Overheard at the Office

Depending on your personality/interests my current scenario would either be heaven or hell for you. Of course, you could also be indifferent to it I suppose.

I currently share office space with a Indian Astrologer and have been for the past 5-6 months. While I don’t believe in astrology at all, I don’t judge those that do. It’s just not how I do. The way I see it, those guys (real talk though, why are they always dudes?) provide some sense of comfort to their clients and a listening ear to people who just want to have someone hear them.

That’s the relentless optimist in me. At the same time I’ve heard all the stories that you probably have about these Astrologer dudes swindling people out of hundreds of dollars.

Yeah.

I could write much much more about this topic but maybe some other day. What I did want to write about is, that today I forgot my headphones that I use to tune out conversations between the Astrologer and his clients. I like to listen to music when he’s with clients cause:

A. I don’t feel like I have the right to be able to hear those conversations

B. I don’t want their nonsensical conversations bouncing around in my head. Major distraction.

But, alas, I forgot my headphones today and am hoping by posting these gems here I can purge them from my head. In no order I present some snippets overheard today. All these quotes are by clients cause to be honest the Astrologer hmm’s and yes’ most of the time.

No I told you, he did black magic on me and my son and now you do more back at him! Double what he did on me….or even triple.

*****

I felt so good after leaving here last time but then last night I couldn’t stop crying. I was crying all night, I couldn’t sleep at all. Now today I have a headache. I think it’s cause of the spell she put on me. She’s making me have a headache.

*****

My boyfriend is my soulmate and this girl cursing me is his friend. I think she’s just jealous of me. But she’s Indian too so you know she knows this stuff [curses/black magic] really well. Like this is why I’m worried about her.

*****

Hey I lost hundreds of dollars to one of you guys! The Astrologer at [address], yeah him, he took all my money and I didn’t even get better……so how much you charge?

*****

Last one for now. The Astrologer speaks broken English so sometimes he has trouble understanding clients who speak English. This was a wonderful exchange.

Client: I’ve had this health problem now for five years now, when will it be better?

Astrologer: For how long have you had it?

C: For five years!

A: Ah, fourty five years.

C: No. For FIVE years!

A: Oh, I see four to five years.

C: NO. I. Have. This. Problem. Five. Years.

Me: *facepalm*

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Overheard at the Office

Dreaming of Dead Loved Ones

Earlier today I was listening to an episode of a current favourite podcast of mine. Shout out to the JV Club hosted by the wonderful Janet Varney. I’m a newcomer to the podcast so I have been working my way through the backlog of episodes and I’m just finishing up episode 34 at the moment. (This particular episode can be found here – http://www.nerdist.com/pepisode/the-jv-club-34-stephanie-escajeda/). If you are a fan of podcasts, or even if you aren’t but are open to giving them a try I would recommend giving the JV Club a try. In each episode Janet’s guests recall and walk us through their childhood and high school memories. Episodes vary on topics and themes and you never exactly know where a episode is going to go but that’s part of the joy. There’s more to it than that but this post isn’t meant to be a review of the podcast as wonderful as it is!

So I was listening to episode 34 and the guest was speaking about how her brother had passed away while she was in high school and how she had a difficult time letting him go. She then speaks about one particular moment of having a dream in which her brother essentially told her she needs to let him go and move on. It was a beautiful story and got me thinking about loved ones of mine that have died. Not because I was thinking of anything beyond that but I was just taking a moment to think about who I’ve lost and reflecting on those moments.

People who know me in real life know that my memory is real shit at times. I’m horrible at remembering people’s names, even people I have met and spoken with numerous times. I also have the fantastic ability of forgetting whole experiences. Such as attending a specific social event or going to a particular party. Yeah. For real. It has happened and I’m sure not for the last time.

Right, where was I? Ah, yes. So most recently–it’s been a few years now–and most notably I lost my grandfather on my dad’s side. Not like lost him in a lost and found sense, lost in the he’s dead sense. I’m 98.6% we aren’t going to find him now. Cue X-Files music. Did I also mention some people think my humour can be dark sometimes?

