I remember one night in Koreatown where I was meeting up a few friends at Champions, a pool hall on Wilshire and Alexandria. As I was walking up the escalator, a security guard pushed his way in front of me and sprinted up the steps. As I got to the top, a fight had enveloped around me. A group of kids started throwing hooks at another group of kids, a scrapple in which I had found myself in the epicenter.
Somehow, I managed to walk nonchalantly through the crowd of angriness like I was Korean Moses. Didn’t have to bob and weave, didn’t have to throw bows or even shoulder tackle my way out.
That’s the last time I ever got close to getting into a fight.
Last weekend, I went to LA to reconnect with the ratchet inside me. My last night there, a close friend of mine mentioned that he was in a fighting mood while we were all winding down at last call. Apparently a group of creepy looking ambiguously Asian males were tactlessly staring at a female friend of ours.
The only thing I could think of was: it’s amazing how shyness can easily be confused for creepiness. The introvert tries to crumple up their body into as small a shape as possible, attempts to steal glances that turn into stares, and skitters away when eye contact is inevitably made.
I just mused at how close those luckless introverts got to getting mashed on by some angry motherfuckers who had too much to drink. One guy who just wanted to kick in teeth and his group of friends who lacked the context or critical thinking skills to truly question why we were following the drunk guy’s lead.
A family member of mine went on a tirade about why Korean males dated “lower-class” Asians. This isn’t an uncommon sentiment among my family, which kind of saddens me.
But then again, the reason why I don’t discriminate isn’t based on some righteous ideal of seeing the world without racial tint. I don’t discriminate against my potential dates because I don’t see the point of a guy like me limiting my options.
Let me rephrase that: a guy like me doesn’t have the luxury of discriminating by race. Opportunity doesn’t knock much around these parts, it’s supremely retarded for me to turn it away because I don’t like the way her ethnicity smells.
It smells gorgeous girl, don’t you worry about a thing. Wait. No. That came out creepier than I thought. I’m just shy. Shit. Where you going. Ah fuck it.
I’m getting a feeling that it’s becoming a borderline felony to be poor in this country.
I bitch about being poor all the time, but in the wider scale of reality, I’m actually pretty damn prosperous. I have my own place, I eat three squares, I have a job, I have somewhat stylish clothes, I drink more than I should. I have a world of materials more than the crack addicts that populate my block.
And yet, I find myself buying into the mentality that poor people are poor because of their own decisions and choices. They CHOSE to be poor. I don’t have obligation to give them any attention or spare change. I worked to be where I am today. They had the same fair shot and they blew it. It’s not my fault that I’m walking to work and they’re panhandling for another handful of crackrock.
The more I think about it, the more retarded it sounds. Nobody fucking chooses to be poor. People can give up because social mobility has become such an obstacle course that they’d rather just live out their string as minimally as they can. And they didn’t have the same fair shot that I had. I was blessed enough to grow up with two parents in a middle-class household and go to college with minimal debt coming out. I was blessed enough to have a place to live, eat, and sleep while I went long periods of unemployment. These people come from broken homes, from the system, from a situation where they were meant to lose in the beginning. They had no choice to be poor. They probably didn’t have any choice to be anything but poor.
And spare me that “hood to riches” story. “If you work hard enough in America, you’ll get your due.” That’s naive. You might get lucky and get out. You might work your ass off and end up on the streets anyway because the world gives less of a fuck about you and people like you.
But what am I going to do about it? Put 5 dollars in that man’s cup instead of 1? Start lobbying for more effective treatments to the homeless issue? Quit my job and devote my life to the church and lifting up the poor?
I’m not sure any of those things will fix the problem. I’m not sure if I’ll even do it for the ideal of it. I’m not sure what to do with these feelings, if I should ignore them and continue living the same upwardly-mobile life that my peers live, or if I should give more thought about what kind of impact I want to leave on this world.
I thought of a new song while I was hungover in the shower on Friday morning. It goes to the tune of “Row Your Boat.”
Wah wah wah your face, makin all this noise
Nobody nobody gives a shit, so shut your fucking hole.
I should go on American Idol n****a.