The following online journal entries are from January 2005.
SATURDAY. 11:01 AM. Happy New Year!
MONDAY. 11:00 AM. I wonder how much of human life is the squandering of time? I guess if I'm healthy, doing well, having fun then I'm not squandering anything right? But I guess I should be making better, more constructive use of my time. Well, December is over. The year is finished. And I should be mucking back into the thick of school, work, and such. Alas, there is only minimal mucking. I just don't have the heart. I should be getting solidly to work on my independent study (and I have done some researching just no actual reading or writing). I should be finishing up Tellings (and I have been doing a few pages of revision and writing here and there). And I should be getting my act together so I can graduate on time, without headache, and with minimal stress this semester.
But, I don't wanna. (I should be having some cheese with that whine.)
As I said before, I'm just out of sorts. I have been for a little while. I guess it's the end of the year; it's the holidays and the new year. I have been known to get a little melancholy this time of year. My sister is away. My father is pretty much unavailable. My friends are securely in their familial orbits. So I spent a lot of time on my own (pretending you're beside me... all alone... I walk with him till morning... ahem) and that's perfectly okay. It's good quality Ed time, but it could be better, right?
My sister and I did talk on her birthday. I called her via internet telephony through Skype, which is pretty darn cool! She's doing well. She's been pretty busy. But I haven't really heard her complain about anything. She must be having a great time. She's a little sad that I am not coming to visit, but I hope to get out there during spring break or something.
My father also came by the Sunday after Christmas to hang out for a little bit. He brought over some food and we had lunch and chatted. We didn't do anything holiday-like at all. There was no gift exchange (though I did get him a little something and Alenda sent him something from Taiwan). But I'm glad he's tried to sneak in a little time. I just wish it didn't have to be sneaking at all. He's pretty much going to retire from the Washington Post near the end of this year. I hope he does. He needs to get on with what he wants to do. He'll probably move back to Taiwan. It'll be good for him.
Last week, last Tuesday night, I went over to the Maynards for Holiday TuND (Tuesday Night Dinners). The TuND of a couple of years ago now meets pretty much for special occasions. Everyone made food. I made red bliss garlic smashed potatoes and Ed's Sassy succotash. The food was good, as usual. It was nice to hang out. The Barnetts were in the area up from Austin, TX. We talked a little about the city since it's one of the places I applied to schools. It sounds like a neat place. The whole night was very chill, cheerful. We had a gift exchange. I ate too much, but I had a good time.
Most of the last couple of weeks have been very relaxed. I've still got a good cough in me left over from the Flu of 2004. But I'm much better. The house needs a good cleaning. And I've been a little lazier than usual. I haven't gone out much unless absolutely necessary. WoWing has been more than diverting (for those of you who want to know, I have Alliance characters on the Shadow Moon PvP server). I haven't done much else. I haven't even been up to the coffee house in ages. I just want to be home, hanging out, and goofing off. I did buy myself a set of free weights and have set to doing a little working out on my own. It's not super, Tae Bo serious but it's been fun.
I just sound so noncommittal. I guess I am just in a thinking mood and not necessarily an analyzing, articulating mood. I did get a little bit of a shock this past week. My friend Stephanie sent me an email telling me that her younger brother, Maurice, had passed away suddenly. I managed to chat with her a little bit over IM. She told me that right before Christmas, he had been in a pretty rough car accident. No one is quite sure what happened, but he flipped his car a number of times. He was hospitalized and died days later due to his injuries. My deepest condolences to her and her family. It's so incredibly sad. Maurice was a great guy, cool, very together, and handsome. Stephanie and I used to joke that we'd take him down to Dupont and make a lot of money with his pretty face. He will be missed. He was only twenty-two years old. I went to the viewing this past Sunday. I wasn't going to go at first. It's just too hard. But I knew that I needed to be there. Stephanie and I used to be really, really close. Time and life has led us down very different paths, but I think we're still friends at heart, almost like family. I don't know if it's an Asian thing, a Chinese thing in particular, but we had very similar upbringings. Whenever I went over her house, it was like being back at my family's house. We are almost family, in a way. So, I had to go. I'm proud I did. I think I dislike funeral homes about as much as I dislike hospitals. It's always just so tense, so somber, so intense, so serious. I know it is, and I don't make light of it. Wakes are the way to go for me -- cry till you laugh, laugh till you cry, party and remember, remember and pay respects. It was good to see Stephanie. She seemed pretty okay. It was heart breaking to see her parents. I had never met her mother, but her father reminds me so much of my own father. I even ran into some UMD students I knew, who also knew Maurice. I don't really know if I have anything to say about it. It's still pretty tight inside me, inside my head. I can't help but think about my mother's viewing, her funeral. (I really hate that the dead don't look dead when they're all made up and plastic and really fakey looking. I mean who are they kidding?) I also can't help but think about my friend Nick's death right at the start of 2001.
There are so many important things. And so many things we only think are important.
WEDNESDAY. 9:01 AM. I've been thinking about the past a lot. I guess that's normal over the course any person's day-to-day. I've also been thinking a lot about the future, the immediate future. I have some long term plans that are on the back burner, but mainly I'm just wondering about, worried about the next few months and the next year. It's all about limbo. The feeling reminds me of the few months leading up to my move to San Francisco -- I'm not quite finished here in Maryland and I'm not quite wherever I am to go.
