(The following are posts written earlier than this posting date, but saved on USB)
July 26, 2009
Batteries: 60% (I just started work, so uh-oh spaghetti-o!)
8.5 hours after leaving this place, I’m back at the desk. SSDD, as they say (same shit, different day). I’m pretty much at my limit and thankfully I’ve got the evening off to have a real sit down meal rather than pizzas or standing/walking leftovers warmed in a toaster (we have no microwave.) We’ve got sushi planned, with drinks afterwards.
Everyday, I like to think I’m special. I like to think I’m unique. In what ways, well, why not everything? There was something they used to say back in English lit though, and that was that all the stories to be told have been already told. At this point, they’re just reiterations from different voices, but essentially, the characters and the themes are the same even if the packaging changes.
If I look around, I’m in a similar meme as the first men I knew, those being my grandfather and my father. And we’re similar in many ways that make me feel less special I suppose. It’s not always a bad thing because if someone was virtuous, why would you want to be different for the sake of being different? It’d simply be nice if we were all the same, that’d be a good thing, right?
But when you share some of their vices, well. I wish I was special in that, after living with men such as my grandfather and dad for so long, I wish I knew how to break the pattern. You’d think I could, since I’ve seen it so often.
My grandfather and my dad are, in some ways, very similar people. They’ve both got this sense of entitlement to them that comes from childhoods of poverty, scraping and scrounging. I didn’t go through all that to any real extent when you really look at it… growing up from birth in a first world nation, more or less growing up in my native language and not needing to make any switches either linguistically or with all the cultural baggage that comes with it. They’ve basically struggled a lot more to get where they are than I ever did.
It makes them feel that anything nowadays is owed to them by some sort of balance of karma. Although karma doesn’t normally pay back within a single lifetime, it’s a distinctly Taoist or Confucian upbringing that tells them that now that they’ve paid their dues, things should just work out nowadays.
There are plenty of great things I could say about both of these men. They’re very proud, independent, and resourceful. If there are problems, they don’t ask for help. They try to fix them.
July 27, 2009-07-28
Time: 12:34 AM
Back at work. SSDD.
I’m feeling a bit better this morning because I did manage to not lose more sleep. I mean, I managed to stay on par and gain a bit, so that’s good.
But last night was bad.
I didn’t get to finish what I was saying yesterday so I’ll address that first. About my grandfather and my dad, that is.
In our clan, my grandfather and my dad are known for their explosive tempers. I don’t care to speculate about whether it is biology or superstition that this is something that passes on, but I’ve got it too.
There are subtleties—I don’t explode like they do and just start calling names or expliatives out when they get upset. I guess the difference is that when they get angry, they just let everyone know really obviously.
As a child growing up in my house, I didn’t like any of this, and especially if I was the one being yelled at, I found that yelling back only made the situation worse. So, I’m the kind of person who tends to be able to bottle things up.
You know what they say about bottling it up though; you need some sort of release.
I’m not sure when it started exactly, but it was around college that I made the swap from your average friendly guy to being a loner. I don’t know if it’s a switch really, or if it was just that suddenly, I was put in a situation where I didn’t know anyone and having grown up in a rather strict house it was the first time I had so much freedom.
I would go to the arcades to play a few games of Marvel vs Capcom, some Street Fighter Alpha 3. I also hung out a lot in the ‘multipurpose room’ of Dawson, which was a small stage hall with a grand piano in it. The piano was locked, but I’d managed to make a key out of a bent piece of coat-hanger which allowed me to open it up. Either that, or in the time after MAC was first opened, I’d be up in the multipurpose room shadowboxing.
I did spend a lot of time also in 2c.14, but I wonder how many of those friends really got to know me? And it wasn’t their fault– simply, I don’t think I wanted anyone to know me, not really. I mean, we spent a lot of time together, and we did a lot of things together, but now that I think about it, how many of those people did I actually trust with my life back then?
I think that, because we’ve all had those all nighters before, we often don’t really think about how potent sleep deprivation is, especially when it tips its toes into the fringes of clinical insomnia.
Yesterday was just a day in a series of days where very few things seemed to be working out right, and so many things seemed to be going wrong.
Last sunday was my dad’s birthday. The thursday before that, a freakishly heavy rainstorm caused one of the duplexes that we own to flood. That’s a problem because the water damage was moderate. The tenant who lives downstairs though is a total asshole. For whatever reason, he doesn’t want to make us a copy of the key to the garage, and whenever we try to arrange a time when he can open the door for the plumbers, he gives us the runaround.
Long story short– he’s stressing out my dad because at some point, the tenant actually started verbally abusing my mom. My mom doesn’t really care too much– I mean, she’s upset, but she deals with a lot worse at work so she doesn’t really care beyond any functional involvement in the situation. Basically– she knows that being upset doesn’t solve anything, so she generally tries to take things calm.
