The Bitter and the Sweet (Cruise Report – Vancouver/Alaska)

Part I

Well.

I’m sitting in an internet cafe in Vancouver as the male demographic of 18-25 sit around me playing World of Warcraft. Seems fittingly surreal for someone who’s running on 16 hours of sleep total over the last four nights.

The past week has been…unusual to say the least. Which is also saying a lot, because the status quo of my life can easily be described as generally unusual and off the beaten path. I’m afraid if I don’t document all this right now, it’ll start seeping through the cracks of my mind, until the lines between illusion and reality blur and I can no longer trust in anything I believe anymore. So I have to stream this right now.

Fremont – The Calm Before the Storm

I flew into Fremont last week, wanting to spend a few days before the cruise in my hometown to spend time with my dad and Michael who wouldn’t be joining us on the cruise. They didn’t want to go because cruising is too–their word–“stressful.” Sitting on a boat, eating good food, doing nothing…stressful.

???

But surely not as stressful as, say, disarming land mines in Iraq, right? Slightly less?

I saw that my parents were getting along and Michael is content doing his thing. This family has come such a long way. Rie drove over on Thursday and brought Seigo, her 5-month old son. I love that kid. He was born looking like he’s trying to figure out world peace. Or pass a big fart. It was awesome because this was the first time my parents were meeting him and he’s like a little person now with such a fun laugh. He and I had a great time airplaning while we all watched The International with Clive Owen, which was incredibly boring. It was so good to see them.

This was also the first time playing basketball in the nice gym in Fremont since training with a pro coach, so I wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference in my performance. It was actually ridiculous. I played 3 on 3 with some guys who were pretty good, yet scored 7 straight baskets in the first game, our team winning 11 to 3. I’ve never dominated so confidently before. There was one play where I got the ball on the wing, crossed over and drove it right into my defender and went up. He was a big guy and crashed into me in mid-air, but I managed to stay upright and make the basket. She makes them even with contact, I heard him mutter, and to be honest, I was really surprised myself. This level of play is a bit suspicious, like I’m getting an assist from a higher power. But I’m not complaining, just enjoying the glory before the shoulder surgery sets me back. The universe is being very kind right now.

Vancouver (or, Remember That Time We Were Held Hostage by a Cult?)

The cruise crew (me, mom, grandmother, Aunt Jodie, Uncle Edward, cousins Edison and Jonathan and a family friend) flew into Vancouver on Friday where we stayed at my other uncle’s condo in a high-rise overlooking the marina. We got in late afternoon and had plans to eat dinner with some friend of the uncle who owns the condo. We met the friend at a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, and it turned out that we would be dining with a massive group of 17 because it was the guy’s birthday. They were friendly, the food was interesting, and afterwards, they mentioned that because it was his birthday, they were planting a tree at their place and invited us to see their house which they had recently customly built from the ground up.

On the drive over, the guy’s wife had mentioned that they were Buddhists of an order that believes that all religions serve the same purpose by leading a person towards their higher self, so it’s like college–it doesn’t matter where you go to school as long as you get a degree. She said some other things about their beliefs, but my Chinese isn’t so good to understand all of it. To be honest, it all sounded pretty fundamental and obvious but as long as it benefited their lives, then more power to them.

The house was in a very nice area of Vancouver, on a hill with an amazing view of the mountains surrounding the city lights below. Their house was a stunning 2-story number with a large fountain out front and a well-planned meditational garden in the back. This is a nice house, I said to my mom. Then they invited us inside.

The first clue that something was wrong should have been the fact that they were the only gated house on the street with security cameras everywhere. My mom actually asked them about it, if it was for security, and the husband mumbled something about design but didn’t actually answer the question.

The next clue should have been the fact that the majority of the first floor of the house had been converted into a shrine. Wow, I thought. These people are really dedicated to their religion. Then I noticed there was a computer check-in station. I wondered if they ran a home-worship temple, the way some people have home offices. Hey, I don’t judge so I didn’t think much of it. The interior of the house was gorgeous.

They invited us to sit upstairs and try out their couches (very comfortable). As we were hanging out, this tiny Chinese woman wearing gray showed up and she was introduced as a “family friend.” She started to talk about their beliefs, and we all listened politely, but then a couple minutes turned into half an hour, then an hour and it was getting a little weird. I noticed my grandmother had fallen asleep and I thought, Good plan! and pretended to be asleep. She was talking about the concept of how we are a part of everything, earth and sky, and when we die, we lose everything except our connection to our higher selves. But for us to become a part of the earth and sky and for the earth and sky to acknowledge us, we need to make a connection through rituals. I was getting a bad feeling. This no longer felt conversational, but like a sales pitch. I really wanted to leave, but it wasn’t up to me. The next thing I know, they ask my aunt to write down all of our names on this piece of parchment paper. I’m still pretending to be asleep, but my anxiety is growing because, while I know cameras don’t steal my soul and leaving hairs on a brush doesn’t necessarily leave me open to voodoo attacks, I didn’t feel comfortable having my name written on a mysterious piece of paper. The woman asked my aunt how much she would contribute and my aunt agreed to contribute $50 a person. Now I was definitely uncomfortable. And what happened to planting a tree? That’s what they said we were coming over to see! Who the hell were these people and what were they going to do with our names? So they ask us to join them downstairs and I jump up and go to my mom who doesn’t seem particular alarmed.

What’s going on?, I ask her. Never before have I wished my Chinese was better so I could understand what the woman had been talking about and what was about to happen.

Oh, they’re just going to pray for our souls, she said. We’re just being polite.

Polite? I know it’s custom to come over to someone’s house and sit for a while over tea if they buy you dinner, but $400 and the promise of some religious ritual seemed…not your usual Friday night.

So everyone’s getting up and I peek over the railing to where the shrine is and I see that more people have arrived and they’re all wearing long gray gowns including the couple who had bought us dinner and their son. An alarm went off in my head so I grabbed my uncle and nearly threw him at the rail.

I have 3 letters for you, I said, pointing over the rail. “W.T.F.”

He looks and just says, “Oh.”

Okay.

My uncle’s a really chill guy. Our city could be in the midst of being bombed by UFO’s and he would just say, “This is not good.”But I was hoping for a little more than just, “Oh,” especial
ly considering he had the keys to the car and would be a key figure in any attempt to get out of this house.

So we go downstairs and the little worker bees in gray are setting up the shrine by putting mats down and preparing a tray with tea. I noticed the box of candy we’d brought the wife was also now set up as an offering for the giant gold Buddha in the middle of the shrine. I’m freaking out inside. I don’t want any of these people anywhere near my soul. And I want my name back.

So I grab my mom and tell her I’m not participating. She says it’s no big deal and to just be polite and I kind of want to shake the shit out of her because she doesn’t seem to be taking this seriously and I don’t know why. But my mom is someone who never wants to offend people so she probably just figured it would be better to get it over with than to disrespect her older brother’s friend. She does tell me that if I’m really this uncomfortable, I can go wait in the car. My uncle says he’ll go with me, but the little gray people are milling around the front door, so we try to sneak out the back. It’s locked. We don’t know if it’s wired to an alarm, so we sit down on some chairs in the kitchen and the two little boys come sit with us.

This is not okay, I say.

No this isn’t, he says.

This is really concerning, I say.

This is completely disrespectful, he says.

I’m so happy he’s having the same experience of this as me. I know because I was born in the US, there are a lot of traditional customs that I don’t understand, but if my uncle Edward who’s from China feels like there’s something wrong, then this definitely isn’t normal.

As we sit in the kitchen, we hear chanting and smell incense. Next, I hear the woman reading off our names. When I hear my name, chills run down my spine. I sneak up to the entrance and I see the woman who owns the house standing on the platform in front of the Buddha calling out directions with the paper in her hand as all the others kneel in a formation in the middle of the room, chanting. The rest of my family stands huddled in the back of the room, poker-faced. The woman sees me and waves me in. I shake my head and leave, though I think I shot her an inadvertent dirty look.

I go back and sit with Edward. We listen to the chanting and the boys start fighting and laughing, but we shush them. This is serious.

The woman in gray and the woman who owns the house come into the kitchen and each grab me by the arm. Come, they say. We’re going to indoctrinate you so you can be accepted.

I politely remove their hands.

My Chinese isn’t so good, I tell them politely with a smile (even though it is…I just don’t have an extensive vocabulary that extends into religious terms), but I feel like if I’m going to participate in a ceremony, I would want to know what it’s about before I agree to it.

Don’t worry, the woman who owns the house says, I’ll have my son explain everything to you in English when we’re done.

She grabs my arm again. I gently but firmly remove her hand again.

Why is it so important for me to participate?, I ask her. I have my own spiritual beliefs and they’re very important to me. Why is it so imperative for me to participate in this ceremony if like you said, all religions are equally important as long as they get the soul to the same place of understanding, so if I decide I want to go into the desert and communicate with god on my own and that’s enough for me, then isn’t that just as acceptable?

(I’m actually surprised and impressed at my level of articulation in Chinese at this point. Thank God the words are not failing me.)

The woman in gray becomes emphatic, saying that they’ve already called my name and started the ritual, that they can’t stop now. She says if I go through it, I will be officially recognized and that it’s okay to have your own spiritual beliefs, but doing this is like a back-up to make sure my soul will definitely be saved.

But what if I truly don’t feel like a back-up?, I ask. Even Jesus said the conversation between a person and God is a private conversation. What if I want to have a private conversation with God that has nothing to do with you? I think you should respect my personal right and boundaries.

They’re looking at me like I’m some dirty heathen trying to justify my depraved path, some ignorant soul drifting out to sea, and I’m getting angry because I’m someone who has pretty defined spiritual beliefs and a strong sense of my inner self that I’ve worked very hard to achieve. And even more so, my spiritual beliefs dictate that religion is a means to reach spirituality but not a necessity, that everyone’s spiritual self-discovery is different and as long as they get there to feel positively about themselves and their place in the world, it doesn’t matter. I believe that you can never force anyone to take your views because it defeats the purpose…you can guide and discuss, but it’s hypocritical and defeats the purpose to force any ideology onto a person. These people were so ignorant and hypocritical of everything they had just preached earlier that it was making me very angry. They were like that stringy-haired girl in my dream a few days before, pushing at me, when I wanted to be left alone to stand my own ground. I even remember telling myself not to fold my arms over my chest because it would be a defensive position, signifying weakness and fear. I stood strong, chest open, looking them in the eye, refusing to budge, just repeating – I’m not participating and you need to respect my decision.

They finally gave up. I looked at my uncle. Let’s go to the car, I said.

We make a break for the front door, and my grandmother has decided she’s had enough as well, saying she wants to go home. I go to get my bag and the kids’ shoes when there’s a sudden commotion outside. I run outside and my grandmother, who has a wicked short temper, is trying to get into the car but being stopped by the woman in gray. My grandmother’s yelling that we’ve been here for 2 hours and it’s late and wants to go home.

I ask what’s going on, also noting that while the gate around the driveway is open, there’s a white sedan blocking the opening so there’s actually no way out for the car. This is concerning. The woman in gray says that because I delayed the ceremony by not joining and making my grandmother wait so long, now my grandmother was tired. But she promised to get everything done quickly. She keeps trying to get a hold of my grandmother who’s flinging her hand off and yelling that she wants to go home right now and the woman in gray is yelling at me that I made my grandmother wait too long. It’s almost like this woman was determined to get punched.

I get between them and tell my grandmother to get in the car and tell the woman that my grandmother doesn’t want to do the ritual not because she’s tired but because spirituality is a personal matter and right now they are forcing something on her that she doesn’t agree with. My grandmother says, she’s right! That’s exactly it! And finally calms down.

The woman doesn’t seem to hear and repeats again that it’s my fault because I made my grandmother wait, and I was really achieving a new level of restraint in the fact that I’ve still been polite this whole time and I have suppressed the rage I am feeling towards this incredibly ignorant, stupid woman. The rest of the cult comes out, following the rest of my family and my mom’s apologizing to the guy’s wife that my grandmother’s back hurts and is just tired because it’s been a long day, which of course starts my grandmother screaming again from inside the car, Get me out of here! Someone start this car and get me out of here! I’m trying to calm her down by saying I know why she’s upset and I feel exactly the same, and yelling at the people to please move the car that’s blocking the driveway, when my mom pushes me aside and tells me to stop making things w
orse. Now I don’t know who I’m pissed at more–my mom or these idiots. The guy who owns the house is apologizing profusely and saying that this whole thing is just a misunderstanding, while my grandmother’s screaming, move your car! I want to go home NOW!

We manage to get everyone in the car as someone backs the white car out so we can back out. As we pull away, the cult people are apologizing through the window for the way things turn out and we’re like, it’s fine, it’s great, thanks for dinner, and I even add happy birthday to the guy who owns the house as I’m texting brian because this is just too unbelievable for me not to.

The whole car is silent until we get to the end of the street…make a stop at the stop sign…turn right.

Then I just can’t hold it in anymore.

WHAT THE FUCK??? WHAT THE FUCK??? NO SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK????

The kids start laughing uncontrollably and then everyone’s laughing.

My mom and aunt say that they had no idea the situation would turn into a whole ritual and I ask how the hell they know these people. He’s someone your uncle plays golf with, my mom says.

Brian calls and asks what the hell is going on and I recap it for him. His only comment:

“Was everybody kung fu fighting?”

Saturday

I talked with my friend Yuki, whom I’d worked with at Boom!Chicago in Amsterdam and is living out here. Even though we weren’t able to hook up, he recommended a Caribbean music festival on Saturday. My mom and I took a nice ferry ride to north Vancouver, ate some jerk chicken and listened to music while people-watching. A guy selling hats told us we were pretty. I told him, “It’s because we’re lesbians.”

My mom’s a very good sport.

The weather was incredible – blue skies and sunny, though it started to drizzle a bit despite the sun so we headed back.

