, it's always the same imaginary campus that looks nothing like my real alma mater. It's been a long time though since I've had a good lucid dream. I used to look forward to falling asleep. As I laid in bed waiting for the Sandman to come, I had that heady sense of anticipation that you get right before the movie begins. These days though, I fall asleep so fast that I rarely have time to relish the moment before bed. I'm so exhausted that I fall into that level of sleep below REM, the kind where you don't dream at all. And even when I do dream, I'm awakened by a blaring alarm and the sense of morning rush. Must shower, dry hair, makeup, get dressed, and sprint to class, leaving little to no time for thinking about my dream or even remembering it.
Last night was filled with a series of nightmares. I was on the roof of some building with a black bag in my hand. A few feet away from me was a psychopath (a lot of my nightmares involve crazy people. For some unknown reason they terrify me more than monsters or the boogeyman). I knew I was invisible but could see that he could somehow sense me. He paused, his nostrils twitching as his hand cut a wide swathe through the air, feeling it for movement. I froze really really still and tried to breathe as lightly as possible. His hand connected with the bag I was holding and in a heartbeat, I dropped it and ran. He could see me now, and as he chased me, I took an impossible scramble over the edge of the roof and broke my fall a few feet down by grabbing onto a railing running along the side of the building. He looked down at me from the roof and kept reaching to grab me. I kept shimmying along the railing monkey-bar style trying to dodge his grasp. Panic ensued as I could feel my arms straining with holding my weight (even in my dreams I'm never in the best of shape). Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and let go. I felt my body slamming into the concrete ground (I have surprisingly tactile dreams) and was surprised I'd survived. I kept my eyes closed and hoped desperately that he would think I had been killed by the fall and leave. There was silence, but I was afraid of opening my eyes and giving myself away in case he was still looking down at me. There was a sudden click and then two bangs as he shot me from above. I felt the impact of the bullets lodging into my abdomen and gave myself up as a lost cause. I waited to bleed to death when I realized that someone was hovering near me. He'd come down to the street to make sure I was really dead. I held still and wondered why the bullets hadn't killed me, until I felt his hands around my throat. I opened my eyes and started thrashing. I got my right thumb into his left eye and started pushing, hoping he would let go. No such luck. I pushed until I could feel the string of tissue connecting his eyeball to the back of his eye socket stretching with the strain. I got my finger between the eyeball and the eye socket and was beginning to pull out on the eyeball when my own flailing left arm hit me in the face and woke me up. I looked at the clock. I'd only been sleeping for 3 hours. I couldn't believe I would have a dream about poking someone's eye out. Sick. I thought about calling someone to talk me back to sleep. I have this terrible habit of waking up in the middle of a nightmare, only to fall asleep and drop right back into the same nightmare where I left off. Like a commercial break. I've found that staying awake for a little while after waking up tends to stop that. I flipped my light on, got a drink of water, went back to sleep, only to fall into another nightmare about a murky lagoon and its dark mistress.
It wasn't a good night.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, January 18, 2004]
What was the first cd you bought?
For me, it was The Little Mermaid. I remember emptying out my piggy bank (I got an allowance of 3 dollars a week when I was 12 to do the dishes every night) and going to the music store with my mom. Dizzied by the array of choices, I spent an hour in there trying to decide. I'd just gotten a boombox (remember those?) for Christmas and wanted to find something worthy of it. Since then, I've amassed quite a collection of CD's. Coming from every genre you can imagine, it tells a tale of my growth and my changing interests as I got older. I've got Puff Daddy and The Family's "No Way Out" as well as Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill". I have Boyz II Men's "Evolution" and Carole King's "Tapestry", reflecting my parent's influence. All of Weezer's albums, half of Guster's, some of No Doubt, and The Fugees "The Score". No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom", the Romeo and Juliet sound track, and more recently - The White Stripes "Elephant" and Radiohead's "Hail To The Thief." Of course, there are also the self-made, self-labeled mixes - Ella Fitzgerald, Outkast, Blackeyed Peas, Rock Mix 1 through 9. And always, the classical cd's - Strauss and Resphigi, from my violin playing days.
