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
[Thursday, September 29, 2005]
The first and second years have exams tomorrow, so the library is completely packed. It's so utterly silent that I don't even need to bring earplugs with me. All around, I see people walking around in sweats, looking haggard, with gatorade in their cubicles and power-bars crinkling in their backpacks. You'd think studying was an extreme sport.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, September 28, 2005]
My ex-boyfriend still sends me instant messages once in a while. For some odd reason, it's super important to him that we stay in touch and are on good terms. Though if you really want to be technical about it - I have every right to never speak to him again. Regardless, I'm usually prone to just letting things go, largely because it takes so much energy to stay mad at someone. That and, we were each other's first significant others. I like to think that has some value.
Him: "Hey, how's it going?" Me: "Going okay. Schoolwork is going slow as usual." Him: "I was moving yesterday, and I found photos of my ex-girlfriend" (not me) Him: "Now I'm feeling really sad." Me: "..."
Buddy, don't cry on my shoulder. I've got studying to do.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, September 25, 2005]
There's a certain library culture, just like there was corporate culture. Today, when I walked in at 2 PM and set my bag down in my usual cubicle, Blue's head popped up out of his cubicle. He said two words, "You're late." And I was.
Blue and I aren't really friends. We became sort-of-friends because we sit in the same area of the library when we study. He's always in the next cubicle over. For the first few weeks, I didn't know his name. We'd nod a greeting to each other when we came in, and nod a goodbye as we left. He was just Library Boy. And it felt weird if he wasn't in his cubicle when I was studying. We never did do formal introductions. I found out his name through a friend. He's also a career-changer, a formal economics researcher. He's in my class, but he sits in the far back during lecture, and I sit in the second row. Not because I'm a gunner, but because it feels less intimidating. From the back, all I can see are rows and rows of heads in front of me, all who nod in agreement or understanding with the professor, and it flusters and bewilders me, especially if I'm not understanding it. In the second row, it feels more intimate. And I feel less small.
I'm not sure if he knows my name, but we're beyond the point where we can unawkwardly do introductions, considering that we've been in the same vicinity for almost two months now. I see him occasionally in cadaver lab, but his cadaver is on the other side of the room. Yesterday's exchange went something like this:
Enter a paper airplane, smashing its nose into my cubicle desk.
The couple a few cubes in front of you keeps making out. It's annoying.
I wrote back: They're not a couple. He's just talking to her. Besides, she's way out of his league. And your paper airplanes suck. What kind of boyhood did you have?
I refolded it into the way a paper airplane should be made and sent it back. Labeling it AIRMAIL.
Then I was pelted with a paper ball. I think I might be better at paper balls. They just kissed again. I see you're studying very hard. Voyeur.
That's been the extent of our exchange thus far. No spoken words really. Just paper airplanes. And that was 2 weeks ago. Until today's verbal "You're late." I was surprised. But before I could close my mouth and form a response, he'd turned back to his cube and obviously didn't want to be interrupted.
Med school does attract interesting characters.
Posted by ink |
Didn't that used to be a teenage word for making out? I was walking home today from the library at midnight. I'd been there since 9:30 AM and was lugging all my books home. What do I see in front of my apartment door, but a car parked there with music thumping inside. And sure enough, I can see the dark forms of a couple making out. They'd evidentally been at it for a long time since the girl was in the driver's seat and the guy was on top of her kissing. I thought briefly about smashing my face up against the window, a) I was too tired to put down my 50 pound backpack just to make an effort to make a funny face and b) I was pretty sure that smooshing my face against a dirty car window would give me zits. I unlocked the front door and went upstairs to my room. Where I could still hear the music pounding out of the closed car for the next half hour. Who the hell makes out on a busy street? I considered calling the cops on them since I had another long study day ahead of me tomorrow, but instead just put my earplugs in before going to bed.
At least someone's life is a bit more exciting than mine.
Posted by ink |
[Friday, September 23, 2005]
the etiquette of dating.as composed by people who are really in the know. follow these simple rules to a fulfilling, and less irritating, dating life.
