Monday, August 13, 2007

A Booklet Titled Life

Dear Diary,

I am sitting in my cubicle this morning, thinking about what makes this world so wondrous. It really is. This world is wondrous. So wondrous. Does wondrous mean ‘a lot of wonder’? Or that something is ‘chock of full of wonder’? What does that mean exactly? Does that mean everyone is always wondering about everything and they’re not sure of anything? If so, then I truly believe that this world is wondrous, because I have no clue what is going on in my life, nor do I understand what anything is anymore, or what people actually mean when they say, “You need to calm down, turn around and get out of my life.”

I guess I began to lose my bearings at around age ten when I fell in love with Marie McBarrel. I sent her a note in class asking, “If you like me, as much as I like you, please draw a circle around your desk with white chalk. That way, I will get the hint and will take things to the next level.” She wrote me back, writing, “Chalk around my desk? Are you preparing for a crime scene? Believe it or not, you’re creeping me out way more now than the time you sent flowers to my mother at her work with a note saying, ‘Soon, I’ll be calling you mommy too.’ Please, never attempt any contact with myself, or anyone in my family ever again. Ever. Do you hear me? Do you get the hint? I could not hate you more. And hate is the opposite of like. Do you get it? I DON’T LIKE you. Is that clear? I DON’T LIKE you. If you’re still confused, then this is what I actually mean: YOU are the person that I DON’T LIKE.”

The fact of the matter is, I was really more into Marie’s mother than Marie herself. But still, talk about mixed messages. I wish that when you were born, your parents would hand you an instruction manual that you could read at your own leisure to know how to live life right. Kind of like when you get a new electronic gadget and you get this little booklet in five different languages with diagrams about how to use your new piece of equipment. I don’t necessarily read it right away, preferring to play with my new toy for a bit to ‘figure it out’, and usually end up doing something wrong and causing irreparable damage to it, but still, with the booklet, you can then go back and see where you went wrong. When I look back on my life, I have no idea: where did I go wrong?

I know where I went right. I once saw a man drop a picture on the sidewalk ahead of me, and chased after him as he hopped into a taxi cab. I jumped into the next cab, and when he got out of his cab, I ran after him some more, and then we both got back into cabs, and then I sprinted after him as he entered a building, and I had to grab the next elevator after his because the line was so long, and then raced after him through hallways, and then back out of the building, past a demonstration by striking workers, through a restaurant, through a parade in Chinatown, through a police interrogation line-up, across the stage of some TV talk show, and then right into his house as he was sitting down with his family for dinner. As I handed him his long-lost photograph, panting, with sweat dripping from my forehead right into his salad, he looked up at me (as his wife was dialling the police) and told me that this wasn’t his photograph. It was just some useless flyer that he had thrown to the ground. I blushed, then exploded at him for polluting, and then yelled at his family, calling them all a bunch of polluters. That was the right thing to do.

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