It’s tough being a human today

To adapt and thrive in today’s world, one has to resist the urge to be human as much as possible.  Not letting nature take its course doesn’t help either.

Getting an education

After 12 years of elementary and high school, we’re urged to further our education for at least another 4 years without any promise of a grand reward.  I think it should be considered a form of torture.

Living for 80 years

Life is short?  80 years sounds pretty long and painful.  I don’t think we were ever meant to be alive to the point where we look like a hunched over prune who cannot see, hear or walk.

Working full time

You can’t just be alive for 80 years you have to work 40 hours a week for all the years you’re not in school or shitting your pants as a baby or as a senior.

Alarm clocks

It’s like a sleep deprivation tactic comparable to blasting death metal to torture prisoners during interrogation.  Humans were meant to wake up when the hell they want to wake up or at least by the sound of birds and not meep meep meep meep.  The same thought goes on in everyone’s head when the alarm goes off in the morning.  “How can I escape this?  I can’t.  Life sucks.”

It’s so hard to die

Nothing is trying to eat us.  If we hurt ourselves we have hospitals.  If we’re close to dying they give us pills to keep us alive.  Can’t breath?  Don’t worry, we’ll just hook you up to this machine for the rest of your life that will pump and suck the life out of you.

Thinking is not the new black

Life is so crazy that the best solution that we’ve found is to stop thinking.  They call it meditating and it’s all the rage.  We idolize guys that shave their heads and live with a bunch of other dudes who don’t believe in meat, sex, alcohol and pretty much everything else that has kept us alive for all these years.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully adapt to this thing we call life.  I don’t think I’m tough enough.

My Nissan 240sx

The most important aspiration for most guys in their late teens is acquiring an automobile.  It’s kind of like a girlfriend.  You want a good looking one but sometimes you’ll just settle for what you can get.

In high school there were a few guys in my group who had brand new cars that their parents had bought for them.  I hated them.  Shortly after high school almost all my friends had cars bought for them from their parents.  I hated them too.  That is what can happen when you are not satisfied with your life.  You hate on other people cause you’re so frustrated with your situation and don’t know what to do about it.

Definition of a hater from the Urban Dictionary:

-A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.

From time to time I’d comment on how they were spoiled buttheads.  I felt shitty about not having a car and I made it my first priority to attain wheels.

From l998 to 1999, I painstakingly saved as hard as I could from my part time shitty wage job so that I could get a car and finally feel competent.  I could have bought a beater but I wanted something respectable.  At this time I was living in a different district than my friends so having a car felt absolutely necessary.  I could have rented a place closer to them but I figured living at home for free and having a car would be the better choice.

In the summer of 1999 my dream was finally coming true.  One of my friend’s worked at an auto mechanics shop and his boss was selling a car.  It was actually a car I admired when I was in high school.  The price sounded decent and I felt really comfortable that I was dealing with a connection from a friend.  I saved up $9000 and it all went to the car that was made in 1993.  It was all fixed up and detailed on the day I bought it.  It looked almost brand new, inside and out.

I fell in love with this car.  I couldn’t believe it was mine.  Many years later I still loved driving it.  It never really left me in a shitty situation like on the side of the road or stalled in the middle of traffic.

Call me sentimental or not being able to let go but I still have this car.  I’m not driving it but it’s sitting in my mother’s garage.  People always ask me why I don’t sell it and I slightly snarl at them.  Even when I was still driving it, people would tell me to get a new car cause it was almost 20 years old.  I’d say “no way” and asked them if it would be okay if their wives got rid of them when they’re old.

I remember being so motivated to get a car.  That was the first and last time I was ever motivated to work for anything.  My car had a bit of a revival of popularity a few years back when drifting and swapping engines became all the rage.  To drift you need a car that is rear wheel drive and there aren’t many around that are inexpensive and that can be easily modified for better performance.

I have plans to fix it up one day but who knows what will happen.  It’s worth about $2000 right now and I could find a buyer pretty easily but I don’t want to let it go.  It’s funny.  I bought this car the same day as Slash’s birthday.

