The Difference

A while ago, K told me that she had to move because her neighbor was too loud. Now she lives somewhere at a top floor apartment, in a manicured little gated community, in a township for which she’s one of few Asians. Of course it must be close to a major transportation hub–either NJ transit bus or train–since she doesn’t drive. How much our tastes defer. I like orderly environment but not too orderly; clean but not too clean. K’s preference will not do for me. I live in a town bustling with roads, houses, buildings scattered in an unplanned way, with faces and body types outside of the modern beauty standard, landscapes with minimum care. This is my kind of place. In this friendly and diverse town, crime rate is extremely low; real estate is terribly overpriced; the school is savagely competitive; many back streets serve as detours for traffic junctions; the township administration is rarely without upheavals. Although the town is nowhere near being called pretty, I love the beautiful chaos.

Should I beg K’s forgiveness? I think I should but I am too proud to beg. I can say it’s just because of those little spats. How petty can I become? I can’t believe I am so petty and so far away from my own long upheld ideal image. She has her little eccentricities and her little antics, and I humored her for quite a while as if I enjoyed them. Actually I didn’t. I should have told her, but I didn’t. I should have said I was a little upset by this and that. If I did that, she probably would have done something to change her ways, or at least we communicated on those sticking points to understand each other’s viewpoints. If I did that, I wouldn’t feel so guilty right now. So what happened was that I didn’t say anything for as long as I could endure, and then I screamed and freaked out. And that’s it.

At a time, we communicated every day. She’s a big fan of Hilary Mantel, EM Forster, Jane Austen and in many occasions tried to get me to say I’m like her too. I almost said what she wanted me to say, but I know I’m not like her. I like American authors more. I miss our daily communication about books and about the Asian identity. If I want to crawl back to beg her, I think I can do it since the Lunar New Year is coming up. And to be or not to be? I don’t know.

Life is a pile of indecision that make one feels like a coward. I am not in a good mood all because of yesterday when Vi said she’s going to die. Yes, she is. She works too hard and too stingy to pay for health insurance. What’s the point of working so hard and getting sick? Now she has to sell her little store and she holds on to the last moment to sell it. The moral of the story? If one chases one’s dream with diligence but without health insurance, one is easily killed by one’s dream.

I can’t concentrate and have to watch something with nice prickly dialogue to cheer me up. However something is a little off about this TV show. I can’t really say what it is and I don’t want to name it to make the show’s staff feel bad. The depiction of a writer and a musician, in this one particular episode, is not quite right. This writer and this musician in the show are cooking with TV on, driving with music on, and doing things with all the enjoyable background sound. I think this is a little unrealistic. By the way this writer and this musician in the plot are semi-successful writer and very successful musician respectively. The point is people doing creative work usually dislike noises. I know a couple of people doing music as a profession, who can’t tolerate any noise in their life–the noise here is defined as music or songs that they are not specifically intending to listen. One is particularly bad since he always complaints about the background music in a shopping mall and he never goes to a shopping mall. He has to tolerate the background music in a restaurant since he has no choice unless he stops going out for meals.

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