Then she suddenly asked me a question

“What’s that?” I asked, not sure if I heard her correctly. It was loud at the bar even though it was barely packed.

“Did you say you go to church?” she asked again.

I wavered in my response suddenly worrying that my non-drinking habits was giving off the wrong vibe. I stuttered, “No….?”

Seeing her response, I realized that I was making a mistake, but somehow she pursued it, “Do you ever?”

More than a year ago, I was talking about how to relate with people better—how to avoid entering awkward conversations about anything. What is the secret to relating to people? I wanted to know. How can I convince people of anything? Or how do I get them to like me Chris got along with people from all different classes, of all faiths, of all ethnicities…he was very close to conservative Christians and very close to the guys who attend strip clubs regularly. What do I need to do?

And suddenly in this moment at a bar in the Tenderloin…talking with someone that I actually wanted to connect with because I thought she was interesting….I was suddenly halted by words. Truth for some like me comes easy. But to put the truth in the right way without discomfort is difficult. Right at that moment, I couldn’t think of what to say—although knowing full well that Chris had taught me a canned response. But as my lips parted, the lesson slipped away.

I retreated to my easy awkward truth, “No…”

And the conversation halted and I knew the conversation was dead. She turned to Chris and asked the same question. Hearing his response, I knew what I was supposed to say.

I spent the rest of the evening trying to learn how to be glib. I think it’s rather hard.

Question from TV Shows #3:

From the pilot episode of The Good Wife:

Would I be ok with starting from the very bottom if I was as old as the partners of the company?

There often comes this power of being the youngest at a company or at a position. The youth speaks volumes: Even though I am inexperienced, I bring much wealth of knowledge to you…and you know that I will be more experienced than you when I retire. Do the older people shake with fear that someone younger can upstage them?

Could I? Whenever the thought that I chose the wrong field crosses my mind, I know that switching to another field means starting at the bottom. And yet, so what? With the supposed experience, any age can power through the bottom rungs of a ladder.

I can’t help but admit that I am sometimes jealous of the kids that skipped a grade in middle school or high school. And they say how they started college at the tender age of 16. From my perspective now, I consider those naive years of struggling on the playground and in meaningless class…to be a complete waste. Or was it? Or perhaps they laid the groundwork for the way I went about in college and graduate school?

When I was 11, I was the oldest in my Saturday Chinese class…of 6 and 5 year olds. My sister—a year younger—wouldn’t mentor the kids. Admittingly, we felt inferior to the fact that these younger kids were sometimes better than us. But if I had swallowed away that inferiority, would things be different and could I excel faster?

Also, an additional question, will The Good Wife be canceled soon?

Question from TV Shows #2: 6 months

From the pilot episode of FlashForward:

If I had a glimpse of my future 6 months ago of right now, would I change anything?

Because 6 months ago, if I had a snapshot of what I am doing now — typing in a blog entry, finishing cupcakes, feeling sore from baking all day…would I behave differently? Would this “flash forward” influence some of my decisions?

Six months ago, I did not know about:

  • The current job that I have now—in fact, I didn’t interview for it yet and had been pestering the managing partner for weeks
  • Certain relationships that I discovered when I visited Vegas
  • The importance of organic foods
  • That a fellow friend…and another person that I was formerly close to…were entering grad school at my alma mater
  • That I would embarrass myself unnecessarily at the magic curry kart
  • More importantly, I did not know of the existence of food carts in San Francisco
  • Biking around the city would be comfortable for me
  • Would successfully host a party for Chris
  • Would be asked to participate at the money diaries which I still haven’t finished…
  • And with all that knowledge, would I behave differently? In overview, I would say that nothing has changed. I still harbor the same social anxiety, the same needs, the same desires…but if I knew what happened in 6 months, would I make different choices?

    Would I have baked the cosmo cupcake or the mojito cupcake?

    Question from TV Shows #1

    Because I have been mandated to try out comcast digital cable for the next two months, I have fallen in the habit of watching a lot of TV every night. Which also means that my brain feels somewhat less sharp than it used to. Not that it was very sharp to begin with.

