Monday, January 23, 2006

Conundrum!

Fiona Apple is playing in March... but with Coldplay.

The Lawrence Arms are playing in February... but with NOFX.

Oh, dear. Read more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Touching

When I told a good friend about how the change from private to public school was going, she asked about my sister. I told her that she was fitting into a large, public school perfectly, and she was fairly happy. "Good," my friend responded. "It suits her."

It does, in fact, and I think that wholly sums up the disconnect I've always felt with her. She is the type of person who can be completely comfortable around people, and can make numerous friends when sent into a large group. My mother confronted me once, as if this were a personal defect:
"Your brother and sister can just list names of people at your school when asked."
"Yeah. I don't really care."
"But I've been thinking. Is that really Christian?"

It was just a thought of hers. I'm not trying to bash my mother for calling introversion a sin. The truth was, and always has been, that I can list names of people from my school, too. I just haven't talked to any of the people I can name. It was most evident at UT, where I passed the same people every day. People seem to think that I live in my own world and don't consider the people around me as humans. Perhaps it's true sometimes, but I'm attentive. Had anyone asked me what I was thinking, as I walked between classes, I would have just started pointing at people, naming them if I knew their names, telling whichever classes they were in, when I last saw them, who I've seen them with. "That girl has a class in the same building as my calc class. I overheard her say her name was Sherri on her cell phone once." "That dude lives in Clement. He has headphones on all the time. I'm pretty sure he's into emo." "Those two girls were in my Geology class. They haven't seen me since I cut my hair, so they won't recognize me. Good." And so on.

It's simpler to pretend that I don't know who people are, when asked. I'd prefer not to make connections with people for no particular reason. My sister, on the other hand, is a friend magnet, even when she doesn't want to be, or when her morals get in the way, or when the boys who are in love with her are creepy.

One of her new friends, back in the high school days, ran into the TV room and introduced herself to me as "Marenah." Okay. I said hi, and she left. Only a few days later, she ran in again and asked if I remembered her name. "Marenah," I responded. She asked if she could play the game that I was playing - it was Breath of Fire IV. I was late in the game, and she wasn't likely to kill me, so I let her. She got bored quickly and left. I felt like a novelty. Was I supposed to have actually gotten up from the TV and introduced myself to her friends when they came in the house? I didn't really care. I probably seemed like an autistic to them, or something equally unnerving.

I probably seem like a novelty to my sister, or something equally confusing. She's known me long enough to be past (or have skipped) the stage in which she thinks I'm an arrogant prick - a lot of people go through that one, including, apparently, my brother's ex-girlfriend who, when we all first met her, refused to talk to anyone unless she was making fun of him. You know, as long as we're talking about misunderstandings. Sis is still learning what's up with her weird brother. The other night, she remarked to my friend, "He gets annoyed easily." I had told her that the only reason the DVD we had rented was freezing was because the portion with the preview was dirty, and we were being forced to watch the previews. "He gets all these wrinkles in his forehead and squints his eyes. But it's cute."

"It's cute?"

"Yes, Timmy, it's cute."

I know people who seem to enjoy me despite what can generally be described as "Timness" - hating more things than I like, getting annoyed at minor inconveniences, overanalyzing everything, communicating poorly, etc. I know others who love me precisely because of those things; they delight in them, for whatever reason. You shouldn't have to guess which are more uplifting.

A few hours ago, my sister came into the room to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls before bed. I had just turned on an F.Y.P. album, and she waltzed into the room and began dancing to "I Egged the President." She was genuinely enjoying it. I commented that I loved his voice, which sounds like a twelve year old with a scratchy throat, as I hooked up the DVD player for her.

She'll probably never know it, but I think that was the best moment I've ever shared with her. Read more.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I Hate Things

The following is from my Facebook profile:

You know what quote I hate? "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."

The general idea is that we should try to live a life full of grandeur rather than mediocrity. But what are the implications?

1) Life is measured quantitatively. Jane had 5 more moments that took her breath away than John. She led a life that was better by 5.

2) People with a lesser sense of wonder lead quantitatively worse lives. Though a cynic may lead a more productive life, contribute more to society, bring brighter, more intelligent children into the world, and raise the standard of living for everybody, he or she will always lead an empirically worse life than a person who stares at ants all day because they're just so neat.

3) Those who are not inclined to seeing the big picture will lead quantitatively worse lives. Though the very fact that a person lives an extraordinarily long life, however mundane - that is, takes a lot of breaths - is breathtaking in and of itself, those who do not reflect on such facts will miss out on another breathtaking moment. They also write pithy quotes revealing as much.

Despite the displeasurable notion that life is measured by either such variables, I disagree with the very message. I understand why people obsess over wonder and grandeur. Why do people then malign the regular? The mundane is not the opposite of the grand. It's a two sides, same coin thing. Together, they make up life, which is "measured" by something far more nuanced than can ever be captured in a quote that would fit in any romantic comedy.

Take some time to reflect. Stop running around trying to take in as many breathtaking moments as you can and just relax.

Play some Shenmue. Maybe you'll understand. Read more.