Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yellow truth

I called my mom's house on Thanksgiving Day to wish her a happy thanksgiving. No one picked up the phone. I called her cell phone, twice, and left her a message. No returned call. I also called my brother and left a voicemail. Again, no returned call.

The day came and went, and I hadn't heard from any of them. Then I thought, maybe they were in a terrible accident and they're in the hospital. But wouldn't someone have called me?

I called the house again on the Friday after Thanksgiving. My mom picked up.


"Hey, mom."

"Oh, hi." She then proceeded to answer a question I had asked two voicemails ago.

Then I said, "So how was your thanksgiving?"

"Oh it was good. It was just your brother and I so we went to Old Country Buffet," she said. "It was so crowded. How was yours?"

"Oh, it was good too. Had it with another couple, and we brought some side dishes."

"Oh, good to hear it was good."

"So, um, why didn't you call me back yesterday?"

"Oh," she said. Then she gave a huff of a laugh and said, "Oh, cell phone reception is bad here."

That's funny. Cell phone reception seems to work fine the other 649,932,091 times you've called me to ask about how to turn on the computer or change your screensaver.

"Oh, um, okay," I said. "Well, talk to you later."

"Take care," she said.


So my mom is lame. Emotionally unavailable and lame. Which I hate to admit, but I am too sometimes. I suppose I could have called my mom out on her lameness and stated the italicized thought above. But then would I have wanted to hear the Yellow truth? That she didn't want to call me back and wish me a happy thanksgiving? That these holiday sentiments are a product of my American assimilation and only encourage maudlin triteness? That, quite frankly, she didn't want to talk to me that day or the day before?

I told the Fiance this and he is always hesitant to rag on my mom. He just hoped we wouldn't be like that with our kids.

Here's to hoping that emotional unavailability is a cultural trait, not a genetic one.

Super ordinary

I am a fan of superheroes. I'm not a supernerd or anything; I don't collect comic books or study the genre and all subgenres of superheroes. I'm just a general fan of stories involving people with extraordinary powers.

Superheroes seem to be born with their powers, or acquire it later in life. Also, their powers are sometimes alien or chemically-induced (or supernatural) in nature, or an enhancement of their own naturally existing skills. Like Superman versus Batman. Wolverine versus Iron Man.

On the History Channel, Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman, X-men, among others) has a show about superhumans, which explores the premise that there were (and are) people with "superpowers."

So I asked myself the question anyone who has ever read or watched a superhero story line would ask herself: What would my superpower be?

Hmm. I can make my eyes, hands, and feet water at will. Not exactly appetizing, I know. But I never need rewetting drops. And when I'm at the supermarket and I encounter those superthin, plastic produce bags that are nearly impossible to open, I make my finger moisten at will and then am able to open the bag.

Okay, so it's not really a fantastic superpower, unless I could produce amounts massive enough to stop a bank robbery or prevent a truck from exploding.

I can also remember details of things that I hear about or experience. At first, I thought all my friends had early onset of Alzheimer's because they couldn't remember all the details I remembered. But it turns out I just have a better memory than most people.

If I see a movie once, I can recite lines from it. If someone tells me a story about someone at a random cocktail party, I can recall all the details of that story years later.

I don't forget people I meet, so frequently, I'm in the situation of meeting people for the second time, and they don't remember me because the encounter was so brief.

My old buddy the Naysayer has dated countless women over the past several years. And I remember all of them--even better than the Naysayer himself.

"Who was that girl I dated with the nice hair?" he asks me.

"Was it first year or second year of grad school?" I respond.

"First year."

"Okay, that was Rita."

"What about that girl in college I met at a party?"

"The one who baked you cookies?"



I'm not sure how this "power" really helps either. It's not that I'm a superlearner. I remember "human" facts, like stories about people, faces, and events. And it's not that I was great at history in high school--in fact, I disliked history. I think it has to do with experiencing the human facts as they happen.

Okay, okay, so I'm not going to be a superhero anytime soon. But it's nice to think that if some interstellar, cataclysmic event occurred...I could be.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A not good guy

I was chatting with Yellow Mom on the phone today. She asked how the Fiance and I are doing. "Good," I said.

"Things are good? That's good," she replied.

"Yep, things are good."