Anyways I was just reflecting on my times spent with my grandfather and a part of me was also wondering if I’d ever experienced anything like what was mentioned in the podcast and it took a few minutes but then it was like a physical slap to the face and I suddenly remembered, with scary detail, that yes, I actually have experienced something similar. It’s really odd how you can have zero recollection of something one moment and in the next second remember it so vividly and have it seem so fresh. Our brains are weird.

First some context. When my grandfather passed away I was living on residence and in my first year at university. Coincidentally this was also one of the worst years of my life as my depression was as full blown as it’s ever been. I went from being a honour student all throughout high school to being on academic probation by the end of my first year. I cannot remember much of this year which I think is for the best. Of what I do remember, I barely used to make it out of my room to attend classes and I slept a lot because I could never find the energy to do much else and it also gave me a reprieve from my perceived reality at that time. This is a VERY simplified summary but why I’m mentioning it is because in this year I was so very much in my own depressed world that I had little awareness of what was happening around me. If I had been paying attention I would have realized that in this same time frame my grandfather’s health had begun to deteriorate at a rapid pace. I also would not have been as shocked as I was when my parents called me before I walked into a final exam to mention my grandfather had been taken to the hospital and things didn’t look well for him. That was definitely a interesting exam to take after getting that news. For those on the edge of their seat, I somehow passed. I have some sort of sick pride in the fact that even though I was put on academic probation, horribly depressed and hating life, not attending classes or putting in much of an effort in anything related to academics, I technically still didn’t fail that year. Go me!

What I’m trying to get at is I had quite a bit of guilt and shame surrounding my grandfather’s passing as I felt like I wasn’t there for him as much as I could have been as I was selfishly wrapped up in my own issues. I no longer feel this way as I was able to work through things, take a step back and get some perspective. One of the things that did help was actually the dream I had,  which until yesterday, I had completely forgotten.

I’m aware of the concept of lucid dreaming and this wasn’t a lucid dream. I could not control my actions or my speech but many of the things I said were thoughts I had been having and was having during the dream. I cannot remember the exact starting point but essentially what happened was randomly my grandfather was alive again. Not in the sense that he had never died, we were all aware that my grandfather was dead but all of a sudden here he was in front of us, alive and breathing and his regular old self. There was shock and confusion, joy, more confusion, tears and lot of hugging and smiles. It was great. I have a pretty big extended family and I can remember visiting all their houses with my grandfather as the news spread that by some unexplainable rigamarole of events that we had all been wrong and he was alive and oh wasn’t it just wonderful that we were all wrong.

I would also like to note that the dream spanned a time frame of a few weeks or maybe it was a couple of months. I just remember there were long gaps of time. After the shock and confusion wore down we, and by we I mean my family members and I returned to our regular schedules. Like I can remember literally seeing and absorbing the knowledge that we were all just slowly going back to our lives of school/work/family/social life etc. The last scene or interaction I remember of my dream is the part that came back with the most detail actually, and it was of my grandfather and I just sitting in a room.

Quick context of who my grandfather was as a person. He was generally a man of few words outside of the rare occasion of reminiscing with friends or family at parties or something when he could be more talkative. He wasn’t the type of person who was the life of a party. He was mostly the observant type and in group settings would add to a conversation when he deemed necessary otherwise he was content to just silently sit and observe. When he spoke people listened. People looked up to him and sought him out, looking for advice.

I could feel a thickness in the air and almost had a sense of dread about why I was with my grandfather alone and on some level just knew everything had been building up to this moment. After a few moments of sitting together silently he quietly asked me why he was here and why he back here with everyone? And even as I scrambled for a answer, “I don’t know but isn’t it great there you are here? Look how happy everyone is, we missed you so much! Grandma missed you, your family missed you but now we have you back and it’s better now.” Even as I rambled on with reasons that weren’t really reasons, it ultimately sounded empty and just wrong. Not because the family didn’t miss him. Just in that moment I knew I was grasping at straws and no matter what I said, no answer that I gave would have sufficed because we both knew the real answer. He shouldn’t be here.

My grandfather had these beautifully blue eyes that over time became clouded and greyish. Unfortunately no one else in the family inherited them. You think out of 8 kids one of them would have, what a fail. I can remember him looking me in the eyes and telling me he didn’t belong here. That everyone was fine and even if that wasn’t the case it didn’t matter because he simply shouldn’t be here. There was no reason for him to be here.

