Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Storm Surge  §

© 2006 Aron Hsiao

Watching Sandy hit New York is a strange experience, a combination of nostalgia, worry, and relief. We used to live on the waterfront in Queens; now we live a mile high in the mountains of Utah.

I’m left thinking about the people that we used to know; people that disappeared from our lives as silently and easily as they entered. I’m sure that New York will be okay. There is a special collective dimension to that place that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. They’ll pull together.

But I hope the damage, and the suffering, are minimal.

— § —

It has been a strange, but productive day here.

After last night’s wildness and total lack of sleep, I expected today to go badly. It hasn’t. Instead, I have been intensely cogent and productive, despite being nervy and surrounded by a household of family members that are also just a bit on-edge.

But the day has a surreal edge to it. The times are all off. The routine is gone. And the week is not scheduled to be a normal one, given holiday festivities.

These, too, are strange. Last year they were still foreign territory. This year, with a two year old sophisticated enough to understand breaks in the normal order of things and to verbalize about them, Hallowe’en is on the radar.

And I don’t know that I was prepared to have Hallowe’ens in my life again; they’re like a forgotten note, scribbled to oneself decades ago as a child, that has suddenly resurfaced and changed the foundations of things.

— § —

I was also strangely productive the last time we had a day on which I was sure I would get nothing done due to lack of sleep.

It would seem that, unlike my wife, I thrive when:

  • There is no routine and/or the routine is disrupted
  • I am running on empty and/or am full of stress
  • Order cannot be maintained and/or is absent in general

Why suddenly now, with no sleep and a house full of crying kids, is everything crystal-clear to me? Why only now do I find myself typing productively like a madman?

The human psyche is unfathomable and strange indeed.

— § —

I wish the iPad battery charged more quickly.

These days I feel as though I am perpetually low on power.

— § —

Once again in life I find myself missing parts of the environment. When I lived in Southern California, I wanted nothing more than to see a season (any season) once again in my life. Life there was an endless stream of identical days. The temperature was always the same. The sky was always an open blue. There was never wind, never rain. For a year I lived the same day over and over again, ultimately feeling as though I’d go crazy if I didn’t see an overcast sky.

Now, in Utah, we’ve already had snow in October…but I find myself longing for rain. In New York we had rain often, not to mention wind. The river was a block away from us as well, so the scent of the air changed from day to day depending on the direction of the wind and the temperature of the air.

And when walking or driving with the windows town, the ambient sounds were variable. Here, traffic. A block later, the subway. A block after that, leaves and a breeze. One more block, flowing water.

It’s strange, but there is a part of me that envies the people of New York right now, who are experiencing massive wind gusts and the sounds of water ripping across rooves, windows, and pavement.

We don’t get much rain here.

— § —

At least we get snow.

— § —

I desperately want to return to the state of affairs that used to obtain in my life. In it, the subtle sound—the one that keys make on a keyboard on which someone is typing—was soothing and comfortable, a sound that I found to be reassuring when I heard it and that I missed when I didn’t.

These days, I hardly notice the sound, and (depending on the day) may not hear it at all.

There is a kind of catharsis to be had in the text and in its emergence before your eyes. Or at least there used to be.

I want to feel it again.

I need to write more.