Nothing says summer like a juicy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth steak. And to have a friend cook it for you?
Well that’s even better.
Megalomania is watching a man with a brain in a jar court a woman who laughs like a mule, and believing that it’s the story of one’s life. Weakness is losing a thought to a pretty face. Concupiscence is the interpretation of awkward roughhousing as a prelude to fucking. Jealousy is wondering why one never had the same opportunity, and acceptance is realizing that one did.
In the end, it’s not the situations we relate to, it’s the hopelessness of being stuck with the decisions we make. Of being caught between the risk of settling, and the fear of not doing any better.
Happiness is freedom from both.
I also dressed down, and stole a drink from work. Two of my best friends finally met each other. They got along famously, better than any of my other friends in the past. I supported one on the biggest decision of his life. The other told me that I had always been her hopeful out of the round of interviews for my job, over a chicken sandwich and some onion rings. I learned the four Cs of diamond appraisal, and saw a carbon spec through a loupe for the first time.
I met two cats; one rolled into my lap while playing Double Dash with the best kids in the world. A family inspired me, and I dared to dream of some day having my own.
Some days I wake up and I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world. Other days I wake up and I’m too diffident to even answer my phone at work or at home. Most days I’m stable.
Here I am, trying to get another entry down, but there’s a movie playing on OMNI.2, one of Canada’s premier multi-cultural channels. Although the programming of OMNI.2 is aimed for 22 different ethnocultural groups in 20 different languages, Saturday nights are always in Cantonese. Almost just as invariable are the romantic comedies of Hong Kong cinema that they broadcast around this time.
It makes sense of course; studies have shown that by 2017, visible minorities will top 50% in Toronto and Vancouver, with Chinese people making up over 500,000 of that percentage. Add to this the growing fascination of younger people with the Asian culture, and recent flicks from Hong Kong are the perfect way to build a strong market presence.
Unfortunately, the movies are mostly trite: a collection of predictable, saccharine love stories with little artistic intent, and the one on now is no different. I have to admit though, as simple as these movies are, they still affect me. When I see the characteristic neon building signs, homely food stalls filled with wok hey, and claustrophobically busy streets of Hong Kong again, I’m filled with a certain inexplicable romanticism.
And I can’t seem to get over it. All I want to do is go to Hong Kong again and share the experience with someone. An experience that’s heart-racingly poignant, like the adolescent memory of a first date, when you’re building up the courage to hold someone’s hand. Perhaps, like Humbert Humbert in Nabokov’s Lolita, the memory of my childhood has frozen something in me. A memory that’s beautiful.
Simply, purely, beautiful.
I’m only awake now because I’m too used to waking up at half past six on workdays. A mug of Hong Kong milk tea (made with condensed milk for extra creaminess) has always been my weekend comfort food, but I ran out of loose leaves a few weeks ago. Usually, I sit at my desk and write after breakfast, finishing off the tea from breakfast, but instead I’ll be going to my music for inspiration.
I’ve run into a string of good music lately, or maybe I’ve just been hearing things in a different way. None of my playlists seem relevant again. More details when I have more time.
It’s good to be sober.
In the last year of high school, I was called into the guidance office for some direction in choosing a post-secondary institution. The councilor, a very, very Caucasian man, went through the features of each university, noting especially the ones with nice campuses. In an effort to save his time, I explained that the esthetics of a university were of no consequence to me, because they wouldn’t affect my life. Apparently this was a different approach from other students, whom he believed decided on the direction of their education through a desire for lush lawns and big dorm rooms.
I’d always believed that I’d feel the same way about a house as a campus. Give me enough room for my computer with walls thick enough to crank my music and I’ll be happy, I used to say. While this may still hold true, I’ve discovered that I’m even happier with a nice place. I finally understood that councilor, four years later, after changing universities for a brief post-graduate stint. The new campus was big, modern, and inspiring; quite a difference from my previous university with its brown buildings and constant construction.
