YMWW #14: Fortitude

Friday, January 15, 2010

(Originally posted on Facebook)

**I know this is a quick follow-up to entry #13, but when inspiration hits, you gotta go with it. . .

Though most of my waking life is spent relishing in my odyssey to Hawai’i, I’ll admit there have been times when doubt has clouded the brilliance of my decision. Today was one of those times.

This morning, I had donned one of my new Cal shirts (grey, Walking Bear logo with “UC Berkeley”) and by the time I got to work, was in full Cal Spirit mode. I was singing “Fight for California” to myself when I noticed an ugly shade of red planted in front of the Whole Foods entrance. A young woman was sitting on a bench wearing a red Stanford stanfurd sweatshirt. In front of my store!

I approached her from her left and sat on her right, turning towards her so that the front of my beautiful Berkeley shirt was inches away from her stupid Cardinal face. Point, Bears! However, my sinfully proud internal smile was suddenly humbled by a horrid realization: here sat a stanfurd alumna, waiting for Whole Foods to open because she had the money to shop there. Next to her sat me, a Berkeley alumnus waiting for it to open because that’s where I earn my minimum wage pay. She can’t see that I work there! Imagine the pretentious laughs her anecdote about me would bring at her snooty, alumni wine parties!

The doors opened and I quickly darted into the entrance she didn’t use. Maybe she didn’t see me cover my alma mater’s logo with my pseudo-Asian cook uniform. Maybe she wouldn’t recognize me with a wedge cap on my head. Maybe she didn’t even notice my shirt outside, what with her eyes busy looking down her nose.

My pride swallowed, I started work. Switch on oven fan, check. Heat up deep fryer, check. Turn on grill, check.

Somewhere between making twelve pounds of rice and realizing that I shouldn’t have heated up the deep fryer because I was supposed to change the oil today, I came to terms with this morning’s incident. I’m a cook in a grocery store, so what? I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do! Okay, I kind of hate my job, but still, I made an aimless move to another state, I pay for rent and food with my own money, and I’m exploring what life has to offer outside of the small section of California I called home for twenty-two years. How can I not be happy with myself? How can I not be proud? I went about the rest of my working day happily—and loudly—singing Cal songs (and when I had exhausted those, I started belting out musical numbers fromNewsies).

I’ll get another job shortly (I’ll definitely update you on that), and maybe I’ll move to another state some time down the line. Maybe I’ll make millions by doing what I love. Maybe not. Who knows? All that matters is that I am happy with the decision I made and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. No regrets.

I brought a smile to my own face by making up a story about the stanfurd alum I encountered this morning: She probably traveled down to Shallow Alto to major in pre-med, just like her strict Asians parents wanted. Unable to find success in a passionless career, she quit the game and married an older man for the security (she was, in fact, with an old, grey-haired gentleman). Following his dream for retirement, this geezer moved himself and his little Asian trophy wife to O’ahu. She now works at Lili’uokalani Elementary as the school nurse, coming home to fix her geriatric beau an organic, free-trade dinner.

Go Bears.

PS: If you didn’t click on the “odyssey” link at the beginning of this entry, do so now. It is a very intriguing, and related, article from the New York Times. Thank you to Ate Melanie for showing me this.

While Allison Stokke is not a Roxy model, it is more than appropriate to include her here, decked out in Cal gear.

I know what you’re think and you’re right, it’s hard to believe it took fourteen entries to finally see her on this blog!

GO BEARS!

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2 Comments

Filed under YMWW Blog

2 responses to “YMWW #14: Fortitude

  1. Thanks for sharing. Always good to find a real eerxpt.

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