Runs In Transit

Life is Strange

If we could rewind time, would the same moments surprise us?

I bet they would.

Life is strange.

Last summer I sat on the ground in an underground train station in Vienna and a million thoughts poured through my head. You could call it inspiration, but I haven’t felt anything like that since. Even if I want to write I hit blanks. Not to say my mind hasn’t been active, it’s just been stuck on the other side. Pure logic, rationality –  the things that make life run.

But I want something more. I want to feel. I want to experience. But this side of me has felt numb. I keep searching, but the light is always shined on the path behind me.

Pleasant surprises are always better than meeting expectations, but only one seems readily available. I know if I could rewind time and experience everything again it would feel just as amazing.

But reliving the past isn’t possible. Forging a new one with new pleasant surprises is.

I think the answer to finding newfound bliss is people. More than things or places.

I don’t even know you but I miss you.

Life is strange.

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7:30 pm at King Taco

I parked my bike at the corner of Raymond and Colorado. It seemed like a lively intersection but the streets weren’t crowded yet. Nightlife will probably start at sunset. I started walking north towards the direction of King Taco. I checked Google Maps and was a block off. I wasn’t hungry but the thought of their tacos had been on my mind for a few weeks.

I pushed the glass door on the corner and walked in. It was a perfect opportunity for a shot. Every table was full and a few groups were standing in line. I felt too awkward to take a picture so I decided to wait. I got up to the end of the line and stood behind an Asian couple. They were probably Korean. They weren’t moving so I made eye contact with them. “Are you waiting in line?” I asked. They shook their heads and gestured for me to go ahead. They looked at me curiously and then gave their attention back to the menu. I walked up to the register and it was slow. The woman in front of me was finishing up her order and I leaned on the wall as I waited. When it was my turn I took a step aforward. “How are you doing?” I asked. “Good, how are you?” “Good”. Ok, I’m ready to order.

I already decided on the Suadero and Buche taco. One, because I’m not hungry and two because I don’t know what they are. I made my order for take-out. As the woman rang up my order I asked her what Suadero and Buche are. She smiled. “You ordered them and you don’t know what they are?” “Yeah, I’ve never seem them before and I wanted to try something different.” “Well, Buche is the stomach” “Oh cool” “And, Suadero is like the rib. And it’s braised. They’re both really popular.” “Oh, really?” “Yeah. Do you want red sauce or green sauce?” “Um, could I have a little bit of both?” “Sure. 298’s your number.” “Thanks.” I smiled and stood back in line to wait for my food.

The neon light was fun to look at and it fit well with the Mexican cut-outs. Fast food chains with mom-and-pop feels are good at stuff like that. I heard 289 get called so I walked around the restaurant. It was small so I ended up standing back in line. When I heard 296 I walked up to the front. Someone behind me thought I was waiting to order so I let him pass. It’s easy to be an obstacle. When 298 was called I was antsy. I walked up to a guy who was bagging my food. “Do you want any sauce?” “Uh, no thanks” Then I looked at the food and changed my mind, “actually could you give me some hot sauce?” “Sure.” He put a sauce cup in my bag and handed it across the counter. I sat at a table near the window and watched the restaurant. Most of the groups left and there were just a few families.

I missed my chance, I thought. But at least I had two tacos. I dipped them in the hot sauce and drank a coke zero I brought from work. I looked around in the hopes the composition of people would change. I pulled out my disposable camera as I waited. I made eye contact with the Asian guy from earlier. His girlfriend walked up to get napkins. I tried not to look. I stared around emptily. She walked back to the table and again, she walked to get something. This was getting annoying. And lastly, she did it the third time, and this time with her boyfriend. Don’t these people have anything better to do? Probably more than me. I ate my tacos in solitude, and when it didn’t look like the restaurant was going to fill up, I threw away my bag and left. Damn, should have pulled the trigger.store_0121.jpg

Fear

fear

noun

  1.  
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

What about fear causes you pain?

That sinking feeling in your stomach, those shivers through your body, the beating of your heart.

What does it mean for something to be likely to cause us pain and still be so powerful?

Are we weak? Does fear come from hunter-gatherer times, when fear was necessary for survival?

I’d bet most of our fears aren’t necessarily dangerous or a threat. I know mine aren’t. I bet you’ve had many of the same fears as me.

I’ve been scared of the future. I’ve been scared of being a failure. I’ve been scared of not reaching my potential. I’ve been scared of giving up on my goals. I’ve been scared of disappointing my parents. I’ve been scared of regret. I’ve been scared of being alone. I’ve been scared of losing touch with myself.

But in a sense, none of these things could really hurt me, at least not physically, and each was transitory. I don’t have many of those fears anymore, and that downplays the emotion itself. Fear is just a moment; it is not you.

