Saturday, November 7, 2015

Second Hand

I'm sitting there, still groggy, my morning coffee hadn't kicked in yet, and it was early. He approaches me and bends over so that he could look up at my face.

"Good morning"

"Oh hey, good morning" I force a smirk.

"I said, good morning." He emphasizes the 'morning'

"Good Morning." I full on smile. He half laughs and walks away. He always brought the energy, the kind of guy you look forward to seeing everyday.

We set up the scaffolding, pulling out the brushes and paints,  and start on the wall just like we did everyday. It was almost 9.

About an hour and half into full on painting there was a loud noise, almost like a crash, unidentified, in the moment it was hard to process against similar noises in my memory bank. I was preoccupied painting, zoned in my own world when the blare startled me out of it. I first thought the scaffold had fallen or someone fell from it, but I looked over and the scaffolds were all upright.

Then I hear "He shot me!" from the far end.

Almost like an echo another person yells over and over again "He shot him! He shot him!"

I instinctively run over as fast as I could, I was the furthest away, painting on the opposite end of the wall about 150 feet away, but some how I was the first upon him. I look up for a moment and notice a figure walking away, his back towards me, crossing the street, confident strides, no hurry.

I found him on the ground fully aware, talking. But going in and out of consciousness.

"He shot me."

I quickly scan for a wound I don't see anything but as I simultaneously feel under his shirt I feel it in his lower left abdomen - moist and irregular. Quickly I put my hand over it and apply pressure, that's the only thing I can think to do. I reach behind him but I couldn't find an exit wound, there isn't one. I know from watching movies that blood loss is the biggest concern so I try to prevent that.

There was one other guy who was painting further than me and he comes up red faced. Feels like moments later.

"What happened?!!"

"He was shot."

He hands me his phone for some reason. No one's thinking straight. I know instinctively what to do. I dial 9-1-1

"Hi, my friend was shot, we're at 35th St and West, the freeway underpass, send someone right away!!"

"Sorry, could you please repeat that?"

"I said my friend was shot, we need someone here right away!!"

"This is the highway patrol, I'll need to connect you to local law enforcement."

"Ok, whatever! Do it!"

Riiiiing riiiiing riiiiing riiiing

"What the fuck...!!"

In frustration I forceably throw the phone back into the other painter's hands.

I look back towards the ground, he says.

"How come no one is doing anything? Do something!" Angrily

I try to calm him and reassure him.

"We are, we called 9-1-1, the ambulance is coming and I'm here."

Then he seems to be losing consciousness. I thought we were going to lose him right then. I lightly slap his face. He comes back immediately.

"How come no one is doing anything? He shot me."

Then his consciousness wanes. I again slap his face to keep him awake.

"You gotta say with me. You gotta stay awake. Don't go to sleep."

He goes in and out of consciousness, we repeat this game over again.

"How come you're sitting on my stomach?"

"I'm not, it's just my hand, I'm putting pressure on the wound."

It seems like so much time had passed at this point. I don't really recall anyone else. I do remember another painter pacing back and forth in anger, almost yelling "He shot him, he shot him."

And I see someone crying nearby. Another was just standing staring. One was panicking but she was there helping me. There were others but I don't know where they were or what they were doing.

"It's been so long, where the hell is everybody!! Why isn't the ambulance here!? We need to get him to a hospital.

He starts foaming from the mouth.

Some black girls nearby almost taunt us.

"This is West Oakland, no police is gonna come. " In that moment for some reason that felt true. We had to act. We couldn't wait for the police that might not come.

"Let's move him to the back of the truck! We gotta take him to the hospital now!"

So we pick him up, I brace the back of his neck and we carrying him to the back of the truck.
He want's to puke so we turn him to his side. He pukes.

I recheck the wound there's surprisingly no blood. And still no exit wound, which I know means he's a mess inside. The urgency suddenly hits me.

"We gotta take him now!!!"

The same girls try to be helpful...

"There's a hospital like 6 blocks in that direction, it's really close."

"Are you sure!? Where exactly? What's it called?"

