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
[Friday, September 29, 2006]
Do you know what I'm doing right now?
I'm sitting on my stoop. I love having a stoop. And it's my very own stoop that I don't have to share with anyone else. There are some pros to no longer being in Manhattan and doing apartment living. I'm people-watching, seeing the bikers and cars go by on the little two-narrow-lane street that I live on. There's someone moving into the unit two doors down from mine. We're all connected by brick so I feel like he's a part of my family now, even though he doesn't know it yet. My ipod is in my ears, providing a soundtrack to every moment, and I have a bottle of pumpkin ale beside me. Thank God for wireless connections that reach out here. Today is simply beautiful. I love the fall. I love it when it's 65 degrees-ish, a nip in the air, a light jacket and skinny scarf, but still warm enough to get away with flipflops. I'm in love with Today. I'm in love with the railing I'm leaning against. Is this what normal people live like everyday? The ones who don't have school and exams to worry about? It's beautiful.
Tomorrow, I might be heading out to a farm for a local film festival. Outdoor movies, autumn blankets, sweaters, beer, and popcorn. And tomato plants all around us. This is why I can never leave the East Coast. Apple picking and hayrides. Bonfires in the woods where your front roasts and your back freezes. I love that.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, September 24, 2006]
Astrocyte, Charlie, Milo, and Frank the Rabbit.
Is it odd that most of my urban family consists of anthropomorphized men? Why did I not make any of them women? Charlie is my bicycle, who will be turning 54 this year according to the decal on his rear fender which states, "New Hampshire Bicycle Permit: 1962". Like the Lost Boys of Sudan, we're not quite sure when he was born and can only estimate. Milo II is my new Thinkpad X60. Named after the boy in the Phantom Tollbooth, he may not be flashy, but I'm hoping he'll take me on wild and fun adventures. All I've used him for so far is typing up grant reports. And Frank the Rabbit? He's my fish. My poor neglected Frank and his plant Herbert. Funny how I never think - "my poor neglected parents."
Posted by ink |
[Friday, September 22, 2006]
The Self-Employed and Lackadaisical.
The daytime coffeeshop crowd is an interesting mix of entrepreneurs, big-time CEO's, the elderly, and students. Who else is sitting in a coffeeshop doing "work" at noon on Friday?
I have a new theory about medical school. Skipping class and spending my days studying in coffeeshops is the way to keep me sane, but ultimately lonely. Going to class and seeing my classmates is great - but stresses me out beyond belief. Helping out at prostate screenings for Chinatown grandpas is just funny. The questionnaire goes something like this:
"Do you have trouble getting an erection?" "When you do get an erection, is it hard enough for penetration of your partner's body?" "After penetration, do you have trouble maintaining the erection until the end of intercourse?" "How long does it take until completion of intercourse?"
I practiced with my mom on the phone to make sure I was translating "intercourse" to Chinese appropriately. I had training on it the other day at the hospital. Words like "ejaculation" are not words that my parents taught me at home.
My guy was 72 years old and hard of hearing. "Maintaining an erection... MAINTAINING.. ERECTION. ERECTION!!!" Considering his age and the fact that he comes from an Asian culture that does not promote health and/or satisfying sex lives, I was very proud of the fact that he was on Viagra. But I declined when the doctor came out and asked me whether I wanted to feel his prostate. It would've been a little less disconcerting if it was a grandpa of some other ethnicity besides my own. Not because other grandpas deserve to have a young Asian girl putting her finger in their bums, but because Chinese grandpas hit a little too close to home for me, and I was almost positive it would be mortifying for both of us for cultural reasons.
I forgot to bring my helmet today when I rode to the coffeeshop. But the worry of having my brains leak out onto the streets of Philadelphia was allayed by the sheer joy of the experience. There's something about riding a bicycle without a helmet that is ultimately free'ing. Not because of any rebel tendencies against the establishment and helmet-wearing laws, but simply because you can feel the air rushing through your hair. This is how I used to ride when I was little, with the streamers coming out of my handle bars, and the clickety-clack of cards on my wheel spokes. Before helmets came out to save our lives. I find myself torn. Life is so much less vivid when it's safer.
Posted by ink |
[Tuesday, September 19, 2006]
Coming up from underneath.
I've noticed that I've started studying with my brow furrowed and the corners of my mouth turned down. I'm not sure if this is a consequence of the material, or a symptom of my quickly waning cheeriness leftover from summertime.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, September 17, 2006]
Kenmore came down to visit Philadelphia this weekend, for the last time before he leaves the country. He found a job in Hong Kong a few weeks ago and will be joining his girlfriend there in early October. We said goodbye at the train station about half an hour ago. Though we've rarely been in the same city, Kenmore's become a constant in my life. He brings out the best in me. He's even managed to train me into becoming a 'phone person' over the years (something I'm notoriously bad at), just out of necessity of never being in the same vicinity. We have zero in common (he hates reading, not such a huge fan of travelling, and never spends money on frivolous things), but somehow - we get along famously. He's got a hysterically dry sense of humor, a brutal honesty about necessary things in life such as natural body functions, and a similar set of values, drive, and ambition. And he's bringing all of this with him to Hong Kong, 12 hours away from the East coast of the U.S. Admittedly, we haven't been in the same city for the past 8 years, except for a brief 3 month overlap in New York, so it really should be nothing new. However, psychologically - it's wrenching to know that if I was to have a sudden crisis, I can't escape to New York and spend the weekend hanging out on his futon moping while he picks up my hairs with Scotch tape off the floor (I shed like you wouldn't believe, especially when upset).
