Figments of my imagination

Like beloved TV shows from my childhood, I remember the most poignant moments about someone. I remember the initial meeting. I remember hilarious moments that I would retell at a dinner party. Most of all, I remember the goodbyes.

I exist here and everything else has faded away, except the their physical presence perhaps in tschotskes, the gifts, the last words. Their voices are my voice. In my stories, I start confusing what they did with what I did. Despite communication across digital mediums.

I have re-watched He-Man a few times. There’s this incredible panic that overwhelms me. The glory, the thrill, the excitement was nothing as I remembered. I will let time pass to hide the recent memory away…and suddenly I am back again. Back to He-Man on a pedestal of years ago.

This is how I ended up like Verbal

Fear seized me and I did not want to cross the street. Chris got to the bus shelter easily, slipping past the chasers who had brightly colored pink ribbons on their arms. But I could see them, watching me intently.

I wanted to flee, run to the other end of the Mason Green. But I did not want to be alone—I needed his help to get through this mess. The darkness was overwhelming.

So I called him—he was less than 100 feet away. But I was trapped. They could see my blue ribbon on my arm.

In North Beach only a few hours earlier, a few chasers slapped their hands firmly on me as if I hadn’t seen them. They always went after the weak ones—and they were right. I was slower physically, uncoordinated with my feet and untrained in stealthily moving.

“TAG!” they yelled.

Chris responded had calmly responded, “Safe zone.”

They backed off.

But here I was standing on the outskirts of the Marina Safeway, unable to move. Uncertain. How do I get to the bus shelter without being tagged?

Chris waved me over, but it seemed like I was doing something wrong as I was stepping over the dirt. I didn’t understand…and suddenly I saw figures moving toward me. I was instantly went back to the sidewalk—a safe zone, flying into not one, but two chasers. They grabbed me and instantly I was in a different zone, yelling and screaming. Literally kicking my legs and arms to get out of the grasp. And oddly enough, I also bit down. Sharp pain shot upward from my knee and I collapsed on the ground, writhing and crying in pain.

I saw in the distance that the commotion allowed Chris to escape and he came over to my aid, rubbing my knee. He helped me to my feet.

“Um, I guess that I was going to let her go…” one chaser said.

As the scene calmed back down to it’s just a game, I mumbled an apology, “Sorry about biting you.”

“I wasn’t even going to mention that,” he responded. “Thanks for the bite mark.”

In embarrassment, I limped with Chris around the corner, heading in an opposite direction, out of the commotion, out in the open…just glad that I learned that I never go down quietly. Ever.

Tomato fight.

When I was in high school, I would go to Tomatina, thinking that it was high quality food. Beyond the food though, there was a printed sign on the restaurant wall describing an annual event—a fight in Italy with tomatoes. Like the Spanish bull fight, I would remember with each visit—intrigue was captivating. Why would I want to eat pasta when I could be pelted with tomatoes?


So the idea of a tomato battle was intriguing. It was an hourlong fight with tomatoes that were going to be thrown away from the Food Bank. An event that was preceded by lots…and lots of beer. And for me… Standing in the middle somewhere being hit by tomatoes…a safe way to feel like how it would be in battle. Like blood, tomato juice would spill everywhere but I would be fine and whole. Just leaking with smashed tomatoes. Surely, what could be better?

Tomato Battle!

Like many things that seemed good in concept, in reality, it was…more painful. Nobody ever told me that I would be hit in the face with hard tomatoes…multiple times. And that I kept finding bits of tomato in my right ear even 3 hours after the event. As I rode the BART from Pleasanton to San Francisco, I repeatedly shed bits of tomato all over the seat. Disgusting, yes. But I think it was probably good for my hair and skin.

Nonetheless, I believe that it was good use of my HP white long-sleeved shirt.

This is social anxiety to me

I am frozen.

That is really the essence of how I can describe it. It happens rarely now, but when it does, I am seized by irrational fear.

I stand still, desiring something. Perhaps it’s to walk into a room of an organization that I really want to join. Or perhaps it’s just to ask a simple question from someone. Or it might be a new experience…that I want to experience—a salon, a spa, a fancy lunch.

If there is someone with me, I sputter out a list of excuses usually ending up with can you go for me? The external noise grows louder in my head and at some point, I can’t hear anymore as everything moves slowly. It’s hard to breathe. I am silent, struggling. I am frustrated at myself but I just…can’t…move.

Then suddenly it’s over.

Most people…actually all people never suspect such a thing from me. Oddly enough, many think that I am naturally effervescent, charismatic, friendly, gregarious. But the closest people to me…know how to accommodate me in those moments.