The last thing I want to do is to be driving around lost looking for a hospital while he's dying in the back of the truck. I was strangely calm until then, my mind started to race and I couldn't decide what to do. This decision could save or kill a life...

We're all in the truck, ready to go when multiple police cars pull up and almost surround us, blocking the vehicle from moving.

One of us goes up and yells at them, urging them to move so we can go. There's still no ambulance in sight.

"Get the fuck out of the way so we can go!"

It takes them it feels like 10s of minutes until finally the paramedics emerge from the around the corner. Time always slows during times of urgency. It only dawns on me later that they were there the entire time just waiting for the all clear from the police. They approach him and cut off all his clothes, except for his boxers. Then they lift him onto the stretcher and put the clear plastic oxygen mask over his face. The oxygen alone seems like it would save him. There was something about it that gave me some semblance of relief. During the commotion his boxers pulled down a few times, exposing him. He sensed this somehow and seemed to want to try and pull them up but his arms were twitching and folded in unnatural ways. Wrist bent. The way people used to do when they made fun of retarded people. So I went up and covered him with a blanket. He seemed to acknowledge that. I continued walking with him holding his hand and head to the ambulance.

"Can I let go now?" I ask the paramedics as they are about to load him in, as if I was doing something important and needed official relief.

"Yeah, you can let go."

"Can I come with you guys?"

"No, sorry, we can't have anyone inside."

"Ok, they're going to take you now." I said as I looked into his eyes.

That was the last thing I said to him. It didn't occur to me I'd never see him again. No words of comfort or inspiration. Just 'Ok, they're going to take you now" Not that words have power but they do and maybe the right ones would've kept his will going stronger, inspire a fight, provide the tiny bit needed that would mean the difference between life and death. Maybe. I can't even think of what I would've wanted to say - even now.

We got updates, he made it to surgery. The oxygen mask, then the ambulance each seemed like steps towards life. He was going to make it.

I hugged another artist and when I walked away I saw the tiny spot of blood I'd inadvertently left on the back of his shirt. That's when I look down at my palm and see a burgundy, dime sized circle.

I wanted to tell him about the spot on his back but never did.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The End

A few years back there was T who started just started his grad program at Mills College. At the same time, in the same program there was J. They were both Korean American, being such a small school, there weren't many Korean Americans, so they connected at that level. During this time J had a substance abuse problem, it wasn't be uncommon to find her passed out on the bathroom floor at any given morning. Through this T and J got close and started collaborating, eventually J would get clean, she had to. T and J formed a band and they soon met another fellow Korean American grad school student D from the art department, and naturally they all gravitated towards each other and would collaborate on many different levels. They grew as friends, travelled together, made a documentary, performed at prestigious venues. But T and J had interpersonal issues which they tried over and over again to work through but simply couldn't. 

Tonight was their last performance together as a band. I quietly snuck in the audience and watched them perform their final performance - captivated, I leaned in, full of emotion, it was so good and so real, so from the heart and it resonated so well, and plus they're both damn good. They were guests, so the host played her next song and during that she allowed for the audience to call out names of people they had lost - my name was obvious - Antonio Ramos - it'd be a name everyone would recognize but I sat there and listened as others called out names- I wanted to but couldn't - I don't know what stopped me and when I felt like I could finally do it - it was too late, the time had passed. Then I saw from a distance T and J hurry out from back stage, exchange a few words and then hug, I knew I was witnessing the end, then T walked out the front. I quickly got up and rushed out the exit closest to me but it went down 3 corridors before it eventually opened up to the outside. He was gone. I looked all around, he was no where to be found. Then J came out unexpectedly, she calls out his name. A homeless guy tells us he walked that way, but there was no one to chase. J started to cry. I hugged her, she stopped. 

"This was our last performance"

"I know, you guys were good, so good, I was captivated."

"Thanks" She smiles.

"You're a damn good performer, don't ever stop." 

We hug again and I walk away. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Back in December

Our neighbor told us he had new tenants move into the previously empty flat right above where he lived. So we knew and started to notice previously unseen bodies coming to and from the building. The narrow lot butted right next to ours so whenever someone was on the back deck they could look right down over the fence into our yard and if I looked up I could see them. Conversation could be had a la Home Improvement.

