Monday, November 28, 2005

Thought About James Dean

I saw twice a documentary about James Dean on Ovation channel lately. I did not know that besdies racing car, being dead young, painfully handsome, he also drew, sculpted, played drum, made animatin films and wrote journals.

I would have liked to read his blog if he lives now. He would have one.

He was tense and torn, at least his screen image was and he seemed to be like that in real ife. He loved bull fighting. I don't know these about him before. I like men who looks forever having an underlying sadness, broken and nameless, which can not be fixed, yet handsome and wearing glasses sometimes, black rimmed ones. They had to be funny as well.

I liked James Dean also because I alway think my father was a Chinese version of him when he was young, although he was definitley not as cool and sad looking, much worsely dressed. I think it was the eyebrow. And he laughs too much even at time of most difficulty to qualify for an Asian double of a drama star.

Yet I am a drama queen, dark and twisted , and had a thing for equaly dark, twisted, artistic man.

Today I was sitting on a conference call for 2 hours, in my office, for a brief moment, I decided this life at this work is unbearable, meaningless and trival. I almost walked out.

Almost. But I stayed and worked into late hours. I realized that I had been molded into a life. I had payed dear prices for things that may never come. Life happend when I was eager waiting and was doing things that I don't enjoy.

We are all trapped one way or another. Options are not what we always can have, we make ourselves believe that. Maybe that is an excuse for not trying things new, for not breaking the routine and starting to live without a goal or destination, start living.

Did James Dean chose to be immortal by dying young and fast, 50 yeras ago?

At least I had an option to write these words in my little cozy world late at night, to not be as devoted, and responsible , and panic about tomorrow's deliverable as I had always been.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

You Sit in Our Quiet Car

On my way back to New York today, I happend to step in to the car right after the First Class car, which turned out to be the quiet car of Acela.

Quiet car is as quiet as the non quiet ones, speaker with announcement is on whenever we were close to a station. People chatted as normal, no one was loud. No one was particularly loud as you will hear in some really crowded Chinese restaurants. My people are not that quiet, especially the Cantonese speaking ones. And coming from the most populus country in the world, I enjoy quietness whenever I can get it, although it was not like you can hear the pin drop either.

However, the unnecessary enforcement of the quientness rule by the conductor seemed to have defeated the purpose.

Every person he collectd the ticket from, he will say the following twice: This is our quiet car, no cell phone usage is permitted and no loud conversations. Please be considerate to your neighbors. He repeated that to every one of us. And it was a sold out train. Every seat was taken. My I Pod was out of battery. I had no choice but to hear the definition of quietness again and again and found that amusing.

When I decided to go to the cafe car to strech a little. I saw this young guy sitting there mending his shirt with a needle and thread. I stared at him with amazement. I don't see man mend that much, and I don't expect to see one on the train to New York after thanksgiving. He just seemed to be so prepared. He seemed enjoying doing it. It is quite a relaxing and still picture, almost reminded me of Vemeer.

I sat on the left side of the train, on a window seat. The sun was so bright and persistently stayed on the sky from upper left in the 3-hour ride, that I had to put on my sunglasses. And then while I looked outside through the window, the images reminded me the one time I went watching the contemparory installment art in Soho, where a simple mechanical engine, a camera and some plastic sheet with holes can create the images that you see while sitting in a speeding train or a moving car at a rainy night. Beautiful feelings.

It was quite a pleasant experience in the quiet car of Acela on the Friday after thanksgiving. And I am going home this time, from a quiet suburb to a not so quiet city and I am looking forward to the moment where I can not tell whether the siren is from the Law and Order on TV or 9th Avenue outside my window.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Train Ride, Sunshine and the First Snow of 2005

Pennsylvania station is such a cozy and warm place on a Thanksgiving day for a stranger and loner like me. It gave a purpose to my existence that day. I was a traveler, that will overwrite every other title I held on this day: compulsive, obsessive woman, alone, overworked, heart-acher.

I blended right in. With my suitcase and eagerness in front of the express ticket machines, I was like everyone else, eager to be home or to the family for the turkey lunch or dinner, for a day to relax and be the spoiled daughter of someone.

I was not going home, I was leaving the city, evacuating like a piece of wreckage, on this day, I was grateful that I got a place to go where I don't have to be my true self. That is why I am not going to any of my close friend's place either. They would read into me too much. On this day, I just want to be someone else and be thankful for that. I want to be among semi strangers and smiled and felt like a distant friend who has no obligations emotionally to anyone.

Acela express train was so quiet, it wound through the tunnel and took me so calmly and peacefully away from this city that I loved. In 3 minutes I was on the other side of the river, leaving New York, heading north.

