Thursday, January 27, 2011

(Hayes) Valley of the Twenty-Something Guys

I really hate to say it. I promise. But life is pretty much an episode of Sex and the City right now. I depend on my friends for everything. I can't dress myself anymore without consulting my roommate. I don't make love or life decisions without considerable input from the Council (of Heifers). I have too many shoes, way too many bills, and I'm perched on my bed, writing my estrogen-soaked thoughts on my Mac. You know that thing Carrie does as she's thinking, where she licks the corner of her mouth as she looks off into the distance? Doing it right now.

There's an SATC episode* where Carrie and Samantha play in the 20-something sandbox. Whatthehell I feel like I'm stuck in a Twilight Zone SATC. I don't know what it is, but if you want to feel like a cougar, move to San Francisco. Since living here, I've only met guys who are my age or younger than me. (With the exception of one 43-year old man. Er. No, thank you.) And I'm not alone. Within approximately four hours of moving here, Meena snatched herself a younger man. This "child prodigy" is a quite a catch--I expect nothing less from our lovely Filipindian. But we can't help but wonder what happened to all the 28 to 32-year olds? The must-have/must-be list is getting longer by each dating experience, and this kiddie pool of men is not exactly what I had in mind. But you work with what you've got, right? Meena and I have been making the most of our made-for-TV circumstances. I will say this: it's kind of nice dating younger guys because they haven't quite had the chance to become full-blown douchebags yet. That's always a plus.

Nonetheless, if you are out there, 28-yo Sufjan Stevens or Joshua Radin look-a-like (or actual..), holler. I have some friends who would be interested in meeting you.

*Not to be forgotten: Diana's in this episode too ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Plan B

Water Sculpture from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo.

Shinichi Maruyama's art. It reminds me of the Buddhist principal that everything is constantly and inevitably changing. “Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be likened to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.” Daisaku Ikeda

Although I haven't quite learned how to do this in practice, I try to remind myself that life is an ever-fleeting experience; events, people, emotions, etc. are always, through intent or wholly on accident, shaping you. And rather than savor or resist those changes, I want to embrace them and open myself up for the next. Where I haven't learned the finer art of this mantra is how to honor and/or reflect on the impressions left by those experiences.

My second thought bubble from Maruyama's art is how it reminded me of a This American Life program I listened to about life's Plan B. The program was all about how most people have resorted to Plans B, C, D--and that life almost never works out how you intended it to. When I was 8, and inundated with life plan ideas from Mother Kim, I thought I'd meet Mr. Husband in college, wedding bells at 24, Baby No. 1 at 26, No.'s 2 and 3 at 28 (conveniently they were twins), and live happily ever after with my BMW SUV and 5-bedroom red brick Colonial. With black shutters. Now all I can think about my future is that if I'm still single by 44, I'm going to register for my Cougar badge.

I think I'm on the verge of Plan B. I'm on the verge of a lot of Plan B's. But I hope that Plan A will find a way. I really hope so.

From This American Life:

"It’s not just human beings who fail to achieve the fate that they thought that Fate had in store for them. Most everything does; most everything eventually ends up somewhere that it was not designed to go--serving a purpose that it was not meant for--even if that purpose was just landfill. We end our program today with this brief inventory from J. Robert Lennon of inanimate objects who have left their planet behind and now inhabit a permanent Plan B."

