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Published: March 27th 2010
This story is actually from 6 months ago (roughly September of 2009). Like all degenerates who believe they can change for a new semester, a new school, a new city, a new point in life, I spent $13 of my hard-earned summer cash on a leather-bound planner instead of two drinks at some grimy bar. My plan was to write down due dates, events, notes and all other things people generally use planners for. And it worked, briefly. It nicely catalogues every facet of my life during the first week, while written in periodically for the second and then never seeing the end of a pen from the third week and beyond.
I recently found it underneath some textbooks I also never used after the second week. “HW#1 Due”, “Pay Rent”, “Activity Fair @ GYM, 5:30”, “Study @ the Library”, “Club Meeting @ 4PM” and other such events are diligently noted with the best of my calligraphic penmanship, but over all these meticulously written notes, there are two words scrawled in black sharpie which tell a story.
I had recovered from the depression of the summer by throwing myself into Pittsburgh. This was before Miss KO started talking
The Prettier side
to me again, which would lead me to visit her in Montreal, which would lead to a relationship. This was before professors started carpetbombing us with work which would lead to 80 hour work weeks. This was before single-digit temperatures with 30mph crosswinds and two feet of snow would lead to insane depression.
Pittsburgh was a new place, with new possibilities, a whole new city ready to be explored. There was no work, it was a balmy 70 degrees everyday and though there were no girls in my computer science classes, I had a whole university and a whole city I hadn’t seen yet.
I was meeting new people everyday. Every class introduced me to people I might hang out with, every club meeting had me gaining entry into a new circle of friends, every pickup soccer game had me invited to a random party and even ultimate Frisbee/guitar playing/hookah smoking hipster circle-jerks became grounds to meet people. My bookface went from its limp-dick state in Japan to a Peter North explosion in my first week in Pittsburgh.
It wasn’t like I was even trying either…people just loved me in Pittsburgh. People instantly gravitated to me due
Pittsburgh (my campus)
Pretty...in the first week only
to my style. Pittsburgh only allows its citizens to wear two colors: black or grey. On gamedays, exceptions are made for black and yellow Steelers/Pirates/Penguins jerseys or blue/grey for Pitt games. Then some Asian comes strolling through campus wearing funky colors…and get this…he doesn’t look gay either…
And then they approach me, cautiously. There are Asians at my school. Actually, a shit ton of them…the problem for white people is though they want to have a few Asians strewn in their social circle to add some color and make Asian jokes without appearing racist (“I’m not racist…I have an Asian friend!”), they strongly dislike Asian accents. And it just so happens every single Asian in my school is straight from mainland Korea. So the white kids can vividly recall the many times they hoped to invite a Harold Lee to smoke ganja with but then their instant mortification when said Asian invitee opens their mouth: “Dulugs alu baddo!” (Loose translation: I must study)
The white kid, already building fantasies of “cool Asian” proclaiming his “authentic” sword collection is, in fact, “authentic”, of having “cool Asian” being impressed with his chopstick skills and of having “cool Asian” procure him
Ah...back when it didn't seem like a shithole
an Asian girlfriend, doesn’t know what to do. All these scenes are shattered by the accent. But first he has to respond…he’s panicking, oh no, what should he say, he can’t argue how drugs actually transport the self to a higher plane of creativity and openness because “cool Asian” won’t understand…oh shit, oh shit…
So he responds with, “Nee Hao!” (Translation: Let’s be Facebook friends!)
Thus, Asian/white relations end abruptly, the Asian shaking his head at the stupidity of the white man, while the shattered scenes of becoming cultured adding to the already enormous white man’s burden.
But now…this kid looks different. Instead of the omnipresent Korean trucker hat, there’s a New Era Fitted. Instead of skinny jeans, he’s wearing baggy ones. Instead of a textbook, he seems to have a personality.
They creep up to me, looking me over head to toe, wanting to say something but afraid to be embarrassed. But then they catch me staring at them quizzically. But instead of looking away quickly, I continue staring. They look left, then right and then bow quickly. “Nee hao ma! Shay shay!” (Translation: “My name is Tom Smith! Pleased to meet you!”)
