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December 2000 Archives

Solitude

Faith left for Singapore today. I come home to an apartment once filled with her laughter and presence, now rather devoid of life as my sister and I walk in the front door. It is a rather weird apartment, considering there are doors leading outside in every room. Thanks to funding from our parents, we have made it out to be a place resembling a home. Faith was involved in the whole process - from the buying of kitchen utensils, to the little towels that hang on the refrigerator door. Her touch is to be found everywhere I turn. In a sense it torments me to know her so close yet not have her around. I am reminded of what the poet Conrad Aiken wrote,

Music I heard with you was more than music, And bread I broke with you was more than bread; Now that I am without you; all is desolate; All that was once so beautiful is dead. Your hands once touched this table and this silver, And I have seen your fingers hold this glass These things do not remember you, beloved, And yet your touch upon them will not pass. For it was in my heart you moved among them, And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes; And in my heart they will remember always — They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

Every parting is harder than the last. When I came back in summer and was leaving for Arizona once more, we thought that the parting was hard because of the prolonged period of time I had spent by her side over summer. The three weeks she spent with me here is nowhere as long, yet her departure has been rather hard to take. I think the hardest part of it is the thought of her in an airplane alone. I hope the feelings of loneliness will be somewhat quenched when I hear her voice over the phone and know that she is home, safe and sound among people who love her.

Now I delve in my solitude. I find her hair on the carpet and miss her all over again. I do not know if I can last my whole stay here. I pray that God grant me strength.

Heels and Wheels

It has been a while since I’ve updated my journals, and longer still before all of you will see it. I do not have internet access set up in my new apartment as of yet, and will upload the pages as soon as I do. Thank you all for coming here faithfully and taking an interest in an otherwise mundane life.

My sister and Faith arrived in Tucson a pretty long time ago. It was wonderful seeing them at the airport, speaking the native Singlish again. The taxi driver went on and on about meditation and going on to different dimensions. I suppose it’s all that astral plane and lucid dreaming stuff. Places in Arizona (especially Sedona) are famous for droves of these new-age religious fanatics. It is not hard to see why they picked this place. Beautiful rocks and a vast expanse of land, plus a strong Indian (Red Indian) influence are factors why the new-age movement is in force here.

Renting a car and driving on the opposite side of the road was a new experience. I was in such a state of “bumbliness” I failed to adjust my side and rear-view mirrors before setting off. So there I was, dealing with staying on the RIGHT (both directional and correctional right (as in right/wrong)) side of the road and adjusting the complicated computerized controls of the rented car. I had obtained a complimentary upgrade and was zipping around in quite a luxurious automobile. I got the hang of it after a while. It’s quite easy actually, if I do not stop to think too hard about it. Driving is instinctive.

Amongst the wonderful things I could do with the car was this: I took my driving test here in Arizona to obtain a local driving license. Having failed the theory test once, it was rather unsettling to have my driving skills judged. I failed the first theory test as the guy from the motor division told me over the phone that I did not have to take the test. He told me I needed just to get my butt down there and convert the international license I had. Learning the hard truth there and then, I decided to take the theory test, without having prepared for it. After all, how hard could reading a STOP sign be?

One can always be surprised. The stupid feet and inches thing really got to me. How many feet should a driver signal his lights before turning? I would like to blame all my errors on the different measuring system, after all, it had crashed the MARS PATHFINDER. I mean, if NASA couldn’t do it, I guess I shouldn’t be expected to. Of course, there were other questions like: how many days should you contact us upon change of address? Yup, that too screwed me over. Anyway, I passed my driving test, accumulating points for driving too SLOWLY. My picture on the license is a disgrace. If a Martian should land on earth tomorrow and asked for a picture of a human being, this should be the last one we give them. The super shiny forehead. The misaligned head. The half-smile. I could almost swear that the people behind the counter were thoroughly trained to make sure everything fell in place before they hit the capture button. Fell in the wrong place I mean. My driver’s license is safely nestled behind my blockbuster membership card, which thank goodness, required no picture ID.

Tucson is beautiful. Being able to drive around we explored places like Skyline Drive. It was really a sight to behold. The lights of Tucson at our feet, the lights of a million stars above our heads. We just stood in awe. Well not exactly. We sat in the car with our heads looking upwards from the open car windows. El Correl’s wonderful prime rib was accessible. MMMMmmmmmmMMMMmmmmm. We went up Mount Lemmon (almost all the way up) and Sabino Canyon. I’ll post the pictures on my photo album soon. As soon as the cable guy comes over to set up the Internet.

Life without the Internet is TOUGH. Min (my sister) asked a question to which I still seek the answer: What were we doing before we had it? Beats me. All I know is that my NBA.com virtual GM team has gone down the drain. It stings. I worked hard (ok not THAT hard) and almost got on the leaderboard. I was easily among the top 60 teams in the world. Now, unable to rotate my players, I sit helplessly and watch all entropy. Oh well. God’s trying to tell me there’s more to life.

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