I have been occupied with a lot of work and some personal issues and therefore have left this place a bit barren and dry lately. The old “melancholic” me is still around but didn’t feel like writing something substantial and opinionated. It’s not the same like it used to be; I somehow feel the pressure to write and to produce even though I know I don’t have to. But sincerely thanks motminh, em Thang, chi Pi and others who keep checking back for new updates and even leave comments.
Anyway, while walking from Chinatown to South Station of my morning routine and on my way to work, I walked right into a person I used to volunteer with. He is not exactly a friend because he is much older, and not exactly a colleague because we never shared such professional setting besides teaching Vietnamese school on Saturday mornings while I was in graduate school. How do you put a definition into such social acquaintance?
This particular occurrence prompted the focal of this post. Hence, it is as follow.
I have this weird mentality about me staying in the core (or peripheral) memories of other people’ minds. For God knows when, I have always thought that people would forget me easily after they met me…like I just simply escaped from their schematic cognition. It happened quite often, no lie, when I was in my teenage years and into my early 20s, especially when it came to meeting boys/men (I know, I had always been a sucker for their attention! Damn it.) For example, I attended a wedding back in 2002 in Minnesota when I reencountered this one person, obliged to social courtesies, I offered some basic pleasantries. Then, the woman gave me this startling look and started to stutter…”Do..Do I know you?” and accompanied with an unenthusiastical grimace. It was a bugger…I hated the awkwardness of the given situation when being unrecognized and when I was just being socially courteous. For a second, I wanted to dig a hole on the ground and hide my face in embrassment.
When I confided my blip of self-consciousness to a friend, she gave me a frank analysis to put things into perspective: so people might not recognize me because my of hermit life and occasional public appearances (don’t appear in larger public or crowd that contain the life and breathe of Vietnamese community, aka, da vu?) and that constant transformation (from geeky/nerdy ugly duckling to a swan princess?) made it hard for people to put pieces of “old” me to fit with the “new” me. Hah, that’s clever and diplomatic. Whatever the psycho-analytical explanation could be for this mentality — I enjoy and cherish my anonymity since I learned my lessons.
Moving to Boston made me become more anonymous in a sea of strangers and people I don’t necessary have to retain the essence of relationship. In Boston, I am free to roam in my 5-dollar Goodwill denim jeans, beat-up sneakers, a college hoody, a face sans makeup, and hair that has neither shape nor volume. I am very comfortable with myself and the way I look, up or down, and nobody would care and neither do I care about what they think — heck, I ain’t gonna see any of them again anyhow. There was one time I was riding the train, and my fly was down exposing a tiny bit of my pink undergarment, which I didn’t know until I got home, and realized that…who cares, I ain’t gonna see them again in my lifetime anyway? I found comfort in that part of my anonymity. Even if other passerbys noticed my flaws, they would be posting on the internet “i saw an ugly asian girl with her fly down on the train today, it was hilarious!” and you know I am not the only ugly asian girl out there. Hahah 🙂
So this morning, I was focusing on my take-out rice porridge and crossing the street when I heard my name being called by stranger’s voice which rose above the honks and screeches of morning downtown traffic, I was totally bewildered. It was truly perplexing to hear my name shouted aloud in public; I took a few seconds to adjust my composure and located the source. Then there were many things running through my head, but the utmost concern was “I hope my fly is all zipped up.”