Vertigo. That’s the room spinning around.

More than a year ago, my mom fell from dizziness after working at the hospital. My sister, the only family member immediately available, rushed over to find her lying on a stretcher in hall of the ER. Besides the fact of heavily impacted county hospitals, I was troubled by the vertigo. The loss of balance. How is it possible to suddenly drift from a healthy perspective where small things—voices, thinking, breathing, swallowing can be so troublesome?

Where suddenly the world would never stop spinning round and round?


Last week, I deliberately took my lunch break, running an errand, picking up a small meal at a newly spotted Street Food Dojo on Market Street, then a nice delicious cold milk tea on Ovo on 2nd Street. Work stress was getting to me as I was managing conversations and demands. Two hours later, I was preparing a posterboard and rapidly printing color pages out. As I heard the printer finish its last page, I got up to retrieve it. Then suddenly I felt strange. Consciously, I knew that the world was not moving. But it was as if I had lost my balance and was falling, like I had fell off my bike. I put up my arms in front of me on impulse and yet…it didn’t feel better.

So I continued working, hoping the feeling would go away. Yet when I sat down and tried to look at my bright 13 inch macbook pro screen, I felt sick. I was having an intense discussion (read: disagreement on a goal), yet my mind was not there and I could not effectively give a coherent answer. I was being more passive. I walked around, trying to “lie down” on the large armchairs in the lobby. Yet to no avail. It felt like nausea, but my balance was off for the first time.

I texted Chris and he was immediately concerned. Yes, most importantly about my well-being an “tummie” but then also very concerned that I was not used to the taste of vomit.

And then my lunch was no more. I decided to leave early and rode my bike back to my place—25 minutes of zig-zagging through traffic, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Oddly enough, I felt completely fine on the bike considering that my balance felt off. Then I laid down on my bed. And that’s when the ceiling started spinning.

I sat up and called my mom who recommended a drug. Chris obtained it and suddenly, I was fine.

But now a week later, the only memory I have so distinctly right now is the taste of my own vomit. Ugh.

Having the same name as someone else

Most people here don’t know, but my first and last name is very common. As an early adopter of gmail, I took a username that was highly coveted. Without numbers or any additional letters.

But the worst part, years later, when many have migrated to using the Google service are messages not meant for me. I have received cruise vacation tickets, tutoring invitations, a parent reaching out to another parent with a baby with down syndrome, e-commerce shopping confirmations, pinterest accounts, bacheleorette party inviations, last-minute birthday dinners…

And so much more. Every time, I always think, “Who is being stupid this time?” The fact that the other email address could not be spelled? The fact that after multiple requests I am part of a group email or dinner invitations.

What’s interesting is that most of the correspondence isn’t that interesting. What does it really say about human communication? That perhaps, it’s boring without context. If we’re trapped, we aren’t engaged and lack caring.

At the very least, I would like to receive some drama. Just like that one time when an angry wife called me thinking that I was the other woman. Whoops.

12 single girls looking for love

“They think that they’re dating an eligible bachelor who is fourth in line for the throne…but he’s just some normal guy.”

A pretend prince. A bloke in other words. I have barely watched reality TV since it all began. Well with the fury that was Survivor and Temptation Island. And how can we forget Joe Millionaire?

I’ll tell the truth right now. I watch I wanna marry Harry.

This TV show contrasts all the other shows that I watch. It’s the moment of self-indulgence that happens to me every few years. The kind of entertainment that equates to popular earworm songs that you wouldn’t want to admit to everyone you know. The kind that people would make fun of you for.

But I’ll say it here: I am watching trashy TV. Why? I am not quite sure. I almost just want to watch gullibility that is shown bright and bold on network TV. I want to watch schadenfreude play out in front of me. I want to observe stupidity, drama, and how Americans perceive royalty.

“We always know where we stand”

“It’s ironic,” she said. “Because you’re afraid of losing the friendship, you don’t tell your friends how you really feel. But because of that, the friendship breaks up anyway.”