He didn’t say it with any sadness but more so with a sense of pride. My grandfather did have a long and fruitful life, much more than I am sure I will ever truly even know. When I look back at his final days of consciousness now I can remember the state of peace he was in, he was awake long enough to accept what the reality of the moment was with 100% lucidity. He got to say goodbye to those he wished to which is already more than some people get. The last conversation I had with my grandfather before he slipped into his coma was with him at the hospital the night before we brought him home to live out his last few days. The visiting hours were ending and my dad and I made our way to the door to leave his hospital room and he asked my dad where we were going and why we were leaving him alone. My dad told him we would be back tomorrow and all the visitors had to leave. He asked my dad if I had to leave as well and told my dad to just leave me with him so he wouldn’t have to be alone yet.

My whole life I knew my grandfather as a proud self-sufficient individual and hearing him say these things, it was one of the very few times in my life I saw him be vulnerable. I approached his bedside and told him I was sorry that I had to leave but I would try and come back tomorrow with my dad. Then I asked him if he needed anything or would like me to bring him something from home, I wasn’t sure if he was even completely lucid enough to understand the question but before we left the room he asked me to bring him a slice of the cinnamon coconut cake I make sometimes. I’m a avid baker and my grandfather had a wicked sweet tooth so that was always a great part of our relationship. Whether he knew it or not when I look back on that moment I really treasure it because he gave me the feeling of being able to help and feel somehow useful in that moment. I wasn’t aware of it then but it helped me in so many ways at a time that I really needed it. Realistically his health was at a point by that time when he couldn’t eat solids nor did he have a appetite but he still made that request. I still think about him whenever I bake that particular cake and I’m not sure that will ever fade.

Concluding this post that has become much much longer than I had initially intended. In response to my dream, the cynical asshole side of me would say wow great job, you invoked a dream of your dead grandfather and got him to say things to you just to relieve yourself of misplaced guilt. Granddaughter of the year. On the other hand, and while I’m not a very religious person like on a good day I’m agnostic at best, the dream impacted me in that moment in a way that was very much spiritual. To explain how I think would be another whole post. I also understand it is hard to believe this all considering I had completely forgotten about it until recently. However now that I have remembered it I also can remember how much it changed things for me in those years after my grandfather’s death, in terms of my mental health and forgiving myself. Like I think I have to consciously remember that it’s not a real memory but it was a dream.

I don’t really have a tidy end to this post. I just wanted to record a forgotten memory of a moment that was actually really impactful in my life. Cause let’s be real, statistically it’s very possible I will forget this again in the near future.

Dreaming of Dead Loved Ones

Dreams Are Fun

I recently got a app on my phone that tracks your sleeping patterns and I’ve found that it is quite helpful in getting a more restful sleep and if nothing else, it is a good way to motivate myself to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep a night. The app tracks your weekly deficit of sleeping time in red font to really let you know that even at a simple task such as sleeping you are a fucking failure. Nothing says failure like red font.

Usually when I wake up I experience faint fleeting images and feelings of the dream but all traces of it will generally vanish within a couple minutes of getting up and out of bed. I’m trying to get better at recalling my dreams as the idea of lucid dreaming really intrigues me and I would love to acquire such a skill one day. Just imagining the possibilities. Amazing.

Anyways this morning I was not only able to remember most of my dream but it made me laugh so I figured, hey why not share it with the world. This is definitely something that needs to be broadcasted on the world wide interwebs.

The Dream:

I’d just gotten married (oh boy my parents are just as pleased and relieved in my dream as I could have ever expected them to be. Bonus points for realism). Flash forward a few months and I’m knocked up, let’s say a minimum of 9 months have passed cause I’m a lady dammit. Actually it felt more like a few weeks in my dream coughcoughshotgunweddingcough. So I have the kid and luckily going through the delivery was not part of my dream. Even my dream state self was like fuck that noise, peace out! Where was I? Right so I have the kid and I’m at my parents house and they’re helping me take care of it. I’m referring to the baby as a it cause I cannot remember if it was a boy or girl. It was cute though? I guess? I dunno at this point in my day trying to recall what it looked like, it looked like a beautiful bouncy baby shaped blur. So my parents are helping me with the blur and all of a sudden I’m like isn’t it weird that the father of the baby hasn’t shown up…like at all? He wasn’t at the hospital, even though my dream didn’t have a hospital scene I just knew this to be true. He hasn’t dropped by the house like this is weird right? And my parents just kind of nod in agreement. Thanks for the support parents sigh

