Tag Archives: people

I Didn’t Win the Lottery

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t believe it could happen when I held that ticket in my hand. Why not? It happens to some people, why couldn’t it be us? The reality is that we’re trapped by human nature. Most of us wish for things we don’t have. Why? Because we don’t have them. Think about it. Look around you and find something you really wanted to buy. How long did you stop caring about it after you bought it?

What would I have done with all that money? Pay my debt (insert three years of law school tuition here) and those of our families. I would have put money away for the college tuition of my kids, my little sister, and my wife’s little cousin. I would have given some away to people who needed it. Then I would have invested the rest. Oh wait, I would have taken my grandmother on a cruise. See, my grandmother grew up in poverty and never had much. Sometimes I’m bothered by the fact that my fridge has more food than she ever saw growing up. I’d like to give her a trip. A nice vacation. Though she’d probably be content with just having me around. Grandmothers…

The dream has ended though, and I’m back to real life. I think the Mrs. mentioned someone in Maryland scored. Good for them. They probably needed it more since they live in that state. Just kidding. Kind of.

-Mrs. This One


Alone at the Movies

I came here having something to say, but as soon as the screen loaded, puff! it went away. It doesn’t matter anyway.

We went to see “The Descendants” last night. From the previews, it didn’t seem like a great movie to me. But it made the number one movie in so many lists that it got me curious. I guess advertisement does work a great deal.

When we got there, we sat in the middle of an empty row. This is a small theater we love going to. They mostly play independent movies. I think at least one of the employees knows we’re regulars. I’ve always liked her. There’s this something something about her that makes me feel like we could be good friends. I should add this to the list of things I’ll never know.

An older lady sat next to me right before the movie started. The Mrs. asked if I wanted to move over, but I said I was fine. Unlike my gal, I don’t mind sitting next to someone in the theater, unless they are texting their heads off. This lady though, didn’t quite seem like a texter.

This is not the first time someone who is alone sits next to us at the movies. I always wish I had the courage to tell them that if they want to make a comment about the movie they can tell me, or if they see something odd in the story, they can look at me for confirmation.

I’m not trying to be weird. I have gone to the movies alone. I did it a lot when I first move to Los Angeles. I didn’t know anybody and my roommates were not very friendly. I hated going to the movies alone, so I must sound like a masochist for doing it regardless of my hatred for it. That’s sorta why I always wonder about the people who sit alone next to us. Did they just move into town? Did they have a fight with their loved one and needed to get away? Did they really have no one else? Are they loners?

This was a good movie though. Way better than I expected. It got me thinking a lot about the decisions I will have to make some time in March. I like those movies- the ones that leave me wondering what’s ahead.

-Mrs. This One


Happiness

Another birthday went by. The realization that things are not exactly the way you’d like them to be hits harder and harder these days. This may or may not have been made worse by the fact that I had to spend my birthday writing a final paper. Whatever happened to birthdays being the one day out of the year where you got to do anything and everything you wanted to? You know the drill- mom cooks your favorite meal, you’re allowed to miss school, watch cartoons until noon, etc.

I guess I’m an adult now and things are not quite the same. Sure, I could have spent my day not writing my paper and risk failing a class. But the consequences outweigh the benefits by tons of tons. So I declined every invitation to go out in order to make sure I get a decent grade on that paper.

But this is just a symptom. My family is not doing well these days. By default, that carries over onto me. No matter how hard I try to not let it bother me, it simply does. You worry about those you care about, it’s hard-proven science (it might not be, so don’t quote me on this). The problem is not the worrying about the family, but rather worrying about the family when I’m going through one of the most stressful times in my life. These things get to you.

So today I did what the most rational person in my generation would do, I Googled “why don’t I feel happy with my life.” The majority of results were useless. Forums of people saying the kind of thing I’d say: “look at the bright side of things!” But what should we do if the bright side is not appealing anymore?

Luckily I did find an article about how humans are ironic beings because we want to be happy yet we rarely do things that make us happy (I forgot what article it was, so if you’re the author, tell me and you’ll get full credit). So I wrote a list of things that I could think of that I knew made me happy (besides my wife). Since I know you’re dying of curiosity, this is what the list looked like (there is no particular order):

What makes me happy (besides my wife)?

  • Playing soccer.
  • Reading for pleasure.
  • Watching football games.
  • Going to the movies.
  • Walking/running.
  • Doggies.
  • Writing [both blogging and creative (scripts and short stories)]
  • Learning to play an instrument (at one point, this was drumming).
  • Conversing.
  • Shopping.
  • Sitting outdoors (in a park setting…)
  • Working out (when nothing hurts).
  • TV, sometimes. (One Tree Hill, Friday Night Lights, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Saturday Night Live, Family Guy).
  • Tennis (I know, I was surprised too).
  • Plays (theater).
  • Videogames.

Two things struck me as odd when I ran out of things to list. First, blogging was in this list (which may explain why I’m here tonight). And second, I realized that I don’t really do most of the things on this list. It is true that I’ve been sick all quarter so my time has been more limited than usual- but in reality, I don’t engage in most of these things because of lack of time or money. Ironic, isn’t it?

