Monthly Archives: November 2005

Show Me Which Constellations You Know, A Denouement

Eternal Sunshine 1

Eternal Sunshine 2

Eternal Sunshine 3

People always say that this song or that book or some movie is a sto­ry about them­selves in some way. One of my friends is tru­ly deter­mined that his life has been proph­e­sied in the eight and a half minute rock-opera Paradise By The Dashboard Lights. My sto­ry was told in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, but it was­n’t any­thing with as much grandeur, it was sim­ply about a girl.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the sto­ries them­selves, but the details of each sto­ry that give them such relat­able con­vic­tion. In Paradise By The Dashboard Lights, Meatloaf sings about a coerced com­mit­ment lead­ing to an even­tu­al eter­ni­ty spent with the wrong per­son because of a stub­born, but more impor­tant­ly moral, refusal to break a promise. The prog­nos­ti­ca­tion of these par­tic­u­lars sends my friend sweat­ing when­ev­er he hears the song.

For me, it took the form of pangs, from the details of Clementine’s char­ac­ter. The fucked up girl look­ing for her own peace of mind, who applies her per­son­al­i­ty in a paste. A per­son who keeps you off bal­ance, always guess­ing, and con­stant­ly frus­trat­ed. A girl who sends off sirens in your brain telling you to run as far as you can before you get burned, but you stay any­way, against all log­ic, resigned to the even­tu­al fate.

And here I was, wait­ing to be saved, think­ing she’s a con­cept, or she’ll com­plete me, or she’s going to make me feel alive. When it did­n’t work out, I used to say that it was for the best, that I was in it to have no regrets, but it was real­ly because I could­n’t leave. I was drawn mag­net­i­cal­ly, inex­plic­a­bly, to the last per­son to deserve even the effort of all the torn up thoughts.

To the one that got away.

On the week­end, I dis­cov­ered that I could final­ly watch Eternal Sunshine with­out those pangs when I had felt them for so long, even when I already knew how impor­tant it is not to for­get these expe­ri­ences, as Joel fig­ures out while hid­ing Clementine in his sub­con­scious. All the resid­ual emo­tions have passed, and now I can talk, and laugh, and think, and share the expe­ri­ence like an embar­rass­ing ado­les­cent mem­o­ry. It only took two years.

Everybody’s got­ta learn some­time.

A Weekend With Pita

Pita was over for the week­end. He had a com­pe­ti­tion in the city, in both Standard and Latin, and need­ed a place to crash. He tells me that he’s at the point where he’s stuck between achiev­ing a high­er lev­el and pri­or­i­tiz­ing the sport as a recre­ation, espe­cial­ly after com­ing back emp­ty-hand­ed this week­end when he won two golds at the last com­pe­ti­tion. 25 is get­ting old for a com­pet­i­tive dancer, and his instruc­tor, who’s the same age as him, is already the Canadian cham­pi­on.

I have an inter­est­ing rela­tion­ship with Pita. He was the first per­son I met when I moved to this city, shar­ing a room on the 15th floor of a res­i­den­cy. Similar inter­ests and intel­lects meant that we got along much bet­ter than the oth­er pairs of frosh room­mates, most of whom got stuck with the crazy, the irra­tional, and the dis­gust­ing. We went sep­a­rate ways the next year, but moved into an apart­ment togeth­er for the fol­low­ing two years. After part­ing ways as room­mates, when he moved 12000 kilo­me­tres to the place he was born, before com­ing back to this coun­try, we did­n’t speak to each oth­er for more than eigh­teen months.

Now, when­ev­er I see him, when­ev­er he’s in town vis­it­ing old friends or par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­pe­ti­tions, we can greet each oth­er with­out for­mal­i­ties and just pick up where we left off. It’s on odd state between acquain­tance and friend­ship. We share our­selves, and what we’ve learned and how we’ve changed since last see­ing each oth­er, but nev­er keep in touch oth­er­wise. We also give each oth­er per­spec­tive. He often speaks as if he’s ask­ing for advice or guid­ance, with­out actu­al­ly ask­ing. I offer my point of view, which he always inter­prets in a dif­fer­ent way than intend­ed, and this keeps me on my toes.

Show Me Which Constellations You Know

Forget what went wrong. The tiffs, the tantrums, the tears.

Remember every­thing we had. The com­fort of cradling under sheets in the sum­mer, the quin­tes­sen­tial excite­ment of the unknown, the rush of being saved from a pro­sa­ic life.

Show me which con­stel­la­tions you know.

And we’ll walk along the beach for­ev­er.

Back Into The Game

After a ten month hia­tus, I’m back into my reg­u­lar table ten­nis rou­tine again. I start­ed out extreme­ly rusty, feel­ing as if I was learn­ing how to play again, but now I’m almost at the lev­el that I end­ed with. It feels like it’s advan­ta­geous to take a step back from play­ing so that I can for­get all my bad habits while remem­ber­ing all the the­o­ry, because I can tell exact­ly what I need to change to improve now. I wish I could say the same for my golf game when I get out on the cours­es every spring.

My bout with gas­troen­teri­tis left me with a small­er appetite and ema­ci­at­ed frame. The sud­den weight loss — bring­ing my weight pre­car­i­ous­ly close to 100 lbs. — has been rather notice­able; my sweaters are bag­gy, my rings slip off my fin­gers, and I’ve lost two notch­es on my belt. Most peo­ple strug­gle to lose weight, I strug­gle to gain it and stay above 120. Table ten­nis is one of the best things I can do to fix this. After every ses­sion, I’m rav­en­ous­ly hun­gry, and this usu­al­ly con­tin­ues through to the day after.

Table ten­nis is also one of the only sports that I enjoy enough to not have to drag my ass out every time, which is def­i­nite­ly an advan­tage when the venue is an hour away. Unfortunately, my sched­ule on Tuesdays and Thursdays now con­sists of:

  1. wak­ing up at six thir­ty in the morn­ing
  2. going to work for eight and a half hours
  3. com­ing home and sleep­ing for half an hour
  4. eat­ing a din­ner which I’ve pre­pared ear­li­er in the week (with no time to cook)
  5. trav­el­ling to the gym
  6. play­ing for two hours
  7. trav­el­ling home
  8. show­er­ing and falling asleep by mid­night

There are no breaks in between, which means that I have to watch the clock dur­ing almost every­thing that I do. It’s a com­plete rush from start to fin­ish. The upside is that when I’m at the gym, work­ing on bet­ter short-ball con­trol, or try­ing to achieve a back­hand smash, I can for­get every­thing else, which is some­thing that does­n’t hap­pen for me eas­i­ly.

A Bittersweet Life

He admit­ted to me that in his car, when he’s dri­ving alone, there’s a com­pul­sion to put togeth­er the details of his father as he writes in his mind the speech for the even­tu­al day that a eulo­gy will need to be deliv­ered. The only oth­er per­son he’s admit­ted this to is his girl­friend, who’s labeled the prac­tice as rather dis­turb­ing. Morbid, I’ll agree, as his father is far from pass­ing, but not as strange as she makes it out to be. In return, I admit to him that I do the same thing when I piece togeth­er sto­ries of his life for the speech I’ll be deliv­er­ing as best man at his wed­ding, an event just as grave, and every bit as trag­ic.

He humor­ous­ly finds relief in this.