Right so my memory of the father, as with the baby, is pretty much of a unnamed, man shaped blur. The next scene I remember is arriving at the front door of a house and peering through the windows and seeing the good for nothing jackass sitting on a sofa watching television. I’m not a violent person but god damn my dream version in this scenario was. I kicked down the door (right?) and marched in and gave him a verbal and a bit physical smackdown. Not in a domestic violence type of way mind you, but there was some contact. The guy pretty much mumbled about this and that and I left.

Cut to next scene which was like a montage. Do other people have montages in their dreams a lot as well? Cause I have them frequently and not to toot my horn too much but they are scored by on point music as well. This montage wasn’t uplifting or motivating though, more like someone call children services and get this child to safety. For you see, in my montage I kept going through scenarios where I would be doing something (reading, building something, chores, playing video games etc) and then realize I haven’t checked on the blur baby in HOURS, like double digit hours! This would always be proceeded by me running up the stairs to it’s room and then a feeling of relief would wash over me when I would see that it is still alive.

That’s it. That was the dream. It ended with the montage.

TLDR: Had a dream where I’m married and knocked up. Dream ends with me as a negligent single mother 🙂

Dreams Are Fun

CW’s The 100

I know, I know. Please look past the CW part and give The 100 a fair chance. The network largely known for teen shows with an overwhelming cast of White actors who seem plucked straight out of a Abercrombie catalogue. Let’s just say, as a South Asian girl who watches a lot of television, traditionally CW shows are not a place where I feel represented.

When I first heard the premise of The 100 around the time the pilot premiered last year I had quite the hearty chuckle. Here’s a summary from NY Daily News:

“The 100” starts with the premise that a nuclear holocaust turned Earth into a toxic wasteland 97 years ago. The only survivors were a handful of people lucky enough to be orbiting in spaceships — who now, of course, had no home to go back to.

Three generations later, their descendants are still in the ships and also facing the end, because they’re running out of resources.

So they have built a small ship that sends 100 young people — all officially criminals, though crime has become a relative concept — back to Earth, to see if it can be re inhabited.

Great I thought, the last hope for humanity will be 100 unsupervised White teens. Great job CW!

Week to week I inevitably kept coming across postings and articles about how awesome the show is and how it was exceeding people’s expectations. I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.

Fast forward to now, with episode three of season two quickly approaching and I’m glad to say, in my opinion, the show is still going strong in terms of quality, pacing, and defying expectations. My greatest takeaway from the first season was how dark it was for what I expected to be your average teen show. Also, while not the most diverse show it’s definitely better than past CW shows. The world they’ve created in the show and the different clans/groups is hella interesting to watch and it will be interesting to see how they continue to interact and story lines intersect.

I heard the ratings have been low for the second season and I really hope they pick up soon as it’s a great show with complex and intriguing characters, female and male, and the episodes released so far for the second season have been very promising.

CW’s The 100

Come to Light

Quite recently I’ve found myself experiencing feelings I luckily do not experience often. Usually in times when I do feel them I am able to push through them within a day or two and move on. This has not been the case this time around and I guess that’s what lead me to revisit a blog in which I haven’t made a post in since 2011! It may just be crazy enough to work.

What I’ve been feeling lately is jealousy. At least that’s what I initially thought it was. But when I google’d jealousy, as one does, and upon reading up on definitions of jealousy I realized that what I’ve been actually experiencing is envy, not jealousy. The difference is nicely summarized in this paragraph found on the Wikipedia page for Envy:

“Envy” and “jealousy” are often used interchangeably in common usage, but the words stand for two distinct emotions.[1] Jealousy is the result or fear of losing someone or something that one is attached to or possesses to another person (the transfer of a lover’s affections in the typical form), while envy is the resentment caused by another person having something that one does not have, but desires for oneself