I shared the list with my wife who insists I pick a bullet point per week and do it. There is a chance I will try this, but we all know how trying to put things in your schedule work versus those that just happen.

In any case, one class done, three more to go.

-Mrs. This One


Your Generation Screwed My Generation

When we tell our older relatives that we are stressed out about an upcoming test, their reaction is overwhelmingly similar; they’d say something along the lines of: “Do the best you can.” I really don’t believe they quite understand how things have changed since they were in college. If the best we can do is a B, that will literally take us nowhere. The bar has been raised so high up, that it’s getting harder and harder to see.

Consequently, our generation is built on competition. The higher the number attached to your name, the better chances to succeed you have. I could be a decent student and have a 3.4 GPA*, but that’d just mean that anyone whose GPA is above 3.4 has better chances than me to get into a good graduate program, or a top-tier law school. In fact, some graduate schools will not even consider your application if you don’t have a 3.5 or above. Basically, every mistake we make can hurt us in a world in which to be the best, you have to be absolutely flawless. Thanks to this, college went from being the place where you tried different things to figure out who you were and who you wanted to be, to being the place where you played it safe and conformed to what would give you the best score you could get.

But what does this say about the generational gap? I’ll bet half of the people sitting in any admissions table in a top university never had more than a 3.2 GPA. But then, how did they get to raise the bar for us, who have yet to influence the way the world works now? I’d say some bad decisions were made and we’re stuck with less jobs, more problems, and cleaning up someone else’s mess. I’ve always heard the 80’s and 90’s were a lot fun- Well, I don’t doubt it.

-MTO

*Not my actual GPA. Thankfully. 

 


Do I Have to Finish One Thing at the Time?

If I had a clone, I would make her existence solely about reading what I never have time to read. I know that sounds awful. You’d think I’d want her to have her own life, with the only condition that she’d play substitute for me at work from time to time, of course. But where’s this coming from?

Here are the Wall Street Journal (Saturday edition) and the LA Times (Sunday edition). Today is Sunday, and I’m still trying to finish the Journal. I’ll probably not finish the Times until Monday- if I’m lucky. I mean, I do have to play housewife while I try to finish my homework before the week starts all over again.

This is one of the biggest problems I have though- I am unable to read one thing at the time. Call it whatever it is, but I have a hard time in concentrating on one thing only (We’re watching Glee as I write this). But this isn’t only about my life at home, this is usually what my work desk looks like:

From left to right: Agenda, Essentials of Screenwriting, Ultimate Book of Words, and Global Youth

This is usually how it works, I get to work and I pull out three or four books from my backpack. Then I start reading, and changing books from chapter to chapter. Is this bad? I keep trying to figure out if this is a sign that I have a problem with finishing things. Or if maybe I am just a bookworm after all.

-MTO

P.S. Yes, I do actually work while I’m at work. I still have time to read though.

 


Procrastination? Again?

I have a midterm tomorrow, and a paper the day after. I just drank some coffee, Mad Men is on, and all I seem to do is browsing with StumbleUpon. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I am at my peak of procrastination. I work before my midterm tomorrow so I either study tonight, or I study tonight- yet I can’t seem to do either.

What do you do to keep from procrastinating? I don’t even have a Facebook anymore, so I’m in trouble here.


The F Word

We went to the Glendon Bar & Kitchen this morning to grab some brunch- courtesy of my wife’s aunt. Summer hasn’t been the best financially, and having an opportunity to get a free brunch is something we treasure greatly. I always tell my wife she’s been really lucky to have relatives who care deeply about her (us, really) the way they do.

This was our first time going there, even though it’s within walking distance. The place was getting crowded when we arrived… around noon. And for some reason it was hotter inside than outside. We were seated right away (we did have a reservation), and it didn’t take us long to get drinks either.

There were four students to our right, and the table to our left was taken after a few minutes of us being there. Perhaps at the same time the college boys left. A man, a woman (Both mid thirties), and older woman sat there. For the longest time I though the man and woman were a couple, taking grandma out to brunch- but my wife says that they may have been brother and sister. Whatever their relation, I envied them.

I live very far from my own family, and I don’t get to see them as often as I would like to. I ran away from their judgement, and that’s on me- but now that the judgement is somewhat gone, I wish I could have more contact with them. I certainly wish we could take my grandma out for brunch sometime.

She would smile all the time, happy to see us. And she would probably tell very embarrassing stories about me as I choke on my cup of coffee (my wife and grandma have not met so these stories have not been shared yet). She’d probably say how proud she is of us, and I would have to keep myself from wanting to hug her all the time. My grandma raised me… so she’s more than just a grandma to me. We hope we can see her for graduation- that would complete my day then.