(1) the gordon-ghahremani law of mutual confusion "dates are defined as this: if there is doubt (mutual or not) about where this is going after tonight, and you're wondering if you'll see that person again, that's probably a date. so really, mutual confusion will be the tell all of a date.
the most important plus factor, in my opinion, is uncertainty. when people just hang out, you have a general idea of what that evening, the following month, the following year will look like. a date implies the opposite.
and this uncertainty, leads to strategy. 'if he does this, then i'll do this . . .' if you have contingency plans, you're probably on a date. (and if you have a chart, it might be love.)"
(2) post-it no bills (PiNB) dates cannot be requested via text message/email/post-it notes or anything that might be lost in translation. dates should be planned via phone calls or in person if possible. step up to the plate, don't hide behind inferior means of communication to mask the fact that you're not man enough to nut up and verbalize a request.
(2b) urata's amendment - aka "point blank" the same rule applies to declarations of feeling. you cannot declare how you feel about a person except through the telephone or in person. lengthy well composed letters (not emails) are the exception.
also if you need alcohol or text messages to declare your undying love for someone, your message will be disregarded. additionally, you cannot have a full on "DTR - define the relationship" over email/text/post-it note. you can maybe initiate a DTR through these means, but at least pick up the phone once the DTR conversation is engaged in full. don't be surfing the web and DTR-ing at the same time. that's just poor manners. and not really efficient web surfing either.
(3) s.b.a.s.mf. (stop being a shady motherfucker) rule - the yang within three dates (or times hanging out alone), full disclosure of current people you're seeing or semi-current ex-significant others is required. "semi-current" is defined as within the past three months. "seeing someone" is defined as romantic interest on your end.
there is no leeway on this rule. keep in mind that three dates is the maximum time allowed for full disclosure. it's best to aim high and reveal before date three; since that's apparently when some people (according to "sex and the city" enthusiasts) are comfortable sleeping with their dates.
this is also the time to reveal past lives, ex-wives, illegitimate children, overbearing mothers, and if you've had any cosmetic surgical procedures done to you. or if you have any major disabilities -- physical, not emotional. emotional disabilities always reveal themselves in due, usually inopportune, time.
date three is also the time to fess up to any lies or exaggerations made during dates one and two. if you're not really "dr smith," then stop the charade now.
(4) surprise! do not, repeat, do not plan or execute a stealth date. if a girl expects hang out time at the cafe and you show up with flowers and chocolates, you're not being romantic, you're just personifying shady. plus you're spineless. and possibly ugly.
"if a guy doesnt have the balls to just ask me out on an official 'let's see if we want to make out or possibly get together again by the end of this night's outing, than i say forget it. call me unromantic, but i just find it too reminiscient of middle school to be wavering too long. a week, max. after that, i just get annoyed."
(5) two strikes and you're out if, after a date, there is no return phone call/email (text messages don't count) after two attempts by one party, the dating period is over. ignoring phone calls and other forms of communication is a valid form of dating negation. it may be immature, but what isn't nowadays? avoiding phone calls/emails minimizes unwanted communication and reduces the need to create excuses for not wanting to date someone.
if a verbal negation of dating status does occur, the dumped has no right to initiate a "wait, what went wrong? why aren't we dating?" conversation. should this occur, a hang up is not only acceptable, but almost mandatory.
re-dating can occur if extenuating circumstances prevented a reply (within a reasonable period of three months). extenuating circumstances are limited to: illness, death in the family, loss of phone/computer, and abduction by aliens. cold feet, flakiness, and general craziness will not be acceptable reasons for a non-reply. exceptions to the extenuating circumstances rule will be governed by a committee composed of the "victim's" friends and/or guardians.
we welcome suggestions, comments, or questions. in the meantime, date at your own risk.
