One Love

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 “I don’t like it when people think I’m racist because I voted for Trump,” a friend of mine said.

It’s well known that Trump is racist. Does voting for him mean that my friend is a racist as well?

Short answer: No. Yes, he’s white. Guilt by association is a fallacy. Yet he tends to find white people boring. More on this later. My friend likes a lot of the policies Trump is making and is working toward, including the wall. The problem is that he voted for a guy who skirts the line of being a white nationalist and prefers to hang out with dictators and shuns democratic leaders.

So why am I his friend?

Short answer: He’s a good dude. Though, he and I disagree on a lot of things, we can have debates without getting emotional. Not because we’re manly men. We are. I’m free to hate on his ideas: religion, political views, prejudices against whites. But I love his toilet humor, his love of motorcycles, and his compassion. Since he has no power to make policy for this country, I’m not giving someone the ability to make stupid choices like building a wall to try and stop the illegal immigration that is happening.

When someone votes a person into power, they support that person in their entirety, whether the voter disagrees with any part of their world view or not. So my friend may not be a racist, but he put his trust into someone who is. And now that person has the ability to affect policy in a way that fits his warped world view. And if it favors some people and not others—the rich, for example—then the country suffers as a whole.

Now, I’ve heard several people making the proclamation that white people are boring. I’ve definitely made that same proclamation about FOBs. We’re completely wrong. And, yes, this is about not judging a book by its cover. Even though when it comes to books, I do. I know it’s wrong, despite being an author.

I think because my upbringing was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where diversity is a key feature, I’ve met many interesting and boring people. And what they look like rarely defined that quality. My friend grew up in a predominantly Caucasian area, so somehow that might have skewed his  perception. I tend to find people interesting if we can have cool in-depth conversations. Often times I don’t find that out until I dig a little deeper, since most people live in a very politically correct mindset, and I don’t.

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I know in parties I’ve been the boring one because I might have felt insecure for some reason and wasn’t able to let my real self out. I also know that what can make a person interesting depends on the observer. So I may want to geek out about storytelling, others may find that ghastly dull. Or I may want to talk about how The Satanic Temple is doing good work in separating church and state, and people will stare at me with despair and want to run away but doesn’t for fear of being viewed as rude. So when it comes to conversation, it takes two to tango. And it’s this fact that my friend and I get along well, despite our vastly different world views. Within that friendship, we also find a lot of things in common. And I think people are all generally this way. We all want a certain level of security, connection with others, to be happy and content, and to be at peace. If we realize this, then tribalism can be minimized. Wasn’t this what Bob Marley sang about in One Love?

Dude...

When I first started to develop the characters of my book, Nightfall, I knew one of the subjects I was going to be exploring was ego, and how ego weaves its ugly opinions into their lives and shape their world. And the startling thing I've found was that part of the development wrote itself. It's character arc, how a person moves from who they are today to who they should be tomorrow. 

The story of Scrooge is a great example. When the story begins, Scrooge is greedy, hoarding his riches. Through spiritual enlightenment, namely the three ghosts, Scrooge evolves into a person who is giving and caring.

I was like that. Being Asian, I was raised to save, save, save. Before I was born, my family of six lived in a bedroom-sized apartment. My mother is a huge saver. So I grew up to be very cheap. I had an argument with an ex one time because she asked me to buy her a three-dollar bottle of water at a movie theater. I bought it, but then we fought about it because I was upset at having to spend that much money for water. Safeway sells it for less than a buck. Common!

But I realized that I wasn't poor anymore. I was earning more than enough money to live on, my savings was healthy, and I wasn't living from paycheck to paycheck. But I was still in the mental space of being poor. Luckily for the woman in my life today, I'm not in that head space anymore.

Recently, I asked a friend if I can get a ride to a dinner event. I would take Bart, a public transit system, and get off at the 16th Street station that was literally a five minute drive to the restaurant. He wanted me to get off several stations passed that because it was closer to where he lived. So I reiterated that the restaurant was only a five minute drive from the 16th station.

He then went off and said, "You're the one who needs a ride, dude. Not me, dude. Just meet us at Balboa. I don't mean to be rude, dude!"

Hmm. OK. I can understand if I was asking for rides all the time, but we hadn't hung out for a couple months, so I wasn't sure what his problem was.

Dude. Deeeoooood. Dewd. Dood. Diud. Dhude (the H is silent).

Then I remembered an incident. He had liked this girl for a while and was stalking her online. He asked her a question about a conversation she and I had had. We were talking about FOBs (fresh off the boat) and traded our experiences with them. He then asked her if he was an FOB and she said yes. He took offense to that and might have blamed me for that classification. It wasn't I who had turned him down for a date. But I think he started using the word 'dude' a lot to further himself from being a FOBby dude.

A friend and I met up with a girl one Friday evening to watch a group of bands play. I'm not a huge fan of live music, but I went because I'm always trying to break old habits and thinking. The girl was late, Asian time, and the first thing she said was, "San Francisco is so pretentious."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because the restaurants and bars are very douchery." Translation: they charged a lot. "I've been to a lot of them and they're all like that."

"How many restaurants have you been to?" I asked.

"Thirty."

There are over 4,000 restaurants in San Francisco. It's a foodie town that houses everything from food trucks to Michelin rated establishments (Translation: hella good grub). So for her to make a determination that the city is douchery from a sample size of thirty restaurants is kinda small, especially when the variability seemed to be non-existent because she's choosing expensive places, obviously.

Thinking that you deserve to eat well versus just eating good food is egotistical. Personally, I love hole-in-the-walls (not glory holes) just as much as Michelin rated restaurants.

I've always hated the corporate world. I work in it because it's just a paycheck to me. And that's what is so soul-sucking, that the work has no meaning to me. Think of a woman having sex for money, so she can eat, shade herself from the rain, feed her children. Sex should be pleasurable, be an intimate communication of the bodies, and/or maybe, depending on who came first, to procreate.

I look at everyone who seems to love the corporate world and ask myself, "Don't you all want more out of life?" I hear from old corporate execs that they should have spent more time with friends and family. And if I were to get laid off, I don't think I'd mind it so much. I would be shocked at first, but then I'd be free of my voluntary jail sentence to my 6X6 cubicle. 

All of this thinking, of course, is egotistical, like I'm too good for the corporate world. And me spending all this time writing isn't taking away from friends and family, that my writing is more important than the job that affords me to write. Well, yes, to me. But it's still ego. Knowing this truth doesn't change how I feel, but it helps take me off of my high horse. And get on a smaller one. What? It's not a bad joke!