Buckets of Rain

Every time it rains, my mood gets better, usually no matter what. It’s not proportionate – last night it rained so much my “backyard” had standing water, but I didn’t have standing happiness. Sometimes it’s a complete pick-me-up, or at the very least, it’s a little bump.

It rained all night yesterday. That’s a rarity here. I woke up several times and it was raining. It’s such a good feeling to wake up, hear the rain, and go right back to sleep. Especially with thunder and lightning. It hasn’t really rained a whole lot in any of the places I’ve been in the past 4 years.

There’s something so interesting about precipitation, without it really every being attention grabbing, unless it’s a disaster. Even then, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, ice storms, are all way more interesting than a clear sunny day. The different anger levels of thunder, the different sounds rain makes, the varying levels and types of clouds. It’s something that passes through my brain without adding too much burden. There’s no brain power required to process that it’s raining.

Maybe I’m just starting to miss things I grew up with. Maybe I just like the rain. Even when the rain floods an entire street because the town has no sewers because it doesn’t rain enough here nor do the people have enough money for the town to tax to warrant sewers, instead funneling all the rain into the streets with one street being the entire town’s rain runoff catcher and when it pours this street, which can hold at least four cars abreast even though how can you tell since there’s no paint on the road, is entirely – from curb to curb – underwater, despite also having a huge depression down the middle of it…well damn if that isn’t more interesting than a perfect sunny day.

NY NY

In april, while doing some work stuff in Maryland, my beau thing and I visited NYC as a daytrip on one of my weekends. I’d only visited there once before, and it was in high school, as a band trip, and the whole thing was planned out. Vastly different experiences and mindsets.

In the first trip it was planned and I had no investments in it. “OK we’re going here now cool.” And I had no sense of anything. “Manhattan? Sounds fun I guess *brushes hair out of eyes* ” How could I appreciate it? I was in high school.

The second trip, 13ish years later, was exceptional. Where the first one was only an event, the second affected me – I chose to go there, I’d met people from there, I’d formed an opinion of the whole city from what I’d learned about it, I was coming from a place of, for all intents, as far away culturally in the US as you can get. I’ve been around the block just enough to not really be culture shocked any more (how can I when I saw a mom in China hold her kid over a sewer grate in the street when he had to shit), but at the same time, I was affected by the city, and I was aware of it. I felt it.

I was talking later with a coworker who’d lived there for a while. I was describing how I felt and he said something to the effect of it’s hard to live there and not hustle.

The energy there, with all the people, noise pollution, buildings…was tangible. I was only there for about 24 hours and it was probably one of the most influential single 24 hour period in my life. I wanted to paint and study art, I wanted to be an architect to study the buildings, I wanted to build things, I wanted to start a business, I wanted to do all the things.

That energy has faded away, sadly, as it’s hard to maintain it living where I do. There’s no energy here. I believe the cows feed off it, and the flies, in turn, feed off them.

It was a great city. A place like none other I’ve been to. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Although, I only went to Manhattan, and only the area of around Mid-town at that. So, huge grain of salt.

Enduro

I sold my car.

I didn’t really have anything go wrong with the car. I bought it at 32K miles, doubled the mileage, and aside from oil changes and tire rotations, there wasn’t anything. I know 64 thousand miles isn’t a lot, but it’s the trajectory. Diesel engines getting 300K+ mileage isn’t uncommon. And I just sold it.

I have no emotional attachment to the car. The offer of more money than I bought it for was too tempting to pass up, and in the end it ended up being the better choice, since now I don’t have to worry about my car at all while I’m overseas.

But what would have the car ended up doing? How far could I have driven it? That’s a question I’ll always be asking myself. What could have been. I feel like a door’s been closed and I wasn’t quite ready to close it. Oh well…I guess all that ca$h money can buy lots of tissues.

There’s something satisfying about an old car that keeps on ticking. Even if it’s a crap heap, if it gets you to and from work, school, store, where ever, that’s what really matters. But buying used is a risk, and buying new, who knows how long the computer chips can last? The golden era of analog has passed, replaced by the newer and less refined digital. Or, sort of, I mean cars still have engines powered by gas and the radiator is still a thing and who could forget the rear differential.

Around here, you see lots of old cars. Not cool ones, just old. I’ve seen more early 90’s, two-toned ford f150s than I’ve ever seen. As long as it gets you to where you’re going I guess. The mild-ish winters and dry air probably help a lot.

I don’t know if my next car will be able to be a diesel. Nowadays the only diesel vehicles in the US seem to be gigantic pick-up trucks – for the extra sensitive man. SAD.

Humor me this

We all go through changes of varying speed and intensity. The you in the morning might be different from the you at 3 pm. The you in 2009 is probably even more different than the you of 3 pm today. I didn’t really foresee this change, but over the past few years my sense of humor has gone from dry to dryer, and from middle-of-the-road to pretty cynical. I make fun of everything. And I believe everything should be made fun of, with nothing granted immunity. Well, maybe if it’s not racist/homophobic/whatever else. I blame my co-workers for having a similar sense of humor, but also the job we’re in doesn’t really allow you to have soft skin. If you get easily offended, chances are you’ll go day-to-day being offended. It’s easy to get like this.