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, September 22, 2005]
It suddenly hit me the other day that I'm going to be a doctor. I mean, obviously, I've known that I was going to be a doctor since I got into med school, but I don't think I really processed what that truly meant. I associated doctor with "job", meaning hours in the hospital, usual bureaucracy, maybe the occasional lawsuit here and there. But, last night, my friend Montreal was standing at my cubicle in the library - it was close to midnight, she looked tired but hyperactive, and she was explaining to me way too animatedly about surface anatomy and where "Gerdy's Tubercle" was by rolling up her jeans and pointing vehemently at her leg. I wasn't really listening, because I was thinking, Oh my God. She's going to be a doctor. And I meant that in the nicest of ways. Here she is, my friend Montreal, who is blonde, petite, too serious sometimes, but attractive to boys, and she's in the library with me at midnight, showing me her leg, and talking about Gerdy's Tubercle. My friend is going to be a doctor. I know someone who will eventually save a life. Then I realized hey - I'm going to be a doctor too. For the first time, I felt truly privileged. And I don't mean in that cheesy "honorable" sort of way. I mean it in the rich-kid-aren't-we-jealous sort of way. Like when you watch a movie like School Ties and you envy their lifestyle and their boarding school and sort of wish you were part of it. I realized that I'm living the dream and never really even thought about it. For the first time, I felt like I might be leading a life that some people would envy. I'm going to school with a bunch of kids who will without a doubt make a difference. We're all going to impact someone's life in a major way at some point in the future, we just don't know it yet. Because really - we don't think like that right now. We just got our white coats, and we just passed our CPR test (some of us, barely). Our main concern at the moment is whether our cadaver smells better or worse today, and whether the human fat stains will ever come out of our scrubs. It felt really really weird, and at the same time, really really cool. I felt extraordinarily lucky in that moment.
Med school's turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected it to be. I sort of approached it as something that I had to do to get to where I wanted to be. I figured I'd suck it up because I wanted to be a doctor. It never occurred to me that it might actually be fun, or that I'd not only meet normal people, but interesting people, or that the said interesting people would look normal and even attractive. I think they might rival the people I met in business, and let's face it - a large part of being successful in business is being attractive. That's why you don't find any pimply people or fat people in finance or consulting. Not everyone is attractive, but no one is unattractive. It's definitely not a representative sampling of the population. I'm not sure I think our class is a representative sampling of the premed population either. We definitely have a larger allotment of blonde haired blue eyed girls and guys than would naturally occur by chance. So it's sort of the same as business. We work just as hard, we work just as many (if not more) hours, especially since we can't really "leave the office" ever. And we still don't have a whole lot of free time. Except these people actually want to do more with their lives than make a buck.
So. In a nutshell, I think I like med school. And that's something I never thought I would say. I think I'm having fun. No regrets so far.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, September 19, 2005]
Ink's Secret to Rocking Exams. Yes, it's that time again.
Combos (pizzeria pretzel flavor) cinnamon gum Hershey's hugs rooibos tea black licorice (Good and Plenty) cheerios
I have all of the above stashed in my backpack in the library. Where no food is allowed. All you can hear from my cubicle is *crinkle crinkle crinkle*. Add to that a good iTunes playlist. Sometimes I sing softly to myself, but no one can hear me. And I wonder why I'm gaining weight. I wouldn't say I'm fat. I have "trouble areas". Notice the lack of dairy products on the list. Lactose makes me gassy. And the last thing I want to do is antagonize classmates who might be able to help me with things I don't understand.
This is a tried and proven recipe, as I rocked my last exam. The written portion at least. I didn't do as well on the practical portion. But I think additional hours hanging out with the dead should remedy that in a jiffy.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, September 18, 2005]
I went to CVS today for some zit cream. In order to medicate The Zit That Would Not Die. I've done everything short of nuking it. My medicine cabinet is exhausted, so I thought it was time for something new. I left with a tube of Neutrogena's Rapid Clear stuff. Emblazoned on the front is the claim, "Proven to reduce breakouts in 8 hours." I, of course, am a victim of marketing strategy, since I coughed up 7 dollars for a tube the size of my pinky finger. If the pimple is gone by tomorrow, it'll be worth it. You have to admire its tenacity though. It's obviously a survivor. I'll keep you updated on its progress.
