Latenight chats

Tuesday morning, 12:45am

………………….

I am sitting at a red light, on my red scooter, contemplating the cool air and my decision to stick with my shorts for the short ride home, instead of putting back on the still-damp bluejeans I had worn earlier.

A large red, lifted truck pulls up next to me on my right, and stops at the light.

I both hear and see the driver’s window going down, just before he, the driver, leans out toward me and, in a completely sound and sober yet slightly twangy voice, says to me:

“Hey(!)…”

“Hi-ii,” I reply with with an extended double syllable.

“The other day,” he continues, without missing a beat, “I was out drivin’, and I saw you out goin’ down f**in’ 59…, and I thought, ‘Shit…, she can go anywhere on that thing.’ You can just drive it everywhere, huh?”

I laugh and give him a ‘basically, yes,’ kind of reply, and tell him how it is 300ccs of power that allow me to drive so comfortably and easily on the highway.

“Did you just one day decide, ‘Okay, I’m not doin’ this anymore,’ and you switched to this so you could reduce your carbon footprint?”

Though his words somewhat shocked me, they were rather applicable to my situation…

“Haha… I mean, kind of, yeah…”

He then tells me how he has one that he rides, but it is not over 150ccs (so he can’t really go much more than, say, about 35 miles per hour on it).

Mine, by the way, can go just enough speed with me on it to time travel… I lack merely a flux capacitor… and some Plutonium, of course. πŸ˜›

The light turns to green, but no one else is around, and I am delighted both by the conversation itself, and the absurdity of it all – plus, the guy is clearly sane and sweet, and paying a compliment while being genuinely curious – he wanted to know how it was even possible, since his scooter wobbles even when big four-doors or fast two-doors pass by.

After the next cycle of the light, however, a car was pulled up behind me, so I went ahead and slowly started moving as we finished up our final exchanges and wished one another a great and safe night.

I then sped my way home in the slightly too cold for comfort air, and rushed to lock up, shower, and get to sleep, grateful for the lively experience of Southern Hospitality and connection – my day certainly has ended on a lovely note.

Now for the sleep part of my nightly plans…

Post-a-day 2019

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Riding the bus with my mother

There are three lots on my block which recently have had their houses demolished.

Two of the lots are nearing the end of construction on their new houses, and the third has, so far, sat empty for a while.

Just about every morning, around 7:30, workers arrive and get to making noise on this, that, or the other part of construction for the two houses.

I have noticed a certain inattention to caution regarding trash and scraps, and so have been quite careful not ever to walk over by either of the houses, as there is an ever-changing blanket of glass, nails, wood pieces, and other sharp objects on the ground by them both.

Today, in an effort to dodge some potholes, my mother drove directly in front of these two houses…

A few hours, a free concert, and almost five hundred dollars later, she had two new rear tires on her car, out of necessity, not desire.

You see, she was picking me up to go to an opera performance, thus her being on my street in the first place.

She had dropped me off to allow me to go use the bathroom and to pick up our tickets at will-call, and gone to park her car, only to discover that the tire pressure, whose warning light had signaled on our way to the performance, was decreasing at an alarming pace, and so needed to be handled immediately.

She told me to leave her ticket at will-call for her, and that she would join me when she could, and then took her car to the one place she found open on a Sunday to handle such issues as her current tire predicament (which, fortunately, was only about a mile away from where we were).

At intermission, she joined me at our seats, her having sat at the back for the first part, due to her having arrived late.

She informed me that she had made it to the performance by asking a woman to drop her off, since it was only about a mile away from where she had had to bring her car.

We laughed at the slight absurdity of it all, and discussed how to get back to the car after the performance ended.

Yes, it was close, but the place would close only half an hour after the performance ended, and my mom wasn’t in running shoes (nor was I).

So, I offered the idea of my spare bus card.

At first, she aimed to find someone we knew after the performance ended, so as to ask for a ride.

Then, she considered Uber (but I was opposed for the cost of it, and the fact that my account isn’t set up properly anymore for here [remember how I lived in Japan]), before reconsidering just asking someone else from the performance whom we didn’t know.

We were running short on time, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for help, when I had means to handle the situation myself – I’m always rather like that… if I can do it myself, even if it is more difficult, I typically still will handle it myself, so that I only ask for help when I truly need it.

So, I looked up the bus route options, and started walking to the bus stop, which was enough encouragement for my mom to give up her idea and go with mine.

I knew her main opposition was simply the same as most people’s in Houston – most people do not use the busses here, unless they financially have no other means of getting around, making the bulk of bus patronage poor laborers, cleaners, minimum wage people in rough situations, and homeless people…, and that can be an uncomfortable, and almost dangerous-feeling experience for those who do not belong to those groups of individuals…, and it can somewhat easily create a feeling of being somewhere dirty, at times…, so no one wants to ride the busses in Houston…, not really, anyway.

I, myself, struggle with it, despite the fact that I use the busses here… I want to promote public transit as much as possible, but I also prefer feeling safe and clean than the opposite, you know?

Nonetheless, it was our most logical option today (in my head, anyway), so we went for the bus.

