Thursday, May 30, 2013

Introverts don't have party tricks

The Dawn Treader
Movie Cricket
In line at Disneyland, Ava said 'Waiting is a dumb thing ... Of all the things to do in life, waiting is the dumbest.'

But we're always waiting. To be done. To start. To grow up (very few 10-year-olds are actually like Peter Pan). Waiting for a partner, a kid, a dream to click into place. Waiting for the next social engagement or spouses to come home or new friends. For orders. For the apocalypse.

Being part of (er, a bench player in) the armed forces should mean waiting on things more than ever. Yet most moments I catch myself happy just thinking about what I'm gonna eat for lunch and which way to run up the river, what district in Tokyo to visit or Netflix series marathon to undertake.

But there are those times when nothing's pulling at me and the dumbness of waiting takes hold. I've got to slap my brain and swing out of bed - slam myself into a folding desk chair in a too warm room. At least bug a friend or Skype a parent to make me forget I've been missing Cary's face for weeks.

Seven little boys made me forget recently. Knowing .0000000000001% of Japanese and getting eaten alive by mosquitos in a cement courtyard on a summer-impending day did wonders for filling my mind with a different kind relatable self-deprication and amusement. I learned 6 to 9-year-old Japanese boys can learn decent volleyball skills as quick as the words "bump, set, spike." And they have more energy than my labrador retriever for twice as long. And their moms seem only to care about teacher being white and sweet and taking their kids off their hands so they can maybe enjoy some peace and a smoke.
Chinese finger trap
Gabrielle Maston

There's always a new opportunity or place. A way to get involved or a new food to try. It's hard to know when to say no and yes. When most of your work can be done at midnight as easily as at noon, and on a Sunday as easily as on a Monday, it's even harder. When your hobbies are apps and books, they'll never trump pick-up sports or running errands. It's damn near impossible to be an artist. Especially a bad one.

Over the last few weeks, I gave up on my life's Chinese finger trap. Despite the germ that left me an invalid for 24 hours and sounding like Kathleen Turner for way too long, Harajuku, Yokohama's Chinatown, and Asakusa came calling. There's something to be said for places so fascinating all I can shop for is things to send home instead of things that would stay with me. In Harajuku, a giant 100 yen (dollar) store, dessert dives and living anime characters are beside H&M and the best earring boutique in Tokyo. In Chinatown, the dumplings explode and taste so good you don't mind burning your tongue on the water. And in Asakusa, you can feel like Harry Potter picking a wand in Diagon Alley as you scan this kitchen district's knife selection in shops constantly sharpening their wares.

Disney Parks Blog
Every place has a feature that surprises me. The croquette restaurant had a picture on the wall the spitting image of the Dawn Treader. The bathroom at a burger spot in Machida was like the inside of Br'er Rabbit's Splash Mountain meets the swampy southland of True Blood. I didn't even notice that the music at the Japanese Home Depot/Target mash-up was slowly driving me insane. It wasn't until I was outside with my shopping cart and the loudest person on the city block as I pushed the cart over cobblestone for a 1/4 mile, to load an oversize fan into my car, that I realized silence is platinum.

It's much easier to sit in the quiet after going out and hearing the river, the train, the conversation of happy weekenders. I guess an introvert's party trick can't happen until after lights out.

fear is the wish