Thursday, December 27, 2001
It's a strange world.
I stopped by the library today to pick-up my paycheck, and en-route to deposit it at WaMu, I felt an urge to stop by Tower Records. After checking the newest releases in the hip-hop section, I cruised down the magazine aisle to the music/lifestyles section to look for the usual rags I read. As I was walking down the aisle, I noticed this dressed-up Korean girl giving me this funny eyeball, but I didn't think much of it and pulled my baseball cap down lower on my head. Half the time the funny looks are because of the haircut, but because I was wearing a hat, I figured it was for the way I walked quickly by her and said "Excuse me", without giving her a second look. A strange portion of the population, predominately of girls, get strangely offended if you don't "notice" them with a second look. It's like you're calling them ugly or unattractive with your eyes or something, so they give you the maddog as your a reward for refusing to stare at them like everybody else. hahaha.
Obviously, I really didn't care about this girl's funny maddog, 'cause I was in a grumpy mood, on the account that it was cold and I had to come all the way up to the U-District to pick up my damn paycheck. I hadn't been reading a copy of Giant Robot for more than 5 minutes when I heard somebody clearing their throat closely to my right...
"Ummm... excuse me..."
The voice was tentative. It didn't take much Sherlock-ification to figure out who the source was. I turned to look at the girl I had just walked by moments ago..
"Were you in a thing called the Urban Newspaper Workshop?"
I looked her for a second, and mentally subtacted braces and pimples, added a couple inches of height and colored, shortened hair.
The girl smiled, while I'm sure my left eyebrow was half-lifted. Tammy K. and I had been part of a group of highschool students that spent one summer in this program called the "Urban Newspaper Workshop", a program to encourage minorities to enter into journalism. For more than two weeks, the group of us lived in the dorms at Seattle U while taking a crash course in writing, reporting, editing, graphic design, and all the other stuff that goes into making a newspaper. We learned it all from actual people who worked at the Seattle Times, and yes, were minorities. It was an interesting experience, though I remember feeling a bit alienated, being one of the older students in the workshop and one of the only seniors. That was almost 5 years ago.
We shot small talk. Tammy had always been one of the more introspective and smarter people at the workshop, so I wasn't shocked to hear about the last few years. Turned out she'd gone off to college at Yale and majored in philosophy, which her parents weren't so thrilled about. She was thinking of going to law school, but her explanation was that it was more of a consolation for her parents. I told her about my double major in journalism and business, and she raised her eyebrow, saying I had always seemd more like an art major than a business person. I suppose it's a bit ironic since I think she was one of the few students to receive a college scholarship from the UNW and the UNW's goal is to promote journalism... only she didn't and I did. Funny.
It's not everyday you get to meet a fellow witness to the past, but after the small talk had dried up, I kept hoping the conversation would die down. Everytime things seemed to conclude themselves, she'd keep kicking it back up with other another question about what I wanted to do or what was interesting to me now. Maybe she was more eager to relive the past than I was, and I as nonchalantly looked closer, I thought I could see marks of stress, the inevitable wrinkles and baggy eyes of college life, hidden beneath the cover of makeup. Fortunately, she finally excused herself when her "friend" gave her an anxious look in the middle of one of our silences. All throughout our conversation, he had been poking his head in and out to look at the two of us, as if he needed to make sure she hadn't run off with me. He was giving me a half-maddog look too, and although he was probably aiming for Mobb Deep-esque bust-a-cap-in-your-head stare, it looked alot more like "The Grimace of Dietary Irregularity". The cycle ended when she took his arm and said bye.
I guess the past doesn't really interest me as much as it used to. The encounter with Tammy was sort of like randomly finding a forgotten old shirt or book in your closet when you're really looking for your favorite Transformer. A passing curiousity on the bumpy road of my life. Needless to say, I'd rather forget the unremarkable parts of my life, especially the parts when I was a very different person.
As a sidenote, I'd hate to say it, but I wasn't too surprised to see Tammy become a statistic. Statistics don't bother me as much as they did in my younger, more militant days. Cynical old bastards like myself have enough experience to know everybody makes their own choices and they got their own lives to live. 'Sides, I could always just write it off to the fact that Tammy is a Korean girl, after all. Did I mention her "friend" was a gwai-lo? Probably freshly imported from the East coast and terribly unfond of bald Chinamen...
Guess we're just too damn shifty eyed to leave around other asians... heh >)
In any case, I was a bit relieved to get back to reading my Giant Robot... life in the present has enough drama of its own.
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