Into the Trap

I’ve never been good at waiting. It’s something that I have been terrible at since age 0. But I’m (slightly regretfully) now 23 and while I know that isn’t very long, I’m hoping two decades does count for something. While I am still partly a 2-year-old stomping my tiny feet in agitation at the prospect of waiting a few more days for a hint of something or for the breaking of this silence, I know it’ll be alright to wait or that I’ll survive the wait. Hay. Life is crazy sometimes. How is it that a day can seem so long and also seem so short once you realize you might not have it for long?

Like I said, I am a deeply illogical creature. I had a good day today, though. I laughed a lot.

In other news, my officemate (Hi, Joco) found my blog today. For some reason he decided to search my name on YouTube and kapoof, supposedly extinct videos–kapoof remnants of my somewhat failed past as a person who takes photos of herself every morning (oh, wait). Hahaha One key word and–awwwww, shit. I was just talking about how weird it is when the different parallel dimensions of your life collide and well, hello. It was weird but it really made me laugh. In a way, I’m kind of glad that he found it. I am curious as to how a person’s selves can come together. So strange! I also added my work friend Rain (another Rain, not Raine hahaha) on Facebook. So this is a step for me, putting my different worlds together.

I am somewhat reminded of the first time I ate ketchup with fries. Like it was weird but I felt like–so this is what normal people do. Somehow I feel that (based off of how many of my friends go out of town with “work friends” or whose high school barkadas somehow end up melding with their childhood friends or whatever) this kind of synergy is easier for most people to achieve. Meh. Speaking of self, though–I do really like the arbitrary selfie that follows.

Anyway, tonight and tomorrow morning I’m going to be working on a project for EM’s fifth issue which is going to be edited by FFY. All of this was already the torture I knew I’d subjected myself to when I began writing but I must admit, it has all been made even all the more fucking challenging by this goddamn heat.

Coffee & Flowers: Talkin’ Talk

There was this old D’Sound song that I was oh-so-fond of. It went a little bit like talkin’ talk is not just talk, getting’ there is half the walk or something. Hah. Let’s pretend I don’t remember. Today, I had a really good lunch break. I was able to sit around by myself for about fifteen minutes and was able to contemplate the following things: what is it about the pantry that is so comforting? What is it about reading that makes you feel okay? And moreover, why is it that there are so many aspects of a person’s life that run parallel to each other? Why is my office self different from my “writing” self? Or different from my family self? My student self? My music self? My girly self? My friend Raine said something interesting to me a few months ago: where have I hiding all my friends? She said that it was so curious that all the time she’s known me (around six years), she only met a huge lot of my friends this year. It was like I lived in a parallel world. It isn’t on purpose though, these parallel lives or parallel type of scenarios. Why do I feel like these things coming together is so odd? Why do I feel odd for them not coming together? Furthermore, is fiction the attempt at putting all these things together? Is it possible? Moreover, does it matter? Ah, all the pretentious kind of shit that I thumb through—which is just fine, I guess. All fiction is a kind of pretension anyway. Like all good literature or art, I guess what matters is that it’s believable.

And then some of my office mates decided to go on their lunch breaks as well and suddenly, there was a whole lot of talkin’ to be done. That was really nice. To put things in context: it isn’t often that I get to have lunch with other people because a) our office is a small but busy one and b) our lunch times are adjustable, according to our shifts and positions so that the office is never empty. Not that I mind this, either. I like productivity. It’s comforting to hear the clacking of keys. Today was one of those rare days when I got to spend my break actually talking to people. It’s very interesting, the number of things you can learn from people around you—or about the people around you.

There was talk about rice cookers: what you can make in them (noodles, soup, fried chicken) and how you can place them on the floor near the socket and accidentally step on them. There was talk about coffee and how cheap beans are and then the surreptitious look of disdain at the instant coffee maker. Someone said something about melons and how good they are with milk. Someone bit into preserved ham. I cut into my chicken nuggets. Someone mentions vegetables and someone else heads back to their desk.

I forgot my coffee at home today—that’s a first and possibly my karma for both drinking too much of it and trying to cut down on it rapidly. I’m still on the fence about whether or not karma operates so directly. I get the feeling that the minute that karma becomes reasonable or logical, I will no longer believe in it. I wonder if I believe in it. I wonder about logic, in general. I am an illogical person, underneath all the science-ing of this, or science-ing of that—I think that this is where my desire to outline or to enumerate or to force cohesion into things comes from: the actual lack of the belief that it can be achieved. And so I am superstitious: I do believe that somehow, not having the coffee may propel something bad to happen.

And nothing bad happened. I had dinner with my friend Trizha, I met my sister’s friend/teacher from her Creative Writing class. I talked a lot. And now I’m ready for bed. And maybe things will be okay, yes?

 

Reticulate, Not Ripple

When people say time isn’t linear, they usually mean to say that it isn’t chronological or that our perception of time is different than time itself but these days I can’t help but feel like that saying is more literal that it’s made out to be. I feel like time is in fact, non-linear as in it ain’t a fucking line: it’s squiggly and convoluted and irregular and its movement is so sporadic that the only reason it’s understandable is because it belongs to a single body (or seems to, anyway).

It’s the opposite of a mosaic, where you can look at a big picture despite its elements being unattached: with time you can look at the vague idea of this giant scramble of parts because its elements are strung together, albeit haphazardly.

