My favorite excuse


“I’m sorry I can’t come to your party! I’ll be out of the country.” No apology has ever been more ingenuine, in my opinion. This is my excuse in two weeks when I plan to jet over to Thailand for ten days of Bangkok and beaches.

Following that I have roughly a month and a half left in Taiwan, before heading to Australia for whatever my future holds. It’s a strange limbo as I have watched friend after friend leave the island, and finally it’s my turn and I don’t feel like I have many friends left to celebrate my absence. Which is alright, I have enough personal interactions to distract me, to the point of falling on my face tonight while night running. I never do that.

  1. Issue: new guy I like, that is probably a bad idea and definitely a cruel attachment to form since I plan on leaving.
  2. Issue: my roommate’s girlfriend, friendly, but keeps calling me to ask where her boyfriend is,  if I took her raincoat and can I let her in. Dude, so many reasons not to have a girlfriend.
  3. Issue: renewing my visa in Taiwan, shouldn’t be problematic just red tape and waiting in lines.
  4. Issue: scheduling wisdom teeth removal, I’m terrified of finding a good English-speaking doctor here.
  5. Issue: should I work constantly to save for travel or try to enjoy my last few months in Asia?
  6. Issue: international bank accounts, how and why is it so complicated?
  7. Issue: should I be fading out of my friendships to wean people away from me, or just cold turkey it?

If I’ve learned anything from my research of oral surgery, extraction is difficult and painful. I hope I can handle it with as much poise as possible

Image credit to Jim I'll Paint it.

Image credit to Jim’ll Paint It.


Modern connections: Updates vs battery charge


At 26% battery I attempted to update four different applications on my iPhone at the same time. By the time I reached 14% I realized the folly of my ways and with an unreasonable amount of panic I canceled two updates in order to see any finish updating before my phone went completely dead.

With anticipation I watched the semi-circle, ends reaching towards each other getting closer, and the longer I watched the more the edges seemed to flutter. As if the two ends were making frantic attempts to connect, hold hands. Meanwhile the battery percentage ticked down 10%, 4%, 2% and finally at 1% the update completed. The circle was full, much to my surprise. I never expect things to work when it’s down to the wire.

I had watched the last few seconds countdown because I wanted to see the light leave my phone’s eyes if it was going to die. Yes, I had totally personified this phone and its struggle to be complete. I also was in a delirium that follows an afternoon nap.

But there remains that thought in the back of my mind as a human that I can be more complete and multifaceted, and holding hands helps. From a survival aspect holding hands doesn’t seem logical. The opposable thumbs that give people so many advantages, climbing and gripping are fully neutralized by hand holding. Walking and running are both more difficult while holding hands.

But it connects us and comforts us, and not just humans, other mammals as well. Look at elephants holding trunksmonkeys gripping eachother’s tails and puppies nuzzling closer into the dogpile to feel that contact.

Social creatures have similar habits, but human social contract dictates a certain distance be observed for acquaintances and friends. The rest comes down to fear of rejection and personal embarrassment. When really, there is no reason not to hold hands. Unless there is a sweaty palm situation.

Some of my younger students reflexively reach out to hold my hand or to lean against me, and every time I am surprised by the maternal instincts that make me instantly want to protect that little person. All from these small, unconscious actions that make me feel close not just in body but also mind. It is an acknowledgement of something tribal, a connection recognized that all parties will try to protect each other.

Some infants spend the majority of their young lives attached to their mother’s back, or in close proximity of people who love and reach out to touch consistently if not constantly. As people grow older and develop independence the need for physical touch is still present, but open affection is no longer socially acceptable as it was with dependent toddlers drooling all over themselves.

We still want hugs. We still want to hold hands, link arms, fist bump, shake hands and grab shoulders. It reduces blood pressure at a micro level, and at the macro level it reassures all of us in our everyday moments of insecurity. It reminds us we aren’t alone, but part of an ever updating circle.