It is ironic. What’s scary is that people rarely if ever communicate honestly. We hide. We passively aggressively say things to “hint” at what we mean. Then we play games. Because we’re so afraid. That’s what dating is like (I am guessing), because fear touches all the communication and then people become paralyzed causing destruction anyway.

Then when the door opens, that’s where it pours out.

I admire those who are unafraid to be clear about how they stand with everybody. It’s not brutal. It’s just honest. I wish that some people could be that way with me. So that I can find that courage to be honest too.

Living alone

Occasionally when my roommate is away, I experience the feeling of living alone. I wake up and the only dishes in my sink is mine. The refrigerator is filled up my rotting leftovers and forgotten groceries. The mess in the bathroom—only mine. And occasionally, I can run to the bathroom partially naked with the door open. When you gotta go, you gotta go and make it efficient.

After graduate school, I moved back to San Francisco hoping to live alone. I had finished living in a house with three other people. Which I don’t regret. It was one of the most social times of my life. I hosted house parties—with people sleeping on the couches full of beer kegs. Fireworks in the backyard—no it was not me, I swear. And so many other things. But I was reaching my limit. I wanted things my way.

But I realized that within my budget—what I determined was supposed to be 33% of my take-home monthly pay—I could not afford to live alone in San Francisco. I compromised and decided for a single roommate. I found two bedroom apartment—there was no way I was going to live in a place without a door to my own space in my twenties. And then it went from there. Sure, back then, I was quite happy with it, convinced that I needed someone to notice if I fell and could not get up. I needed to make sure that I was NEVER alone. For who would remember me, beyond the sudden disappear of facebook posts and rapid responded email?

But now, finding my own space, I am okay. I indulge in TV and movies. And cooking, oh I love that experimentation more than I expected. It’s mindless. Then now I am done.

I love the feeling of this alone-ness. Listening to This American Life while I cook and clean. And the smells feel the space. I type quickly in my room, then I move my laptop out to the living room where I type right in front of the TV. But I am barely paying attention, because my focus is just here. And for a moment, it’s just me. My words. My choices.

I decided to go against the grain…

…and I voted today in the primary elections in what the media has predicted the lowest turnout in California history.

When I turned 18, I was so excited to vote. I remember voting for Al Gore and against proposition 22 (all because MTV said so). But then the world didn’t vote like me. And I wondered if that made me feel powerless. But I kept voting. For John Kerry. For everything else.

As I got older though, the magic disappeared. I didn’t understand the propositions, the measures, the state and city offices. I didn’t know how to decide. Everything seemed the same even though I do lean liberal. And I didn’t believe in any advertisements. How could I decide if I knew that the words said were manufactured to sway me on way or the other?

But today, because Chris was selected to be the Site Inspector, I decided that I had to do my civic duty. I walked to my polling place in a nearby school and voted. I didn’t know how to vote so I primarily voted by party lines and what the San Francisco Chronicle recommended. And then I walked out knowing my votes counted more than it normally would have. Simply because nobody was voting today.

The road to sophiscation

“I read The Da Vinci Code It was so convoluted. A mess! I don’t understand why it became so popular!” a writer exclaimed. Her face contorted in disgust. “What is wrong with people?”

The other writer and I smiled. “Let me tell you this,” I began. “I read The Da Vinci Code and loved it then. That was a long time ago. Then I read his most recent book Inferno recently and absolutely hated it. I didn’t like how the plot just flailed about and how the characters barely any motivation. I hated how the characters were so flat and were being tossed around from setting to setting. But I realized that my younger self—the one that loved The Da Vinci Code would have loved it.”

(Okay, maybe I didn’t say it that eloquently, but in similar words.)

She raised an eyebrow. “It’s like ice cream. How can I tell someone that the ice cream that they had all their life—the one from the supermarket. The one that was artificially flavored with mint that has been overprocessed and dyed bright green. Or the strawberries that has been preserved for a whole month into just tasteless red blocks. How can tell that someone that their ice cream love was a facade? I can’t. They love it, because it’s what they are used to. And even I show them organic, small batch ice cream, they will never change their mind. We are just educated.”

I let the words hang in the air as we nodded in silence. “I would never write books like that,” the third writer suddenly spoke up. “What a waste of time.”