MonthApril 2009

news blurbs

You know those 5 second blurbs, them attention grabbers that they play on the television so you watch the news the next day?

You’ll be watching a Seinfeld rerun and right before they return to the program you’ll hear:
“Is your cell phone deadly? Tune in tomorrow at 6 to find out!”

Ummm. Why don’t you tell me now? It’s just a yes or no answer. I know some folk aren’t so concerned about the general adverse affects of technology, but death is a semi-serious issue I would think. It would be nicer to find out now as opposed to later.

You buy your niece a plastic train set and then the TV in the background says:
“Are plastic toys ruining your children’s health? Find out tomorrow at 6”.

There’s an awkward moment.

I’m waiting for this one:
“Do you only have 2 hours to live? Tune in at 6 tomorrow to find out”.

So, yeah, what is up with that?

high school meme

Taken from Faiqa’s blog. But mine, while being self-indulgent, is very boring.

  1. Did you date someone from your school senior year?
    Never dated.

  2. Did you marry someone from your high school?
    No.

  3. Did you car pool to school?
    Yes.

  4. What kind of car did you drive?
    A white Chevrolet (what do you mean the ‘t’ is silent?) Corsica.

  5. What kind of car do you have now?
    A red Ford Taurus.

  6. It’s Friday night… where were you (in high school)?
    Studying.

  7. It is Friday night… where are you (now)?
    Studying.

  8. What kind of job did you have in high school?
    I didn’t have a job while in high school.

  9. What kind of job do you do now?
    I make the Internet work.

  10. Were you a party animal?
    I was labelled ‘anti-social’ in high school.

  11. Were you considered a flirt?
    I’m pretty sure I was not.

  12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
    No.

  13. Were you a nerd?
    I am pretty sure I was.

  14. Did you get suspended or expelled?
    No.

  15. Can you sing the fight song?
    No.

  16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s)?
    I really didn’t have any favourite teachers, though there were a few that I admired (and many I did not admire).

  17. Where did you sit during lunch?
    Cafeteria, benches on the football field, computer lab (yeah, I’m pretty sure I was a nerd).

  18. What was your school’s full name?
    Agincourt Collegiate Institute.

  19. When did you graduate?
  20. What was your school mascot?
    The Lancer.

  21. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
    If I could? But that is not yet a scientific possibility. I wouldn’t mind but I don’t see the point, I like life post 21.

  22. Did you have fun at Prom?
    I didn’t go.

  23. Do you still talk to your prom date?
    Refer to question #1.

  24. Who was your best friend?
    I didn’t have a best friend. I had many good friends.

  25. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    Maker of awesome things.

  26. Any regrets?
    Yes, I should have taken drama in high school. I regret that.

  27. Biggest fashion mistake?
    I don’t have a sense of fashion.

  28. Favourite fashion trend?
    Jeans.

  29. Are you going to your next reunion?
    Maybe, but I don’t even know if those happen.

  30. Who did you have a secret crush on?
    Yes.

  31. Did you go on spring break?
    Ummm, I went to Saudi every summer, does that count?

confusion

“I don’t know”, I said in response to his question.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”, he asked.

What does he mean about what I mean? Did I not know the meaning of what I said? Was I not clear? What more clarity could I shed beyond the words that I just said? What does he think it means when someone says ‘I don’t know’? Maybe he is not listening, maybe it is him who is not following the conversation.

“What?”, I replied with the only word I could muster up.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”, he repeated himself, though this time a bit slower.

“I didn’t ask you to repeat yourself. I heard what you said. What do you mean when you ask me what I meant? Do you think I didn’t know the meaning of what I said? Was I not clear? What more clarity could I shed beyond the words that I just said? What do you think it means when someone says ‘I don’t know’? Maybe you are not listening, maybe it is you who is not following the conversation. Maybe you are afraid of not knowing. I am not. And thus, I do not know.”

the man, the glasses, and the oranges

What should I tell you about him? I could tell you how he’s aged, or maybe I could tell you about the time he broke two of his fingers? I could tell you about all the books he never read to the end, or (hah) I could tell you about the books that he did finish. In either case, there’s nothing I could tell you that you wouldn’t be able to see for yourself.

It’s 6AM and the alarm clock just started to ring. He’s a bit confused, unsure of whether this is the right time to get up. His first priority, however, is to stop the annoying sounds of the time telling machine. He reaches out with his hand, starts to feel his way to the clock and in doing so he knocks over his glasses. He looks in the clock’s direction now and all the numbers are blurry. Every morning starts off blurry. This morning is particularly dark.

