< _ >

Sleepy mornings and all. Fettered by lethargy and languor I've been wading through viscid syrup trying to catch my own tail. I need to move. To ride buses and subways in the rain. It's cool now. Cool enough because some hurricanes decide to rip up the southern parts of southern South Korea again. Here I am wearing khakis and a bland white tshirt in the middle of orange tshirts and earth-brown cargo pants and tight-knit hats and frizzly permed hair and abangarduh Bob Marlies and silkscreened Che Guevaras and cool tshirts and all. Somehow comfortably I don't feel the need to explain. There's this album. Never listened to it but only heard its name. What can I say? Feeling strangely fine. That's the only thing you can do, hold on and latch on with determined stubbornness, I suppose. Gotta make sure that you don't get swept away in lukewarm uncertanity standing awkwardly against the wall watching other people dance their hearts out. Stop or start.


We sit in a cafe somewhere along 2nd Avenue and I ask him about the city and what the 'lower east side' means. He gives me an explanation and talks about college and financial problems but what I also hear underneath is excitement and running through streets at night editing movies twenty-four hours straight with a twenty-four pack of mountain dew. He wants to want and he lives to live; he's early, worrying about this so early on, so early in. So early.

I live in Central Square for three weeks buying food and making pasta and bulgogi. We work with pvc out of school and on life; I learn that the Charles River is kinda long on a bike with a flat tire, you can see the skyline of downtown Boston from the top of the Tufts campus, Beacon Hill has old vertical brownstone elementary schools, and that the T at midnight is full of life. Coming back from loud music and clove smoke and faint old connections I stand on a stop, seventeen years old, lost in Boston.

I am seventeen years old turning eighteen (or eighteen turning nineteen) and I write about things as if the experiences are unique and solely mine. I pretend that I know what I'm doing, that this apparent control is apparently exclusively mine and that the appearance of running around everywhere gives me the feel that somehow because I am busy that means that somehow I am living life. Looking outside a car window and seeing a blur and reducing things saying, "Ah, this is life". Somewhere a forty-year old laughs at a twenty-five-year old laughing at a seventeen old writing for himself.


I am in Boston dipping through Harvard Square because this is my refuge and now is my moment of transit. I am caught in the yellow light of the square, the amount of people milling around listening to the man in front of Hidden Sweets, the man playing his stringed Chinese instrument, people singing laughing yelling walking. I wonder what I am doing here. I wonder how much longer it will take me to be able to learn to play so I can play guitar in the square just to play guitar in Harvard Square. I think. I am seventeen years old turning eighteen speaking two languages straddling two cultures trying to choose between twenty colleges and two countries; I have half-finished essays on my computer and half-finished thoughts tumbling in my head like a maytag dryer set on permanent press.


Somewhere up in the night in the middle of a foreign country I am up by the glow of a faint computer screen, half-reading on Craigslist the saturated melodramatic pleas of a city's worth of twenty-thirty-year olds. m4w, w4w, they say and they lament this and that, that night, you looked at me, and seek to find what they had started but thought they hadn't. I'm falling in and jumping out alarmingly. Thinking but not. I remember T rides looking riding into the tunnel and falling in sideways. Growing flat under a wide purple californian sky stretched across a setting sea. Breathing in the smell of cut grass mixed with rain.

I'm thinking that people create war for the same reason that people wage art.

I am not normally one to write these; that is what my blog is for. But I'm faced with a dilemma here, and E2 contains some of the brightest people I've ever met, so maybe someone can offer me some advice.

I work for an embedded systems contract company. We do projects for other companies that do not have the manpower, experience, and/or time to handle themselves. We are a modestly-sized company, with a casual atmosphere and a nice working environment, and I consider myself lucky to work here.

A few months back, a client that I have been doing work for approached me and hinted that they were looking to bring a new software engineer on board, and did I know anybody that might be interested? (*winkwink*) This was flattering, but not exactly proper business etiquette, as we have an "anti-fishing clause" that states that clients may not directly hire one of us until a period of time has elapsed since the end of their contract. (This stops clients from trying to cut out the overhead by hiring us on directly.) I figured they simply hadn't read that part of the contract, politely thanked them for their consideration, and went on my way, figuring they would hire someone else and that would be the end of it.

Two days ago, I was approached again -- this time by the boss of the people who originally spoke with me. The pitch was far more aggressive this time. I was told, straight out, that they wanted to hire me. I reminded them of the anti-fishing clause, and they said it didn't matter, they wanted to negotiate a compromise around the clause with my boss. They offered me more money than I make now, more vacation than I get now, and a "senior" title. I could not simply say "no thank you" and walk away from such a deal, so I said I would talk to my boss about it.

I really love the company I work for. I have worked here ever since I graduated. We have had our ups and downs, and I was even laid off for a year, but we have that small-company, "we all make a difference" feeling that I adore. I move from project to project, and get to work with something new and learn more each time. The down times have engendered within me a very fierce loyalty to my boss and the company, as we have struggled through difficulty and overcome adversity.

On the other hand, the client is a large company, stable, growing. They can probably offer me more opportunities for career advancement. They're international; employees there often attend seminars or meetings in Europe or Asia. And, last but not least, there is the added salary and vacation to consider.

All of my life, what was best for me just happened to also be what's best for my employer, and everything was alright. Now, for the first time, those two things might be different, and I'm torn between my loyalty to this place and the possibility of personal advancement and success (not to mention the ability to pay down the debt we acquired while I was out of work more quickly). One is never supposed to mix business and personal matters, but my boss is also my friend, and that makes it the most difficult of all.

By considering this offer, am I just doing what's right for myself? And if so, why do I hear this voice in my head, echoing "every man has his price"?


Update 11/29: I talked things over with my boss, and came to a realization: I like it here. I like the people, I like the atmosphere, and I like feeling like I personally make a difference. I know that my current employer will not be able to match a larger company in terms of benefits, but that is, I think, a small price to pay for being somewhere that I really like to work. The folks that work for my client always seem rushed and stressed out; I don't want to be that way all the time. So, for now, I will choose comfort over cash and stick with it here. I don't know if what I'm doing is the best choice over the long term, but that's my decision and I'm sticking to it.


Update waaaay later, 12/06/07: The folks that tried to fish me are all but gone. Meanwhile, my employer is doing excellent, and I'm in line to become a team lead engineer. Yeah... I think I made the right decision.

Last year on my 25th birthday my mother asked me if I felt old. That is, she was asking if I felt there was anything I wanted from my first quarter-century of life that remained unaccomplished.

I told her no. I had a job, I had a girlfriend, I was happy.

Today I turn 26. My girlfriend started cheating on me last fall and before Christmas, we broke up. I still have the job, but I'm getting restless; the ambition I guess I thought I had quashed has reawakened. And I ran out of Wellbutrin a few weeks ago and am no longer happy.


On the other hand, in the past year I had surgery to take care of my ileitis and I learned to like green tea.

when he left
he drove away with my self esteem

he said
he would always be there
now he won't be in the same building with me

he says
not to me, but to others
maybe someday we can be friends again

he says
not to me but to others
it's too uncomfortable to be near me

i think
when you end a relationship it is to end pain
not to end happiness

i think
was there such pain i didn't see
to justify this hurt?

i think

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.