Family, Myself, Random

Disconnected

English: on skullcandy
English: on skullcandy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a beautiful morning yesterday.   Wisps of wind traveled around me, and the sun pierced jaggedly through scattered clouds. It was chilly by Southern California standards (69 degrees or so), but one filled with small bursts of heat. Bella was busy sniffing at each clump of grass as it was something wondrously new, and at that moment I could honestly say I was grateful for what I had in life. I saw this girl on a swing, going back and forth but something was different. She couldn’t have been more than 10, but she was glued to a phone. I wondered what had to happened to just experiencing things for what they are. What is this need to amplify every experience we have by posting it on social media or just mindlessly do it while we miss out on true beauty on us?  As I looked down upon her, my headphones squawked to let me know a call was coming. Shit! I had my headphones on, and while I defensively thought that I was listening to Shabads, the truth was that I was no different from that little girl.

It struck me that I have been walking for weeks, and because of my headphones, I barely managed a hello to strangers or to the old Indian cross guard who always smiles and seems like he wants to say something more to me. In a sense, I have been using the headphones to disconnect myself from the outside world.  I want that time to catch up on Umano or listen to Simran so as much as I would like to be friendlier, it struck me that I want these early morning walks just for me and Bella. As someone who has taken a break from social media, I find myself that I am no longer aimlessly scrolling through countless updates about what people had eaten for the day (something that I am notoriously guilty of doing myself), and that I have found other ways to fill in that empty time by catching up on the New Yorker, Men’s Fitness and Poet and Writers. It’s funny how more and more of us are becoming disconnected by posting things up on Social media in the hopes of finding validation. We are no longer engaging in conversations or connections. We are just pounding on the chest that we are HERE! LOOK AT ME!  At some point, that just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, I do miss knowing about friends and family, but I have found that I can always text or whatsapp them, and in the end that has made all the difference.

Brownness

Stepping Forward

Another beautiful Sunday morning. Approximately 820am. I quickly walked the dog, wiling it to take a take a crap immediately so I could rush back home, shower and then head out. I had the chance, no wait. I MADE the chance to go finally check out the Culver City Steps yesterday (called the Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook on Yelp). I had texted several people and even tried to guilt-force Preeti into going, but there were no takers.  So I stepped forward alone. It was exhilarating! I found out about the steps at a friend’s gathering where a college football player casually mentioned that he has been using the steps to work out his quads. Steps?  Huh?  I asked what he meant, and he explained that these steps were in Culver City, and were a great workout option and a great way to see the whole city in one shot. I was immediately intrigued. I love finding out about new things to do in Los Angeles. I have been stuck in a run lately with just running around laps in my neighborhood, and I know the key to killing boredom when exercising is to switch it up. Yet it was more than that. I am intrigued at finding hidden things to do in the city I call home.

There is so much to do in Los Angeles, but I have been mainly focused on finding places to eat. I think part of the problem with a vast area such as Southern California is that you have to make choices on what you want to focus on (similar to life), but as someone who gets antsy after a few months. I want to break these artificial boundaries of land that I have set for myself. For the first time, this summer I actually made it to the beach more than once. I live in a beautiful area, yet I still have not tried all the things that it has to offer. One day. I want to hit up every restaurant and hiking trail in Cerritos, and Artesia. I see in me a need to connect with the larger picture not just the one I have painted for myself.

I managed to do the steps twice and although my sore calves are still not talking to me. I know that I made a step forward, and at the end that’s all that matters.

 

Myself, Preeti

Rain of Our Lives: A Blog Post

Cover of "The Power of Now: A Guide to Sp...
Cover via Amazon

As I drove past the car carcasses of many people on the freeway, it struck me that each of  those lives have been changed.  We often look from the outside in and barely register other people’s lives.  We constantly live in a life of “ME ME ME” while what happens to others is of no consequence or it seems.  Take for instance what happened to me on Saturday night.

After finally delaying for many days, I decided Blockbuster really does need its rentals of The Other Guys (not bad) and A-Team (great time pass) back.  So I hustled off telling Preeti it was imperative I return the movies (really because I wanted more to watch) and I would be back in an hour (no rental trip is complete with at least another chore tagged alone or then you really feel like a loser).  So I got into the car, fumbled around with the wipers (after all I am a full-blooded Southern Californian, rain is pretty much a foreign concept), and got them up to appropriate speed so I could see through. So far so good.

I first thought of doing the chore (but Trader Joe’s can wait), first let’s get the movies back ( I hope they got in Salt, I haven’t seen that).  As I got out my driveway, I put on the new songs I had synced to my iPod integration in-car (definitely proud of that gadget) and the first song turned out to the Shabad Kabeer from a CD my dad had compiled for guests and family members as we prayed together for a swift recovery for loved ones.

As the Shabad played, I turned my focus towards getting to the Promised Land of Rentals.  I got onto the ancillary street that took me to the main one, thought about stopping by Gurjit’s by decided against it (realized he was staying with my other cousin and if I took those two with me Blockbuster, that’s the only errand I would get done.)  I got to the main light, and stopped, waiting for Traffic Control to give me permission to make a left.   Since this was Cerritos, Ca, they are not big fans of free will and instead of letting drivers follow the rules they had learned in Driver’s Ed, I was required to wait until a green arrow pointed the way.  So I waited, glancing at the Taco Bell, realizing I haven’t eaten there in weeks.  Realized how much my brain was prattling along, took a deep breath and tried to still myself (something I had learned from The Power of Now by Elkhart Tolle).  The light turned green, and as I began to turn, a car hit me head on, which made me giggle (at the thought what more could wrong in my life and that for once Cerritos was right).

At first, I glanced up quickly to check the light (perhaps a bit guiltily, maybe I misread red to be green), but it was turning orange, as if to say “last chance to get through buddy!” The other guy (who happened to be a Domino’s delivery guy, Preeti’s favorite but not mine) had run the red light.  I knew that instinctively, he was speeding since his air bag had deployed.  I rushed out the car to check on him, while calling 911 (probably the only time multi-tasking is OK).  Moments later, a Sheriff’s car pulled up (lights blazing, yay Cavalry is here!), and asked what happened (no, are you ok? Is he ok?) while tersely telling us both to get out the intersection (God Forbid, we cause a scene or worse more traffic).  My car struggled to get me into the gas station, and as I kept giggling (really can anything more go wrong in 2010?), an old woman and her son (presumably) approached me, and said “we saw what happened.  Normally, it’s the guy who’s making the left that’s at issue but you had the green arrow (instinctively thinking of the DC comic book hero), and he ran a red light.  Those poor guys waited patiently for over an hour and a half to give their statement.  Total strangers who  could have driven by my carcass of a life, but instead chose to rain me with compassion and ethics.

To some, it may seem a car accident as just more bad luck for me, but as a dear friend said, it’s better to be lucky sometimes than good.

 

by Jemal Yarbrough