I was out of town for a day and a night only, to escape from the too romantic and happy city, to hide in the suburb, to avoid the possibility of missing you too bad and not hearing from you, to know that I can not help to relieve your pain and it is better that I stay away.

The train paralleled I 95, the highway I used to drive along so much when I had a car and a different life. But those memories were of no interest anymore, causing me no sentiments. It belonged to a past that seemed so far away.

I put on my I Pod, I was listening to my favorite Chinese album and let the train take me through the woods and neighborhoods of New England. I felt like the boy in Ice Storm, only I was not going home. I always imagined what would be like if I had grown up here, in these houses in the wood, looking Asian, yet feeling like a blonde, like one of your friend. I imagine that if it was like that, would it be easier for us, for me, to read you better.

I fell into a sleep. I was tired, tired from work, tired of the holiday, tired of your silence.

A voice from the speaker woke me up: The trains is arriving at New Heaven, Connecticut. I opened my eyes. On the tracks leading to the station, I had my first glimpse of snow, of this year. Those scattered and shy first snow, on the ground, not enough to cover everything, but just enough to tell you it snowed. It has that chilly and familiar feeling of the snow of New England. It matched so well with the barren woods with some reminiscent of colored leaves, a bright blue and cloudless sky. It felt cold, it felt right. It felt right for a trip that meant to just take me away and forget.

The train would take two more stops before my destination, Stamford and Providence, Rhode Island.

After Stamford, I got up to the cafe car. Acela's cafe car has such huge windows that make you feel like you are watching a movie. The speed helped. Trees and houses and abandoned tracks as well as boats in the sea ports just flew toward you. I sat in front of the window and watched for a long time, taking in the sceneries, the soundless motion of objects outside the window, your smile as a little boy growing up in these trees, little houses, knowing them in your heart, memories of good and bad, sweet and bitter, which I knew only a little, maybe forever a little.

This is not my home, this is yours, and it feels like it means something to me now. Because I traveled so far to reach here, to be here, traveling like I have grown up here, with you.

New England is always closer to me. We read much about it in American history books back in China. It has this similar weather and the feel of a northeastern coastal area like my home province in north east China. My first touch and feel of the life in this country was Rochester at Up State and Boston. And then I met a man that I love who is from here.

I remember the word Aiya, that you told me means Yes to Bostonians. It means something else in Chinese. It means startle of a suprise or a deep sigh depending on how you say it. But we kissed after we said it in our own respective tones the other day. I thought of that when the train was speeding toward Boston and I smiled to myself.

Yet for a moment, I felt displaced and amazed. I wondered what made me a lone traveler on this train, at this time, wearing the hat that you liked, feeling so comfortable and calm. My memories of trains were crowded, boring and desperate, when I was little, traveling to my father's rural home town in China. Or when I traveled home for spring festival, during college, leaving the college campus and Beijing, leaving the new love, heartbroken in a way the departure from the first love will break your heart. I did not like those train ride. But I liked this one.

It was taking me away from you, and it took me to where you were. Those calm or pretend to be clam and nice neighborhoods. I imagined your journey through here to New York. How different would those be compared to the ones I had leaving my hometown to go to Beijing and now here and all the people we have met and left and about to leave.

My I Pod was playing itself, John Lennon was on. All you need is love. Was that true? When we were watching the documentary to commemorate his assassination, when were so near but also so far from each other, why is it so difficult? All we need is love, isn't it?

I stood in line for a bottle of water. My eyes met that of a strikingly handsome young man's, standing a person ahead of me. He smiled this great warm smile. I smiled back, a little sad one. The older guy standing right between us caught that exchange and looked at both of us with a disapproving stare. I hope he remembered when he was young and alone, riding a train, smiling at some young woman or girl who might look a little sad. I do hope that. So I smiled at him.

I felt calm and hoped everyone was happy on a holiday, or at least feel warm.

When the train arrived in Providence, I was back on my seat. I looked at the church that was
beside the station. I knew nothing about this town except its connection with you. Now it caused some curiosity in me. I looked around, trying to tell what kind of town it is.

The book you lent me lying on my lap, I did not open it yet. Little Children. It was about people living in neighborhood like these. The first chapter saddens me, those suburban mothers. We shared books, hoping that by reading what other one read, we know them better. Or we just want to share things in the world that made us happy and excited with those we love.

So I took this book with me on this trip. I will read it in the bed at night, after Turkey and Sweet Potato and harmless chat over redwine, in the ultimate quietness of a true New England suburb, where a Big New York Love is so far away that I will doubt its existence and its capability to hurt me, in the same quietness you grew up with, listening to your parent's whispers at night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New York Red Continues.....

I dialed the number, while staring at the TV screen. On IFC, it was starting. The Double Life of Veronique. I decided I was not going to miss it this time.