"You know, that's good that things are good," she continued. "You're not an easy person to live with."

I laughed. "The feeling is mutual."

"You need to be with someone good. Especially with your personality."

Normally, I would take this as a blatant attack on my lovability; but I understand exactly what she's talking about.

I know I get cantankerous sometimes for no reason at all. I take things out of context, take things personally, or respond sensitively to random remarks. Yes, these are my flaws, and sometimes I'm amazed that there's someone out there who will put up with it.

"You know," she continued, "it's good that Fiance is a good man. The number one quality to look for in a husband is that he is a good man."

Well, duh, I thought to myself.

"Money, education, intelligence," she said, "those are secondary to being a good person."

"Okay," I said.

"I mean, those are important," she qualified, "but goodness is number one."

"I get it," I said. "Yes, Fiance is a good man. He tolerates me and is patient with me."

"Good," she said.

I never really thought it would be a question: every chick wants a good man, right? I mean, isn't being a good person a fundamental trait that the One must have?

Then I thought about it. There are some women who are drawn to bad guys. Yes, there are really bad guys, like the ones who molest kids and moonlight as hitmen. Then there are bad guys, like the ones who cheat on their women. And then there are not-really-bad-but-bad guys.

My friend, "Angela," is dating a guy whom she is absolutely crazy about. She thinks he's super good-looking, intelligent, and funny. They've talked about marriage and kids. They've even looked at rings.

But there's something about him that rubs me the wrong way. I'm not exactly sure if he's a not-really-bad-but-but guy, or just a guy who is not good for my friend. Here's the background:

When they first started dating and hooking up, he started kicking it to a mutual friend of ours, "Beth." While still dating Angela, he sent text messages to Beth, asked how she was doing, and wanted to chat with her some time. He said lately he had been just staying in these past weekends, keeping it low key. He called her nicknames, like "shorty."

Later, we find out that he had been "staying in" all right, staying in and hooking up with Angela.

Now, technically speaking, the guy didn't do anything wrong. Angela and the dude weren't exclusively dating at the time he started kicking it to Beth. Until a couple Defines The Relationship, both parties are free agents. And even if they were in a relationship, he still didn't do anything wrong. He was just being "friendly" with Beth.

Still though, a little shady, no? Why would you kick it to a girl while having sex with her friend?

Notwithstanding this blip, the couple proceeded to Define The Relationship and became an official item.

I, however, noticed other red flags. For one, he constantly checks out other girls in front of his girlfriend, Angela, points out how fine these other women's tits/ass/legs are, and then proceeds to encourage Angela to hit the gym more often.

Is this "bad" behavior? He isn't abusing her or cheating on her.

When I hang out with him in a group (and Angela isn't there), he frequently begins his sentences with, "Man, if I were single":

"Man if I were single, I'd be going out every weekend instead of staying in."

"Man if I were single, I'd get a Porsche."

"Man if I were single, I'd be dating 18-year-olds." [Note: plural 18-year-olds. Also note: he is 35 years old, and so Angela.]

Now, he has never said, "I wish I were single." He simply fantasizes about being single.

I typically counter him by saying, "Dude, I've been single for 99% of my adult life. Dating is awful. Painful. I can't wait to not be single."

"Dating is not hard," he said. "You girls just don't know where to look, or you try too hard, or your standards are too high."

"I just I feel like I've been there, done that," I responded. "And I'm done. Done with the mind games, the Rules, the high hopes and the disappointments. Done with weeding through socially retarded guys. Done with dating. It's time for the next phase of my life."

He didn't seem to get it.

So is it me? Or does it seem like my friend's boyfriend isn't ready to settle down? More than that, he seems a little disrespectful towards her. He doesn't abuse her. But checking out a hot chick, pointing out her 36-DDD breasts and 23 inch waist, and asking his girlfriend why she can't hit the gym more just doesn't strike me as something that a "good" guy would do. On top of that, in front of our friends, he nagged her about hitting the gym -- I repeat, in front of her friends. Bear in mind, she is in no way FAT. Just because she isn't Jessica Alba doesn't mean she's FAT.

Angela loves him so much and seems almost grateful that she "has" him. Her sister, who is a clinical psychologist, met the boyfriend. Afterward, Angela asked her sister what she thought.

