Sunday, May 31, 2009

table of humiliation

today was my brother's wedding. he married his high school sweetheart whom he has known for almost 15 years. heralding from the days at summer camp where as teenagers they would flirt by throwing sweet-and-low packets at each other to these currents times where they are beginning to settle down in the bay area i have observed them grow, of course fight, and always, be in love---or maybe just obsessed with each other in those passive aggressive sick ways--whatever.
the ceremony was quaint. outdoors in saratoga, peets coffee and fresh fruit was served, the flower girl ran screaming down the aisle not shedding a single rose cousin escorted my 95 year old grandmother to her seat, walking so slow, so slow....i was wearing a green and yellow dress from the 1950's; perfect lucille ball at a cocktail party if you will.
i had taken special preparation to look my best---or presentable at least. in the weeks leading up to this day i had been feeling increasingly nervous. i am not close with my family nor any of the church going family friends that i grew up around, and i was not looking to be singled out or judged. ive always been the weird one, etc. the lesbian, the wayward daughter, the list goes on.
needless to say, i had grown my hair out, took care to apply minimal makeup because my mother has been guilty of calling me a know----just trying to not attract too much unwanted attention. blah blah blah you can say what you will about being yourself, being strong, but shut up i don't wanna hear it. this was my only siblings wedding and i didn't want to be the goth kid in the corner. i wanted to be the bright-eyed happy sister of the groom.
after the marriage stuff went down and all of the chinese traditional activities such as the handing over of family treasures such as gold jewelry and the emotional tea ceremony where the bride and groom knelt before my father and mother and received their blessings....we headed to the restaurant for the chinese banquet dinner.
round tables were setup around the large hall, with people being assigned seats. there were perhaps 300 people in attendance. the tables were numbered. my immediate family was assigned to a prime table with beautiful crystal glassware and proper settings. the table was labeled # 2.
i looked at the chart and i could not find my name at # 2.
with a sinking heart i found my name at the bottom of the list at number # 17.
***in chinese culture this must be pointed out that this is a huge snub***
i went over to my assigned table. it was in the very back of the room against a wall. there was another wall blocking my entire view of the hall.
it was the fucking worst table in the entire place.
i dont know why my brother did not have a place for me at my family's table. it embarrassed me and confused me.
in chinese culture family is everything. i've never been the daughter my mother wanted me to be but i've always tried to do what i can to cause her the least shame as possible. my friends have sometimes asked me why i dont stand up for who i am, and the truth is that they cannot possibly understand because they are not chinese.
the worst part of the night was when my uncle stood up and had the honor of announcing the entire groom's side of the family. first my grandparents where announced, then my father and mother. each time a name was called, the person would stand up and the entire hall would acknowledge them. it was a moment of honor, of being proud to be affiliated with the groom.
when my name was called there was a long silence. nobody could see me. i stood, embarrassed, probably one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. finally when i waved my hands around a bit, people noticed where i was and i knew what they were thinking---why wasn't the only daughter sitting at the honorable table? tables tables tables you might be thinking...why do i care about tables? ahh but i do, but i did.
after dinner in chinese custom the bride changes from her white wedding dress to a red chinese silk gown. she then will go from table to table with the immediate family from both sides to toast champagne and take photos. i should have been there by the side of my father but in the hustle and bustle i wasn't invited. there is not a single photo of me to prove that i was present. during this time i went to my grandmother's side to visit with her and my grandfather whom i hadn't seen in months. they were as confused as i was as to why i was at such a dishonorable table.
finally i approached my brother to congratulate him. he had hardly spoken to me all day. i dont know if he was ignoring me or if he was distracted, but he hardly said a i left quietly as they were cutting the cake and now i am sitting on my porch home from damned saratoga feeling pretty damn depressed.
i feel as distant from my family as i have ever. i will never have a proud wedding like he. i will never have a chance to put him in a dank corner...nor would i do something such as this to him, ever.
family is about saving face. it's about honor. it's never about love it seems. not with my family. it really breaks my heart because up until the dinner, i was thinking for the first time in years how proud i was to be called a chang not a tanaka.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

bearded ladies, floods, and blood

gorgeous afternoon, maybe 80 degrees.
where have all the bearded ladies gone?
you tell me.
last night was fairly ridiculous. first at work the bar began to seep water Numbered Listfollowed by a FLOOD gushing out from both bar drains, destroying the entire ambiance of the restaurant at the time and emptying us of customers. we were feverishly armed with a shop vac, buckets, bus tubs, and two mops to no decent avail. water was there to destroy. still, the show had to go on, as the entire courtyard and patio was bustling with merrymakers and hookah-aholics.
pathetically the girls and i slipped and slided, carrying our trays far above our heads, lighting the damn flaming tetilla fireballs, feeling sorry for the damp belly dancers. it was disgusting but at least it wasn't boring.
after a plumber was called and the catastrophe subsided i eventually clocked out and went to get a night cap with my roommate.
after last call we made our way back towards home only to pass a dark parking lot on J st where there was a lot of screaming and commotion.
we observed a stocky man shove a woman to the pavement where she struck her head on the concrete and lay still. another woman was on the man's back trying to pull him away as he turned and hit another male in the face repeatedly.
erin and i intervened, told the offending male to leave, the whole time saying "hey we are not involved, just get in your car and scram"...finally they did so, 2 males and 2 females.
the remaining people left were of the victim's party, 2 women and the bleeding male. he had a broken nose surely, and there was plenty of blood to be had. both women had been punched or shoved in the process, and the man was sobbing, out for the count. he was shirtless as was one woman.
erin had taken the license plate of the offenders and i ran to luigi's to get some water and napkins. as i pushed my way through the throng of intoxicated pizza lovers, people laughed at me as i took as many flimsy paper napkins as i could snatch.
once back at the parking lot it took over half an hour for a reluctant squad car to approach the scene and only after he was flagged down on k st.
long story short, charges were pressed and i hope tonight will be better than last.
damn santogold brings the crazies.

Friday, May 22, 2009

im joining the throng

greeting to all of you out there in cyber space. im giving a shot to this blog page in honor of having purchased my first laptop a month ago. it's 5:21 am and i'd give anything to be back in berlin jumping on a trampoline with lauren instead of lying in bed unable to sleep while hearing the birds chirp outside my window. im feeling a need to travel.........goodnight. -cheers!-