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, September 17, 2005]
Laguna Beach is the most ridiculous show. It's funny to me how high school in California doesn't seem to really involve any school. I'm half disgusted by it all, and half entranced. Is this what people in California really look like? Blonde, have perfect bodies, and names like Talan? I thought about what I was like in high school. Dorky. Self conscious. Definitely not blonde. And obsessed with faeries. Think Violet from The Incredibles. I'm willing to bet that the girls on the show are the people that everyone in high school hates because they're beautiful and rich and have everything. Including their own MTV show. I spend most of the show being intensely jealous of how the girls look and their houses, and the rest of the time trying to figure out who is who. Is it bad that I can't keep the blonde girls straight? The only ones I know are the brunette who took away the other brunette's boyfriend. How is it possible that they all look so good and have such perfect bodies? Nowhere do I see a little belly pooch. How is this possible when they never seem to work out either? I'm willing to bet that half the Laguna audience are homely looking girls who yearn for that sort of life. After all, if you already have that sort of life (like if you're the East coast version), you just scoff and turn your nose up at them and think things like "Whatever, my house is bigger than that. It's not like I need my own MTV show to feel good about myself." I'm such a hater. It's odd, even though I'm envious of them, on no level do I feel the desire to live with them or be their friend. Nor do I feel like being friends with those girls would make me more beautiful. I guess because recognizing someone's aesthetic appeal to the public doesn't necessarily mean that you identify with them. On some level underneath the jealousy, I also recognize that they're a completely different breed of girl than I am. And though part of me wants what they have - the nice houses, the cute boys, another part of me isn't so sure that their way of life is better than the life I have right now.
After all. I don't think what I have right now is too shabby. Though, I wouldn't mind a little more mass appeal.
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, September 15, 2005]
My head is a box filled with nothing. And that's the way I like it. - Ben Lee, Catch My Disease
I've been feeling unduly stressed for the past week or so. For no good reason. Exams aren't looming (yet), and we've had a lighter courseload this week than most. There's just been an overall feeling of anxiety and listlessness and inability to get work done, which of course only contributes to the former in an endless positive feedback loop. Last week, I laid down to take a nap at 7 pm. And didn't wake up till 7 am the next morning. I was still dressed in my clothes and my makeup was still on. Somehow during the night, I'd wormed my way under my covers. It was like waking up on Sunday morning after a bad Saturday night of drinking. Except it was Wednesday morning. Still, my first thought when I woke up was to look beside me and make sure I was alone (phew).
Tonight, when I put my head down at 5:30 pm, I hoped to wake up a little earlier than 12 hours later. And I did. I woke up in time to catch the last 10 mimnutes of the Simpsons, and the night has beeen wonderful ever since. I don't know if it was the good cry I had last night, or the 2 hour nap, but it's made a world of difference. I took a shower, washed and exfoliated my face, did a facial, and changed into my pajamas. I'm studying on my bed with the music playing and I feel completely back on the ball. It's so nice to be friends with oneself again.
Posted by ink |
[Wednesday, September 14, 2005]
Long Term Insurance.
I just found out what all that was about. It wasn't life insurance after all. It was something much much worse. My parents were arranging for long-term care in case one (or both) of them were to be incapacitated, become incontinent, or for whatever reason be unable to take care of themselves. Through my mother's hospital, they can start making contributions to this insurance fund right now, so they're covered in the future.
I was stricken.
And I could immediately feel tears well up in my eyes. Did they think I couldn't take care of them if they were to fall ill? Or even worse, did they think I wouldn't take care of them? That I wouldn't make the time? I'm their daughter! Why do they need to hire strangers to take care of them? My mom tried to explain that they don't want be a burden to us. And that no one wants to wipe their parents' pee and poo anyways. But I do! I do. I don't want some stranger taking care of my parents. Entering our house with a key, like it's their house, going up the stairs, and bathing my parents. That's not how it works. They don't know my parents. I don't know these people. How will I know they're taking good care of my parents and not abusing them in their frailty and vulnerability? What if they're taking advantage of my parents and stealing money from them when their heads are turned? I don't want strangers in our house. And I cried about it. And I stormed. I cried stormily. Cried stormy tears. Stormily argued with my mother. They have children. They don't need to do this long term insurance thing. That's what we're here for! That's why she had us! What is this? My parents, who are always hopelessly old fashioned in all things, suddenly had to go and get progressive on me now? This is my duty as their daughter. Maybe I'm more old-fashioned than I give myself credit for. I've never been the traditional Asian daughter. I talk too loudly, laugh too loudly, have too many opinions, am too stubborn. And my parents are going to strip me of this? This is my right. It's my God-given responsibility. It's practically my birthright. I was okay with marrying someone non-Chinese (though my parents aren't okay with it), I was okay with living together before marriage (which my parents also aren't so okay with), but I'm not okay with strangers taking care of my parents. It isn't right.