Today, after cleaning my room, I sat on my bed with my Physiology and studied. This is my favorite thing. Not studying per se, but languorous studying. Everything is in order, there are no pressing deadlines, and I can take my time reading about the gastrointestinal tract. I can watch the online x-ray video of a guy's guts as he poops at my leisure. And I can soak things in at my own pace. It's snowing outside and my roommate is at the Patriot's game so I have the place to myself. I popped in The Little Mermaid into my CD player and was brought back to my 12 year old self. The 12-year old Ink who watched wide-eyed as a mermaid made a prince fall in love with her without saying a word. In the privacy of my own pre-teen bedroom, I had sung along with the CD back then, dreaming of the day when I would have my own Prince. I didn't know yet that there were so many wanna-be and fraud princes yet. Now, at the age of 23, I magically still know all the words. And as I sing to myself while studying mastication and the esophagus, I almost believe in princes again.
Posted by ink |
[Friday, January 16, 2004]
I sliced my thumb a new mouth. Now it can talk to me.
I have this theory that the ER purposely makes you wait for hours just so that you think long and hard about whether you really should be there. Is my injury really an emergency? Do I really deserve to be in the ER? Being treated in the ER has almost become more of a privilege than a right that any homeless bum can exercise. You wait in the ER, hoping for entrance for longer than you would ever wait outside a new bar or club. And like being outside a bar or club, you intermittently approach the front and ask the person on duty "Are you sure I can't get admitted? I've been waiting for ages!" and they likewise respond "There's too many people in there right now. I'll let you in when it clears out some."
So I waited in the waiting room, feeling slightly stupid. Who the hell goes to the ER for a cut on their finger? I had received a package in the mail today from my mom. Upon shaking, it felt suspiciously like new clothes. I love packages =). But my excitement to open it was thwarted by the packing tape. So I whipped out a little steak knife to slice it open and voila! I successfully sliced my thumb, but the package still remained unconquered. As the package sat on the counter and watched me in triumph, I watched my finger in fascination as the blood bubbled up. I'd never seen blood bubble like that. As a kid I'd had more than my fair share of skinned knees, elbows, and foreheads, so I'd seen blood stream, trickle, and seep, but never had it bubbled up like lava coming out of a chasm of skin and tissue. I'd cut myself pretty badly, I could see the chunk of tissue turning grey right before my eyes. I studied the slice marks that were so brightly highlighted by rivulets of blood and saw that I was only a few millimeters away from completing the circuit and successfully slicing off a chunk of my thumb. Oddly, it didn't hurt. It turned numb. I bet my body's natural morphines kicked in. I turned on the kitchen sink and ran my thumb under the tap, and as I watched my blood drain away, I suddenly felt nauseous. Great doctor I'd be. Turning queasy at the sight of blood.
Not wanting to add humiliation on top of being a klutz, I went to lie down so that my roommate wouldn't find me in a faint on the kitchen floor when she got home. Forty-five minutes later, I was still bleeding. I called my friend and asked her whether I should go to the ER. I don't know why I bother. I knew I didn't want to go. I hate hospitals (again, great doctor I'd be) and I hate ER's even more. What I really wanted was affirmation that I probably wasn't doing myself great bodily harm by NOT going. She told me to go and told me this atrocious story of how infection can start in a finger wound and then spread so I might eventually lose my entire arm. I hung up. Half an hour later, I called my brother, who told me to slap some Neosporin on it and it'd be fine. "What else do you want, my pity?" "Well... I was hoping for a little sympathy or comfort at least." "Same thing." Jerk. He apparently called my mother though, because she called me 10 minutes later. She fussed and fretted over me for about 15 minutes, by the end of which I was in tears, and for once, they weren't tears of frustration. When I heard her voice telling me what to do (go to the ER and get a tetanus shot, this is serious honey, are you listening to me?), instead of being annoyed, I felt relieved. The calmness and control dissolved as tears sprung to my eyes and I snivelled, even as my brain rolled -its- eyes at me. "Good God. Stop being overdramatic. It doesn't even hurt that much. Your mom is overreacting and you know it." I felt like I was 8 years old again when I had collapsed in tears after bursting through the front door with a bloody forehead, elbow, and knee, all after a half hour tearless bike ride home from the 'crash site'. I wonder how many little kids initially don't bawl at scraping their knee but then begin to once they see their mothers tragedizing it, asking them if it hurts, and oh honey how did you do this?