So, great, now I’d correctly identified what I was feeling but what next? You guessed it, I google’d how to deal with envy. Google has honestly been one of the greatest inventions for socially awkward introverts like myself who can remember life before the internet. When I had questions before Google became my go to I would write them down in a journal or keep them in the back of my head and either:

a) Wait for a opportunity for the answer to present itself when listening to people’s conversations

b) Check the dictionary if applicable to the question at hand

c) Check resources at the library

I may or may not have found out what sex is in grade 7 (I know, I know! I was a sheltered kid jeez) after having a horribly uninformative health class and waiting to get home to look up the definition of sex in the dictionary…

Right, back to envy, it was nice to see that some of the recommendations were conclusions I had come to myself. A blog post I found that was helpful is this one – http://tinybuddha.com/blog/when-your-friends-happy-news-fills-you-with-envy-instead-of-joy/

First thing to note:

Envy is a strong involuntary feeling that you cannot get rid of by just wishing or willing it away.

Uh DUHRRRR, I only have been trying to do just that for the past few days and it hasn’t worked! But not gonna lie it’s quite comforting to read that it’s a strong INVOLUNTARY feeling. It takes the onus off the person even if I don’t think that’s completely true.

Followed by this step:

Focus your attention on addressing the source of your envy, instead of trying to eliminate the feeling.

I’ll admit to initially being blindsided by these feelings of envy and threw me for a bit and it took a couple days to acknowledge it for what it was. One of the first things I decided was this had very little to do with the person that was evoking this reaction and more to do with myself. I was never a person growing up that gave personal development the time of day. I thought it was some hippy dippy nonsense garbage until one day someone point blank told me how much easier it is for a person (re: me) to be cynical and make fun of something rather than genuinely caring and most importantly trying something and taking that risk at failing publicly at that thing you care for. They, of course, worded it in a way that was far more eloquent than that runoff sentence but hopefully I captured the gist of it.

This brings us to now. I decided I needed to find a way to spin this negative energy to positive action as a person who is quite prone to depression I need to take lead with these types of things before they get worse. It can start going downhill real fast, for real. What I’ve realized is that when I isolated what specifically was fueling my envy I was able to identify areas where I can improve and critically look at them instead of trying to gloss over or justify my ineptitude in these areas. I’ve obviously been feeling self conscious about them on some level for feelings of envy to emerge as strongly as they did. For this reason I think envy can be a good thing from time to time. As long as your reaction isn’t to stew in it and give the person who is causing you to react this way the stink eye and I dunno, make up a voodoo doll of them and push pins into it, or something like that. It can be a good motivator to work on yourself and improve your life in areas that you may have been slacking.

Come to Light

Stay Classy Racist People, Stay Classy.

I fraking love traveling.  LOVE IT.  But there is always something I have to consider when I’m traveling to new places that I really wish I didn’t have to consider, and that is what the diversity and “tolerance” is like at the place I want to travel to.  Especially if I am traveling with family.  Not going to lie, I’m jealous of people who don’t even have to consider that.  Whether they are a person of colour or not.  Due to my past experiences it is something that I simply must.

If I am going somewhere to vacation and relax then racist shit is really the last thing I want to deal with.  This is not to say that I never experience racism at home, but there’s a comfortable familiarity with one’s surroundings at home.

Recently I went with my family on a vacation to Hawaii.  It was awesome.  What was not awesome was this particular interaction I had with a elderly Caucasian man whilst there.

Setup/Background – My family and I were walking along a road that is just crammed with shopping stores and malls, therefore it’s largely populated with tourists.  We were all standing at a busy intersection waiting for the walk signal dude to light up.  My dad wears a turban and has a beard, my mom and grandmother wear dupatta’s that cover their head.  I wear pretty much a bandana head covering and on this day I was also wearing a t-shirt that says “All power to the people” and has a raised fist on the front. (Kinda like this one – http://s639.photobucket.com/albums/uu111/northstar007/?action=view&current=fist.png&newest=1).  So that was all happening when this happened.

*I feel like to save a bit of face I should note that I’m one of those people who is horrible in a moment of confrontation and/or a verbal smackdown and then will think of amazing comebacks well after the fact.  I mean, WELL after the fact.  Meh, slow and steady wins the race people.

Random Elderly White Dude: *walks right up to me,  completely invading my personal space*  Power to who?!

Me:  What? Oh..*Looks down at t-shirt* ..that.  Power to all people.

REWD: To who?  Just other Muslim people like you?! Huh?