And even though the logical side of me tells me that my mom is only doing this because she really doesn't want to be a burden, the emotional side of me rails against the fact that she even felt like she had to take this step. It made me so sad. It absolutely broke my heart. I know it's not because of me, but for some reason, I illogically feel like it must be because I'm a bad daughter. How can you take this away?
Then she mentioned Alzheimer's. She said that they made sure to have a special provision for Alzheimer's, who to contact and such in case they can't remember that they have kids. That broke the dam. I choked on my tears and felt like I couldn't breathe. A small part of me wondered why I couldn't be cool and mature about this. Am I about to get my period? But another part of me just didn't care because it was simply shocked. Because like every idealist silly little girl, I'd fallen into the age-old trap. Tragedies, cancer, and Alzheimer's happen to everyone else's family, but not mine. I'm a med student, I really should know better. But I don't. And even as I wipe the snot from my nose (I've never been a beautiful crier), a part of me still doesn't believe it. It's not going to happen. Not to my parents.
Posted by ink |
"So, how's med school going?"
Med school itself is going fine. It's life that isn't going so well. I have all these social obligations and they're overwhelming me. My friend from LA is on the east coast, and she made a special trip to Philadelphia to hang out. So I felt like I had to hang out with her, which meant a late night last night. This morning (at 8 AM), my parents dropped by to drop off some things for me. Food, clothing, the usual. Except then I got in a fight with my dad over how my refrigerator is arranged. I called home this evening, only to hear from my mom that my dad was unusually quiet and sad on the drive home. Then she talked to me about how he's getting old now, and he doesn't remember things that he told her the day before. And how I should be more patient with him. In comes the guilt. Which was only worsened by my mom's quick exit from the phone, because someone was coming to talk to them about "long term insurance". Long term insurance? I can only assume it's life insurance. Which then freaked me out for some unknown reason. My parents are the pillars of my life. I don't remember a time when they haven't existed. What would I do without someone to nag me everyday? The thought was horrifying. And I mean that without the least bit of sarcasm. I'm lying on my bed waiting for my mom to call back, and just feeling overall strange, knowing that they're making arrangements for their own death right now. I feel like it's a bad sign. Like the Death Eater symbol hovering our house.
Plus, I applied for some committee positions that opened up in the American Medical Association chapter at our school. I figured it'd be an easy-in since so few people applied that they extended the deadline an extra week. Then I found out yesterday that 5 people applied for the same position I did. And they're holding interviews. Since I know the president, I was hoping a little bit of nepotism could help me. But as it turns out, it's a committee vote. Who makes up this committee? Second year med students. Usually, I interview pretty well. I'm talented at making people believe that I'm more competent than I actually am. This works perfectly for jobs and med schools. But when the interviewer is another student? I don't think they're looking for just competence anymore. This is like running for student council in high school. You not only have to be competent, but also cool. Because it's your peers picking you. And I've never won the cool contest, ever in my life. I come across as formal, professional, slightly uptight. Which is great if you're looking for an analyst for your team, or for a new incoming med student. Sadly, it doesn't work so well for committee votes. Do I sound completely neurotic? Because I am.
Also, I'm also the beginner webmaster for WorldCamps? I'm no web guru, but their first website was so elementary that even I could do better than that. So I made a simple new HTML design, no bells and whistles, but functional. Except I have to update it every few weeks with new material from the president. So I have to do that at some point also. More obligations.
Oh, and did I mention that my toilet overflowed this morning?
I feel like I'm behind in my school work (even though I'm not). And I spent today elbow deep in human fat. I peeled the skin off the leg of our cadaver today, and plowed through 3 inches of adipose tissue. My lab partner got a little enthusiastic carving it away and flung shreds of it in my face. I still had a piece in my hair when I got home. My scrubs are completely disgusting. The bottom half of my shirt is a darker color than the top. It looks like it's wet, except it never dries. Because it's oil from the human fat.
