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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Dog Walking, Part 1


Around the time that I turned 12 years old, I became an avid reader of 17 Magazine, particularly of the flirting advice columns liberally sprinkled among its pages. But, being a resident of Korea, I found myself faced with two major obstacles to following the sage advice of these teen-advice columnists, which were that:

  1. I didn’t have the (American) audience on which to practice these very (American) flirtation tactics, and,
  2. I only had in my possession the one copy of 17 that I of course read the shit out of between ages 12 and 17.

When I finally returned to the U.S. for the first time since age 7, 16 years old and ripe with teenage hormones and boy-craze, you can imagine how excited I was to dip in to my arsenal of long-treasured 17 tips for attracting the opposite sex.

The one in particular that I was most eager to use was none other than dog-walking. I was in luck: My hosts in LA had two adorable dachshunds eager to leave their cramped backyard quarters. Unfortunately, I had failed to account for two key factors that would completely negate said “luck” in the course of my grand dog-walking, boy-attracting experiment utterly and in whole, and these were that:

  1. These were the most misbehaved, least well-leash-trained dogs ever, and,
  2. I didn’t know the streets of the neighborhood nearly as well as I thought I did.

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Note to employers: If a mid-level employment candidate with a master’s degree applies for an entry-level job, it’s probably because the job market is crap. Doesn’t take much imagination to figure that out, right?

Last year, I applied for a PR assistant job with a PR agency, which we’ll call XXX. Before I go on, I just want to head this post with the amazing news that I just received an amazing offer to work at an amazing company. Getting paid way more than $30K. And it’s an offer I’m going to have to take at the price of sacrificing the current awesome arrangement I have now doing the freelance work I currently do. Also getting paid way more than $30K. So this story, we’ll just chalk it up to the shit I had to wade through before getting to where I am now.

Anyway, back to the PR assistant job. The job listing, which was forwarded to me by a fellow Medill alum, was fairly succinct and straightforward, particularly regarding compensation.

The Assistant is an entry level position at DKC. While the Assistant will be exposed to publicity over his/her 18-month minimum tenure in the position, the role is largely administrative and often involves supporting three (3) DKC staffers. Must dress and act professionally. This position pays a nonnegotiable salary of $30K.

Yes, $30,000 is a shitty salary, especially when you’re 27. But I was pretty desperate. Plus, they had Atari and Marvel as clients. How bad could a company with clients like Atari and Marvel be?

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Not good enough


Breaking up — no matter how pretty the words are, it really just comes down to: You’re not good enough for me.

Think of it this way.

It’s not you, it’s me. (What about me? I don’t think you’re good enough.) I just don’t love you like I used to. (Why? Because I realized that you are/became not good enough.) I never loved you. (You were never good enough!)

You say it’s situational and that there are extenuating circumstances? I met someone else. (I chose them over you because you’re not good enough.) The long-distance is too tough to handle. (Your location isn’t good enough, or you’re not good enough for me to suffer the distance to be with you.) We’re too different. (For some reason, I was thinking of two people who speak different languages, or who come from two different cultures. In which case, you could say the cultural background is just not good enough.)

What about, You’re too good for me? In essence, I see that as coming back to some sense of insecurity on the part of the so-called “Reacher.” So along that line of logic, the “Settler” is not “good enough” at stroking the ego of the Reacher. See what I did there?

While this is, in essence, a blanket statement about breakups, I also don’t want to sound like this is a define-all blanket statement. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes, people just need time and space to grow on their own, or deal with unexpected challenges in their lives (death in the family, career change, a personal revelation like, I don’t know, realizing that your one purpose in life is to become a celibate monk). Sometimes, there are external obstacles to a relationship (Romeo and Juliet, anyone?). And sometimes, people turn out to be wrong about thinking someone not good enough.

That said, I find these situations to be very, very rare. How often are people willing to let obstacles stand in the way of getting what they really want? As humans, we’re fundamentally selfish and out for our own survival. We’re just built that way. On that note, when you truly love someone and don’t believe there’s anyone better out there for you, I don’t think many people are willing to let anything — read, anything — get in the way of keeping that someone around, even at the cost of all the other indispensables in modern life.

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High maintenance

Here’s a response to my last entry: One reader mentioned to me last week that it was “confusing”. I’m assuming that he meant confused by the various different streams of consciousness I was trying to reconcile into one small piece loosely connected by the theme of scars, and also how it tied into what I was currently feeling last week when I posted that. In both cases, I’m with you. I guess my only real explanation, observing in hindsight, is that, I was taking several different emotions and ideas and trying to run with them all, tossing every remotely related thought into one garbled mess of unrelated (but also related?) feelings. Or maybe just a collection of the conflicting emotions that leave their mark, even when you think you don’t feel anything.

I don’t know. I guess I can’t really explain myself. I’m sort of ADD, remember?

Anyway. Moving on.

I have a lot of different topics of musing that are going through my head at the moment, mostly spurred by — but not entirely related to — a long and fairly deep conversation I embarked on with an old ex last night, but I guess the prevailing thought at the moment is something a friend of mine once flippantly mentioned to me while we were in that nebulous stage in a relationship called “talking”. The context? He was talking about all the gifts he had to buy his ex just to keep her attention engaged on him. I was retorting that gifts were a nice accoutrement to a relationship, but not something I considered absolutely imperative to feeling loved and cared for by my significant other. Then I puffed out my chest and (dare I say with some pride) declared that I was “low-maintenance.”

My friend replied, “Nah. ALL girls are high maintenance.

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A smoke, a drink, a blink.


Irving Penn, 1949.

When I look back through my old creative writing, usually one of three thoughts cross my mind:

  1. This is better than I thought it would be,
  2. This sucks, and
  3. God I was so emo.

But for all that self-deprecation I afford myself so readily, there’s also the sense that I was more in touch with my darker emotions and eager to see how I could capture all that subjectiveness with the objective logic of word and line. Truth be told, sometimes I feel like I’ve closed off the better part of me and my deeper emotional potential, because I’ve gotten so tired of working on relationships that never work, and so terrified of being wounded.

And it’s true that for all my heartache in the past thinking of the unwilling goodbyes I would have to utter and all the once beautiful budding relationships I would have to watch wilt all too quickly, hanging listlessly from bone-dry stalks, letting go of opportunities has gotten all too much the easier.

So for my “emotionless” (well, not really, but relatively speaking perhaps) self, here are some words from a past self to help current self put definition to what I’m feeling.

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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.)