Fear is your body sending you a message. It’s telling you to react. You know when you see a beautiful painting and feel a weird way, like the painting is telling you how you should live your life, when you couldn’t even describe it yourself? Fear is like a painting with a message to send, but only truly disappears if we act on it.

I was scared because I needed to do something about each one of my fears. I could imagine myself in the future with those problems untied, and that caused me pain. Some of them still exist, and I need to do something about them.

I’m still going to be scared of things I can’t foresee, but that’s a healthy sign. It’s a sign that I’m present, that I can improve, that I have opportunities to gain strength.

To face your fears directly is bravery. We won’t always conquer our fears, but it’s better to destroy yourself in battle than to never fight at all. It will always be difficult when our fears arrive, but that will never change. Just don’t hide.

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The Genius of Camus

Have you ever felt listless, like a shell of a person, floating through Earth like a ghost?

What about hopeless, like you’re grinding every day without a hint of progress or joy?

Then you might be Camus.

We are all Camus. Because we are all Mersault and we are all Sisyphus.

Why? Because life is meaningless, life is empty, and life can suck.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, these things are true. We are never given an objective purpose in life. Events are absurd. Times can be rough. Days can be downers.

But in the same token, life is funny. Life is happy. Life is not attached to a tangible thing. So why not laugh at life in the face?

Say your boss gives you a difficult assignment. You worry and try your best to do well. It’s frustrating and endless. But zoom out for a second. You are a human being sitting alone in an office room with no sunlight, typing buttons on a piece of plastic while the glow of artificial light shines on your face. Yes, doing well is important in your narrow perspective, but only because you established that meaning. By the same logic, the idea of you slaving away for something so inconsequential is ludicrous. Take it easy. Don’t hang yourself with the same rope that gives you life.

Camus knew these things very clearly. He lived life to the fullest with the knowledge that it didn’t matter. He died in a car accident when he was planning on taking the train, and in a sense, that was his life’s thesis. Throw away your plans every once in a while. Choose love, fun, and leisure when it’s freely available.

Camus enjoyed every moment of life but also thought deeply about its meaning.

“There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy.”

That’s a lot of burden to carry. But Camus detached himself from that thought, and was more human than most of us can aspire to be. He had love affairs, played football, danced in clubs, went to the beach, drank too much, and had a full and robust live in 46 years.

We can be more like Camus, because we are likely not Camus enough.albert-camus.jpg

Perfction

Is perfection real? Is it attainable? How do you define perfection? Is it even desirable?

These questions matter, because not knowing means living in an illusion. Every goal we chase can lead us down a rabbit hole of delusion.

My thesis is that perfection should be erased from human minds. Ignorance is bliss, and especially in this case.

I used to be a perfectionist in a strict sense. My goals were lofty, and not meeting them meant failure and anguish.

Today, I aim high, but only for the best I can do. To improve is a beautiful thing. amd an end result is not always necessary.

Relativity is a bane if not understood. You will never be the best at anything. There is always someone better, richer, prettier. We live in prosperity, but we all want more. The evil in wanting a perfect life can be greater than the joy in having a good life.

There’s shame in not remembering the things that make life beautiful. Be grateful for loved ones. Be thankful for generosity. Be in awe of nature’s inspiration. Failure to do these things, well, means failure. Abiding by them means success.

By many accounts I’ve failed. But by many I’ve also succeeded. Life isn’t linear, and many things are outside of our control. Free will might not truly exist. Don’t let that kill you inside. Sometimes it’s best to drift down the river and enjoy the scenery.

By all means, push yourself daily. Humans are capable of great things, and it’s thrilling to win. But there’s a thin line between motivation that extends outward and motivation that destroys inward.

Can you find the balance? I know I have trouble, so I forgot about perfection. 3094942649_448df35908.jpg

Cutting words

Float with me in dark                                                Sounds seep through the cracks

I’m tired but still see. What’s left                                     Reminds me of joyous days

Is half sick, not dead                                                                  I fell in warm arms

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Dear Brown-Eyes

Thanks for saying hi. Thanks for listening. Thanks for sharing your stories. Thanks for reaching out. It’s not easy to do. But it’s something everyone needs. I’d like to get to know you better. I’m not as good as these things as you. I wish we could have met earlier. You’re pretty too. I guess things can’t always be perfect. I’d be content on seeing you occasionally. We can chat over a meal and make small talk. That’ll remind me of how nice life can be. I’d like to spend more time with you. But I know these things aren’t always possible. After our talk, I’ll return to my life, you to yours, and we can dream our dreams. I wonder what yours are, and if they’re as simple as mine. Maybe I’ll ask you sometime. But we’re in warp time, and things are as slow as molasses. Each time we meet is a new season. The turn of autumn, the fall of winter. These moments are finite. So I’ll have to settle. But I wouldn’t like to forever. I wish I could know what you think. Because it’s a beautiful mystery to me. I’ll float away with my thoughts and come up with a nice story. And the next time your name appears, I’ll contemplate what to do. But the answer will always be the same. Because you have something I want, and I’ll hold it inside. Sincerely yours.