Hanging out with Asians involves protecting oneself from SARS
raise an eyebrow, cock my head back and smirk, “Sup son.”
They immediately get excited and sprint me towards their circle of friends and everyone bombards me with questions about Japan and New York City and Canada and laugh at all my jokes and hang onto every one of my words, and I don’t mention how lame this is because I need to make friends in this new city.
It was thus that I found myself in one of these situations during the tail end of the first week. While discussing random Asian stuff white people find interesting (“This is actually a two part question. One, was Tom Cruise actually the last samurai, and two, if so, can I be one too?”), one of them suggested I go to the Japanese Student Association meeting because, “I’m a member too!”
I resisted the strong urge to roll my eyes or reply with a scathing remark about his pigmentation, and instead replied with a generic white reply of, “Bro, that’s cool dude, yo. Homie. Son.”
But wait, there might be J-Poppers there, and though I generally dislike J-Poppers, at least they don’t eat munchies from McDonalds while harping
about free-trade coffee. So later that day, I went to the meeting room, sat down, looked around, and immediately thought about leaving.
There were a few J-Poppers there, but the kind who study hard and never go out. The rest were tag-along Asians who watched anime and white people hoping to score with an Asian chick. But just as I was about to leave, they started the meeting and my Japanese side wouldn’t let me lose face.
I remained seated, gritting my teeth.
About 5 minutes in, a girl rushes in, out of breath and snags the seat next to me. I turn…and she’s cute. I turned back to the meeting, my brow furrowed. I haven’t seen one cute girl in all of Pittsburgh, this has to be a mirage. Plus she was white…I generally find white girls “hot”, not “cute”. It definitely has to be a mistake.
I blinked and lunged my pupils to corner of my slanty eyes to confirm. No, she was cute. Definitely cute…in that nerdy, eclectic way. She dressed in a generally cute outfit, but looked smart as well. I was intrigued.
By and by, the meeting progressed where we all had to introduce ourselves, and why we liked Japan. After hearing a gaggle of Edward Johnson’s who liked sushi and Jimmy Lee’s who jacked off to Naruto, it was her turn.
She jumped up, “Hi, I’m xxxx and I’m studying Japanese, so I wanted to practice with Japanese people. Thanks!”
A bland response in terms of content, but at least more legitimate than the others. She and all the others swiveled for my turn. I had to leave an impression on this girl.
I slowly rose from my seat, “I’m Gen and I’m interested in Japan because I’m Japanese.” I slowly sank back down, the whole room pausing as they eyed me…he’s actually Japanese! He’s the real deal!
The introductions continued, a few things were said by the officers and then the meeting was adjourned. I turned to the girl, but before I could spout any cool and amazing line, she jumped straight in.
She smiled, “You speak Japanese, right?” I nodded. “Great! Can I get your number?”
Wow, this was way too fucking easy…I didn’t even need to spit game and I already had both feet in the door. But if she wants me this bad…maybe I should play hard to get…
“Um, I generally don’t give out my number…”
She looked crestfallen, trying to come up with some response.
“How about this? We meet a few times and if we start hitting things off, you can have my number?”
She nodded vigorously, “Yeah! That sounds great!”
This is way too easy…parse my sentence and basically I’m telling her to go on dates with me and that she needs to please me. I resisted the strong urge to point to her pussy and call out my homer before the pitch was thrown.
But she wasn’t dumb. She gave me a coy smile. “But don’t I need your number to meet you?”
I hesitated. Fuck, what a nasty backdoor slider. She was right. To meet we had to call. But…I can’t let her get the upper hand…
I smirked. “Well…where’s a cool place to go tonight?”
She seemed startled by my dismissal of her concern. “Um…I guess….we could walk through Schenley Park?”
Wow, I thought she was throwing breaking balls but that was straight heat…there’s not even a pretense of learning Japanese. Plus, what the fuck would a guy and girl do at a park at night? I shouldn’t have even worried.
I got up and started packing my shit.
“Wait! Where are you going? Can I get your number still?”
I sauntered out and called over my shoulder, “9 at the gates, don’t be late.”
To be continued...
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