Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Vagaries and this-n-thats.  §

There was a time when I would open up a new blog post and it would all just come pouring out, a flood of thoughts and feelings and words and ideas.

Now I have to mine myself to try to see what’s going on inside me, and much of the time I can’t access it.

That’s what years of relationships and years of graduate school will do to you.

— § —

For a time after our separation, whenever I was home alone, I would camp out on the couch, swill beer, eat pizza, and watch Top Gear.

Those times have, happily, gone by the wayside. But I do sometimes miss watching Top Gear.

On the other hand, I’ve seen pretty much the entirety of the UK series at this point, and I’m not really all that interested in watching the non-UK series.

— § —

All of us, every last one of us, even The Very Serious People with The Very Serious Outfits that give everyone else advice and instruction, and often even get paid for it, are human.

Pants one leg at a time.
Guilty pleasures.

— § —

Speaking of, my wife turned me on to a paradox in myself tonight.

I’m totally unjealous of anything she does as long as she shares it with me, even just in passing.

On the other hand, if she gets up to things and I find out about them only second-hand, I know that I do tend to get jealous in those cases.

Purely because she didn’t want to share and then I feel somehow excluded from something.

It’s daft and silly. It also is what it is.

— § —

When I was in the seventh grade, I wrote a paper on Dickens’ Oliver Twist in the semiprivate “program for gifted and talented children” that I attended. The instructor (I forget his name now, but he had a lisp and always came with dirty hair) returned my paper with a note at the top, saying that he could’t accept my paper because it was Ph.D. level work and I had obviously copied from someone or reused their work without citing them.

I had to have my parents visit him at home with assurances that I’d been working on it for a week before he’d even consider entering it into the gradebook. When he did, I received an ‘A’ grade.

The paper was on the structure of the relationship network in the book, and the way in which Twist himself was entirely incidental to the rising action, climax, and denoument, but for serving as a kind of fulcrum around and through which various other relationships and social tensions could be explored.

— § —

On a related note (and my reason for bringing it up) is the fact that my five-year-old daughter came to me tonight and said, out of the blue, that “Harry and the Bucket Full of Dinosaurs” and “Julius, Jr.” are “really just the same underneath.”

These are two animated childrens’ series that (1) she hasn’t seen in some time, and (2) aren’t particularly educational.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She proceeded to explain that in each program there was a “most important person” (Harry or Julius) and that in addition to this most important person in each case, there were secondary charcters that paralleled one another in the programs, each one having a mirror in the other with similar characteristics like “coolness” or “scaredness” or “silliness,” and that together these secondary characters help the “most important person” to see, and then solve, a problem of some kind that “lots of people have,” each character representing a particular feeling that the most important person also has.

She’s five. And without language to work through the details, she nonetheless made a very convincing argument for the very clear structural similarity between, and formulaic nature of, two distinct and unrelated programs, and the way in which their casts of characters together represent the psyches of their protagonists.

Familiar. Masterfully meta.

I hope she gets better treatment than I did.

— § —

Right now my life is full of little details that remind me of my wife. So many things in it are things that she chose and that I’d never have chosen, yet that I very much appreciate.

It all causes me to miss her, quite often.

I wish and wonder if there was some way we could have arrived at a better “us” without all of the heartache and complexity. I suppose not.

— § —

Once in Chicago, a friend and I broke into an abandoned church in the dead of winter in the middle of the night. It was freezing cold and damned near impossible to see.

I don’t mention that for any particular reason; it’s just a memory.

— § —

All of those classes on “memory” in my Ph.D. years, and all of those very earnest students, mostly from Europe, a few from Latin America. So earnest. So much concern.

I don’t suppose any American, myself included, can ever really understand at a fundamental level what that’s all about. Not without having lived there for a long period of time. We can conceptualize it rationally, but it doesn’t resonate.

Memories are just memories. The world is only 200 years old. A few generations back there was nothing but wild turkeys and bison. Live and let live.

We’re all future oriented here, concerned with what gets built next and who builds it. Because we have precious few “already built” things to consider that weren’t built within time spans that directly touch us in some way. Precious little need for social memory.

— § —

In another life that I’ll never have I want to be a nonbelieving priest.
And in yet another life that I’ll never have I want to be a federal agent.
And in yet another life that I’ll never have I want to be an organic baker that sells overpriced, second-class but always rationalized pastries at a farmers’ market.
And in yet another life that I’ll never have I want to die young in a car crash, like James Dean.

— § —

Oh come on, don’t get all smug on me.

It’s all nonsense anyway.

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