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.
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.
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.
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
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.
So how does it make me
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Pain takes my heart's
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.