Friday, October 29, 2004

Achilles 1917

Diary
Quick update at work
October 29 2004, circa 230pm

All my life, I have been very confused by people who shriek in terror every time their presence is acknowledged, who have so little self-confidence that I wonder if they need someone else’s encouragement to get out of bed in the morning. I could never imagine what it must be like to feel like that, I always assumed it must be half an act to get sympathy or something, I have no idea.

But suddenly, I understand a little bit. I am here in Japan, and I feel (at work) like a complete retard. Everything I write has to be edited and rewritten a thousand times, every time someone explains something to me they have to speak incredibly slowly and repeat it 3 times before I nod a falsified understanding in embarrassment – it is really about the worst feeling I’ve felt in a good long time.

These people all seem so concerned about me, want to make sure I have a good experience in japan – and yet all I want from them is to leave me the fuck alone. I get to pick a task here, I would like very much to work in a hole somewhere where for 8 hours I can do something brainless and then go out and get my real education, talking to people and meeting people and etc. Here, I dunno, I am so completely high strung that every time someone calls my name I feel like “Ooooooh shit, now what?” I can’t take this, it will make me crazy. This has never been me and it never will be, it cannot be – so why am I in this boat?

Is it really all just a matter of language? Do I really feel so stifled because I can’t express and can’t understand? In fairness I feel like that in the states, too – but on another level. My problem has never been finding the words, so much, I read enough as a kid to make me verbose to the point of lunacy. But everyone feels frustration with the idea that they can never fully make another person understand them – expression, from the outset, is a flawed concept. So why should it make so much difference here? In the states, I can’t justify my existence or worldview to anyone willing to try to understand, so just because I don’t have a grasp of the language here doesn’t mean anything is any different. Right?

And yet it is. There is nothing in the world that I hate more than receiving something I had turned in and seeing red. And not just red, but sections crossed out. They are wrong, and they can never be right. It means that I put forth effort that was misguided from the start, doomed to die a useless death. It’s like having a kid and learning you had AIDS and the kid will die, it makes me sick to my stomach. And yet that’s all I get here, unless I write in 1st grade sentences, and then people laugh at me. And oh they laugh, all the time. I mean funny is fine, right, but for Christ’s sake the whole fucking lounge cracked up when I put coffee in a tea cup.

I don’t take myself too seriously but it’s so frustrating to think that something I do can be wrong, and on a fundamental level. It’s like oversleeping, ya know, there’s just something really weird about the fact that you, as a human being, wanted to be up at 6 and you slept until 8. It means that you have failed, that all of your preparations were wasted, and that forever, that morning will be the morning when no matter what you did you came short of where you wanted to be.

Does this sound like madness to anyone else? I am not used to failing, especially not when I make an effort. I mean, TRYING has always been my last resort, my guarantee, my ace in the hole, what I do when all else fails, and it was always been dependable.

Here, I am mortal. It makes me think.

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