We took a walk along the waterfront. Watched the cruise ships take off.

They left exactly at 5, my mom said.

They’re very efficient, I said.

Kids…remember this exchange. It’s important to the story later.

The night featured the most incredible thunderstorm that seemed to surround the horizon with lightning and electrified the sky in the most breathtaking combinations of colors and emotions. I’d never felt so magnetic and alive. As we headed back, I wanted to see what Vancouver’s nightlife was like but no one wanted to come with me, so I went by myself. Most places seemed to be clubs and I really just wanted some place low key to people watch, so I picked this Irish pub. There was a $14 cover which is a bit ridiculous, so I asked the woman to be honest about what kind of crowd it was. She told me that it was a mix…18 year olds to 40 year olds. Then I remembered the drinking age in Canada is 18. She let me check it out first and the funny thing was, it wasn’t a range of 18 to 40. It was really young kids, and the 40 year old men standing around in the corners watching them. Very little in-between. Bizarre. So I left. I decided to just walk home and see Vancouver on foot, my favorite way to explore a city anyway. I thought I knew where I was going (I thought it was a 1 mile straight shot down the main street to the street our place was on), but somehow I got really lost. I did find some interesting architecture, and followed this group of 3 kids, 2 of them holding up this girl who looked like Christina Ricci wasted out of her mind. She kept mumbling about how she didn’t know how she got this drunk (I don’t know. From…drinking…maybe?). It was funny, but her friend was so sweet, kept telling her she was okay and that they would get her home while basically carrying her. I wanted to tell the girl she was a really good friend, but sometimes I’m shy about initiating conversations, so I didn’t, but when the street we were walking on ended in a freeway on ramp, I sucked it up and asked them for directions. Turns out I’d walked in the exact opposite direction and was really far from where I was trying to go. The nice girl gave me directions to the train station while holding her drunk friend by the back of the dress as she stumbled around like a dog on a leash.

By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you you’re a really great friend, I said to her. She’s very lucky to have you in her life.

Her smile momentarily lit the night.

We parted at the stop light and I headed down the street where I’d been directed, until at the next corner, I found myself standing by a tank. Yes, not “bank.” Tank. Just sitting on the sidewalk. Seriously. It’s 2am, I’m lost as fuck, the streets are nearly completely devoid of traffic or people, and I’m standing by a giant tank under the pale yellow streetlight, the lingering smells of a dramatic thunderstorm still in the air. Damn right I wanted to have a photo session. But the only person I could see was a homeless guy staggering up the street, and I definitely wasn’t brave enough ask him to take my picture while I scrambled up a tank, so I called my uncle who was waiting up to let me into the condo to tell him I was lost.

He offered to pick me up but didn’t know the cross streets, or where in the city to find a tank sitting on a sidewalk (to be honest, it didn’t sound like he really believed me).

Luckily at that moment, a taxi drove by and I flagged it down. Didn’t get any photos with the tank. In fact, couldn’t find it again when we were driving around in the car the next day. Hmmm…

Sunday.

My uncle wanted to drive to Richmond to go try this restaurant. He claimed Richmond was only 20 minutes away and we needed to board the boat between 3 and 5 so we could make it back in time. I remember having a really bad feeling about going to Richmond, but I held my tongue because when it comes to family, I don’t have seniority to question decisions.

So we go out there and my mom wants to get a massage instead of eating because her back hurts so we drop her off and go to a dim sum place. I noticed that it’s 2pm and I say that we should hurry, because we still have to go back to the condo and load the bags into the car, drop the car off at the car rental place and take the shuttle to the port.

On the way back, we hit traffic. It’s about 3:45 and we’re running a bit short on time. I’m very worried and I suggest a plan that would optimize our efficiency:

Since the car was in Edward’s name, he should drop us off at the condo and go straight to the car rental place, taking the 3 most inefficient people — my grandmother and the two little boys. Meanwhile, the remaining 4 of us would ask the deskman to call a taxi as soon as we walked into the building, giving us 5-10 minutes to get all the luggage downstairs. Then at least one of the two groups could get to the port asap and let the people know in case the other group was running late. I was pretty happy with the plan, especially considering I’m someone who is obsessive about multi-tasking and maximizing time efficiency, because I have a pathological anxiety over boredom or wasting time. Even my mom’s friend said that it was a really great plan. But then my mom (why does she always do this to me), says that we can’t split the kids up from their mom, which made no sense because they would be with their dad. I say that’s fine. She can go with Edward to the car rental, and the remaining 3 of us would take care of the luggage. But then my aunt says she needs to be there to pack up the luggage and make sure they get everything. I’m kind of irritated now and say, do you guys realize you’re taking my efficient plan and making it less efficient?

My mom quips, why do you always think you’re right?

And then I turned green, ripped through my shirt.

Seriously, I did get really mad because she never listens before she disagrees. So often, she disagrees without knowing what she’s even disagreeing with.

So they decide to have every
one go upstairs and take care of their own luggage, but the compromise was that we would still call a taxi as soon as we got there, and one group would go to the car rental and another would take a taxi.

The time was about 4pm.

The first group by taxi got there about 4:18. There was a woman who greeted us by saying, You must not want to get on the ship.

She was pretty much a bitch. We told her we thought we had until 5 and she said that’s when the boat leaves and the check-in closed at 4. She was just a thoroughly unhappy person, so as we got all the bags out of the car, she kept saying, you’re not getting on the boat while the other guys kept saying, don’t worry you’ll make it. I really wanted to turn around and ask her, are you really this miserable of a person? But I showed restraint because seriously, what assholes we are, out of over a thousand people, to be the very last ones on the boat.

Another woman with the port comes out and replaces the bitch lady, and she’s amazing. God bless her. We tell her there’s another group coming but they’re returning the car. I tell my mom to call Edward and tell him to turn around and just come straight to the port. It’s better to swallow an extra week of car rental fees than to miss the boat. The woman gets on her walkie talkie, and the end of the story is, we all got on. Though we’re still assholes.

The good news though, was that we missed the evacuation drill, which I remember thoroughly hating the last time I went on a cruise. Everyone was filing back in their life jackets as we were boarding. I asked why we thought boarding was between 3-5 and they said it was in the information packet the agency had given them and I asked to see it. It was in small print but it did say to board no later than 60 minutes prior to departure which was 5pm. Then I remembered just the day before, my mom had commented about how the cruise ships leave at exactly 5pm, and wondered why neither of us put 2 and 2 together. Maybe because it just makes a better story.

But we made it, set sail, and that’s all that matters.

back at craigslist again

so many people might remember the whole episode where i put out an ad searching for the man i kept meeting up with in recurring dreams. and how it turned into this magical night. and that night led to a year abroad in amsterdam living in high drama (see: most of 2008).

yes, kismet’s a tricky little fucker.

so clearly i’ve learned my lesson, right? romantic notions are great. but end of the day, settle for a nice chinese engineer or accountant.

but yet, here i am again, putting my big toe into the murky waters that is craig’s list missed connections.

it was saturday, may 9th. i was finally back in la after a year of so much travel that my idea of home is obliterated. but brian is happy to see me and so we head out to the other room in venice. i believe it was also around a full moon, where i seem to be strongest, at my most magnetic for karma. my notes from that night:

An unusually high number of froderists, Tim Meadows looking sharp in a white shirt, 2 grown men scared out of the bar by lioness psychic seduction, 1 raging queen in a vest (not Brian). Somewhere in there, i’m pretty sure someone grabbed my boob and while it was too crowded to tell, I think it was a girl.

Had spark of inspiration before we left home that I’m looking to meet a stranger with a true spirit who’s uncanny in his ability to communicate with computers. I figure we’ll know what we’re supposed to do when we get there.

I asked B to point out one non-douchebag, someone good enough for me, and I would talk to him. He pointed out a guy with intense eyes by the door. I said, funny, we’ve already been looking at each other. He’s the kind I usually go for, but the kind who probably cries after sex. The guy watched us discuss and suddenly ran out the door. RAN. Even though there was no way he could have heard what we were saying. We just made a guy run out of a bar, I said. I felt bad. His issues, B said.

what i didn’t go into detail about was the tall guy by himself in the corner. kind of looked like that dude jennifer garner used to be married to, pre-michael vartan homewrecking. mid 30’s. we had made eye contact earlier, the kind where you think you know the person, realize you don’t, but then you WANT to know the person. the unknown strangers you recognize…undercover soulmates on full-moon nights inside dark corners.

my type.

we kept looking at each other, then brian appeared by my side with drinks. crap. we always look like a couple when we go out together. let’s go over here, brian said, and leads me to a space right next to the guy.

now it’s kind of awkward because he’s looking at us and brian and i are busy making fun of the people around us, so now not only do we look like a couple, we look like a couple of assholes.

but i want to know this guy, know why he seems familiar.

hey, brian, i said. ask that tall dude over there if he’s good at computers.

i remembered my spark of inspiration from earlier that night at home. maybe he’s the one i’m looking for. he seems shy, maybe the type that gets along better with machine than man.

i’m not going to talk to that guy, brian said. you wanna talk to him, you go talk to him yourself.

fucker.

but the truth is, i’m kind of shy sometimes.

so i just kind of steal glances at him, my feet like cement, my mind gummy. working up the nerve, working up the nerve. laughing at flaming queens wearing vests, but quietly deliberating inside, working up the nerve.

and then he leaves. squeezes by us, careful not to touch anyone, walks right by me, and i could have reached out and stopped him, given him a reason to stay, but i didn’t.

enjoyed the rest of the night, left the bar with a giant round moon trailing us, only minor havoc on the night’s scorecard, but deep in my secret depths, disappointment.

i forgot about that guy. mostly because i decided that was my new favorite bar and i met other interesting characters, like greg, the guy i asked if he was a serial killer within minutes of meeting him, then looked him up, had drinks with him a week later to make nice about “it’s not you giving off weird vibes, it’s totally me. i just like to check the way prostitutes ask a john if he’s a cop first.”

but then last night, i got home from vegas coming off a big party weekend, very little sleep and a long solo drive listening to a boring-ass audiobook that made me scream into the desert wind to stay awake, and brian wanted to go to venice for dinner.

do you wanna, like, put on a bra or anything?, he asked as we stepped out the door. i’m in fact, wearing the t-shirt i’ve been doubling as my pajamas over the weekend, because i was too tired to shower and change in the morning.

would you feel better if i did?, i asked.

i don’t fucking care, he said.

so we went off, me looking like i was coming off a 72-hour binger which i basically was, titties to the wind.

it’s a cute little place on abbott kinney and when told there was a 40 minute wait, i got really irritable, but felt better after a walk and a cup of coffee. we came back after half an hour and they had a table for us. as we were led to the table, the tall guy from the bar a month ago walked past from the direction of the bathroom. he gave me a shy little crooked smile and i involuntarily stopped in my tracks, watched him take a seat at the bar. brian asked me if i wanted to sit inside or outside, with the inside seat facing the room (the one i would usually take). but i was staring at the guy. brian had to ask me again twice, and i said i would take the outside one because i wanted to go to the bathroom, a decision i wish i had thought through because i would spend the rest of my night craning to look at him as i decided what to do.

apparently, on some level i not only hadn’t forgotten about this guy, but he had the ability to stop me in my tracks, then pace in the open space of a restaurant wrestling with myself over an impulse to approach him and being scared that this was one of those moments right before i do something that in hindsight, was totally awkward and embarrassing. fear won out. i went to the bathroom then slid back into my seat without incident.

after we ordered, i pointed him out to brian and asked him if the guy seemed familiar to him. brian didn’t recognize him. i told him he’d been there at the other room the night we’d gone out, and that he’d seemed familiar then as well. he met up with an older guy in a hat, but at some point, the guy in the hat stepped out to make a phone call. the tall guy was sitting at the end of the bar, alone, and i had a total opportunity to settle this once and for all, open the goddam door of conversation and find out why i had such an instinctive pull towards him. but i didn’t.

brian and i finished our meal. oysters, burrata, proscuitto & nectarine plate, amazing lamb sausage pizza. the waiter was a dick.

tall guy and his hat friend met up with a woman and another man and moved to a table in the corner by the door. i checked the seating arrangement and he sat across from the woman so she wasn’t his girl. which i’m glad, because she was in her 50’s.

at the end of the meal, i didn’t know what to do. brian went to the bathroom which was what i was hoping (brian hates it when i talk to strangers), but the guy was having a meal with 3 other people and it’s just completely inappropriate to walk up to someone and start hitting on them in the middle of a dinner, unless they’re a celebrity and you’re a girl who wants him to sign her cleavage with a old Bic pen as his wife glares.

brian came back and headed for the door. i was looking at them, trying to decide and i realized hat guy had well noticed me staring and was looking at me with an amused smile. so i walked behind brian and as soon as he was out the door, i turned to tall guy, waved and said a shy goodbye, which was really a hello.

he broke out in such a surprised, wide happy smile, but one in which my going out of my way to say goodbye to him wasn’t coming from a complete stranger exactly, that it stopped the table’s conversation and everyone turned around. i slipped out the door. we rounded the corner where their table was next to the large paneled windows and i could see they had all turned around to watch us go and the woman was saying something to him and he was craning his neck to see me with that same big smile, but i was afraid to look back, as much because i didn’t know what to do, as the fact that now i really wish i had showered and put on a bra if i planned to attract attention to myself.

when i got home, i couldn’t get it out of my mind. who is this guy? why does he seem inexplicably familiar? isn’t this how i always get into trouble, this magnetic karma-fate thing, like a moth to a fire.

but i got on craig’s list, and with clenched teeth, i put up my only other missed connection post:

I’ve run into you twice now and both times I can’t shake the feeling that you seem familiar, but I can’t place it. The first was at The Other Room, last month, I think. You were by yourself. I’m an Asian girl and I was with my roommate, a white guy. The second was tonight at Gjelina. You sat at the bar with a guy in a hat before moving to your table. I was having dinner with my roommate. I waved goodbye to you as I left because I couldn’t not do anything, but it wasn’t the easiest social situation to ask you…do we know each other? So here’s a shot in the dark. It would probably be easiest if you saw this and we could solve this mystery, but perhaps that is lazy thinking. If not, well…if this question has an answer, then perhaps we’ll run into each other again.