    *alert: spoilers possible*

    From the most recent episode of Glee:

    Can you get pregnant in a hot tub?

    It sounded like a fable. An old wives’ tale. But as I watched the episode, I immediately googled “pregnant hot tub”. I got mixed answers from sperm loving the hot tub environment to deadly chemicals to sperm. What’s the answer if the interwebz don’t help.

    Also, how many sad, naive teenagers will go online to either realize the answer based on poorly formed answers on Yahoo answers or research it thoroughly to find a medically credible website?

    I thought a case of the Mondays ended at 6 pm.

    At 6:00 pm, I charged across Alma Street. A train was leaving, but I wasn’t worried. Maybe the 5:56 pm train was late. But minutes passed. That was not the 5:56 pm train and I stood with all the other unhappy passengers. I walked down the stairs—or at least took the cement railing balancing my backpack of laundry and a laptop.

    Wireless signal received. I checked the caltrain twitter. Not again. Someone down in San Mateo about an hour ago. My Mondays got worse.

    At 6:30 pm, I finally boarded the baby bullet train and promptly fell asleep. I didn’t awake until we were halfway up to the city and suddenly I was overburdened with anxiety. Was a bus driver going to yell at me again? Was I wearing enough clothes? Should I even cook today?

    It was 7 pm when I got to the bus stop outside the 22nd street station. It was 30 minutes later that got onto the bus, having built up a tolerance to the freezing weather in my t-shirt and skirt. So much for the high 70s weather predicted for San Francisco that day.

    Fortunately, as I gave the $1.50 pass to the driver, she looked at me confusedly. I have no idea… she started and handed me a transfer. I mumbled, I have 50 cents… but then stopped completely when she just kept saying yeah I don’t know.

    I stumbled to a seat and collapsed, relived that I wasn’t yelled at saving 50 cents.

    About 10 minutes later as we were winding down the backside of Potrero Hill, we heard what sounded like small bullets on the window. Rocks or BB gun. I looked at the bus apathetically, wishing I was back at my place. I wanted to whine once again about the commute. But then I saw the damage as a bus driver off duty was screaming at someone in the darkness. She blocked traffic as she told another bus driver to avoid that street. They be throwing stuff, she yelled. Take another street.

    At 24th and Potrero, we pulled out and was told it was the last stop. I sighed. It was near the pizzeria of the weekend’s Mission gang shooting. I have always been admittingly naive about living the Mission…walking down Bartlett at 11 pm with bags. Even now armed with pepper spray, I was wary. I passed by a small shrine of flowers and crosses. There were women, girls…lighting candles as a few people whispered about the tragedy that had fallen less than 48 hours before. Two blocks away up on 24th, a local news station van was parked with its satellite arm reaching high in the sky.

    I think I don’t want to live in the ‘burbs I thought again for nearly the 30th times this month. I trudged home in the darkness, besieged by the many taquieras, but stumbling into my apartment at 8 pm eating only sunny side up eggs and 6 tomatoes and 20 candies.

    I also sprayed my waters gently. The branch that I cut off last week was gone, but it was still living. Exhausted, I collapsed in my chair. Finally figured out Skype and watched Glee…suddenly wishing that I could be a teacher too.


    Someone is closer to thirty! Not me!!!!! :D

    Chris is the best at:

  • getting the best price for a DVD (legally)
  • talking to strangers (because I can’t)
  • folding clothes
  • driving across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco in under 10 minutes when I am in a rush
  • solving word puzzles
  • getting movie and music allusions
  • providing a play-by-play game commentary for any sport (when deliberately asked
  • speaking in French
  • knowing facts about everything (except how to live in San Francisco and how tampons work)
  • playing Guitar Hero
  • being super-reliable
  • staying up all night to solve YOUR problem even if it would not influence him
  • driving far to see you because you said you needed him
  • knowledgeable to know what to do during a car accident
  • cleaning the kitchen floor
  • making jiang jen mien
  • coming up with witty captions
  • posing for ridiculous and over-the-top photos and videos
  • comfortable with making a fool of himself
  • not losing you at a concert
  • selfless in a place when you’re super tired and want to go even you know he doesn’t want to leave
  • relating to anyone including your aunt who has never met anyone outside her home town and your friend who spent some time in jail
  • loving cute stuff and dolphins
  • being who he is…!
  • And then she said, “I wish I could get things faster.”