 

1993 Nissan 240sx (picture taken just a couple years ago)

240sx

sideview

Another day at work

Mondays suck a big fat one.  So do Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Fridays.  But Mondays tend to suck the biggest fattest one.

Marijuana dispensaries have been popping up everywhere on my delivery route and I’m intrigued with them.  I’m not a pothead but to be able to have access to so many different strains and edibles seems special.  This one place had little brochures outside so I grabbed one and put it in my shirt pocket.  An hour later I noticed what a stoner my customers must have thought I was.

budbrochure

I didn’t realize that it was sticking out like that.  Whoops.

The day goes on.  After checking out the address on one of my packages I realized it was for someone from my group of friends that I used to be much affiliated with.  I cussed out loud.  I already had a good idea of what the conversation was going to be like.  Luckily, he wasn’t home.  Unluckily his wife was and she took his place with the question asking.

“How are you?”

“Where have you been?”

“How are you?”

“You never come out to the gatherings anymore.”

“How are you?”

I’m serious. She asked me “how are you?” 3 times during our 2 minute conversation.  I think those words just came out every time she felt awkward or uncomfortable.  I’ve often seen it asked 2 times during a short conversation but never 3.  I’ve always thought of her as somewhat nice so I spared her the cynicism(truth) and gave her the short and polite version of my thoughts.  “I just don’t have any desire to hang out no more.”  She replied, “it’s like that when you get older.  All you want to do is sleep and work.  Everyone is too busy now.”    I guess that’s the ‘so no one feels like a bad person’ explanation but the truth is that no one wants to hang out.  It’s not important.  That was the past life.   People generally won’t let themselves even get close to the unromantic truth.  It’s probably better that way.

My friend’s wife and I went to the same high school.  She had 4 other friends in her group and they all married within the same year or 2 and had kids all around the same time.  I highly doubt it was coincidence.  It was like copying a storybook life.  I think when we’re young we’re always aiming for some kind of storybook kind of life.  We can usually mimic the first few chapters with glee but the rest of the story often becomes a tale no one ever expected.

There’s this feeling that you get when you see and speak to someone that you’ve known for almost forever and haven’t seen in a while, that can’t be replicated with the new people in your life.  They knew you in your past and you knew them.  No one you meet in the future will ever have that.  I guess it’s a bit of nostalgia.   Often though the nostalgia dries quickly and you’re back to being almost strangers.

I don’t know about these people working at this marijuana dispensary I did a pick up at.  It’s like they are super super stoned or they dropped out in the 4th grade.  They write down addresses that don’t make any sense and there’s this one guy who refuses to fill out the airway bill form himself.  I’m not sure if it’s cause he’s too stoned or if he’s illiterate.  But ya, they all seem pretty happy in there all the time.

 

 

 

 

Uncle Bill

He came from a Ukrainian bloodline and was born in Canada.  The generic description for him would be ‘white guy’.   He was one of those tough guy types born in the late 1930’s, who didn’t take shit from no one.  He was a truck driver, owned guns, former alcoholic, tattoos, didn’t wear underwear, smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, been to jail, grease monkey, didn’t use shampoo, owned a Harley and scared the shit out of me most of the time with just his presence.

Uncle Bill was my mom’s boyfriend I guess.  I never referred to him as that.  To me he was just some guy my mom and I started living with when I was 4 years old.  When I was too young to even have a memory, my father decided to abduct me from my mother and took me to the other side of the country.  His reason for doing this was to sell me in China because boys were favoured there but being the loser he was I think he did it just so he could collect more money from government welfare.

My mother worked at some restaurant at the time and she’d be crying whenever she had the chance.  Uncle Bill was a patron there and I guess decided one day to console her.  She told him the situation and I don’t know what the hell he did but he was an integral part of me being located.  It’s weird, I never thought to ask too many questions about it.  I still don’t know how long I was taken away for.  I just never cared to ask.