It’s the same when comparing a rented place of residence and an actual house. A house begets security, and in turn, a sense of confidence. There’s a distinct feeling, every day, waking up in one’s own home. Knowing that every paycheque is going towards some equity, a little piece of property I call my own. Having a comfort zone, a place that I don’t have to deal with anyone I don’t want to. A place where I make the rules, not having to answer to landlords or security.
It was the process too, that helped me grow. Aside from the common sense of owning a house as a long-term investment, I was inspired (or should I say “driven”) to move because of a roommate. After one particularly childish conflict, I decided more than four months before I actually had time to look, to buy a house and take Trolley with me. We moved in before the lease was up on the apartment.
I went through the entire process myself, knowing nothing at the start. I had never done anything on this scale before, and while it may seem trivial to those who have been initiators their entire lives, this was a big step for me. It let me know that I could actually accomplish the things I want.
And that cast aside all the doubt that was holding me back.
It turns out I have a garden.
I moved in when there was still snow on the ground, and I only knew that there was a little patch of soil in my backyard from the few dead stems sticking out of the snow canopy. Eventually the snow melted, then spring came and passed, but the soil remained barren and dry. Summer started, and Trolley noticed some sprouting when he would go to smoke outside. He pulled some dead growth and weeds but did nothing more, not even a watering. The garden just started to bloom by itself.
I have no idea what kind of plants they are, but they seem to be doing well.
It’s easy for someone to associate an experience with the last memory involved. I’m not without guilt in this issue myself. I’ll admit that the rough patches near the end of my relationship with Loo have come to define the experience a little unfairly. Sometimes I have to remind myself of how much it’s helped and changed me.
In reality, I learned more from my time with Louise than from any previous relationship. This was a person who inspired (and pushed) me to be better, but it wasn’t only her, it was the lifestyle as well.
I try not to have too much responsibility at this stage in my life, so when I do have it I take it seriously. Being a dominant means that responsibility is assumed over another person, another being, another living soul. To be given this responsibility, as a bond of supine trust, provided me a sense of confidence I had never felt before.
And with this trust came a rejuvenated zeal for self-improvement. She was strong herself, so I had to be stronger. If Louise’s contribution was to push, my contribution was to grow. It helped me figure out what I want in the next few stages of my life. I stopped slouching. I started speaking with more authority. I started walking into restaurants first, something I could never do before, for reasons I could never explain. I demanded more out of life.
In the end, it didn’t work out. The dynamic wasn’t right. Unfortunately, I never felt like I was able to completely handle everything until it was actually over. Funny how life works out like that. What I’ve lost is only relevant now.
But what I’ve gained is more important.
I got to work early this morning, around 7:30 or so. It was an effort to make up for yesterday, in which I called in sick. By 8:30, my boss had asked me to go to his cottage and help him with his new pontoon, and we left by nine.
After picking the boat up from the dealership, I was charged with the task of driving his car from one of the boat docks of the lake to his cottage. We spent the whole day there, and I managed to get in a few photos. I like the shot of the upholstery the most: the colours are perfect, and have those luxurious, matching cream colours that are so characteristic of aqua vehicles. Even the motor is pretty sweet (4-stroke electronic fuel injection) and only requires the turn of a key to start.
I’m exhausted now, but it was definitely nice to be out of the office and on a lake, on a Thursday no less.
I already had a new computer priced out — One of the dual-core AMD Athlon X2 4400+ processors (because 0.2 MHz isn’t worth a motherfucking $500 price jump) based on the Toledo core — marking my switch to AMD, 2 gigs of super fast RAM, 200 gig SATA HDD (I decided not to go dual for RAID 0 cause striping apparently doesn’t do much), the latest ATI Sapphire Radeon series — X850XT Platinum with dual DVI (I was thinking of SLI nVidia cards, but then I’d want to buy two cards when upgrading), a DVD burner, and one of the deluxe socket-939 Asus motherboards. I even bought two 19″ flat panel monitors two months ago in anticipation of the system, and got my parents to front me for some of the cash.
