Eavesdropping on Strangers’ Sunday Brunch Dates

Shanghai, Brunch.


Oh my god, seriously… he’s still talking about the issues with his Kindle?

What— he’s talking about Sam Raimi and has the awareness to mention that the guy is well known for “Spider Man” but doesn’t mention “Drag Me To Hell”?

Girl… just ditch this guy while you can. Where did you find this guy, OkCupid? Please don’t tell me you used Tinder, because if this is your shallow I am terrified of your deep. Girl, he is now explaining basic information to you and the whole sing-song about having an office in Hong Kong should have been the point at which you got up and left him to his blended juice, coffee and American breakfast.

It’s a Sunday. It’s too early in the week for this. It’s God’s day!

Oh how drole, he skips out on lettuce. He’s talking to you about lettuce. HE IS TALKING ABOUT LETTUCE.

Is he trying to show off his bad Chinese now as he tries to ask for honey but invariably fails after several trials (Dude: don’t get mad at the waiter for not understanding you, he’s not the one butchering his language)? His global awareness (“Oh you like the chai at Starbuck’s because it reminds you of Chirstmas…yeah, I can see what you mean… but you know what ‘chai’ is in Chinese? And you know how they feel about India”)?


Girl, you need to get out before he tries to make another point. Because after kindles, lettuce and his fucking thing with chai (which mind you, he never really elaborated on, so I think he’s just decided to make that shit up)— oh no! Here it comes, the big moment: he’s in a writing group.


Go, guy. Talk about the short stories you wrote while you were with you’re ex who you lived with at the time (“She was Shanghainese”) to which your poor date says “OH, COOL!” and then draw out that silence and look down and now your date is confused on as to how she managed to order three (yes, three!) toppings on her bagel.

Did you make her boring?

Back to ex. 15 minutes later. Still on the ex. The see-saw of your relationship. One person is ready when the other isn’t and this responsibility alternates for months and then weeks, and then  oh did she cheat on you?! You poor lettuce-avoiding little man.

Verdict: She was awful….well, she was cool (yeah buddy maybe don’t talk smack about women to your date) oh but it was awful… and then it was over and then FREEDOM.

But 15 minutes later and you’re still talking about your ex. And now your date is talking about your ex, and she never even met her!

“For how long?” she asks. Feed the details, because now you can connect over the mutual flaying of a stranger who doesn’t even exist anymore, now she’s the Phantom of an Ex, looming over and ruining who you once were, but it’s ok because you’ve learned to fight away your demons and are now a fully capable person and this is evidenced by your strength of character as you send back the cream cheese, and the new apartment and the new iphone you got yourself because you have brought your life back around.

But apparently… the Phantom Ex started seeing someone  just 6 months after…and you had been together for three years…and then she got married just 6 months after she started seeing someone. But it’s ok, because some people just feel pressure to get married, but not… are you used to being single, he asks his date.

And girl, who cares if you waited until you were 18 to start dating? It doesn’t sound like you really cared about it that much until Kindle/Lettuce/Not-over-his-Ex guy asked you about it.

Because you didn’t, and now you’re— oh.

You’re gone now.


Dreams of Fairer Fields

Sometimes I really wish my life was a B-grade 80’s horror flick, and then I look outside and get really worried it’s one of those depressing documentaries PBS makes that has really unnerving humanist undertones and you get so angry at this you clench your jaw and growl and throw your hands up in an exasperated “well, that’s 45 minutes wasted.” But on the bright side, that was also 45 minutes of figuring out what movies you really don’t like watching. I like the movie showing right now, at least so far.

not mine, but appropriate to feelings of mounting sense of anxiety

For a minute, I became an obsessive journal writer.I still don’t know what that means about me and I feel oddly and unnecessarily annoyed by it. To quote Didion, “I’m not sure if any of it matters for my purposes.”

I also didn’t write because I didn’t want writing to turn into writing about depression. The past year and a half of my life have really been about coming to terms with the fact that I am a depressed person. I can deal with that now, which actually makes me quite happy and feel way less sad. It’s also been about becoming ok with writing things about me.
I was becoming very terrified of writing. I found that what I had always enjoyed as a kinetic process was turning into a process by which I would force myself to expose pieces and bits of myself that weren’t ready be exposed. Does that make it (the act of writing) “Art”? Am I forcing myself to this brink because of an anxious curiosity about the state of _______ and how it affects me? What I internalize? I think of Whitman: “I contain multitudes, do I contradict myself?”

Continue reading

23 Questions My Friend Thought I Could Answer

I have a dear and lovely friend that writes a pretty neat life/travel/real people blog. Her name is Erin, but I like to “EEEEEErin” beacuse she’s super fun and fun demands enthusiasm. So, because I’m awful at having motivation to write we decided to swap a series of questions. She told me she’d have her questions for me way before I knew I would, but I promised I wouldn’t look at her questions before writing mine, which is true. But– as promised, here’s her questions and my answers.


