Thursday, June 01, 2006


I screw up. A lot. I’m convinced more so than most “normal” people.

Consequently, I get lectured a lot. Teachers, parents, siblings, coworkers, supervisors, friends, acquaintances, strangers—few have any qualms about pointing out these flaws and missteps no matter the scale. Sometimes they’re condescending and their words offer no reward other than to assert their dominance over me. Sometimes they simply reassert something I’ve already acknowledged as a fault because they have nothing better to do. Sometimes their words offer a new vista of wisdom I have yet to attain and I graciously take heed.

Sometimes it’s difficult to weed out the good advice from the bad. Often, people feel the need to toss their two cents into the jar when you never jingle-jangled the thing under their nose in the first place.

B called me yesterday.

“You quit your job?”


“And I have to read the site to find this out?”

At this point I mumbled an incoherent string of vowels.

“Why’d you quit?”

“I don’t like my job.”

“There’s gotta be more. People never quit just because they don’t like their job. There’s always some other factor.”

“Not for me. I didn’t like it. So I quit. I can’t be wasting my time at a job that I don’t like. I have to start making moves towards a career I actually like before I get saddled with a bunch of responsibilities and get stuck in a dead-end job because of them.”

Pause for a dramatic moment of introspection.

“I was thinking of looking for a new job too.”


I knew B wouldn’t give a shit either way, but when Gloria asked me if I had told my mother yet, I froze. My mother, who raised me to believe that what you want is not as important as what you get, would surely give me an earful about how I was planning to pay my bills and find a new job and support my lavish drinking habit and and and…

I figured I’d avoid the situation until it actually came to pass and she inevitably started asking me why I wasn’t waking up in the morning to get ready for work.

This morning, my mother decided to take the same bus with me to work.

“I’m leaving my job,” I blurted as I skipped, huffing and puffing, next to her to keep up with her constantly hurried, I’m-going-to-miss-the-bus, Korean lady scurry.

“Cool,” she says (or at least the Korean equivalent) without slowing her pace.


“You seemed to have a lot of stress.” She pronounces it stless.

“Uh, yeah, I did.”

“When are you quitting?”

“End of the month.”

“So right now? Today’s your last day?”

“No, no. End of June.”

“Oh, well, there’s no use wasting your time there. You still live at home, you don’t have too many responsibilities. You should focus on something you want to do long term.”

“Er, yeah.”

“So what are you planning to do?”

“Well, I sent my résumé to some friends who have publishing connections.”

“You want to do the editing, right?” Ed-ee-teen.

“Uh, yeah.”

She nods.

A short burst of air exits my lips with a little “poo” sound.

And that’s that.



Anonymous Matt said...


4:36 PM  
Anonymous with sprinkles said...


"I have to start making moves towards a career I actually like before I get saddled with a bunch of responsibilities and get stuck in a dead-end job because of them."

You are blessed to figure this out at such a young age. I wish you great success.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Lolokickyou said...

If the people lecturing you are holding a DKNY or Coach bag then fuck 'em. Now if they're sporting Gucci ....

9:38 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

That's great. Glad your mom has your back.

Good luck finding a non-soul crushing job.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Algernonymous1999 said...

Off topic (and you probably already know)...

...a Stanley Kubrick restrospective starts today (Sat, 6/3) at the Museum of the Moving Image (Kaufman Studios, Astoria), starting with a lecture at 1:30, followed by a screening of "2001".

The next few weekends they'll be screening almost all of Kubrick's movies.

Also off-topic, since you like "Full Metal Jacket" and "Paths of Glory" so much, which are anti-war but not anti-warrior, you might also enjoy Joe Haldeman's book "The Forever War", which has been described as a "science fiction novel about Vietnam" (it was written in the mid-70s by a Vietnam vet who saw combat).

Don't be put off by the fact that it's science fiction, it's probably one of the best books I've ever read in any genre.

I just re-read it and am hard-pressed to think of a novel that more effectively develops the relationship of the main character and his lover, and the war's impact on that relationship.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Algernonymous1999 said...

Further comment on Haldeman's "The Forever War".

If you decide to check it out, make sure to get the latest edition (published in 2003 by EOS), which contains material not included in earlier editions (which were abridged versions, since the novel was first published as a magazine serial).

12:05 PM  
Blogger Algernonymous1999 said...

Sorry, last post on "The Forever War". (I promise... I’m not a writer and so haven’t really thought about what makes it so good, until today, even though I’ve read it once every decade since it’s been published and have found something new each time.)

The book is a great "our army and the war is screwed up, I just want to go home" novel, but there are plenty like that.

What separates it is it’s also an outstanding love story (via a very efficiently-written subplot, or maybe main plot) that that uses the novel’s basic (science fiction) premise to explore extreme relationship crises in ways which would probably seem trite in a traditional novel.

I’m not a big reader of love stories. But, after the main character’s lover (another soldier) loses her arm, and he looks at her and thinks, "Looking at her stump, I could feel neither empathy nor revulsion... It was as if she had always been that way. Was it drugs, conditioning, love? Have to wait and see. Her eyes opened suddenly and I knew she’d been awake... giving me time to think" I was like, this is a lesson for me if my partner ever faces a mastectomy. (And I chose not to quote what I wanted to, since it might tip off a discerning reader, like an author...)

Anyway, Haldeman was married in his early 20s before he went to Vietnam, and remains married to the same woman, so he knows relationships. (I never knew his history until I picked up the new edition a week ago.)

3:19 PM  
Anonymous km said...

your mom's just acknowledging you as an adult, that's all. =]

9:04 PM  

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