Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
- In case of natural or manmade disasters, running for my life after getting my glasses knocked off by either a) shrapnel, b) fellow flee-er, or c) my own frenzied self, is not a risk I want to take. Whoops! Didn’t see that big gaping hole there!
- If I ever bear a child, I don’t want to be rooting around during nighttime feedings and accidentally nurse Horace, my stuffed hippo, instead of my baby.
- I would actually be able to see when I opened my eyes in the morning, without having to peel the dried contacts I’d left in the night before off of my eyeballs. Nice.
- Losing my glasses as part of my overall “look” could have disastrous consequences, i.e. my eyes may be way too small in proportion to my nose and it’s been the glasses saving me this whole time.
- The surgery could go all wrong and I’d end up blinder than before, or just plain blind, before I’ve even had the chance to learn Braille.
- Get goggles. You’ll need them to shower with for about a month.
- Get a waterless facial cleanser such as Cetaphil. It’ll make washing your face a helluvalot easier.
- Get audiobooks, podcasts, an AM/FM radio, whatever type of entertainment you can find that doesn’t require sight.
- Get a small screwdriver so that you can pop out the lenses of your glasses and wear them lens-free. It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.
Friday, April 30, 2010
The city was mostly burned. No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust. Fossil tracks in the dried sludge. A corpse in a doorway dried to leather. Grimacing at the day. (12)
They passed a metal trashdump where someone had once tried to burn bodies. The charred meat and bones under the damp ash might have been anonymous save for the shapes of the skulls. No longer any smell. (150)
Can you do it? When the time comes? When the time comes there will be no time. Now is the time. Curse God and die. What if it doesn’t fire? It has to fire. What if it doesn’t fire? Could you crush that beloved skull with a rock? Is there such a being within you of which you know nothing? (114)
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Every time I travel, I transform into this furious magnet for bad karma, and today is no different. It’s not a long flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai, and if you’re on a good airline, like Dragonair of Cathay Pacific, the two hours fly by fairly sweetly. They serve Haagen-Daaz for love of Jesus. I’m a snuggly little camper under two felt blankets, finishing Junot Diaz’s Drown and picking up Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes. It’s a short story kinda day.
Then the flight rumbles to a landing, jolting me from the slumber that knocks me out as soon as the captain announces descent. Gets me every time. The plane taxis to the gate and the sardines are restless. As soon as the lights pops on and the bell goes ‘ding!’ the madness begins. First there’s a clatter of unbuckling seatbelts and the sardines rise in messy synchronization. I expect to hear the grumblers, complaining about someone in their armpit or knocking the dust off their hats as overhead baggage is yanked from above. But this particular can seems to be stuffed with fairly polite travelers. I maneuver around to grab my tiny little roller bag and manage to return to my seat unscathed.
A bumbling old man, the bellowing upright kind, rather than the muttering stooped, begins stepping all over everyone, still stationary and awaiting release, to find his luggage in the overhead compartments. He’s so polite, however, that everyone lets him by, ignoring his elbows in their ribs and his buttocks in their hips, as he chants in a singsong voice, “Wang ji le fang na li, wang ji le,” (“Don’t remember where I put it, don’t remember.”) I love the politely rude. I find them fascinatingly slick. At this point a slow fart escapes me and I make a face, pretending I don’t know who just smelt up the aisle.
We all trundle off the plane after the doors open and I beeline for the bathroom because the life of my bladder depends on it. Then a race to the immigration line, walking fast with my heels kicked up and Nocturnes sticking out of my roller bag like a tongue. I ignore the ambulators and enjoy the scuff of the carpet. Walking feels good after sitting still for a couple hours. So far, so good. No one’s getting in my face, the sun’s shining through a hazy sky in Shanghai and I’m almost home after too much time away.
I head for the China Immigration lane. As soon as I file in behind some older dude ahead of me, his buddy cuts in front of me as if I wasn’t there. Ah, here it comes. The switch under my sternum that tells the Happy Buddha hanging from a chain around my neck to back the fuck off.