Why I walk without headphones

As I got off the bus today, I saw a guy in his early twenties pacing in excitement at the corner of 23rd/Mission—low riding baggy pants and hood. His white headphones swung as he talked into the phone, not looking at anything in particular.

“And then I said…’What would you say if I asked you out?” he was smiling. “She said, ‘You’re very sweet and I would say yes.'”

His happiness was infectious and I couldn’t help but smile in the darkness, lit by the dim street lights. At the same time, I wondered why our own cowardice keep us from saying things that we really meant until it’s too late.

Getting cheap concert tickets

This is how it works. A construction of ingenuity, social engineering, and timing.

For more than 2 months, I had wanted to go to see Foster the People, but due to sheer bad timing, I missed the ticket sale for both of the shows that they were playing at the Fillmore. “No tickets available” was what the website blared on the screen.

But as I have learned, there is no challenge that exists that is not insurmountable. Everything is negotiable. There is always a way. There is always a choice.

And so this is how Chris and I got tickets.

He spent most of the day, stalking craigslist and stubhub but tickets were extraordinarily expensive. They were double, triple the face value. Frustrating things happened—prices suddenly went up by $30 during the transaction and craigslist sellers constantly flaked

It was less than 90 minutes before the concert and there was a line outside. I had biked up from the Tenderloin in my sky blue bike—one that I felt that could be easily stolen. I was waiting with anxiety with the line of people—mostly younger than me, Caucasian, alternative.

Finally, he pulled up in my car. Initially, he wanted me to ask the line of people to see if there were any tickets available, but that terrified me as I glanced at the growing line. After some discussion on the sidewalk awkwardly, we switched roles. He took my bike and I took the car to find parking. I found parking easily within two blocks and jogged back in my black boots.

And there he was with my bike, pacing attempting to call me. I yelled his name, but he didn’t look up so I rushed over. He patted his shirt pocket and in a hushed whisper, he said, “I got them.”

We walked hand in hand up past the front doors where the bouncers were maintaining peace despite the increasing excitement. With his hat, Chris nodded to one of them—a bulky Native American guy with long hair with gentle eyes.

He had made small talk and then made an indirect request eliciting pity, “I just can’t find any tickets at all for tonight!”

And he was able to get a pair of tickets for face value, no ticketmaster fees with only 64 minutes remaining until the doors opened.

You can’t tell an adult “don’t”

To a child, you can say don’t and they will obey (most of the time).

But to someone much older, it seems that it has to be come within. Otherwise, it becomes deep-seated guilt, blame and fear.

Or even do.

I have an internal rebel inside me and at my age, reverse psychology works on me even as I am aware of it.

But with the right trickery and presentation of potential awards, I can potentially be convinced.

I want to be remembered

Sure there are times that I want to flee—to be forgotten completely. I don’t want to be noticed. I want to be the quintessential definition of a lone ranger and ride off into the sunset with only a shadow disappearing into the distance. They would wonder who? and it doesn’t matter because I would be seeking my own thing.

That’s my belief in strength, but really I want to be remembered. I want to make an impact.

For some, it’s about relating to someone’s interest. For others, it’s about being present. For others still, it’s about showing generosity and deep helpfulness. But in all, it’s about being myself.

I used to hesitate, but sometimes now I have nothing to lose.

So I will be myself. I will tell you that I don’t like sandwiches, mushrooms or melted cheese. I won’t hide my anxieties of asking for help in stores or coordinated dancing. I will show you my inability to keep my room neat and organized. I won’t wear makeup or uncomfortable shoes. I will ask you the questions that I always genuinely want to know about you. I am that and more.

Five years have come and gone

Five years ago, I signed the lease to my apartment in the Mission.

At this very moment, I am standing at the kitchen counter of that very same apartment—in the middle of a brief interlude of baking at night.

But FIVE years. This apartment has seen many of things—in particular:

  • three different roommates
  • three different couches/futons and dining tables
  • my foray into cooking and baking that never stopped
  • the many many Mission marches and parades past on Valencia
  • my variations on transit in San Francisco—biking, driving, walking, public transiting
  • the initial house parties and now occasional dinner parties
  • the (desperate) meetings of Deep Fried Twinkies
  • the growth of devices that grew from one single computer to multiple phones to multiple tablets
  • lack of decoration
  • my never-ending inability to maintain a clean room
  • my increase in kitchen cookery
  • the months of unemployment, changing of jobs, career hunting
  • the beginnings and endings of my relationships
  • the awkward friends that I initially had when I first moved to San Francisco and the true friends I made…that I intend to be long-lasting
  • and…me hopefully growing to be a better person than I was five years ago