Get Inside My Head!
Every day begins the same. I open my eyes and the first thing I see is a blank wall. Why don't I ever paint my room like I say I'm going to? I then try to remember my dream. I usually can't. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I grumble about having to go to the slave labor quarry, also known as school. I have often been told that I should be grateful for the privilege of going to Punahou, but sometimes all I see is the burdens and troubles that accompany a teenage lifestyle. Why do they practically send us to our graves with the staggering homework load? Why must I have three tests on the same day? When I'm conscience, I usually feel guilty for having all these luxuries such as ipods and fancy cars while there are starving children dying in Africa. It is an act of complicity that I cannot help committing. But right now, my mind is occupied with surviving the punishment of having a 7:30 math test on a Monday morning. Complete and absolute insanity. Luckily, I had the foresight (as it is in my routine) to pick out the clothes for the next day. Limited options of course, as we must be as desexualized as possible. Seeing as I'm practically blind with my contacts on, the only way to find my clothes is to make out their colors. As I groggily throw the pre-chosen lovely approved clothes on, I stumble to the bathroom where the light burns my eyes and I blindly search for my toothbrush.
My job is to clean human teeth. A downright dirty and sometimes utterly disgusting job, but I suppose somebody's got to do it. Apparently, human hygiene is the top rung on their ladder of priority. I happened to be assigned to a girl's mouth. You might think that girls would be cleanlier than boys, but I'm not sure of that in this case. I would easily say my human's morning breath would chase away all the males of her species. It never ceases to shock me when I am run under freezing cold water. Then I get loaded with a thick, gooey substance with its bacteria-killing chemicals and minty freshness. The tube next to me reads, “Aquafresh toothpaste.” It really is pasty. Sometimes the mintiness is so strong it makes my bristles burn. But really, I am thankful for this paste, especially the part about it being fresh. It serves as a sort of shield to protect me from the evils of bacteria and halitosis.
Humans themselves are quite appearance-based creatures. From what I have observed, a majority of a human's life is spent in the bathroom. (Human females, even more.) It's quite interesting to see a human girl put paint on her face. There's all sorts of work involved. One of the most peculiar practices is the applying of black paint called “mascara.” It comes in a tube and the women are supposed to twirl their eyelashes to make them appear thicker and longer. If you ask me, this painting of the face is just another human illusion. It's not what they really look like, so why keep people under the impression that you look like someone else? The appearance of a toothbrush, as you may know, is quite trivial. We are plastic, complete with bristles, a variety within themselves. Some of us are neon colored or have some sort of special design. There are even those electric toothbrushes, who sit superiorly in their charger at night. Stupid snobby high tech toothbrushes who really aren't that much more effective than manual ones. After I am rudely awakened from my peaceful slumber in a cup, I am immediately put to work, cleaning teeth, the essential part of a human's smile. No breaks, etc. Sometimes I wish I could be a human, and have somebody clean my bristles for once.
I freshen up and perform the typical morning routine of a teenage girl. It's a recipe that I have learned to be quite important in our appearance-based society. Step one, wash face, apply makeup (if necessary and if wanted), deodorize, accessorize, and finish up with a dash of body spray to make your smell something to remember you by. It often occurs to me that I probably would not be doing any of this if I were unexposed to a society such as ours. Cavewomen didn't have to make themselves all pretty for the cavemen, or to be accepted in their cavemen pack. But, times have changed, I suppose, and one must go with the new flow. Then I walk upstairs and feed my fish, Freddy. I often wonder what it would be like to have the problems of a goldfish instead of my own. How relaxing it must be. What goes on in the mind of a goldfish anyway? Simple thoughts, no complex thinking. I heard they have a three second memory. Difficult to deal with, but I'm sure goldfish are made for it. How I envy them.
What do I know? I know that I am a fish. I know that I have been raised in some sort of hard container all my life, and so has my mother, and her mother, etc. Basically, the life of a goldfish just means a life in captivity. But what else do I know? I know that I must swim to survive. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. I know the colorful flakes that float at the surface are food. It's not common knowledge, but goldfish actually think about things. The funniest stereotype is that goldfish have a three second memory. I just laugh it off, but really, excuse me! It's already been more than three seconds and I remember what I said and why I said it. A human research study showed that we have up to a six-month memory. Which makes sense, because I don't remember anything about my birth. Or what I did last year. Or where my family is. That is so sad… But that's beside the point. The bottom line is that we can think complex thoughts. But that doesn't mean there aren't things I don't know. I don't know what goes on outside of my clear, oxygenated abode. I may see blurry shapes and figures that are almost constantly in motion, but I don't have a clue as to what they are. I have come to understand the great hand that crumples the flakes into my bowl, giving me my sustenance. Mmmm… flakes… they're good when they just fall from the hand, floating at the surface, calling and beckoning me, “Eat us, Freddy!” But when they are crispy and fresh, delicioso, yet even better when they're soggy. Oh, sorry. I seem to have gone off on a tangent. Well, I guess my home is pretty nice. The long tube gets a little annoying sometimes, and the noise it makes can drive me insane at times when I am cranky. I almost got sucked in by its powerful pull once. That was a near death experience. But I suppose it's useful since it seems to suck all my poop away too. It keeps my water clean. Despite this quaint little home I have, I don't know why I am here. I have been told that we are called “pets,” that is, we are like little children that humans take care of as their own. We supposedly give them relaxation and joy, although I don't see what is so enthralling about watching me swim around, eat, and poo. But I don't really care, as long as I have a place to stay and swim around a bit.
Many times I am startled by a pair of large eyes that invade what little privacy I have. I assume they are humans, but what ugly creatures they are! Many times, when the human girl comes to give me my food, she leans in close to my hard enclosure where I can see her ugly features. (I guess it's not really ugly, it's just they seem so strange compared to us goldfish.) Her eyes bulge and are extremely disproportionate to her face. Tee, hee the large human male is even funnier looking. He wears this funky contraption on her face. It rests on his nose, with circles around his eyes and connecting in the middle. I see this one human more often than not. Female. The human girl that gives me my food. I can't really say anything else because they practically all look the same. Humans interest me though. Their appearance alone piques my curiosity. How do they breathe without water? Their gills must be dried up and shriveled. Instead of fins they have things called hands, such as the thing that feeds me twice a day. It appears to be a strange fin, with five appendages that can move freely and grasp objects. It's weird. My own fin is kind of crumpled itself. I don't quite remember how it got that way. But it does kind of hinder my ability to swim. I'm pretty slow. I definitely wouldn't win any races. But then again, when would I have a chance to swim when I'm here in my bowl?
