Smartphone Husbandry

Exiting the NY Metro, checking for texts on my iPhone. Out of nowhere, some homeless guy yells at me: “Get rid of the smartphone, and maybe you’ll find a husband!”



So I had two incidents in mind that I wanted to share here and had written up a blurb for, but was having a difficult tying them together. And then something happened at work that’s been bothering me a good deal, although it’s taken me some time — and a good deal of discussion with various fellow-Asian-American friends — to put form to why I’ve been feeling so bothered since last week.

The incident took place at the end of the day last Friday. Three white coworkers were chatting about 10 feet away from me, discussing the red lights shining at the Empire State Building (which we have a prime view of from my office). Incidentally, I was trying to join in on the conversation by asking for more details about the lights,  but they didn’t hear me, and then THIS gem happened instead:

Lady 1: It’s Chinese New Year-themed. They’re having some firework lighting at 6 to 7, I hear.
Man: You know, I don’t understand why Oriental is suddenly an offensive term.
(There is an awkward pause as ALL THREE GLANCE SIDEWAYS AT ME. I pretend not to listen, but am in fact listening quite intently.)
Lady 2: Yeah, I know…
Lady 1: It’s just one of those things.
Lady 2: I personally don’t think it’s such a bad term, but you have to be sensitive.
Man: No. This is one of those cases where people are just overreacting. You can’t be sensitive about everything.
Lady 2: (trying to be conciliatory) Well, I don’t mind not using the word.
Guy: I do. I like that word. It sounds very (emphatically gesturing) mysterious, and fantastical.
Lady 1: The Orient Express.

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Chinese or Japanese?

©Irene Park

This photo seemed mildly relevant. ©Irene Park

In the spirit of getting things going again, right away, here’s my first story in eight months:

So last week, I’m standing on the subway after a regular humdrum day, feeling fairly blahzay because lately, no matter how many hours I sleep, I’ve been too exhausted to make my face presentable to the world, let alone get to work on time (daily oops). That day, I’d actually gotten up early enough to groom my brows, but I’m still doing my best to face away from people because one look in the mirror shows me I’m still looking gaunt and frazzled.

I’m minding my own business, bobbing my head heedlessly to some ’90s Mariah on iTunes, when I hear a voice behind me.

“Excuse me? Excuse me?”

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Dog Walking, Part 2


Being Californian and always eager to break out the legs when the weather is even remotely warm enough, I decided to wear shorts while out walking Kenji this last weekend, a rare sunny and beautiful weekend in New York. Bad decision, considering I had already experienced last year how utterly weird New Yorkers get about posthaste post-winter shorts. (It’s never daily temperature that dictates sartorial decisions, but season.)

I strolled down the long park in front of my apartment with Kenji, me humming lightly to myself as I contemplated how lovely the yellow daffodils along the path were, him determinedly searching for every remote sign of dog piss, happily sniffing away, then lifting his leg and urinating vehemently all over the already-marked territory. It was in this fashion that I ended up walking well ahead of Kenji and stretching his leash out to its entire five-foot length.

Two homeless guys sitting on a bench nearby broke off from their conversation as I passed. One flashed me a toothy grin.

“How long does that get, EH?” he asked.

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Mid-week pickup line


Another Xanga gem: “I’d kage bunshin myself all the time just to be with Irene.”

(For those of you not in the know, that’s “Naruto’s Shadow Clone Technique” to you.)


Out Cold

Apparently, there comes a time in every man’s life when he must bank on a woman’s pity and sympathy to create an opportunity for sex. This is not a success story.

On perhaps our fourth weekend since starting graduate school, my roommate Lara decided a great way to get our classmates intermingling and acquainted with each other was to arrange a night of karaoke at Chicago’s “best karaoke and tiki bar” Trader Todd’s. Yes, this was a brilliant idea. Yes, we all got to know each other on a whole new level. Yes, Lara, Kurt, Kurt’s friend from California Chip, and myself got more drunk than the rest and decided to extend our night at Big City Tap just down the street. Admittedly, Chip and I engaged in some level of flirtation, although I attribute my responsiveness mostly to inebriation and friendliness stemming from common roots in the West.

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Not really relevant, just thought it was cute.

Asian clubs in New York are a lot like clubs in San Francisco at large: The men are pussies.

Before I sound like a judgmental bitch (never mind it’s probably too late), allow me to explain. Asian males at clubs like to stare. A lot. They stare and stare and stare. They pretend to drink. Then they stare some more.

Given that they’re not leering, the first few minutes are generally acceptable. Flattering even. But then after a while, it just gets creepy. Seriously, dudes, either make a move, or move on.

This was exactly what the scene was like at District 36, supposedly the hottest new place to frequent for Asian partying in New York. First hour, and I already begged to differ.

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