am i for real?

we had a get together at my house for easter. i suggested it, since my dad has been whining to my mom about how none of his brothers or sisters talk to him anymore. he's super sensitive, and every time i ask him if he's going to come to a family gathering, he always gives the same response: "well, we weren't invited." his response is completely ridiculous. i don't think i ever remember family members "inviting" each other over for thanksgiving dinner, christmas eve parties, or for the fourth of july.

my dad's side of the family hasn't really gotten together since my grandma passed away in 2002. this split made me wonder if everyone was just pretending the whole time. maybe they never really liked each other. maybe living in the same city, and some in the same neighborhood, for twenty, thirty years, has created some slight resentment. i'm not really sure.

i wonder if any of them are happy at all. before they came here, they probably expected a little bit more than what they received. a better job, an escape from perpetual poverty, educated children who would go on to become working professionals. not expecting much. just what this country had initially advertised. just a chance to succeed.

my dad's going to the philippines on friday for ten days. i don't know what he expects to accomplish in ten days. he bought $200 worth of crap from costco to bring to his family there. i had to get a box from my aunt's house so that we could put all the costco crap into it. i asked my aunt why he needed to bring so much toilet paper. "they don't like the toilet paper there. it's too thin," she said. i played super smash bros. with my cousin. i don't get that game. it's four cartoon characters bouncing around on the screen, making little tornadoes, slashing around with giant swords, and kicking every which way. i don't understand the point. at all. but then again, i do enjoy bust-a-move, so i can't really talk.

one day a few weeks ago, right before i went to bed, i put my arm across my head and thought, wow, so this is it, huh? this is my life now. it doesn't matter if it goes up or down, sideways or diagonally, this is who i am and what i'm doing this very second. i'm lying down in a room that holds everything i own and everything i have collected over the years. this is it. twenty-five years to get to this. even though it was before i went to sleep, it felt like i had just woken up. although necessary, the question "what should i be doing now?" is completely annoying. i know someone who always has an idea of how things should be. even for simple things, like when i got a brown jacket, i was told, "too bad that jacket isn't black." or someone who advises, "maybe you should apply for this, try for that."

mr. cramer, a teacher i worked for at watsonville high, always sensed that i was judging him from the back. i could tell because he would always say, "you know, it's easy to be in the back and think, 'oh, i would've done that this way, or done things that way,' but it's tough, man." the truth was, aside from his inability to teach a subject he wasn't fully competent to teach, he really wasn't that bad. he could be on and tell jokes and make kids laugh. maybe that's all students need. some safe place to hang out with an adult who doesn't act like he's got something stuck up his ass all day.

things could always be done differently. i could've done a lot of things differently. i could've just been holed up at a desk, working on the big book of sudoku. what would have changed? would i have been any happier? i don't think i even know anyone who's truly happy. i know that nobody can be happy all the time because then it would totally negate the concept of happiness, but most people i know aren't happy even some of the time. all that sets me apart is that i choose to write about it.

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