When mothers say so, you do it. So I wiped my tears, went to the ER with my thumb, sat in the waiting room with a bunch of hacking coughing people and felt decidedly stupid. 3 hours later, I'd gotten a tetanus shot and the prognosis. "You need stitches, miss. Quite a few may I add." They were going to put holes through my thumbnail in order to get the stitches in due to the positioning of the wound. I liked how my cut had been upgraded to a "wound". I waited about half an hour for the stitching doctor before I lost my nerve and hightailed it out of there. They wrapped it in gauze and medical tape, which is irritatingly inconvenient because my left hand won't fit into a glove now. Considering that it's -40 degrees windchill (exposed skin is likely to become frostbitten after 5 minutes! according to the news), I'm effectively homebound due to a sliced thumb. How glamorous.
My brother did call shortly after I got home to grudgingly ask me if I was okay. Yeah, I'm fine, thanks for asking. He said I should call him if I need cheering up. Right... Because the next time I need cheering up, the first person I think of is the one who begrudges me pity when I'm bleeding and concerned.
Now my only problem is trying to get this hospital band off my wrist. After my last escapade, I'm a little leery of handling sharp things.
Posted by ink |
Are you a designer or an implementor?
I have not done one whit of studying today since my classes ended at 10 am. Instead, I've spent the past 6 hours trolling the Thorntree message boards at Lonely Planet, planning my imaginary vacation. I could spend -days- on that site. Spring Break starts on March 6 for me and I've driven myself into a virtual frenzy with all the fantasizing about where I could possibly go. Right now, the leading contender is Ireland. I'm planning on backpacking/hosteling it and between Dublin, Galway, the coast, and all the little towns and countryside. There are a million questions in my head. Should I rent a car and drive it or take public transportation? Is it safe to hitchhike as a sole female? I learned a few weeks ago (after having my original Costa Rica plans with my friend Dot fall through) that my idea of a vacation is almost always in direct conflict with my friends' ideas of vacations. Dot is the resort type (and she's not alone. Most of my friends are resort-people). She wanted to lay on a beach all day with a drink in her hand. I was thinking volcanoes, rainforest, chimps, learning how to surf, maybe getting scuba certified, and SLOTHS. Her primary question - "Will there be airconditioned vans to take us into the rainforest?" We'd drive each other mad. I don't have any friends who could handle hostels and adventuring. I realized that I wouldn't ever get to do the things I wanted to do unless I went at it alone.
So here I am now, planning my first solo trip with Ireland as the leading candidate. I wanted something beautiful and not-too-urban. I figured I should start out with something in Europe where there are lots of solo travellers before moving onto third world countries in Central America. Despite my initial heebie jeebies about entering a foreign country as a single female, I can't help but be attracted to it a bit. There's something romantic about travelling alone. You can do whatever you like, linger where you want to, come in early if you like, all without having to take into consideration your travelling companion. It's the one time you can be completely and utterly unburdened by anything except for your own desires and needs. Responsibility doesn't even weigh on you at all. You're on vacation.
I'm imagining the Irish countryside, green with rolling hills (am I getting it confused with British countryside?), cliffs, pounding waves, perhaps the occasional leprechaun. Being alone in front of breathtaking scenery only adds to the beauty of it. It will just be me with my thoughts. I can sit down and write a journal entry if you like, or run at full sprint along the cliffs with no one to witness my gasping breath wheezing from my out-of-shape body. I can pull over if I see something interesting, or frolic wildly through the fields by moonlight, tryst with the faeries. I will stop at B&B's in little towns and my toiletries can sit on the sink with space to spare. I can change my itinerary on a whim without having to consult anyone else. All in all, it's a rather selfish trip.
Ireland isn't anywhere warm or sunny. In fact, it will probably be rainy and cold, but that's okay. I'll be free.
One of my favorite things is planning imaginary vacations. Planning is never the problem, it's going through with it that is. My imagination has no limits. Limits exist only due to courage (or lack thereof), time constraints, and money. It always boils down to money doesn't it. I find it to be the ultimate irony that the only time I had enough money to travel to all the places I want to - I didn't have a manager nice enough to grant me the time off. Now I have the time but not the money. I figure I should be able to save enough to go to one place a year. I may have to nix 3 months of backpacking in Australia/New Zealand in summer 05 and perhaps replace it with wwoof'ing it in Costa Rica, but that's still something - one last hurrah before being jailed in med school for the next 6 years of my life. I'll probably have to give up trekking in Peru or biking through Nepal. I won't be able to spend a year working in London or live in Italy for a few years. But that's okay. Because I'll be a doctor and be able to support my parents through their retirement. And that's what all good daughters should do.
