This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Things I Haven't Been Asked To Do

I have things that I guess I should be doing, but today I'll continue to do only those things I haven't been asked to do, like looking into store windows and drinking tea in cafés.

Right now I'm at this place on Haight called Café International. The barristas were nice enough to provide me with an extension cord so I could sit out here, on this funny little patio, squished between two very tall buildings. If I look up, I see a small patch of sky, and from one of the apartments above me I can hear angry shouts. There's a man standing out on his fire escape, speaking Chinese into his cell phone.

Today I managed to mail off my mother's present on time. Matty helped me pick out the card — the most expensive one in the store. On the front is a pair of origami slippers. About the present: it's a secret. Yes, it's a book. That's all I'm going to tell you.

On my way to mail off my mother's present I cut through Dubose Park, where, at the bottom of a rolling grassy hill, I saw a circle of people chanting and clapping their hands while at the head of the circle, three men played instruments I'd never seen before. At the center of the circle, two people kicked, flipped, and rolled. From a distance they appeared to be fighting, and this alarmed me. I've always been repelled by people who cheer on a fight rather than try to prevent it.

But when I got in closer and figured out that they were performing a choreographed dance. I felt drawn to the sight, and I think I was happy. Yes, I was happy.

I'm trying very hard to allow myself the space to think. Lately, I haven't been too sure in my thoughts. That is, if you asked me what I think, I would probably give a very long answer that changes directions many times during the course of it. Lately, conversation has been difficult and I feel this disconnect. I hope next week is different.


Blogger ginab said...

glad you felt joy! (light) and not relief!!

sorry conversation has been difficult for you. wishing you a great week!


8:19 PM

Blogger matty said...

I, too, am glad you felt joy today.

I felt some too.

I love you and am here for you if you need me. I think it is so important to be able to acknowledge a feeling. You can do that.

...and, because of this, I see your strength always coming through.

Those little moments of joy matter so much.

And, here is to a better week!

9:22 PM

Anonymous Meredith said...

Sounds like a perfectly lovely day and I'm glad for you. It most certainly signifies the beginning of a great week and I'm sure things will fall into place before long.
Be well.

11:50 PM

Blogger Ahvarahn said...

The title of your post made me think. I like it, but it made me think if I achieve enough things I haven't been asked to do.

What you were seeing was Capoeira (probably)-I saw this when I was in Brazil a couple of years ago and I had the same fascination for the performance.

There's a guy way too happy for work here, perhaps life. He's sauntering out as I speak whistling through a grin, "farewell, farewell, auf wedersehen, goodbye, etc." I'm happy too, but I am not whistling. If I could whistle, I'd whistle The Great Escape theme while leaving work.

take care, Ing,

2:23 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

Its a wonderful thing not to be asked to do things, a relief to not be asked all the time...cheers

6:25 PM

Blogger ing said...


Today I felt some relief at lunch time, which is close to joy. Someone at work kind of snapped at me, so I decided to eat by myself, away from the building. I wound up sitting next to a hidden creek that I bet a lot of people who work with me haven't discovered. The sound of running water sort of calmed my nerves.

And I discovered that the conversation difficulties aren't all my fault, as I'd thought. So I feel a little better in that regard.


Yes, I know you're there, m'dear. Sometimes you help me forget or dimiss feelings I don't want to dwell on, so there's that. Also, I feel as though my feelings are far too often the topic of everything I say or write, and I get sick of myself. Maybe I'm afraid that my friends will get sick of me, too (which, you really have to acknowledge yourself, happens occasionally, no matter how strong the friendship). That's not an expression of doubt, it's simply an acknowledgment of my feelings.

I love you!



Well, aren't YOU the cheery, positive one?

That's very sweet of you to say. But I'm afraid that if my kitchen faucet doesn't stop dripping, I'm going to kill someone and wind up in jail. Of course, things could fall into place there.



Yeah, I was handed this flyer, and it was capoiera. Isn't it great?

People SHOULD be cheerful and accommodating at work, but they should NEVER be too cheerful!

Or at least, I'm sort of learning that as I go. It's so hard to figure out when and how to squelch my enthusiasm. I don't whistle while I work, but I've come to realize that I bug people sometimes without intending to.

Oy. I DON'T tend to stay late on Fridays.


And Josh, you just said a mouthful, sir.

9:17 PM

Blogger ginab said...

conversation is two-sided. A long time ago I was so, erm, I'd say I was erm, I didn't speak at all. That's my only example, glaring back at me, and so now I just talk. Talking isn't conversing, but there's the next lifetime.

But I'm on a dink alert, that dink that keeps looking from you to me here in Kalamazoo on his wee Mac?