The winds of fate. They can pull you out of a storm, or they can dash your ship against the rocks into bits. And will you want what you get, when you get what you want? What if I find him again and it turns out he’s deeply troubled, or has the brain of a 7 year-old or worse, is boring?

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that goes something like this:

Don’t paint your car hot pink if you don’t plan to drive around in a hot pink car.

Just try to constantly imagine the future results of your actions when you’re in the moment. I always ask myself, how will Future Julia look back on this moment. And if the answer is, “She’s gonna be so pissed at me…” I probably shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.

On a separate note. One more fear somewhat conquered.

I ventured into a lesbian bar last night. Brian was proud of me that I was decked out convincingly like a lesbian. He said I looked like a San Francisco lesbian, which is good. I wouldn’t want to be an Alabama lesbian. I’m totally learning right now that what you wear affects how people perceive you, and basically, clothes are just costumes. And if you know what you’re being perceived as and you own that image, you have a lot of personal power. I was wearing all black which has been very effective in keeping people wary about approaching me. I think I come off really intense, so they’ll look, but they’re cautious about initiating a conversation.

One thing I want to also note, is that I’ve noticed that sometimes we have fears and we don’t know from where they originated. Maybe we blocked it out of our minds so it’s a blank, or maybe we’re in complete denial. But what I’ve noticed is that the closer you come to the epicenter of your fear, the closer you come to a situation where you’re face to face with it, the clearer it will become what the original source of your fear is. As I walked up to the club and saw all those lesbians standing around, I started panicking, asking Brian if I talked to the wrong girl, what if her possessive girlfriend comes up and wants to fight me? I was really starting to panic and I realized, that whole thing with my chiro and her wife who left threatening messages on my machine must have really affected me emotionally, because I had no idea I had been scared. I had laughed it off when it all happened and now when I look back, I just get kind of irritated or sad. But I never acknowledged the fear. But I remember it now. It was raining that week, and I remember worrying about coming home to find a crazy, intensely rageful woman with a knife ambushing me at my front door. Even though I felt I was bigger and stronger, I was terrified of being caught off guard. And I guess that vigilance turned into an anxiety around lesbians.

Brian had to take me in because I was terrified and wanted him to pick a place where I could be and not stick out. So he walks in, and gives me a tour of the place like I’m starting a new job. “Here’s the patio, and the dance floor. Bathrooms are over there in the back. If you come up the stairs, here are the private booths and there’s another bar right there if the other one is packed. And if you get scared, you can go right next door to the homo bar.” Then he left.

I did a shot of patron and watched some pretty crazy videos projected against the wall. The DJ was great. He did a Timbaland mix that I was digging. I would totally fuck Timbaland. And when I say fuck, it means think about wanting to have sex with but getting too scared in the moment and talking a lot of nonsense before I run awkwardly out of the car.

It was a very interesting experience because there’s a huge spectrum of lesbians, from girls who were feminine and gorgeous, to girls who looked like they’re the girls next door who are really athletic, to girls who looked like men, to girls who looked like 12 year-old boys. There were the women in their 50’s who looked like every other English lit professor I had in college. There were people who I had no idea if they were men or women, but I don’t think it really matters. They’ve embraced their identity, even if it defied definition. I kind of admired that. I was watching couples and groups and marveling at how diverse and unique all these people were. Some were really shy and would light up if you looked at them. Some were very brazen, like the bullish girl who ran her hand down my thigh as she walked by. There were also a lot of straight guys, just standing around gawking with these glazed looks and frozen smiles, like little boys in a candy store. It was kind of gross, but I’m not one to talk because I came to observe and not participate myself.

I had a couple of gin and tonics (sapphire with two olives, one lime…I’m very specific about my gin & tonics), and I realized I was pretty trashed. I started feeling overwhelmed about being around so many women, like my estrogen tolerance had reached its capacity and I started getting really antsy. I had previously asked this flamboyant guy if I could bum a cigarette and he didn’t have one. He saw me circling later and asked me if I was still looking for a cigarette. I said yeah, so he shared his with me. He said he was here with his friend. “She’s straight” he said. I got excited and I said, so am I. I told him that I had this fear of lesbians so I was trying to confront it, how I was worried that if you talk to the wrong girl, some crazy girlfriend would come up and get crazy pissed. He said first of all, you need to know that in LA, there’s no such thing as a girlfriend. Everyone is up for grabs. Second of all, there are some gorgeous girls here tonight so you need to be talking to someone cuz you’re gorgeous. I told him, honey, you like me because I’m just a gay man trapped inside this body. And he said, “I’m a gay man trapped inside this body, too! Oh my god, I love you!” So we became instant best friends, two gay men, one a little more physically authentic than the other, and I’m kind of relieved to have a guy to talk to and it doesn’t surprise me that in a lesbian bar, of course I would gravitate towards a gay man for shelter. I’m totally a gay man inside. So we’re chatting and all excited and he insists on giving me his number so we can hang out again. I think about Brian, and how he kind of avoids deeper interaction with guys, and I think how ironic it is that gay men are always giving me their numbers and wanting to hang out when really, this should all be for Brian. But he doesn’t want it.

So this guy Rick, who I called Ricky Ricardo because he just didn’t look like a Rick, introduces me his straight female friend. The girl is gorgeous, has fake tits and a great body. She looks Thai. She starts telling me that girls always think she’s a trannie and it drives her crazy. I’m liked, dude, it’s because they’re intimidated by how beautiful you are. And she says, ‘I know, right? It’s because I’m beautiful! But they always think I’m a trannie. I mean, I don’t have an adam’s apple. There’s no penis in these pants!” I tell her, man, girls just get insecure so that’s their problem. She says, “They’re stupid. Look at me. How can I be a trannie if I don’t have a penis? Here, feel this.” She grabs my hand and rams it against her crotch. “You feel that? There’s no penis in there.” I’m like, yeah yeah, you’re preaching to the choir here, but she’s strong and she’s still got my hand rammed against her crotch and is yelling, “See? NO PENIS!” I finally yank my hand from her grasp and tell her, “There’s definitely not a penis there so those girls can go fuck themselves.” And that seems to satisfy her outrage at people thinking she’s a trannie.

Ricky Ricardo buys me another gin & tonic but he accidentally tells the bartender two limes and one olive. But she remembers me and she does it right. I finish my drink and am completely hammered, so while they’re talking to other people, I slip out.

I take a cab home and the driver is this young Indian guy. We ride in silence the whole way, except when we’re about 2 blocks from my house, he asks me if I had a good time and I say I did…I’m straight, but those lesbians can be overwhelming. He laughs and he says how he picks up some crazy people and has seen a lot of stuff. Then he starts talking about how he has an Asian fetish and totally has a thing for Korean girls, and goes on and on
about his appreciation of their physical attributes. Luckily, this conversation doesn’t last too long and we get to my place. It felt like one of those conversations I have with strangers that ends either with an uncomfortable proposition, or a stranger hugging me.

I stumble in, watch Conan (what’s up with the catty irritation between Conan and Max Weinberg? Was it always like that?) and watch the end of an X-Files episode. First of all, Mulder is one of the sexiest characters ever. So aloof, so haunted, yet with such an intense belief that there is more to the world. And that affinity for porn. I would love to get high with him. He’s totally the kind of guy who would drive me crazy.

The episode ended with Scully talking to a priest.

Priest: “Sometimes we must come full circle to find the truth. Why does that surprise you?”
Scully: “Mostly it just makes me afraid.”
Priest: “Afraid?”
Scully: “Afraid that god is speaking. But that no one’s listening.”

This made me sad because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Someone recently asked me if I thought that the universe sends us signs. I told him absolutely. These are opportunities for growth. They’re blessings from the universe, trying to lead us somewhere. He was quiet for a bit, then he said, I think sometimes I get signs, but then I ignore them, because I think, I just can’t deal with them right now. I asked him why he would do that and he said he ignores them when he’s busy with work or not in a place to deal with things. I told him, no one is ever really “ready.” But the universe only sends them if the time is right. You just have to be courageous and know that there’s a reason and a place where you’re going. If you ignore these opportunities, you could be letting many amazing life-changing experiences pass you by.

That was the last good conversation he and I had, the last time we shared that inner space where two people connect and speak truth; we had a good potential to explore some amazing places outside of our comfort zones, but he got scared because he didn’t feel he was ready. I think it happens and I think the universe will keep sending you opportunities in the form of synchronicity and signs, but if you continue to ignore them, I just think it’s sad. Because you could be living the fulfilled and amazing life that you were destined for sooner rather than later. Why deny yourself that out of fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone?

The last few months have had me on a journey, and I feel like a critical challenge is coming up.

I feel it…I’m about to confront the grandaddy of my fears. A part of me is terrified, because like I said, the closer you get to the epicenter, the more the cause of your fear materializes, and I’m terrified of consciously being aware of what it was that hurt me and scared me so badly of letting the very people I want to get close to, get close to me. I’m committed to it though. I’m committed to setting myself free.

Red for Leo

Ever since the beginning of August, I’ve been wearing red every day because red is the color that symbolizes the Leo Sun energy. Leo rules your hopes and wishes as well as passionate romance and ultimate creativity. Since I’m going through a Saturn conjunct my Ascendant in Leo, I’ve been learning how to channel how people see me and their first impressions of me. I’ve discovered that I come off very confident and open. By wearing red to celebrate the Leo energy, I also believe that you can focus your energy on what you want to draw towards you, and it can become very effective. I asked for people who embody the element of fire to come towards me, and it looks like it’s been happening a lot. A lot of people with bright energy.

Today, I ran one of my social experiments at the gym. I don’t know why I never did this before, considering how much time I spend at the gym, and how 5 o’clock at the gym is the new happy hour. It’s like a jungle dance in there, how different people play out the mating game. But I went to the gym with my sole purpose being to observe, and see what kind of people are drawn to me. I brought my tiny notepad to take notes.

So in my recent experiments, I’ve noted that wearing black makes people notice me but more wary at approaching me, wearing light blues makes people feel comfortable in approaching. I wore a red shirt with the silhouette of a woman tied to a stake, and I completely discombobulated the cable guy on Wednesday. He couldn’t take his eyes off my shirt and he kept losing his train of thought while he talked to me. He ended up having to leave and request that a supervisor come help me. So today I went to the gym to observe the effect of red in channeling my energy :

Well, I decided that this would be too much red as to be overwhelming in a public place. So I wore all black except for the red baseball cap.

I kept my hat pulled down so that no one could see my eyes or where I was looking. I was watching everyone. The funny thing about the gym that I noticed today is that everyone is cruising everyone else–I even saw this older Persian guy cruising this young white frat boy who looked extraordinarily “neat.” Why drink when you’ve got prime people watching and endorphins coursing through your veins?

I noticed a lot of people looking at the hat, both men and women. Some were bolder than others. This one guy came over and says that he wants to introduce himself. His friend had mentioned to him, check out that girl in the red hat, and so he wanted to come over and introduce himself because it seems that I had an effect on his friend. He said that his friend had no idea he had come over and talked to me, but it would be really cool if I walked by his friend. I was watching him the whole time and decided to call bullshit. “So are you really here for you, or are you here for your friend?” I asked. He was caught off guard. I’m here for my friend. “Well it’s too bad your friend doesn’t have any guts. You guys must be really tight for him to let you do the speaking for him.” He said that the guy was his coworker, and that they looked out for each other. I asked him what he did and he said he was an undercover cop for the department stores in the building, and that technically, he was currently on the clock. So I stop talking to him, kind of icing him out while I stretch, so he said that it seemed like I was cool and said goodbye.

I stayed on the mat and observed. There was a really cute Jewish guy on the treadmill just rocking out to his iPod. Dark hair, pale skin, long eyelashes, sensitive eyes…my type. Couldn’t decide if I thought he might be gay. Definitely a mama’s boy. Man, there’s something about Jewish guys for me. It’s love/hate. But I couldn’t stop looking at him.

This guy comes up and sits down on the mat next to me. He says that he didn’t know his friend was gonna come over and talk to me until he looked over and it was happening (yeah right), and that he wanted me to know that he wasn’t afraid to talk to me (yeah right). So I kind of chat, but I hella don’t want to talk to him because I’m not attracted to him whatsoever and he’s kind of bungling nervous and it starts making me uncomfortable. So finally, he gets up and leaves.

I see this girl who was doing planks, and her ass and thighs were so curvy and toned, she looked like she was made out of plastic. Her ass and legs looked the way GI Joe’s would look if they were designed by horny gay men. And the thing was, she was Asian! Asian girls don’t have butts. I saw her though, and all I could think of was, “Good for you, sista.” Her body was rockin’.

I try to ride the bike for a little bit, and I can see guys circling a little bit. I avoid eye contact when they walk by because I don’t want a conversation to happen. The first guy who had spoken for his friend comes up to me and sits on a bike. He says, “I don’t even want to ride the bike. I just want to talk to you. My friend came back and said he thought maybe he had mis-assessed the situation, and I told him, no, I think she shot you down. How you expect to get a girl like that if you walk around like a pussy?” I asked, “Why would you say something like that to your friend? That’s mean.” He laughs and says, “I was just kidding. But I wanna talk to you. My friend told me not to talk to you, that you looked like some kind of hardcore kickboxer or something and you could kick my ass if I wasn’t careful with what I said.” I said, “Naw, I’m nice.” But then I ask him, “So if your friend is so into me, then wouldn’t he be pissed that you’re sitting here, trying to talk to me?” He says, “No, we work as a team.” But then he thinks about it and asks, “Do you really think he’d be pissed?”

