Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Racism

Growing up in a multicultural society such as that found in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and then attending studies at the University to study Math, I was never really made to feel like a minority.  It wasn't until I started working full-time in an office that I did.  I still remember the event that did it.  It was a birthday party; one of my associates had invited me to her birthday party.

The party was to begin at a bar where the attendees were to get wasted before finishing off the night at a club.  I showed up alone.  I didn't know anyone besides the co-worker that invited me.  I was and still am in the habit of attending such functions on my own.

To start off the evening, I navigated the area and introduced myself to the other guests.  I hadn't yet quite put my finger on what it was about each person that I disliked, but I was certain that I was not enjoying myself.  It wasn't until someone said the following that I figured it out.

"Does it feel strange being the only guest who isn't white?"

I looked at the group and I realized that I indeed was the only person who wasn't white.  I not only failed to notice, but failed to be bothered ... up until that point.

"You know, I have a cousin who lives in a small town near England who has never seen a black person in real life before.  Can you imagine?"

I looked at her bewildered that such an ignorant creature could exist.  She was an elementary school teacher in the city, and she talked about how terrible it was that so many of her students had absentee parents who were too busy both working, and how she could not imagine not being able to afford family vacations to Disneyland.

"You know, I have a cousin in the Philippines who lives in a small town far from the main cities who has never seen anyone besides Filipinos."

She smiled and nodded in a show of agreement that our cousins were unfortunate.  It saddened me that the message I was trying to send had just gone over her head.

I was disappointed, but whenever I retell this story, I laugh.  I laugh so hard ... until I cry.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Discretion

Some things are better left unsaid.  Sure.  But are they better left lingering in our minds?  So maybe it is the case that we shouldn't tell everyone everything about our relationships with them that ails us, then whom do we tell?  Besides those paid to provide 'professional help', I don't think there exists anyone with whom it would be universally "okay" to share.  I feel guilt sharing with even my closest friends.  It'll always feel partly like gossip, which makes me uncomfortable because of what that would say about me.  I feel this way even if it is true that these secrets need only be kept from certain people and not all people, and even when I know it is my closest friends in whom I can confide.  The problem is that I have this curious feeling that regardless of who it is in whom I confide, I am doing an injustice to the subject of the discussion.

But my heart weighs heavily.  I can't lie anymore.  Sure, I was always honest with myself in my blogs and private journals, but it isn't the same as sharing.  It's having a conversation with myself.  It makes me increasingly concerned about my sanity.  I can't bear the burdens alone.  Lines were blurred a year ago.  It's time I clarify things.

Riddle

My father liked to tell riddles.  There was one that I remember him telling me and my sister when we were about 5 and 7 years old, respectively.  I wasn't really paying attention, but my sister was.  He looked her right in the eye, and said, "If you are an eye-tee, you are e."  At least, that's what it sounded like he was saying.  My sister kept trying to figure out what "eye-tee" and "e" referred to.  He was really only spelling out the word 'furniture', which I could pick up because I wasn't looking at him directly and watching any of the funny faces he was making.

Context is interesting in that way.  I'm hoping that life's other riddles similarly become clearer when I avert my eyes and stop trying.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland (2010)

I think it's a problem when you find the Red Queen far more likable than the White Queen.  Helena Bonham Carter did a splendid job.

Crazy Heart

Ebert and all critics want to focus on the line "I want to talk about how bad you make this room look."

But I'm not a film critic, and I'm stuck to "Funny how falling feels like flying for a little while."

It is funny.  I laugh until I cry.


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