I'd just gotten back from an intense trip to Korea working on a film. I was burned out on all things creative, so I did everything on my list of home improvement To Dos and started a garden which meant I was spending lots of time in the yard. For a while I just saw military fatigues hanging over the railing on the top deck. Then one day there he was smoking, young, black, shirtless, muscular, PJ clad.

"Hey how's it going? You just move in?"
"Yeah, a few weeks ago"
"Cool man I'm Dave, what's yours?"
"Joesh"
"Those fatigues yours? I've seem them hanging out there for a while, wondering who they belonged to."
"They're mine, just got out of the Army and came straight here. I don't need them anymore so I just leave them here to air out perpetually."
"I wanna hear more about that, how was that? But what are you up to now?"
"Just got out of the Army so I'm job hunting. Looking for anything really."
"Hey, you any good at organizing?"
"Yeah, I love it."
"Like figuring out places for things and creating a permanent storage solution type - organizing?"
"Look, you should've seen me in the Army, that's exactly what I had to do, I had to run the supply closet and make sure everything was organized." 
"Ok then, I'm about to sit here and organize this shed, can I hire you to help me?"
"Yup, right now?"
"Yeah, come by and we'll get started."

15 bucks an hour, he could use the cash and I needed the help - a project I'd been dreading for years, it took all day - he started by pulling everything out, Elaine and my storage life strewn across yards of yard, it went well into the night, flash lights in hand, it leaked over into the next day. We talked, for hours he told me about his life growing up in Houston and life as a Army paratrooper - the training he went through, but finished his commitment before ever being deployed. I guess that happens, I mean of course that happens, when there isn't war, there isn't deployment to be had. I never met anyone who went through all that training not to use it but it leaked into life I'm sure, he was definitely disciplined. 

But he went on tell me about Angela, how jealous she'd be if he told her he was organizing, because she loved doing it. They met at an overnight concert, when a friend invited him to hang out with a bunch of strangers he'd never met before. That initial meeting blossomed into something much more. He loved her so much he'd proclaim. Their relationship grew while he was away training and as soon as he was done he moved right into her room in this shared house in West Oakland. She spend her days working at Costco.

One day I drove home and and saw Joesh standing, waiting on the street corner, looking anxious, so I parked and walked over.

"You alright, man?" 
"Yeah, I got locked out, just waiting for somebody to get home."
"You don't have keys yet?"
"I know, we have to figure that out."
"Just go to Home Depot and get them made real quick, it's just down the street, a fews bucks and takes minutes."
"What!? really, I thought it was a whole process, and costs like a hundred bucks."
"No, it's super easy and maybe 5 bucks at most."
"Ok, yeah we need to get that worked out."
"Anyhow, you should come wait inside the house."

We watched movies which he loved, he was a talker - he told me he had an interview, two in fact, we had to pause a few times so that he could field follow up call, we had dinner. Then when Angela came home we stopped the movie for the next time.

This happened a few times before they finally figured out the key situation - he ended up at my house on multiple occasions. He got both the jobs - Starbucks and Best Buy. 

One of the times there would again be interruptions but this time it wasn't the Best Buy guys, it was clearly an angry Angela.

The time after, he left the room abruptly to argue with her.

Another time he'd just found out his cousin back in Texas died in car crash. 

The next time he told me how Angela would tell him how much she hated him in passionate anger.

There was the radio incident and the time she didn't like it when he was venting about her via text to his best friend.

And the times she'd drive off to an unknown place without explanation and none upon return. 

Then on one particular day he was outside crying, I invited him in..

"She's cheating on me, I know but she doesn't know I know." 
He continued "When she'd leave I'd asker her and she never tells me and I never look in her phone but there's this guy she used to hang out with, and I looked and he's texting her"
He starts to read "I want you to come by" "No, I'm not like that."
"But I know that's where she's been going."

Then a few days later another incident. He runs over crying. This time we her speeds off in her car. He tells us he'd try so desperately to clam her but her anger was too fierce. 

