Saturday, March 24, 2007

Intimacy, Unfiltered

I was standing in front of the counter of the over-lighted Viatnamese Paris Sandwich shop on Mott street. I wanted to try everything on that neon menu glistering from the wall.

"Grill Pork Sandwich", "Rice Noodle with pork and cuncumber", "Coconut Cake", it goes on and on. I knew I will love everything in that little shop. Indochine fusion food is among my favorite.

I finally ordered hot milk tea, Rice noodle, coconut cake, and I was debating about what I can take home.

The pretty sales girl beamed while I was still trying to make a decision: you know, you can have some of our best Garlic bread! Freshly made!"

I moaned. I love Garlic bread but have been cutting on carb lately in my diet, which makes the itching worse. We all wanted things more if we can't have them.

"Actually" she said :I have only three left for the day, and you can take all of them!"

I was thinking whether she is giving to me for free. I don't look like I need that kind of charity but I love the gesture just as well, it is very homey.

"I will charge you the price of one."

"Which is?"


"OK!" I was overly excited. Garlic bread is among things in life that make me happy, not to say, freshly made and Parisian style too.

The three loaf of bread are pretty sizable, looking appealing and promising to fill very sizable appetite of a few. I know I won't be eathing them myself, it is infeasible, but I want to own them then, like wanting to own a red dress from Gucci, only this cost $1.25, the other cost a month's salary, so they stay where they are, in the window and I am going home with my bread, not one, but three. I could not be happier.

I had the full bag of food dangling from my arm while I walked along Canal street toward the subway station.

It was raining a little, I just left work early that evening to take care some errands. I was feeling relaxed. There was interview the next day, but I was so confident and excited that I am looking forward to it with an eagerness that suprised me.

We all need things to keep us going, or keep our sanity.

If they can not be my real aspirations, then at least make them news one, those that can challenge my mind if not touching my soul.

Interviews have gone well--it was my enthusiasm that have been making magics, besides I am really really good at what I do or hope to do. I realized to get stuck in a place, or in places, I don't want to be has made me such a bitter and negative person. I was not healthy to anyone before, especially not to you. Love from a sad and negative girl is but just burden and neediness. So you are right in distancing from me, I have distanced me from myself as well, until it is happy and peaceful.

Now the intimacy is back, between myself and everything around me, the city. And you really never left, you have always been there, in my heart of girl in the past, in my heart of a woman of today, no matter where you have chosen to be.

My IPOD is playing Bruce Springsting "The Promised Land" from the album On the Dark Edge of the Town.

My heart is warm with the knowledg that I have 3 loaf of freshly baked garlic bread in my plastic bag and good books to go back home to for a lovely and peaceful night. And I love the feeling of owning more than enough food, real ones, not green salard, not cheese.

I was thinking if I have 3 kids at home right now and I would be such a proud mom tonight, door would be opened and I would call out "Come get your garlic bread, children. Eat all you can!". The thought makes me smile, although I have only myself to feed as of now--so it is plenty of food.

Crossing Lafayette street, among the coming and going shadow of crowd, with my eyes looking straight ahead, I was in my own world, when a voice called my name. Someone must have passed me and recognized me.

I cotinued passing to the other side of the street and then turned around. A girl's face revealed itself from the darkness, she was running back across the street and smiling. She is so happy to see me.

"Wen Ying! Long time no see!" I smiled at this not so close Indonisian girl friend whom I quite like. She is pretty and quiet but funny.

I have few freinds in the city, more non-Chinese than Chinese now, most of latter have moved back to China in recent years, and become a presence online. And I have always been picky with friends. Being alone does not bother me, hanging out with people I don't like saddens me the most.

So I did not expect someone calling out my name, not even in Chinatown. There are too few of them scarttering in this huge city, and they just don't do that here in this country, calling out your name, taking the trouble of stopping you. So I was nicely surprised and warmed.

"You look good!" She said.

"Thank you. You too!".
She was smiling, and I can not help but to ask, for I know she wanted to share the news,

"I heard you moved to Brooklyn and Chee Ping moved in with you."