He's entering the second phase of his life. The post-first-job-after-graduation portion. And me - I'm left sitting in a coffeeshop in the gay-borhood in Philadelphia, reading about herpes, and surrounded by hot men without the least bit of interest in me. I'm going to miss him. The 80's music playing is somewhat comforting. Except they're currently playing Faithfully, the song to the prom I never went to.
Posted by ink |
[Thursday, September 14, 2006]
So, are you dating anyone?
The ubiquitous question that is bound to come up whenever you catch up with someone you haven't seen in a long time. Like a zit waiting to pop.
Last Friday night, I left the post-exam festivities early to walk home by myself. About halfway through a drink, I realized that the excuse I gave myself last year for not clicking with these people doesn't apply anymore. I've been here for a full year, and we still haven't gotten past the usual drunken chitchat. So I left and took a nice long walk home and thought about things. Passing along the way every couple existing in the city of Philadelphia.
I'm turning 26 this year. All I want is to 1) not die alone 2) find someone who is easy going, of average looks (because people grow on me), and who thinks I'm awesome. I feel like these are relatively reasonable requests. The only person who really falls into that category right now is Pink Robot, and he actually surpasses the requirements. He's easy going, of above-average looks, and thinks I'm awesome. We like the same music, he treats me very well, and he's also a secret computer geek. I do this pendulum thing with him - where I keep wanting to like him and thinking maybe I should cut him some slack and give him another chance. And then when I do go on another date with him, it only serves to confirm what I knew before - that there is zero attraction. This has happened 4 or 5 times already, all to his detriment since I'm sure I'm needlessly leading him on. But it represents the hope that maybe I'm mistaken and will find an underlying love for him next time around. All it really means is that I have no right to complain about lack of opportunities. The problem lies simply with me. In an effort to address this problem, I had my doctor change my birth control pill to a slightly different formulation.
The tally is now up to 7 years and counting, of singlehood that is. Besides Pink Robot, there's been the usual string of inappropriate men liking me. My dad has switched from giving me advice on how to attract boys ("Ink, when you meet a boy, you should tell him you play the piano") to telling me I need to trick them. I'm not holding my breath.
I have been getting these interesting text messages from what looks like an international number in China. They run in the vein of:
"Hello. Are you in? I love you." "I love you!" "I love you?" "I love you..."
...and every variation thereof. They started last night around 11 PM, and came in at hourly intervals throughout the night, keeping me up. There was a final "Good morning!" at 6:30 AM. As lovable as I know I am, really - telling me at 3 AM in the morning is rather unreasonable. I'm comforted by the fact that my supposed stalker is halfway across the world and is probably not an immediate threat to my safety. Though I did jump out of my skin when the UPS guy knocked on my door this morning with my computer.
Yes, I got a replacement laptop! After my first Thinkpad bit the dust after just a week and a whole odyssey of trying to exchange/return it for a new one, today I welcomed the arrival of Milo II. I'm hoping this little guy will last longer than his predecessor.
Posted by ink |
[Monday, September 04, 2006]
Have mercy, oh literary gods of medicine.
Right now, I'm reading a lecture entitled, "How the Poisoned Patient Dies." There's quite a few ways to bite the dust. None of them glamorous. The entire toxicology class is taught by a pathologist who specializes in pediatric toxicology. He has the most bizarre poisoned-children jokes. Second year of med school gets progressively more and more weird every day.
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, September 03, 2006]
What do I really know?
The answer is - not much. As a brand-new second year medical student, I'm little more than a first year student with a new title. When I used to consult for major investment banks, people used to ask me all the time if I could give them investment advice. I didn't know much back then either. I just worked for the difficult personalities at the banks, I wasn't actually one of them. These days, people ask me all the time for medical advice. "So, I have this thing..." I can see that this is going to go on for the rest of the life. My dad is especially guilty of this, asking me every time I go home about the corn on his foot, or this weird squeak in his knee and could it be related to the heartburn he's had lately? My solution to all of this is to tell him that he should get a colonoscopy. Because males over the age of 50 (or is it 55?) should get regular check-ups. He's since stopped asking (and still won't go to the colon-doctor, though I can't blame him for his reluctance).
First year is spent learning how the body is supposed to work. Second year is supposed to teach you how things go wrong. So as of right now - all I can really tell you is that it's not really supposed to work like that. I don't know how to fix it or how it happened, only that you should probably see a doctor.
Self-diagnosis is the best. I noticed today that I have a growing blind spot in my left eye. I started to write down the word "trimetaphan" in my notes (trimetaphan is a ganglionic antagonist, which means that it blocks neural signals), but found myself going over the "T" multiple times because it looked like the pen was skipping and not writing the "T". Shifting my angle of view slightly made me realize that the pen was working fine - I just couldn't see it for some reason, and I now had a really fat "T". My peripheral vision started to blur - sort of like heat waves coming off the street on a really hot day, and I had a halo of wavy-ness around the edges. I could look at a motorcycle and see the front wheel, but the back wheel would be oddly missing. I think it's from studying too hard. I've decided that it's nothing, but it's odd that it happened. No panic allowed. Only denial.
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.