“What are you doing?” I say to him, immediately embarrassed by my stupid-sounding Mandarin.
“I’m with him,” he replies, brushing me off and stepping ahead. I’m not gonna point out that he’s Chinese here, because I’ve seen plenty a white guy do the same in crowded airports.
We’re at a bend in the snake line, a perfect place for negotiating rank and file, and I sidestep him and say, “It doesn’t work like that.”
He ignores me, steps forward.
“Did you hear me?” I say.
“I’m behind you now, okay?” he responds gruffly, flickering his disdain towards me with his beady eyes. I can say that because my eyes are beady, too.
I reclaim my position and feel ambivalent. I won my little battle, haven’t I? Somehow I feel like a douche. The grumps have been introduced, however, and when the officer at the booth asks me to take my hat off I scowl. The lights blink on the electronic comment box as she hands me back my identity, and out of the five options, I press the Greatly Dissatisfied button with the unhappiest frowny face. Oh, dear, I think to myself. I’m in that mode.
I stride on to the baggage claim but now my head is full of the kind of remorse I feel after I’ve yelled at a taxi driver who’s deriding my pinyin pronunciation. I’m a big believer of karma. If you dish it out, prepare to have the shit served right back at you. Did I just spitefully press the frowny face button because the officer made me reveal my oily hat head, or because I have a fat face on my I.D. card, or because I scuffled with my mom before she saw me disappear into the Departures area?
My mom gets grumbly whenever we’re at the airport. It makes sense. She lives alone now and my visits break up otherwise long stretches of alone time. Watching her wave as I round the partition, a big, fat lemon squeezes all over my heart and I chastise myself for being less than patient. I hate these moments. They allow the latent anger at my father to rise up, and it’s takes awhile to tamp that sucker back down again.
I’ve grabbed my luggage, clearly marked with cute little ornaments by my mother, and made it to the taxi stand, which is empty. The snake line is welded in place with metal bars, however, as unrelenting as the crowds that usually bloat against them, and it takes a minute for me to wind up and down and back up to the waiting taxi. The driver gets out and helps me with the luggage and I slide into the seat, grateful to be on the last leg home. I brace myself for attitude as the driver asks me where I’m going, but there is none. I open up my laptop, and by the time I finish chronicling my own nastiness, I am finally home.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've got about half an hour before I launch into glory time, just enough to throw down a few sentences. It's one of my gazillion resolutions to blog more in 2010. Not so much in the form of longwinded fragments, but a dollop here and there of the daily cream.
So what is this glory time, you may be wondering? Is it solitary pooping in the comfort of your favorite bathroom? Is it trying to balance cucumbers on your eyelids while immersing your hands into a barrel of paraffin wax? Or is it downward facing dog with a side of upward facing crow? So many glorious possibilities. But no, glory time is simply the daily three-hour (at the minimum), uninterrupted romp through the world of Frozen, the novel I've been working on for about seven months now. I am in the second major edit phase, after receiving comments from my wonderful plot readers, and now it's time to craft a novel out of a manuscript.
Writing a novel is weird. Sometimes it’s like putting your awesome pants on and going out for a stroll. Other times it’s like trying to do the running man in chainmail. Totally genius thoughts twirl like dervishes in your mind, making it impossible to fall asleep, only to disappear into the ether by morning. Totally idiotic thoughts twirl like jesters on the page, taunting your insecurities to come out and play. Those don’t disappear automatically, however. They have to be rooted out and deleted one by one.
Finding the plot and meeting the characters was the hardest part for me. There were days, weeks, months where I’d sit there and wonder why the hell I quit my day job. Then one day, my Frankenstein’s monster was suddenly whole. It got up and lumbered towards me, shocked as I was at its completion. I immediately sent my little monster off to my friends to coddle for a couple weeks, and now the monster is back in my care.
Will I be able to magically transform this little gremlin into a charming young pup to be snatched up by the thousands? Or is this little monster doomed to a life under my mattress? We’ll see. It’s glory time.