You voice mail was on. Were you sitting on your couch, listening to the phone ring echoing in your apartment, or was it truly a space of its own, missing your presence.

I don't know which scenario I prefer. But I hang up without leaving a message--I wanted to focus on Veronique. She already started without me. She was singing in the rain.

Two girls born in 1966. Paris and Czech, the puppet player, his face stunningly handsome and sad in the shadow; his hands giving life and instilling sadness or hope to the puppet. The man looking for her, in the crowd, blowing his nose. Not missing her. Finding her.

Photo of that girl in a coat that is not mine. Same face, different life. Together and apart.

I love this movie, the two women, this man, every minute of it, every word, every moment when the music is on and every moment when it is silent. Every still, the images in motion and in rest. I think I love you the same way, every bit of it, in silence and in motion.

I was crying without knowing it, you were making love to me, when she saw that photo, crying and being made love to by this man.

I turned off every light after the movie ended, I turned off the TV. I don't want to hear any other sound, or to see any other image after this, not for a long while.

That is what I do when I am in love, I don't want to move on to other things, or see other things. I want to stay in the mood.

The movie was made in 1991, the year when we were in two far away places, on our own path and not knowing that one day they shall cross, truly cross, not in a way that I appear randomly in a photo that somebody took of you, not in a way that you are just a stranger passing a quick smile to me. All these could have been. How many possibilities have we missed to reach here?

So that is why, on this night, after walking on the happy street of New York on the first truly chilly night and doing my first holiday shopping after working like real immigrant worker for two days, after Veronique and her double life, and your privileged silence, I decided that my life HERE will continue, so does this blog.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Else Is There to Know --Last Post to This Site

Since quit blogging is the latest trend, I will follow.
this will be the last posting to this site.
I have been living in New York.
There is nothing to regret for.

I have been listening to too many Beatles lately. We both did, together.

Many moons ago, you told me: I want to give you what you want, because it is also want I want.

I said: I don't want something that I begged for. I don't want it. You sound like you are giving it to me as if I have begged for it.

We parted on the 32 street and broadway. You went for a drink afterwards by youself.

You came back with burning passions. We should not have started it. But of course we did. It was beyond our control. It was too strong.

It was strong enough to happen despite all the reasons that we know we should not. But it is not strong enough to win over an obsession over something lost, after so long. It was strong enough to burn, but not to compete with something that suffered a sudden death, so it never really die for you. I doubted it ever will.

I used to ask you about where you were,
"Were you happy OK or comfortable OK?"
"I was comfortable OK. "

Memory cheats or we just don't know what our hearts are telling us. Maybe you are only able to remember happiness in grief and mourn when all is gone and lost.

Maybe you can only say something when there is no consquence of that saying. Maybe you can only feel but not act. You know you can still act to regain the lost past.

Why we have to throw away the now over the past?

Residual love is not good enough for me, for us. I don't have a better name for what you hand me right now.

For a very brief moment, I thought it is something better. Something we deserve. When you looked at me in my eye, and said what you said. But it got overwritten so easily by others things you say or choose to say.

I don't know when you are telling the truth. Or maybe I do.

So do you.

All is clear, under the sun.

What else is there to know? About you, about me, about all the faceless names and people we know, talked to, touched, whose blog we loved to read.

Thomas, I don't know the answer for your question. I wonder whether we can ever list all the things we want to and are able to know about other people, no matter how close we think we have gotten to.

To want to know someone is dangerous, like to love someone openly, since we expose ourselves to reach out and never know what we get back.

You Look Good Today

Last year today, Nov 9, 2004. I went to Paris for the first time, thus the photo posted above to mark the date. That is a loving relationship I never want to or will get out.

I had a hair cut two weeks ago. Feedback is primarily good including a weird one like it make me look like Japanese. (They are famous for good sense of weird style, so that might be counted as good too).

Today, I suddenly run into all possible people whose opinion or reaction I value for various reasons and they all reacted very enthusiastically: Good hair cut! You look nice! Or if only expressions or eye contact are made, their eyes lighted up when they saw me and their smile especially sweet.

Not that I always had bad hair or looked wacky, quite opposite, but I know today I shine, from the black outfit matched with my favorite black square scarf which dated back ages, my semi-new hair and a good night's long and innocent sleep, and my peaceful heart.

One co-worker literally had to give me a hug to make his point. "You and your New York black and this great hair cut!" His smile revealed his controlled admiration. I did my cat walk and we laughed together. He is emotionally close since we went through a tough time together last year. And he has the charm that grows on you over time, a good married man with a lovely daughter and wife.

