No bueno today. Safety check on the Matrix, check. Oh but wait what’s this it’s 1000 and lodging calls me to tell me that I need to check out today because the room has to go to someone else. D’oh. I guess that’s my fault for not checking and tracking, but I really could have used a heads up yo. I rush back to Room 117 and like a whirlwind pack up two months of living holy crap I got lots of stuff. Thankfully, I just picked up my car and she’s operational and so I shove everything in the Matrix. Oops I can’t find my key. It must be in the coat pocket, which I shoved in the suitcase last minute, which I locked in the car while I went to go check out. Bitch. Luckily I remember that I threw the spare key in my IRL inbox when I came back from the auto center. I guess I need to walk back to the library and get it. It’s about 1 km but seems longer without my coat, which locked in the car. Stopped at the cafe for lunch on the way back because I am famished and cranky and lethargic so I gave into fries and cheesesteak. I get back to the lodge and pick up the last luggage I left with front desk and take it out to the car. D’oh. There is my key, dangling from the driver side door. Oh well I got exercise from it no other mishaps and front desk found my fitbit that I dropped in the corridor apparently. By the time I get back to the library it is 1330 and I’m exhausted. Do I have time and energy to take the car paperwork to city hall and get it registered? Around 1600 I decide that I do. Around 1645 whilst arguing with the lady inside my GPS app I realize that my trusty purple paperwork accordion file is on my desk in my office. FML. I will try again tomorrow. As long as I am out I might as well as check in to the new hotel now. It is five minutes from the back gate. It is decent and clean and I see a soft poofy comfortable that might compensate for all these daunting tasks. It’s still an hour from closing time so I go back to get the paperwork and do some more file drawer cleaning before I call it a day. My staff laugh at me. It was quite a day.
This morning I read an op-ed in the New York Times that made me think about my own relationship with guns.
I grew up with guns in the house. Rifles and pistols of some sort, don’t know or care what ABC123’s they were. I do care, however, that they were something that my father needed for his job. His job was that he was a store owner in Los Angeles County. Various small stores across my childhood: a small grocery store near Normandie Ave that I barely remember; a liquor store in Pomona; a flower shop; a liquor store in Diamond Bar. Yep, my parents were that kind of Koreans. Textbook looking-upwardly-mobile immigrants in the U.S., focused on the education and success of their offspring, to be richly rewarded in their later years with grandchildren and golf trips. Now, in the course of the life of a shop owner, robberies happen. Convenience stores and other mom-and-pops in poor and/or neglected neighborhoods, especially, often find themselves victims. Some thieves use guns, so some store owners also keep guns. My dad did. And guns are very dangerous. We are all too familiar with the news stories where thieves and shop owners and guns meet violence. Shop owners held at gunpoint while thieves run off with cash or merchandise. Hapless thieves risking their lives and futures for small amounts of cash. I faintly recall an infamous one, where a shop lady, who was first-generation Korean, confronted panicked and shot a young person, who was black and unarmed, over a bottle of orange juice. So everyday, my dad and his gun went to the shop, and I went to school, trying to ignore the small chance that my dad might be tonight’s news.
Sometimes I came across guns too. As a small kid, if I had to sit and wait out an hour or two in dad’s office at the store, I would rummage around for doodle paper and a handgun would be tucked between a beverage catalog and some paid bills. Or if I as snooping around my parents’ closet, a rifle or two would be there, standing ominously behind winter coats. Once when I was about fifteen, I was in the middle of a transaction and ran out of quarters. I reached under the counter for a spare roll but instead found the butt end of Dad’s handgun. There were (are?) random bullets in the change tray on my dad’s desk. Granted, I shouldn’t be snooping around my dad’s things, but I’m just a kid trying to live my kid life without interruptions from that cold and heavy business. And they weren’t everyday occurrences, yet they happened enough to remind me about the dangers of grown-up life. Or at least my dad’s life. I hated my dad’s job: the dirtiness, the implied danger. But what can I do because the various stores increasingly afforded us to live in the the best school districts in Los Angeles County. He did it for us. Once, when I was in middle-school, my parents tried running a flower shop (this had to be my mother’s idea). So much more fun! Fresh blooms, colorful ribbons, and lively balloons instead of smokes, booze, and porn (and guns). That wasn’t too long-lived. I don’t think the flower business brought in enough money to raise three kids in the manner which justified Dad’s self-sacrifice. He went back to another liquor store, although this time in a sterile senior community in the suburbs. Still, one couldn’t be too cautious and he kept guns there too.