Anyway, back to my humans. You think their appearances are strange, but their habits are even stranger. My container is located in some sort of room with a large black, rectangular prism (I think it's called a couch) that is situated in front of a box that emits noise and flashes pictures. Many times, the humans sit or lie down on the couch and stare at the box. Sometimes they burst out laughing, other times they shriek in surprise, and on rare occasions I am privileged enough to see them hide their faces behind these squares that appear to be soft and cushiony. Sometimes the older human woman, which I assume to be the mother, does some freakish exercise that involves lots of jumping up and down and punching with each arm. It's kind of intimidating. I assume it to be some sort of self-defense mechanism. The only human male in the house often sits on the couch and strums a large… thing. It has strings and a long handle where the human grasps it. Whenever he does that, my water ripples and I can hear vibrations. I'm thinking it's also another form of self-defense. The sound waves are pretty strong. I guess these humans are well prepared for anything.
I've come to realize that though these creatures look strange and confuse me with their actions, I can't be too critical of them. After all, they've given me a home, complete with food and adequate room. They could also be saying the same thing about me. But I am a fish. And that is what I know.
While driving to school, my mind is always occupied by something different. Usually, it's how bad my day is going to be. Do I have a test? Do I have to give some presentation? Sick, I hate presentations. This then leads me to study in the car, or practice orally. When I don't have any of these, or don't feel like waking my brain up for school related material just yet, I observe how bad people are driving. Is that glass half empty thinking? Cause then should I observe how “well” people are driving? Whatever the case, that then leads to me wondering what we'd be like without cars. And how automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death today. It's ironic how the thing we depend on almost daily happens to be a death risk. Irony. Irony then leads me to think of irons, and why our clothes needed to be crease free so badly that someone invented an iron. Of course something related to school just has to pop into my head, as I think about how we just learned the kanji for iron in Japanese. The radio then catches my attention as some sad singer is pouring his heart out to thousands about being “so sick of love songs”. Poor thing… As the dull buzz of the radio fills my ears yet again, I can hear a new song; some popular artist raps about “rolling in gs” to a catchy, erratic beat that I know will become irritating later while it is stuck in my head.
When I look out the window I am once again reminded of cars. I conclude that cars can tell a lot about the people that drive them. For example, a nice luxury car such as a Mercedes is basically a sign that says, “I'm rich” or, “I like to spend money on cars.” A hunk of junk, a rusty clump of metal with peeling paint and a dented bumper, a car that should clearly be recommended to MTV's “Pimp my Ride”: that car says the owner either does not care about their car, and therefore what other people think about them, or that they have no choice because of financial problems, etc. Hopefully it's the former reason. Then there are the cars that are “pseudonice.” (Yes, that is my own made up word.) That is, they really have seen better days, but the owner does not want to give the impression the car has been in a better state so they jazz their car up. This usually consists of stickers of flowers, it the owner happens to be a teenage girl, or a “Bloodline” sticker, or even one reading, “Fuckenfast” for the cocky teenage boy. They all vary depending on what kind of intense pride the owner has (or what exactly they are proud of). There are also many cars that proudly bear license plate rims and stickers of alumni from various schools. And then there is the occasional antenna ornament ball. I have never really figured out why anyone would want one, especially if it's from Jack-in-the-Box. Do they feel accomplished that they eat at Jack-in-the-Box often? Do they think the little round Jack head with a pointy hat is cute? There are the even more elusive soccer balls and Mickey Mouse ears. And then you think, the things people buy just for their car…
You can also tell what kind of person is driving the car by their driving skill. If a person is crawling on the road, it's common to associate that car with an old person. If the car is swerving, speeding, or changing lanes abruptly, it's another common mind association to label that driver as a teenager, or younger person. I wonder what we'd be like without cars. Our environment would certainly be in better shape. George Bush might be a bit more correct when he says Global Warming is not a problem. It would prove hard for transportation though. The sidewalks would be extremely crowded, and the buses would be packed. Bicycles might be used, but then everyone would be sweaty and exhausted if traveling great distances. Definitely not an alternative lifestyle people would want. It's too troublesome and inconvenient. And isn't that want everyone wants nowadays- convenience.
As I ponder this thought, the hugest of the huge, the gas guzzling king, a Cadillac Escalade cuts my father off. I hope that he's not too angry because then he'll start to drive aggressively. I like to slouch in my seat if he chooses to look at the driver of the offending vehicle. Duck and hide.
GET OFF THE ROAD YOU PUNY LITTLE SEDAN! Volkswagon, shmolkswagon. YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR MY TITAN STRENGTH. Don't think you can tailgate me; I'll crush your weak little frame like it was gravel underneath my tires, All 5818 lbs of me. I'm the terminator. You mess with me, your mistake. Don't say I didn't warn you! I SWALLOW 30 GALLONS OF GAS EVERY THREE DAYS. My engine has the unbelievable strength of 403 horsepower. It's no wonder I'm the world's most powerful full-sized suv. And a luxury suv, at that. I'd be pretty damn impressed with myself. I'll just let you bask in my radiance, let my astounding facts soak into your little head. Maybe have my name ring through your ears, escalade. Escalade.
Sometimes I wonder about my purpose in life. Yes, I'm quite the deep thinker, thank you very much. I realized that I'm made just to transport humans around. I catch criticism about how us large suvs are worthless and have really no beneficial purpose. Pollution this, skyrocketing gas prices that. I begin to wonder if I'm really necessary, and if I really should be decorated so much, or at least cared about so much. but then, it occurs to me that… of course I should. We're cars, the most badass dudes around. And I'm a freaking Escalade. I know, it just floats on your tongue and sounds like a relaxing vacation. Escape to Escalade. You better know I'm one of the coolest cars around. Recognize! And don't hate, appreciate. I'm not going to brag, but… okay I will manage to tell you how we are prominently featured in human pop culture. We are filmed in music videos, with black human “gangsters”, weighed down with diamonds, and dressed in baggy clothes. They drive us, complete with scantily clad women and our decked out 23” rims to their hip-hop club, as our speakers, vibrating with the human rappers music, warn everyone that there are some pimps a-coming.