    How would it be like to walk through life in a tunnel? To believe that this was the only way to go? That you may have a single flashlight, charged by a battery. When the battery dies, you keep trudging on, because that happens. Batteries die and you’re so accustomed to groping your way until someone hands you a battery. Sometimes you start crawling on the ground on all fours. You groan and wince as you scratch your bare knees on the wet cavern floor. And you keep going and going, because it’s all you have known.

    But what if the tunnel wasn’t the only way to get through? What if there were stairs outside that led up. Oh yes, it’s a hike, but there’s a wonderful slide on the other side. The journey isn’t as dark as the tunnel and there are happy people there.

    What if in this tunnel, you’re surrounded by unhappy people. You meet happy people on the other side, but you never ask how they got there. They seemed unharmed, perhaps even lucky. You’re jealous, but you know that you are not worthy. Or so you think.

    You think you’re unlucky. That you’re too slow. That you can’t be them. But it’s only because you believe that the tunnel is your destiny. Because it’s all that you know.

    This is my own motivation

    When I was in the 7th grade, I was unhappy with the way my life was proceeding. It was only the previous year that I endured rampant teasing. I was the secret outcast that the teachers never knew as I quietly got A’s in my classes but failed miserably during lunch. As girls would gawk at me and whisper snide comments to their friends.

    On the first day of school, everyone assembled for class. I saw a new girl. She was Asian. Normally in the nearly Caucasian community, I would dart over to her. I could pretend to be popular immediately. But I saw that she made instant friends. Why was she smiling? How did she find comrades so quickly? I shuffled to a seat in the auditorium and decided right then that I would do the same thing. The same goal.

    To be charismatic and comfortable in social situations. To be confident. To walk into a room and not fear that I would enter an awkward conversation.

    Plastic surgery? Never. But those c-words are what I am seeking.

    SF Muni is improving for those who are honest

    It was the second time that a bus driver was yelling at me for trying to use a pass from the old booklet. I calmly (or perhaps stupidly) stood near the door, groping through my wallet for some magical change that would appease the driver’s anger of me not having 50 cents.

    I had purchased the booklet in early July for $15—in an attempt to hedge my bets against the increased fare from $1.50 to $2. And for two months afterwards, I dutifully used my booklet thinking that I wouldn’t have to pay extra (like the forever stamps). The bus drivers never complained.

    In fact, I didn’t think they cared.

    For the last few years I lived in city (even though most of those years were when I had the San Francisco Fast Pass), I experienced the great apathy all the bus drivers seem to have. People would stumble into the bus in the back door—perhaps they had the pass or a transfer. But I could tell when someone was trying to hitch a free ride. Or most often especially in the projects (in fact, the 48 route that I was riding today), the bus driver may see fellow African American (I am not trying to stereotype here) and wave him on. Or more so, someone would request a free ride and the driver would him on. Or other times, the driver wouldn’t even look at people getting on the bus, having stuck the transfers right where money went in.

    And moreover, what about the transfers that get passed around right in front of the driver? Or the fact that the transfers actually last more than the allotted time of 90 minutes. Even to the case when Chris asked how long the transfer lasted and the bus driver asked him how long he needed for…Chris showed me his all-day transfer later. It was befuddling.

    And today, when bus driver started yelling at me. Almost accusing me of being guilty and performing underhanded tricks. I had reached for the pass to take it back…and to put in two whole one dollar bills. He was telling me to back off, to stop reaching for the transfer. In some way, I felt a bit of satisfaction that the bus drivers were paying attention and trying to get people to pay the fare. Finally.