Monday, June 30, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust.

I walked by this bookstore the other day, and jarringly found myself face-to-face with this:

It's a sad thing when independent bookstores close. I used to love this bookstore. While not Kramerbooks & Afterwords (my most favorite bookstore ever) or even Green Apple, this neighborhood storefront held a special place in my Cole Valley-nestled heart. After any trip down Irving, I'd more often than not stop by, get lost in the selection of both new and lovingly used tomes, the lithographs.. and eventually wander out emptyhanded. Most often, it was the simple matter of not having my wallet handy, having just returned from a jog. Other times, it was due to the jotting down of mental notes - mental notes to later purchase the books on Amazon, discounted, I confess. 

I'm the reason these stores are closing. 

Black Oak Books, may you rest in peace. I loved you; I only wish I had showed it at the time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

People I'm Convinced Are INFPs.

* Ben Gibbard
* David Sedaris
* Amelie Poulain
* Chris Martin

Monday, June 9, 2008

Four Letter Words.

About a year ago, I became infatuated with all things Myers-Brigg. Having taken an inventory online, I was presented with a four letter acronym and an explanation of what makes me tick. And as I began to read through that personality profile, I was amazed. Who knew that such an accurate description existed in four simple letters: I, N, F, and P?

The first paragraph was a general description. I had read somewhere that in a focus group where a personality test was administered to a classroom of high school students, the same rose-colored assessment was given to each member of the class. Each student was pleasantly surprised with their results, nodding in agreement, thinking the results had been tailored exclusively to them when really, the same blurb seemed to apply to everyone. Smart in their own way. Potential to do great things. Key themes that could read true for every student in the room. People like to see themselves in the brightest of lights.

But as I read on, so many of the questions I had, things that driven me crazy about myself over the years were instantly illuminated. How was it that I couldn't answer a simple black and white question, but instead see a full spectrum of gray? Could this be reverse autism, where I was unable to take anything literally? And where was this test 10 years ago during my adolescent angst?

More important was the following: could there be others out there?

And that's when I noticed the list. In addition to shedding light on why you are the way you are, Ms. Myers and her mother Briggs had thoughtfully included a list of notable counterparts. Although not many in number, there were others like me, only famous!

As I perused that list, I breathed a breath of fresh air.

With the existence of other fellow INFPs such as Jackie O (I always liked that pillbox hat), young Drew Barrymore's pal E.T., and Mary, mother of Jesus, suddenly, my shades of gray world became technicolor.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Spoonful of Sugar.

It began with an ambulance, a hospital, and a shot of morphine. Well actually, it began with some Chinese herbal medicine. Talked into taking herbal supplements by my mum over Mother's Day weekend, I ingested my morning dosage of han yak (Chinese herbal medicine) and carried on with my day. I consumed my daily serving of Special K mixed with Smart Start, tossed and turned in my chair, raided my co-worker's box of Mint Cookies & Cream Frangos, sent an email, and then contemplated and caved into another Frango. The usual.

A couple hours later, I feel a wave of nausea and lightheaded-ness. This is not good.

I stop by my meeting, long enough to blurt out "IfeellikethrowingupI'llseeyoulater!" and make a beeline for the onsite doctor. After confirming that I'm not pregnant, the medical aide shows me into a room with a giant beanbag. Sink and trash can? Check and check. I can rest assured. I then fall into a 30 minute nap, waking up just in time to throw up in the sink. Upon realizing what time it is, I clean up the mess and limp over to my creative writing class.

"I'msosorrybutIcan'tstayI'mfeelingreallysickbuthere'stheassignmentcansomeonegetmybag?" Tom, the instructor, looks concerned and asks a fellow student to journey to another building to grab my belongings.

As I'm stumbling over to the building lobby, where my friend Grace is waiting for me, I collapse on the sofa to take a breather. And that's when it begins. The sequence went something like this: receptionist calls over security guard who calls security guards plural who call the emergency response team who notify the Mountain View Fire Dept (onsite doctors are gone for the day) who call the paramedics who strap me into a gurney, roll me across main campus, into an ambulance and cart me off to the hospital.

"Where are you?" Google.
"What time is it?" 5:30ish. My mental capacities are in tact.
"We're going to check your blood sugar level." Do I have diabetes?! I knew I shouldn't have killed off my co-worker's box of Frangos!
"No, just standard procedure, ma'am."

This is the second time I've ridden in an ambulance, and the sirens did not sound.

At the hospital, there is no wait. I'm rolled into the corner bed, change into a dressing gown that ties in the back and am wristbanded. So this is what it feels like. Certified patient now.

Here's what I learned: explaining the concept of han yak to non-Asian medical caregivers is no easy feat.

"Did you eat anything today, miss?" Well... there's this eastern medicine thing that I took this morning..
"What's it for?" Erm.. general good health? It's not exactly like how Tylenol is for headaches.
"What is it, exactly?" I have the bottle here, but there's no label, and no, wait.. don't open it.. it smells really bad.. I warned you..

By now, I'm rather dehydrated. Continually tossing and turning in pain, I ask where Grace is. The waiting room, they tell me. The nurses hook me up to an IV.

Will this make me throw up again? "No, this will go straight to your veins."

I feel something surge through me, and I'm hurting like I've never hurt before. I saw an episode of Grey's Anatomy where Karev miscalculates the amount of fluids to give and the patient dies. This is what's running through my head as I'm writhing in pain.

Why are you torturing me, nurse? We've only just met.
A shot of morphine later.. I love you, nurse.

Grace is finally brought in. She's studying for tomorrow's exam, while I'm catching up on half a day's work email on my phone. Such a wonderful friend. :)

A drunk patient from two beds over wanders by and mouths something that I'm squinting to make out. "I'll pray for you," he says, convinced I'm terminal. Grace and I giggle, while the drunk guy wanders back to his area.

I'm discharged later that night, once my blood tests check out, and my roommates pick me up. I unfold a hastily scribbled prescription, which simply reads: STOP TAKING CHINESE MEDICINE!

And so begins my birthday week.