Love Story

Some of you might be familiar with James Thurber’s classic short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. I read it in high school, and it says something about it that I still remember that story very clearly. It’s terrific–funny, biting, and sad. They’ve made it into a movie. The trailer is below. Looks pretty good, but here’s my question: Why does there have to be a girl? Every single Hollywood movie ever has a female character, and usually, she’s just that: the love interest. I hate to break it to the men of the world, but there is more to life than getting the girl. And ladies, there is more to life than being a man’s object of desire (not that there’s anything wrong with being objectified, provided that you consent to it). Pacific Rim had only one major female character as well, but to the film’s credit, the romance between her and the protagonist was subdued (they never even kissed), and she did get some decent development. Mainly, the problem here is a larger one: People think that having a partner completes them. They think they need one in order to solve their problems. In reality, it’s just the opposite. You’ll find someone when you solve your problems. As with anything worth having, romance is something that you earn by showing the world that you can live without it.

I moved into my new place not too long ago. The move-in went fairly smoothly. After talking shit over with my roommate concerning the broker’s fee flareup (as he explained it, it was a fee that he had to pay upon moving in and since he was just asking me to reimburse him for some of it, he didn’t feel the need to mention it upfront), I concluded that he still should have mentioned it before cashing my first check, but okay, what the hell, I’ll pay you for it, plus part of what it cost you to set up the internet. I’ll most likely have to ask my father for money at some point, but we’re both used to that. What drove me nuts was that I had to move shit in all by myself. I asked my friends if anyone could lend a hand, but everyone was either busy or apathetic. I don’t like driving, really don’t like driving in a big city, and really, really don’t like driving a van so large that I have to rely on my side mirrors because I can’t look over my shoulder to check my blind spot. I got lost once or twice, had to pay a total of $30(!) in tolls, and probably ran over a few kittens without noticing, but managed to get all of my shit including my bookshelf moved in without incident. I even got the U-Haul van back (almost) on time and made it to work that afternoon. Yay.

I would like to travel sometime (as of now, I’ve been to Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii), but I’m afraid to do that without somebody else to show me around. It might be nice to have somebody along who speaks the language and knows people in the area and shit. But of course, nobody wants to show me around Germany, and I am not buying a plane ticket just yet. Yeah, I know: it’s not that different. The people there live in houses, eat food, go to work, and raise kids, just like the rest of us. I’m still not ready, and won’t be for quite some time.

There is much more to talk about, and I don’t want to brush it aside, but I don’t want to fixate on it. How is everything going in my new place? It’s okay, I guess. My roommate has all sorts of perfectionistic little qualities that annoy me. He’s Asian, and while I don’t like to generalize, I wonder if that could be a cultural thing. I have to take off my shoes the instant I walk inside (not that big of a deal), turn off my fan when I go to work so as not to waste electricity (okay…), and close the bathroom door as gently as possible so as not to disturb him (a bit anal-retentive, perhaps?). Last night, he even knocked on my door to let me know that I’d left the light on in the kitchen. I hadn’t, actually. I went to the kitchen and turned the light on, then he came out of his room to, I don’t know, get a glass of water or something. Since I was done with whatever I was doing, I left the kitchen, figuring he’d switch the light off. But he didn’t, instead going back to his room then, when realizing that the light was still on, walking through the kitchen to get to my room to knock on my door, thus forcing me to get up and walk out to turn them off. See, I would have just turned the light off myself. I’m trying not to get too upset over this, but I really hope he softens up over time.

I have a lot of work to do. I have lots of work to do, lots of shows to watch, places to go, people to see and all that. For some reason, I always feel like I’m playing catch-up. I hear old people talk about what they wish they’d done differently, but since I’m in my twenties and already have lots of regrets, I can’t identify with that as much as I might like. (Tangentially, read this speech by George Saunders in which he does exactly that. He’s a great author. I just finished Tenth of December, his short story collection, and yeah, he’s about as awesome as everyone says he is.) My childhood wasn’t blissful. I’ve covered this before, but seriously, as much as I want to feel the sting of nostalgia when I watch the Twilight Zone episode about a guy going back in time to see himself as a child, I can’t help but feel that that guy should be glad that he has put that bewildering and frustrating time behind him. I am not a happy man, but I am happy that’s over.

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