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BY Lipikar

04/01 Direct Link

I am in a small town this month, the first small town I've ever set foot in. It's basically two streets! My parents drove with me down here. We ate at a McDonald's and saw people wave to each other. At the grocery store, people stared when my mother and I walked in. Then, an older, very nicely dressed gentleman in a business suit shook hands with us. I got the feeling he needed to know why we're in his town. Kind of afraid of running into the KKK. This month is going to be interesting, to say the least.

04/02 Direct Link

The owner's wife visited the pharmacy today and invited us to join them at church. I took it not as an effort to covert me, but as a gesture of welcoming us to their community. The polite thing to do.

One of the techs informed us that everyone here is very nice and very nosy. I guess when everyone's nosy, you have to be nice.

My partner for this month, a girl from my class, and I are getting along well. She has a calming presence though she knows how to look out for herself. Intelligent but kind-hearted. Thank goodness.

04/03 Direct Link

Everything hurts. He's found someone else. Not B, Josh. My first actual boyfriend. I dreamt about him sitting in a study room, beautiful and sweet, his sad eyes reading something. And I walked up to him and kissed him on his temple, tenderly, deeply, and touched his cheek with my hand. It hurt and angered him. He said to his girlfriend, who I had not noticed before, "_______, we're going." So I checked his facebook today. He defriended me long ago, but I can see his profile pic. And there she was, in his pic with him. It kills me.

04/04 Direct Link
Living in the Bible belt makes me think that I need to know more of the Bible even though I know more about Christianity than I do about Hinduism. Just one of the many confusions of being a minority. When culture steps on identity.

Also, looks. I could write about it for a while. If you search the internet, you will find that plenty of people have. I think we're all, regardless of classification, confused by our own looks, this arbitrary thing outside of our own capabilities that has the power to categorize us. When predestination towers over free will.
04/05 Direct Link

Yesterday morning, a pharmacy tech asked if one of us students wanted to give a B12 shot. I volunteered. When I entered the room, an elderly man smiled at me, a strange smile, full of shyness but trust. I asked him in which arm he normally gets the shot. He said, "In the hip," dropped his pants to reveal butt cheeks, and pointed to one of them. I had to get someone because I was not trained for this! Later on yesterday, in the compounding lab, we made butt paste for a baby's diaper rash. A day full of asses.

04/06 Direct Link
I've started to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Spectacular. I wish I already had children and could watch them experience this, little light-bulbs beginning to glow in their minds. It took me back to my own favorite science book, staring at pictures of the red giant and the white dwarf. Even today, I learned things (rogue planets, the music of Voyager 1) and had questions. Why does Saturn have so many rings? Why is the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter?Easy questions but still thrilling. Let's hope the next fifty years answers some. Yet another reason to live.
04/07 Direct Link

When wikileaks revealed all those documents to the world, I scrolled through them and read, I think, about a disturbing study done by [company] in an African country. I was not sure (it confused me), but nevertheless, I told myself I would never work for them. Seemed like an easy promise to keep. Then, last year, I did research for a professor that I like and admire. That research, as she'd informed me from the beginning, was funded by [company]. Now a paper is being published, with my name in it, and [company] is the one emailing me about authorship.

04/08 Direct Link

So how does it make me feel?

Confused. Conflicted.

Obviously, I don't think the way I used to.

For my part, I was objective and informative. The paper supports an apparently wonderful drug. Only time will tell how helpful it actually is, but that is true for all new drugs.

I cannot say that I helped a "bad" company. As far as I know, most giant companies have blood on their hands… It makes me uneasy, though, to concretely know the dual nature of the hand that has fed me…

Where do you draw the line when everything is connected?

04/09 Direct Link

I ain't no Megan Fox, but I ain't no Simon Pegg either.

Just watched How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. (Damn them long titles!)

Have you heard this one:

A model says to George Bernard Shaw, "If we marry, our children will have my beauty and your brains."

To which he replies, "Or they could have your brains and my beauty."

My family loves that one. Grandpa told my mom who told me. So if you could be Pegg or Fox, who'd you pick? I'd choose a comedically successful and beloved white man any day of the week, son!

04/10 Direct Link

My new nervous tick: whipping out my phone to click on an app. Sometimes it's facebook, sometimes my email, sometimes just the weather. You know it's a stressful day when I'm scrolling through the weather for the fourth time.

If tides are so linked to the moon, will global warming's influence on the oceans influence the moon?

Interesting tidbits about Southern small towns:

Common elderly female names include Irmadean, Isladean, and Wylodean.

The mullet did not disappear and has strange, inbred cousins.

The public library is the town's Kinko's, and not all towns have movie theaters.

The culture shocks continue.

