Coffee & Flowers: Friendship, Time, Memory

Project: Coffee & Flowers is something I did on my old blog which I thought I’d continue here because I think it really helps keep me on my toes. 🙂
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1.) Today was a very, very overwhelming day for me. As I write this I’m in bed with the lights turned off–I should be sleeping (my body is exhausted) but my mind is wide awake. I had a very, very good day: most of it was spent with good friends and a good chunk of it was spent reading. I also got in a good amount of exercise and got to write a little.

I went to Taft this morning to hang out with friends and distribute my Christmas gifts as well as claim my graduation assessment. In the process, I ended up making a new friend and also making the people I’ll miss most in Taft happy. It’s super odd not to be busy on the first day of class or not to be running around, checking my schedule–it feels almost uncomfortably weightless. I feel very nostalgic about school but also I know that it’s time to get a move on. I’m also pretty excited about things to come.

Another reason why today was so overwhelming is that I got to re-meet my friend who got amnesia around a year ago as a side effect of surgery for a brain tumor. It was definitely a little strange at first, having to re-introduce yourself to someone who you (supposedly) know but I feel like most friendship encounters are worth sitting out the awkwardness for. And I was right! It ended up being a really fun afternoon of sushi, laughter and weirdness with friends.

My highschool literature teacher, Ms. Ella told us in one of her lectures that “happiness is finding something you thought you’d lost” and even now, 11 years later I still think that’s true. When we’re happy because we get paid or get gifts, it’s usually because we think we deserve these things–like these things aren’t new things being given to us out of the blue but items which we feel should’ve already had. When we’re happy because we make friends or find people who understand us, we’re happy because “it feels like we’ve known these people for a long time”; we feel like we are re-meeting old friends rather than talking to strangers.

Today felt like that. I felt like I regained the ability to laugh and to open up to people.

2.) I recently got very bothered by something someone said to me about not having time. I’d suggested something (in response to a post–I won’t delve into the specifics because it isn’t relevant) and the person responded by saying they didn’t have time to do that.
For all I know, it may be true that this person doesn’t have time to do certain things but the way that it was phrased bothered me because it seemed to imply that a) I made the suggestion thinking this person had nothing to do and b) I myself have nothing to do.

To be honest, most people are busy (I, for one have a meeting at 9 am tomorrow and should be getting to bed) and there are always things that need to get done but that is never an excuse to be inconsiderate or hurtful, especially when people suggest things to you out of enthusiasm for your enthusiasm about something.

For example, if someone says “Oh, you might like Robinson Crusoe!” in a response to a post saying “I loved Cast Away!” you don’t reply with “Ah, can’t read it–I have things to do.”

To be honest I don’t know why this bothers me so much but it’s sort of been sitting in the back of my mind for a couple of days, now. I guess it’s because I’m disappointed: I don’t deal very well with being let down. I’m okay with anger or sadness or anxiety, even but disappointment drives me crazy because I can never tell why my expectations of someone were so high in the first place.

But on the bright side, I guess some people are only interested in things on a surface level kind of way and that’s alright–in the same way that casual conversations can ease you over a period of boredom or awkwardness. I feel like I should learn to tell the difference between people who are really interested in something and people who are just drifting past the idea, sort-of looking.

It’s such a shame because I feel like I could’ve possibly gained new perspectives from this person but that’s life: you win some, you lose some. And at the end of the day we’re all only (somewhat) in control of our own time, no one else’s and we just can’t get too upset over that or it’ll drive us insane.

3.) For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept a journal. I have two shelves full of journals with photos and bits and bobs. But this year I decided to be less anal about it because I’d like to be in the moment as opposed to looking in on the moment. I still keep a notebook but it’s mostly for cataloging thoughts and jotting down drafts. 🙂

Chasing Paper, Getting Nowhere

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It was only the other day that I realized this is the last time (probably) I’m going to be able to rely on the university library for entertainment. But I suppose that’s just one of the things you give up in order to be “done with school”. While I’m still mostly excited to be getting on with my life, part of me still feels nostalgic about school. Oddly enough, I don’t think it’s the people I’ll miss–because I’m sure I’ll still see them. I think I’ll be missing certain places the most, despite the fact that a lot of these places are places that have already changed anyway: the grassy gazebo area with stone tables and large trees, the amphitheater at night, the library.

To be honest, I’ve never borrowed more than three books at a time because I just can’t seem to be punctual re: the return date(s). But I decided to take a risk and binge on all the Donald Barthelme books they had out, plus a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.

These titles include 40 Stories, Not-Knowing, The Teachings of Don B.* and Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts all by Donald Barthelme, Negotiating With the Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood and Light In August by William Faulkner. I’m pretty deadset on finishing all of these before their due date(s) (December 13th) because a lot of these are pretty rare and I’m not sure I’ll get the chance to read them again if I don’t.

The thing is I really think it could change the world

One of the things that makes me the saddest is that I don’t think a lot of people like to read (anymore? that is, if they liked to read in the first place). I don’t mean to come off like a condescending grandmother, but it seems inevitable that that’s how people seem to take the suggestion to read: like you’re telling them to do something obsolete (like wear a cloth sanitary napkin or drive a horse carriage).

I read this Einstein quote at Handuraw Pizza the other day (there was a huge poster) and it said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” And it’s true. The way it’s been framed is extremely cheesy, but it is true. This is not to say that I don’t think knowledge is important–it is extremely important but I feel like knowledge is the result of imagination. We only know things via our ability to question what we’ve been taught and to be able to acknowledge that you aren’t the only person whose life matters. JK Rowling said it, John Green said, Oscar Wilde probably said something about it: imagination is empathy.

And I really think that it can change the world (yes, LOTR is also the closest thing to organized religion that I have/believe in but maybe that also helps my point): for instance, I “sprained” my back yesterday from carrying my laptop around; I was in a huge amount of discomfort but I still had to face the commute home. It was standing by the time I got onto the bus and the sideways rocking motion was making it difficult for me to balance because of the said injury. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, though so I just leaned against one of the chairs and closed my eyes. Then some guy stood up and looked at me and sort of nodded at his seat and said “Umupo ka na.” Aren’t doing nice things like that always an exercise in reading (reading people, in this case I guess: being able to tell when someone needs a seat)? I don’t mean to say people should be completely empathetic (no such thing–complete empathy would just mean you were that person) but that we should pay attention. And if there’s one thing that reading teaches you to do, it’s that. 🙂

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