Posts tagged with "realization"

200 miles just to learn

The only time Rob and I ever had a private conversation was the night before Aaron’s wedding, when we were the last ones up out of the groomsmen staying at my house. Aside from that, I wasn’t sure if I’ve ever connected with him on a personal level; I’ve been discovering how differently some behave when others are around, and with Aaron or Mel in the mix, he’s got even more to prove than usual.

But I could always tell that underneath the brash and indomitable impression he gives the world is a wisdom not shared by many. It was exactly that kind of awareness I was looking to be in the company of, so I took the chance to visit when it would be just the two of us. Even though we’re so different in so many ways, it turns out the things we have in common are more significant, and I discovered he’s exactly the kind of friend I need right now.

photo montage

The man-cave mostly features posters of comic book heroes and cartoon figurines, the only pictures being found in a little frame next to the computer. It was strange to see two of myself in there next to one of him sucking back a beer with Trevor. That was back when I rocked my hair with a part down the middle and occasionally some solid colour, though I don’t remember anything about it otherwise — a strange anomaly in a person with a photographic memory. Lost the hoodie, still have the coat, won’t be caught wearing those glasses again.

The only other people who have a picture of me in their homes are Aaron and Alex. I always take those photographs as a telling sign of your relationship with someone. It means they care enough to want you around even when you’re not there. I guess that’s why each of them have more photos of me than both my parents combined, and why Rob calls me brother.

changing dressings

The nurse comes every day to change the dressings and keep an eye out for infection. Aside from the listing hobble, you’d never have an idea of the punishment this body has borne underneath, until a wince when the tube drags against his shirt. That and the fact that there isn’t a bottle of Blue in his hand. Otherwise, the accident didn’t change Rob at all. He’s still the happy-go-lucky, take-it-on-the-chin kind of guy. To him, the world has always been simple, an equation that can be solved with muscle and mass, and he carries both answers in spades.

Under any other circumstance, I’d hate him. He’s obnoxious, stubborn, and proud; a type I don’t get along with. But I’m also on his good side, which means he’s loyal and loving unlike any other, and he shows this every time he squeezes the breath out of my chest until I’m weak and coming up for air. Through him, I’m learning to understand and accept the people I’d otherwise turn away from.

frame of mine

I’ve made peace with this body. It hasn’t been an easy peace to come by, as I seem to get constant reminders about the diminutive size of my stature. Most recently, I met an older Chinese woman who admitted that she thought I looked sick and weak only after she discovered I had colitis. It was as if she thought colitis caused some kind of malnutrition that stunted my growth, and she didn’t want to bring up the fact that I was this size because it would have been too embarrassing unless it was caused by a medical condition.

Asian male self portrait


I’ve been dealing with all kinds of similar comments since I was a kid, so when a girlfriend would say that she liked a particular part or portion of my body, I always thought they were just blinded by love. Eventually I realized that if they could come to love this body, then I could too. It will never look right in anything but slim-fit extra smalls from Mexx. It will never be good enough for my parents. But it will always be who I am, and I’ve learned to accept that.

cause you’re bored and you can doesn’t mean you should

I always wonder if I’ll ever reach such a complete peace that I’d stop writing completely. One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a place where I could get things down and sort my thoughts out on a page, but I don’t need to do much of either nowadays.

I know so many people who’ve continued writing, even after finding that kind of happiness in their lives. Unfortunately, happiness has robbed them of literary inspiration, and now they have nothing interesting to say. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stopped writing, but they post for the sake of posting instead of having something to say or express or vent, and it reeks of desperation and insecurity.

I used to worry that happiness would make me a boring person too, but now I wouldn’t mind as long as I realized it and gave up this blog. It’s so embarrassing to write out of a belief that it’ll make you interesting. Or even worse, to be oblivious to the fact you’re writing about the most inane things.

round my hometown memories are fresh

It’s good to be home.

By the end of my journey, I started longing for the comfort of my house and slippers, as I imagined being splayed out on the couch, watching a movie with a bowl of ice cream in my hands. It’s been more than a week since I’ve been back, and I’ve yet to do this. It’s hard to pull myself out of the old habit of being productive. Sometimes I need to be waiting at a terminal in New York with a three-hour layover to be able to sit down and enjoy a film.1

large bud

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.

At the same time, I’ve never been more indulgent, my latest vice being those bags of York Peppermint Patties. I figured out that life is too short and I should be enjoying myself when I was sipping café allongé on a patio with Karin on a beautiful Paris day, and I could finally appreciate this fact when talking to Dennis over our lager on an Edinburgh afternoon.

This is probably why I don’t feel overstimulated, even though I’ve been going full-tilt for the last two months. Darren came over as part of his sabbatical, and we did the things I rarely find an excuse to do myself, like going shoe shopping or ordering sushi. Last week I staked him $20 and watched him win $600 when he hit his number at the roulette table, five minutes after we stepped in the casino. He gave me back a percentage of my winnings, and he spent the night playing blackjack while I bet on the electronic horses. We didn’t end up winning much after that, but we both left up.

Lisa even took us dancing2, where I learned that the entire appeal of strobe lights is their ability to make everything look like a Michael Bay movie filmed in 24p. It turns out this is also a great way to do some people-watching, although you start to get depressed when you see a pair of kids from their respective groups picking a fight with each other cause they’re drunk, then making up and playing grab-ass on the dance floor. Ironically, I ended up being the one sober enough to drive home.

sushi platters

From left to right: Yummy roll (deep fried crab, avocado, salmon, white fish — served warm), spicy salmon pizza, eel special roll, green dragon roll (avocado on tempura shrimp and cucumber), shrimp tempura roll, and Philadelphia roll.

Last time I checked, there were over 5000 unread items in my feed reader, and tweets from over a week ago in my Twitter timeline. It’s strange to be so disconnected from life as I knew it. I haven’t written anything in as long either, which is a very long time for me. I considered deleting this blog, then taking a month off instead, then decided I’d write when I felt like it. The thing is, I always feel like writing, but lately this urge has given way to being productive in other ways or having fun. It’s like I’m finally on the Taoist path, discovering that my trip has changed me more than I first thought.

  1. I ended up watching seven on my travels, which is probably more than all of last year):

    • Sunshine — good as long as you can get over one really big, really stupid plot element. Which I couldn’t, so on the whole this movie sucked, even though it had some of the best directing I’ve ever seen in my life.
    • Network — Unbelievably ahead of it’s time in terms of media commentary
    • The Last Picture Show — a great coming-of-age movie directed by that guy who played Dr. Melfi’s psychiatrist on the Sopranos, and Cybill Shepherd in her debut role
    • Ladder 49 — I don’t trust Pat’s taste in movies anymore
    • Kung Fu Panda — they were pretty good at the Chinese details
    • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — a fun movie overall, the best part being that it’s set in Toronto. Also, very disappointed at how much of a sellout Bryan Lee O’Malley is for changing the ending based on audience reactions at test screenings
    • To Kill a Mockingbird — I wanted to be a lawyer after seeing this


  2. Which for me is pretty much just swaying back and forth while being mesmerized by the guitar players. []