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Friday, August 19, 2011

Hello Pencils, Hello Books

Well well. I am writing to you from the airport in LA. My trip is over. I can’t believe how much I managed to cram into this summer:

7 States (and one district)

13 cities (counting LA’s Korea town)

12 close friends (including two phone calls)

Several new ones

2 grandparents

3 parents

8ish friends of parents

5 Aunts

4 Uncles

2 parent’s cousins

9 cousins, 8 cousin-in-laws

15 cousins’ kids

25+ used book / thrift shops

10+ farmer’s markets

11 books (read)

6 buffets (devastated)

5 pounds

3 card games learned

4 cribbage opponents

3 dishes propagated

1 mountain scaled

1 day at the beach

5 plane rides

2 train rides

3 bike rides

4 public transportation uses

2 hitchhikes

1 couchsurf

1 identity theft incident

8 hour spent on the phone resolving it

1 bank account terminated

0 dollars not refunded

1 pair of shorts

Countless (and constant) meals, snacks, feasts, outings, innings, walks, talks, sits, chats, discussions, common interests discovered, BS sessions, debates, catchings-up, reminiscences, what-ifses, and plans.

And, as much as it weirds me out to say it, I felt almost the whole time that a strange series of Karmic alignments was taking place. Friends from far away visiting the same town I’d already be in; other guests departing just before I’d arrive; holes in schedules opening up; vegan restaurants around the corner; farmers’ markets on weekday afternoons; books turning up, and places turning up in them; deja vu concerning beets; and too many others to list. It doesn’t seem possible to explain – someone would have to know every relevant intangible about my path and my hopes in order to decide whether any one event would qualify as extraordinarily improbable or not. Not to mention that a long enough string of slightly improbable events is itself extraordinarily impossible. I am pretty sure that I've stopped making sense.

(Apropos of which, I highly recommend the book "Wittgenstein's Mistress," which David Foster Wallace called the best work of experimental fiction of the 20th century. Having read them all, I concur.)

Back to what it was that I was talking about: It seems to me that the possibilities are: 1] these events are indeed karmic; or 2] the events are not karmic, but I’m more inclined than I used to be to interpret them as such (and to ignore ones that don’t fit the pattern); or, most interestingly, 3] somehow I’ve become better at making things feel meaningful.

Anyway, it feels a bit redundant to be going on about this, given that if you are reading this right now, you are likely one of the people referenced above and don’t need to read up on exactly what you and I did on the trip. But, I assure you, whoever you are and whatever we got up to, it was excellent and I thank you for it.

I would say I’ll be back to do it again next summer, but chances are I’ll be heading to Pyeongyang! Yeah! See you in another couple years. Unless, that is, you’re in the market for some good old South Korean hospitality...

I've also noticed that my blog posts have been few and far between this year, despite/because of/most-likely-due-to how much more intellectually and socially active I've been. I've got a lot I'd like to do this semester - get back into studying Korean, do a little more exercise, work harder on the other enviro blog - but blogging here more is also definitely near the top of the list, thanks mostly to lots of kind words and encouragement from friends and family and friends of friends and friends of family %c.

I will go ahead and suppose that that just about wraps it up.

PS There's a giant mystery rodent marauding about the California countryside.

Finally, congratulations, Andy and Chrissy!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Nice post. I'm pretty surprised to admit it, but I enjoyed the commentary/insights portion more than the painstakingly detailed stats.

It was great hosting you and your dad, and seems like your entire trip was a stunning success.

Speaking of your father, there are some great photos of him from the wedding. I'd send them on today, but I don't think A&C have seen them yet, and I don't want to ruffle any feathers. Be patient, young vegan.

Speaking of karma, I got a righteous back sunburn my first day in Hawaii. Amateur hour indeed. Fortunately, my knee-pits made it through relatively unscathed.

More to come later, either in future blog comments, or via an all-too-elusive email!