Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drama, anyone?

There's some drama going on with the alleged victim of domestic violence and for now, I'm trying to avoid knowing what it is. She sent me a text saying she was very very sorry, but her new company only pays out commissions on a quarterly basis, so as much as she would have liked to pay me back instantly, well, no can do. Could I wait till June?


And in case that wasn't appealing enough, she said her present salary was just enough to cover her baby's needs.

Look, not like I'm bugging her or anything. I have refrained from harassing her, and I know that if left to just the two of us, she would conveniently forget she has a debt (she's a user and that's what users do. Honour forsooth! And I'm too lazy to come down heavy on users when I'm just so grateful that they're not in my life anymore and I don't have to deal with them again) but two of my other friends are involved and one of them at least, is hounding the life out of the poor martyr. She lent the martyr money as well (in her case, the woman asked, nay, begged) and after getting daily doses of just how awful martyr's life was, was prevailed on to say:

"Never you mind about what you owe me. Put it on the backburner. You concentrate on sorting your life out."


When it clicked that martyr was:

(a) as hard as nails, really, and a survivor; and

(b) simply making use of us.

my friend was baying for blood.

But the whole thing seems to have gotten out of hand. I don't know what transpired yesterday because the cough mixture knocked me out and I was sleeping like, the WHOLE day, only waking up late at night for dinner and after that unable to go to sleep again. But when I checked my phone close to midnight there were two missed calls and no less than seven messages. SEVEN!

Most of them hinting at some big thing that had happened while I was snoring away peacefully. A fight? A showdown? Was blood drawn? Unforgivable words thrown at each other?

All, mind you, via the weird and wonderful SMS system.

Am glad I missed out on the drama but not too keen to find out what's been happening because you can be sure it will be sordid and ugly and the way I'm feeling now, I don't have the energy to deal with sordid and ugly.

Oh well, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Just Finished Walden

After hemming and hawing and trying (in vain) to read Maine Woods, on and off for the past 20 years at least (OK it may be less but it feels like the full 20) I have finally tackled Walden, the book that has been much quoted...the fantasy of leaving everything to live in the woods, to live deliberately off the land, to live in some more innocent, morning of life sort of way.

As expected most of the book was not so much about Walden Pond or the changing of the seasons or the wildlife as it was Thoreau's treatise on man, wicked man, and the life to which he had dwindled, a life led foremost by artificialities, a life that was less real and becoming steadily more unreal.

Do I have a woods to go to? And if I did, could I survive? I'm afraid of the jungles around here, the jungles peopled with the old gods of the place who retreated there when the new religions came, cleared out large swaths of land and forced people to forget the old ways. The old gods, now hostile.

So if I were to disappear into the woods, it would not be the Malaysian jungles.

I needed to write this post because I have just turned the last page of Walden and I need something to mark the occasion. Now I'm wondering whether to move on to Emerson's essays (oh you transcendentalists, you!) or Whitman's poems.

(I know what I do want to read now...I want to re-read Naomi Wolf's Treehouse, because there is a philosophy quite in keeping with what I believe in. Thoreau at times struck me as too austere and priestlike).

Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lies I Tell

I've been pretty sick recently. The usual story - a slight irritation in the throat which was ignored, and which grew to an overall bone-deep tiredness and then the racking cough, and then the long bouts of unrefreshing sleep that felt more like drowning.

And then as I was not getting any better despite the sleep and dosing myself on cough mixture and Panadol, a trip to my favourite doctor provided the needed meds (another cough mixture and something to dry up a runny nose and fever pills as needed) and today a day later, I can actually say I feel better.

The interesting thing I've found lately is that whenever I fall sick, boundaries start to dissolve, dishonesties in my life surface and I see more clearly.

And this time the subject was me. In sharp relief. And I'm so ashamed. As honest as I think I am, I'm a coward. I run away. I avoid confrontation. I escape. I never tell people what I actually think of them. Or stand up for what I think I'm worth. Even saying no has to be done roundabout. Never directly.

I'm ashamed of how I walked out of my previous job without a letter of resignation. I'm ashamed I let my boss underpay me, never acknowledge my work and then yell at me like it was OK to do so. (Of course, he made a slight misjudgement here, thinking I would take it lying down like I had taken everything else)

I'm ashamed of how I never told someone who lied to me, jerked me around and then boasted to others about it, what I actually thought about him (true, I did it indirectly, by writing two very stinging posts and making sure he read them, but it wasn't the same thing as sending him an email). I'm ashamed that I didn't stick around to face him and show him that he was less than nothing, when I knew he was coming to the bar where I was. No, I left. And I left him and his little troupe of whores to slap their thighs and cackle wildly. One of the prostitutes being no less than the cancer patient I had wasted nights and sacrificed sleep over because she was in pain and had: "no one else to talk to."

Note to self: The moment any relationship seems more effort than it's worth, ditch it.

Abandon anyone anytime.

That's a more honest motto to live by than help anyone who needs it. Or who you think needs it. People don't need it. And if they go out of their way to secure your sympathy, there's something wrong, very wrong, in fact, right down rotten (in the state of Denmark, you might say).

I helped someone recently who called me up late at night, accused her husband of violence, led me to a merry dance of driving her all over creation for the police report, the medical report, and all the accoutrements, only to reunite with him that very day. Oh yeah, and I lent her money I couldn't spare. Not that she asked. No, she just let me know she had RM17 to her name, no place to go, no one to turn to...and then silence. She left it open. And like the fool that I always am, I dove right in.

The only good thing that came out of that is that we're no longer friends and even if he half kills her the next time, mine is not a number she can call. Well, she can call. But mine is not a number that will answer. As I said, people who go out of their way to secure your sympathy are suspect. Let her be somebody else's burden.

Because now I look at it, I realise I don't really care.

No really, I don't.

All my goodwill is just about used up.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Days stretch into weeks,
stretch into months,
stretch into years,
And you're here,
you're always here.

You frighten me
with your inability
to just disappear
and resolve yourself
into the dust
of old Memory.

No, you just live on and on
tough as a scar
buried under layers
of fragile new skin.

I want to rip these scabs
and the scabs under the scabs
and every individual scar
that shields your memory.

But it's an endless onion
and every layer gives way to
fresh bleeding, new pain
And somehow,
I don't have the art
to get to the heart
of it.

However much I want to be free
I cannot.
I think I am
and then...

Days stretch into weeks
stretch into months
stretch into years
And you're still here.

And somehow I know
that as the days stretch into years
stretch into decades
stretch into centuries
that you always will be.