Then one day I run into him outside.
"Hey man how are things?"
Fully confident "I'm leaving, flying out at 6 pm today. I've had enough, I can't handle this anymore. It's over." 
Shocked at the abruptness but soothed by the resolve. 
"I was just going to say if you needed to crash somewhere while you figure it out, you could at our place. But I guess you're leaving, are you sure, you just got those jobs? You don't want to figure it out here?"

"I just have to go home and work for a bit but I'm going to be back, I already worked it out with my best friend, we're going to drive out here at the end of the year." 

Despite the loss and pain here was hope and a plan for the future.

"Alright, then I would just call Starbucks and Best Buy and let them know your situation, so that you don't burn any bridges."

And he was gone. 

Angela -attractive, young, Latina, I would see in passing getting into her car, getting out, I didn't want to judge or make assumptions, I'd only heard one side of the story - I'd make small talk just to keep it from being awkward. Slowly learning about her life. Last we talked she was interviewing for a new job at a bank.

I saw her the other day standing on the same spot where I first met Joesh - on the deck overlooking our yard. 

"How'd it go? Did you get the job?"
"Yeah, but it's boring. Sitting down at a desk all day, it pays better but it's not like Costco. But I still have the Costco job so there's a nice balance. I was told there's an opening for a supervisor job at Costco so I'll apply for that."
"What's your dream?"
Caught off guard for moment
"My dream?" "To make enough money to get some land, build a house and farm."
"Nice, well, hope that happens. I have a garden here. Oh I guess it's behind the fence so you can't see."
"What are you growing?"
I name the long list of things as I look around, trying not to miss anything. 
Just as the conversation is about to end. 
"Hey, I just wanted you to know (a tiny hint of an accent), Joesh's mom just called me, I'm sorry to say, he passed away."
I'm trying to recall what I was thinking in the seconds between the first "I" and "sorry" wondering if I anticipated what she would say, but I can't. I was completely shocked.

She was unclear on exactly what happened. He was driving with some friends, one was drunk, 2 lived, 1 died, 

I wasn't even sure why his mom called, the break up was so bad, but I was grateful to know.

In my last text with him he said he was coming back to Oakland in December.

Joesh Hicks, 22, a full life ahead of him, she was supposed to be one of many break ups he was to experience but it was his last.

I actually typed this out a few weeks ago but today Facebook reminded me...

Happy Birthday Joesh.





Friday, October 24, 2014

On Why the World Felt Heavy Today

The morning started with a conversation soon turned heated debate with my sister. My moms calls me last night and she's left the house again to get away from my sister. This is nothing new, it's a cycle that occurs every month or so, I don't need to listen I already know, it's like Ground Hog Day - the actions are repeated exactly with only the trigger being different each time. I'll get a call usually from my mom first then my sister, quietly hearing both sides of the story, just listening and saying not much because from past experience I know any advice would fall on deaf ears and defensive anger. But this time my sister called the next morning instead of that night. We talked, I got impatient and went right into what I thought the solutions were and the conversation turned heated, ending with my sister hanging up on me. I could've been more sympathetic but to me it's the same thing every time. Change is an absolute must but it doesn't seem to happen. The other thing about this is I see myself in my sister, shaped by the same forces, and for some reason that brings me down. I think because I feel I could easily be her and she could easily be me.

 I'm having a sort of art crisis. I've had a busy summer and finally have a chance to get in the studio and make yet I'm stuck and I don't know how I want to paint, what I want to paint. I sit there and flip through instagram, looking at all the art on there searching for something, anything that could help me figure it out, but it's useless, I either hate or like everything which isn't helpful and just adds more to my personal confusion. And not to mention all the wasted hours, it really is crack and sex sells. And as a side effect I get my face rubbed into every other successful (or seemingly successful) career or adventure and look at my own lack of. I'm not saying I'm not successful, I bet by some standards I've gained relative success but I'm not where I'd like to be which is also unclear as to what that would look like, I guess I'd know when I get there. But the success thing also adds to the heaviness.

 In a few weeks I'll be flown out to NYC, picked up via private transport, put up in a hotel, paid handsomely to paint the offices of a "INC 500 Fastest Growing Companies" company, like a king. And I could paint whatever the hell I want - any artists dream - but given my current existential crisis it terrifies me. I have no idea what I'd do and I have doubts about my ability, even though I always pull it off, and the platinum treatment makes it so much more worse, so much pressure.