To top it all off, my hair is super dry because of the formaldehyde. No amount of Aveda's Sap Moss will restore it back to its original gleam. And my hands still smell like dead people.
Posted by ink |
[Tuesday, September 13, 2005]
The Human Condition.
I'm super excited because I'm going to art class tonight!! Where do I find the time? I don't, really. I've just decided that I'm tired of studying. Better to burn out after the exam than before, no? I found a great place called the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial. Samuel L. Fleisher wanted to create a place for the world to come and learn art, tuition free. For kids of all sorts of economic and cultural backgrounds (including med school kids like me). For $30, you can take any and all classes you want, sort of like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Except for art! Of the open enrollment classes being offered, I'm taking Figure Drawing I. I think it will be a nice complement to Anatomy. I took a bit of Figure Drawing this past spring, and I wasn't very good at it. I like to think the worst of my drawings are Picasso-style. But I'm convinced that I'll be better at it the second time around. My friend Montreal and I are stopping by the art store on the way to class. There's something about the art store that brings out a glow in me. It's like being a little kid again and looking at all the crayons! Except I'm looking at drawing pads and pencils.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, September 11, 2005]
Kenmore and I watched the 9/11 memorial today on television. I visited New York for the weekend, where I was disappointed by my college friends since we no longer had anything to say to each other. Though I suppose it's to be expected considering that we graduated almost a full 5 years ago, and they were "party" friends from school anyways. But still - it was sad. Regardless of the disappointing Saturday night, we woke up on Sunday morning to a live feed of the reading of names at Ground Zero. I felt sick inside, and my eyes instantly teared up. There's something about 9/11 that I never really recovered from. It still hurts me. Like an old war-wound that was never healed properly. The flashlight still dangles from my keychain just in case of emergency. Kenmore was silent, but I could tell by the absence of keyboard-chatter that he was bothered by the memorial as well.
I used to wonder why my grandparents never talked about what their life was like in China before they fled to Taiwan before the war. If my grandmother had her way, she'd pretend she never had a life before Taiwan. That she never had sisters whose fate she still doesn't know. That she never had a father who arranged a marriage to a passing soldier for her, because he thought she'd be safer from Mao if she was travelling with the opposing army. I used to not understand why she would ignore the past. Though 9/11 likely can't compare to the Communist Revolution, I have an inkling now of where she's coming from. I still turn away from magazine covers that commemorate 9/11, and I still can't bear to read articles that talk about it. It still hurts. And I don't want to cry about it anymore. Sometimes I feel like a fake, because no one I personally knew died in the towers. But other times, when I think about how badly I've reacted to it, I can't even imagine how bad it must be for people who did lose loved ones there. My heart goes out to them.
Posted by ink |
[Saturday, September 10, 2005]
Hurrah for connectivity!!!
After a long week of not having any internet access, Ink is back online! My roommate and I had every intention of setting up our cable internet account when I first moved here in late July. But then we kept dragging our feet on it, largely because we were getting free wireless from our upstairs neighbor. And then he moved. Regardless, Comcast has come through for us, with a special $30 a month for cable AND internet access.
It's sick how dependent I am on the internet. It's like life-giving fluid. And now I can back-post all those blogs I've been writing but could never actually publish.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, September 05, 2005]
Labor Day Weekend.
Returning to Boston has been a bit of a mixed blessing. When I first arrived at Back Bay station, I had pangs of regret and guilt. It seemed so vibrant and student-centered. So many young people, and so many of them good looking and educated. It's an upscale city whose social problems are a less evident, and whose most in-your-face factor is not the dirty streets or the smelly subways, but the upscale stores and the sheer number of trendy-looking rich kids walking around. It's like the suburbs pretending to be a city. But by the time I left about 48 hours later, I remembered why I hadn't returned.
