Wednesday, June 27, 2007
On Thurs, June 21st I "ran" my first "marathon": The JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. To clarify, I walked most of the way (jogged a little bit) AND it was only 3.5 miles but hey, i'd never done anything like this before...it was a huge accomplishment for me. I was so nervous and worried that i'd fall out halfway thru the race. (It was actually a real race; i simply did not want to come in last).
The race was in Central Park and the proceeds were to benefit the Central Park Conservancy. Each company that entered participants had tents and tables sent up for pre- and post-race activities. Walking around the tent area actually kinda felt like being at a huge family reunion. Except there were thousands of people milling around. In fact, the NYC race was such a huge success that it had to be split into 2 days in order to accommodate the over 30,000 participants that signed up.
The real runners were in front, and by the time i took this photo, they'd probably already finished. I remember at one point, i was walking along chatting with my coworkers and I thought about how it felt like we were on a march. It seemed like we should have had signs and banners...
When i passed this 3-mile marker, I was SO excited...i finished the race about 8 minutes later. My official time was 1:10:10. I ran across the finish line with my arms in the air ...i had sore calves and achy Achilles tendons but I felt amazing. I now understood why some people enter every marathon that they can. For me personally, I've often had a terrible track record of not finishing what i started but that night, i finished.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
-I've recently come to not one, but two startling realizations about myself. These now completely undermine my previous assertions that i'm above petty predjudices and that i love all people. I still do love 87% of all people, of course, but i've shamefully uncovered two exceptions: Obese people and beautiful little girls. The former predjudice is, sadly, understable and acceptable to most people. The latter probably appears bizarre and random but i will explain in a minute.
The obese: They completely annoy and disgust me. Now I'm not proud of this nor do i think it's right. I'm one of the biggest advocatesI know of when it comes to wanting people to respect each other, be compassionate and tolerant, etc. But when i'm on a train going to work and i can't sit in a seat because some person is occupying 1 1/2 times their allotted space, i'm annoyed. When i see an obese person walking and 2/3 of their body, not including their arms and legs, are moving in all different directions, i'm disgusted. It's so difficult for me to not make a frown...i probably do sometimes without even knowing it. I make up for this (or i think i do) by smiling at the person, oftentimes. I'm aware that they are probably in some sort of emotional pain that causes them to overeat or they simply don't know how to properly eat (or don't care?). But i can't control my inner reaction to it. It even makes me question their intelligence. I seriously wonder if i'd have a problem hiring someone who is obese. Of course I'd tell myself that they just happened to not be as qualified as XYZ Regular Body, but how would i know if deep down, my predjudice wasn't winning? (man, someone could easily take those last few sentences, replace the word obese with Black, and i'd be ready to vomit)
Beautiful little girls: ok this is actually kind of random and might not be a real "predjudice" per se. But i was surprised by my own reaction. Anyway i was on a train platform (in NYC 80% of interesting things happen on train platforms) and this woman comes up the stairs with her two children (they looked like her so i'm assuming they were hers). The woman was very short. She looked black but mixed with some other race maybe. dark skin. She had really long straight/wavy hair that flowed down her back so beautifully. Maybe already i was kinda jealous of her hair. Which is ridic cuz my hair is so dope right now. But this scenario always takes me back to my childhood when i hated my hair, so keep in mind that as i'm standing there evaluating them, i'm suddenly 8 years old again.. anyway...she's got this great hair, ok face. kinda weird chin/jaw...sorta elf-like. One of her daughters looked like a teenager. same complexion as "mom" but with way too much jel in her long-ish hair. same elf-life facial structure.
The other daugther was the "beauty". Light skin, cute, cheruby face with that long frizzy/curly hair that so many black boys adore. It was all the way down her back...in grade school, girls like her got all the attention from the boys. Which always, indirectly, made me feel ugly, jealous and inferior. The girl is standing on the platform, very close to and clinging to her mother...who happens to be constantly playing in the girl's hair. The girl is expressionless...not smiling at all. Which i found strange. Pretty little girls usually always smile, don't they? At least in my 8-year old delusions they did. So the train comes and we all pile on. They were standing a ways away from me but i couldn't help but sorta stare. they didn't notice at all so i was in the clear. The girl was so pretty that it was difficult not to keep stealing glances. But still no smiles. Then at one point, her mother whispers something in her ear and the girl laughs. Then i saw it. She had a TREMENDOUS overbite. Her smile changed the entire picture of her face, as if someone had lifted a veil. And shockingly, instead of feeling pity for her apparent "spoiled beauty", the 8-year-old girl within me felt relieved.