I love my shiny, opalescent white paint job. I love the regal Cadillac crest. I love when I get shiny new rims that continue to spin even though I may be stopped. There's enough chrome on me to create my own uv light, it's so dang shiny. Talk about “bling-bling” yo. Yeah, what sucka, I've picked up the human lingo. It's hot like fire. You down? I love the smell of my fumes in the air. The coughing that accompanies deeply inhaling is worth it. As I am woken to carry more humans around. It's sweet. Not bittersweet at all, and definitely worth it. I'm worth every penny, baby. All 57,280 dollars. All 5,728,000 pennies. That math I just did, no sweat. I'm a lean, mean, fighting machine. As I cruise along the road, I know I own it. NO regrets are left hanging over me; I say it's all in a day's work.
Math. My favorite and most adored subject, because knowing how to calculate the volume and surface area of a pyramid will come in handy in the future. Trigonometry is certain to become a part of my everyday life. One of my essential questions has always been, what is pi, exactly? On the contrary, I couldn't agree less. Pi? 3.1428571… I won't even begin to bore you. Trigonometry? Figure it out- no thanks-ometry is more like it. Math? If you ask me, I'd say I could most definitely live without it. No math = happy camper.
Often my class is frequented with people reluctant to learn new theorems with an indignant cry, “Ms. Smith, when am I going to use this stuff later in life?”
Case in point. But, for now, at 7:35 A.M. on a Monday morning, I must gather what little brainpower I have for a math test. A test that has some say in my academic math career. Brain, please wake up. I need you. As I dig deep into the fissures and gyri (thank you, Anatomy) of my brain, searching for the information that will help me find the answer to, “What is the volume of a regular hexagonal pyramid with height 8 and base edge 6?” After 50 minutes of squeezing my brain dry of anything relating to math, the feeling that I have just failed hangs over me like those dripping clouds that hang over cartoon characters. I can almost feel the rain dampening my already low spirits. I love being brain-fried. I love math! As I head to my next class, I always notice the Alexander windows. Transparent panes of glass that allow us to see in it. See out of it. See through it. It' be strange to have people pressing their face against you and squinting their eyes, trying to focus images on the other side. Probably annoying too.
I see anything and everything. It's quite enthralling. I see students laughing or crying when they think nobody's looking. I get to see some unlucky few trip and pick themselves up with the weight of embarrassment hanging over their shoulders. I see people hurrying to class with their backpacks bouncing up and down on their back as they run down the stairs, panting if they're racing up stairs, frequently glancing at the large quad clock to make sure they aren't too late. The best thing about being a window is that I can see what's going on both inside and outside. Inside tends to be more boring, just with the teachers scratching some meaningless marks on the board and talking their heads off. But outside is a whole new world.
I am located in the building called Bingham, a fairly old two-story building with rusty lockers and crusty water fountains, complete with bathrooms that constantly smell like paint. I get a view of the backside of the building called Griffiths, where some naughty students sneak in couples and well, you can imagine what a chuckle I get. Silly human hormones. You might wonder how I can be so excited about observing humans when I only have a limited view; the backside of one building, but it's interesting. The things humans do when they think nobody's watching.
Haha, it's pretty funny if I say so myself. Ahaha, it's priceless to catch a human picking their nose, digging around in the cavity for some gold. Or to see a human forget their locker combination. After numerous tries of turning their purple lock, they slam it down in frustration and bang the locker. Ahaha, it's too much. Right outside of me there are a bunch of plumeria trees and ferns. Many human girls pick the bright flowers and proceed to stick them behind their ear. Inside the classroom, a particularly bored student secretly sticks a headphone in their ear. Another colors in a penguin, green, that says “Thank you!” Ah, Mahalograms, I'm familiar with those. I guess I take back what I said about the inside being boring. It's actually not that bad.
Some of the drawbacks of being a window are the fact that I get really dirty. Sometimes the humans get lazy and forget to clean me. A layer of dirt, dust, and whatever else collects on my clear panes and some bored humans write their initials with their finger and then wipe the dust on their shirts. Julia. C/o 2006! Yay for Julia. Whoopee for class of 2006. When it rains, I am protected by the roof of course, but when the wind blows, my face is splattered with cold, cold rain. This of course cleans the dirt and the Julia, C/o 2006. The whole quad is covered with moving mushrooms of color as umbrellas spring open. Hm, I guess it's time for class, as the students are pouring in and plopping down at their desks. I wonder what the kids are learning today. Slope and Distance Formula. Not particularly exciting. I wonder who'll fall asleep first today?
School could be described as an alternate jungle. The quad is a teenage habitat filled with its own drama. The wild life of human preadolescents. Each clique or “pack” is just trying to survive. So there are those typical teenage dramas. Andrew likes Kristen, but Kristen likes Sean, Andrew's best friend. Sean likes Rachel, who is madly in love with Andrew. Rachel and Kristen hate each other from some previous falling out over a boy. And thus, a confusing, problem-causing love triangle is born. How interesting, isn't it? I love how we are surrounded by society that has extremely obvious and typical stereotypes. Punahou features its share. For example, there are the typical smart Asian nerds who put their time into studying and getting into an esteemed college, the multi-sport athletes who are normally associated with “popular” girls, or guys (because there are plenty of girl athletes too I must add) and the Asian gamers who spend their life glued to their computer chair, to name a few. But I also like the fact that Punahou is home to a variety of people, and a lot of them aren't caught in stereotypes. It's interesting to watch these people. A stranger walking on campus must be puzzled to see the clusters of people huddled around trees or lounging under buildings. Even more are in the library, but they aren't studying.
