As a Xanga addict, yesterday was a good practice run for September when school starts. I showed few symptoms of withdrawal. Hope all of you survived, as well.
Again, thanks to those who have commented and showed me that young–and younger–people today aren’t as frivolous and self-centered as I was as a youth. Your comments suggest that you are also serious and thoughtful. Back to the story…
Not Living Up to Expectations
This is the fifth installment, the continuation of last week’s entry. If you have not read the previous installments, click here to view all available entries.
Back in LA, I did very little. I went back the sweet shop, but their new hire was competent and I worked only on the weekends. While all my high school buddies were going to universities, I led an aimless existence Monday through Friday. I wasn’t sure what to do, and I still struggled to understand where I fit in the greater scheme of things: am I Japanese, or Japanese-American, or American? Compounding to my confusion was the absence of a parent. When I returned to my home in East L.A., I learned that my mother had decided to leave the house. The marriage between my parents had been strained for a variety of reasons–which I am not inclined to present in detail on as public forum as this–but I will say that she was in many ways frustrated by the limitations life placed on her as a wife and mother… or more specifically, as a Japanese wife and Japanese mother.
As a result, I had very little to do during the days except read a book or watch TV. I never reconnected with my band buddies–we had all sorta went our separate ways–except for one: our female lead singer, BA. She had kept in touch with me while I was in Japan, and we saw each other from time to time after I cam back. By the summer of 1975, we had committed to a relationship. Of course, a relationship, as defined by a 19 year-old with no direction, was a pretty shallow thing. But a relationship it was, and BA was just the person for me. She could sing, she could play the piano, she was a cute Westsider, she was an honor student, and went to the other major university in LA (UCLA, of course, being the premier post-secondary school in the city). She had looks and brains. She was kind and generous and thoughtful, and she could cook… Far too good for the likes of me… but she was mine.
It sounds so obvious, its ridiculous, but for me and many of my friends it was not so. Going to an all Japanese American elementary school and church. Shopping and working in J-Town, where virtually every worker and certainly most visitors were of Japanese descent. Hanging out and going to dances where practically everyone I associated with was Japanese American. It was a comfortable world, a world where Chuckles the Clown would never invade. But it was also an isolated world, one where I would never grow up.
I owed a lot to BA. She was the best thing that could happen to me at a time when my family situation was rocky, and she and her family accepted me with open arms. But of course, young men at 19-20 years of age boast a psychological age of a 13-year-old, or at least this young man did. After about 14 months, we broke up because I was selfish, narrow-minded and just plain stupid… and I did what I was inclined to do… find another girl…