“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” – Macbeth
When I was young we lived for a few years in the Korea town section of Los Angeles. I have memories of riding on the handle bars of my cousin Willy’s bike. We’d ride around and it seemed as if we could go anywhere and at any time. I remember we’d go into these Korean markets and looking back at it now it seemed wondrous and mysterious to step into those markets.
I’d see these big placards and signs in a language that seemed so foreign to me. But I was fascinated by them and what they meant, these people that I did not understand but I felt kinship with them. I’d see exotic foods and let the smells permeate my head. I’d walk around these huge aisles looking at the items on the shelfs. Memories of far of places and other possibilities. My parents would say that these were markets of other people, but I felt something here, I felt hope and life with people who worked and laughed, not much different from my own family and friends.
We wondered the alleyways and headed back home. We were in the city of Los Angeles but for just a little while, we made it to Korea. It was great, these early experiences I think helped me expand my world and understand that there were others. People who came to this country from far off lands. The human story is a story of migration, we move because that’s what our nature commands. We should be kinder to our fellow man, easier said than done due to our other built in wiring.
I used to have this reoccurring dream.
I was on a beach and there was a grey sky above me.
There was no sound only sight. The colors were mostly greens and greys and they were amplified to a dark tone. In this dream, I stood there on this unknown beach and stared at this hideous green building. I started to notice that the dark sand beneath my feet was moving and as I turned to stare out at the sea, only saw a dark horizon. There were only a few other people on the beach with me and they all turned and ran towards the building. I too ran.
As I made my way up the building there were no sounds or other signs, just silence. I climbed the stairs for what seemed a very long time. Finally I stopped and stepped into a room which had a sea side view. I stared out into the bleak day and still no sound but I saw the ocean floor. I saw fish and crabs and other sea life on the ocean floor. As I stared at the horizon I saw something in the distance. I started to understand what it was, it was a giant wall of water.
I was in the building and the wall of water got closer & closer. I still couldn’t hear anything not even the screams.
My view of the scene was now from the outside looking at the ugly building or hotel. It was an algae colored building and the water was now very close to hitting the front of the building. It would cover the building and destroy it, of this I was certain. I felt strangely at peace. The grey and the green converged.
I used to have this dream all the time and suddenly nothing.
Zeus was on Mt. Olympus when he heard the news. The humans they are rebelling against the gods and blaspheming his name. They don’t pay tribute to me or any other god any more.
Zeus flew into a rage and caused a great wave to rise up in the ocean. The wave rushed towards the shore at breakneck speed. The water raged like Zeus
Why won’t the mortals pay tribute to me? he inquired of Hera, his wife. This has been tradition since the beginning of time. The sacrifice the sweet, sweet sacrifice. It must be paid.
Hera paused for a moment and said “They have grown too comfortable and mock the gods. Why should they need give sacrifice to gods? They have wine and grapes and all the meat they could ask for? The gods are far away and don’t mind the affairs of men”.
“They have grown fat and comfortable” said Hera “because you gave them knowledge and fire and ceaseless thought. They provide solutions to their own problems and lick their own wounds”.
Zeus thought as the first one his floods hit the Greek coast.
I’ll bring fire and hail down upon them besides water. I will turn the creatures of the earth against them and they shall want to die.
Plague set upon the crops, the dark lasted for days and the young died by the thousands.
The men gnashed their teeth and threw their fists upon the ground. They cried out to the heavens and supplicated the gods, but most of all Zeus himself.
Upon Mt. Olympus there was a scent, the smell of sweet meat and burning flesh.
Life moves fast and when I was young I really didn’t understand the full meaning of this. I find that writing dates down and then finding them or looking back at these dates, it’s amazing how those dates are long gone by.
My life seems like some sort of picture book one that is a bit old and faded. I’m not the same person that I was when I was 5, 15, 20, 25, or 30. Technically that is one-hundred percent true. Most of our cells have been replaced and at this very moment your cells are dying and being replaced. Our memories keep us in the past and I believe this is one of the greatest mysteries of the human brain. We want to live in the present this is ideal, but our minds keep searching and reliving the past. An exercise in futility.
We are mammals with all of the faults that come with that. We can’t comprehend time and the vastness of space. We are like butterflies who wake up for a short while and we think that we are all that there is in this world. We want to make a difference and we long to be remembered after we are gone. I believe this desire drives many people.
Creatures who are unaware of all their faults and yet think the world of themselves.
Is it better to be confident or to be doubtful? As I roamed the schools of this new high school in a new state, a state that I didn’t grow up in. I observed those around me. I quickly became friends with two people. One was a homely girl and I don’t remember her name. I remember she was nerdy and a bit doughy. I don’t say this to be mean but just to emphasize the fact that she was what would be considered an “outcast” to any group which you would say is popular.
The second person I made friends with was a skinny Indian kid. Again I can’t remember this guys name but he was frail looking kid. He appeared to be studious and wore sweaters, in other words he was a nerd. Ha. Does this mean I was a nerd too? I’m not sure but it goes to say that when people aren’t part of mainstream “groups” that is to say jocks, rockers, preppies, etc, they tend to form up into their own groups. I think this speaks to our history as social animals. We don’t have big teeth or huge canines, we have a big brain and that’s what sets up apart. We form groups and together we can survive or our chances get better. I was always a shy kid a product of my environment as a child, keep quiet and it’s better for me not to be noticed.
When I was in NY I would walk up the street to Hillside Ave. from my aunts house and take the bus to school every day. I would have to buy tokens down at the train station every couple of weeks. I think it was $1 a ride which added up if you think twice a day and 5 times a week. The bus driver used to get a kick out of the fact that I would pay everyday. The other kids had passes because they lived in the area which was Floral Park. I lived in a different part of Queens (Hollis) but I was using another address to be able to attend Martin Van Buren High School. The reason for this was because the school I was supposed to attend was in Jamaica, Queens, I rougher part of town so to speak.
I had my walkman with me and I would go to school and get there early. I would walk in the auditorium and listen to music while I waited for that first bell. Depeche Mode, INXS. some of the bands whose music I would listen to. I have good memories of this time.