My Rants

My backwards walk

“…I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart…”

At 29 years of age, there is a lot of pressure to feel successful and a lot of stress to minimize the ongoing early 20’s lifestyle I continue to live. That lifestyle involves a transient pattern of new cities, new countries, new jobs, and new people in a cycle that does not seem to be progressing any of my career ambitions or personal growth.

There is a tiny little being, or rather, a minuscule little object that exists right inside my head that reminds me on a daily basis of my constant failures, regular shortfalls, and also serves as a reminder of how I am fucking my life up in epic proportions. This little “Thang,” lets call it, is a shadow that follows me everywhere I go at all times and in every manner. Have you read “Through the Arc of the Rain Forest” by Karen Tei Kamashita? Well in that story, the protagonist wakes up one morning with a tiny buzzing ball that orbits around his head regardless of what he does to get rid of it or where he goes. As a reader, we begin to associate this buzzing, tiny, extraterrestrial ball as a part of Kazumasa. The two are the same. Just like this innocent narrator, the tiny little Thang that trails alongside me is not ball shape but just a voice and an echo of where I should be, where my friends are, where my siblings are, and basically in all essence where I am not.

It whispers into my ear as I sleep and infiltrates my dreams of places I have not yet been and of the people I have not yet become; as I wake up in sweats in the early hours of the day unable to return to that once peaceful amnesiac place I once called slumber, I feel its heavy presence lying next to me. I hear its breathless whisper, “What the fuck are you doing with your life at 29?”

“…sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is…”

So sleep has turned from a simple momentary escape of daily life to a reminder of those things that I was not yet able to accomplish during my waking hours. So how do I deal with the Awake and the Dreaming? I have turned to the drink.

In the current restaurant where I work there is a person who reminds me on a constant basis of my daily failures. He reminds of what I have not yet become at almost three decades of living while he himself, at just the young fruitful age of 25, has accomplished enough to make him feel that he in the position to demean those who are still lost. Two beautiful babies and a wife is enough merit for him to daily, regularly, and with effortless words tell me that I have completely wasted my  years here on Earth. While during those sober moments of living I can confidently say I am comfortable being where I am and would not trade in my life of aimless wandering for his early life of matrimony bliss, it is during those silences in the eery darkness when I am alone with the loud screeching of my Thang that I feel completely utterly broken. I feel nothing short of failure.

It is strange how the very thing that makes you the most insecure in life is the one thing that a perfect stranger can pinpoint and analyze to a fault without realizing just how much it cuts deep into the very essence of who you are. Whenever this coworker makes a comment about my age, my lifestyle, and the point I am in my life he does it with friendly sarcasm but how do I take it?… I take it like a knife through the heart.

This blog has no theme and no purpose after all. It was supposed to be about Transition and New Places, but in the end…it is just me trying to make sense of a typical Thursday night. Yeah, I just don’t care.

“…I like colourful clothing in the sun because it doesn’t remind me of anything…”

 

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The Forever Empty

“This is where I have always been coming to since my time began. And when I go away from here this will be the midpoint to which everything ran before and from which everything will run.”

Time. One of humankind’s magical creations, which sustains the world and impacts every human person on this planet. If you think about it, time is nothing concrete, or rather, nothing tangible. We can’t pick up some time in the corner store or clean up time back at home. It is a thing that exists and dictates how we order our days, how we live our lives, and how we count our years rotating around the sun.

Time, or to be more specific, timing, is the topic of this post. I met someone almost ten years ago and sat in the same room as her for two years yet we haven’t really been friends until last summer when out of the blue we found ourselves in the same city with the same desire to meet up one evening for a post-college reunion. And now I wonder where she has been all my life and how I can connect so effortlessly to another person all of a sudden when I have known her, seen her Facebook posts, and attended house parties in university days nearly a decade of time ago. To be honest, if we hung out back then we probably wouldn’t have been too close of friends and might have gone through experiences we weren’t yet mature enough, smart enough, or wise enough to battle together and like other friendships/relationships, we might have fallen apart.

So I am certain that we were meant to meet again and meant to rediscover each other at a time in our lives when we were ready for each other. I have difficulty keeping ahold of people after I leave the cities and countries we both reside in. Yet, I have been able to keep ahold of her and talk to her with ease, pleasure, and effortless weekly updates regularly with only a few missed days in between.