Sometimes I wonder if we are supposed to separate ourselves from trivial problems and worry about global issues that we tend to categorize as parent-only problems. Figuring out what Kristen must do to get Sean to like her while at the same time trying to avoid hurting Andrew's feelings often seem more appropriate to teenagers than global warming, or Africa's uprising poverty percentage. At Punahou, I think we are extremely sheltered and surrounded by superficial beliefs and materialism. I myself fall victim many times without even realizing it. We don't really know half of what goes on in other parts of the world. I am also guilty of thinking my life couldn't be worse when I know there are people out there starving, sickly, and miserable. When I see our school, how our tuition is insanely high, people walk around with designer bags, and choose to wear clothes of the highest fashion, (though it has been slightly subdued with the dress code now) I am reminded that I am so lucky to be here. But at the same time, I am struck with a lighting bolt of guilt. Peter Singer said we should give away all our luxuries away and use the money that would be spent on that to people who need it more. Does it make it okay to live with all these extra enjoyments because we are surrounded by people who do the very same? It's a question that will always yield many different responses. I choose to just be aware of what I'm doing, and not to live in a bubble of denial.
I'm a simple sophomore girl who doesn't even know her own purpose in life, but I do know that our society is not exactly saintly and I will refrain from accusing others of the very thing we are guilty of. I believe that knowing where we should be going is the first step toward heading in that direction, so at least admitting our failure in perfect ethics will hopefully lead us to change. But for now, I guess I'll have to listen to Rachel rant about Kristen. She'll then probably gossip about John and his sudden change in appearance after hardcore working out and a very effective diet. Apparently now, he's a hottie.
Ugh. There goes that girl again. The girl that thinks she is so cool. A little freshman bi-otch if you ask me. Look at her. Her laugh is so fake , not to mention she's a total ditz. Not genuine at all. How can boys even stand her? I mean, I would get totally annoyed if I had to listen to her giggle all the time. I heard she was a gold digger too. That would explain why she's clinging onto Shawn all the time. The materialistic girls we have at school these days.. Really! It should be a crime. Wow, I just can't stand her hair. It's so un-trendy. Who ever said that hair bands were in again was so on crack. But she there she is, wearing one. Hot pink is so not her color. And wtf she is a total slut! Her thong is practically hanging out. What happened to our “desexualized dress code ” may I ask? People call me a slut and I'm not even half as bad! Give me a break. I must advert my eyes. Oh my God, is that Jessica and Ryan? They hooked up? Since when! And why wasn't I informed?
“Oh my gosh, Jessica! When did this happen?”
“Oh, just this past weekend.” Aw, how cute! Not.
“Really? Aw, you guys are too cute. I'm so happy for you!"
"No ways, girlfriend. It'll be a matter of days and you guys will break up just like that. You don't mix at all. Jealous much? Perhaps. But no, I'm just doing it because I care about her. I mean , it's Ryan. He's like, a weirdo or something. He like, doesn't enjoy partying! That's a serious dysfunction. Anyways, I might be just a little bit jealous. I want a boy of my own. No more of this swinger stuff. It's that Stupid green-eyed monster that turns me into a jealous bitch. Bah, but who cares, girls in our society are always extremely jealous of each other. Most of us just don't like to admit it."
“Thanks , Kris. I'm so happy! I meant to call you yesterday and tell you all about it. But hey,is something going on with you and John?”
“No ways! Scandal! Haha, well I'll leave you two lovebirds. Catch you later yes?"
"Oh, John, John, John. It seems only yesterday that he was a large creature. He's magically transformed, like a fat toad to prince charming. That's quite attractive."
Ah, now to survey the rest of my pathetic peers on break. Ew, it's Rachel. I heard she's like turned anorexic, or something, ever since she couldn't get Andrew. But she's a bitch anyway for trying to take my ex. Ah, well the past is the past. I may forgive, but I don't forget. And then there's Tanya, stuffing her face. I secretly think she's pregnant. That would explain the cravings and compulsive eating. It's Funny how they can hang out together. They're so opposite. It's like beanpole meets coliseum pillar. I spy Asian gamers playing Nintendo DS. Super sexy. The only girls they'll ever meet are ones in their video games. Ouch. That was harsh, I'll have to admit. But it's partially true.
Oh geeze, there's John. He's so hot. Oh my god, do I smell okay? Is there any pit sweat visible? I rummage through my LeSportsac shoulder tote; searching for a book to hold so I'll look more intelligent. I'll display my math one. Alg2 represent! Sigh.. I love his hair. The way it's arranged so that part of it always covers his eyes is so dreamy. I love it when he tries to brush it away. It just falls right back into place. Sigh.. I wish there was something going on between me and him. I'll just have to put my flirtatious skills in motion.
“Hey John.” I bat my eyelashes. I smile broadly. I toss my hair back with a turn of my head. I do everything girly possible to get a boy to notice her. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I pull one of the oldest tricks in the book. I steal his hat.
He turns around, “Oh, hey, Kristen.” Like a God appearing from the sky, light beams just seem to radiate from behind his beautiful head.
“Hey. What are you doing?”
“Oh, man. I can't understand what this is saying at all. Can you help me?”
Damn. It's Japanese. Needless to say, I'm not in 3H for nothing, and I suppose helping him would just give me more of a chance to talk to him. Sweet. “Okay, well, this sentence isn't really that hard. I think it's just because you don't know your vocabulary. ”
“Yeah, that's it.”
Oh my God, I love that sheepish smile. That embarrassed mumble. It's so naive. It's so him.
“Well, shiokarai means ‘salty' , and amai means ‘sweet.' So, shiokaraika amaika shirimasen means.. ”
“ I don't know whether it is salty or sweet?”
All I have to do is nod. In return, I get a radiant John oh-so-perfect signature smile.
“ SWEET! Thanks , Kate, you're pro! Can I get my hat back? ”
No, no silly John. It's all mine. But I suppose I'll hand it over.. if you can get it.
I love school.
Food. A necessity for life, something that determines whether people are happy or suffering. It's ironic isn't it, how the thing that brings universal pleasure also happens to bring pain and suffering too. But, I must say that food amazes me. The wide variety of shapes, flavors, colors and smells that accompany different dishes never ceases to please me. I guess you could say food is my weakness. Or that I'm a fatty. Either way doesn't matter. Why do all the bad foods taste so good? In my own world, the better the food tastes, the healthier it is.