 Then because I sit there in the studio filled with anxiety I procrastinate, and because the current events in the middle east fascinate me I tend towards that. I watched the feature length film put out by ISIS "Flames of War", an incredibly well edited, well shot propaganda film about the history of ISIS. In it they are all about Allah, truly passionate, true believers, truly faithful, in some scenes crying in gratitude towards Him after a victory. I believe this faith is what make them such fierce fighters, because life is inextricably connected to this greater power beyond this world. But it's profoundly disturbing to me, this amount of fervor and the piles of bodies, so much blood, death and bodiless heads in relation to this God. There's either some amount of twisted deception or everything I believe true power is supposed to be is wrong. At the end of the movie they talk to captured soldiers digging their own graves and interview them about this, sadistic, while another group of soldiers sit in a line on their knees with pistols pointed at the back of their heads awaiting their fate. It's crazy to see people alive that are going to be dead in a moment. It reminds me of a ball I was once invited to for a girl with terminal cancer, I didn't go, the invite itself was too much. I wonder why the digger armed with shovels don't make a last ditch attempt to knock out a guy and take one gun, mow down the rest, I've seen it done 100 times in movies. But maybe there's something better about dying with resigned dignity? And then I watch them fall forward as the smoke exits the barrels of the respective guns pointed inches from their heads. And then I wonder about the cases of PTSD in America, few but each so horrifying, and then think about entire peoples with the same thing, what does that do?

 As these things go, at the end of "Flames of War" there's a compelling image or text for the next thing, and because I'm addicted now I click. Nigerian Beheaded by Boka Haram. I watch as a captured Nigerian Air Force pilot tries desperately to talk his way out of his fate, pretty sure but hopeful of his fate, as he gets interrogated. Then the captors start singing/chanting about his fate and he knows and it happens.

 And on to the West African doctor who volunteered for Doctors Without Borders to fight Ebola, contracted it but survived, while his wife didn't believe the disease even existed and died from it with her daughter. Even more than the disease itself this unbelief bothers me. The stories of quarantine tents getting raided and volunteers who are trying to inform people of Ebola being slaughtered. I'm sure it has layers of complexity and history that I will never understand.

 She Tweeted Against the Mexican Cartel. They Tweeted Her Murder. Unable to resist I again *click. In the Mexican state of Tamaulipas cartels have taken over and declared a media blackout so local citizens took matters into their own hands and used social media as a means to report on the daily events. Felina was the bravest and most ardent fighter for this freedom of expression. She remained anonymous but they found her accidentally, kidnapped her because something else and looked on her phone. Using her Twitter account they posted a live picture of her and then another one of her on the floor, shot dead. Evil persists.
At the end of the night, after Elaine got home from work we head over to Highland General Hospital to visit our friend Akim. Akim was homeless, stayed with us for a short time, and about 2 weeks ago had to go in for emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor. He was sleeping this time, very peaceful looking, half of his body covered in white tape and bandages attached to 10,000 tubes, only small squares of his dark skin visible. But the visual of his lifeless body plus the last thing the nurse said "his condition is going down when we need it to go up" made me think of his life and very possibly his death.

 So we go out and for once I know exactly what I want to eat - pasta. I get straight up spaghetti with meatballs topped with meat sauce and drown the heaviness I feel on the entire dish that could probably easily feed two. And now I feel mentally burdened but physically heavy too.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eighth Street

It's finally here after just over a year I remember because my uncle died in mid May, I almost didn't paint the wall I was going to fly to China to look after my uncle. But I did and then drove straight home to be with family and attend the funeral. I'm about to announce a celebratory moment, the release of the short doc Matt made of the wall I painted, and all I could think of is my family history. I missed him deeply randomly one night I think driving in Oklahoma of all places. Strange how these strong feelings come so belated and unannounced, I'm sure it wasn't random, I'm sure something about being there in the passenger seat of the car, with Elaines family, at night, slightly raining, first time being there, I'm sure somehow something there reminded my heart, my mind.