No one would know that I stepped on pieces of my broken wine glasses from previous night and bled. No one would know that I was in pain and continue to be in.

But today I look fantastic and feel so too. Heartache is not a subject.

No male co-worker dare to point out how it is also because the sleek pant holes I wore today to commemorate my trip to Paris last year, today.

And of course, it is the sophisticated color black which I carries well (not sure about pink bra under white sweater which I did over the weekend).

I look good, but I won't be if I don't also feel good and blessed.

I know I do have lot to be grateful about. I have been lucky to have had enjoyed so many cities in the last year, Paris, New York, Montreal, Beijing, Seattle, Rome, Porsitano, Laguna (Not a frequent flyer yet). I have been lucky that my family is well and healthy, and we love each other. I have tasted happiness and pain of love.
I used travel to ease my pain of an otherwise turmoil and intense time. And I see the world.
It is also fortunate that I have this city as my home. This great city that makes every trip even better knowing that I am going back to a forever destination.
None of these I have really planned when I grew up in that quite town in Eastern China. None of these, including the tears and joy.

And I shall hold up, keep smiling, and continue to look fantastic and to know when to stay and persevear, and when to walk away.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blackberry Muffin

Since I did not sleep at all last night, I was a little dreamy today. After an early meeting to rate people's performance, I went to grab breakfast at Pret and asked:

Do you have any Blackberry muffin?

You mean, Blueberry muffin? The girl looked at me with straight face.

I don't think I looked tired so she think I am crazy.


I don't know how am I going to finish 2 decks today, but life has to go on. And Blackberry or Blueberry muffin shall help.

To that point, my business manager said I will not get the text messaging and phone service on my Blackberry, it is not company policy.

Maybe I will use my Blueberry to send text messages next time.


For a long enough time period, everyone's survivial rate is zero.

For a long enough time period, we did not love each other.

For a long enough time period, none of us have ever lived.

If we don't sleep, it is our own sin, not enough exercise, not enough vegetable, vulnerable, confused, hurt.

An hour ago, I was so angry with myself that I felt like smashing something. Although the idea was attrative for a second- to prove I am not materialistic, but I spared my HDTV, I will regret that later if I smashed it, and went for the wine glasses. As I was cleaning up the mass and feeling better, my friend from Beijing invited me for a webcam conversation once he saw I was online.

It did not seem to strik him as weird that as a late night person, I was up this early.

I used to own a web cam, but no more, like so many other things I have stored or thrown away. So I was looking at him like watching a poorly edited film clip(old cam), and typed my lines.

Weeks ago they lived on the upper west side, now they are on the other side of the globe. And I walked past their old hood with no need to stop anymore.

Suddenly it is no longer relevant to me. Suddenly strangers occupy that space that belonged to their memories of New York.

For a long enough time period, nothing is really relevant to anything else.

Insomnia is a monster, Broges thus said, I think.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rear Window on A Stormy Night

I was riding the train downtown, never was on a late train like that. I was listening to Bob Marley, No Woman No Cry.

Parting was the hardest. I was scared for having had too much fun this weekend. Feeling of happiness make me feel worried. Not guilty, just worried.

I am superstitious.

40 minutes earlier, we were standing on the platform. We looked at the grey stormy sky and the buildings on the hills. I said, I felt this could be any city, any where in the world, any time in history, you and I, or any two people, standing on the platform, waiting for the night train, for me, to leave.

The sky, the drops or rain, the lights from the windows of buildings, tall and far, the warm wind, lightening, were all around us. it was a sky of passion covering a world of life. My hair was flying in the wind. You were silent. I was smiling silently.

30 minutes earlier, I was lying on my stomach, in your very tall bed, relaxed and calm, my elbows and the pillow underneath it right on the window pane of your bedroom window. I was peering out of the window and checking out each of the apartments across the street. We turned off our light so we won't be seen.

Breeze from the storm caresses the skin on my back, it felt like the nights of early youth, of not going home to parents yet, of lighting a cigarettes and blew the smoke outside the window and see it disappear into the air. You lied down beside me and I said, cover me a bit, with yourself.

We heard children's laughter downstairs on the street. Kids here do not go to bed when they should. You said.

But I liked to hear them laughing and playing, hear them growing up.

We saw the storm coming over the city, as the forecast said. The front of it was a straight line, quickly taking over the blue sky. It moved very fast, like it was going somewhere, leaving or coming back. Maybe the ocean was calling. It was darker in the west.

You got out of the bed and went in front of the computer and had the satellite photo on, we see the green mass move toward our city with the orange/red front.

We looked at the screen, and then looked at the sky. We saw the world and our perception of it.

We were lying there, thinking that we are in love--until it was time for me to get up, to leave.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Photos from Trip to the West Coast