I thought about what probably transpired between the two. This dude (Christopher), who’s totally better looking than his friend, is insecure so he keeps an ugly friend around. When he sees a girl he wants to hit on, he convinces his ugly friend that he should totally try something. So he pretends to play instigator by introducing himself to the girl and acting like his friend wants to meet her. Then he eggs on his friend to make an approach, at which point he will inevitably be shot down, because he’s being sent into a situation where he’s in way over his head. So this friend, the better looking friend, comes back around and apologizes for his awkward friend, then goes in for the kill. Basically, it’s like a reverse bait and switch. He comes up, and says his friend digs you. The friend turns out ugly. But the good looking friend apologizes and then hits on you, letting you know that he’s a better choice anyway.

Boys and their games.

So I told him, yeah, it totally sucks that he’s trying to talk to me after he tried to get his friend to make an approach. It’s like throwing his friend under a train to make himself look good. This guy didn’t know what to make of me and I just stopped talking to him. So finally, he took the hint, said, I didn’t even want to ride the bike, I just wanted to talk. But I just smiled and went back to watching TV, so he left.

I went back to the mat and did some abs. I saw this guy who kept circling closer and closer to me. He kind of looked like Derek Fisher and had a nice energy to him, kind of Leo-ish. So we made eye contact a few times and smiled, and at one point, I saw him standing by a machine looking like he was rehearsing something. So finally, I see him make an approach. He was going for the, “Hey, don’t I know you” angle, but just as he walked up, I turned my head as though I didn’t realize he was about to make a move. Okay, I admit, I just wanted to see how he would adjust. So he stopped and kind of looked unsure of himself, then walked away. It was like a plane going in to land, but then taking off again. So I watched him circle some more, but then he walked up. “Haven’t you been stretching for a while? Are you gonna work out at all?” I needed him to repeat it a couple of times until I realized he
was making a joke. I laughed and he seemed relieved that his approach hadn’t been completely turned down. He kept stopping by and talking to me, then he told me that he really liked the boxing class that was going on in the aerobics room. He asked me if I ever did it. I said that I’d done it once, but I also liked the boot camp class on Wednesdays. He said that he would be interested in checking out that class, then said that maybe he’d see me around. I neglected to say that I don’t go to that class anymore because I just joined Toastmasters so I’m at those meetings on Wednesdays. But I liked that guy’s energy.

Everything else was okay. I didn’t see the two really buff and intense girls who circle each other and don’t seem to know whether they want to fuck each other or fight each other. I did watch this one trainer that I always watch. He watches me when I’m not looking, and I watch him when he’s not looking. Sometimes we accidentally make eye contact and we nod at each other like we’re totally strangers, but we keep an eye on each other. He’s the type of guy who’s bad news. I wonder if he thinks I’m the type of girl who’s bad news. Because we keep our distance from each other, but we’re always watching.

I would like to go again and see what else I can do with the color red in the next week or so.

For now, I’ll be heading out of town to see what kind of trouble I can get into in the Texan heat.

The Hollywood Bowl is Mecca

Anyone who gets a chance should go see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl at least once in their lifetime, if not as often as possible. The shows put on by KCRW are usually the best as they pull a lot of artists from around the world, and seeing people who come from completely different cultures express themselves is something that gives you a whole different perspective on life in itself. But the whole feel of the place, the background as the sun sets behind the mountains, the positive energy, the fact that you can bring in your own food & drink (and they look the other way when it comes to weed)…it’s a spiritual experience.

This is a more recent thing, but I like to get high just as the sun’s setting, and then spend the rest of the evening feeling the music, the vibes and watching people and learning about all the different types out there. It makes me really love and appreciate people. I think being at the Bowl relaxes people which makes them project more honestly, and you’d be surprised how much you could learn about different personalities or humans in general just by taking in everything. It’s beautiful on so many levels.

Earlier this week, I realized that the only person I wanted to go with was my friend Colin. Otherwise, I wanted to go alone. Colin’s someone who’s himself almost no matter what, so you can talk or not talk to him, and it’s still very comfortable. I’ve found that lately, I’ve had a real lack of patience for vapid, superficial interaction and conversation. I just feel like I’m wasting myself and my time, because when you’re busy making small talk with people who don’t really know you or care to know you because they live on a more surface level, you’re trying to make yourself as bland, as acceptable and as mildly pleasant as possible. But it sucks! It’s like having a Ferrari, but you can only drive in a parking lot. It’s like being put into a little box when you know you have so much more to offer and you’re so much bigger, and it’s pretty magnificent. In these more surfacey interactions, I’m not really getting to be myself with all of my parts present, and I’m having a harder time being tolerant of that anymore if it’s not a situation where socially, I have to be a certain way (ie for work, etc). I would rather be by myself, or be with people who accept and enjoy the whole me. I just want to be able to relax and be myself. I don’t mind more superficial interactions sometimes. It’s good to have balance and relate to people on the different levels they’re comfortable with. But lately, I just feel like I’ve been doing a lot of spiritual work, so all I wanna do is be in situations where I can drop any masks or dividing lines within myself and just relax.

So I had asked Colin earlier this week, and he finally got back to me the day of the show that he could go. I met up with him at his house, which is within walking distance of the Bowl. We had a couple of tequila shots (I realized I like tequila because it doesn’t fuck with my body the way most alcohol can make me feel sick right away. It just goes straight to my brain while leaving my body alone), and headed over.

This is Colin. He’s 6 foot 4. He’s got red hair, fair skin and freckles. He’s gay. And he’s in a long-term committed relationship. I know him because he was a friend of a friend of a friend when I first moved out here, and he’s a good friend of my roommate now so he’s always been around. Once he was over at my house and we heard a party somewhere in the neighborhood. It sounded like it was raging so we thought it would be cool/funny to crash this random house party (we’re close to UCLA so we figured it was probably students). So we follow the noise until we find it, but when we walked in, it turns out it was all Persians. Basically, we were hoping to crash a college party, but we ended up walking into a party where a 6’4 red haired guy and an Asian girl so obviously didn’t belong.

So as we walked, I start telling Colin that I’m just tired of stupid shit. I’m tired of shallow connections and shallow people, and I just want to be myself and not care that it might make some people uncomfortable, envious or scared. I just want to be myself, no matter how bizarre, deep, inappropriate it is, because I fuckin’ love being me, and I’m tired of hiding it. He agreed because that’s basically the way he lives his life, and he’s survived and he’s successful. He tells me that he always has these random deep connections with strangers, like they know each other. He understands. It was such a relief.

So we get to the Bowl and we eat and we smoke and we’re super happy. The crowd around us is a little weird. A lot of your Hollywood Bowl experience depends on your section. We had the best section at the DJ Shadow show because it was one big block party, one big love fest of people having a fuckin’ good time. Groove Armada is opening for Cafe Tecuba and they were accompanied by a live band so it was really cool. We watched people dance–I pointed out some older white people who looked really stiff and uncomfortable, like they knew they should dance because they’re “having such a good time” but their faces looked really anxious and one guy was dancing towards this woman with this, “I wanna fuck the shit out of you look” that was super disturbing, but she was so caught up in self-consciously trying to not looking stupid while she danced, she never noticed. And Colin said, “They look like dancing pickles.”

Groove Armada was amazing. The one guy performing with them was young and very vibrant and enthusiastic, and you would sit there thinking he was the coolest guy on earth until he busted out some terrible moves like he was an emcee at some Florida resort event. Colin and I both agreed he’d probably be the kind of guy who has ten-hour marathon sex. Speaking of marathon sex, Colin and I were talking about Pisces men. First we agreed they’re kind of fucked up. There is no rhyme or reason to them in that you can’t cajole or force them to get close to you. They’ll be totally in love with you, then they’ll want nothing to do with you and all of a sudden, they’ve dedicated their lives to serving your every romantic need. As long as you ignore them. We did agree they’re pretty amazing in bed because they put every ounce of their souls into it, and that’s the kind of thing we like. That’s the best kind of sex, personally, the only kind that makes me put in any effort (I’m sure there will be a post coming that discusses my love for celibacy). So he told me about a boyfriend who was a Pisces, and Colin would get home from work and there would be a line of candles leading from the walkway all the way to the bedroom. Which sounds good, right? But it would happen all the time until the day Colin was exhausted from work and came home to find candles leading from the walkway to the bedroom and he was like, “Oh no, not this.” So Colin walked into the guys room and slapped him, then walked back out. By the way, Colin’s an Aries. I asked Colin if the guy was upset (because you know, I always want to know the emotional aftermath of stories), and Colin said the guy was crying in his room and threatening to kill himself. I felt bad, but then it sounded like that kind of chemistry fueled the relationship, so it’s one of those things you don’t judge and you appreciate hearing as a different experience of life. I think if people stopped acting like all our lives are as similar behind closed doors as they are in public, we would feel more integrated.

There was this guy sitting in front of us who sat there and didn’t really move. He didn’t have any food or any drinks, just sat there with his hands in his lap. I could only see the back of his head so I didn’t know what he looked like; from the back he looked like Tobey Maguire. So Colin whispers to me that the guy is clearly enjoying himself, but he’s so anxious that he’s afraid to show it. I look and the guy is tapping his legs to the beat, but he’s not moving at all. His head, neck
and back are completely stiff. Colin says, “Poor thing, he’s so anxious. He probably hasn’t come out yet.” I’ve got a good gaydar (I’m a nightmare for guys who don’t know or refuse to admit they’re gay) but Colin’s is on a psychic level. It’s like, I can name a song in 3 notes, but Colin just needs 1 (weirdly, Brian needs a chorus). So we started discussing, what if I just tapped him on the shoulder and introduced him to Colin, or if I just started massaging his shoulders. We were plotting and it got crazier and crazier and Colin said, what if this turns into some crazy threesome and I said that I was okay with that. It was really kind of hot, mentally, this crazy scenario we were plotting. I said, we sound like we’re tigers circling before the kill, and that poor kid’s a lamb. He said, we’re totally tigers who would tear that poor thing to shreds and just start fucking each other on his carcass.

Okay. In the light of day, that was a weird conversation to have with my gay friend. Or with anyone. But at that moment, between the music, the vibe of the crowd, and this poor kid that we were brazenly plotting to sexually manhandle, for a gay man and a straight woman to plot how we were going to have our way with this kid with clearly repressed sexuality seemed like the only logical conversation we could possibly have. We wanted to wait until it got dark and I said, I just hope he’s at least 18.

(Well, he left before Groove Armada finished and he didn’t come back. I wonder if he heard us. We did see him when we went to get more beer, and the kid was totally gay. Like future flamer, gay.)

As we basked in the glow of our devious plot, Colin said that I’m evil and it was delicious. I said he was, too. Who knows if we would have really done anything. It was fun to think that we could truly use our powers of not giving a fuck for good or evil. We shared a moment and I think we realized that we’re very similar in one very specific respect–the two of us have an ability to break down repression. Colin’s specialty is to relieve men of the conflict of their sexual identity, and you all know what I do…mother issues, human potential, blah blah blah. But we realized that we can see the truth of people, everything that is hidden but is still a part of them. And despite our love for breaking down walls and cages, we really respect and love the core of people, and it’s that respect and love that compel us to want to set people free to be themselves. It was amazing. I asked him how come we never realized how powerful the two of us are together, that we can both see things. He said, it’s because no one has really left us alone together.

Cafe Tecuba was not that great. I said it felt like being at prom in Mexico. Colin said it felt like we were at someone’s fat Aunt Betty’s wedding. Their stuff that I’ve heard on KCRW is so much better. The crowd enjoyed it though. Especially when they chanted “Mexico…Mexico…”

We left when we couldn’t stand it anymore (a lot of people were walking out. As the guy next to me said about the band, “This gives me hope that anyone can be in a band.”), and went back to Colin’s place. I had some port with Martin and we all watched Devil’s Backbone, which is an amazing but scary movie. I noted to myself that I have a strong feeling that their new house has bad energy in it. There is something wrong there, and it’s an energy that will break their relationship by bringing out negative feelings and feelings of separation and isolation. Later, I talked to Brian about it and he said he was so glad that I mentioned that because he felt it too, but he could never put his finger on it. He said the house used to be a duplex so there’s something very compartmentalized about the energy flow. I told him that I was worried about their relationship, and he said he was, too.

Say No To Dirty Old Men

There are these psychologists who share an office on the floor of our building. I see them occasionally, and while one guy is cool and I like him, most of them seem like your standard crazyass LA therapists. Like the woman who looks like Tracy Ullman playing a crazy therapist, complete with the random ponytail at the TOP of her head that she’s dyed purple. What’s that about?

Anyway, the bathrooms are right by their exit door so you end up running into them a lot. There’s this one older guy who looks more like an asshole lawyer than a therapist. He has collar-length hair that he slicks straight back, he wears crisp shirts tucked into his pants that sit a little on the high side, and he walks with posture so extreme, I swear there’s a rod up his ass and he gets off on it. This guy has a black lab that he brings to work every once in a while and always ties up outside our door. My coworker once noted that he’ll leave this poor dog out there for the entire day with no water, so we usually bring a dish of water out there. Once, his dog kept barking and I was watching it from our window. All of a sudden, this dude comes slamming out of his door with his notebook in hand, and starts screaming at his dog, “Max, SHUT UP! We talked about this! SHUT UP!” It was really sad but I thought it was funny, because this guy was clearly in the middle of a session. I imagined some poor patient spilling his heart out about how he was molested by his next door neighbor, and meanwhile, there’s this barking in the background and his therapist is totally not listening before he just gets up and says, “I’m sorry, can you excuse me for a second?” Then ten seconds later, he’s outside screaming at his dog. That’s just so absurdly unprofessional.