"Yes, I think it is public news now."

"I am so happy for you!" I did not like the ex girl, and I knew Wen Ying has waited for Chi Ping to take the move for sometime. He took his time.

We chatted more. She asked me to join them for dinner, I said I just got food and need to go home. My garlic bread is crying to be tasted.

After promises to make plan to meet again in the Grand Sichuan at St Mark's place, after hugs and kisses and giggling more over the boy, we parted.

I continued toward the N, Q, R W station, I continued my thought of garlic bread and the promised land, I continued to feel happy about someone calling my name on the street.

So maybe, it is a sign that indeed, this city, has become my home, where I have had my little routine, little world, little nice gestures, little surprises in stock for me.

When I started descending toward the platform, I realized that I could have done something really nice to Wen Ying and Chi Ping, and myself. I could have given them two loaf of garlic bread, freshly baked, Parisian style, my favorite.

Only now, they will have to come home with me, where I will keep them, partially decorative style, in my kitchen, to remind me that how little things as such can make you so happy or satisfied, when you are happy with youself, the only time when you know you can truely give.

And truth be told, subconscioulsy, I only wanted to keep the garlic bread to myself. They are just too good.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What Make me....Happy

Snow stormy night, I Pod played shuffled songs on my speaker, suddenly, this comes:
Messiah complex blues from clem Snide
Cabeca Feita from Maria Teresa
Smog Moon from Matthew Sweet
Dress Up In You from Belle and Sebastian

Someone who loves me deeply must have ordered these songs for me tonight. I am a happy girl, right now, warm too.
You know, Belle and Sebastian.
Are we kidding ourselves sometime? We all make do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Surge To The Surface

I have been drowned with work, re-kindeled ambition, interviews, boring business pitch, missing your presence in my life, anxiety from getting out there again-finding a new employment after 8 years of tense and binding relationship. And I am free!
And I can not breathe, sometime out of excitment, sometime out of unfounded expectations. Sometime freedom seems such a bright promise, sometimes it could be intimidating.

What is in the beyond land? Something new and different, I guess.

My heartache is there, deep in the cave, an invisible hand pushing it down, so it won't hurt while I put on my strong and professional persona, witty and smart, full of light.

I have been excited, or have been intrigured, challenged, inspired with new possibilities of work, trying a new cavas for my soul.

Jane Eyne was on the HD movie, my once beloved W Hurt playing Mr. Rochester. I watched it between gym, shower, IM and blogging. I managed to cry still.

I remember in my intereview to go to business school years ago, I was asked: Why Univ of Rochester?

After all the normal responses like large international student body, small program, generous scholarship for a super expensive school, I added in my usual goofy way, "I like Rochester in Jane Eyer."

Yes, I am pretty goofy.

I am glad there is not a business school called Heathcliff--even more to be said. Let me digress, who would have problem falling in love with a Heathcliff that looks like Lawrence Olivier, give me something more testier.

Sentimentalists and suckers of romance go to the left. Why do they accept me in business school, they should know better.
Yet, beside my passion for man or woman with stories, words and heavy burdened heart, or photographers, or other artist people, I do also love just genuinely smart people, and nice ones, I do love proving the point, solving a puzzle, that is why I hate the general agency crap which crushes your soul, but I love the fun and excitement of the smaller start ups.

Opportunities I could not even try before, for most them do not sponsor greencard. They sponsor freedom of spirit and exploring of uncharted places, those are not my first stops as an immigrant, can not be.

How many of us can enjoy what we do as a work but remain inspiring, not many, but I have seen a few. And I want to be one of them, breathing a lot of fresh air every day.

I admire the courage to say no to what you don't like and do just what you like, draw, love and be not walking the expected walk, even the choices are not equally presented to us all.

The courage of making choices and ability to do so, is so good, better even after being caged for so long. Even the choices I have is within relative boundaries, like I don't have the option of trust fund hippie, or talented artist or writer to snatch a book deal or post a solo show, but I do have option as a pretty smart person. For that, I am immensely grateful.