Monday, June 25, 2007
I haven't spoken to my children at all since Thursday. I've called and called and called their father's house all weekend and no one answers. I've called at least 10 times this morning. My son Milan has a cellphone that I bought for him, but it goes straight to voicemail. Which isn't unusual because he never turns it on. Even though i constantly admonish him to keep it on so that i can reach them.
Right now, i feel a mixture of fear, anger and sadness. The fear is probably the least. I'm sure they are ok. That's just some back-of-the-mind type shit. I'd say the anger is most prominent. I kinda feel angry at all of them. Angry at their father because he doesn't care at all if i speak to the children and most likely, directly or indirectly, prevents it. He enjoys torturing me in this way. He may have even sent them away to their grandma's without even telling me. Angry at the kids because maybe they have not tried to call me themselves. Or even thought of it. Or didn't try hard enough. Or didn't sneak to call when their dad wasn't in the room. I know it's wrong to be angry at them but emotions are that way; sometimes they are irrational but we feel them anyway.
I feel sad because Friday was the last day of school and they got their report cards. I have no idea what grades they got. I was looking forward to hearing their excited voices on the phone...proclaiming the start of their long-awaited summer...recounting tales of last-day-of-school class parties...lamenting their "just shy of an A" B- in Science class.
Tomorrow i'm supposed to pick them up. But i'm so worried he's going to call at some point and say "oh i forgot to tell you, they're out of town for the week". And there will be nothing at all that I can do.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
have you ever wished you could erase everyone's memory of you? that you could reset the way they see you and what they think of you? start fresh.
i want that thing that the Men In Black used. flash a light and they all forget. when they come to, they have shiny new eyes. they see someone strong and sensible and smart standing before them. they don't know you're lost. they don't see your scrambled brains. they see someone wise and someone who knows what is right for themselves. they see someone they want to be around. they understand you.
and then you have a chance to do things right. you have a chance to be coherent. you have a chance to start out on their page instead of in the footnotes. you have a chance to pretend your mistakes didn't happen.
but none of that exists. i'm stuck with the mess. and the mess drives people away.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
For the whole week. His first trip away from home without his family. I dropped him off on Sunday morning at the school. I don't think i was as nervous as some of the other parents. I fussed over him a little but only because he had forgotten to put on deodorant, so i made him go in the bathroom, rectify that situation and change the funky t-shirt.
It was hard to leave though. I realized it was time to go when i was just standing around, doing nothing and having that "should we leave?" conversation with other parents. Some parents just sat out in the car...probably until the tour bus pulled off. But i didn't want to do that. I felt it was best to leave him to his business.
I'm pretty certain that he slept for most of the 4+ hour ride to D.C. And i know how much he loves hotels and restaurants...no doubt he's happy. But i miss him. I've received the uber-brief, nightly phone call, mainly consisting of his assurance that he's o-k, even though I don't ask that question. But he knows how parents think. Already; at 11.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Reason #4,080 why New York is the greatest city in the world...Japan Day festival!
I was so excited to read about this in Time Out New York and it did not disappoint. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations. There was an entire day planned with stage performances, karaoke contest, anime costume contest and karate demonstrations. There were also stations all around the perimeter. Robots and video games. Calligraphy. Toys, and food.
The kids and i got in a really long line for some gyo-za (dumplings) and by the time we got to the front, we realized that the food was free. FREE?!?! I couldn't believe it. There were four different food stations with dumplings, noodles, sushi, and curry...even free green tea.
I was so proud of my boys for trying all the different foods and honing their chopstick skills. It's important to me that they experience lots of different cultures. Also taking them to this festival was a small way for me to make it up to them for not being able to take them to Japan. I didn't say that to them, but they probably knew it anyway. I'm really glad I got to share it all with them.
You can see the rest of my photos here on flickr.