I'd have to say that the conversation that surrounds eating is no doubt interesting. Just the other day, someone remarked that “The word fuck is probably one of the very few to be a noun, verb, and adjective all in one.” Since it's not something you usually think about, I found that I had learned something new. Following that came several of examples such as, “You fat fuck!” And, “You fucking suck!” And “What the fuck?” You'll have to admit that though topic may be quite crude, it is indeed, very, very interesting.
I enjoy myself every time I eat something pleasing to my taste buds. But then, in the back of my mind comes the lighting bolt of guilt that always seems to find its way into my life. It's just sad that there are those who go to sleep with their stomachs empty and begging to be filled with their growls. But what am I supposed to do? Peter Singer so kindly suggested that we are to donate everything that could be called a luxury, and survive with the items that would be classified as absolutely necessary. Since he is Australian, maybe that compensates for his extremely idealistic and farfetched proposal. But in America, you probably won't find people too willing to give away $200 per week to a complete stranger, no matter how poor and needy that stranger would be, Mr. Singer. Even if they could afford it, they would at least be quite reluctant. Whether it's because of wanting to feel rewarded, paranoia, Chinese ancestry (haha) or just plain greed and selfishness, you won't find too many people who would give up their nice belongings to someone they don't even know.
Don't you just wish there was a magical button that would suddenly create enough food to feed everyone? Or Jesus could come and surprise everyone by multiplying bread and fish. I wish I could do many things, I wish I could find answers to questions many don't know. I could wish for many things but would they even come true? I am ashamed of the fact that I don't like the bottom part of muffins, yet I continue to buy them and give them away. A bird quickly sees the opportunity to be fed, and furiously pecks away. At least they won't go hungry, they're everywhere!
Humans are strange beings. They walk around with strange bags and from the sky they look like little specks, blobs of color with black, brown, or yellow tops, tufts of hair that they are so conscious about. Some of their strands would be fine specimens for a nest. But that's not what we're talking about, is it? Their habits are weird anyway. I happened to see a female arguing with a male, just the other day. What do they have to worry about? We have to worry about where to find food, how to avoid dangers like cats or cars, etc. Cats are disgusting, ruthless animals anyway. Not fit to be called a creature! MM but humans, the one thing they have is wonderful food. What I don't understand is how they can also be really wasteful. With such good food, how can anyone want to part with it! I thank them for that because it benefits us, but really, I know that it is actually a disgrace. Just this morning I saw a girl throw away half of her crumbly, chocolate chip muffin. It was beautiful. I tell you, the crumbs were so sweet. Right after I spied it, I flew right down and snatched it away, yes I did. In the bird world, one must take things every man for himself. We swarm around a scrap of food, pecking away, aggressively pushing those out of the way. Survival of the fittest; eat or starve is a well-known mantra to many. I also have a liking for human shiny things. Some of them wear shiny things around their neck. Those are so pretty… Shiny, shiny, shiny! Humans aren't so careless about throwing this around, so it's a treasure that I must seize the moment I am lucky enough to find one.
Another thing I observe about humans is how they are so cruel to us birds. They are real meanies. For instance, a bunch of us will be swarming around a couple crumbs, a slice of bread, or whatever. After pecking around the bare ground for a while, you'll have to agree that finding food is certainly an opportunity not to be missed. But then the humans rudely kick us and yell the strange words, “Go away!” and of course, we must scatter for fear of getting hit. Why do they chase us when dropping food on the ground is like an open invitation? It's like telling someone to come and then rudely shooing them away. I'll never understand that. Also, I've found that they like to interrupt our mating ritual, something that is vital to our survival. When we bob up and down, inhaling, expanding and emitting a series of “coos” to attract the attention of a girl we like, humans just have to butt in and throw something at us. Or kick us. Or some other abusive act. The least they can do is throw FOOD at us. I've learned that wooing a girl has to be done in private, with no humans around. Humph. No respect.
A distant cousin, the owl, can turn its head into a full circle. Owls can look at something with their head upside-down while the rest of their body is perfectly right-side up. When performing such a feat, it often looks like a questioning sort of puzzled state. I may not be able to do that, but when I think about humans, I certainly wish I could. It would sum a lot of things up.
As I sit in Japanese I listen to Sensei talk about Japanese culture and the proper Japanese etiquette at the dining table. Yamamoto san, next to me, whispers if I know what she's talking about. Don't really have a clue. Sometimes the words I should be able to understand just don't seem to find their way to the path of registering in my brain. They just flow out of her mouth like incomprehensible noises on a river of confusion. But then I actually listen instead of daydream and I can begin to put those noises together. Sensei says, “Gohan no ueni choomeri wo…“ but it's no use. I am bored. I wouldn't say it's because I don't care about what sensei is saying, or that I am a know-it-all who understands everything, or that I have ADD, or that I hate Japanese, or that I'm boycotting learning, but I am simply, not captured by what she is saying. (If that's even simple to understand.) Simply put, there are other things that interest me at the moment. In this case, as with many other people I'm sure, I look at my hands. I examine my nails and pick at cuticles. I survey the damage resulting from biting my nails for the past 10 years. I glance around the room, hoping that I am not the only one who has lost interest. See, if I were a totally uncaring and unconscionable student, I would even dare to doodle, or pass notes. But instead, I am partially aware that I must pay attention, and I switch between day dreaming and tuning my ears and brain to decipher the language called Nihongo, or Japanese. I can't help but glance at the clock.
I love having the satisfaction of seeing humans panic when they are late. They run around, looking worried and stressed out after glancing at my hands. It's quite entertaining, and I feel almost all-powerful. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I my hands read six and the sky was pitch black. Would the humans still believe me? Probably not, they're not as stupid as they look.
