Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Bad Day 4/25

The back story:
12:00 am: Wrapping up a conversation with Shanghai. One aspect of my job is to communicate with our comments and requirements to the CG company in China. This time consuming and experience has been surprising, as there is an overwhelming amount of coordination, patience, software expertise involved in the process.
12:40 am: Finally done, am hating how it chewed up my Saturday evening from 4pm.
1:00 am: PTFO

8:00 am: I'm up and well rested, and freshly amazed at LA's ability to shorten my sleep cycle.

9:00 am: having fun scripting for a friend
11:30 am: done and blogged

12:00 pm: did my research for my camera... decided to buy the Nikon D3000 (my camera has a devastating case of sensor dust). Biking out now, super pumped!
12:30 pm: Stopped halfway to try out an Indian lunch/market/fast food. Got some cheap and delicious mush. score!

1:30 pm: trying to buy the camera at Best Buy, but the $700 purchase tripped my bank security, and that deactivated my card. And since I wasn't able to cash my paycheck on Friday, the check has not yet cleared. Still, the cute girl (who biked + studied arch at sciArc?) was really great and patient.

2:00 pm: apparently I suck at logic composition. Whereas my other GRE scores came back decent, my 3.5 is surprisingly poor, poo... after walking around shocked and humbled, I resolve to improve my analytical writing skills.

3:30 pm: fully realized what it meant to not have my bank card when I was paying for groceries... how am I going to pay this week's rent?
4:00 pm: What a bad day. Anyways, I am finally home, and decide to sit outside to enjoy the weather, skies, neighbor's music and most important, internet. (I am paying $5/week to use Sarah, my landlady's network)

More back story:
I like in a low apartment that very much shares a zone with the adjacent apartment. Directly above me are a lively and loud family and friends group (70dB). Across from me are a bunch of hard-core Eminem fans (yes, more hard-core than me!) and gamers (80dB+bass). Diagonally across are a large family cramped into a small apartment (children). And as I live in the Santa Monica ghetto (or worse, depending if you talk to my coworkers), there are a lot of street and car noise at all times of the day. Of course, being a noisy sleeper myself (90dB+), these noises have no effect on me whatsoever.

Finally, here's the story:
As I sat down outside, the kids from across the backyard (a 20' space split by a fence) came out to play. Two little boys throwing a tennis ball, pushing some toy cars, quickly animating the yard. And before I know it, they've thrown the tennis ball over to my side. I return it, and a minute after it is again over on my side. By now I know that my bad day was turning around.

It's obvious that while they are playing, that they are also moving. The more articulate brother ("Kraig with a K") then tells me that being 6, he likes to play basketball and days off, dislikes tedious homework and bullies. Also, he tells of how he is moving to another place around the corner. When asked why, he innocently responds that his father is moving to Chicago for work, and that they will be moving in with their grandmother. Then he says "it has been hard on the family", and gives me a significant look that just crushes my stomach*.

With all kids, though, no moment lasts too long. Soon we were playing again, throwing the ball back and forth. The fence disappears, and all has been forgotten. Another comes out and joins the fray, and we are tossing and laughing with abandon. For me, it was so very relaxing.

Time flies when we have fun, so that we can never really account for our fun until we run out of time. My landlady Sarah, with whom I have a good relationship, suddenly swept her head across the corner and started screaming -- screaming for us to stop playing, and threatening to call the cops. The outburst produces a posse of women from the apartment, attracts others from the balcony above, Sarah comes downstairs and the children runs behind their family.

"I've been trying to get some sleep," Sarah speaks loudly to me "and you playing with these children is making that impossible. I've told you I do not like these children, and I think that you have been very rude in betraying my trust by playing with them." The space is now ironically silent, save for the thumping base in the background, "I was going to call the police on these children, who should not be even living here. I have been very generous in providing you with internet, and this is how you repay me?"

So shocking was her demeanor that I was rendered speechless and dazed. I could not bring myself to mention the obvious (all of the other noises), or the subtle (that these children should be having fun). I could only think about how she suddenly became that cranky old crazy bat I read in children stories I should buy her a strong dose of Ambien. On one hand, I sympathized with her insomnia and loud neighbors, but I feel compassion should be shown to everyone, and that threatening the vulnerable is too bullish (and +t). And on top of that, to underestimate me with empty threats? Truly she was having the bad day.

These kids recovered surprisingly fast - 30 minutes later, they were again playing and being themselves. I just can't help thinking that I came out the worst from this experience: that some are ignorant and unkind, and that the innocent will be tarnished. Still, I probably will attempt a confrontation with Sarah about this at a later date. At the very least, I will be able to understand her position, and learn how not to display her crudeness when I myself have a bad day.

sketches at a later date.

work continued forever, Sarah became her good old self, and I learned a valuable lesson in remaining calm.

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