Like an ex-boyfriend, it took me a few tries to break up with Boston for good. Boston is the boyfriend with the good resume. You date him initially because he looks good on paper, and before you know it, you've committed a year of your life, spent mostly trying to convince yourself that you really like him. Because it makes sense to. All your friends like him, and you question your own lukewarm attitude. Since Boston was seemingly a good boyfriend, I ignored the slight miscontent, because it was troublesome to break up a functional if not fully satisfying relationship. That is, until Boston wanted real commitment from me. A 4-year commitment to med school. Possibly more. Like a girlfriend suddenly proposed to, I backed off and was forced to re-evaluate the relationship. And like an ex-girlfriend invited to the ex-boyfriend's wedding, my return to see Boston this past weekend was riddled with moments of doubt. But in the end, I realized that Boston just isn't the place for me. It felt stifling for some reason. Small. Even though I think it's technically larger than Philadelphia. Provincial. That's the word. In the end, even though my social prospects may have been more plentiful here in Boston, I'm comfortable with my decision to leave. I'm not convinced it's the place for me. Even with all its trappings. I think at the end of the day, I just didn't love Boston the way I loved New York. It failed to captivate and charm me, though I tried to allow it to. Instead, I was just impatient with it. I had outgrown Boston even before I'd arrived. We were at different points in our life. Though I think it's a good "starter city" for students and those making the first foray out of the suburbs.
Its funny, the weekend I spent with Meels (who is starting med school herself in Boston) made me realize a few things. 1) How odd it is that one year later, not only are we in completely different places in our lives than we were when we first met, but 2) we've accomplished a major life goal and yet 3) we act like it's completely no big deal. We hang out like we used to. It's like nothing has changed, and yet everything has. I suppose it's comforting to know that the core of who we are doesn't change, even if everything around us does. Including some of our major values. Meels and my conversation revolves more and more around family and future husbands, and less and less around medical school and career goals. Either our biological clocks are ticking, or we've realized that dying alone isn't worth the feminist cause, or we've already accomplished the med school goal, leaving us only the husband hunt as the last remaining challenge. Is it sad that we find it easier to beat the odds of med school admission than to beat the odds of finding a soul mate? Or not even half as lofty, the odds of finding a decent boy? A decent boy who's heterosexual, because these days, it seems like all the good men are being snatched up by the homosexual cause. I wonder if this is how men felt when the feminist movement was happening.
It's a little frightening to think that in 5 years, I'll likely be a completely different person. Though I suppose you're different every 5 years regardless. 5 years old to 10 years is a big change, as is 10 to 15 to 20 to 25. The main difference in my opinion is the perception of these 5 years. It was more believable to believe in great change when I was younger, because 3 months of summer seemed like forever, not to mention 5 years. These days, 5 years passes in the blink of an eye. It hardly seems fair that you spend your entire childhood waiting to be grown-up, and when you finally get there, time speeds up and it whirls by you in a blur. Life really is short. You just don't realize it until you near the end. Or in this case, I'm realizing it about a quarter of the way through.
We watched Wedding Crashers last night. The beginning was more promising than the end delivery. But like all romantic comedies, it left me feeling a little pensive. When I was younger, I'd leave feeling a little yearnful. Why can't a guy feel that way about me? It made me wishful and it made me want. After all, what are romantic comedies but half-empty promises and carrots used to lure women into the theatres? And follow that carrot we do, oh so eagerly. Even though more often than not, reality beats us with that very same carrot stick. I guess that's the thing about women. We never stop hoping. And movies are the shreds of evidence we cling to, to show that true love from reformed bad boys/playas/bachelors-for-life really exists. And they will love us all the more even if embarassingly goofy things happen to us. In fact, those goofy things will endear us all the more to them, and they will be persistent and stubborn in their strength of love and chase us down when things are bad and our hearts are broken and save us from ourselves.