Part of me simmers, but another part of me thinks wildly and impatiently "Fine fine fine, I'll take what I can get." Ireland is what I want to think about right now, not the duties of being an eldest child. I'll get to drive on the wrong side of the road!
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, January 15, 2004]
"I'm sitting across from Alien right now. He's not very cute."
That was the email I received from my friend Fisher, who works with Alien at Major Investment Bank (aka MIB). Funny thing is, I agreed with him. To this day, I still cannot fathom why I continue to obsess over Alien despite the fact that he's really not all that. You'd think I'd choose an object of fantasy that is slightly dangerous and perhaps rides a motorcycle instead of someone who is not only boring and stodgy but also thinks a New Year's kiss is morally wrong. Still, whenever my finger is on the drunk dial button, I still manage to call him and say something slightly ridiculous.
It's practically become a running joke. Anything I said the night before before always seem to crazy, outlandish, embarassing to me, and hilariously funny to my friends in the sobering day of light. I'm so much more -sane- during the day. But it's become almost a ritual at this point. After all, he loved me 5 years ago. I've become every guy's greatest fantasy. Any guy with a failed crush dreams of the day the girl will come crawling back. That's me. Over the holidays, I dug up the letter he slipped under my door my sophomore year of college and re-read it. What had freaked me out as an 18 year old now comforted me. Anything I could possibly say on the phone isn't even half as serious as that. What I don't understand is why he continues to pick up his cell when I call. Probably to laugh.
But, I've made a resolution to no longer conduct myself like a lovesick seventeen-year old. I realized that part of my obsession with him lies in the fact that I don't understand it. And because my brain can't seem to figure it out, I can only assume that perhaps my gut knows something that I don't. That leads me to one conclusion: He must be The One. What else could explain this unexplainable attraction? As far as personality traits are concerned, it could quite possibly be the least favorable combination. It'd be my mom and dad all over again, and as much as I love both of them, I don't want to relive their marriage. As much as I love my dad, he's not someone I'd want to marry. He'd drive me mad. Perhaps my attraction to Alien was precisely because he reminds me a lot of my dad. A workaholic, thrifty, entirely too serious, and completely can't tell when I'm joking.
As such, this past New Year's Eve, precisely one year after I was forced to lay out a court case for why he should give me a smooch, I made my last phone call to him. We were both drunk from a night partying out in the city. And after I yelled to him on the phone, "You have really cushy lips!!!" (which I had to repeat an embarassing four times because he couldn't hear me), I declared surprisingly soberly "My New Year's resolution is to stop throwing myself at you." After which I hung up on him. Alcohol seems to bring out my melodramatic side.
I woke up the next morning feeling... free. Alien had been plaguing me on and off over the past year, largely because I couldn't understand it. What could cause this sudden 180 from rejecting him in 1998 to wanting him in 2003? How do I explain the oddly long incubation period inbetween? I had never been a drunk-dial sort of girl, but I had apparently picked up the habit this past year and he was the lucky recipient. There are a lot of things that puzzle me about myself, but self-destructive tendencies have never been something that I've indulged in. Now that I have a Freudian reason for it though, I feel like I can set it aside and move on. I can see him now again through the same eyes I saw him through before. Nice guy, great guy even, but not for me. I need someone who takes himself a little less seriously, someone who makes me laugh, someone who won't tell me my Halloween costume is unsexy. Here's to new and better crushes in 2004.
"Pour some sugar on me, ooh, in the name of love!" -Def Leppard
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, January 11, 2004]
The greatest thing that you ever will learn is how to love, and how to be loved in return.
