suburban interlude

photo courtesy of Primates

right. so i visited my friend jimmy last night. hadn’t seen him in awhile. the last time we met up we went to the zoo. met him working at the mall during my semester off. he’s not exactly my crowd. in the sense that i’m college-grad, whatever bound…and he’s college-on hold, whatever-bound. two very different paths.

he’s on his third DUI or so, going to court tomorrow for the nth time, but he’s a really great kid. he smokes like a chimney, and probably has never eaten a vegetable in his life except any lettuce that comes with taco bell, but he’s a good guy. works at a coffee shop. his manager is 5 years younger than him.

he lives in a house full of guys in the middle of the high-income suburbs. none of them are sure how that happened.

bobby, johnny, pete, scott, and jimmy. bobby is white, blondish, slightly rotund, covered with tattoos and piercings. pothead, snarky, doesn’t give a hoot. johnny mugs tough, is half asian half white, but is really a pretty nice guy. he’s out of town for a BEST Buy training conference. scott is asian, quiet, never says much. but smiles frequently. i don’t meet scott but scott is jimmy’s brother. whose girlfriend also lives in the house with them.

all the guys are cool. they have 9-5 jobs working sales or whatnot at local stores. their house is a shrine to american male culture. posters of scantily clad women everywhere. beer cans everywhere. two cats (port and wiggums) that kill constantly (bugs, mice, invisible rats).

one of the cats can’t open either of its eyes because it caught some kind of eye infection and it makes it look hella hardcore. but sad too. jimmy has been taking him to the vet but he isn’t getting any better.

video game system. multiple tvs. a cactus on their back porch that looks like terrible things have happened to it. explosions and chemical spills and nuclear testing. it’s their “area 51.” they constantly quote movies to each other and i held my own. matching quip for quip. i think they were impressed.

we didn’t know what to do on a monday night in the suburbs. so we drove around. all the power had gone out in one section of town. we ogled that for awhile. then we stopped at a KF Bell (kfc and taco bell for those of you not in the KNOW). some police were fingerprinting a crime scene. we were mildly interested.

then we stopped at safeway to get groceries. this involved jimmy buying ice cream, his friend alex buying a loaf of bread and a pack of bologna, and jimmy, bobby, and their other roommate pete, all buying cigarettes. the cashier was wearing a monster mask. “it’s like a year until halloween!” i grumbled. “34 days.” bobby says grimly. i feel, yet again, like i’m in a depressing indie flick.

we head back home. we all sing along to the radio. bobby and jimmy consider throwing a taco into someone else’s car (we have two left over from our dinner). they know every girlie pop song. they know every alt-angst song. they know every hiphop.soul.r&b flava of the week. i feel light.

we hang around the house. more smoking. josh opens up a HiC to wash down his ice cream. bobby burns me a cd. louis shows me a card trick but messes up halfway through. i am smitten with their nonchalant hospitality. “come over some other time.” jimmy says. “sorry we were boring. we can go to the zoo again.”

you know. i guess i don’t really fit in with jimmy and his cohorts. we don’t have much in common to talk about. we mostly crack jokes. and yet it’s so comfortable. sometimes scary but there’s no pretense. it’s incredible. quietly and unassumingly there.

photo courtesy of Jazz

Is Self-Improvement a Voluntary Hobby?

So I’ve been thinking about self-introspection? The question mark explains it all. There are people who are extremely confident in their abilities and people who are extremely self-deprecating, and each believes every word of what each says. What if you are the latter working towards the former? I guess it’s difficult to really say you’re either one or the other. It’s clearly not a black and white thing. Kind of like a stomachache. You definitely can point out when it’s there. You can’t as easily point out when it’s on its way out. You can feel ok, even great! However, your stomach could not be hurting but once it starts and diminishes once, you suddenly become more reluctant to assure your good health right away. It could come back. And all you remember is the discomfort. Anyway, time to cut the tangent to the quick.

photo courtesy of Biomatch

The point is if someone points out a fault, you are going to question their validity and then either fix to correct the offending party in their incorrect statement or yourself in your incorrect behavior. But besides these external markers of self-improvement, we are also continually judging ourselves and holding ourselves to certain standards. So at any given time, we’re working to improve ourselves, being, as it may, on perpetual trial by both the outer and inner worlds at any given time. So when do we just want to throw our hands and give up? At what point does it just feel like we are making too many people upset and not enough people happy, including ourselves, our harshest critics? In that case, at what point should we stop judging ourselves so harshly and just enjoy ourselves, as we are, on any given day? I think an emotionally healthy person usually does enjoy his or her self on any given day. But then, when is the time to think of improving?

Working in an environment of constant editing and revision, these thoughts often turn to the idea of self. After all, scrapping a product and revamping it completely is never out of the question.