My father came around one day to our house and Uncle Bill told me he came out with a baseball bat and told him to never come around again and to leave us alone.  That was the PG version.  I later heard it was a gun instead of a bat.  That was the last time my father made any attempt to show his face.

I can see how my mother fell in love with Uncle Bill.  I’m assuming she did.  She never had to worry about anything.  If something was broken, he’d fix it.  She was safe with him.  I felt safe with him even though I felt frightened.  Him and I were complete opposites.  He was this tough guy and I was this meek skinny Asian kid.  He’d always comment on how skinny I was like Olive Oyl from Popeye.  I’m sure genetics had a lot to do with my thinness but I never got properly fed.  It’s not like I could just drink coffee and smoke cigarettes all day like him.

The worst part about him was that he was a nag.  He’d nag me for every little thing.  He wasn’t friendly about it either.  Drinking hot chocolate with the spoon in the cup could apparently poke my eye out.  He was like the ruler of the house.  I could never sit in his chair and the remote control for the TV had to stay by his chair even if he wasn’t home.  If I wanted to change the channel I had to put the remote back every time.   If I didn’t like the second hand smoke he’d tell me to sit outside.  I guess that was normal in his day to breathe in second hand smoke all day and night.  It seemed like I couldn’t move without having him criticize me.   I pretty much had to deal with him all the time cause my mom was working 12 hours a day.  You don’t have a lot of options when you’re a kid.

By the time I started high school I was getting sick of his shit.  There was only 1 telephone and it was connected to his chair.  I couldn’t talk to anyone for more than a minute without him giving me shit.  I was also embarrassed with the house that we lived in.  It was a real piece of crap.  It stunk too but I didn’t know it at the time so my clothes stunk as well.  3 months into high school, I planned my getaway.  During this time him and my mom were pretty much done.  She wanted to get married but he vowed to never marry again after getting divorced from his first wife and he stuck to it.  I made up some bullshit about wanting to move into my grandma’s so I could learn Chinese.  The truth was it was a nicer house and it was going to be away from him.  My grandma was just as big a nag though.   She resented me for the sole reason that I came from a loser father.

I don’t know if Uncle Bill bought my story of me wanting to move to my grandma’s to learn Chinese.  He might have.  I thought I was pretty brilliant at the time.  There was a few occasions after I moved out that I met with him.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I thought about it, that I realized he became a really lonely man and really missed me but was too tough to say anything.  One time in grade 8, I came by to grab some of my stuff and I just took off right away.  He was like, “I thought you were going to stay for a while.”  I said something about having to meet up with friends or something and took off.  I remember now, even in his voice that he really wanted me to stay.  He never sounded that friendly.  When you’re a kid you don’t really notice these things.

There was a time when I was on the bus going home from school and I saw Uncle Bill driving in the lane beside the bus.  I stuck my head out the window and started waving.  He saw me, happily waved back and then rear ended the car in front of him.  Whoops.

Some time in the late 1990’s he sold the house and moved somewhere else in the province.  I haven’t spoken to him since the late 90’s.  He hasn’t tried to contact me either.  He was always too tough of a guy to show any obvious emotion.  That house has been torn down, rebuilt and funny enough one of my friend’s bought it a few years ago.

He expected me to be a ‘someone’ or a ‘big shot’ as he called it.  A guy who was going to get an education and make lots of money with smarts and handshakes.  Not sure if he believed that or just wanted to believe it.  Either way, I’d be too ashamed to speak with him now since I didn’t become that person he hoped I’d be.  I can’t even blame myself though.  The only thing anyone invested in me was hope.

I’m not sure how I feel about Uncle Bill.  He probably saved my life but he was also a loveless dictator.   I say that he was loveless but maybe he wasn’t.  He just sucked really bad at displaying such an emotion.  Perhaps that’s why I suck really bad at it too.