Anyway, I ran into him in front of the bathrooms once and he was asking me what my name was and which company on the floor I worked for. I was at a trade show in Atlanta the next week and one day, the week after I get back, Eddie transfers me this caller who specifically asked for me. So I pick up and the guy says, “It’s Dan with the black lab.” I’m like, what? He’s like, “Dan with the black lab. I work on your floor.” I’m like, uh, okay. He says, “I heard you were out of town.” I think, that’s creepy, because that means he must have tried calling last week and someone told him I was out of the office. He says, “I understand jetlag, I just got back from Asia myself.” This is a huge red flag, because by throwing out that he’s been to Asia, he’s basically letting me know he’s down with the yellow. Then he said that he’s going to have his dog at the office on Wednesday, and he doesn’t know if I mix business with pleasure dog walking (what is pleasure dog walking? does it involve fondling?), but he wanted to know if I’d be interested in walking his dog with him. I said, I have a boyfriend. He gets flustered and he’s like, “Oh…oh you’re quick. You cut this right down to what this is. Uh, okay. Well…I’m sure that the next time I see you, it’s not going to be awkward.” I’m like, dude, whatever. You’re a stalker.

Later I found out from my coworker that the reason he drives a Mercedes is because he did one of those radio contests where he married someone he never met, then quickly took the prize and got divorced. Gross. This is just the type of guy I would look for in a therapist.

So I don’t know what’s wrong with these fucking therapists because there’s another guy who always hits on me. And this guy’s in his 50’s. He’ll stop me by the bathrooms because he wants to tell me how beautiful I am. Once I left my office and went to the elevator banks and he must have seen me heading for the elevators from his window, because all of a sudden, he comes running out of his office, then acts like he’s gotta go down to his car. So I’ve gotta ride the elevator with him, and he’s telling me how beautiful I am and trying to get information out of me. Then we get to the garage and here’s the thing. He didn’t even have his keys on him, so he just kinda pretended like he was going to his car but then changed his mind.

So yesterday, I’m coming back from lunch and he steps out of the elevator. Every time I see him, I kind of roll my eyes on the inside, but then I have to gather up my armor and play a coy defense. Guys like these are sharks and you have to dance with them just right, or they think you’re egging them on with a challenge. So I make a joke about going up or down, then get in the elevator. As the doors are about to close, he puts his hand in to hold the door and asks me if I would be interested in getting together for dinner or coffee sometime. I’m like, yo reality check –you’re old and dirty. But instead, I ask, “In what sense?” He says, “In the sense that maybe one coffee will lead to another coffee.” Coffee? Is that what we’re calling mad, inappropriate old man boning these days? He asks me, “Would you be interested?” I said, “Not in a romantic sense.” He said, “Oh, not romantically?” I said, “No.” He said, “What about as friends?” Because a 20-something year old woman can never have enough 50+ year old male friends who hit on ’em. I told him I would think about it. He said he would buy me coffee as a friend and I told him again, I would think about it, then hit the Door Close button.

What’s the deal with dirty old men? What makes them think that hitting on a girl half their age is appropriate, you might ask? The problem is that they honestly don’t realize it’s inappropriate because emotionally, they hit this point when they said, you know what? I refuse to acknowledge that aging happens. So in their minds, they still see themselves as young, robust, virile men of 25. So you see, this dude thinks he’s younger than me, so therefore, he can’t see why I would recoil in disgust at the promise of his saggy, saggy man parts.

I talked with Rie last night about how we need better men in our lives…men who are emotionally mature. I told her that it’s a waiting game for us, so we’re just dabbling while we pass the time. If you’re a strong woman and you’ve got good internal integrity and a sense of who you are, you basically need a man who is also strong and solid inside. Men don’t achieve internal integrity until they earn their confidence through being successful in life and having gone through serious emotional experiences, the reflections of which allow them to open up and become more at home with their emotional lives. When they get older, there’s this point where they decide either, I refuse to acknowledge that I age and evolve so I’m gonna ignore reality and never grow up, or they embrace each new chapter of their life and embrace aging gracefully. In another sense, some men with serious baggage will decide, I’m so against letting anyone in to touch my hurt that I have decided the area of neglect in my life is going to be love, that they will decide to live out the rest of their lives in emotional solitude. They can still get married, but you will see, it will be a marriage filled with the echoes of silence, because she’s married a ghost. A man who has made this decision will never be a partner. I think it’s when men fully embrace aging and their evolution and their emotional lives in their entirety, that they become very good partners. They realize that no one person is perfect, neither themselves or their partner, but the difference is that both people try their hardest, and both people ALWAYS come to the table to TRY. Unfortunately, this almost never happens until they’re older and life challenges them until they wisen up. You can always recognize someone who has reached this point. You can see it in their eyes. There’s an inner peace, they’ve integrated their insides and though they may not fully know what’s in there, they’re willing to explore it and they’re not afraid of it. And this energy and inner confidence is radiant. These are the good partners. It goes the same for women as well. Look into their eyes. You’ll know.

I’m con
vinced that my life partner is going to be older. Not necessarily significantly older than me, but I won’t meet him until he’s older. I wonder if sometimes my parents are disappointed that they didn’t get to see that, to see me bring home a nice young man filled with potential, but if you look at me, my spiritual depth as a result of my life journey, my level of awareness and intelligence…I need someone stronger and smarter than me, or at least as strong and smart as me, and I think most men need to have had a certain level of life experience and awakening before they get to this point.

I definitely don’t want a dirty old man. Or anyone who’s an emotional child. These guys just want women who adore them and affirm their Peter Pan Syndrome, and they will have fits when I start running intellectual circles around them and calling them on their shit. But I do want someone strong, balanced and confident in expressing every facet of himself. I want someone I can share all of my crayons with.

i want to say one thing though. i gave it some thought. i think i spent two and a half years in a relationship being an asshole. i mean, the funny thing is that people never feel like i was an asshole. like growing up and in college, i felt like an asshole all the time. this dark, gloomy cloud. but then i have people come back into my life and tell me how much i meant to them, even the sister of one of my friends came up to me at her wedding and thanked me; she said that i got my friend through her freshman year and she would have dropped out of school if it hadn’t been for me, and i think…what? when did this happen? where was i? and i honestly can’t remember. because all i remember was just feeling bad all the time.

so i just got out of a two and a half year relationship, where i’m finding out now from friends that they could tell i wasn’t happy, yet my experience didn’t involve that awareness. i asked why they didn’t tell me and they said, it’s not really our place. i find it incredible that i can spend two and a half years not realizing i wasn’t happy. because i truly thought i was. and it’s not for lack of respect and love for the other person, because i do sincerely cherish him, it was just me…i could be so unhappy, yet not even realize it, which made me feel like i was an asshole all the time. does that make me a dangerous person to be in a relationship with? do i get stuck in situations out of feeling obligated rather than balance and true contentment? i recognize the quality and elements of a person who would be on my level and what i deserve. but i haven’t met people like that. i also know that i’m not ready yet to meet these kinds of people. i know that once my career is at a certain level, once i have shown myself and the universe that i can put in consistent effort to follow my path and work hard at my ambitions, then it will move me into contact with these types of people–those who are ambitious, charismatic, confident, compassionate, successful…lucky. those whose upward momentum carry them to great heights even though their goals are more to have a positive influence on a wider scale versus a thirst for power. i want to meet people who are leaders and percentage-wise, leaders are a terrible minority. someone who knows the responsibility and loneliness that come with being extraordinary.

i guess this is what it’s like, working through your issues. you tell stories, you talk to people, and everything is just a reflection, because you are trying to build a mirror so you can see yourself.

yes, my parents made me feel bad growing up because they were so stressed, that it was hard to take care of me. they just didn’t pay attention. yes, i would say the crisis of my life came when my brother fell out of that tall swivel chair in the kitchen and cracked his head, and i thought he was dying on that floor because he’d hit it on a sharp metal piece of the chair, and i’ll never forget that sound.

crack.

so matter of fact, so unavoidable, so fucked. there was so much blood…so much blood…and my mom was screaming and someone had to call the paramedics, and she didn’t know what to do so she went and grabbed our next door neighbor who was a police officer. the paramedics came and they took my brother to the hospital. i don’t remember what happened after that, i think he was okay. but here’s the thing. one day, he climbed up there and he fell AGAIN. and he cracked his head again. and i thought, oh my god, surely he’s dying this time. and another part of me was screaming, WHO THE FUCK IS IN CHARGE OF THIS CRAZY TRAIN?, as he bled out onto white tiled floors and my mom screamed in the background and i went numb numb numb numb numb numb numb

that’s my crisis. imagine having that scene imbedded into your heart.

(did you know he fell into the deep end of the pool once, and he managed to cling to the edge until my dad finally found him? that boy has a deep, tenacious will to survive)

i realized no one could really take care of us, that everyone else was as lost and helpless as we were. no one fucking pays attention. and now my brother is autistic and has developmental problems and sometimes i wonder if those falls had anything to do with damage to his head, but we’re not allowed to talk about that. and it makes me sad because my little brother is an amazing human being.

FUCK.

why. why do these things happen.

and so i’m searching. for someone who has answers. because these fucking people on this planet sure as shit don’t know how to take care of themselves. and i’m so tired of taking care of everyone and i just wanna know…who has some fucking answers around here. because i really need to know.

by the way, i’m a crazy magnet. crazy people talk to me. i mean, this is the general exchange:

Crazy person: Are you an artist?
Me: No.
Crazy person: A musician?
Me: No.
Crazy person: What do you do?
Me: I work in an office.
Crazy person: What kind of office?
Me: A little tech company doing something that doesn’t contribute anything to the betterment of society.
Crazy person: There’s something about you. You have this energy.
Me: Thank you.
Crazy person: Are you Japanese?
Me: Chinese.
Crazy person: There’s something about you.

And then the rest of the conversation involves them staring at me. maybe they’re not crazy, but they feel a little crazy to me. and a lot of them tend to be homeless. so to be honest, this happens a lot. homeless people, taxi drivers, people in 7-11, starbuck’s, etc…people stop and talk to me like they know me. i think it’s an energy i give off. truthfully, what i think it is, is acceptance. i think i truly appreciate life and people, and so i’m attentive even if i’m creeped out and that’s what they’re feeling. i always look people in the eye, and that connection makes them feel like someone is really seeing them without judgment. i think it’s just acceptance. if you truly appreciate life, you accept all energy.

anyway, so today, i was cornered by a homeless couple who sat at a table next to me at starbuck’s. they didn’t look homeless, just…liberal. the woman came up to me and asked me if i was a smoker. i said no. she turned to the guy and said, see, you made an assumption and you were right. i asked her, were you two just trying to psychically gauge if i’m a smoker? she said, he has a theory that people who don’t smoke have an aura about them, they’re more sensible and stable. she said, you have an energy about you. i said, thank you. they started talking to me about how we’re in a frightening time right now, that our administration is about to make some grave mistakes. he was more lucid, but she started ranting with a story that was about george w. bush’s father and seagramm’s and wine and nazi’s and cuba and communists in china and socialist health care and selling communists nuclear reactors and deals for oil and iran and nuclear warheads and not being cuban american but being american cuban and some great instructor at ucla who did research on soil and the tyranny that makes up china and how our mayor cheats on his wife and lies while he goes off with his girlfriend to mexico where they really take care of their exports while starbucks uses union delivery men and the problem with the three supermarkets–vons, ralphs, albertsons–is they got together and make people work part time so they don’t have to give them insurance and every month and a half they want a union so see these jeans, these jeans are too small for me but i wear them because they’re not made by slaves in africa or china, and i mean, wtf? and i sat there and listened to it all, maintaining eye contact, nodding in agreement, asking thoughtful questions–the same way i would listen to my grandmother when she is lecturing, and the whole time i’m thinking how much i wanna get out of there. and meanwhile, during this rant, her husband would roll his eyes and shout, “LENA! YOU
NEED TO SHUT UP! CAN’T YOU SEE THE POOR GIRL IS TRYING TO WORK?” “I SAID LENA, I’M CUTTING YOU OFF. NO, YOU’RE DONE. STOP TALKING.” “LENA! YOU’RE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL!” i contemplated if i just got up and walked away mid-sentence, if these people would kill me. but seriously, these are the types of experiences i have when i’m out and about.

i got up to leave and the man took my hand and said, i’ve lived a full life and i’ve traveled the world. i’ve seen a lot of things, a lot of things…but i can tell there’s something different about you so i wanna say one thing before you go. you said something interesting, that what you do for work does nothing for society. you’ve got awareness. whatever you end up doing with your life, just take care of your connection with the universe and do the right things to help everyone. too many people have no idea what’s going on and they don’t know what a dangerous time this is because they’re not paying attention, but people like you need to honor the universe and do its work by taking care of the rest of the people. and with that, he let go of my hand.

i have to be honest, i meet a lot of strangers and it’s never initiated by me because i’m very shy about initiation and i tend to be self-contained. both men and women like to come up to me and talk to me and sometimes that’s a little unnerving. most of them are nice, polite but they always look like they’re trying to figure me out or figure out where they know me from, or they’re searching for something in my eyes. a lot of them like to casually touch my arm, shoulder etc which weirds me out sometimes but i try not to think about it. sometimes i like the instant intimacy. sometimes i’m wary. it’s always a mystery, why people approach each other out of the blue. what brings a set of people together while the rest serve as background. i don’t understand why people come up to me, or why people get so intimate so quickly with me. there’s always a struggle for what to do when it happens because there’s half of me that’s so timid and half of me that loves danger and the promise of adventure and is open to whatever clue or message i may receive, but usually i try to be a good judge of who not to let get too close. it’s always been one of the reasons i think i like to travel…i’m approached by a lot of characters, and through these experiences i learn. sometimes i feel like it’s crazy, but then i think maybe that’s my own projected fear, that when i talk to people and interact with people at this level and seem to know so much about them, that they think i’m crazy, too.

