Lockdown: Still, like air, I’ll rice

In case you were losing sleep over my stuck-open sunroof: when I got into the car this afternoon, started the engine, and hit the button, the roof closed right up. Whew.

My mom’s gift was six five-pound bags of Japanese rice from Rice Factory, a rice mill in Honolulu. Sooo I’m no expert, but I know from testimony by my elders that Japanese rice is a different animal from American rice, which is almost all grown in California. Some Japanese people have difficulty adjusting to American rice, and when there have been rice shortages in Japan and importers have brought in American rice, it’s almost always a failure.

Japanese rice has its own terroir, supposedly, and Rice Factory brings in stuff it considers the best. So I bought my mom six varieties from different regions, asking her to let me know what she likes best. For future reference.

I drove it over and left it at the front door. My dad came down and carried it upstairs, and I chatted with my mom from below. It was nice. My parents both look good. The dog seemed happy to see me but disappointed we couldn’t hang out. I was happy to see them all.

Breakfast was a bowl of turkey chili with hapa rice. Have I mentioned how pleased I am with how this pot came out? Lunch was a Wendy’s hamburger and baked potato, grabbed on the way home from seeing the folks. I’ve got (American) rice cooking right now for a late dinner: more chili and rice. Mostly because it’s made, and I’m not up to preparing anything despite this morning’s intentions.

Somewhere in there I snacked on some potato salad.

I tackled the Monster for a bit. Set a modest goal and went past it. It felt good, as unpleasant as it was. I’ve sorta broken the whole nasty project into three separate tasks. One is pretty clean and doesn’t take long, but it makes a huge difference in my ability to do the other tasks, so I try to save it for evenings when I’m especially unmotivated. Low effort with big rewards? Yeah, bring that on.

The second task is slightly unpleasant and somewhat laborious, but when I do it, the third (disgusting) task is easier to get into, since’s it’s merely unpleasant and not much work. Sunday evening I did the third task for about an hour. I got a lot done in an hour.

And then, right at 11 in the evening, I went out for a long walk. I logged 6000 steps before midnight (I’d already had 2000 just from normal walking around the house beforehand). Then 9600 steps after midnight, so somewhere between 13K and 14K for the evening. It felt good. I listened to the new Nightwish album, this time determined to listen attentively to the whole thing. More on that later, but I have to say I like it quite a bit more than I thought I would. I also listened to the debut album from Konvent, Puritan Masochism. They’re an all-female death-doom band from Denmark and I was pretty impressed, even if a little of that music goes a long way for me. Then got through most of Under Acid Hoof by Acid Mammoth, a stoner-doom band. I’m liking it so far. It’ll take a few listens before I get a good handle on it, which in the case of stoner metal usually means figuring what (if anything) distinguishes it from other bands in the same genre.

The thing about depression is that sometimes it has a reason, and sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes when you’ve embraced that, you don’t try to find a reason. I’m not willing to put money on it, but I suspect it’s easier to slide into the numbness when I’m not getting those steps in the evenings. The fresh air, the aching knee, the blister on my right sole — I think they’re all related to keeping the hounds at bay.

I sent texts to Tiger (I’ve called her something else in this space, the high-school classmate whose identity I can’t share because of her work) but it makes more sense to call her by her high-school nickname even though I haven’t called her that in 30 years. Also to JB. Haven’t heard back from either yet.

Charles and I traded texts about his work situation. He had a part-time job as a resource aide at a local middle school, but with no students on campus, there’s no need for him, and he was laid off. He’s still got a part-time job at a pizza place, but that’s not going to keep him going. I’m keeping an eye out for work for him.

Crush Girl and I traded texts about a friend we have in common who has a new position. A short but nice conversation.

The rice is done, but I think I’m better off saving it for Monday. Maybe I’ll just have a few bites of something small, instead of the full-on dinner I was looking forward to. I think sleep is a higher priority right now, as it’s 3:18 a.m. Monday.

I’m looking forward to a super-productive week, one in which I may finally get that nagging car stuff taken care of. I have one more task for it, hopefully for Monday evening, before I send it off to the shop. I’m also determined to get everything ready for the laundry before eight in the evening so I can get to bed suuuuuper early and have enough sleep before I drive to Manoa.

Whatever you’re looking forward to, if anything, if you haven’t got someone to share it with, I encourage you to reach out. Let’s get through this together.

Friday 5: For Ric and Ben

From here.