Going to the movies alone

There’s usually some awkwardness for most people to go to the movies alone.  Well, maybe not people over 40 but definitely people in their 20’s and even early 30’s.  Being mostly a loner now, I have been seeing the odd movie by myself at various cinemas around the city.  I used to restrict going to the theaters by myself to times when I was in another city when I didn’t know anyone.

That is one of the biggest issues.  “What if someone sees me?”.   The idea is that you are scared to be seen watching a movie alone cause people you know will laugh at you or think something oddly of you.  And this can have some truth to it.  I don’t know anyone who goes to the theaters alone.  Most guys I know won’t even go to the theaters with only 1 other guy.  They’re scared people will think they are gay or that they will feel gay.   A guy goes to the movie theater with another guy and that is gay?  Maybe, if they were watching Brokeback Mountain together then that would cause some gayness in the air but how often do those kinds of movies come out?  It might feel kind of gay but depending with who you’re with it could be pretty damn comical too.

The other issue with going to the theaters alone is that you feel kind of weird.  I always look around and there’s never anyone my age or younger by themselves.  There’s lots of 40 and above.  If youngish people see a youngish person watching a movie alone they probably do think that person has no friends.  But who cares really cause you don’t know them.

I don’t see the real big must of having to go to the movies with someone.  It’s not like you can talk during the movie.  It’s like watching a movie at home.  Don’t you watch movies at home by yourself?  Or do you have to call someone over every time you want to watch a movie at home?  It is a bit cooler though when you go to the movies with someone and you both really enjoyed it and can talk about it together.  But usually movies aren’t that great anyway.

Another benefit with going alone is that you can see any movie you want at which ever time suits you and if it sucks you don’t blame yourself for choosing a dud.  I like to go to matinees cause it’s less busy.  Often I get a whole row to myself and there’s no one directly in front of me or behind me.  It’s freaking annoying when there’s people all around you.  You only get 1 armrest and sometimes the guy beside you has shit for breath and breaths out of his mouth.  The worst is when he yawns and you get all the fumes from deep inside his gut that have been composting for hours.  I find that this happens half the time.

It’s weird.  The more I stop being around people the less I want to be around them.  I’m not sure if it’s always healthy but sometimes it is definitely better.  I used to never really mind going to packed movie theaters until I experienced how much better it was in a 3/4 empty theater.

So ya, you should try it if you haven’t!  If your friends make fun of you it’s cause they know you’d rather watch a movie alone than with them.  Or maybe they just didn’t invite you.

 

Out of sight out of mind

When I worked at a call center years ago, we all had computers with internet access at our desks and communicated through MSN Messenger for work purposes and fun.  There were 3 floors and each floor had a number of departments.  At most times we would have a few chat windows open trying our best to beat the monotony of sending canned responses to customers who were also being serviced through instant messenger.   This would continue after work too.  We would get home and instant message each other about BS.   The weird thing was that once someone would quit, get fired or move departments the chatting would end pretty soon after.  You’d almost become strangers.  You would no longer IM at work or IM at home and eventually lose all contact.  It was like once there was a little space put between you, that would be the beginning of the end.

It’s like a natural instinct to not give any attention to someone who is not benefitting you or who is not in your regular environment.  Something tells your mind that if you haven’t seen or communicated with someone for a decent amount of time then they must not be important so forget about them.  “If I don’t see you it must mean I don’t need to think about you”.  Humans are all about conserving energy and resources.

Even with long time friends I’ve seen them drop off completely or to a point where the friendship is holding on by obligation.  No one wants to do anything they don’t have to do especially if it doesn’t benefit them.  And why would they?  I think the issue is that there’s a belief in our culture that certain people should have a regular role in our lives no matter what.   The expectations and beliefs keep people in contact.  It can get pretty pathetic after a while.  People can’t admit or believe that they don’t really care about you.  It makes them feel like a shitty person.  But the actions or lack of action says it all.

Old time friends and acquaintances are all great when you see them face to face.  They get an overpowering rush to say kind words and bring about a sense of camaraderie.  The embrace is fleeting though once you disappear from each others sight.