Chasing the White Rabbit

I guess in my old age, my mind can only celebrate Halloween once, since after going to a Halloween party on Saturday, I’m having trouble understanding why people are still talking about Halloween and why the costume stores are still open. I forgot that we’ve still got a couple more days to go before the real thing. I think my quota is dressing up once per year, and then I’m done. I’m ready for Thanksgiving and all the fattening that comes with it.

So Saturday marked the beginning of the last mercury retrograde of the year. For people who don’t know what mercury retrograde is, it’s an astrological phenomenon that occurs three times a year, lasting for about 3 weeks (plus/minus a week before and after for its effects). It affects travel, communication and anything electronic or mechanical, so expect flights to be delayed, snark-fights to erupt between friends, family and coworkers, and computers, cars, phones, DVD players and toasters, etc. to malfunction. Even if you don’t believe in astrology, keep an eye out for mercury retrogrades because kooky things will happen. And make sure you back up your computer.

Like right now. For the first time ever, blogger crashed and wiped out my post, and now I’m recreating it in Word like I should have done in the first place.

So on Saturday, Reggie and I decided to dress up as Dr. Burke and Dr. Yang from Grey’s Anatomy for AD’s Halloween party since it was comfortable, required minimal investment, and we fit the racial profile. I managed to get my hair really curly like Sandra Oh’s, but I couldn’t mimic her blank, indifferent expression since my blank look naturally looks somewhat pissed off. We get to the party and there are some really great costumes from this girl who dressed up as the Tivo Icon (the black TV screen with Tivo written across it) and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, to Cruella DeVille, the boss from Office Space and K-Fed. I tried to think what Dr. Yang would drink, and I figured she’s the kind of girl who likes the hard stuff, so I started with a Jim Beam and Coke, and followed with a tequila shot. About 10 minutes after the tequila shot, I remembered that I’m not a hard stuff kind of girl, or an anything-with-alcohol-content kind of girl and I started feeling sick. So I went outside, found myself a dark corner by a tree, and did the whole, I think I’m going to throw up, okay, no I’m not. Okay, maybe I will. Okay no I’m not, bit. So I’m huddled up by the tree in the shadows, when suddenly, I see a rabbit hop into the middle of the street. I’m talking a big fat white bunny rabbit with floppy brown ears, just sitting in the middle of an urban street not far from the gnarliest LA freeway, twitching its nose at me. So I’m whistling at it and making non-threatening sounds, trying to get it to come close enough for me to pet it. It takes a while but it slowly makes its way over, until it’s about 4 feet away, just outside of arm’s reach. In my drunk head, I’m thinking about how funny it would be to go back to the party with a bunny in my arms, and all I want to do is pet that damn thing cuz its fur looks so soft, so for no reason in particular, I jump the bunny.

The bunny takes off down the street and I’m booking after it, until it crosses into someone’s front lawn. There’s a crack in the sidewalk that’s got one portion raised significantly higher than the lawn, and I step right on it, spraining my ankle and landing on the lawn in a heap. Now spraining an ankle is no fun, no matter how much hard liquor you’ve got in your system. Reggie comes running up and at first he thought I was joking because all he could see was me hunkered down by a tree one moment, and booking down the street the next. He asks me what the hell I was doing and I told him I was chasing a rabbit. He looks at me like I’m crazy and says matter-of-factly, “Julia, there’s no rabbit.” I tell him there was a rabbit, and he says, “There’s no rabbit.” Now he’s looking at me like he’s really frightened for me, like there might be something seriously wrong but he doesn’t want to scare me by pointing it out. So he’s picking me up, and my body’s screaming with pain, but I’m yelling that there was a rabbit that was white with brown ears. We go down the street back to the party, and on the lawn next door, finally, is that damn rabbit, sitting there in the grass like nothing was wrong. Reggie stares at it and finally says, “I guess there was a rabbit.” Reggie went back to the party to tell everyone we had to go because I sprained my ankle chasing a rabbit, and the best answer had to be Matt’s, who said, “Do you mean chasing a rabbit metaphorically?”

So I must have been really out of it by the time I got home, because for the next couple of days, I couldn’t find my cellphone until Brian woke me up one night to tell me he just fished my phone out of the washer. It had been in the pocket of my scrubs.

We went to Sprint the next day on my lunch break, and being Sprint (worst in customer service), we waited an hour and a half until we were helped. So I’m trying to find out if there’s any way that they can pull my phone numbers from my dead phone, when this big black guy who looked like Bernie Mac starts getting irate. He’s asking the girl to get the manager and she tries to tell him that there isn’t one on duty. He’s mad because there are 15 people waiting in the store, he’d been there for a couple of hours himself, and there wasn’t a single salesperson on the floor actually helping anyone (this girl appeared to be “training” the one guy standing at the front of the store taking names of people who came in. Literally, they were just standing there waiting for people to come in, despite the fact that the only other 3 employees I’d seen in my time there had all been in the back for a very long time). So he’s getting angry and she’s telling him that he doesn’t have to be rude. He says it’s his perogative if he wants to be rude and there had better be someone out on the floor to help him right away.

Finally this guy comes out and says he’s the manager (of course it’s gotta be the guy helping me). So the black guy is saying how he’s been waiting and the service is awful, and the manager says he’s rude and that he should leave. Now the girl is chiming in and telling him, “Just get out.” So the guy gets mad, though, he never gets emotional. All of a sudden, he’s slammed the computer monitors at the register onto the floor and he’s saying, “Do I have your attention NOW?” He grabs display phones and pulls them out of the wall. “Is this what I need to do to get some service around here?” He starts grabbing computer equipment and flinging it off the desks. Sprint employees start coming out of the woodwork–flying out of the backroom, running down the street. One even screeches up in a car. There were only 3 employees there the entire hour and a half I was there (not including the 2 that did nothing but stand by the door and take down names), and suddenly there were about 15 of them. The guy even pointed it out, “Oh now all of a sudden this place is full of Sprint employees.” It was pretty ridiculous how all of a sudden there were all these attentive Sprint employees who must have all been on “break.”

So the guy’s tearing up the store and finally the cops come and arrest him. The guy was smart though, he never threw a punch even though the manager did shove him and try to fight him. A bunch of us customers were milling around because the store had our phones and we couldn’t just leave, but the consensus was that, while this guy acted pretty inappropriately, this is the kind of thing that happens when your customer service is ridiculously terrible and your employees are apathetic and rude. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone flip out at a Sprint store (I’ve wanted to shake some of these people myself sometimes), but it’s a shame that the guy who flipped was black, so they could write it off as a stereoty
pe. I hope some of the customers write the CEO a letter about this incident the way they said they would. Sprint needs to run a tighter ship.

So needless to say, I’m still without cellphone. When I get a replacement phone, I may not have your numbers so please email me your #’s or if you call and leave a message, please leave a number so I have a way to call you back. At least until my phone stops going straight to voicemail, which will mean I’ve finally gotten my phone back.

Katfight at Koi

Reggie took me to Koi last night for my birthday. The place was crowded with the Hollywood hip and the Hollywood hip-wannabes, interspersed with Hollywood hip-wannabe businessmen looking awkward in their attempts to look cool with their hair plugs and rasberry martinis. I had heard the food here was amazing, but was unimpressed with the majority of the clientele, particularly the three girls in designer skank outfits who shoved me out of the way in their hurry for the hostess to address them immediately.

We were told to wait at the bar despite our reservation time which had passed twenty minutes earlier (rumblings around the room was that you could wait over an hour past your reservation time), but Reggie happened to know the manager who got us seated immediately. The food was really good–we had the baked crab rolls, the “creamy” tempura shrimp that had this caramelized glaze and the miso cod which melted in your mouth. While we were looking at the dessert menu, Megan, the manager, came by and grabbed the menu and said, “You’re going to try everything.” She bought us a sampler platter of desserts and a glass of Japanese dessert wine, which was the equivalent of Fat Girl’s Heaven. The dessert platter featured strawberry cheesecake, a molten chocolate volcano cake with rich vanilla ice cream, a creme brulee trio (vanilla, hazelnut, cappuccino), and an assortment of mochi (strawberry, mango, vanilla, chocolate, espresso). I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so happy at a dinner before in my life…I mean, they gave us the regular portions of everything on the dessert menu. It was like eating whatever you wanted from a really upscale restaurant’s dessert tray.

As we left the restaurant and walked by the valet area, we saw a brand new white Mercedes parked at the curb in front of a little VW Golf. The valet drove up and parked a car slightly in front of the Mercedes, and in a hurry to get out, the Mercedes’ driver backed up to try to get around, slamming into the front bumper of the VW. From how hard the Mercedes went back, I don’t think the driver even looked to see if anything was behind her. So there was this sickening crunch and everyone kinda gasped. The driver of the VW gets out and inspects the bumper, but no one gets out of the Mercedes. Some valet guys go to the driver’s side and tell the driver that she just hit a car, and out jumps one of the three girls who had obnoxiously pushed in front of me to talk to the hostess. She’s talking on her cellphone and never gets off the phone to fully give the situation her attention at any point in the night. So she’s arguing that she didn’t feel anything, that she didn’t back up, that she didn’t hit that car. There had to have been 15 people out there including about 5 valet guys who all saw it, and she was still claiming that she didn’t hit the car. The bumper of the VW was creased (I heard that VW bumpers are made out of foam so even if they look fairly okay, they’re crumbled on the inside) and she looked at the back at her car and says, “See? There’s no damage.” At one point, I heard her try to make the argument that the car was kinda crappy anyway so the damage didn’t matter. I happened to have watched the whole thing happen including the moment of impact from less than 5 feet away, so I told the valet that I saw what happened and she definitely backed into the car, which negated her next claim that the guy behind her drove into HER. So this idiot chick is arguing with the valet and getting belligerent and the security guard pulls her to a corner to talk to her in private. The girl who had been in her backseat has gotten out, and is flashing her boobs and flirting with the valet, telling him it’s nothing and “let’s just drop this whole thing.”

Just when I thought these chicks had reached a peak in their level of disgusting behavior, I see this brunette in the passenger seat who’d been on the phone the whole time say, “I’ll take care of this.” She jumps out of the car, announces, “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.” She said that they didn’t hit the car and started cussing out the valet. The valet doesn’t speak the greatest English and is trying to be polite, telling her that they backed into the car and were responsible and they had witnesses that saw it. She’s in his face, totally drunk and belligerent, and calling him all kinds of names he doesn’t deserve, trying to intimidate him. He tries to make a case that he’s not wrong, even pointing to me saying, “That lady saw the whole thing.” She looks at me and I said, “You guys backed into this car.” She takes a step towards me and says, “IS THIS YOUR SHITTY ASS CAR?”

Okay, let’s hit pause for a second.

No this isn’t my “shitty ass car.” The way she said it, it was like she was trying to intimidate me, like I’m gonna say, uh yeah, you’re right. My car is shitty, you drive a Mercedes, so feel free to whale on that shitty little pathetic thing because this whole thing is totally my fault. Fuck you, you arrogant stupid bitch.

I say, “No, I drive a car much nicer than yours but even if it were my car, you still backed into it.”

She went on a tirade that had the word “bitch” mixed in there, so I laughed and said, “Shut up you drunk ho.”

Apparently, that surprised her and threw her off so she said, “You Asian…” (the rest was incoherent) and she rushed up and goes to shove me.

So this drunk, prissy-diva chick goes to shove me but I’ve got her wrist in my hand and have it twisted agains her body with my fingers pushing hard at an angle against her bone before she can even finish her motion. Her wrist was so thin it felt like I could snap it with just my hand if I pressed hard enough. Her eyes go so wide and instantly, there are security guards pulling her away. She screaming trash talk and the men force her into her car, but I’m not worried about it because she’s an idiot and she’s gonna get herself in some trouble if she really wants to step back up to me. The security guard came up to me and apologized but I laughed and Reggie said, she’s trying to pick a fight with the wrong person. I think secretly both of us wanted her to try to start something. We had watched this girl verbally abuse a poor guy who was just trying to do his job, strut around like she and her friends couldn’t be held accountable for their own irresponsible actions, try to throw some blubbering racial slur at me and then think she could put her hands on me to physically intimidate me when she wasn’t verbally dexterous enough to. I wouldn’t have minded teaching that girl that her arrogant sense of entitlement doesn’t protect her from a broken nose, but even though Reggie said he had hoped I would punch her, I would have probably just grabbed her if she tried to put her hands on me again and thrown her on the ground to avoid any severe legal tangles.

She made a big point of walking by me later with her nose up to show she wasn’t afraid of me, but she didn’t look me in the eye or say anything. I just laughed because she’s a coward and she knows it. I don’t care if her dumb drunk friend drives a Mercedes and they think they can’t be held accountable for anything. Those girls were despicable human beings.

Testicle Story

I went to lunch with Reggie today and driving back, I got bored so I said…

“Did you see the testicle picture I put up on my blog?”

“What testicle picture?”

“The picture of your testicles I took while you were sleeping.”

“You didn’t take a picture of my testicles.”

“Yes I did. You were sleeping and your testicles were hanging out of your shorts, so I stuck my camera into the opening and took a picture. With the flash. Don’t worry, I didn’t say they were yours. I mean, it just looks like the landscape surface of Mars. With hair. I doubt people even realize that it’s a testicle.”

“Did you really take a picture of my balls?”

“Yes.”

“No you didn’t. You’re lying.”

[long beat]

“DID YOU REALLY TAKE A PICTURE OF MY BALLS?”

“I don’t know why you’re blowing this out of proportion. It was artistic. People probably can’t tell they’re testicles–“

“Everyone can tell they’re testicles. Everyone knows what testicles look like–“

“How would you know? Have YOU taken a lot of pictures of testicles?”

“THEY JUST KNOW! You BETTER not have put up a picture of my testicles.”

“I really don’t know why you’re making such a big deal out of this. No one even knows they’re yours. They just probably think it’s an artsy picture but if you’re gonna freak out about it, I’ll take it down.”

“I’m gonna call Sareet and ask her if you put a picture of my balls on your blog.”