I had always been told that I would love Moulin Rouge. My roommate BABAE J. told me. My high school friend Taco told me. After seeing it for the first time tonight, I realized that my friends were right. To an extent that is. Moulin Rouge is the type of movie I would've loved years ago when I was younger. As it is, it now only makes me feel nostalgic for those younger days - back when I did believe that true love could overcome all odds. I ate those movies up back then, because they only lent support to my unwavering belief that modern-day fairy tales still existed. Four years and one relationship later, my beliefs are different. Not necessarily changed - but different. Like the same view being seen from a different vantage point, changing the entire look of it, even though you know you're seeing the same thing. Real love is a lot more complicated than the movies say. True love I'm not even sure what to make of any more. The older I get, the less I believe in true love. Perhaps as a result of cynicism that naturally develops with age, or perhaps due to a more grounded sense of reality. I like to believe the latter, if only so that I don't have to think that I'm missing out on something.
My dad used to tell me when I was younger that sometimes, love develops. Back in the olden days, marriages were arranged by parents who took into account things like personality traits, good and bad habits, finances, occupations, and family background and didn't take into account things that are valued today, such as the intangible undefinable chemistry of attraction. But is not true love these days defined precisely by this intangible thing? That draw, that gut feeling of this-is-the-one? My dad pointed out to me that back then, couples did not love each other when they were married, but they grew to love one another. They did not cheat on each other and things worked out better in the long run. He attributed it to the wisdom of parental guidance who have more life experience to make these sorts of choices for their children. How can a 16 year old argue with the "life experience" tack? Back then, statements like that infuriated me. I retorted that those marriages worked because they were practical and convenient, not because the individuals loved each other. I told him that the chemistry was of utmost importance, and that I wasn't shallow enough to judge by the resume of an individual. Without chemistry, it was only Friendship. I believed in True Love.
Now that I'm older, I find myself wondering more and more if perhaps my dad is right. After all, my own personal history has shown that the Intangible Chemistry that I used to speak so highly of has only led me to one inappropriate boy after another. I can almost predict that any boy I feel Intangible Chemistry with is almost always guaranteed to be Bad For Me. After having dated a PotHead who also happened to be a DropOut and Collecting Unemployment, I've realized that enough cannot be said for the value of shared interests, similar educational and familial backgrounds, as well as the benefits of dating someone who is gainfully employed. Could it be possible that perhaps my dad is right?
Marrying for the sake of practicality was always the definition of Settling For Less when I was younger. I had to have the passion, the chemistry, the attraction as well as everything else. Have I become what I always scoffed at in older women? Is it that my rapidly advancing age has drawn worry to my brow about my potentially impending spinsterhood? After all, when I'm 29, I'll be competing with 23 year olds for the same men. Perhaps I should take advantage of my own 23-year-old-ness now. What I am realizing is that what I had previously viewed as Settling For Less is really nothing more than changing values. Once again, the different vantage point of the same thing. 19YearOldInk used to assume that things such as Respect and Gentlemanliness came standard with the average boy. Thus only Good Looks and Attraction were the selection criteria. 23YearOldAndMoreExperiencedInk now realizes that such things don't come standard at all. As such, they've risen in value in my esteem. Is it possible to overlook lack of Good Looks and Attraction Factor for the sake of Respect and Gentlemanliness? I'd like to think so. But somewhere in the back of my mind, 19YearOldInk cries, "No!!" Why can't I have my cake and eat it too?
My girlfriends and I have pondered this age old question. Why is it so difficult to find good-looking guys who are also nice? Our conclusion is based largely on Darwinian theories of Natural Selection. Good-looking guys don't need to be nice to attract pretty girls. Being nice and having charisma has become the competitive advantage of the average guy, otherwise known as the Nice Guy. They say that the Nice Guy always finishes last. We've decided that this rule only applies in the teenage years. I spoke to Berfect briefly on this topic last semester when relating my younger brother's shenanigans with women as an undergraduate. Berfect leaned back in his chair and said, "Man. Those were the days. It was easier to be a player back when you were 19." "Why?" I asked. "Because," he said, "19 year old girls don't know what they want. Women at this age now... They know what's up." And just like that, he had summed it up. We know what's up. And this ushers in the Age of the Nice Guy. After a torrent of Bad Boys and Guys Who Treat Us Poorly, most women at this age are ready for something more. We're more willing to think with our heads than we are with our misguided sense of chemistry. We're looking for the Nice Guy. The guy who shares our interests, whether that be in books, in music, or in sports. And in absence of that, at least tolerates your interests with an open mind and is willing to share his own. Someone who will at the very least appreciate us for our weirdness. And who is that but the age old High School Male Friend? That guy you could always turn to with your guy problems. The guy who you always shrugged off as Just A Friend, and the occasional Backup Prom Date. If he didn't turn out to be gay that is.
