Breaking up.

being busy is a curious thing. in some ways, there is a satisfying comfort to be constantly engrossed by various artificial tasks – arbitrarily determined scales by which you can measure your progress through life one goal or action item at a time, a little burst of endorphins every time you draw a line crossing off another item on your “to do” list. one of the things i miss most about college was this unnatural imposition of strictures on my time – lecture schedules leading to homework, naturally progressing towards tests, subdivided in quizzes, and a grade at the end of a every section of my year divided into semesters so I could never have any doubt that I was indeed, making “progress” in my life. it made you feel like you were “living” and accomplishing something, and i think it is that comforting, swaddling illusion and false sense of comfort that i miss so much about student life.
When we’re left alone and to our own devices, having nothing to do but lay in our beds and stare at the ceiling, crook of index finger pointed waveringly towards the ceiling, aimlessly tracing the periphery of various shapes into the cracked plaster above, the solitude forces self reflection on our *actual* progress through life – our various successes and failures laid bare for all to see, only that it’s us, and only us, who has to contend with them.
Sometimes those failures can seem overwhelming. It’s hard to know when and where to draw the line, how to divide your life into successes and failures and might-have-beens. This is particularly true when relationships come to an end – and especially so when you’ve been going out for years.
A week, and still a massive jumble of emotions running through my head in a crish-crossing stumbling mush. I want to find a quiet place to retreat to, a silent room to hide in and collect my thoughts. But there’s nothing like that in this fucking country, this noisy, ugly, dirty, rainy, overcrowded environmental disaster of rusting steel, stained concrete and noise pollution. So much damn noise that it fills the air at all times, crashing into your eardrums in a constant sonic assault, the incessant, inescapable noise of blaring political trucks, weathered merchants screaming into plastic cones at the top of their lungs, omnipresent repetitive jingles of pachinko parlors syncopating with flashing lights and building-high television monitors blaring music and advertisments to passersby from up above, teachers screaming across the staff room, young women squealing at the top of their lungs in coffee shops and temples, businessmen shouting deals into their cell phones and it wears me down until i can’t stand it any more, until I want to snap and scream at them and shake my fist and become that ugly gaijin they all think we are anyway, to shake them by the shoulders and implore the entire city to just shut the hell up for five seconds so i can gather my thoughts and my life!
We knew it was coming to an end when she started trotting out the damned phrase all of us have come to hate: “I guess japanese and westerners are just fundamentally different”. There’s so much fundamentally wrong with that statement – but still, days like this when i brush up agains that impatience that is the hallmark of human weakness and am forced to confront my abject lack of willpower and gaman… *sigh* i begin to wonder if she might be right…
I want to write more, but can’t. Too busy. That’s why I haven’t updated my blog for more than a week. I’ve jammed my life with dozens of things to do, keeping busy, always moving, days fully booked from start to finish, friends penciled into 15 minute slots between one rushed appointment or taks or other, music player on full blast as I dash off from one end of town to the other, a slamming, jamming mush of senseless busy work so as to perhaps avoid thinking about what i know i must inevitably think about.
Passing by a pachinko parlor on my way to the station, I glance inside at the endless rows of identically suited businessmen mindlessly slouched in front of machines, shoulders hunched, cigarette smoke thickening the air from thin white sticks drooping from their motionless lips, blaring, cascading buckets of noise pouring from speakers and banging bells, flashing neon, shouted words, tuneless melody jingles, hands on full-auto feeding handful after handfull of steel bearings into slots and pulling levers, glazed eyes focusing on nothing in particular, faces bathed in the light of pure mindless motion, doing something simply for the sake of doing something, and I think, as I watch them filling their lives with all this senseless activity for one fleeting second, wondering what it is they’re trying to avoid thinking about, and I think that maybe Japanese and Westerners aren’t so different after all.
2:10 am

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