Another lady coming from a similar downtown performance also joined us in waiting for the bus, and it was quite cool to me to see another ‘normal’ person, so to speak, taking the bus.

My mom, while waiting, mentioned how she had never ridden the bus here, and that she was a bit excited for it.

I smiled and was glad, and told her how it all worked, and that it was mostly just like any other public transit she had ridden elsewhere (except in Vienna, which has one of the best public transit systems ever, and in all aspects of it).

While riding, she asked about how to signal for our stop, and I explained her two options, however, another woman clicked for our stop first.

I told my mom that she could push the tape anyway, just to have the experience and to know what it’s like, pushing the tape on our busses, and she replied coolly and smiling, “I’m touching enough.”

We had seen a whole range of riders come aboard, including all of the stereotypes, smells and all, but also a few other ‘normal’-esque individuals.

Nonetheless, I understood entirely why she had no interest in touching anything more than was necessary at this point.

When we exited the bus, I rushed off in one direction on my predetermined path to the car place, while covering my gaze to the right hand side, and ignoring my mom’s questioning as to why I was going that particular direction, knowing that she would follow me because of my quick pace.

When we were walking into the driveway of the car place, I slowed and dropped my hand, turning toward my mom and informing her of how I had been avoiding any sort of interaction with the man who had been urinating in the trash can that was next to the bus stop.

No, I had not been certain of that being his task, but it looked to be enough so, and I had no interest in discovering anything further on the matter, and so I blocked it from my view, and headed off with the intention of getting away as soon as was possible.

It is funny to me a bit – perhaps ironic – that my mom has told me so much since I’ve moved back to Houston (from Japan) that I need to be careful here, and that it is not like Japan, and yet she does not herself seem to understand how to be careful when in Houston.

She asked why I hadn’t gone the other way around the block, and I, at first, didn’t understand why she was asking – was it not obvious?

And, of course, it wasn’t obvious, I realized… she had no idea the type of hangout that the area was, nor that more people tended to hang out over by that underpass all along its length, and that it was a better idea for us to avoid it altogether, always.

So, while being a bit nervous at my mother’s lack of understanding as to how to be safe in Downtown Houston, I also was consoled in my own ability to be safe here – without realizing it, I had developed my own appropriate way to keep myself safe here in Houston – that’s part of why I tend not to go out at night.

I typically ride my bicycle or scooter, or even take the bus or walk for getting around anywhere near me, and none of those is a very good idea at night…., so I usually just don’t go.

I had begun to think it was merely because of my anti-social emotional side lately, and my dislike for drunk people, but this had me recall that it is more than just an aversion for stupid people that keeps me in most nights. πŸ˜›

Anyway, my mom picked up her car and was bummed about having to spend the money, as was I, but we were grateful for the bit of time we had been able to spend letting my mom experience a Houston Metro bus, and that, at the very least, the concert itself had been free.

But this did remind me of that time we drove way up north to a special spring to get some free, natural spring sulfurous water straight from the source – the city had it posted that anyone could come have water from it, so long as the sun is up – and then drive back home an hour and a half, during which time my mom commented, “Well, that was the most expensive free water I’ve ever gotten,” referring to the gasoline cost and the tolls crossed for the journey. πŸ˜›

It’s been a bit of a joke of ours ever since then.

And so, today’s performance, one could say, was the most expensive free concert we’ve ever attended. πŸ˜›

(Actually, my mom did say that… haha… I’d forgotten that it wasn’t just something I’d thought, but that seems actually said aloud. πŸ˜‚)

Post-a-day 2019

Memories in alcohol

Walking through an absurdly large and diverse (product-wise) Kroger today, I was struck with a sudden and momentary shift back to Japan, as I passed one of the drink aisles….

There was something about its seeming chaotic orderliness, and its crowded feel that took me back to the alcohol aisles in the store near my house in Japan, and, at first, of this one particular store near the train station in a nearby town where I went to help with English stuff…

And the memory was really nice… it was a very good feeling of transportation, and I felt very much at ease, belonging, and comfortable…

Weird to see Japan as such things, but I also totally get it – it is part of me, and certain points of life were stable there that are not stable for me here and now, thus the feeling of stability and comfort from the memory, despite the fact that Japan as a whole was kind of nuts and really hard on me… πŸ™‚

The aisle…

It is definitely more spaced out in the middle than Japan’s comparable aisle, but the setup and feelings were quite the same for me… who’d’a thunk alcohol could be so warm and fuzzy for me? πŸ˜‚

Post-a-day 2019

That Hunk

Okay, can I just have a Scott Eastwood, please?

I don’t need to describe any tall, dark, and handsome details – simply saying ‘a Scott Eastwood’ will do the trick.

Golly, he’s just darn gorgeous.

And just the right age, too.

So, the real Scott Eastwood can continue his film star life – although I should have truly loved to meet his parents, his dad in particular – and I’ll take someone who’s just like him but meant for me, okay?

Okay, thanks, World.

Sounds good.

πŸ˜›

Dear me… Dirty Harry, you done well with that one, at least… and the world is grateful… whoo(!).

