Saturday, February 27, 2010

Love: A Personal History

You grow up thinking it's perfectly normal that your parents love each other and hate each other at the same time. So it's also normal that they love you and hate you. You believe that every kiss should be paired with a slap and every "I Love You" is waiting for a retraction.

And then you are watching Step By Step and Full House and learn that real, anglo-saxon, American love is unconditional. You wonder why the people that say they love you can also hate you and ultimately hurt you. [It is because they are Asian.] So you force yourself to stop forgiving them for the way they make you feel and you decide to resent them instead. And when they say, "I love you," you stop believing. And where you used to respond, "I love you too," you don't say anything anymore.

But as you grow older you realize that this is not their fault. They cannot love you because they cannot understand you. They will continue to see what they want to see: the archetypal version of a son that will one day marry an Asian girl who will bear them three grandsons. And they will love that archetype with all of their hearts and they will love the real you the only way they know how. And though you still can't bring yourself to say you love them, you can appreciate their gestures.

And when you are all grown you think you don't need your parents' love. You know what real love is and you can find it in the form of a boyfriend or a naked French rugby player or through the unrequited adoration of Kim Yu-Na.

But the people you love can never love you back in the idealized manner you've always imagined. And when you are with your boy, all the little things bother you because they seem to tell you that, just like your parents, he loves you and he hates you.

And though you've convinced yourself you would be capable of loving somebody that truly understood you, you find that you are not so different from your parents. Like them, you are incapable of love. Because you don't know how to feel loved without feeling hurt.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Panda Hat(er)

To commemorate Tai Shan's last day in DC, I wear my cute fuzzy panda hat to work. It was a doubly good day to wear it because it was very cold outside and my cute fuzzy panda hat keeps my head and ears quite warm.

The receptionist sees my hat and smiles.
______, the bitch, says, "I like your hat."
My supervisor sees it and laughs for the first time since 2003.
Visitor A says, "Can I try it on?!"

The day is a success. Not only am I paying tribute to Tai Shan, I have made countless people on the metro and at work smile. I have brought joy to the world.

The next day I receive a call from my supervisor, who is working remotely.

Her: Did anybody talk to you about your hat?
Me: _____ said it was cute.
Her: Oh, I probably shoudn't say anything then.

She continues.

Her: Somebody came to me saying the hat was not appropriate for the workplace and it conflicts with the image we are trying to portray.
Me: Who said this.
Her: I cannot tell you who said it.
Me: It was ____ from marketing wasn't it.
Her: I cannot tell you who said it.
Me: My life is over.
Her: I would not worry about this.
Me: If you need to reach me, I will have run myself through the paper shredder.

I was not trying to make a statement. All I wanted to do was pay homage to Tai Shan and wear something that was cute and fuzzy and warm. And now ____ from marketing has turned me into this frivolous sociopath trying to dismantle the company's meticulously polished brand image. Even worse, he has turned my cute fuzzy panda hat into a symbol of anarchy.

And before you wag your finger at me, take a moment to consider that I am not the one taking two hour lunch breaks to go to Georgetown Cupcake and renting a zipcar with the company card to take day trips to Philadelphia and New York City. But I am sorry. I am sorry for wanting to have fun and for being cute.

I never meant for my cute fuzzy panda hat to become an emblem of sweeping social change, but my cute fuzzy panda hat and I will show the world that cute fuzzy panda hats and professionalism belong side by side. When I show up next week, cute fuzzy panda hat and all, I will show the world that my cute fuzzy panda hat is the embodiment of corporate commitment to quality and integrity.

And ____ from marketing is just jealous that he isn't as cute as I am, anyway.