Romantic and sentimental me, laying low, at night you are allowed to cry over Heathcliff or Rochester or walk around in your apt naked after shower with open curtains, facing this large open view of the city, eating rice crackers, writing your under-updated blog. During the day, you do what you need to do and try to be happy, try to love others better, be compassionate and loving, raise your head high.

Two more weeks. I am counting.

And by writing this post, my soul was able to surge above the water, looking around, breathing, like Anderson's little mermaid, although I am perpetually love striking but no princess myself, the longing is the same.

I see the blue sky. I see the white houses overlooking the ocean. I see color of dreams.
Wait for me, soon as I get my legs to walk and hold my soul intact.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Haiku Dire Straight On This Day

Oh girl it looks so pretty to me
just like it always did
Like the Spanish City to me when we were kids
We were kids, a year ago, today.
Yet, it looks so pretty to me
just like it always did

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Looking back--Man Trouble, Woman Trouble

"Are you judging me at a moral high ground?"

"No, I am not on any moral high ground. Not me. I am not juding you." I chuckled for that question.

We were sitting in my favoriate Korean restaurant on 32 street at 2 am that Saturday night. Previously we were both at a drink outing with some co-worker.

He walked up to us and the creative guy N that I was talking to. N began to introduce us. W said: We have met.

I don't remember. "Really, where?"

He said: I met you a year ago at A's farewell party.

Oh, right. I remotely remembered a pretty hot boyfriend and he was smoking outside when I left for the night thinking of D. He waved at me, now I remembered. I was wearing that white trench coat and in my own little world. I don't think we even talked.

We talked this night. He is quite interesting to talk to, but obviously damaging. He is very much like D's type, charming, self aware, but not as funny as D, and shamelessly lusty.

I am curious for his type and he is the only interesting one there besides my friend, so I did not walk away.

When N passed by and found us still talking after 30 mintues, he said "I have to warn you. He is a dangrous guy."

"I will take your advice and be cautious."

When he asked me to go grab something to eat, I said yes. I am starving, for food, and a little curious for a seductive conversations--the latter is a bad habbit.

But I have defintely become less tense, more chill, more fun, caring less, I have become more cynical, more suitable for new york or the world. I am going with the flow.

Let's put down the cross that my life depends on for a second.

While waiting for the Ox Tail Soup, we were eating green peppers raw. Peppers are very sexy plants, so are beans, so are so many other plants. If you have seen Charles Jone's photographic work, you would know. So is nature.

Has the chewing brings any tension of sex? We looked at each other, smiling without saying anything. He set his mind already, I was weighing.

"Are you a one man gal?" He asked.

I paused for a second.

"Yes, if I am in love with someone. Yes. I can say I am."

"So, are you still with A, the girl friend?"

"I think so. But she is like 6 hours' flight away. We have known each other for so long, like 8 years. She is a one man gal like you. But I told her I can not be a one gal man. Are you seeing anyone right now?"

"No. I am still in love with this guy but he refused to talk to me anymore." This has been a certain state of my being.

"You must know you can get any man you want." He said.

"I don't know about that." I am serious. I don't think I can change the world. "I never tried to get any man I want. And I think certain type of man like me and I like certain type of man."

You know, in normal situations, we would not be sitting here like this, if only he is not a semi boyfriend of someone I remotely know, but tonight, it would be food only.

When I got into the Taxi, he closed the door for me after getting no invitation to join, and stared into my eyes. I see only lust in his. I know he is not just any man, at that moment, I think he represent all the man trouble this city has.

For me, I was not judging him, I was only being practical and operating based on gain and loss analysis, for a one night stand to potentially break up a non-agreement of one-man gal with a girl I almost do not know, it is not worth it.

And if he has positioned it a bit more sentimental, a bit more controlled, I might be touched. Loneliness and pain get me much much easier than honest wanting. I came with default.

He lost me at the question of "are you a one man gal"?

My freind said, well, man like this, you should enjoy the sex, for there is no consequence.

If so, what good does it do me? I am all about conseuqences or aftermath.

Maybe I am the woman trouble this city has.

And I have not even done anything, in this case.