I can see her and me in our sixties in random parks around the world drinking out of flasks, finding cheap books in dusty used book stores, and talking about the most mundane things. I can also see us sitting on our own sofas in our own lives with our own families not talking at all but understanding and knowing everything that needs to be said through the unspoken spaces.

Timing.

The power of time stands to this day the most important part of a relationship. Man plus woman plus time. Those are the three components to meeting your best friend or to meeting your forever human. The beauty of time.

I met another one of my good friends in an untimed moment of randomness a few weeks into my first few months in the United Kingdom. He asked me for directions to a bathroom and I directed him to a nearest space possible and in the next 7 days we shared the same shopping centre space, a cold narrow corridor and uttered not more than a few mere words in between. But then for some reason,  somehow, Time decided we should be friends and we became just that; daily correspondents where I learned a lot about social media an dhe learned a lot about those who knew nothing about social media. Time. I feel like it was the perfect point in my life to meet someone to remind me about my the possibilities of youth, the loopholes to rules, and the beauty of ageless friendship.

There are a lot of people, tons of strangers, short-term transient companions that I have met in my life that I cherish in the time they’re around and continue to love when I see them no matter how many years pass, but there are some souls that I have met that cut into me.

Someone told me once that there are two people in this world: there are people that drain you; and they’re people that energize you. I have friends who I would leap over a scolding hot volcano for but each time the send me a message I find myself sighing and taking days to respond because the interaction drains me; it takes from me my essence of happiness. Then there are people that can singularly, momentarily, and effortlessly  bring a smile to my face just to see an email, a snap, or a message pop up. They elate me and they are the people I want to keep around, keep in my life.Its as simple as that.

I see Jenny and I as forever friends until the end of the written word.

I see Selwyn and I as forever friends until the end of the infinite abyss.

For right now, for this moment, and throughout this time, Im grateful.

I’m super happy. Or at least, for this time…I think I am.

 

 

 

Food, fiction, and friendship

There are a few things that I really enjoy in life. I enjoy stories, a lot. I like them told in books, novels, short stories, magazine articles, blogs, songs, or even the occasional poems. I like stories that are unwritten just as much as the recorded ones like the tales friends tell you after weeks, months, and years without seeing them. I love the stories they tell of your old times together because along the way and through the years that pass, the stories change a little as the perceptions of the person change too and it’s totally natural. To me, every experience retold is fiction because nothing that happens really happens the same way to all those that are around.

***

I met two old friends this past week after more than three years of not being together in the same place and time. We spent the week in over three different cities across two different countries and fell back into the same groove we have always had. It is funny how time can really stay the same even when it has changed each one of us individually so differently. We sat in London and Amsterdam and reminisced. We each told stories about the insane adventures, youthful inhibitions, and daring things we did in our twenties in foreign lands where we were just strangers passing through. But although the stories were the same to each of us in where and how they occurred, they never exactly matched the stories we had stored individually in our memory places. Interpretation, experience, growth, and perception, I guess. It is kind of like aging. In the time since we last hung out together, there has been loss hair, gained weight, and a few tiny wrinkles growing up into their rightful place, but the person still remains a true image of their former selves, which is just like the stories that get told.

In these recent encounters with my good old friends, there is always an element present (yes, beer and boozing, of course), but also food.

“Ohhh, remember that kebab we had in Amsterdam for four straight days that I swore was the best I ever had!”

“Remember that salami, pepperoni, and mozzarella sandwich at the bottom of Haebongchon, Seoul that we went to after waking up hung over as hell and I zoned out for a few minutes as the delicious colours in my mouth caused momentary delirium?”

“Remember the ten empty Pizza School pizza boxes we found hidden under Mike’s bed that one time in Noksapyeong after he let us crash in his room?”

“Remember that all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant on Queen Street in downtown Toronto last year where we walked for blocks on end in the freezing winter cold only to find it closed and our hearts medium broken?”

So I enjoy stories and the art of storytelling whether it is through the works of literary geniuses or between mouthfuls of steak from drunken friends on patios outside the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

I enjoy stories and food. I enjoy how stories and food create friendships.