 Anyhow after more than a year it's finally arrived, Eighth Street, a short doc about a fence being painted on the corner of Eighth and Campbell in West Oakland. I happen to be the one painting the fence.

 

 Eighth Street is a short film (30 minutes) by local filmmaker, Matt Beardsley, following Oakland-based muralist, Dave Young Kim, through the planning and creation of a unique, community-building project in West Oakland. 

 Premiering at the New Parkway Theater 

 June 22, 2013, 3:00 pm 
 Tickets sold through the New Parkway Theater at half-cost, $3 
 The New Parkway Theater 474 24th Street 

 We'll see you there!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Better Artist

It was a long personal battle trying to figure whether it was necessary to invest the money, (but I feel like more sacrificial is the time, where I won’t really be able to work on my career directly, it’s probably a short sighted perspective - I need more patience (bc this is indirectly enhancing my career), by the time I get out I’ll be 35 or really close to it) and time to go to into a MFA program. Ultimately, I decided to do it under the banner of “In the end I just want to be a better artist”. As you join a program that term “better artist” starts to get defined in strange ways you never imagined, or maybe have imagined but not in the concrete ways it has been manifesting. What you start to realize is an institution is inherently, by way of history, structure and those involved - who share what they know which happens to be a particular world, is connected to a very particular art world, the high art world of museums and galleries. The paths of all the alums seem pretty well paved, a familiar path of the same galleries, vying for the same old scholarships and awards. In these terms the idea of a better artist starts to be defined first by figuring out what good art is. A lot of times when you’re looking for a what, you have to ask who, because depending on what culture you want to enter, the powerful in that particular group gets to put meaning to terms. So as I learn about this larger, or maybe smaller but more influential, maybe not influential but more powerful, maybe not more powerful but more rich, definitely more rich and probably better well connected into the things that influence mainstream culture. And as I consider the things I value as far as my art, life and career I do want in on this elite, art world. Why? Because that’s where the money is and I do want a sustainable career, earn at least enough so that I could live in a giant warehouse, and I do want to be able to influence the greater mainstream culture. I’d say 80% of me doesn’t want anything to do with that world but there’s still 20% and I’m justifying that by saying I’ll get in, get what I need from it and then get out quick or stay in it use it in unsanctioned ways to achieve things on my agenda and subversively alter it. And because there’s even that remote 20% that wants to be in the elite high art world - “good art” then becomes defined by them (those who run this world), and ultimately “better artist” is further defined by that version of “good art”. Because if the art world were run by a bunch of 3 year olds then what they consider “good art” would certainly be different. So oftern times I feel like in order to get my 20% I need to impress that rich and influential. I know I know they say dont think about it, work freely, but reality is those that are there to objectively help shape my practice have this filter on their eyes and in their words that are colored by The Art World. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

iMourn

Currently: Mourning the loss of my voicemails. Apparently when you switch from any phone to an iphone your voicemail gets completely wiped. I've had on there for years my niece calling me leaving messages for me, her sentences getting slowly more complicated as she got older, and the missed calls from my dad telling me his mom died or the time my parents calmly called letting me know my uncle had injured his head (from which he would die from a few days later). Going from dumb phone to a smarty (happened on 3-17-13) was an emotional experience, one I tried to put off for as long as I could, evading the urging of my wife, but it was nothing compared to the loss of those vmails, like I could physically feel it - it's one of those things, you know.


And I have the text messages on my phone that I've saved for years, the ones from the beginnings of when my wife (then gf) and I first started dating, to randoms - important ones but ones I don't remember because I havent looked at them for so long, to the ones where my sister texted about a fight she's having with my mom, one that's inspired my art work recently, to the ones notifying me that an old family friend suddenly died. These I actually still have on my old phone but they're encased forever in this physical body never being able to enter into the digital world again ostensibly making them useless. As my new phone was being activated I sat there completely engulfed in systematically, one-by-one, emailing to myself each of the 300 text messages so that they could have life again in their new virtual bodies, but my project was abruptly stopped as the activation when through. I got all of 30 or so messages sent - only the oldest ones. But this isn't nearly as bad as grief I feel from the lost voicemails.