04/11 Direct Link

Leaving for the weekend is saddening me. Surprisingly, right now, I just want to stay here, in this quaint, little old house with its antique furniture. I like allowing the days to roll over me and the clearness, the simpleness of my duties in this small town. I even love filling prescriptions. You would think someone who loves learning would be bummed by the mindless, repetitive nature of prescription filling, but sometimes, it feels like Christmas. Like a giant gift wrapping party. Of course, it's typically done by the technicians. Pharmacists don't get paid six figures to simply count pills.

04/12 Direct Link

Kaschei the Immortal. One summer, back in my middle school days, my parents enrolled me in a sort of educational program for learning things about the world. It took place in a house and was very relaxed. Anyways, one day we learned about Stravinsky and the Firebird. The Firebird, saved by Prince Ivan, helps Ivan bring an end to Kaschei and freedom to all those imprisoned by him. As we listened to the ballet, we were told to draw Kaschei and the Firebird from our imaginations. In my heart, I walked through his gardens and was the Firebird... Enchanting experience.

04/13 Direct Link

A guy friend is trying to set me up with his friend. "She really wants to meet you," he said to him over the phone. Thus he set us both up for failure. Womp womp. Not a bombshell here! He will think I'm desperate. And the guy apparently "used" to be a player. Do we even have to meet? It will only be a blow to my self-esteem. I am already trying to lose weight; I don't think I need this added tough love lesson. Probably a blow to his self-esteem too. "She didn't want me?!" Bad idea all around.

04/14 Direct Link
I thought about leaving this place. What's the use? But all I ever do is leave. And I thought about how much being able to write means to me. Of all the things in my life, this is the only one that is completely me. The voice of my soul. Everywhere else, I am comparatively silent, even when talking to friends. Those words, thoughtless and partially for the sake of others, float away, half heard. It's all for something else, except this, which is only for me and life itself. This brings greater meaning to everything that is my life.
04/15 Direct Link

"Pain takes my heart's place."

I churn out humor for others, remembering funny stories and any awkward moments. We watched Parks and Rec, Colbert, 30 Rock, whatever you liked, B. But you watch these things even when I'm not there. Why don't I? It hurts me to watch humor alone. I enjoy the laughter, but sadness follows swiftly. Instead, I watch Mad Men, Don, and see something similar there. Something secretly tired. I am more tired than I let on, but I think it shows eventually. People get confused. Angry. My mind says, "Hide yourself! Turn the spotlights on them!"

04/16 Direct Link

The job of a second generation immigrant has always been clear to me. I am a builder. Sometimes it frustrates me how little my parents understand this, but how can they? They are the hunters. You need to be to leave everything and start over in a land where you will never quite fit in because you will never know all of the things the natives take for granted. Hunters don't care, can't care. You could not leave it all. It would tear you open (and it probably does). So important is your goal, so single-minded is your aim.

04/17 Direct Link

Our community was built by these hunters, but do know what happens when hunters attempt to build a community? Their ferociousness, the same fire that got them here, breaks it apart. Families fight families, egos fight egos. But they forget that their sacrifices become our sacrifices, and I never asked to be so alone. I am grateful for everything they do, but the price was losing my family there and now losing my community here. So I hold on tightly. The first gens don't get why I don't pick sides. Without blood ties, I have to turn water into blood.

04/18 Direct Link

So here I am, into another jam-packed weekend. Had dinner tonight with a high school friend and met her supercool fiance. Lunch tomorrow with long lost friend. Saturday night dance party with the younger people of my community. They're old enough to have ego feuds with other families, but I turn a blind eye. Sunday making green bean casserole and boiling eggs for a party in the evening, complete with egg painting with the girls and then hiding them for the "guests" to find. I don't know most of them, but I haven’t been here very long. Building them relationships.

04/19 Direct Link
So. Fucking. Exhausted.

Wounded animals.

She tells me that, in high school, her dog had a tumor. Her mother took him down to the basement, fed him Nyquil, and made her hold him while her mother tried to cut the tumor out herself.

She tells me about her mother's suicide notes and dates with other men. Her mother's hatred of women.

My head hurts.

We have not spoken for eight years, and this is the content of our first conversation. A four hour conversation.

Now to go to a dance party, sleepover, blah blah yadda yadda who cares. So tired.
04/20 Direct Link
Well, the weekend is finally over. Every outing a success. Every relationship replenished and may fun times left "to be continued...". A few friendships may have even begun, time strengthening bonds that were never strong initially. It's good to be back home.

Time to go back to the small town for the remainder of this month, but that's okay because I find myself when I am alone - my natural state of being. Relationships are flowers in my garden: that which makes my garden beautiful, worth stepping into. My favorite part of any party, though, has always been the drive home.
04/21 Direct Link
My mind's too noisy tonight.

Married couple at dance party. Close to my family friends. Husband kept watching me so wife did too. I was nice to her. Ignored him, but he didn't stop so I left early.