Show me one true-life romantic comedy and I'll, as Bart Simpson says, eat my shorts. Clean pairs only. On the other hand, one has to wonder, aren't these movies based in a little bit of truth? After all, these characters are believable, right? It can't be that all these movie scripts are being written by women. Then again, boys very rarely show any interest in romantic comedies. Is it because they're not believable to true-to-life men? So boys don't relate to them? Are romantic comedies nothing more than a manifestation of female fantasies? Are we victims of Hollywood marketing strategy? Pay $10 for a fulfillment of wishful thinking and a sliver of false hope that you'll live your own Kate Hudson movie? These days, I don't leave the movie feeling yearnful or with my head filled with butterfly thinking. I leave feeling pensive and a little doubtful. Pensive, because I'm no longer so sure whether it will happen for me, and slightly resigned because I've come to terms with the fact that its out of my hands anyways. Like med school admissions, all I can do is wait and see, go on interviews masquerading as "dates", and hope someone thinks I'm a good "fit". Way to still be using the consulting terminology, Ink. Test the synergy. The problem is that I'm the world's most impatient person. When reading a book in bed, I'll have to skip to the end and read the conclusion if it looks like I won't be able to read it all in one sitting. Because I need to know before I can get settled and feel comfortable enough to go to sleep. I'm not much better when it comes to life. My dad says part of the excitement of youth is the anticipation. Because you don't know. I think anticipation is only good in retrospect. When you're actually there, it's just annoying and slightly nervewracking. Can I have any sort of assurance that life will turn out okay? Is there a money-back guarantee? Can I buy an extended service contract? How long does my warranty last? How come God hands out something as precious as life and doesn't promise anything? That's like a relief helicopter coming in with much-needed drinking water but then saying "Tut tut, by the way, only some of this water is good. Some of you will get diarrhea from it, and others will get even sicker. In fact, depending on your skin color, you may be more likely than others to get a bad cup. But here, line up anyways!" Can you imagine the furor if that were to happen? But I suppose that's the whole concept of heaven isn't it. Everyone is equal and everyone has the same chance at happiness. Since heaven is where everyone is truly equal (ignoring of course, the hierarchy of angels), it directly implies that life on Earth isn't really fair. But we all knew that anyways, didn't we. We don't control the families we're born into - rich or poor. We don't control the faces we're born with, our body shapes, or our metabolism rates. Likewise, we don't control what opportunities come our way (though its arguable that environment and upbringing may influence that), and we don't control our luck. All we control are our choices. And that, of course, is what we're judged on come the end of the world as we know it. I wonder if I'll be penalized for lack of choices. After all, it's not like I have an Owen Wilson falling in love with me from one fleeting glimpse and then being so infatuated that he tracks me down and professes eternal love to me.
I leave movies these days feeling doubtful. Who is in this strange business of filling ordinary people's heads with fantastical ideas that they too can be like Rachel McAdams. I like to think I'm not too hard to look at, but I make no pretensions of being Angelina Jolie, or Ms. McAdams - who in the movie is worthy of infatuation. I'm not sure I will ever catch someone's eye like that and spark that sort of devotion. Exceptions noted of course, since I do seem to appeal to a small eclectic group of boys that for some reason or another, seem to love me. Being the logical rational being that I am, I've always found those sorts of devotion hard to swallow, because they seem to be based on so little that I can only conclude that they love the mental image they have of who I must be. Though inside, I sneakily hide a grin that maybe they love me so much because they can see my secret inner coolness. This small select group of individuals share no commonalities either, except a few ambiguously gay references. They range the gamut from nerdy science geeks to video game testers. And they're all hetero (thank you God).
I suppose this flouts DanceMonkeyDance's theory that I collect gay men, however inadvertently. I'm actually a big proponent of the fungus theory. You spend a lot of time with someone, you become more attractive to them, and you grow on them due to extended exposure. That, to me, feels more concrete because I can hold on to it and say, "So and so likes me because of this, this, and this." I like quantifying things. It makes me feel a little more secure, because I'm a little scatterbrained and if I don't make lists of things - whether that's a to-do list or a list of names for my future children or a list of words I like - I'll forget important things. That's why I always carry a pen on me. I suppose you could say that the biggest change that has happened to me as I've gotten older is that I've become a skeptic.
On the car ride up to Boston on Saturday, my classmate Idaho was listening to a particular son that had a lyric that he pointed out to me. It said something along the lines of -
I always thought I'd be punished for all the bad things I did in my life. I never realized I'd be punished for all the good things I could've done, but didn't.
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.