Thursday, 11.11.2010 - 10:27 pm.
Let me start where I left off in my last entry. I stopped whining and did what someone a generation previous to mine would do regarding the lack of electronic communication from my professor: pick up the damn phone. I reached her yesterday afternoon and she agreed on meeting me today to sign the recommendation letter. She hadn't seen my e-mail.
And also, I went to the movies yesterday, like I said I would. But I didn't go alone in the end. Nephew #2, 14 years old, is on vacation (the equivalent to summer vacation, three months of bliss), so I invited him to come along. I didn't think he'd care for Going The Distance but he was all for it. It was 2x1 day at the movies and so the theater was filled with dumb attention-seeking teenagers. The movie was great, very cute, I think; I loved it, and Nephew and I had a great laugh.
This week has been so long for me, but also very rewarding. You could say yesterday was my afternoon off. My agenda is otherwise filled with meetings and self-imposed homework. I have set daily goals that I've accomplished. Everyday I've had a task to fulfill regarding my application to the Chile university. Everything in my checklist is, well, checked, except for the thesis proposal.
This afternoon, I went to my old university to get the recommendation letter signed by my former professor. But first I met for a while with a couple of friends who are in their 4th and 5th year of psychology and had a nice conversation with them. The professor was very kind and supportive; she encouraged me to never give up and said I had good possibilities with Chile. She is so, so nice, I love her.
Then I met with Brother #3 at a mall. He offered to help me write my thesis proposal for the university application. We worked at a coffee shop, he bought me coffee and a cookie. He's currently writing his doctoral thesis. He's social, I'm clinical, but one bounces off the other and our conversation was amazing. I came out with a few ideas he helped me shape up but I have yet to write something down.
After coffee and lots of science talk, we walked around the mall for a while, he helped me get gift ideas for christmas. Then we parted and I encountered one hell of a traffic jam on my way home, and I figured he'd do the same on his.
And you know? I felt so guilty. And in the middle of traffic, I broke down and started to cry. Real crying, tear after tear rolling down my cheek. It surprised me but I tried to ellaborate: let's see, he's the brother I'm closest to (we grew up together, with "only" a 10-year difference and we studied the same career), I admire him so much and...Jesus, I don't know! I had this remorse that I should have invited him for dinner and save him the trouble of being stuck in traffic because of me. And I got the feeling he gives me so much: his time, his knowledge, his credit card to buy stuff online and pay for my website (I pay him back, in cash, don't worry), he's given me nice stuff, he reads my webcomic and thinks it's awesome. And I feel I don't give him anything in return.
I will buy him a book he pointed out while we were looking around, that will be my christmas present. But I had to tell him so he wouldn't buy it. And then I'm thinking, perhaps I'm so sensitive to this brother because once I dreamed he'd died. That terrified me and makes me wish that, since my siblings and I gotta die someday, I will die before them so I won't have to go through losing them.
Anyway. On happier news, with today's trip with my brother, I pretty much have covered my christmas gift list and hopefully I will get through with it next week. That way, I will avoid shopping in december, which is a consumerist nightmare.
Then I came home and sent a resume to a bilingual school. I wasn't going to do it, because I have important patients to see during the week and one of them may need to be seen twice a week. But hey, it's just an effort to change my situation. I'd rather get a "no" for trying that not trying at all. If it doesn't happen, it's ok, and if it does, I'll suck it up and adjust my schedule as best as I can.
Now, let me talk a little about Joseph, yes? But look, I've said I've been doing well. And I have.
There's this guy I went to middle school with, he was kicked out of my school. Years later, he met Joseph through Magic The Gathering tournaments and the guy found out he and I were dating. He was surprised. Joseph told me of this encounter, the guy told him: "she's with you? But she's a nun!".
So anyway, I added this guy on Facebook some time ago. And all this preamble is to tell that last night he was tagged in some photos of these MTG tournaments and Joseph was in one of those photos. It's the second or third time that this has happened to me (there's another common friend that's into MTG) and it catches my heart off-guard every time. I react with surprise, "What? I thought Joseph stopped existing!" kind of surprise.
I was tempted to click on the thumbnail and see Joseph more closely. You know why? Because he's so damn handsome. But I said to myself: "Don't. This guy is married, is a father and is a complete stranger to you". And more important: "Don't. See that picture? See how tiny he looks in that picture? That's how tiny his presence in your mind and in your life is now. Keep it that way". Good one. I love the voices in my head.
It would have affected me deeper but as I was going through that, I was checking out Fuck Yeah Troll Science and this post had an unusual effect on me. Namely, I laughed for the rest of the night, and even this morning. I even remembered the nun comment, as I noticed that guy and Joseph were in the same picture, and instead of feeling inferior like I normally would, I started to laugh like I was stoned. Fuck yeah, troll science!
I thought about Joseph this afternoon, too. It's inevitable, he's the first thing I think of when I go to the university. But I wasn't nostalgic or anything. I thought: "damn, how does Joseph manage to not do anything for a living and not feel like crap? I mean, here I am, coming to the university, but I'm not studying and I hate my job so much it feels like I don't have one. Surely, deep down he must feel worse about this situation than he shows. He must not think about this, about doing nothing, often because then it'd be unbereable".
And I figured that deep down, when he gives himself the chance to examine his life, he feels useless. He's wasted that part of his life that was supposed to be invested in becoming an independent, useful grown-up. Almost thirty and no preparation beyond a high school diploma, and no work experience beyond MTG stores and other minor gigs.
It's sadder because he had the chances, the resources; he's middle class, maybe upper-middle class. I tried to make him overcome that, he was still on time to study something that would allow him to make a living, and not necessarily an academic career (how awesome would it have been if he'd become a bartender?) but he had this, this...learned helplessness?
I understand him. I've felt frustrated and useless these past couple of years, beyond him dumping me so painfully. One may say it's different in my case, I've made the most out of my education and while I'm being rejected by jobs and scholarships, I still have my knowledge and skills, and eventually I will put them to good use. Ok, yes. But what I'm trying to say is that I felt a bit like crap. And when I entered the university, I thought that no way one can be his age and without means of earning a decent livelihood, and have an intact, carefree self-concept.
But hey, I could be wrong. Maybe he doesn't give a damn. As John Lennon says in Yellow Submarine: "he's happy enough going around in circles". He was talking about the Nowhere Man.