I don't understand my obsession with documentation, the need to hold on to pieces of the past, and capture moments in the present, I'm convinced I'm a hoarder, of images, although I've never seen an episode from the series which has them as their subject, but you know they all have these crazy pasts like they got raped or had some traumatic relationship at some point, so it makes me wonder about myself, what ever happened to me. I just blame it on my slacker memory, I can't trust it so I'm dependent on physical evidence to trigger the thought. It might be the fumes or past substance abuse or it might not even be true, just a figment of my imagination but I won't risk it by not keeping the mementos that'll give my memory the shove it needs.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gold

The oddity. Solid, polished gold, so pure and unscathed, so out of place juxtaposed against this imperfect mass of flesh molded in the shape of a hand. The nails too long with black debris underneath, hang nails, callused, dry skin, hairs a tinge too long, tiny wounds and scars abound - especially the round one between the index and the thumb. It sits so strangely in this foreign land, having random inked scrawlings of reminders, paint stains, a $1.50 watch, frayed edges from a shirt sleeve. The pinky finger was even broken once and never healed right, if this was the other hand the ring wouldn't even fit, the ring finger there was also broken and left to heal on its own making it impossible to fit a ring over the knuckle that wouldn't slide off beyond that. And the new weight it now carries is noticeable, maybe it'll make it stronger - that finger.

I feel like it has power, like the Green Lantern, like I could do things I never have before or walk around protected. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

M-Day Countdown Day 27: Dec 27

The last full day before getting married.


I didn't really have a plan I did have some errands I needed to get done before the wedding; pick up my newly pressed shirt and get my glasses cleaned of the paint that seemed permanently grafted onto them. But instead my day consisted of working with the plumber all day, 3.5 hours, in the end he cost us $341. He kept claiming his rate was the best out there and I didn't dispute that, I even verified by asking a neighbor friend of mine - it was true. But the problem is did it need to take 3.5 hours to get a clump of old rotted tampons out from deep in the main line? (tampons, are like woven cloth rats with their long nasty tails (the tail's the worst part) - I hated them when he pulled them out. Those things cost us lots of shit mopping and money and an arm insertion into crap filled water to try and feel for something) Because at nearly 100 bucks an hour, it adds up fast. I don't think the guy was malicious but also don't think he should've taken 3.5 hours. (even he was surprised when it was all over and it was 3.5 hours later) So who's wrong? (because it was a point of contention) Nobody. Everybody. My mom was pissed. I felt at the same time had and sympathetic to the guy and somewhat responsible and dumb and okay.




I had Elaine pick up my shirt for me. Never got my glasses cleaned, oh well it has character.

We had our rehearsal. Here for the first time you get to walk through the ceremony and it feels. It feels. The reality of it starts to set in. People are gathered. You hear the words, walk through the motions and then do it again.


Rehearsal dinner was good. My mom who's a natural Korean says the food was mediocre. I couldn't tell.


Part of the whole thing is, it's a wedding, but it's so many other things, it's a family gathering, it's a meeting new people for the first time, it's a reunion with old friends, it's a party, it's a recollection of memories, it's every emotion at the same time. I mean people spend days just to work up the nerve to meet for the first time the one person that's important to them, at a wedding you meet ten of those.

Having no best man I didn't have a bachelor party or any sort of person in charge of that department, but the girls were going out, Elaines sister in law planned a night out for her, her last as a single. So I last minute texted a bunch of dudes, many who didn't even know I was getting married, I'm not sure if that was a fair way to let them know.

"My last day as an independent, come to Dogwood. 22 Telegraph at 9" I had the address wrong because it cut off.

But with a 3 hour notice and the wrong address. 13 guys miraculously showed to the otherwise empty bar. In the chatter I got a sense how people felt about me. I'm so unaware.

My name means: Beloved

I went home slightly buzzed. I don't like alcohol anymore but I do.


Is that the way I wanted to spend my last night as an independent? I'm not sure. But I did and now it's done.

M-Day Advent Calendar:

On day 27 (oh which was my birthday, btw, I always forget): 

i was naked
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