Old, confused frustrations rising.

College: Honors movie project. Cameraman: good friend's dad. I'm cast as romantic interest though I signed up for character research. He kept hitting on me, directing the lead. "In France, they do this. In Italy..." Everyone watching. "Look deeply into her eyes. Like this." Girl commenting on my costume. Running away. Crying.

Tornadic thoughts. Weird dreams this morning.
04/22 Direct Link
One of my closest friends released her first album today. This is a big deal. She's already had a few singles out, and two of them did pretty well, even received radio airtime. I am buying her album off of itunes as I write this. I love her music. She was my roommate sophomore year, and a better roommate there never was. Her deep lyrics and catchy melodies brightened my days, and I loved watching the creative process. And her voice! Her album is so small in comparison to what she has under her sleeves. Hoping it's only the beginning.
04/23 Direct Link

You grew your hair long, grew out a beard so you wouldn't have to see yourself in the mirror. I can't even look at you without the horror of her broken heart written across your face. How terrible is that burden for you? And how persistent? Does it chase you? The burden that lowers your brows over yours eyes and tucks your head down. You broke the heart of an unknowing girl and lived, and stood, and walked! You walk on legs that should have fallen, knees that should've buckled. A frame grown heavier with the memory of her tears.


 

04/24 Direct Link

Yesterday morning, at the pharmacy, the owner's wife brought her home-cooked chocolate gravy in a crock pot and fluffy, golden biscuits in a basket. Having lived in a city all my life, I had never heard of chocolate gravy. "Chocolate for breakfast?!" Well, that's the South for you. You put it on your biscuits and bacon. When they told us what was in the break room, everyone's energy level suddenly shot up. "Chocolate gravy! Better get you some!" I still had my reservations, but it was tasty. Of course it was. It's chocolate! Still wouldn't put it on bacon though.

04/25 Direct Link

For one of our assignments this month, we were allowed to investigate a new drug and write about its process through clinical trials and approval. Naturally, I picked the drug that my mentor's paper helped support. Oh, the dirt I dug up on one of the phase three trials. Eight percent of patients were dispensed the wrong drug. Where they should get placebo+treatment, they received placebo+placebo or treatment+treatment. Eight percent of the about 18,000 patients on this trial means about 1500 patients who thought they were getting proper treatment either received nothing or too much medication. Absolutely, positively, fucking ridiculous.

04/26 Direct Link
How did it get so late? All that's left now are little words about little things. Skip this entry.

I don't know why I once bought songs by Blur because the only time I listen to them is when I want to stare at Damon Albarn's beautiful face. That requires the music videos on youtube.

I watched the movie GBF. Sometimes, I feel like the IGF - Indian Girl Friend, and I wonder if people like me better when I act like Mindy Kaling. Is that why I crack so many jokes? Sidekicks have to funny. Ahhh it's whatever though.
04/27 Direct Link

I realize the silliness of last night's writings. We all objectify each other. This morning, I woke up appreciating my sassy, fashionable white girl friends. They're the ones that make it okay for me to sit by the pool in rolled up jeans and a t-shirt (just because I felt like it) because they're splayed out in hot pink bikinis, making friends with flirtatious guys. I don't want to be them, but I must admit to appreciating the aura they cast.  And, honestly, I do play the "I am different so I do what I want socially" card rather often.

04/28 Direct Link

B's dog used to sleep in the bed with us sometimes. He was a third of my size, a fourth of B's maybe, but by the middle of the night, he would end up occupying most of the bed, generally the center. One of his favorite spots was the right angle my legs made when I slept on my side. It was nice until I wanted to change position. I could only scoot away to get some room, and after a few minutes, he would be up against me again. By morning, I'd be barely holding on to the edge.

04/29 Direct Link
I asked my parents, tonight, if being an outsider here in America ever bothered them. What they said:

Ma: It bothers some in our community, but it's never bothered us.

Baba: Because even in India, we were outsiders. Rational people will always be... And I never had a childhood home. (His family moved a lot.)

Ma: I was an economically lower-middle class girl who chose to make something of herself instead of just settle down. I never fit in with the other girls. Rather, now--

Baba: Yes, rather here--

Ma: --especially with this community, we feel like we belong.
04/30 Direct Link
Well...

This month was academically (mostly) uneventful.

But I did get to see a side of America unknown to me. Learned about hardwood vs. softwood trees and a little about logging. I saw lands owned and unused. With all the overcrowding I've seen in India, this felt like a crying shame.

Was treated like an alien, but they were always polite. Just very self-conscious, everyone.

Happy to be moving on.

In other news, this week, B saved a man from catatonia. This patient had stumped doctors, pharmacists, etc. B researches the matter, suggests Lorazepam, and bam. Boy's a friggin genius.