I know I am being silly here (and I hope you can tell, too), but I truly am grateful for Scott Eastwood… he is a quite good actor (in the role I’ve seen so far, anyway), and he just lights up the world around him… even if I never see him in person, I am forever grateful that his beauty is present in this world…

I don’t mean to objectify or demean him, here…. for the sake of a comparison: it is like how flowers are for more than being seen and smelled, but they sure do help to make the world a more beautiful place…, and Scott Eastwood is a fabulous flower in the garden of our world.

P.S. Just watched “The Longest Ride”, again.

Post-a-day 2019

Bachelor??

My friend has gotten me stuck on watching the shows “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”.

It isn’t that we actually are all that into them… – I don’t even watch television or television shows or anything anymore (including all of the streamed shows and whatnot [which I have to say, because people tell me all the time how they don’t watch tv anymore either, because they just do Netflix and Hulu and such…]) – more so that it is fun to have a weekly date night in place, during which we get to see beautiful places, see others’ opinions, and consider our own opinions on various topics we perhaps hadn’t considered or, at least, discussed with one another (or, even, others).

The last I had seen the show before this year, they all just spent the whole time in one location.

Nowadays, however, they travel the world.

Upon discovering that, I commented that I wanted to go on the show.

It was a sort of joke at first, more interested in the travel than anything else.

Tonight, however, months later, we got to talking about it in a rather serious way: Do I perhaps actually want to go on the show?

If so, now is the time to apply, we both agreed.

And so, I looked at the application online, and am genuinely considering whether I want to apply for it… it seems simultaneously absurd and a wonderful adventure for me to make… and both sound rather intriguing, to say the least.

“Why do you want to go on ‘The Bachelor’?”

That is my question to consider and to answer in the coming days… if the answer is worth it, I’ll fill it in on the application and submit… if it isn’t to me, then I will close the application… either way, I will feel and be satisfied with my determined path, and I will be delighted for what life has to offer next. πŸ™‚

πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2019

Oink, oink!

I did lots of things today, but I dare say that the best part of today was meeting Mr. Snorty, a rockstar pet to someone I know.

He welcomed me into his home quite happily and easily, and proceeded to snort at me jollily, while sniffing and rubbing against me constantly…

I’ve never met anyone like Mr. Snorty before, but he certainly reminds me of a cross between a cat, a dog, and a barrel. πŸ˜›

I know. πŸ˜‚

Mr. Snorty:

Post-a-day 2019

Cultural Villainy

This afternoon/evening, I found myself discussing various voice and talking style stereotypes in American English and in Japanese (from Japan, of course*).

It all started with seeing the film “Aladdin” in the cinema this afternoon, and then, over ice cream afterward, we veered onto Disney music and its composers a lyricists (and how amazing some of the greats are[!!!]).

Then we branched into the Japanese versions of this music, as the friend with me is Japanese, and she grew up only hearing the Japanese language versions of the songs.

We discussed differences I had found in the music, and why I thought each one was so… now that she has been living in the US for about a year, she saw exactly what I meant and genuinely understood.

“Colors of the Wind” sounds somewhat stressed and so compounded and busy in Japanese, yet the English sounds so open and contemplative, filled with deep breaths and space through the notes and the words… there are just too many syllables in the Japanese, and too many consonants in between all the vowels…

An American likely would be appalled at hearing the Japanese version of Scar’s voice, because the voice doesn’t match the type of villain that he is… it is not entitled and brooding and, almost like serial killer style, the voice of someone who is biding his time until his plot can unfurl perfectly to his advantage – until, at last, he is granted his dues, as Scar says.

To American ears, the Japanese Scar in pathetic and angry and holds no weight behind his short-man angry yelling of a voice, desperately hoping someone will listen to him and do what he wants others to do.

And yet, to Japanese ears, the Japanese Scar is exactly right: He is the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ voice and has that same ‘bad guy’ and ‘villain’ manner of speaking… the English version would sound just ‘American’, and have nothing special tied to it for Japanese ears.

And my friend was able to see and hear just these things, and mainly because she has become accustomed to hearing so many different ways of speaking that people have here in English (unlike Japanese English in Japan, which is pretty much always the same).

And, somehow, I found the whole situation to be fascinating and utterly fulfilling… I had never really thought quite so much and quite so pointedly about the translations and the voices of actors until today, though it certainly was not my first or, even, tenth time considering it all.

It had me feel an almost silly passion for Disney and, in particular, “The Lion King”, and yet I couldn’t find a reason not to care so much about it all – I love languages and music and seeing things in new ways, and these Disney movies had huge impacts on my childhood and, therefore, my life as a whole… they are a part of me… and I care about and love myself.

So, I guess I get to love those Disney films, too, silly little perfect details and all. πŸ™‚

By the way, I went into “Aladdin” with an attitude of its being a different film and perspective of the same story as the animated version…, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film – it was wonderful(!).

And it was filmed in Jordan(!)… how cool is that?!

I don’t often go to cinemas these days (in the US, anyway), but I am glad I went today – it was a lovely experience. πŸ™‚

*Does Japanese have a culture of native speakers anywhere else in the world?

Post-a-day 2019