I am located in a school, you would think I'd be exposed to students that deeply
care about their education and such. To tell you the truth, I actually am surrounded
by intelligent beings, but at the same time, the not so intelligent. After years
of hanging on the wall of a classroom, I can spot the difference between these
two very interesting types of student. The slackers, or not as studious children,
tend to gaze around aimlessly at their peers. I often feel their stare on me,
as they watch my hands inch their way around my face. I admit I like the attention,
and I wouldn't trade places with anything else. Sometimes, they pick up their
writing utensil and instead of taking notes, they actually doodle. They could
very well be future artists, but after managing to get a peek at their drawings,
I am not so sure. Those are the smarter of the slackers, though. I like to call
them the “Deceivers”- that is, they give an impression they are the type of
model student by scribbling on their paper but instead they are pretending by
merely drawing the fruits of their imagination. They show signs of some intelligence
with bare application. Then there are my favorite, the tired, slacker kids.
When they are “listening” to a lecture, their head begins to nod. As they catch
themselves falling asleep, they jerk their heads back to consciousness, with
a worried look that their teacher might have seen them. The other type, I like
to call them the “Smarties,” look up and down, up and down at the board as they
copy down notes that they will use later for study. Like the good students they
are, they have their books open to the correct page, and are also reading along
when they are not writing down some bit of information. The median kids, or
those that are in between Smartie and Slacker do a mixture of both habits. Either
way, all students end up looking at me at least one time during the period,
and that's the feeling I love to get. Having people look at me as a sort of
necessity is quite a rewarding job if I do say so myself. Forget those cell
phones and newfangled ipods, the clock is where the time is at!
When I arrive home, which varies anywhere between 6 P.M and 9 P.M, depending on my parents work schedule and softball schedule, I am sent to do my favorite part about school: homework/studying. Of course, procrastination is my well-known friend. So the first thing I do is not study or do homework. I plop myself in front of the computer (yes, I actually plop) and don't type my paper on The 47 Ronin . I don't prepare for OPI tomorrow. Nor do I being studying terms for my Anatomy test. Instead, I instant message, (AIM) or even “Myspace”. Not too shortly after, my mother must peek her head over my shoulder or inch nearer, not only making me feel uncomfortable but also annoyed. She asks, “Are you doing homework or just fooling around?” Upon which I quickly open Microsoft Word and reply, “Homework”. Ah, the joys of having extremely academically aware parents.
This is my hypothesis on Asian parents and one of their life goals: their child's future in college, or just their future, for that matter. So basically, the Asian parent motto typically states that their child must:
study enough to maintain a 4.0 GPA (5.0 with grade inflations)
be involved in practically every club humanly possible
excel in a sport, perhaps all-state or something of that caliber
do whatever it takes to accomplish all of the above
I may be exaggerating, or creating a misrepresentation of Asian parent but this is what I have gathered as a common stereotype. A more common philosophy is the “as long as you try, or do your best to make your parents proud, it's fine.”
This is what happens when I don't do my homework or receive a less than satisfactory test score/ grade.
Mother: “I see you're getting a B+ in math.”
Me: “It was just because of that one test. We drop the lowest test score at the end of the quarter anyway.”
Mother: “Well, I just don't want you to stop working hard. I know you're capable of getting an A, since you got it last quarter.” (gives disapproving look that means she knows I can do better)
Me: “Yes I know.”
And that's all I have to say. And all I can say before I go insane. I am trying hard. Sometimes, people falter. It's natural. We aren't perfect. I know my parents understand that, and I am thankful for that, but at the same time I wonder what it would be like to have parents who are happy with whatever you think is acceptable. When people say, “I only do it because I care” it's come to be a mantra for me when I become irritated with people hounding my back. This then triggers me to think that although I am self-motivated to get As, the fact that I got them before only adds on the pressure of continuing the GPA. However, I have to add on that I figure this leads to a feeling of hiding things such as bad test scores, interims, all things from teachers that tell your parents you aren't doing as well as they hoped. And so, because of this disappointment that arises from below-standard academics, children will be more likely to cover the truth from their parents for fear of consequences. By no means is this true for everybody, but I am suggesting that it could happen. And it probably does.
Though I am lucky enough to have a mild form of the Asian parental unit, I still must suffer at times when their Asian parent gene dominates. For example, when I was writing something in this earlier, I asked my father how to spell unconscientious since it kept having that annoying fuzzy red line on Microsoft word, which means it's misspelled. He was puzzled, and realized that he wasn't sure how to spell conscientious himself (imagine that). Upon opening the dictionary, he then replied, “Wait, I don't think that is a word.” As I thought about it, I agreed and realized I had never heard of that before. So I asked, “Well, what is the opposite of conscientious?” He then proceeded to look up in the dictionary. I then became impatient and said “Never mind,” deciding that I would just use a different word, such as lackadaisical instead. But he was intent on finding the answer, as he always is. He finally found it and gleefully told me it was “unconscionable,” thus, building my vocabulary and improving my project. Whoopee. Anal parents at their finest. Needless to say, my parents are the kind who do not choose to be openly disappointed, overly negative, or even physically abusive (that is awful). I am thankful for that. But instead, I have parents who use a secretly disappointed reaction where they acclaim to accept your efforts but really wished that you did better. It's definitely not a bad thing, as I would rather have that than the more extreme genotype, but sometimes you still can't help but feel inadequate. However, I know that my parents are proud of me despite this somewhat frustrating and often maddening obstacle. In the end, it only inspires me to work harder.
But what is success, really? Is it making an absurd amount of money at some job that only benefits those who don't need it? Is it finding the love of your life and soaking up the romance? I've often pondered this question many times, and I realize how much it crosses my mind. The only thing I can really conclude on is that it varies between what makes you happiest and what you believe your purpose in life is. The drive to become rich will always be there, because that's what our society has structured itself on. How many people are actually happy poor, with little possessions? Or rather, how many more rich people are happy than poor? An insurmountable number. But if you're doing what you love, money is supposedly not a problem. Haven't we heard that too many times before? So what do I choose, the path to “rolling in the g's,” as 50 cent puts it, or doing what I love? It seems I can only find contradictions and clichés.
As I think about this I type my homework on the computer. An instant message flashes on the screen.
“hola mi amigo” (The only Spanish phrase I know)
“what ru doing” (note abbreviation of “are you”)
“ some hw. fatty english paper. you?”