  1. How many letters does it take to construct your full name? L:2,I,H:2, A:2,R, V, E: 2,Y. For a grand total of 12 letters.
  2. Are you a dog or a cat person? CAT? I really think it depends, because some cats are total asses. But dogs are so ugh sometimes.
  3. What movie title would you choose to describe your life right now? “Splash”
  4. Can you describe to me the last dream you remember having? Bill Cunningham was couchsurfing at my apartment. That is all.
  5. What was the worst school/work uniform you were ever forced to wear? The uniform I actually had to wear wasn’t as bad as this totally garbage “dress code” thing for the middle school I went to. You could only wear maroon, gray or navy blue. So. Ugly.
  6. If I gave you a $1,000,000USD right now, what would be your first extravagant purchase? First thing? Uh, probably a $30 Long Island Iced Tea. That’s extravagant to me.
  7. You are ruler of the world for one year. What is the first global legislation you enact? Hate crimes are prosecuted as crimes against humanity.
  8. What is your favourite time in the day/night? This depends on the season. But I’m a fan of 5:30-7 pm. Probably because that’s when I’m eating dinner…
  9. What is your favourite flower? Poppies & marigolds & little baby roses
  10. Will print ever die? No.
  11. What is your least favourite English word? “Sure.” It’s annoying, it expresses this sort of complacent, uninterested engagement with others and things around one.
  12. Do you know how to perform CPR? No, but I can totally make out.
  13. If you could try out any job for one week, what would it be? Counselor.
  14. What is your favourite quote? “I  believe my desires are reality because I believe in the reality of my desires” (translated for French, so I may have botched it, but you get it)
  15. How would you react if you were lost in dense jungle bush? Annoyed. I’m not good at climbing trees.  
  16. Would you choose to go back in time and meet an ancestor, or go ahead in time and meet your potential offspring? EUGH.  Back. 
  17. Are you in a video somewhere on YouTube? Probably.
  18. Communism, good or bad? Neither. Useful. Hasn’t actually been realized off the page though.
  19. If you had a spirit animal, what would it be? I want to say a fox or cat, but it’s probably something odd like a corgi.
  20. Financially rich, emotionally rich, life experience rich. Which two do you choose to be? AY NO FUN.  Double E rich: emotionally and experience. My thrifty ways shall keep me afloat! (Way more fun too!)
  21. What does your perfect living space look like? It looks like something from the 1960s, BUT NOT WHEN IT WAS GETTING CLOSE TO THE 70s, full of little knick knacks and weird things and neat rugs and nice light wood floors and a big kitchen 
  22. What would you like to be remembered for? For caring.
  23. Is there one dish you can always cook to perfection? YES. I make a mean tandoori chicken with raita and tumeric rice.

If you are curious as to what I asked and how she answered, go to: http://syntheticjournal.com/2013/08/28/friends-are-the-best/

XYZ, or, the most intense thought to be posted to date.

Synthetic Journal

These are my own un-edited, un-counseled, thoughts. I implore you to feel these next few paragraphs not in a sense of pity or sympathy (if such emotions should come to you), but more that I have specifically chosen each word to aid self-understanding and contemplation. There is no remorse, or ‘what-if’ word selected to trigger a negative response on purpose.


I write the below summary to prove to myself that one: you don’t need any physical/emotional-altered sense of sobriety to write how you feel, and two: maybe someone else needs to hear these words.

“When you were born, the doctors didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl”.

I first heard these words when I was in my early-teens, around 13 or 14. At the time, the implication didn’t fully sink in. I thought maybe the physical process of birth (a wonderfully disgusting natural process of blood…

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A Letter to My Alter-Ego, or Perhaps an Imagined Person to “Fall in Love With”On Distance

Yesterday, I really did just sit on the couch and start crying. When I told my old poetry professor about it and he asked what my family thought I just told him the truth, and the truth is that I didn’t let anybody notice because my crying while sitting on the couch on a perfectly regular, American, suburban southwestern day is not about being noticed. And it is most certainly not about having someone asking you about why you are crying or what is “wrong” with you.

It is about having a disconnect in every part of my body, especially on the outside.  It kills me to imagine the “remoteness” of a “real” “connection.” What really kills is the perception that in order to “have” (here: posses, experience) something “real” (what, is this capital T, Truth? Bullshit.) an inordinate amount of distance or pain is required by the person wanting and the desire itself. This, this perception is in itself, fucking stupid. The truth is I feel lied to. And now, I’m writing about either as a way to test myself or as a way to maybe lie to myself further. Continue reading

On an Breakdown

 For about two weeks now I’ve been in the United States. There are lawns, and cars and stars and memories and house parties and bars with good beer. In two weeks I am scheduled to go back out into a world that’s supposed to be, feel, smell, seem “realer.” I’m reading and meeting and breathing and ____ and ______ and _____, ___________ in the ____time.

I am scraping the bottom of yogurt containers until my hand starts to shake out of some hunger to consume everything. And I don’t feel like I’m taking anything in, rather whatever “everything” is as a subject is going through me, wrapping my guts around its ugly iron neck like some stylish boa, trailing them along a highway it’s repurposed as a cat walk. Continue reading