It’s four in the afternoon. And it’s Friday. And to my left there are Oreos sitting in an emptied-out Selecta doubledutch plastic tin (plastic?), behind that there are two pink jugs that I forget to take home (or maybe intentionally leave here because I just can’t be bothered)—one of them is empty, the other one is filled with rotting bits of coffee from those days before my sister bought me a coffee tumbler and my coffee would keep getting cold in the morning so I’d just throw some of it out because I couldn’t stand how it tasted. To my left is my officemate, who is wearing white: I can see him from the corner of my eye, lateral to the frames of my glasses. To my right, which is somehow more distant to me than my left is my lunchbox and my copy of J.Strange & Mr. N. And the mouse. And under that, as a makeshift mousepad is my approved leave form—I’m on leave Monday because I suppose it’s about time I got my license. That’s three long days from now—from here anyway, perched on top of the curve it seems long but I know (I think) that once I get out of here and slide down that spiral, it’s going to be Monday and then Tuesday and then I’ll be here again, at 4:13 in the afternoon on a Friday, itching to go and cuddle with my laptop. Time is weird. It’s the hair on a clown. It’s steel wool. It’s the wiring in braces.

Last night I had the oddest episode of having difficulty breathing and so I went to the hospital and got checked out—and everything was alright. They checked my heart, it was alright. They checked my blood pressure, it was alright. They checked my lungs—spotless (their words, not mine). The doctor said the funniest thing: we didn’t find anything but don’t worry that doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with you.

He said that I probably have this minor affliction which most people my age and my gender who are small have called floppy-heart disease or Mitral Valve Prolapse which basically means that my heart’s valves might be floppy which causes the palpitations and difficulty in breathing—he said that people with this condition usually feel like their hearts are beating irregularly or like they can’t breathe when in fact that’s just the valve “door” slamming around in their chests. The ECG showed no irregularities. He suggested a 2D echo—although he said it wasn’t really necessary because all my vital signs checked out fine and people with floppy hearts who need treatment usually have severe heartburn or actual irregularities in their hearts which show up on the ECG. So there was nothing to do, really. It’s so strange. The ghost of a condition. I also have mild scoliosis, which apparently is common in people with floppy hearts for unknown reasons; the misalignment carries through.

I’m not sure why but all the okay-ness made me really, really anxious. There was this moment of inexplicable panic when they took the ECG wire things off of me that I just can’t get to the bottom of: like if there was something wrong, I could finally pin-point what it was about me that bothers me. But there wasn’t so I can’t. Not to say that I wasn’t relieved—I was, too. The last thing I wanted was to have to spend a lot of money to stay in the hospital and miss work and the EM launch tomorrow but the ghosty shock of having something that is nothing freaked me out. More so having to pay for it—I know that you pay for the knowledge, but do you?

My dad went to the hospital with me. I was sitting on the bed in the ER and he was sitting on the visitor’s chair. It was so weird—like a fucked up freaky-Friday—because I’m usually the one accompanying him to get his heart checked. And there is usually something wrong. But there wasn’t. I said I wanted to get my kidneys checked. When we were walking out of the hospital my dad asked me why I was so afraid that I had a disorder of the vital organs. Because I couldn’t bring myself to be a better child, I told the truth: because I’m your daughter. My father laughed and said his heart arrhythmia (Atrial Fibrillation) had more to do with cigarettes and alcohol and anxiety, so I had nothing to worry about. And anyway what possessed me to think that his kidneys would affect my heart? And I thought when did it not?

Time is convoluted—reticulated, curling, trying to touch itself. I am 23 and my father is 65. In his bag there are Lotto tickets. He wishes he could still smoke. In my bag there are bus tickets. I wish I could still smoke. My father is paying for his alcohol and cigarettes and stress. I am paying, always, for absence.

The Dilemma of Directness

Photo collage by Arabella Paner

I’ve been thinking about the plane that disappeared and how terrifying it is to think that sometimes Einstein is wrong–sometimes, things are lost. There are some changes that we will never be able to account for. Initial energy isn’t always equal to final energy. Sometimes subtracting differences gets you nowhere.

I was also thinking about how I have an aversion toward people describing things too directly–or people giving ultimatums, that kind of thing. I feel like interrogation is the most artless thing in the world: to ask someone to only answer yes or no to arrive at the complete truth is like asking someone to remove all their teeth so you can observe a mouth. But still, I understand why it’s done. I understand the temptations of simplicity and the need for answers. More than anything, I understand that the dilemma of directness is that by asking for what we are desperate for, we push it farther and farther away.

I have this recurring dream about this person I used to know. In it, he’s always smiling. We’re always doing mundane things–last night, eating sushi; other times having a beer in a backyard with picnic tables or driving down a highway on the way home, once I dreamt we were sitting in a strawberry field (that one was more surreal but even then, in these dreams whatever’s happening always seems to be casual, taken for granted) . In these dreams we always begin alone, talking or walking and eventually other people show up: my boyfriend, a few of our common friends, occasionally my family and we all proceed to have a fun time either talking (one time I dreamt my boyfriend cooked us all steak and we had a barbeque cook-out) or catching up (another time I dreamt we were sitting in a cupboard under the stairs, giggling). And every time I wake up, I forget I’d been dreaming. I’m happy for five minutes then I’m in the shower feeling like shit.

I don’t think that’s a new feeling to feel. I’m sure a few of you who are reading this have experienced that before.

Like things are lost, things also suddenly appear–what is that sadness about? I don’t think it comes from the desire to hang out with this person: what would there be to say? There’s too much water under that bridge. Does it come from the realization that it was a dream? If so, what about it did I wish to be real? The mundane happiness? The comfort?

The knowing he’s okay?

Some things are lost. I was thinking about the missing plane. I was thinking about those children. I was thinking of the Bermuda triangle. I was thinking if he, like those things, had slipped through.

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