So, does this mean I've come around to my dad's way of thinking? Perhaps. Part of me struggles with this very fact, that I'm becoming older. Older being marked by the sign that I actually perhaps potentially might agree with some of my parents' ideas (God forbid). So does this mark the end of True Love? I don't know. There must be a reason why Princess Bride still resides in my DVD collection and remains in pretty regular circulation on my weekends in. There must be a reason why Moulin Rouge still tugs at me a bit, even though it doesn't fan the flames as it did when I was younger. Perhaps it's nothing more than the realization that Real Love is a lot more complicated than the Hollywood version of it. Real Love has a little more trouble overcoming obstacles such as differences in socioeconomic class and status (Satine and Christian). Real Love is plagued by something called self-doubt. The questioning you put yourself through when you feel like you might be falling for someone who will be difficult to love. Someone of a different race or of a different background. Real Love has other factors involved, such as parental or social pressure. How many people are willing to give up everything for the sake of a male? Too many relationships fall apart in the face of such adversity. Too many relationships fall apart in the face of something as simple as long distance. Is this to say that True Love does not exist in this world?
Maybe. Or maybe it says simply that in this era of highspeedeverything, in this age of everythingatthetouchofabutton, in our oneuseonlydisposable economy, perhaps people just aren't willing to try as much for the sake of True Love. After all, you can always scour the internet and check out profiles for Internet Dating to replace your latest Inconvenient Relationship. You can prescreen for the qualities that you know would make things easiest (good school, good job, stuff your parents would approve of) through their self description before you meet them and check for Chemistry. So what does this say about us? Simply that we're getting older. And that maybe, in the search for True Love, you're willing to look in the most unlikely of places - even the Internet. Or, that True Love has simply been redefined with an extra term that is representative of our current culture. Convenient. Convenient True Love.
Posted by ink |
[Friday, January 09, 2004]
I was woken up this morning by a strange man coming through my bedroom door. I wish I had done something dramatic like sit up and scream my bloody lungs out, but instead, I popped up in bed and stared at him sleepily while he mumbled an apology and backed away. But not before I noticed (even without my contacts in) that he was wearing a fashionable leather motorcycle jacket that looked very nice on him. I'd obviously be useless against a fashion-conscious serial killer. It turns out that they're showing the apartment since the building is for sale. The realtor claimed to have called ahead of time and left a message, but it sounded fishy to me. I told him he must've left a message on our imaginary answering machine since we don't have one.
I hope they enjoyed my morning breath. I took care to breathe all over the inconsiderate realtor and spare the other boy. Last night's efforts also bore fruit as I received my first "icebreaker" this morning in my mailbox from a 47-year old self-described "WASP seeking v. attractive Asian female." I suppose it serves me right.
Posted by ink |
Nomadic, eclectic, neurotic.
Not much better than epileptic, which was suggested, and only marginally better than spastic. That's my by-line for my first venture into the world of online-dating. After further thought, I left it as simply "Nomadic. Eclectic." This whole thing makes me feel like I'm inadequate somehow. As if I can't find guys the "normal" way or lack the charisma to attract men in person. How do you summarize yourself in a profile anyways? And the photo? Good grief. I slapped a random one up after viewing too many glamor shots of other women. I'd rather be a pleasant surprise in real life than be a disappointment. The service is free until the 11th, so I figure I'd give it a 3-day whirl. I even looked myself up on a search. I seem relievingly normal and non-psychotic but I suppose everyone seems normal to themselves. My co-worker married someone she met on match.com, and a few of my friends are dating people from other internet services. We'll see if anything happens. Based on what people have said, the world of internet dating is full of guys who are shorter and have bigger noses than you'd expect. I'm trying to be open-minded however. I could use some free meals.
big change, the choices we make
in life, gut instincts, on-the-whim
hairpin turns, the search for truth, the desire to be happy, the journey to finding out what
makes us happy.
being young and clueless, hoping
that we're not blindly leading ourselves to our own demise with every
tentative step we take, the pitfalls of dating, the trials
and travails of being a young woman in the post-feminist era.