And then it was 1992 and the riots happened. More guns. Fire. Violence. If I ever grew too acclimated to the harsh realities of Dad’s livelihood, I won’t ever forget now. You’ll remember photos of all sorts of chaos across Los Angeles. Like the one of the Korean man standing on the roof of his appliance store attempting to protect it with a rifle. To me, the riots weren’t so much about Rodney King and his court verdict as they were about the collective frustration with living in inequality. The tension was building and just waiting for the chance to explode. Thankfully, by then, my father’s store was safely tucked away out of reach. Still, from our home 60 miles away I remember the orange-red-brown glow in the horizon to the west, as Los Angeles burned itself down.
I am scared to death of guns. They are not cool or bad-ass. They are cold, take life from living bodies, and are very serious things. This does not mean, however, that I necessarily oppose your right to own one. I just ask that we all dial it down and be much more careful? If you do own guns, I ask you to consider what kind of impression they can make on any children nearby.
the intersection at punahou and king streets was deemed the most dangerous intersection by state farm insurance. and the honolulu advertiser found that more serious accidents happen in the half-mile of kapi’olani blvd between ke’eaumoku and kalakaua than anywhere else. (source: Honolulu Magazine, February 2010)
i’ve been think lately that homeownership is kinda overrated. i like that instead of paying annette fung’s mortgage, i’m paying my own, therefore, building wealth for… something, sometime in the future. but that’s about it. i’m not into nesting. i’m not into interior design. i don’t entertain. and the condo association won’t let me keep a dog. i’m tired of spending all time at lowes and home depot instead of at work or with books. i can’t shake the feeling that i’m overpaying for everything, and in general, just not being that smart about things as i could be if i gave a damn about it. i can’t afford to not give a damn about it. i hate making decisions. running a library is way easier than running my life.
things i will miss about my cute little apartment, if and when i finally close on my own condo, which i hope is before 30 nov:
1. 24/7 safeway which is next door. i needed to buy a toothbrush last night at 3:30 am, and i’m so grateful they were there for me.
2. the nice korean lady that runs the cigarette and soda store on the corner, who never fails to tell me i look tired and need to go out and have fun while i’m still young. bless her.
3. sweet smell of malasadas baking, which satisfies me enough that i don’t have to actually have to ingest them.
4. waikiki beach a 17-minute walk away.
5. the water pressure in the shower
6. the cute little geckos that appear all over the apartment. i couldn’t get one to speak in australian to me, but they got me making their clicking noise all. the. time.
7. the air tunnel in the building corridor, created by the valley a mile up the road. feels real nice after a run.
things that i will not miss about this ghetto-ass apartment:
a. trash pickup at 630 am mondays, wednesdays, and fridays.
b. the guy driving down kapahulu ave in his large obnoxious truck, with the speakers and bass turned so high up it makes me feel like the crotchety old librarian that i am.
c. the never-ending construction, which insists on jackhammering on my days off.
d. 3 o’clock afternoon sun pouring into my living room.
useless things in the safeway complex next door: at&t, mobi pcs, coldstone, “yummy” korean bbq, burgers on the edge.
useful things in safeway complex: safeway, cpb branch, usps, and occastionally, seattle’s best.
useful things NOT in safeway complex: jamba, OnOn chinese restaurant (i have to play frogger across kapahulu ave to get to it).
i need a smoothie and egg drop soup…