***

So, I have realized that food is the basis for relationships. A way that binds us all and connects us since we all need food. It categorizes us too. If I were a vegan I bet I would have more vegan friends, but I have friends that like the same food as I do, drink as much I do, and enjoy the same activities. I have friends that I only ever meet up with when we have a mutual craving that just needs to be satiated as we are unable to think, do, or act responsibly until that desired food is devoured.

I went on a date with this dude in university that looked like Kevin Federline (I know…) who was a construction worker outside my apartment. Our first date was at a pub in downtown Ottawa where we ordered two burgers. Before I started on mine he had literally devoured his in a few bites. There was no way I could enjoy my food now or the company it kept. There was just me eating and him sitting there. That burger was the timeline for our connection and in three bites he had squabbled it. We went out a second time (I know…) with a group of my friends to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. He had never had it. He took one bite and shook his head. I tried to order him chicken bits since sushi restaurants have an assortment of other edible shit but he wouldn’t touch it because he didn’t like “small bones” in his meat. At that moment, he not only ruined the outing for me, but my friends as well because one cannot enjoy themselves knowing those around them aren’t feeling the same. Food was a way to make friends that night and he squandered it.

I kept thinking to myself: for all the days left in your life and all the meals in those days, this is just one of them. It is not even the only meal of the day. Why make such a big deal? Why not just suck it up and eat it. Tomorrow, or even later tonight, you can eat whatever you want.

I guess I have been trying to live my life by that concept.

“In a course of a lifetime, what does it matter?”

The Vice

“…I felt like destroying something beautiful…”

The Vice

I pour myself a meagre amount of ginger coloured whisky into a small glass. I fill it with ice so the two inches at the bottom magically turn into a nearly full glass of drink. I down it. I refill it until the half litre bottle of Jameson I just bought with a day’s worth of salary is half empty. With any other liquor I’d be drooling on the floor trying to crawl myself into bed. With whisky the effects are different. I feel awakened and warm. Warm inside; warm like when someone gives you a hug kind of warm and you never want to detach your arms  and let go. The kind of warm only a non-human entity can provide and you know what, Homes, sometimes that’s the best kind.

So I’m sitting here on a Saturday night with not much more than a new city I’ve acquainted myself as best I can in the last 72 hours, in circumstances less than ideal, and trying to find a way back to order. It occurs to me that finding a way back to a place where you feel safe and comfortable is a difficult challenge when you’re superglued into that period where it all feels like the infinite abyss. That is, the period defined in Garden State as the 20’s where you have no home and absolutely no clue where you can find Home again.

When natural order and human nature suggests that finding a forever spouse and making beautiful babies to invest all your love, attention, and energy into seems natural, to me it seems like it would be the biggest cop out ever. It would be the extreme lie of all the lies I have ever uttered to myself in moments of despair, desperation, and momentary euphoria. I kind of know those things would bring me experiences that resemble serenity and calm much more than my search for temporary bliss but they are wrong for me. They feel like trying on a pair of ill fitted jeans in a cut, fit, and flare that my god-given body could simply just not pull off. So i refute. I run. Essentially, I want to be a major disappointment to myself and others around me rather than to run around in a pair of ill-fitted jeans.

It feels like a battle against a society and a world order much bigger than I can ever stand up against. So I keep moving my legs to places and people that have no connection and no history in my pursuit to find some purpose. More often than not, I end up most comfortable at the end of a day’s journey alone in my bed, alone on my couch, standing on a rooftop, or looking out the street window of my best mate’s bar with a glass in my hand and I feel okay. The drink is a liquid mix of companion and comfort and as I sit here writing I wonder if that is something to worry about.

When people I grew up with are buying houses and sharing bank accounts I am still in the middle of nowhere with no path in sight.

So I end up pouring the last remnants of that Jameson bottle over 4 cubes of ice as I sit by a brightly lit window that reflects the world outside full of people hustling and bustling with purpose, with rhythm, with prams of chubby toddlers, with smiles on their faces. I always wonder if my smile and my happiness mirrors their own.

Am I alright? Is this happiness? 

I down the drink. I find sleep and tomorrow I’ll ask myself again.

“…you met me at a very strange time in my life…”