Me: No sir, to all people from all different backgrounds.

REWD: Oh riiiiiight (I feel this was said with a pinch of sarcasm on his part, btw).  They have to cover their head like you though right? (at this point the dude was starting to shout and getting hostile)

Me: No sir (I actually don’t really ever use sir in daily conversation but in this instance I couldn’t stop saying it, maybe it was the nerves.  It just kept coming out like verbal diarrhea) it really means power to all people, Sir.

REWD:  Go back home! Leave America and get out of our country.  We are going to track you all down and take care of you all.

Me:  Sir, I’m Canadian.

REWD:  Ohhh well that just explains it! YOU’RE ALL COMMUNISTS! GO BACK HOME! (starts to walk away)

Me: Sir, that really isn’t the case.

REWD:  (keeps walking away) We’re going to take care of you all! *incoherent speech, mumble grumble* just leave!

Me: (to his back, although he could definitely still hear me) Have a good day sir!

*End of conversation.

This happened two weeks ago now, I’m still thinking about it.  That’s why I’ve decided to post after so long.  I’ve had the opportunity to think and hash over it a bit now.

1.  I didn’t take this whole thing seriously at all at first, rather I found it hilarious in that I was laughing at the guy’s stupidity and narrow mindedness.  Then it really hit me that he literally threatened the safety and well being of my family.  What the balls was that “we’re going to find you and take care of you” shit.  I really doubt he wanted to track us down so he knew where to send a gift basket.  You got to admire the hypocrisy in that if I had threatened his safety and well being I’d be seen as a terrorist.  However it was perfectly fine that he did cause he was being patriotic.

2.  I’m not Muslim.  In the moment all I can remember thinking is that was not the point at all and the douchebag probably didn’t know the difference between Sikhs and Muslims anyways.  The bottom line is that his actions were stupid regardless.  I felt like it would have been a write off to just say but I’m not Muslim therefore continue on with your ignorant prejudice and discrimination, just make sure to aim it at the right people.  Also I had a feeling he wasn’t up for a in depth intelligent and thoughtful discussion about the state of racism and Islamophobia in America so I just left it.  What surprised me was that as soon as he made the assumption that we were American I felt the need to clarify that we were Canadian.  Ha. Who says we Canadians aren’t proud people, eh?

3.  Many people witnessed this interaction.  It was a busy intersection and they were all intently watching.  All of them were white people.  No one said anything.  I can’t say that I really expected any of them to step up and say something but a little part of me did.  After the REWD walked away they just kept averting my eyes.

I think that this experience is sticking with me more than usual because my whole family witnessed this.  Stuff like this, albeit not as intense usually, happens to me quite frequently but I bare the full brunt of it and I can handle it myself.  It was just really disheartening to witness my family having to go through it too with my own eyes.

To end I’d like to give a shout out to the very stereotypical Southern American lady, in terms of appearance and accent, I was sitting with on my flight home.  She was a lovely woman and very warm individual.  We talked about our respective trips and had great conversations.  The kindness she showed me affected me more then she will ever know.

Stay Classy Racist People, Stay Classy.

Rat in a Cage

My parents run their own business and consequently make frequent trips usually within North America for 4-5 days at a time.  It’s no biggie.  However for my grandmother, this seems to be a huge fraking deal.  Everytime.
 
What we mere peasants and lay people, in this case her grandchildren, seem to be unaware of is that bad things will happen over the next few days before my parents get back, unless…unless specific criteria is met. 
 
1.  All the food in the fridge must be used.  Not hungry?  No one cares, finish the food in the fridge now!  Why?  Because in a roundabout way but through totally logical reasoning at the same time, we will die if the food isn’t finished.
 
2.  Lock the front door at all times.  Also, be sure to check that the front door is locked at least every 45 minutes.  Why?  Not only will we die if this step is not followed, but chances of being raped and robbed increase exponentially.  Sidenote:  I literally left the house for 10 minutes and came back to find that my grandma had already locked the door.  The woman moves fast.
 
3.   To report to her every single phone call made.  More specifically if my parents don’t call any one of the days they are gone, it is because something bad has happened.  Most likely they have died.
 
 
 
 
 
Ah I can’t wait for my parents to get back.
 
ps. Love you Grandma, never change.
 
 
Rat in a Cage