My dad though is different. He gives into it, as if it’s the Dark Side. But he doesn’t get anything out of it, and it always ends in tragedy– my dad gets upset but the rage is so much that he can’t focus on problem solving anymore. He gets too emotional and reactional about things.
So last sunday, we went out for dinner at my parents’ favorite restaurant, Beijing. During the whole dinner, he was sulking and just not talking to either me or my mom. My sister’s out of town, so it was just the three of us. In my family, we have this saying that on our birthday it’s not good to be in a bad mood. Like the New Year, the birthday is indicative of what’s going to be coming for the rest of the year.
I asked him if he was training for the Montreal marathon this year. He said he wasn’t, and that was that.
I asked him if he and mom were doing more biking, since he and I had just bought mom a bike for her birthday last month.
“No. With all this apartment shit going on, who can enjoy a bike ride anymore?”
I was a little suprised at his comment, even for my dad.
“Well, that’s all the more reason to ride, then. I mean, you can’t stop living your life just because of the apartment thing. There’s nothing we can do about that so just go on doing things you like doing, there’s no point on thinking about it all the time,” I said.
I felt… bad. About saying that.
I always get these moments where I feel like I shouldn’t be saying anything along the lines of real advice to my parents. I mean, certain domins, sure– I can suggest what kind of camera they want to buy, how to fix this or that, or how to setup the computer or something.
The reason why I felt bad is becauset his kind of advice has to do with living one’s life. That’s always been my parents’ domain, my dad’s in particular. He’s a great dad, really he is, but his pride makes it impossible for him to take advice from anyone. Least of all does he enjoy taking his own medicine from his own son. I’m only telling him what he taught me, really– to run and gun. But he got caught up in the indignation more, and just said even less for the rest of the dinner with that unconscious frown he wears when he’s totally exhausted. I had the rest of the dinner basically with my mom because he didn’t join in anything, and he didn’t even eat much.
And that’s what I felt bad about.
I’m the kind of person who kind of wants everyone to be happy– when those around me are unhappy, I try to solve it. And if I can’t… well, I guess my own mood drops.
My cousin Michael is running into problems because he’s growing up into someone who’s simply useless. He hasn’t been raised to be independant, and for a while got in with a stupid crowd at school that values looking cool above being able to do anything practical. His education isn’t going very far. He’s got some health problems due to a bad diet and a stubborness where he doesn’t want to go to a doctor no matter how much my mom or I advise him to do so. And his family is in debt because his dad spends too much cash, and because he himself is developing into someone who spends beyond his means even though he’s not even 20 years old yet.
He’s in a downward spiral and for years I’ve been trying to see what I can do to get him out of that hole. For a while, things seemed to be going well. Before I left for Korea I helped him get into college. I used to tutor him for math and a bit for his English and french.
This is one of those things that changed while I was in Korea. When I got back, Michael, who seemed to be getting his shit together before I left, well, frankly when I got back he was a loser. It really hurts me to say that because he’s family.
In many ways I see him going down a similar path that I did when I was in college– mostly, of being an all around fuckup. But you know how retrospect is if you’re in a better place at the moment– hindsight is always 20 20.
But there is no guarantee that if you live irresponsibly that some day you’ll turn around and be happy. I know a few friends who I was really close with in the past who have gone completely the wrong way and who have never survived that lifestyle– it continues to destroy their lives.
I don’t want that for anyone in my family.
My grandfather recentlly was seen by a pulmonologist and it was decided that his lungs actually got better. The great news is that he no longer needs to use constant oxygen supplements (he used to have to walk around his own home with oxygen tubes strapped to his face at all times because his 02 saturation was too low to be safe).
On the other hand, my grandfather is kind of a smartass. He’ll have a fear of God in him everytime he gets majorly sick– but whenever he recovers, his respect for his condition as well as those around them suddenly dissapears. He no longer has to take orders from anyone anymore.
The situatino that arrised was that a lightswitch in his home was burned out for some reason. He decided to repair the light switch by himself– only, he’s far from being an electrician. He didn’t even turn off the main power. He actually managed to short circuit the power and pop a fuse.
Basically he managed to almost electrocute himself because he was fucking around with live wires.
My dad didn’t take to this sitaution at all and as a result, my dad and my grandfather took a few days off from eachother because they had, as usual, lost sight of the actual subject (the light) and gotten too caught up in arguing with eachother (a pair of stubborn, never back down sorts of people).
I guess I mention this because it’s never that simple– when the family has problems, it’s never something that I can separate myself from. My health, as an individual, strongly reflects the health of the family. Right now, it seems to be not so good.
The other day, [Y] called me up while I was at work. She had read here on xanga how I was getting closer and closer to [Kingston]. She wasn’t thrilled about it all, so we chatted via IM a bit until some obscure hour in the morning… and got nowhere. You know how it is with IM conversations– you can never quite read the subtleties of someone’s tone the way you would in person. Regardless, it left me feeling quite worthless.
