Day 208: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
This morning I got up early because I had a lot of things to take care of before my flight to America for my sister’s wedding. I checked my email and discovered that I got a letter from Guggenheim. It said that I had passed the first round of their fellowship’s application process, and that they would like me to send in samples of my proposed project Talking Barnacles in review for funding. I was ecstatic- much more so then when I got the news from the Canon competition because the fellowship had always been the ultimate goal of my master plan this past year.
Since I was going to meet the girl that I like at her place later in the morning to talk business, I decided to skip my usual tea and two slices, and celebrate by getting some pastries for the both of us from the fancy neighborhood bakery. On my bike, I was feeling incredibly high because everything that I had planned was falling into place… except for one last thing, and with this new confidence that I was feeling, I decided that I was finally going to ask her where I stood. At that moment, because my head was growing bigger and bigger as well as more delusional from this morning’s news, I wanted to convince her that I would be the most famous photographer in the world one day even though I know she doesn’t care about superficial things like that- actually neither do I usually.
Afterwards, I went to her place. We ate breakfast and talked business in a rush since she had to leave for work. I told her about Guggenheim, but unfortunately the possibility of me receiving a lot of money next year didn’t seem to have any affect except for her being happy for me. Since she was in a hurry, it didn’t feel right to ask her the question that had been on my mind for the past four months. While I walked her to the station, I asked her a different question, which was that if we did end up winning the Canon competition next month and would take that trip to Taiwan together like we had planned, how would she convince her boyfriend to let her go with me? She laughed and replied that she had already told him about our plans, and that he was cool about it. I was stunned and the words, "He is a good guy," came out of my mouth and she agreed.
We said goodbye at the station and that we would see each other in a week after I got back from America. When I returned home, I decided to finally ask her because I was sick of not knowing. I got out my cell phone and was originally going to write in Japanese but then changed my mind and did it in English. I wrote:
#@!#@, do you really love your boyfriend?
I pushed the send button, and it was done. It was too late to take it back. To kill time, I checked my email and there was a comment on this morning’s post about meeting Hayato’s parents on Talking Barnacles. The comment said, “I wonder if they know you are famous…” The way he phrased it, I didn’t know how to answer because a lot of weight was placed on the word famous. When I think of fame, I naturally think of money... as well as girls. While I was about to respond, my phone vibrated. She texted me back. I paused the music that I was listening to, pushed the main button of my phone to enter the inbox, then pushed the button again to open her text, and then waited for one very long second for what I already knew would appear on screen, but didn't want to accept until I finally had seen it, which was:
For two minutes, I sat on the floor staring at dust. 15 minutes later, I was on the computer again keeping busy when Willy came up, which was a pleasant surprise especially since we’ve been bonding a lot lately after her return home. I watched her crawl under my desk expecting her to plop down and relax next to my feet, but instead she began to let out a gush of pee everywhere, which just added to my misery.
On the way to the airport, I kept thinking of the word famous, which the guy had written on my blog… which then led me to think about the other essential dilemma in everyone’s life besides love- money. If I were to get the fellowship, I would get the money, but that would be sometime after April of next year. My original plan about T.B. was to do it until March 11th – the anniversary of the quake as well as the birth of T.B.- which would be a nice tidy ending. If I got the money that would mean I would have to keep going on with the blog probably for another year, which worries me because since the moment of its inception, I have been constantly filled with the fear about how long can I actually keep this up day after day and when will I finally burn out like I did with My Little Dead Dick.
At the shitty airport bookstore, the only decent thing there was to read was Haruki Murakami’s book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Even though I was still a little bitter at Murakami for not drinking the apple juice I had given him a while back, I ended up buying it because I wanted to have something on the plane to take my mind off of things.
During the beginning of the flight, I switched between writing this entry, reading, and then working on my speech/presentation for the final round of the Canon New Cosmos competition next month. And then I let my mind rest, watching the film, Alien, which I had actually never seen before, but because it was rather old and slow paced compared to TV shows and movies these days, I quickly fell asleep. Afterwards I watched a recent blockbuster film, which kept my attention but not necessarily my interest, and then I went back to reading Murakami’s book where, to my surprise, I found there were many similarities to my own life and to what I have been thinking about all day:
There’s no such thing as winning or losing. Maybe numbers of copies sold, awards won, and critics’ praise serve as outward standards of accomplishment in literature, but none of them really matter…
She doesn’t like me. It doesn’t matter what I do or what kind of person I become. I know it won’t change anything. In the end, I would love to say that these past few months I did everything, especially Talking Barnacles, for her, but deep down I know that would be a lie. Murakami explains it best when he says:
... Day after day… bit by bit… I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day.