As we got our food, I tried to push the sad thoughts away from my mind. I had the Steak & Eggs- which were to die for. Sourdough at the bottom, Ribeye steak, then sunny side up eggs on top. There was a “salsa” on the side, which was more like just roma tomatoes… but taking a bite of all four things combined made this dish worth every penny (even if I were actually paying for it myself!) The Mrs. had the Curry Waldorf sandwich- which was also pretty good (and this is a lot coming from me because I’m not crazy about curry. This one had chicken, yellow curry, granny smith apples, roasted cashews and dried cranberries on raisin pecan bread- and a side of garlic fries. Though I had been thinking I wouldn’t come back to the place because of how hot it was… the food was too good to ignore.

We will come back for sure. Perhaps I can take grandma there for brunch after commencement is over. A dreamer can dream, right?

-MTO


Bus Rides to Different Worlds

I don’t know how much you know about UCLA… other than the fact that our football team still sucks. Despite the fact that this isn’t our brightest hour (see: Education cuts in California), there are some things that still amaze me about this school.

UCLA is indeed a multicultural school. If you walk on campus on any given day, you will probably hear at least three different languages spoken- and after 10 steps in any direction, you may have probably crossed the paths of at least two students that come from a very different place than yours.

Sometimes, when my wife’s break from class and my lunch break from work coincide, and when I’m more than happy to give up my lunch readings to see her, I take the University Shuttle to campus and meet her at the cafeteria behind the law school. Since she only gets thirty minutes, we eat quickly, but I treasure every minute as if it were an hour. Once our meal is over I hurry back to the bus stop. And then I wait impatiently for the shuttle, as I alternate looking at my watch and the corner where the shuttle turns my way.

Once in the bus, a ride to different worlds begin. Last week’s in particular, there were three groups around me. I sat right next to the back exit, because unlike most of the people around me, my trip wasn’t as long. There were two girls sitting across from me. They were speaking Russian. I had heard my wife enough to know which language, but not enough to know what they were saying. They caught me staring, and I smiled shyly, wishing I could have asked where they came from and what classes they were taking.

The guys in front of me, three of them, were speaking French. They were talking about the beach, I knew that much- “Plage.” But their words were too quick for my slow brain, and I couldn’t ever catch more than a word or two- but never full sentences.

A couple behind me, speaking Japanese, seemed to be arguing about something. I didn’t catch anything they said because I have never had any contact with the language… Perhaps something I could correct in the future. Whatever it was, he talked more than she did. Before I knew it, my stop was sneaking upon me.

I stepped outside the bus and I thought of all these people I’ll never meet. I’ll never know their stories, or their classes- yet we were still sharing a ride, a space together, for about 15 minutes…

-MTO


Life is too Fragile

Today I had a person mock me because of my job. I kept my cool, I know better than letting them get the best of me. They screamed “hard worker” several times. I can still see their faces. I know this is nothing compared to other things, but it is still something.

We, human beings, are the most ridiculous beings I know. We hurt each other left and right, and we don’t care. Yet life is so fragile, and being alive is something we take for granted everyday. Breathing, a heart beat, another step- these things are so precious, that we should be so kind to each other and make the best out of it. Unfortunately, some choose not to.

This is not the first time I get laughed at simply because someone doesn’t agree with my employer’s policies. I got news for you, I don’t make the policies, you are damn right when you call me a lowly employee. This doesn’t offend me, it just makes me sad that you would choose to insult someone so freely.

And here I read “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Though it is fiction, war is just another reflections of how pathetic some of us are. How we can kill each other and be okay with that?

I sometimes wish I didn’t have to leave my apartment and see other people. That my wife and I could just stay at home and enjoy each other’s company, in complete isolation from the world. But then again I know that there are a lot of amazing people out there that are worth the trouble. A lot of them. And I think about them and I suffer for them. Because I do love people- even those who I don’t personally know.

I read today about the Rangers fan who died trying to catch a ball (see the video below). The commentators made fun of him for trying so hard to catch a ball. But that meant a lot to him, and I really hope that at least he died happy, because he knew he had the ball. My best wishes to his family- wherever they are.



Feels Like A Monday

As I take another sip of my Caramel Latte while typing my life away, I realize that Mondays are not too bad as people usually think they are, or at least not for me, and certainly not today. It’s just another day at the office and although I would much rather be sitting outside, praying for rain, adding some dollars to my paycheck for the next six hours isn’t a bad alternative.

There isn’t a time that I don’t think that the weekends are not long enough (they never are! Really). And I think that it must always feel like this when you work Monday through Friday. But I have to admit, that this is better than working any night or any holiday- specially tending to people who hate you for no reason at all. That’s the funny thing about customer service, no matter how nice you are during your whole shift, there will always be that one a**hole who almost seems to be making an effort to wipe the smile off your face, even when you’re there just to please them.

Although today is Monday and the work week is just beginning (aiming a gun at my head), today I’m thankful because I don’t have to fake a smile, clean someone’s mess, put up with someone’s rudeness, or be treated like I’m worth nothing and my life is a waste. But if you do go out today, make sure to be nice to the cashiers, the kid at the movie theater, the waitress at the restaurant you go to have lunch with coworkers, and any personal in general that does something for you- even if they’re getting paid for it. A little niceness won’t kill you and who knows, you might make someone’s day.


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