Thursday, October 15, 2009

Surreal World

I could not take it anymore. The pressure had built up through out the weeks, months, years. I sat at work, staring at the broken laptops in front of me. Hardware and screws and the automatic screwdriver spread out on the bench.

The flood gates were opened this year. All that raw emotion that had been suppressed is now pushing back, clamoring to be heard, to be let out into the light of day. To be acknowledged.

I kept thinking about how surreal it all is. It’d been tossing and turning in my head. I don’t feel any different, I don’t look very much different, and yet. After how many years does one cease to become a foreigner?

Then it starts, the parade of stories I’ve come to hear. Ed studying to work in the medical field is a line cook. Cintia with her two science degrees works at a pizza joint. Fernando, with a degree in music is a bus boy. Mina a with psychology degree that cant work other than fast food. Ju’s sister, who dropped out and works two restaurant jobs so that her brother can go to college. Gladys a high school senior who is top of her class and fears she won’t be able to go further. Mark. Maria. Kemi. Gina, Phiash. Herta, Aldo, Mohammed, Miguel, Fermin, Carlo, Gilbert, Beleza, Emmanuel, Seung, Claudia, Jose, Ana, Alejandra, Prena, Erik, Daniel. Gabriel, an engineer, who fixes laptops, wraps pallets and makes boxes. And it does not end.

It was too much. My trance was broken by the sounds of my supervisor speaking Mandarin to another employee. Chest heaving, hands with screws and tools, the sound of the trucks at the loading dock, fluorescent lights, beeps, smell of wet cardboard making its way into my nostrils, the ringing phones. It’s too much. It’s not real is it?

11:22am. I got up. Headed for the exit and walked out. The gray day greeted me.

I don’t know what I am going to do. I will probably be back to work tomorrow. Maybe I won’t. Don’t know if I’ll have the job. I really don’t care. I just wanted some air. Some time to re-think this fucked up reality.


  1. Gabe, you need to relax. Life is not that bad. You probably just need a girlfriend...or an hour with a hooker.

  2. Juang you are right i suppose i need to relax. either a new gig or a new location. Actually turns out i just needed a nice bike ride, a protest to partake in and some cafe and good company.

  3. I'm glad everything turned out right. So, do you still have your job? Oh, and don't forget about needing an hour hooker.

  4. Somfolnalco,

    I don't mean to sound presumptuous and it's hardly my place to say this but...

    Escape this. Run away. Save up a thousand dollars or so. Move to Seattle or San Francisco or New York City or anywhere else that seems appealing to you and isn't where you currently are. You get anxiety attacks, and apparently, am currently living your life as a bit of a recluse. And I don't think that a different job, an interesting event, or a meal out with good friends is going to help you deal emotionally in the long run. You need a different environment, a place unknown to you that you can be overwhelmed and stimulated by. Yes, it's a form of escapism, but do it... if you want to continue living in America while staying sane.

    You've graduated college, and to an extent, you're free to just pick and leave whenever you desire... or you're trapped in a menial life in which every day is just like every other day, depending on how you view it. We desperately want America to tie us down, to let us settle, so that we'll eventually be seen as no different than those Americans who have never seen the ocean or lived more 20 miles away from where they were born. But at the same time, I accept that I currently can't settle. This gives me a lot of anxiety and stress, but it also gives me a sense of freedom that "Yes! I'm not tied down. I can live here, I can live there, or anywhere."

    I've yet to graduate college and am kind of stuck living where I'm living, but plan to travel to Seattle the first chance I get, live there for a while, and get a legitimate driver's license. If I'm able to accomplish that, I'll make another somewhat idealistic and silly goal that I can think about accomplishing. I always think, "What if I need or want to leave America?" And I've long since realized that if that time ever comes, I don't want to have any regrets. If I leave, I won't be able to come back for 10 years. And so, I'm going to live my life, get the most out of this place when I can, and maybe even go all tourist-y on its ass.

    Escape it!