To date I have no contact whatsoever with anyone from that call center.  They were the bulk of my IM list at that time and many were in my phone contacts.  I don’t play a role anymore in my group of friends either since they are all into different ways of life.  They don’t need to see me.   So I guess “out of sight out of mind” isn’t really something you can hold against someone.  It’s just part of life.  Unfortunately, you have to learn about it the hard way.

 

Dairy Queen “Mushroom” and Swiss Burger

Yesterday evening I was laying in bed and thought about a mushroom burger.  There’s this burger joint, Wally’s Burgers, that has quite a long history here in Vancouver.  I became kind of excited cause I realized their new location is not too far from where I am.  I Googled it and the hours said it was open until 8:00pm and it was 7:15pm so I had time.  So I jumped out of my bed, into my car for a 10 minute drive to find out that it was closed at 7pm.  No fair.

The next closest reputable burger place was another 5 minute drive but they charge over $10 for a burger.   That’s no fair either.  So I decided to go to DQ cause it was on the way home and for whatever reason thought I’d be satisfied.  I ordered my burger ‘for here’ but they put it in a bag so I was like whatever I’ll just take it home.  I get home to inspect the burger and this is what I got.

DQ Swiss Mushroom Burger

When I get the feeling of being ripped off I often try to rationalize it and try to make myself feel better.  I couldn’t this time.  To me this was pathetic.  If it was any worse it would be a real disgrace.  There I sat staring at this burger thinking if I should just eat it or get back into my car to go get my money back.  I imagined myself eating it and being really dissatisfied so I drove back there.

Me: Who’s the boss today?

Worker: Is there something wrong? Is there something left out of your burger?

Me: Does this look like an acceptable amount of mushrooms?

Worker: All the ingredients are pre-portioned.

Me: Would you be satisfied with this?

Worker #2: Is there something the matter?

Me: Does this look like an acceptable amount of mushrooms?

Worker #2: I’ll add some more for you

Me: I’d rather have my money back

Worker #2: I’ll get some more mushrooms for you

Me: I’d rather have the money back instead

Worker #2: OK

Once I got my money back I took the burger and I threw it in his face and pushed a little girl out of my way as I left.  Just kidding.   I said “thank you” and left.  The funny thing is that neither of them would answer me when I asked them if they thought there was an acceptable amount of mushrooms.  I think they’re trained not to admit fault and not to apologize.  When I worked at a call center for a gigantic American corporation they taught us to never say “sorry” cause it’s like admitting fault for the policies they had.

To tell you the truth I don’t know for sure if the amount of mushrooms were considered acceptable or not since I don’t recall ever opening up my burgers in the past to inspect them.  To me though, it looked pathetic.  How could someone not feel like shit giving a paying customer such a laughable product.  If there were any less mushrooms it would have looked like the mushrooms accidentally fell into the burger.

This is the first time I’ve ever returned a burger at a fast food place or any place.  I’m easy going and let everything slide usually.  If my burger was cold or ugly looking I would have just ate it.

Mission was not yet completed.  I still needed to get my burger so I went to this other place which is a Canadian chain, Triple O’s and ordered their Mushroom and Swiss Burger.  It was better but a dollar something more expensive. $6 and change.

tripleo

Nothing to get excited about but satisfactory.  No wonder why Harold and Kumar went to such great lengths to go to that White Castle place.  Harold is like the most famous Asian actor in his age group and below I think.  He’s not even that famous.  He’s like a C list actor.  I think math, badminton or table tennis have to become really popular in pop culture for there to ever be more famous Asian actors in Hollywood.  The idea is we’re not funny or sexy enough and can’t grow a decent beard.   The Middle Eastern actors lucked out cause of all the real life terrorism and wars going on with them.  The amount of TV shows and movies that revolve around Middle Eastern terrorism is a abundant.  Maybe that’s the real 9-11 conspiracy.  The Middle Eastern Actor’s Union were behind it all.