“haha youre addicted now” (I hate when people confuse “you're” with “your”)
“yeah i know. its gay” (gay is frequently used as a derogatory term nowadays)
“i knew you would”
“dude check out this video. its pretty funny”
“a nutz dancing guy. he does like twenty different dances from different time periods”
I then proceed to click on the link.
“haha this guy reminds me of napoleon dynamite”
“I still never saw that movie yet”
“DO THAT PAPER NOW!”
“ k fine i will bye”
Oh how I love AIM abbreviations. My mom always says they reduce my intelligence level and promote bad grammar and spelling. I agree, but I do it anyway. One of my pet peeves is when people TyPe LiKe ThIs. Or spell things lyk dis. But I am guilty of using small abbreviations like u an such. Heaven forbid I actually use apostrophes and capitalize the first letter of a sentence. I am interrupted by the sound of another keyboard; rhythmically typing away and I know that has to be my 12 year-old sister.
As I watch my sister in her favorite spot, typing away at her laptop (issued from school), I cannot help but think how fortunate she is right now. One of the many things that has puzzled me is the statement that older siblings are luckier than younger siblings. From where this misconception has come from, I don't know. It seems obvious to me that the easier position would be the younger sibling. For example, you can learn from your older siblings mistakes. Just the other day I foolishly procrastinated on getting a sponsor for Confirmation, something that should be done well in advance. My mom said, “Colby, don't do this when it's your turn. I told your sister way in advance to find someone and she didn't listen.” Which upon hearing, I silently grumbled to myself, “Of course she's always going to do things better than me because she will have learned from my mistakes. It's like I'm the guinea pig for her experiment.” I also think, “Why do we have to go through a rigorous program, and a formal ceremony anyway? I thought God will accept us if we go to Church and follow his teachings and whatever. I do that... sort of.”
I remember how we always used to fight about parental favoritism. I argued that my parents babied her and gave her more leeway because she was younger, and I had to take the punishment for her. It was more unacceptable for me to break the rules than her just because I was the supposed example, and anything I did, she would follow. Of course now, I know that this is a common feeling with anyone who has a younger sibling, but of course, it's always going to make you feel unjustified. Who thinks about what it does in the long run before their initial reaction to what's going on now?
Needless to say, despite our differences, our fights, and our points when we're downright disgusted with each other, I am grateful for being able to have someone there.
My sister is odd. Not far from the stereotypical sibling rivalry, the relationship we have would probably be classified as friends who are forced to live with each other and so, irritate and become irritated easily. I could easily form a list with the things she does to annoy me. (In no specific order)
Doesn't listen to my requests, even though I get an answer from her and then I guess she forgets, or just doesn't do it.
Doesn't listen to Mom, so when Mom has finished telling us something, she asks a question that was already answered in the information that mom told us. If only she took off her ipod headphones for one minute…
Pesters me when I don't know the answer, yet continues to pepper me with questions about whether or not I know the answer, such as what time mom is coming home. If I don't know, I don't know.
Tends to snap or say things in a mean tone when she is doing “something else that is more important.” I'm just asking, gosh!
Ungraciously gives help. It's like I'm always a bother, or the answers to the questions I ask were so obvious. I feel bad for asking so many questions, but I need to know the answer. I sometimes end up feeling stupid.
Always leaves things open. For example, she never reties the bread after she opens it. This is probably why our bread gets moldy relatively fast. It's super annoying.
NEVERS ASKS PERMISSION TO USE MY STUFF. I might actually let her use my things, such as my eraser, hair bands, candy, etc. but I definitely get angry when she doesn't ask me! She claims it's because I probably won't let her anyway, but she always has to assume! (This is a biggie!)
After borrowing my stuff, she then has the nerve to forget to return it! And she didn't ask for permission in the first place!
Teases me about… well, anything. That's a list in itself, and I don't want to go through it all. Well, I guess I can mention some, like “anal” or “nerd”. She also calls me Chinese a lot. And that's not a bad thing.
How she complains about stuff but then doesn't do anything about it. Like, she'll be angry that mom told her to get picked up late, but then when mom gives in and is willing to make a compromise, she'll say, “Never mind, I'll do it your way already.” And mom was willing to change it!
The list could go on and on. I'm pretty sure it's infinite. Though I do have these problems with her, I don't suppose she is all that bad. We have our fun times, and I'm sure that I would be lonely without a sibling. I have to admit I don't wish to be the younger sibling, but I know for a fact it's better than being an only child. Being a younger sibling is tough, though. I am compared to Sara all the time (though I'm pretty sure she sees at as the other way around) and I feel like I have to do just as well or even better than her because I follow her example. Sometimes I find myself consciously/unconsciously copying her. I admit that I guess it can seem really irritating, and she does get mad, but hey, copying is one of the greatest forms of flattery. I kind of do it subconsciously, like I don't even realize it.
I guess you can never really say that you don't ever fight with your sibling. I don't know very many people (if at all) that can honestly say that. Everyone disagrees and argues once in awhile! Though we may bicker (that makes Mom mad a lot haha), and we may both say we “hate each other”, I know that I am glad that I have her and I hope she can say the same for me.
My day typically ends with a phone call to my boyfriend, whom I could not live without. Cliché or not, I truly believe I'd have a much harder time without him than I already do. I guess I'd be “lost”, but haven't we heard that so many times before? Love is something I'd rather not think about too hard. It's complicated to explain, or rather it's unexplainable. You can't describe it to someone like it's a condition or state they'll go through. All I know is that you feel it. What good advice, huh? The reason I know that I really do think I've found love is because I can't possibly cover the amount of happiness he gives me when I'm with him. It's a blanket of security that you just attach to, knowing that someone is there to support you. Do I believe that people at our age can find love? Yes. It's true that many people are deceived and think that they have found “the one” but in fact they were wrong, however, I think there are two people made for each other (yet another cliché) and when you figure out who your “soul mate” is, you'll know. It's not rocket science, and it shouldn't be something you stress about all the time. It's like all those times where you don't want to be called on by the teacher, and so of course, they call on you. If you go around looking at people and thinking, “where's my soul mate?” you are never going to find them. You can't force love; it finds you, so sit back and go where it takes you.