It's kind of crazy that I will be graduating in three months. I'll be closing a big chapter in my life. I will be happy, proud, and very glad to be done. Crazy, though. I've started the big wait. I probably won't get letters from the schools to which I applied till March or April, but I've already started looking through the mail, waiting for the mail, wondering if there will be anything in the mail. I really have no idea what my chances are for getting into programs. The whole application process is pretty esoteric anyway. Acceptance or rejection could be due to any number of factors, whims.
I think this reflection is because of the new year. I always get introspective during the first few weeks. Fortunately, it hasn't been deeply melancholic at the same time. I think work and WoW have provided some much needed distraction. But I have my moments. I feel my age a lot. I've talked about this before. And I know that I should just be and not worry about what I should be or what I could be all the time. I just have to find a way to relax about it.
Limbo. I hate limbo. It's tantalizing and terrifying to realize that I may be in a completely different city this summer. I'm also conflicted, both in a good way and a bad way, about the possibility of not getting into any programs and just staying in the area. My original plan is to move back to San Francisco if none of my schools pull through. But who knows? I'd like to say that I'm going to pack up again and get out of DC. Then I look at all of my stuff, and I think about all of the ties that bind here. See -- it's exactly how I felt at the end of 1998.
THURSDAY. 7:54 AM. It is currently very cold outside (like 18°F outside, below zero with wind chill). The walk across campus was, shall we say, brisker than usual. I'm sitting in my office (cubicle) with my coat on still trying to get the blood in my body to thaw out a bit. I'm tired. Like being out in the sun all day, being out in the cold and the slicing wind is completely draining. I'm ready for a nap. My body totally feels the ancient, deeply buried genetic pull of hibernation. But we must soldier on. (Funny that since I'm wearing my camo jacket.)
I haven't been in the blogging mindset as of late. The month of January has careened by. I have been totally beset with stuff. Much of this past month has been devoted to work. We've had two and a half weeks of 'tween semester orientations and advising. There are a lot of students starting mid-year this year. I have also been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm graduating in a semester, that I might be shuttled off to a PhD program somewhere, and that life in Maryland is once again coming to a close. Most of my personal time has been spent in calculated quietude, seclusion, denial, what-ifs, and fantasy. It's probably why I play so much WoW. And, most recently, I have been getting myself ready for the new semester.
Two weeks ago, just about, the English department contacted me about taking on a section of English 101. I took it, of course. I wanted to round out the whole of my graduate career with one last section (even though I'm pretty much done with teaching this particular class and syllabus). I counted the other day and discovered that I have reached an ENGL101 milestone: this last semester will be my 30th section. Madness, I tell you. Over 600 students have been under my tutelage. I have graded more papers than I can count. Somewhere over 3,000. It is a staggering number. But I'm glad to have one final hurrah before I leave these hallowed halls. Ironically or maybe poignantly, my current section meets in the dreaded basement of the Armory building. I have a cinderblock-walled, windowless room that opens on to an access hall with the men's bathroom. Classy. I started teaching in the Armory way back in 1994. It's the circle of life, man.
I haven't done much really. I'm just not quite there. I'm not quite here. The routinelessness of winter break has pretty much lulled me into a comfortable, complacent, slow, and unremarkable mode. I did manage to get out a couple of times. My friend Ranetta and I went to the last Guerilla Queer Bar, which was at The Pour House, a pretty fun bar on Capitol Hill in Southeast. Ranetta and I metroed down into the city. We met up with my friend Casper. We drank a lot of beer (which is entirely too easy to do in a place that gladly serves pitchers). After a few hours of hobnobbing with the Guerillas, a contingent went down the street to Remington's, which I had never been to before. Remington's is a country western gay bar. Very casual. Very chill. And very fun, actually. You know I'm a sucker for cowboys, country music, and line dancing. If you didn't, then now you know. We even got up the courage to get out on the dancefloor. Nothing fancy, mind you. I'm really, really bad at two-stepping. Ranetta picked it up pretty fast (since she was taught by one of the cute locals). My biggest problem, since I was dancing with Casper, was that I kept wanting to lead. Go figure. I had a good time, and it is that kind of night that I want to repeat.
It's been good, fine, quiet overall. Not bad. Not great. But I'm okay with that. I'm glad to have had a quiet winter break. Alas, the coming semester, my last semester, will probably cash in on all of the ease and slowness. I'll just have to be ready for it. I hope to make my final go around a good one. Definitely remarkable.
I must say though that the last couple of weeks have been punctuated by signs from the universe that things may just be out of balance for me. Two weeks ago, as I was cleaning my glasses, they broke -- one of the arms fell off. Not a week prior to that I was thinking to myself (as I was cleaning my glasses) that I probably should get new ones just in case they broke on me. Since the pair I'm wearing now is my spare, it would be bad news to not have functioning glasses. Well, prophecy came true. So I had to rush out of work to Hour Eyes to get new glasses. What is messed up is that I didn't even get my glasses in an hour; my prescription is so strong that they had to order the lenses. I am going to get my new glasses today, hopefully.
Then at the start of this week, I opened a new bag of cat food to feed the cat. I have to put the bag up on a shelf away from the prying claws of the cat. As I was lifting it up, I thought to myself that it would suck of the bag opened and dumped catfood everywhere. Sure enough the bag unrolled, threw off its chip-clip, and dumped pounds of cat food over everything. I spent twenty minutes trying to sweep it up and back into the bag.
Not good signs at all. But the semester has started. Things will be different. I just have to do a little psychic and physical realigning.
© 2005 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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