He manages to find the button that silences the clock but is unable to find his glasses. It is too dark and blurry. Maybe they fell between some secret cracks? He just can’t seem to find them. He remembers that he has a spare pair in the washroom drawer. It is dark and it does not occur to him that he could switch the lights on. Instead he feels his way into the hall way and stumbles into the washroom.

He turns on the lights. This was not a conscious decision. Though the situation had warranted light, he did so purely out of instinct. It was simply a matter of fact: you enter the washroom and you turn on the lights. Everything in that moment turned brighter yet remained blurry. He catches his reflection in the washroom mirror and it causes him to pause. The blurry reflection took him to a moment some 30 years ago. For a split instant he saw a clear reflection of himself as he was some 30 years ago. He quickly recollects himself. He makes a frowning facial expression and shrugs off the moment. This is no time for musings of past. The world is blurry and that must be undone.

There are three drawers. Is it in the first? the second? or the third? I should open all of them, but not all at once. That would defeat the purpose. This is no time for thought. Thinking slows down the process. Just act. He finds the glasses in the second drawer without needing to open the third. As he puts the glasses on he forgets that he couldn’t find his other pair, as if this was his only one, as if he had never lost anything. He does remember that he needs to pick up groceries and other items. He proceeds to get dressed with a better grasp of the world than he had when he woke up.

He stands on the subway platform as the train approaches. Everyone on the platform takes a step forward in anticipation. He picks up his grocery bags from the floor and enters the train. This is his daily mode of transport, the subway lines are life lines that connect him to the city. The bags he’s carrying make his movement slow. The rushing crowd occupy all the seats, like it were a gold rush. He finds a place to stand as comfortably as he can.

He feels a tug on his jacket. A young boy (a teenager perhaps?), feeling a little sheepish, stands up and offers his seat. He looks the boy in the eyes with a smile that spells a blessing. He accepts the offer. He places one bag on his lap and the rest on the subway car floor.

In what almost seems like a ritual, he starts to take out items he’s purchased one by one and spend time with them. He takes out the apple juice carton and runs his hand across it, as if he were searching for a memory or hoping that one would be created. He replaces the juice carton and repeats the procedure with toothpaste.

He then reaches down and takes out a bag of oranges. He removes a single orange from the bag of oranges. He spins the orange on his palm and then grips it tight to stop the spin, still holding the bag of oranges in his other hand. The train comes to a screeching halt. His grip protects the singular orange, but the bag of oranges falls to the floor. One after another the oranges leave the bag and start to roll out in a line. Not a perfect line, but there’s enough of a pattern.

All the heads in the subway car follow the oranges the length of the distance.

holier than thou

I’ve been asked through out the years to blog my thoughts on marriage. I haven’t for a variety of reasons. A whiles back I decided I wasn’t going to blog about politics or religion or other things. Marriage falling into that other things category. I didn’t want to blog about these things because I felt I’d come off sounding “holier than thou”. I hate sounding holier than thou. If I really let out on the topic, the post would probably be full of fury and swearword-laden, but I’ll play nice. The “blog about it” rumblings have started again, and also Owl blogged about it. So I figured that I’d chime in too.

I am a 26 year old unmarried male (soon to be married, inshallah (did I just announce that on the blog even though I said I wouldn’t?)). Please don’t hold my male status against me, I was born this way. I have a problem with the system of marriage, or at least how it seems to function. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against marriage as an institution. I find the idea of growing old with someone very appealing and humbling. But there is a problem with the system and the process (or maybe with me). I might exaggerate my descriptions of said system, but you will let me know if I’m going overboard.

For me, this starts when I was somewhere in my early teens. I was in India, around a dining table where elder family members were discussing potential marriage candidates for my uncle. I was around in the periphery playing with one of my baby cousins but I was listening to the conversation. The comparison amongst potentials consisted of (among other things) things like their height and skin colour. All through out I kept wondering whether I should say something, these were my elders and if I spoke I would be directly going against things they were saying. Then at some point someone said something to the effect of: “I saw the girl’s feet and they seemed darker.”

What? WHAT??? Are you serious? This distinct pounding started in my head. It happens generally when I’m about to say something that I’m unsure I should say. But it never stops me, I end up saying it anyway.

“Kaise baatien karre aap log?” How can you say something like that?

All heads turned towards me. I tried to make my case about how their discussion was belittling and inappropriate. I said what if so and so uncle or auntie had darker skin colour, should that make them less marriageable? These are our brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts, how would we want to be treated? I did get the flurry of “you don’t understand because you’re a child” etc etc. But the conversation dragged on for a bit.

Someone then asked me this: if I were in a situation where I had to choose between two girls and they were both the same in every way except that one had dark skin and the other had white skin, who would I choose?

