May 16th, 2015

* * *

Hi imaginary friends. Long time no talk.

I started this blog in May 2005, ten years ago; and now I'm feeling pensive.

It is said, not entirely unreasonably, that Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Ten years ago, I'd lug around a copy of the New York Review of Books with me and post ponderous posts on livejournal. I don't really do that so much anymore. It's probably not a change for the better.

But I just want to talk about myself and people now.

I was living in a lovely basement apartment (my first time living alone in an apartment by myself) I rented from a woman we nicknamed Auntie Lilly (in Russian; she is Indian, and at the time I didn't know that maybe that's how I would address her if I were Indian too) (Mom and D. actually found the apartment) and just starting a job about which at the time I was super-excited, about which I'm still excited in retrospect, and to which now I probably wouldn't go back, although sometimes I'm tempted to try to bring back a bit of that magic.

I walked around North York talking to dad on the cell phone until 3AM. In June, I racked up a $800 bill. On weekends, I'd sometimes go downtown and buy a slice at Cora's. Cora's felt nostalgic even then -- I first went there when I would bike downtown (did I bike downtown? I think so) to visit M. when I was in high school. The Annex, which turned more and more leafy, felt magical.

High school memories were still vivid. When not talking to dad, in my head I'd sometimes be having arguments with my homeroom teacher from Grade 11.

It was my first job, and the first time that I was really trying to fit it (mostly unsuccessfully). I bought chopsticks (not really chopsticks I think -- but some kind of sticks), cooked a pot of rice, and tried learning to use the chopsticks. That didn't stick -- J. taught me how to use chopsticks 4 years later. In the Chinese restaurants uptown, they'd usually bring a fork for me without my having to ask.

I fondly remember I. and I. and N. and H. from the office.

I wasn't really *friends* with H. -- never really had a good conversation, and we both found it slightly difficult to understand each other's diction, -- but somehow we worked so well together, him giving me projects and time to work on them and me turning out things that worked. If not for H., I'm not sure if I'd be able to have the career that I've had. Probably not.

I. and N. are somewhat of a mystery -- how can people create such a nice atmosphere in the office by just being there? Somehow they managed. I. in particular I just envy -- here's a guy who actually created and managed an office of several dozen people where people were mostly happy to come in to work.

The other I. was my first work-best-friend. (The way people have work-spouses. I googled, and apparently it's a thing). I don't seem to keep work BFFs as friends when switching jobs. Maybe that's natural, but it's kind of a shame.

I still remember the coffee places there. A gas station Tim Hortons on the way to work, where I had coffee after the on-site interview; a Coffee Time that was a bit out of the way, but near some apartment buildings (I like apartment buildings; they remind me of Moscow); a gas station Country Style where me and Mom stopped after buying some stuff at the Food Basic on the day that I moved in -- a nice spring day that I liked to reminisce about. And the non-chain coffee shop near the mall where I'd go on Saturday with a hiking backpack to stock up for the week. It was slightly untidy, and clearly in need of renovation. Like a throwback to a time when coffee shops were independent and untidy. I don't think I was the only one who liked that -- there would be truck drivers stopping there instead of in the tonier places in the mall. I'd go there as well and think, hey, this is so old-timey. (A ridiculous thought -- did those old times even ever exist? But anyway.) That place closed down maybe 8 years ago.

I did have it better than now at work, but really only because I was given the freedom and had the ignorance to reinvent the wheel. Inventing wheels is so much fun. I didn't particularly have any hope or expectations (I didn't even think I'd get into grad school), and maybe that's why I was happy.

Before going off to work, I'd list to Enormous Penis or Осенний романс (but a better cover, which I've since lost). Which maybe says I didn't feel that happy. And yet I think I did feel happy.

If I was happy (and I think I was), it's because I felt I had time and I didn't have very many expectations of life. It felt like I somehow, by luck, reached the top of the mountain and can just enjoy the view. It was a nice feeling. (And I did get this job by luck -- someone declined it and I was next in line.)

I don't know that the magic is gone. The magic of how things used to be recently seems to be slipping away despite my clumsy and seemingly not very successful efforts, but probably in ten years' time I'll be nostalgic again.

Or possibly I'll be reading that and cringing (hi future-me from next month.)