Monday, April 29, 2013

Who is John Galt?

As my narcissistic eyeballs continue to see the shift from friends getting married to wives having kids, from Kristen Stewart stuttering to Jennifer Lawrence falling (albeit recovering), in the end, they're landing smack back on myself in the mirror, still finding excuses to put work on the back-burner, where things like studying Japanese and making our lives look less like Greek Row are already boiling over.

Food Babe
It's just that following Kobe's Achilles on Twitter, gay rights, missing my dog and wishing good people would just stop dying is so much easier to focus on. When the urge to accomplish something hit, instead of researching a black market Rosetta Stone, I watched 12, 21-minute episodes of anime, with character names that made me hungry. So I had to track down some onigiri. Then if cool new people invite me to yoga, I have to go, because I just ate three instead of one onigiri at three in the afternoon.

Our second week on this island, we had to attend a weeklong class called Intercultural Relations, or ICR, or AOB/ICR since this is a typical military acronym that took me a month to get down so I'm not gonna waste that knowledge which is now taking up residence in my brain. The Area Orientation Brief (AOB) was what any group of base friends could sum up for you in 60 seconds, but ICR was a decently mixed bag. It pendulum swung between a "get a hot or cold Japanese drink from the vending machine to make the morning go by faster" class and a "huh, I didn't realize that" class.

For instance, I learned the Japanese wear masks not really to avoid getting sick so much as not wanting to get others sick if they're feeling even the slightest germ. How thoughtful. And they recycle like nobody's business. I was talking to a squadron wife who's a Japanese national, and she works for the Japanese recycling program and will help implement this in the States when her family moves there eventually. We laughed about how it's hard to get Americans to do anything if something's not directly, sometimes immediately in it for them. Yep.
But why stay in and write when I can karaoke under the influence of chu-hi's?
Why blog when I can walk through a bakery with tongs and select any freshly made item I want for my cafeteria tray?
Why search for freelance leads when I can go shopping for care packages - and find things like stuffed animals that look like they're on crack, T-shirts that say I Like Pancake and heated eyelash curlers? All at stores with names such as Cool Breeze Fresh, Jelly Bean (all shoes, no jelly beans) and America Beach...
Why do anything in front of a computer when I can jog by a small river and use the navy blue and orange coy as an excuse to rest under the low trees?
Why even try to avoid getting lost, when you can just join the strolling old ladies with pink, blue or purple-dyed hair?
I guess because I hear our neighborhood's cartoon-y chimes that go off at random hours and realize I'm no step closer to whatever it is my heart desires. It doesn't help that I see Cary the ship passing in the night, trying his ass off at work, and I can't do more than make him a PB&J that won't be as good by morning and queue up It's Always Sunny for 22 minutes of escape.

Our euphoria is now just a soundtrack. We get caught up in the maze of writing a flight schedule and the math of measuring for curtains, (since blinds don't come with homes here, and the windows are the size of walls).

Cary is learning more than he wants to know about Microsoft Office, while I look like an idiot trying to communicate to a salesperson that I need help lifting the giant standing mirror Cary likes. (Who's the narcissist now? WINK) Not knowing Excel formulas and using wild hand gestures makes us feel like our IQs have dropped several points - and they may not have very far to go. Meanwhile, our couches that we loved again when they arrived, are getting ugly once more. And as usual, we're still getting used to where all the light switches are. Attitudes have shifted, too.


Aly: "It's not that big a deal if you can't find something at the grocery store. I mean, at least it keeps you switching out your foods."
Cary: "That's a really positive way of looking at it."
Aly: "Thanks." [SMUG SMILE]



Underground New York Public Library
Girl reading Atlas Shrugged
As not so usual, we can still only turn on one tiny stove burner due to the buttons being labeled in Japanese. Looks like that back burner is gonna be getting a lot more use. Which I suppose is what happens when you just don't wanna grow up. We often mention how we wish we could just say "uncle" in a way, or ask "Who is John Galt?" and go to where all the good people are disappearing.

We miss you Sonja. I wish you could have kept reading, since you and my mom were often the only ones who did (haha). This one's for you, Greg. Thought you could use an Atlas Shrugged shout-out.