The Accursed Items:
  • A bottle of pain reliever, brought along on a business trip, that proves, at the moment it is most needed, to be filled not with pain reliever, but with buttons.
  • Sneakers, hanging from the power line, with one half of a boy's broken glasses stuffed into each toe.
  • A Minnie Mouse doll you found by the roadside, and brought home, intending to run it through the washer, and give it to your infant son, but which looked no less forlorn after washing, and was abandoned on a basement shelf, only to be found by your son eight years later, and mistaken for a once-loved toy that he himself had forsaken, leading to his first real experience of guilt and shame.
  • Love letters, seized by federal agents in an unsuccessful drug raid, tested in a lab for traces of cocaine, exhaustively read for references to drug contacts, sealed in a labeled plastic bag, and packed along with a plush bear holding a plastic red heart, into an unlabeled brown cardboard box, itself, loaded into a truck with hundreds of similar boxes, when the police headquarters was moved, and forever lost.
  • Nude polaroids of a fifteen-year-old female cousin.
  • An icicle, preserved in the freezer by a child, which, when discovered months later, is thought to be evidence of a problem with the appliance, leading to a costly and inconclusive diagnostic exam by a repairman.
  • A gay porno magazine, thrown onto a ball field from a car window, and perused with great interest by the adolescent members of both teams, two of whom meet in the woods some weeks later, to reproduce the tableaus they have seen, leading to a gradual realization that they are in fact gay, an incident, the memory of which causes one of the two, when he is well into a life that is disappointing emotionally, professionally, and sexually, to fling a gay porno magazine out his car window, as he passes an occupied ball field, on his way to what will be an unsuccessful job interview.
  • A biscuit, crushed into the slush of a Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot.
  • The orange tobbaggan, whisking her to her death.
  • A resume, that portrays its author as utterly unqualified for the position for which she has applied, but which, because it smells good, leads its reader, a desperate, experientially undernourished middle-manager at an internet-based retail corporation, to invite her into the office for an interview, which, although further portrays the applicant's complete unsuitability for the job, provides the middle-manager with a physical impression to complement the good smell, which impression is intensely exciting, forcing him to hire her as a supplemental secretary, much to the bafflement, chagrin, and eventual disgust of his extent secretary, who, during her employer's lunch hour, removes the resume in question from his files, and personally delivers it to the CEO, and is with the CEO when he barges into the middle-manager's office, and finds the unsuitable supplemental secretary standing beside him, crying silently with her dress half-off, while he sits in his reclining office chair, sweating profusely, and holding a plastic letter opener in a threatening manner.
  • The houseplant, that will not die.
  • Fifty pairs of old blue jeans, found at second-hand clothing stores, and brought at great expense, on a trip to eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, where rumor had it, old blue jeans could be sold for a lot of money, but where this was no longer true, as so many previous visitors had heard the same rumor, and done the same thing, creating a glut of old blue jeans, which were not even all that stylish there anymore, and causing the entire trip to be ruined by the necessity of hauling around these huge suitcases full of other people's jeans, which smelled kind of bad, as if those other people were currently wearing them.
  • The urine sample, produced for the cancelled doctors appointment, and forgotten in the back of the fridge.
  • My eyeglasses, covered with a thickening layer of dust that I never seem to notice, and simply adjust to, until, at last, I clean them out of habit, and discover a new world, sharp and full of detail, whose novelty and clarity I forget about completely within fifteen minutes.
  • Your signature, rendered illegible by disease.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Surround yourself with good people.

That's what's keeping me in San Francisco. I have people whom I love and miss all over the world, but there are some core people who are sustaining me, one brunch/hookah/coffee at a time. Of course, there are others of you, who I haven't seen in months or years, and yet we manage to keep in touch via phone/email/gchats/skype dates. This is a small thank you to everyone who has given me a hug, in person or virtual. You know who you are.

I'm all emotional and thankful for my friends because I just watched an incredibly touching movie called Dear Zachary. I don't want to say much about the film because I think it's important to experience your emotions as the story unfolds without any prior knowledge. But in its simplest form, the film was made for a boy to learn about his deceased father by the father's best friend. If you do watch it, available online*, be prepared to be "feel feelings," as Meena always puts it. Thanks for the recommendation, Greg.

*The stream will cut you off after a certain amount of minutes, so if you are ok with waiting for the 30-minute break, view it online. Otherwise I'd add it to your Netflix queue or grab the DVD from somewhere else.