Basically, because of these events, I just started hating my life for an entire week or so. At first I was still able to power through it. But it started adding up. Along with the sleep deprivation.
As I mentioned before, I think that, because we’ve all had those all nighters before, we often don’t really think about how potent sleep deprivation is, especially when it tips its toes into the fringes of clinical insomnia.
When you’re tired, and I mean, really tired, like, you can count the number of hours of sleep you’ve had every day on a single hand for a week straight, shit starts to get pretty fucked up. You don’t know why things are going wrong, because, basically, your mind is being poisoned. Biologically, your brain is soaking up chemicals that are coming up in all the wrong proportions. Your body is tired and sluggish. Your reactions are slower in some ways, such as your reflexes, but on the other hand you get more irritable and more reactive to the little things that you could normally shrug off.
The culmination of my week of aggravation and powerlessness came a night ago when I arrangned to meet a bunch of people at work for dinner and drinks. Dinner turned out to be different from expected– as usual, a bunch of my coworkers bailed at the last minute, and so the only one from my work group was, once again, [Kingston]. But a bunch of my non-work friends, who I hadn’t really counted on coming, all decided to show up. That was rather cool– because in the end, we were spontaneously 9 people, including one of NitroNilla’s friends, Laura.
We all had a pretty good time of the sushi, which was all you can eat (courtesy of Tokyo Sushi, on the corner of St-Matthew and St-Catherine).
We did have plans to go to Hurleys afterwards though, and that’s where things started getting a bit messed up. Originally, we had set up the dinner and drinks so that [Kingston] could get to know her coworkers better. Though many had canceled on dinner, they would still meet us for drinks afterwards. Of the group of 9 though, the only person who decided to come along was NitroNilla. The rest of the group decided they were too tired to come and would part ways, which, considering that it was only 8 pm and the majority of them hadn’t even been working all day, I thought was pretty lame.
Regardless, I went with NitroNilla to Hurleys for some good old fashioned Irish music over drinks. Paladin joined afterwards.
THe problems were twofold– first of all, there was no Irish band. Instead we got some sort of jazz flute band. Which isn’t normally bad, but I specifically wanted Irish music because that stuff cheers me up, and I was in a pretty bad mood. Jazz flute? Well…
Secondly, one of my coworkers showed up an hour and a half late, and the other two were totally incompatible with my other friends. I spent an hour and a half basically trying to bridge the gap between the two groups, but both groups weren’t very interested in eachother and weren’t making much effort either. I was basically simultaneously third wheeling for two pairs that wanted nothing to do witheachother. It was a pretty annoying time.
Throughout the endeavor I got messages from Terminator and Kingston telling me to join them at Kaffeine instead, since they’d decided after all that the group of them would stay out.
Anyway, one thing lead to another– I made a brief appearace at Kaffeine before calling it a night, and biking to the apt alone. They (Terminator, Kim, Kingston, Terminator’s brother and Wraith) all took a cab to my apartment to watch some snuff film they’d rented for shits and giggles at Movieland. At this point I was pretty exhausted, not just physically, but mentally, and just wanted to sleep.
There were several things that happened taht night which I just didn’t enjoy. I’ll skip the details in favor of the conclusions– by the end of the night, I was so exhausted and angry at the situation that I wanted to clobber Wraith because he was playing the playa, I had had it up to here with Kingston, and I was fed up of Terminator and Kim just because they were laughing so much.
What was really going on? I mean, a few games of Gears of War 2, some smoking, some drinking, the movie and then a few episodes of The Entourage. I only played a round or two of Gears, and the rest of it I just opted out in favor of sleep– but I couldn’t sleep because they were too noisy. I just stayed up, trying to play some unplugged electric guitar to calm myself down which worked to some extent– but my urge to just snap, especially at Wraith, was growing very quickly.
So I did what I do when I get pissed off– I walk away from the group. My absence was not unnoticed, but frankly, it’s the only way I know how to deal with things. When I’m part of a group and I’m upset for whatever reason, I need to separate myself. I need my alone time to burn off excess energy. I can’t be around people because if I do stay around them, I’m going to say things that I regret and they’re going to see sides of me that I don’t think anyone necessarily needs to see.
That’s the difference between my grandfather, my father, and I.
They just blow off their steam whenever they want. I can’t. I bottle it and try to deal with it on my own.
I don’t think either one is intrinsically or totally better than the other– what I can say though is that my level of anger definately increases with proportion to sleep deprivation.
It was just an awful night. Terminator and Kim were concerned afterwards and asked me if I was alright, and Zack even stayed around on the backyard porch with me a while while I played guitar to myself, but when asked if they could do anything for me, I told them:
“Nah, I’m cool. Thanks though.”
By 5 am when everyone else was asleep, I was still on the back porch, sipping a cup of tea. I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about all the things of the week and feeling that I had somewhere gone wrong with everything.