Streams...glistening. My co-workers suck mostly too (I think that's what you were saying in that they would not notice the stream). I went to lunch with three co-workers last Friday and I could barely edge a word out. Happens even to babble-mouth me!

Because you highlight joy here tho, in your post, I'm sensing folks generally believe you felt joy in a big orange way. I guess only wee triggers of it, but as you are able to see the small stuff I'm thinking like soft blooms joy shows up abundant.


6:05 AM

Blogger ing said...


Well, to my mind you do converse. Yes, you doa bit of talking, there's no doubt. I LOVE how you talk, and that's one big reason why despite my aversion to the telephone, I enjoy having you on the line.

Who is that dink?

My coworkers don't suck. My finding that stream was just a sign that I needed to get away from the building and gaze on something that had no relation to what I do for a living. Some of my coworkers are more patient than others, but they're stressed out and I ask a lot of dumb-sounding questions.

There's always joy, and yes, joy does unfurl when I least expect it to, and those moments are worth everything.

7:34 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

You must buy Travels with Roscoe, it is only $5.00 with shipping and it will make you laugh, I promise.

8:26 PM

Blogger matty said...

I want a big ton of joy to fill up all the corners of your life! I want you to be happy -- and to know that you don't ask dumb questions!

8:55 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Okay here's a blunt image, and I hope it doesn't land me an axing: imaging the co-workers ....

you don't ask dumb questions. just remember the point of a question and "how are you?" never ever achieves anything because there's no point to the question. be solid in knowing the point to asking a question is to retrieve an answer. you're asking to learn.

i hate the telephone with all my guts, always have; like wearing shoes and combing my hair I am anti telephone. I'm growing that way over computers. god am I stubborn. but alas, too, I speak-yak-hack-and-hog-mouthpiece when you're on board. there's a name for what we do and I hope it makes you smile.


6:04 AM

Blogger jungle jane said...

awwww's okay to be introspective for a bit. sometimes it's a nice mental gear shift - enjoy the's so rare we allow the nonsensical chit chat in our minds to shut up for a second so that we can really, really think....


11:49 AM

Blogger matty said...

Awesome new profile picture!!!!

4:27 PM

Blogger Winters said...

Hello Ing.

We all need a little space. Hope it's working out for you.

I loved your descriptions of street life in this post. I could picture it all very clearly. Thanks...


6:10 AM

Blogger ginab said...

lovin' the new mug of you!

sunshine in profile
of you!

wow's me aplenty and so I croon!

lovin' the new mug of you!

1:32 PM

Blogger ing said...

I'll be back! I'm off to see a movie, but I owe lots of comments. . .


5:18 PM

Blogger ing said...


Bliggity blarg, you pushy publicist, you! Have you gotten Roscoe a spot on Letterman yet? I can give you a name or two, if you need one. . .



I AM happy. It's just, I don't handle change very well. But it's hard not to be happy when the sun is shining and I'm doing yoga and I run into you and B by chance, on the street. Stuff like that makes me so happy!

And Alan, and some chocolate cake — pure bliss.


Ah, ginab:

You're right, one shouldn't ask pointless questions. On the other hand, I think people get sick of my questions always having a particular goal and a need to know things behind them. I think some people would like me to relax and shoot the shit. That is, I think it's annoying to have someone talk to you mostly when they need information from you.

But yes, then there's the thing where poeple don't want you to waste their time. I dunno. I just have to get through it.

I don't know what it is about a ringing phone, but the sound fills me with dread.



I agree. A little yoga, a little meditation. Lately my mind has been racing, and I really need to be careful about the kinds of things I do to slow my mind down. Some things are healthy, and some things aren't.


Thanks, Matty!


And Thanks, ginab!!

10:56 PM

Blogger purplesimon said...

Hey Ing.

What's a Dirty Wow Wow and how do I show one? Should it be in profile or dressed up somehow?

I'm intrigued.

Been away for a while, not commenting as no Internet access for almost 16 days! Yikes, how I coped I don't know.

Seems like life is going well - how's the job going now?

Hope to catch up with ya soon. Hugs and stuff.

purplesimon out...

8:25 AM

Anonymous Meredith said...

Har! Cheery and positive! What the hell was up with that!? I'm back. Bitter and horny and generally grumpy. Cure for the leaky faucet: mine was doing that in the bathroom which is off my bedroom and driving me mental so I reached under the sink to turn it off so that it would stop until I could properly fix it. The knob broke off in my hand. Now it doesn't drip, it runs, steady. I'm no longer made mad by dripping, I'm mental with the sound of running water.
They say those fucking plug in water fountains are supposed to be soothing. I think not. Unless you're on drugs.
And I'm not. Yet.

10:06 PM


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