With making fun of everything, though, you have to be able to make fun of yourself, and that’s probably even more important. Lots of “my people” take themselves very seriously when it comes to work, but are at the same time open for taking jabs. Once you’re in it you know where to draw the line (or at least most people seem to find it), but there is a line with two sides. And for those people who make fun of you seem to respond more positively to you when you go along with it, sarcastically and “in” on the joke, so to speak. A very over-simplified version would be:

Person A: You suck!

B: I know!

A & B together: HahahahAhaha

The me in the past would have seen this type of humor as being submissive, to let the other person smash you and look down on you. I think I took life too seriously. As long as you respond as person B with confidence, defiance, sarcasm, acceptance, humor…then both combatants are eye level. Hopefully person A can handle being made fun of and later won’t get pissy when you make fun of them.

Time

Been a while since I’ve written on this site. Nearly 3 years. 2014 feels like ages ago. Since then there’s been so much that’s gone on. When you’re a kid, 3 years feels like ages. I’ve heard time compresses as you get older. 3 years. Feels like a different life. Why isn’t it compressing for me? I’m already starting to non-ironically say stuff akin to Get Off My Lawn.

Reading back through this has been a trip down memory lane. A trip down someone else’s memory lane. 3 years. Well, more like 2.5 at this point. I pretty much stopped journaling, reflecting, thinking, pondering, pontificating, etc. Not a whole of time or energy for that these days. Actually there’s plenty of time, but I’ve mis-managed it worse than we manage our environment. It’s mostly the energy. Most days I’m so exhausted I just come home and crash. Time is irrelevant without the energy.

Hopefully I’ll be able to compare all the pos/neg of this place and the next. This place is pretty miserable with respect to many different aspects, I’m just itching to leave it and be done with it forever. I will be paying very close attention to my mood, energy, outlook, and activity for the next few months to see if it changes at all. I can’t keep living like this. Me 3 years ago feels so foreign to me now, it’s like watching a reflection of yourself on a rippled pond. I liked myself more back then, despite having grown up and made a lot of improvements.

Anyway, I started this as a way of keeping in contact with extended family during my study abroad (way back when I was a completely different person in 2011). Now that I’m taking a job offer in Japan, it seems like a good time to throw a log back on the fire.

Bye.

My Back Pages

It’s interesting to me how I can forget certain realizations, or go about my life in a stalled sort of way, without much progression, forgetting what lessons I’ve learned.

As an example, the other day I shared a story with a friend of how I watched a video that morning that I had also seen several months before, and in the time between hadn’t watched it. It was in Chinese, the first viewing I understood none of it, the second viewing I understood all of it. Understandably I was pretty happy at my progress. But I think the way that I told it, and the words that I used suggested that I was giving myself praise. There was no other tangible aspect to the store. My friend gave me a nonverbal reaction that I interpreted as “there’s no point to this story and you’re just praising yourself.” I don’t know if that was actually his message, he isn’t really a dismissive asshole. The conversation progressed, but I realized about 20 minutes later after we had split that I was giving myself praise because 1. I receive love through praise and affirmation more easily (if you know about the love languages, I receive love more easily through physical touch, words of affirmation, and quality time, but not so much through gift giving or acts of service), however 2. at the current situation I don’t really receive many words of affirmation (unless you count validation through success in Chinese). I do get them but as I don’t get as much as I feel I need, nor as much quality time and literally zero physical touch, 3. I have to try and meet that need myself. In other words I was trying to love my own self. It doesn’t really work, apparently. I also realized that I had recently told a few other similar stories that were self-praising, subtly or overtly. And that led me to realize that I don’t express much love at all to anyone else. I don’t feel like it either. There have been times where I was receiving plenty of love; expressing love was a whole lot easier. So my point of all this is, basically, I don’t get love, I have to love myself, and it’s harder to love other people.

But the kicker is that I already knew that. I’d already learned that when I was in college. I’d already come to that realization. Dylan’s song My Back Pages goes something like, “Oh but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Sometimes I feel like I only go backwards, (Tame Impala). I understand that we forget things we’ve learned, but it’s still frustrating to have to relearn something. It’s frustrating to find myself doing actions that I KNEW to be immature and what I find to be undesirable.

Sometimes I find that books and music help me understand life and myself. Books like The Sun also Rises, Notes from the Underground, or Heart of Darkness, I can find affirmation of my beliefs in them, or similarities, at least. Maybe I’m not smart enough to do anything with that affirmation, but it is nice to have found a voice to express what I myself cannot. Things about how if I feel like I’m in a dilemma, or if life is pulling me left and right, I have a tendency to pick neither and do nothing. Anyway. I do not wish to write anymore, so I will stop. I ain’t even gonna proofread and expand upon my ideas. Ambiguity, cloudy themes, and generalizations? Deal with it. I do.