  1. Where did you go the first time you drove by yourself?
    My mom managed a Japanese restaurant a mile or so from the house. I’m pretty sure the first time I drove anywhere by myself was bringing the car back from dropping her off at work. It was meant to be practice. Drive mom there, then drive home alone. A slightly less (but still) boring alternate answer: the first time I drove my own vehicle alone the first time, my dad woke me up one Saturday morning and tossed me the keys to the truck and said, “Learn to drive it!” It was a stick, and I’d been having slight difficulty learning to really drive it while he was riding shotgun. He knew it, too. So he told me to take it out and learn to drive it on my own. It was actually kind of brilliant because I knew what I needed to work on. I drove into Waimalu Valley where I found a small rise, then worked the clutch and gas back and forth, pulling up the rise, coasting backward back down it, and holding steady midway up. Then I took it into town and drove it up Nuuanu Avenue a few times. I was going to have to take my sister to school, and that was the main hill between home and her school. I pretty much had it down pretty quickly, so then I just drove around for the fun of it.
  2. Who was the first non-family non-instructor you drove anywhere, and where did you go?
    In that first drive in the truck, I picked my friend Colleen up, and we cruised around Makiki for an hour or so. It was fun. It’s still fun. I love driving.
  3. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done behind the wheel?
    I’ve done some pretty stupid things behind the wheel, but the dumbest has to be driving without my glasses. I had a pair of novelty glasses and I thought it would be funny to pick up a friend while wearing them. Two blocks from his family’s house in military housing, I pulled over and put the novelty glasses on, putting my prescription glasses in the glove compartment. Stupid stupid stupid! If I’d done it to impress a girl, that would have been one thing, but this was just some guy I offered a ride to. We were on our way to meet a some other computer nerds at some computer nerd gathering somewhere.
  4. What’s the nicest drive you’ve ever taken?
    Near the end of my second-to-last semester in Hilo, Captain Daveman, Tasha, Rosanne, and I drove to Kona for a picnic. I’d never been! We took Tasha’s cute little Mazda two-door hatch. Dave drove out, we had a great time, and I drove back. It was dark coming back, and we were all aglow from the nice day. Some of us slept. Rosanne rode shotgun, and we sang along to whatever was playing on Tasha’s stereo. I would have confessed my love for Rosanne that night if she’d pressed me, whether or not I was actually in love with her (I wasn’t). We were all feeling so good I probably would have confessed my love for everyone in the world, but it would have been most true of — well, R of course, but Rosanne would have been second. Visually, it was a far better drive going out there. But sometimes the nicest drives don’t involve scenery at all. I’ve taken lovely drives in California, Virginia, and Tennessee. I can’t think of one that compares to that long, starry, dark drive from Kona back to Hilo.
  5. Who’s the worst driver you know?
    Speaking of driving in Virginia, I was visiting JB and his soon-to-be wife in Richmond. We went to DC to pick up a rental van for some people flying in for the wedding, taking the day also to see the Orioles host the Mariners in Camden Yards. It was the summer Cal Ripken would break Lou Gehrig’s ironman record for consecutive games played. We’d taken the fiance’s car up (of course I know her name but since I’m about to talk smack about her I’m keeping it off Google; we’re friends now after all these years but still), but JB drove the van back, and asked me to ride shotgun with the fiance to help her stay up. Turns out the fiance doesn’t have depth perception and drives RIGHT UP ON THE CAR IN FRONT OF HER. At freeway speeds in the dark of night down through major construction. I have never been so scared with someone else behind the wheel. That ride from DC back to Richmond was incredibly long, and when we finally (miraculously) pulled into the driveway, I got out of the car and kissed the ground. Yes I did. Then JB came over and whispered, “Forgot to warn you she’s the worse driver ever.”

I’ve been thinking about how Crush Girl might be reading this, and I’m sliiiightly self-conscious now. Trying not to think about it, but I think sometimes this week I’ll write an open letter to her in this space, just in case she is. Although really, after what I’ve already written, I’m not sure I have much more to say.

Mochi Girl used to read this space, in the time leading up to our near-miss and for some time after. Rosanne has also read it, leaving comments here and there (I haven’t written about it here but Rosanne was an exchange student at UH Hilo and we had a little bit of a fling for two days before she went back). I don’t think K ever read it, but S was at least aware of it. R was aware of it from day one but I think she chose never to read it as a matter of principal. And of course Mr. HBA (that’s Mr. R) has read it. I’ve been told he was pretty pissed about some of the things I’ve written. I don’t apologize for expressing myself and I take nothing back, but I do understand if the man thinks I unfairly wrote bad things about him in a public space.


I can’t point to a specific day when it was over, but I realized this week that I’ve been out of the Crush-Girl-initiated depression. I also didn’t realize until this week how deeply I was in it.

I don’t use this word depression lightly. I know what it means. And while I don’t have a diagnosis, a college professor pretty much convinced me I probably have a low-grade version of it, and conversations with friends who have been diagnosed reinforce my belief. It’s why I write so much about the darkness. Whatever it is, it takes me into these really dark spaces; thankfully never truly incapacitating, but nearly.

I’m not struggling to get out of bed and look at the world anymore, and it was a pretty solid month and a half of it. I’m still sad, of course. The Crush Girl stuff is rough ground, and I half wish I’d never even gone there, because now all the normal things in my life feel quite a bit lamer.

Someone I know works in an office with a terrificly beautiful view, and she feels lonely there. Her coworkers work across town, and she hasn’t bonded yet with the people in her office space.

“I have this amazing view and nobody to share it with,” she said to me one day recently.

I almost said, “Welcome to my whole life!” but I resisted. I don’t have to make every conversation about me, despite popular belief.

At least the friend has a family and kids. She’s only lonely at work! Haha.

Ha. Ha.

Anyway yeah. Still sad. But not stay-in-bed-for-sixteen-hours miserable. Someone at work commented on it. She said I seem to have returned to my former self. I wouldn’t go that far, but I appreciate the observation, the sentiment, and the concern.