“She’s not gonna wanna get involved. I mean, when she asked me if those were your testicles–“

“SHE KNOWS THOSE WERE MY BALLS? Who else knows that picture was of me?”

“Uh, no one really. Just Sareet, AD…”

“You’re lying. You didn’t take a picture of my testicles. Did you?”

“Look, you’re totally blowing this out of proportion and I don’t know what the big deal is. It was artistic and not a big deal.”

“Julia, do you know how this makes me look? This makes me look like an IDIOT.”

“Nooooo…it makes you look like you’re dating someone artistic. It was a very artistic picture.”

“This makes me look like an IDIOT, Julia. First people see me in…that picture with the…MITTENS…now this!”

“It’s art, Reggie. I think people realize that and appreciate it.”

“You took a picture of my BALLS. What would you do if I took a picture of your nipple while you were sleeping?”

“That’s just FUCKED UP! I took a picture of your testicles because you were sleeping and they were hanging out, and I thought it was cute so I took it out of artistic inspiration. If you took a picture of my nipple and put it up on the internet, that’s just spite.”

“But what if I had taken a picture of your nipple first and put it on the internet? How would you feel?”

“Well, then I would respect the artistic inspiration, but you can’t do it now because if you ever take a picture of my nipple, it’s going to be because of revenge and not art, and that’s just the sign of a small person.”

“Ooooh…I can’t believe you. Did you REALLY take a picture of my balls and put them on your blog?”

“Look, if you’re so upset about it, I’ll take it down.”

“I don’t think you really did it.”

“Fine, I didn’t.”

“When did you take this picture?”

“…..last week. Then I cropped it to get a good close up so it looked like the surface of Mars. But with hair. I titled it ‘Furry Mars.'”

“I thought you called it Testicle Picture.”

“No, that’s just what I called it in the context of this conversation. The caption under the picture on my blog says ‘Furry Mars.'”

“I can’t believe you did that. You had better be kidding because that’s just so wrong.”

We arrive at my office.

“Okay, I was just kidding. I didn’t put a picture of your testicles on my blog.”

“I KNEW you were kidding. Jesus Christ.”

“I’ve gotta go now. I’ve gotta go take the picture down.”

Slam door. Leave.

[disclaimer: this fictional picture was never posted nor taken. Or was it?….]

How Would Bill Gates Pole Dance?

Like many of you, I have oft pondered this question. How would Bill Gates perform a hot and juicy pole dance that would incite the ardor of both men and women alike?

Well, I have never had the privilege of witnessing Bill Gates getting his sexy on, but I did get a peek at what it must look like last night at the Arsenal.

A group of us went bowling for Reggie’s birthday. Incidentally, I finally met his friend Jesse who told Reggie I was really fine. But finer than Tara Reid? I guess I’ll never know.

I bowled a whopping 63 coming in dead last out of everyone, even despite Reggie bowling me a strike in the 4th frame because I was outside talking to people (though Jesse bowled me a 3 in the 5th frame so I guess it balances out). We headed to the Arsenal after the alley closed and that’s where the fun began.

The Arsenal is a lowkey neighborhood bar where most of the time, people are sitting or standing around chatting. Not including our small party, there were about 40 people spread out within the three rooms of the space. The main bar is the center room and the door ways to the other rooms are framed by wide bannisters.

I was sitting on the couch in the lounge to the left of the main room, zoning out, when I see this Pillsbury Doughboy-ish white guy in a white button down shirt and khakis stand up and then start erotically dancing against the bannister like Liz Berkley from Showgirls, with amazing stripper grace and form. He does the deep backbend over the bannister, the drop to a squat and slow raise while rubbing his valuables against the wall, the high kick while tossing back his hair. There was even a velvet rope that had been looped into a 0 hanging from a clip on one of the walls. He grabbed the rope and used it the way a stripper would use a whip wrapped around a pole. He was so into it, it seemed obvious that he must be on ecstasy. Everyone in the bar was staring, jaws dropped. He would dance for a few minutes then slip back into his chair and act like nothing had happened, casually sipping his drink and looking bored. It was incredibly bizarre. Then he would suddenly start back up again.

This went on and off for about half an hour; some girls and I even ran into the main room to get a front row view. Everyone in the bar had cellphone cameras out, waiting for him to start up again. The moment he did, flashes were popping and he was doing his thing. He even noticed someone taking video of him from a cellphone, so he gets even more into it for that camera, making love to it. This goes on for a few minutes and people are crowded around him, merely a few feet away when all of a sudden, he stops and his eyes go wide, like he suddenly woke up from sleepwalking. He quickly says, “Oh my God!” and then runs into the other room.

The room was buzzing; it looked like he must have been in some kind of (drug enduced) trance and suddenly woke up. “Oh my God, he got embarrassed!” the girl next to me said. I felt horrified for him and his embarrassment at being in the moment and suddenly realizing that everyone was watching him. But the biggest surprise was that he hadn’t run off because he had gotten embarrassed. He ran off to get props.

He re-entered the room, flamboyantly brandishing a large metal cup and a serving spoon, then proceeded to do this erotic ice-cream eating interpretive dance, though not forgetting to rub himself provocatively against the wall.

Afterwards, I was dying to talk to him; what he did was the most bizarre and fantastic thing I’ve ever seen in my life. There were some guys hounding him, but he could kind of tell they were making fun of him so he was backing away from them. I went up and he was relieved to talk to me instead. I told him his dancing was awesome. Then I switched into my interviewer mode.

Julia: What’s your name?
Not So Private Dancer: James. My middle name is Webster so people call me Webb.
Julia: What’s your last name?
James the Not So Private Dancer: Uh…I have a double name.
Julia: What inspired you to go back for props?
James TNSPD: Well, I saw the cameras go off and I got embarrassed. But then I was bored so I thought I would get something to switch things up.
Julia: Have you been drinking tonight?
James TNSPD: I’ve had a beer. I’m here with my brother. His friend had some artist thing tonight and then I got bored.
Julia: So that’s all you’ve had tonight? Just a beer?
James TNSPD: Yes.

[Since he claims to not be under any sort of influence, I notice he has an accent. I think, maybe he’s European and that would explain his odd behavior]

Julia: James, where are you from?
James TNSPD: Texas.

[So much for that theory]

Julia: What inspired you to start dancing in the first place?
James TNSPD: I was sitting there and really bored, and then I saw these two girls walk by with…[he pantomimes large balloons on his chest]…enhancements.
Snarky Guy Standing Next to Us: So you were inspired by large boobs?
James TNSPD: Yes.
Julia: Excellent.

He was wearing a red & black headband with the number 23 emblazoned on the side, a strange accessory, she thought, for someone so straightforwardly pressed against her. She took him for underaged despite his success at battling for position inside this seething adult playground, searching like so many others for a much needed inhibition killer.

“Jordan or Lebron?” she asked, even though she knew the answer.

He smiled, lips parting to reveal an even row of smooth charm.

“My name’s Larry,” he offered, presuming her question to be an introduction.

“I think you’re 18, Larry, not old enough to be in here.” She is careful to control her demeanor as to reveal nothing, though her voice melts into that dangerously hypnotic timbre that can drown a weaker man.

“I’m 24 but I…I get that a lot.” His bravado stumbles a step but makes a commendable midair recovery.

He wants to know about her, his questions tentative yet polite as though engaged in a two-way interview. But she does not see it that way. She does not see most things the same way. She sees him as articulate, though having not yet developed a crafty man’s mask to hide an honest boy’s straightforwardness, and it evokes something gnawingly tender in her, a faint memory of some faraway loss. She is suddenly troubled that she can’t see his face–the room is dark, his face is dark around that little boy smile presenting possibility as a question mark, and her eyes have not been able to consistently separate color from form for hours.

She takes out her camera and without feeling a need for forewarning or permission, she snaps a picture, blinding him with the sudden explosion. She studies the captured image, his boyishness having nowhere to hide from an all too harsh light.

“You’re high,” she says, to which he sheepishly nods. She likes his transparency. She likes the way it tastes on her tongue. She likes the way he can smile at nothing in particular, just because he is happy.

He wants to see her. He wants to see how far the night can extend. He wants to hold on to whatever he believes is happening here tonight, because he is believing in magic the way a young boy believes in the magic of entire invisible universes in the darkness of a childhood bedroom. But when he leaves her for a split moment to retrieve his drink, the large Dominican who had been taking everything in leans over and whispers into her ear, “Whenever you’re ready.” He has danger in him, danger in his smooth caramel skin and in his light touch on her bare shoulder. Danger in his eyes and in his lips so close to her ear, in the long, crooked blunt tucked behind his own like another braid in his hair. She takes his rough, powerful hand and lets him lead her through the crowd, past the bouncer in black into the cool, biting night air that is eager to remind her that tonight, you make up your own rules.

But then again, she already knew that.

Speaking of Confessions…

So I was on www.grouphug.us looking at confessions and I found this one:

There’s these two guys in my office, both in wheel chairs. By accident I shouted “here comes the ‘other one’ “

…and I giggled myself silly because it’s totally something I would do. So I was telling Bohr about this one time, when we were filming Cojones, I needed a midget. So I approached this really short guy who I knew through the comedy troupe (and incidentally, who was dating a friend of mine), and I went to lengths to convince him to come play “the devil” for me. So we’re on set and he’s in a little red pajama one-piece jumpsuit with feet and he thinks he’s playing the devil. But I’m really focused at the task at hand and end up blurting out, “Okay, I need the midget.” And from the other side of the room, I hear, “Oh is THAT what I am?!?!?”

I felt TERRIBLE.

The Life of a Compulsive Liar

Brian and I had lunch today at a snooty little hotspot in WeHo. I got the number while Brian parked. Either the wait was shorter than expected, or Brian took a really long time getting there, because after a bit, they asked me if my entire party was here. I said yes, but the host kind of looked at me standing there by myself and then went down the list and gave my table to someone else. A few minutes later, they asked me again if my entire party was here. I said, no, but I just wanted to have coffee while I wait. They went ahead and called a different person’s name. A few minutes later, they asked me again if my entire party was there. I mean, seriously…my entire party is TWO people. You can freakin’ seat me as if you were seating for one. So I went up to the host and told him, “LISTEN. My party will be here in a few minutes but I really need to sit and have some coffee and have some ME time before I’m ready to deal with my partner, okay??” And they promptly sat me.

What the f–Partner??? In a fit of irritation, I managed to spontaneously become a whole imaginary character whose back story was that she was this chick in a bad mood because her lesbian lover was going through another craving of drama and she just needed some quiet time before she dealt with the crazy bitch. And somehow, I had spontaneously calculated that a PMSing (possibly violent) lesbian act would get me a table.

I’m a little afraid of myself right now.

(must use powers for good…)

Everyone Loves a Dirty Sanchez…

Brian handed me his rent check a few days ago and said, “I went easy on you this month.”

I looked at the check and under “For,” he wrote, “September Rent and Dirty Sanchez.”

I laughed. “How is that going easy on me?”

Brian says, “They won’t know what it is. And if they do, they’re a dirty mutherfucker.”

**************
So usually I don’t care because I deposit his checks at the ATM. But I had to pay back my cash reserve this month so I had to see the teller. When I walked in, it was like deja vu (see Wed June 23rd Post ). So there’s the cute college boy teller that I always flirt with, and he’s smiling and shyly waving, and I’ve got a check in my hand that says it’s for a Dirty Sanchez. And I have a pretty good idea this kid will know what it is, and he looks like a good kid, too, a mama’s boy (my favorite type) who’s gonna think I’m a big, fat whore. So I’m sweating it out, contemplating waving the person behind me through if his window gets free first, but I don’t want him to think that I’m purposely avoiding him, and I’m so pissed at Brian and I wish I had anticipated this and deposited the check at the ATM and just come back some other time to pay back my reserve. Dammit. I was lucky enough to get the other teller while I chatted over the partition with college boy. But honestly, Brian. You’re killing me.

Oh I forgot about one detail. I was depositing a check for a Dirty Sanchez and $800 in cash (from Vegas). That’s why I thought this all looked really, really, really bad.

My GI Joes Had Sex

Developmental psychologists will tell you that how children play with their dolls will tell you a lot about their inner workings.

My dad always bought me GI Joes when I was little. I mean, I had stuffed animals and all that good stuff, but when it came to mock-human play things, I had GI Joes instead of Barbies. Perhaps he had secretly hoped for a son, but when I popped out, he figured he would treat me like the son he always wanted. But regardless, I was surrounded with GI Joes.

Let me tell you about the drama of my GI Joes.

I was in love with Beach Head. Beach Head was in luurve with Lady Jaye. When all the others would take the tank out for missions, Beach Head and Lady Jaye would be back at the base secretly doing what birds and bees and monkeys at the zoo do (at 7 years old, I wasn’t sure what that was other than that they would happily lie on top of each other). But Cobra’s men would always ambush the base and kidnap the two. Cobra would leave Lady Jaye to the whim of his rogue men while he marched Beach Head off to a secluded spot behind the mountains to “interrogate” him, but in truth, he was torturing Beach Head because he was in love with him and wanted him to consummate that love. But of course, the other Joes would come in and save the day just in time.

Is this what happens when parents give their children gender-confusing role-playing toys? That the toys become promiscuous and dabble in gang bang, S&M and homosexual practices? Or is this proof that I am actually a crack baby? And what kind of dramas might have been played out had I been surrounded by an estrogen clan of Barbies and a lone anatomically-incorrect Ken?

Stiff-jointed, libidinous action figures have created a monster of me.

Everything is a separate entity, yet at some point, everything comes together.