"He's a nice guy. Charming, good-looking, likable," the sister said. "The only thing is--I'm only saying this because I love you--"

"What?" Angela said.

"He strikes me as the kind of guy who would cheat on you."

"Oh," she said. Of course, the sister is just being overprotective...or jealous...or right.

A year later, they're still dating. He hasn't proposed yet. And some of us hope he doesn't. I think that might make me a shitty friend. We should hope for the best for our friends, and if this guy makes Angela so happy, we should hope for the best for both of them, right? We have talked to her about the guy's shadiness, but she brushes it off. After all, there is no strong evidence that he is a bad guy.

He just strikes me as man who isn't exactly good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You reap what you sow.

Okay so I'm not running tonight. Looks like I'll be running a couple 9-mile days.

Not putting on my running shoes

I don't particularly feel like running tonight. But I know I should. I try to run at least 25 miles a week, and I've got to do 18 more miles by 11:59 pm this Saturday. I can do a couple 9 mile days, but I'd rather not.

Sometimes I feel like I have to work off a debt. Like if I eat a piece of red velvet cake, a couple slices of pizza, or a few too many corn chips. I feel like running is the non-bulimic way of purging the bad calories. Exercise is the poor man's plastic surgery.

Sometimes I'm in a pissy/anxious/melancholy mood, and I run with the hope that it will lift my spirits. Exercise is the poor man's xanax.

And sometimes, I don't feel like running at all. I have to force myself against my will to wear my ratty t-shirt and shorts, pin my hair back in the most ridiculous yet effective way to keep the stray hairs from sticking to my face, slip on my double-knotted shoes, and step on the treadmill. I force myself to push the start button and force myself to listen to my iPod and run.

Run even though every fiber of my being rebels against it.

Run even though the song I paid 99 cents to download is doing absolutely nothing to motivate me.

Run even though it feels completely and utterly futile.

Run because I have to.

Sometimes, I ask myself while I'm doing it, "Why am I doing this? What exactly is compelling me to get on a machine and voluntarily subject myself to discomfort?"

Then I tell myself to just stop thinking about it. Accept the fact that you're going to run x miles, and it's gonna happen. Just run.

Asian Standard Time

We all know about "Asian time." It basically means "being late."

If something starts at 5 pm, Asian Standard Time (AST) is probably 5:45 to 6 pm. If someone says they are ten minutes from your house, they are probably half an hour from your house.

It's something I've grown to accept from other Asians; and others have grown to accept that about me.

In any event, my fiance is the quintessence, the epitome, the personification of Asian Time.

It is maddening. For example:

Today, he tells me he'll be home around 8. Okay.

So I -- naively believing that he would be home at the time stated, even though every other time proves otherwise -- start the process of cleaning the pots and pans, cooking the brown rice, preparing veggies, and seasoning and heating chicken breasts.

8 pm rolls around and he's nowhere. I eat alone, watch some Hulu, and look at the clock. It's 8:30. At this point, I text him when will he be home. He doesn't respond.

At 8:50, I call him. He doesn't answer.

I call him again. He finally picks up. I ask him when he'll be home. "Yeah, we're all still hanging out," he says. "Maybe around...9:30?"

9:30? 9:30? In AST, that probably translates to 10 am the next morning.

I get annoyed and tell him, "If you weren't going to show up until 9:30, then just TELL me you're not going to show up at 9:30. Don't lie to me and say you're going to come home at 8 pm."

"Okay. Sorry." He then hangs up and proceeds to hang out at the bar he is at.

Now if this happened once or twice, I'd be whatevs about it. But it happens ALL THE TIME! I explicitly asked him to tell me what time he honestly things he'll be home, and if he's late, to give me a heads up. That's it. I don't care if he stays out until 11 pm -- just don't tell me you'll be home at 5 pm and show up at 11 pm. that's all I'm saying.

There's Asian time and then there's rude Asian time. I myself run on Asian time, but at least I text/call and say, "Sorry, I'm going to be fifteen minutes late." He doesn't.

I googled the subject of one's significant other coming home later than the time stated (yes, I googled it) and this woman was complaining on a message board about her husband doing a similar thing. All the other commenters chimed in and agreed. I felt slightly validated. It's not me. And it's not just me.

That's it. Just had to vent.
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