Starcraft Story

Dropped on a new planet are six loyal workers and their commander. Life is hard on the land and it is accepted. They arrive to embark on a new journey, and the workers follow the commanders orders dutifully. The first step is to salvage resources. The commander knows that to survive means to plan ahead. A month passes and things are going well. Resources are plenty and a few warehouses are built to hold them. Two workers are expecting, and the colony is planning to grow. Morale is high, and productivity is increasing. Soon even a processing plant is added, and plans are in place to explore the land.

One day a worker was on a stroll when he encountered a foreign species. He reports back with the news and the camp is frightened. It is decided that a barracks is needed to train workers. Soon, a handful of workers find weapons and act as soldiers to defend the base. A feeling of safety passes through the camp. Talks begin of upgrading their lowly weapons and establishing another camp nearby. Debates are fierce over these decisions, as resources are scarce. The camp decides to keep the status quo and keep training soldiers and managing the existing camp.

Life is tough but happy. Increased productivity has allowed workers to take leisure time. Children are beginning to be educated and families are able to move to larger homes. One day a foreigner arrives on the outskirts of the camp. He walks around the perimeter and leaves. The soldiers are cautious not to provoke him in order to not incite a war. The town meetings express worry but not much can be done at the moment. Plans are set on the future, and education and exploring the lands are number one priorities.

One day, a group of children did not return from the school grounds. A group of parents and soldiers go searching for them. Suddenly, out of the dark, a group of six roguish animals appear at lightning speed. They ferociously began mauling the humans. The workers and soldiers tried to put up a resistance, but could not handle the creatures and ran in haste. Everyone rushed to the safety of the camp, but it was in vain. The animals were too quick. They rushed into the homes, ripped apart the bodies of everyone they encountered. Not even the women and children were spared. The weapons that were available stood no chance against the thick skin of the attackers. That night, not one person escaped. The next morning, the camp lay empty and bloody and not one soul was present. Victory Zerg.

The Duality of Looking Forward

Some days I wake up and I wonder how I got into this position. You know, sitting on the side of my bed at 7:50am, having to be somewhere soon.

And then I remember I’m here because everything I’ve ever done led me to this position, and it’s precisely where I was trying to get to.

Being able to imagine yourself in the future is a virtue and a curse. I imagine myself in the future vividly. In most of my conceptions, I haven’t changed at all. The only thing that changes is the world around me. Because the world is out of my control, I plan for the worst.

This attitude can be beneficial. A kid who thinks about the future studies a lot. A kid who studies a lot gets into a good school. A kid who gets into a good school gets a good job. A kid who gets a good job buys a house, starts a family, and so on.

Doing these things are great. They allow you to prepare for the future. When the future comes, you’re in a great spot. I’m ready to save for retirement. I probably won’t need a percentage of what I end up with, but who knows what could happen.

I’m terrified of being powerless. When I receive a task, I do it instantly because tomorrow I might not be able to. You know how some days you’re hit with a pang of uselessness, like your brain doesn’t work, and the only thing you can do is go to sleep? Those days are my biggest fear, and I prepare for those days like the plague.

I’m constantly scared I’ll be hungry, so I eat a bunch when food is available. I’m scared I won’t be able to get along with people if I’m in a low mood, so I socialize whole-heartedly when I’m happy.

And so I overeat, overcompensate, and forget to live in the moment. But life doesn’t work that way. Life is finite, and if you’re forward-looking forever you’ll be dead with no life to live. That is where the curse comes in. I’ve always failed at being able to experience moments as they pass. Living in the moment is the thing I could never catch.

If you could only have one ___ for the rest of your life

I love these questions. They’re like asking what your favorite things are but are easier and more practical because you can imagine it realistically.

If you could only have…

  1. One drink, besides water.
    • Coffee. The caffeine and taste combination is the best way to start a morning.
  2. One food.
    • Stir fry, veggies and beef. Variety of tastes and healthy too.
  3. One outfit.
    • Black t-shirt and jeans. Comfy and you can’t beat it.
  4. One video game.
    • Halo 3. I don’t play it but I need to go back for the memories.
  5. One website.
    • Reddit. The information though… and entertainment.
  6. One fast food restaurant.
    • Mcdonald’s. It’s not the best but it’s everywhere and has everything.
  7. One alcohol.
    • A dark and strong beer. Okay, it’s a category, but I’m not picky. Just needs to taste good and have high abv.
  8. One word.
    • Yes. I need to get by, and I can’t be a no-man.
  9. One song.
    • Guernica. For getting pumped. Hope it doesn’t bore me after a thousand plays.
  10. One book.
    • Anna Karenina. Because I haven’t read it and it’s long and well recommended.

Scarcity drives fascination!