Alan’s comment about coincidences inspired me to post some of my own interesting coincidences:

–my first job in LA was working at a film production company at the Fox lot. When I was leaving and they were replacing me, we got like 30-50 resumes a day and it was my job to pull them from the fax. I was glancing at them one day and I saw the name of a girl, Sarita Choy, who went to college with me. We were two of the only 3 Asian girls in Michigan’s film program at the time (with the other one being my best friend, Rie). We had never really hung out in college, but we had some things in common, mainly, some connection with a certain TA with an Asian fetish. So I pulled her resume out of the stack and told my bosses that she was good, and called her up and had dinner with her. She was offered the job but declined and took a job at an agency; we became really good friends. Fast forward 3 years and she’s now an agent at that agency. She tells me one day that she has a really cute coworker (Jake) whom she found out also went to Michigan. She said that she kind of wanted to set him up and that he had hinted about needing a date for a screening, so she asked if I was interested. I ended up meeting up with him. We hung out a lot and one night, he was telling me that in college, he actually went by Chill (his Korean name). For some reason, something sounded very familiar but I wasn’t sure what it was. It bugged me for weeks, elusively flitting at the edge of my mind but I couldn’t quite grasp it. Then one night, it suddenly hit me. I had actually been introduced to Jake 6 years before, my freshman year in college. I remember that he had a red parka and I thought he was really cute, which made me nervous because back in college, I was extremely, extremely, disgustingly shy. So I asked him and it turns out that his good friend from high school was a friend of mine, and that he knew my freshman year roommate.

–after my ex and I broke up, the first people we were with had the exact same birthday, down to the year. Except I think mine is an angel and his is whatever. Whatever. 🙂

–on a dare, I asked out this guy with a pretty solid pick-up. Later, I found out that the chick my ex was dating knew this guy (in fact I think their bands have performed together). Since I’m really private and don’t want anything to do with him or her, even indirectly, I lost interest in this guy.

–when I was writing a Scrubs spec, I developed a huge crush on Zach Braff. One day, I woke up and said, I’m going to let my psychic antennae guide me to Zach Braff. And thus, conducted the Looking For Zach Braff Project, where I just drove around aimlessly, stopped at random places, etc., trying to bump into him. The day ended and I was unsuccessful, though it had been an interesting day. That night, I went on a date with Eyton, the media mogul. We went to see a comedy show starring a guy I had had a crush on a few months back. We went to coffee after the show and the only seats available were these two chairs facing each other. The only other seats in in that area were these other two chairs and they were occupied by a couple obviously on a first date (I overheard bits of their conversation and the tone was somewhat awkward). But I wasn’t paying attention to them because Eyton is really attractive. So he’s asking me what I write and I tell him that I just finished a Scrubs spec. I was talking about the show and about what I liked and I was about to say that the only thing I didn’t like was that I thought the character of The Todd was stupid and the actor was really annoying, but I got distracted and went off on some other tangent. Later, when the cafe closed, we got up as did the other couple. I noticed the guy looking at me so I looked over. It was The Todd. And he kind of grinned at me like, “Thanks for complimenting my show in front of my date.” And I was SOOOO glad that I hadn’t said my take on The Todd. So I went out searching for Zach Braff. And I ended up finding The Todd.

–During the summer that I was at USC’s film program, I never saw a single celebrity until one day, I saw Mario Lopez (AC from Saved By the Bell). So he was my lone celebrity sighting. A year later, after moving to LA, I hadn’t seen another one, which is remarkable since I worked on the Fox lot. One day, someone’s friend who was visiting from out of town gushed at how many stars she’d seen in her short time in LA. I said that I was jealous since I lived here and the only person I’d ever seen was Mario Lopez. A day later, I walk into California Chicken Cafe and in walks…Mario Lopez. So he was the only star I had seen…twice.

–Freshman year of college. I was in love with Brian G, the Arts Editor at the newspaper. I mean, all-encompassingly crushing. One day, I was looking out the window and saw him walking by. So I said hi from the window and he told me he lived in “that building,” pointing to the building across the street. Turns out, I could see his LIVING ROOM and KITCHEN from my window. Well, you can imagine…that was probably not a healthy revelation. I fought the frequent temptations pretty resiliently. And as aforementioned, when Brian graduated, he went to write for a newspaper in Maryland. I went on to have a small crush on a guy who looked like him. Turned out, this guy’s mom worked at the paper back home in Maryland with Brian.

–When I was casting my senior film in college, I chose this actress, Tina Kapousis (currently featured in Sprint’s Sorority commercial…”I love you, Seven!…”). So I told her that I would bring the script over to her house since she only lived two blocks down. When I got there, my friend Ed from freshman year answered the door. I was shocked but happy to see him. I was like, what a small world! I guess they were housemates. A few weeks later, I went by Tina’s house again to drop off a shooting draft of the script. This time, this guy Jack answered. I’m like, holy shit, you live here, too?!? Jack was one of my nemeses at the newspaper. He’s a sniveling little closet bitch who was secretly in love with Brian, our editor, who was also the love of MY life. It was weird how I knew all these people who lived in her house.

–a guy I used to date was a dealer at a casino. My family stays at his casino all the time so whenever we go, I usually end up seeing him. At this point, we’re civil but he says really bizarre things to me. Anyway, the last time I was there, he wasn’t there. So I was at a table and I asked the dealer, “Hey, does so-and-so still work here?” She kind of looks at me funny and says, “Why?” I say, “I’m a friend of his from out of town.” She says, “He took the day off because he got married today.” I was definitely surprised, since the the last time I saw him, he had just broken up with his fiance. I asked her who he married but at this point, she was tapped out by another female dealer. So she tells me to ask the other dealer. So I ask the other dealer what the deal was. She looks at me funny too and asks, “Are you Michelle?” I say, “No.” And she says, “Okay, because I’ve heard him talk about a Michelle.” And I know who Michelle is, it’s his ex ex ex; she came before me. So this conversation is too weird so I stop talking to her. Later, the first dealer taps back in. She asks me what I found out. I’m like, whatever. Then she tells me that the dealer who just left used to date this guy. I’m starting to get a little overwhelmed by this information. Then she says, that what happened was, those two were dating and then she went to a bar after work, and saw him making out with some chick from his home country. So she calls up her friend (the other dealer) who comes over and bitches him out and leaves. And that girl he was caught with was the one that he had married that day. WHOA. This whole thing was too overwhelming for me, that of all people, I would talk to these two specific people about h
im, and to find out that they were first-handedly involved in this drama with this guy that I knew.

–I used to always run into this guy I used date. It really sucked. But I remember one day, I got these t-shirts I had designed in the mail. They say, “Bad Ass Yellow Girl” on them. I was about to leave to do some work, but then I decided to go back and change into one of them. I was so happy and it made me feel all tough. And I remember thinking, as I left my apartment, “I bet of all days, I run into him today.” So I’m sitting at my Starbucks, and I’m writing in my freewrite journal about how great it would be to never see this guy again, when he comes walking up. Even though it was really funny, it really sucked, but I was so glad that I had changed into this shirt because it made me feel like a Bad Ass Yellow Girl, while meanwhile, he looked like shit. So he’s trying to small talk with me but then says, “Nice shirt.” Yeeeah. The universe let that one fall in my favor.

–My cousin, Albert and I are the same age. He grew up in Los Angeles and I grew up in the Bay Area. I don’t really see him a lot and we’re not really close. So when I applied for college, I was trying to decide between Michigan and Berkeley. I ended up committing to Michigan cuz it was nice, it was far away, I would be in the Honors college and the boys were definitely cuter. Months before college started, I found out that Albert had also committed to Michigan. It was so bizarre since we were both from CA and both committed to the same school without even knowing that the other had applied. There was only one other guy from my high school who went to Michigan. Minh. Near the end of my freshman year, I discovered that Minh and Albert were frat brothers. What a small freakin’ world. Tangentially, my senior year, I was casually dating a guy named Marvin. I say casually, because he would persistently ask me out, and I would go, even though I was too shy to date and being in a one-on-one situation with a guy was gruelingly painful. Marvin told me that he trained for martial arts during the summers in China, with a guy named Andre who also went to Michigan. When Albert and I graduated, we were all at a bar with his friends, and a frat brother of his comes up and asks, “Are you Julia?” I say, “Yeah.” He says, “Do you know Marvin?” I’m like, “Yeeah! Marvin’s a great guy!” He says, “I know. I’m Andre.”

–I saw Bo Outlaw, formally of the Phoenix Suns, at the gym one day. I walk into the basketball courts because I always shoot baskets at the gym and he and two of his teammates are shooting around, and they jokingly invite me to join them, cuz, you know, I’m a girl. So I join them and ask if they want to play horse, and since they don’t know that I hustle at this game, they agree. So I proceed to beat them all in a game of 4-way horse. It was the crowning achievement of my basketball career. A few months later, I’m at a Radiohead concert. As we’re leaving, first, I see this guy who asked me out randomly the week before (I was sitting at Starbucks and had seen him sitting across from me. We made eye contact and smiled. Then I saw him leave so I’m like, whatever. A few moments later, he’s standing next to my table, has my cell phone in his hand and says, “I’m programming my number into your phone so you can call me.”) . I’m tripping over what a small world it is. Then I turn around and see Tom Gugliotta, Bo Outlaw’s teammate and incidentally, my favorite player growing up. My screenname was Googs or something and I always tried to model my style of play after him when I used to play. So of course, I have to go talk to him, and I’m telling him that when he sees Bo, tell him Julia says hi. He started laughing when I told him that I had beat Bo at horse, saying, “That’s not hard.” Thanks, Tom.

–My first day of training for a soon-to-be-opening Mexican restaurant during my last semester of high school, I arrive to discover that out of the four employees, one of them is this guy that I went to elementary school with, and whom I had repeatedly tried to beat up in the 5th grade. This person was Aubrey Cox and even though we weren’t friends and never talked all through junior high and high school, we ended up getting to know each other because of work. Now he’s one of my closest friends.

–My first year in LA, I was severely depressed. In fact, there was a timespan when I rarely left my apartment and had too much anxiety to interact with people. One day, I asked for God’s help because I was desperate, and I begged him to send me something. Then I forced myself to leave my apartment. I went to California Chicken Cafe for lunch and to write. The only seat available was next to this elderly couple, and I was a little annoyed with them because they were saving a table next to them that was more accessible. Later, their son joined them. The couple was talking and I remember the way the husband looked at the wife, consistently, captivated, like she was the most amazing, interesting, beautiful thing he’d ever seen. I kept watching and I started to think about how amazing it was, the way he was looking at her, and about how I’d love to have someone look at me that way someday. Listening and watching that couple really cheered me up and gave me hope for the future. A few months later, I was in the market to buy a condo. I was looking in a low price range and the pickings were pretty slim. My dad came down one weekend and when he saw what was available in my price range, he decided to help me put more money in so that we could get something nicer with better investment value. We started checking out nicer places. On the last day, the sun was setting when we rolled up to the last property. I saw these two guys standing outside and went, “I know them!” They were the old man and his son from that day at California Chicken Cafe. I remembered how watching them had really brightened my day. So we ended up buying the place and that’s where I live now, which is an abode that makes me feel very safe and happy, something I’ve never really had. Also, in the process of getting this place, I found out that the wife, the woman the old man had been gazing at, had cancer. She ended up passing away. I struggled with this for a while, and finally decided to write them a very honest card where I told him about actually having recognized them from that day at the restaurant, and just how much impact they had had on my life. They were really touched by the story and we became close friends.

–I once signed up for an online dating site so I could browse (some of you know that when I’m really bored, I’ll browse the listings to see if there’s anyone I know). Some guy emailed me based on the scant information in my minimal profile. His letter was actually interesting so I wrote back. He was saying that he grew up in the bay area. I said I grew up in Fremont. He said that HE grew up in Fremont and went to MSJ. I wrote back and said I went to MSJ. Turns out, he’s this guy I went to high school with whom I always thought was really cute, and we had actually gone to elementary school together as well. Really nice guy.

–I was hitting on the guy who was teaching a psych class last summer. So I would meet with him to chat, and we’d talk about theories and authors. He’d recommended a book by Steven Hayes about Acceptance and Commitment Theory, even though he thought the guy was pretentious and hard to read. A few weeks later, I interviewed for a research assistant position. I have no psych background and wasn’t a student so it didn’t look good. But she was talking about psych and mentioned “Acceptance and Commitment dynamics” and I interrupted, “Steven Hayes?” She looked surprised and said, “You know who Steven Hayes is?” I said, “Yeah, he developed the Acceptance and Commitment Theory as an approach to Behavior Change.” She was really impressed and said, “Not many people know who he is. I’ve actually met him…blah blah blah” and I ended up getting the position. What she didn’t know, was that I know nothing of this theory, have never read anything he’s w
ritten, and the only reason I was able to make my one comment, was because I had looked him up on amazon.com the night before, and his book is called, “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy : An Experiential Approach to Behavior Change.” I got really lucky, getting the right information at the right time.

I’ll add some more of these stories later. But I just wanted to say that I think sometimes, when you really pay attention, life works out in funny ways and things really happen for a reason.

Okay, so Hot Big Black Guy* called and I can’t decide if I should call him back.

*name withheld because if I start naming boys, I’m start thinking about them as people and pretty soon they’re gonna be walking around like they own me, pissing in the corners of my house and wanting to talk about feelings and the future and sales at Pottery Barn and shit.

I mean, the guy threatened to bitch out a waitress and was spearing food off my plate on our first date. On the other hand, he’s pretty freakin’ hot. Hmmm…this decision really shouldn’t be this hard… (it’s not)

On the other hand, Brian’s New Year’s resolution of becoming an alcoholic is working out. He came home after 4 drinks at Robert’s bar last night and teetered around for a bit. I felt like lighting a match would have set off our place ala Backdraft. It’s actually quite comforting. With me aiming to be a shallow drug addict in 2004 and Brian aiming to be a self-centered alkie, I think in 2005, we can safely transition into crack whores. Blaxploitation crack whores. Who love their mamas.

Here’s a story about the honor killings in India which are on the rise:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20040112/wl_oneworld/4591765421073907305

Some sick shit.

Today’s mood: Comically bloated