Then my air conditioner broke. It’s one of those grey areas, where it would cost me $300 just to test for leaks (after spending $100 to find out what was wrong in the first place). This, in turn, is to find out how much it would cost to fix it, which could be anywhere from $300 to $1000. So instead of taking the chance on a seven-year-old A/C that may break again next year, I decided to put the money towards a new one. A brand-name one that would hopefully last me more than 10 years, with a 5 year parts/labor warranty and a 10 year warranty on the compressor coil.
Unfortunately, it’s going to cost me $3500. This means that instead of saving for a computer, I’ll be aiming to pay the A/C over the next six months. I could have stretched the payment over a year, but it’d be at 5% interest, compounded monthly. My financial goals are being put on hold now. I don’t need a new computer, although I could easily take advantage of a dual-core desktop, and it would certainly be inspiring to use such a sweet machine to work on my projects with Aaron. This has only made me more determined; I’m going to save all the money myself now, and thinking over a longer term.
The first catalyst involved in my “transformation” was my job. It could be said that the only reason this job was so significant is because I had never had such a job before. Perhaps things would be different if I started my current career at a different time, although the same could be said about the other two factors.
I was hired to work closely with one of two owners, a man with the drive, mind, wit, and personality to run one of the top companies in the industry. I see myself as a tool, an extension of his person, responsible for things that he doesn’t have time to do. By freeing his time, the company is able to grow faster, because his resources can then be put to better use.
My role is as a sort of submissive. This works out well, because in (most of) the rest of my life I’m dominant. Like me, many submissives at work are also dominants at home, and vice-versa. People want change from the everyday life of their career, and in fact, my submission in this role is what makes me a better dominant in others (more on this extremely significant point in the forthcoming part of this series).
I don’t have the personality to run a business, the way my boss doesn’t have the personality to work for someone else. Our roles are clearly defined, and I’m much more productive as a submissive in this situation. It’s this productiveness that has given me so much confidence. I know how good a worker I am, how integral my role is in the company, and how difficult I would be to replace.
Relational roles aside, however, there are several other factors of my job that contributed to what I consider explosive growth. The responsibility I have was a big thing. As the only IT person there, I have to make sure that all our hardware and software is sufficient for what we’re doing. When the nature of the business changes, the upper echelon comes to me for a solution, whether it’s upcoming VOIP implementation to save on long distance, wireless tracking of our pick-ups and deliveries, or something as simple as a server upgrade to handle the market growth.
Even things like making phone calls have changed me. I was never comfortable on the phone. Only a year ago, ordering pizza was a difficult thing to do, and Trolley can attest to this after getting him to call for me several times. The only explanation I could come up with for this behaviour is that there are people on the other end, but I still can’t really make sense of this aside from poor self-confidence. All I knew was that my telephone shyness was a problem. I got over it by forcing myself to make phone calls at work. After all, one does not stop a project at a telephone conversation when one’s boss wants something done. I still have my off-days, of course, when I avoid making calls altogether, but those are few and far between.
Not only has my job sparked a change in me, it’s paved a way for other growth as well. Even financially speaking, I now have the freedom to pursue my other goals and hobbies.
Every day I work, I’m thankful.
Not by choice, of course. I rolled around in bed for an hour or so, and decided that I should do something productive if I was awake anyway. After some shopping in the refreshing morning weather (thank god for the 24 hour grocery store just five minutes away), I made breakfast and fell back asleep for another hour.
I’m awake now, but I’m still drowsy as fuck.
I’ve been trying to get an entry written since wednesday and a pack of ground beef browned since monday, but the week has been one exhausting day after another. I worked a 13-hour day on tuesday, and it feels like I haven’t recovered yet. It seems like every week I’m waiting for another weekend so I can recuperate and get my life together.
It’s not that I haven’t had time to write lately, it’s that every time I sit down and set myself on writing, I can’t follow through on any of my ideas. I blame the close proximity of my house to my job. For years, going to university and going to work on the bus would force me to sit passively, while someone would take me to my destination. I didn’t have to think about anything, so my mind would drift about random things, like my friends, my relationships, and my life. Back then, my entries were thorough and better developed.
It’s slowly getting easier to write again. I don’t have to force myself as much.