What? WHAT??? Are you serious? I said that the question was inappropriate and I refused to answer it. But I’m sure the point was lost on them. (In fairness to them, I’ve seen this attitude decrease as time has passed.)

I believe that we as people are greater than the sum of our parts. The marriage process, as it were, in the South Asian community dehumanizes people into their parts. I find this infuriating. I find the idea of comparing people like that absurd. We owe better to ourselves as human beings.

So when people say there’s a shortage of good people, I don’t doubt you, no. I’m a believer in Sturgeon’s law. But I question whether maybe he was okay except wasn’t tall enough for you. Or perhaps she was okay but didn’t have the culinary skills to feed your appetite. So don’t come around saying there’s a shortage of eligible men because they lack the necessary qualities of height (tallness) and hair on their heads, because we all now how ragingly important those are.

Which brings me to other absurdities. What’s with this cooking thing? “Well I don’t want to die of hunger!” some guys will say. Yeah? Then learn how to cook or eat out you ungrateful piece of no goodness. Or hire a cook. Seriously, if you want someone to clean after you and make your food, then hire a maid and a cook. Or yeah, go hungry for a few days, might do you good.

We are greater than the sum of our parts, the marriage process practically encourages us to split ourselves into our parts and remain that way. This has to stop. Maybe we think if we can match this against that then it will be a better match. You know, if the guy is 5’ 7” then the girl must be around 5’1 at least, and people with X degrees shouldn’t marry people with Y degrees, because we know that just won’t work out. I’m sorry, but when did you become a tarot card reader? Tell the future much? I’ll take a paragraph right out of Owl’s post:

But then, there’s one over everyone’s head. No one is promised matrimonial bliss. Marrying young is no guarantee for happiness. Neither is waiting. Going for the ‘arranged’ seems to work as often and not as the ‘love’ variety. Marrying in your culture is no foil to divorce, but then neither is marrying out. It doesn’t seem to matter also if you’ve married someone much older, younger or the same age. Nothing is a sure-fire bet for matrimonial success. That’s life.

Unless of course the purpose of the process is to get the pretty girls together with the rich guys. Is it?

There are more absurdities. Some of the language I hear around the process. “We’ll let her do this and that”. What? You’ll let her? What does that mean? You’ll let her? Does she not have a mind of her own? Did you lose the ability to converse and reach consensus? Do you own her will? Do you own her? You should be ashamed of yourself. Learn how to talk and discuss things instead of throwing around directions and being controlling. This language needs to die off.

Yes, this is a rant. This is a rant about the absurdities of the process. Things are absurd because we let them be absurd. We are complicit when we simply watch people do stupid things and do nothing and say nothing. At the very least you should say something. If not you (us), then who?

Sure, I get it. We can’t simply make the suggestions I’m making here (“language needs to die off”). Yes, things need to be handled with tact. But, please, say something.

[Oh I am not done yet, there will be more.]

life’s life that.

ambidextrosity

I am not ambidextrous. Apparently I am cross-dominant.

I used to be in the Boy Scouts of America while I was in Saudi and on a certain outing we were somewhat rock climbing. Well, we weren’t climbing, we were descending. I don’t recall exactly what the procedure was called. We were hooked up to some sort of harness, feet on the rocks, and we let go of the rope little by little to descend. There were two adults who were supervising the process. When it was my turn, one of them hooked me up. The other one, an Australian man, asked me “are you right-handed or left-handed?”. I said I wasn’t sure, and he said “I knew this one was going to be trouble”.

But I really didn’t know. I write with my left hand. It seems very natural to do so. One might assume that this makes me left-handed. It doesn’t quite. Were I to arm wrestle with someone, I would use my right hand. If I was playing cricket or baseball I would bat left. However, if was was pitching or bowling (equivalent of pitching in cricket) I’d use my right hand. Tennis and table-tennis, I use my right hand. I kick with my right (leg/foot).

It’s a mixture. I am not one or the other. My right ear is dominant, while for my eyes it is my left. What is odd to me is that this cross-dominance is described as an abnormality.

Most people develop unilateral cerebral dominance – that is their dominant eye, ear, hand and leg are on the same side of the body. Approximately 20% of the population has mixed dominance or other irregularities in the development of dominance. Those irregularities of dominance that are the most difficult to resolve without therapeutic help involve alternating reliance on one side or the other without conscious decision to do so. Such children will use first one hand when writing and then the other, for example. This causes instability in perception and performance. Immaturities and irregularities in lateralisation can cause perceptual, organisational and performance problems in all areas of life.

Integrated Learning Therapy

Interesting.

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