The people who get deceived often end up really hurt and scared to be hurt again. They tend to cling on to old memories and remain scared from bad experiences. After firsthand experience, I can honestly say to just move on. Sounds cliché, sounds easier said than done, but it's true. Some people end up single their whole life, and that's okay because that just the way it was meant to be. It's a part of your future you can't really change, even if you've tried all the dating services, hook-ups from friends, or the random person you bumped into at a club.
One of our nightly rituals is to make a wish at 11:11. I don't know who came up with that, and why 3:33 or 12:12 is not the “magical wishing time” but it's one of those little things that no matter how stupid and unrealistic it seems, you do it anyway. I guess this is similar to praying to a God, making a wish is like asking God for guidance or assistance. I'm Catholic, but I'm not devout enough to be completely sure there is a listening God out there. Suffering shows honorable sacrifice, but why would anyone want us to suffer to show dedication? Why would he punish people for not following the “path to righteousness?” Why would he have people starving and going through pain? I agree that death is a part of life but to endure an uncomfortable, lonely and difficult life, especially accompanied with a Even if they don't follow Him, I thought he loves us all, and wouldn't abandon people in need. If he was so “understanding” wouldn't he understand that people have different beliefs and that our world is filled with various cultures and religions with their own Gods? That is why I question my religion sometimes. The fact that I even have opportunities for doubt just solidifies even more questions about whether God really does love us all, or only those who follow him. And so, I usually end up giving some sort of prayer before I fall asleep. I still don't know whether it's because I genuinely believe he'll hear me, or I'm going through the motions because I've been taught to.
Again, I know I really should be grateful for my opportunities, but struggling with learning how to deal with them is part of the whole learning process. To think that there are people out there, homeless, and coping with hardships ten times more difficult than my own is humbling. I can be ashamed, I can choose to not care, but in the end, I know that whatever we complain, or bitch, whine, or groan about, there is always someone out there who has it worse. I find it quite humbling.
I take out my contacts, a process that usually takes a matter of seconds although when I had fake nails on for prom, it took much longer because I was so afraid of gouging my eye out. I guess you could say I hit the hay pretty fast. As the day's events play through my head again, like a far away projection the images start to fade, and in a matter of minutes, I'm out like a light.
I wrote this to document a typical day in my life, with most of the thoughts that come and go through my mind. I guess you could say I'm a random thinker. The thoughts on here may cover a large range, and they may be in a completely random order, but it's supposed to accurately represent what's going on inside my head. I also wanted to have an idea what it would be like inside the mind of objects/things that we encounter (or encounter us) in our everyday life. (Except for Kate, that was just a whole bunch of fun trying to convey a bitchy girl image.) Imagine what things would be saying about you. What would they say about your habits? My sister's narrative was entirely based on what she has said to me before, and her reactions to some of my actions. I thought it'd be funny to see what she thought about her narrative. She read it and chuckled to herself and then proclaimed, “Oh my gosh! That's exactly what I would say. That's so scary. It's so true.” Direct quotation. Another inspiration for this project was to accurately and openly show my personality. What better way than to have my very own thoughts visually written down before you? Though there is no way to figure me out unless you actually know me, I'll let you be the judge of who I am.
Most of this is typically what goes through my head, each day. I didn't really write things that were specific to any particular day. When writing the other points of view, I tried to think about what they would say. It's true that most of them sound like they look down on us humans, but I guess that was really the point of my paper. Sad, cynical, and possibly pessimistic about my own race, but I find it true. I'm not trying to say that everybody is horrible, and that human beings have every single flaw it is possible to have, but I am stating the fact that we aren't perfect. Most of the qualities I had the objects talk about are featured in myself. A lot of them were just straight-up observations of people in class and around campus. But I believe that knowing what your flaws are is the first step to fixing them, or at least making an attempt to.
Am I an ingrate? I do have a problem with showing my appreciation sometimes, but I really am thankful for the endless opportunities that arrive at my feet. I am indeed lucky to be blessed with an environment where I can learn, have fun, grow, love and be loved. I think about less fortunate people who certainly do not have the opportunities and satisfaction I get daily, and I feel bad about the fact that I make even the slightest complaint about having more homework than I'd like, something that I'm guilty of doing countless times. I guess one of the most important things I've learned this year in sophomore English is to become aware of our world issues. We may think that things that don't directly apply to us don't affect us, but to distance ourselves from reality is an illusion. It's our world, and whatever happens to it will certainly involve us in the end. It's hard to imagine the lives of people in poverty-stricken Africa when we're surrounded by such a comfortable environment with endless privileges and opportunities, but it's something I have been thinking about ever since we read The Poisonwood Bible . I believe that Orleanna's message, the point of the book, is basically summarized in her one quote that we focused on so often, “Now I know, whatever your burdens, to separate yourself from the lot of more powerful men is an illusion.”
As you've probably gathered, I have many things to learn, and many things to figure out. What is the purpose in my life? It seems as if everything I do has some relation to what I'm supposed to do with myself, how I'm supposed to act. Is there a God out there? What's going to happen in my future? I know that countless other students are asking the same questions, and probably can't figure out the answers either. I also realize that it's not like you could ever see your entire future laid out in front of you, but don't we all wish that life would hurry up and tell us its plans for us? Someone interviewed me for another project and asked, “Do you have any secrets to life?” I was going to say, “Live, Love, Laugh.” But then I added, “Yet I don't really have any secrets cause I don't know the answer to figuring life out anyway.” Who does?
What I've learned from this is to keep thinking about things. You can never think too much. Even if you don't come up with the answers, at least you gave it some thought. I also learned not to forget what opportunities you've been given. You can go through a whole day without even thinking about people dying from AIDS, or who are religiously persecuted, discriminated and abused. You can complain that your parents are always on your case, Mr. Schauble is a tough teacher, or hottie Michael likes another fakey, bitchy girl. I do that all the time. But then there are those days where I'm reminded of what's going on in the real world. You may have had a bad day but know no matter what, you're not alone. There are other things out there.