And I ended up with two — plus a third fortune I forgot I had socked away in my purse. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Fortune cookies’ Category
Well, last time I posted was four days back, the day before I headed into the office — at my old haunt, the New Haven Register building, where I was starting my new job as a Northeast design hub for the Register’s parent company, Digital First Media. There, I’m paginating (electronically laying out) pages for the company’s seven Connecticut/upstate New York dailies and some weeklies, and proofing some pages.
No, I didn’t lose my job; hardly. Just groping my way through the frustration of the learning curve, as was/is to be expected when working with new tools. Give it a
couple of weeks and the training wheels will be off. Meanwhile, it’s throw the baby into the deep end and let ‘er learn how to swim. But the crew — none of whom I’ve worked with before — seems pretty cool and pretty helpful and patient with the newbie.
Come dinner break the first night, I didn’t want to deal with traffic and parking downtown, so I went out to State Street for Chinese takeout at Blessings II Go. (I have to get used to the late dinner breaks and readjust my eating schedule.) Picked up a mediocre sesame chicken combo and cold sesame noodles.
But good fortunes, or at least ones that are weirdly to my given situation at the time, make up for mediocre food.
I actually was given two fortune cookies. As I sat at my desk and quickly nom-nommed my dinner, I smiled at what the first one said:
“Today is an ideal time to water your personal garden.”
And then, if that wasn’t enough:
“Keep in mind that home is where the heart is.”
Wow. Just wow.
I look at my second go-round in New Haven as a totally different experience — while the building and much of the furniture and quite a few of the people there are still the same as when I lefty nearly 10 years ago, it’s a new job, with new management up top, a new immediate boss, a new way of doing things and, as mentioned, a new crew. I don’t spend a lot of time — or any, really — dwelling on “Well, this isn’t the way we used to do things.”
But yeah, in a weird way, I am, most definitely, home. Kinda sorta. Time to go do some more watering …
Well, I’ve cut back my consumption of Chinese food considerably in recent months (what a stretched budget does to you), but I broke down tonight and splurged for a chicken chow fun takeout from Shanghai Gourmet, the excellent place across the Boston Post Road from my coffee hangout in Orange. (That’s Connecticut.)
And, well, it seems as if the universe is speaking to me through fortune cookies again, at long last.
One thing I’ve been wrestling with the last few years, thanks to the lingering job(less) situation, is the pervasive sense of failure. And that has crept over into my personal life — just at the time, thanks to my transition, that I started to develop self-esteem for the first time in my life.
Starting with my little gender epiphany 5 1/2 years ago, I’ve confronted and conquered just about every single fear in my life — except failure. Every no and nonresponse to every resume I’ve sent has added to the feeling of failure, as if my life has amounted to nothing. It’s made me curtail my writing on this here blog — few people read it anymore, so it must suck. I must be a terrible writer. And if no one reads the blog anymore, if I write the book, it’ll be a failure, too. And that’s one last failure I’m not ready to face. That one would be devastating.
Rationally, I understand that this kind of thinking feeds off itself and isn’t healthy. Rationally. The logical half of the brain. But the half that rules the heart says it’s true.
Anyway, I’m at a point where I’m getting nibbles again on the employment front — encouragement and discouragement and a lot of waiting all at once. On the whole, I’m in a decent place. Which set the table perfectly for tonight’s fortune:
“Do not fear failure.”
Easier said than done, but I’ll take that as a gentle, subtle hint from the universe to start writing again. Maybe I don’t suck after all. And the only thing we have to fear …
This particular day has been nothing but dark clouds. (And now it’s just plain dark, regardless of cloud cover.) My Cygnus Radio show didn’t happen this morning (for the second time in the two months since I started it) because of another damned software/headphone/mic problem. In the scheme of things, it was small, but it was a trigger event — one more frustration atop every other frustration I’ve encountered over the last four years. Frustration after frustration after frustration after … Okay, I know — you get it.
And this afternoon, I got a rejection — for a copywriter job at an ad agency in Brooklyn. Only one day after I sent in the application. That’s some sort of personal record. Not sure, after 450 or so vain attempts to land a job these last four years, whether to accept the fact that I’m truly a deplorably shitty writer and worthless human being or be grateful that, unlike 99.9 percent of the work world, this company at least had the decency to send me a discard note.
I don’t know why I do this to myself.
Sometimes, when I’m out somewhere and wrapped up with writing and I let time fly, and I’m not home for dinner, I’ll end up going to a Chinese buffet. It’s cheap enough ($10), and it’s all-you-can-eat and, as someone who can’t quite afford my favorite sushi place, it has some objects that resemble sushi (just add soy sauce, ginger and wasabi).
That’s what I did a couple nights ago. Went to my usual Starbucks and got wrapped up in a lengthy conversation, and next thing I knew, it was close to 8:00. So I packed up and traipsed a couple miles up the Post Road to this one buffet. It’s not that good, really, but I invariably overeat and later feel not so great. I don’t make a habit of this, but once in a while, I give in.
I felt a little funny. And on this particular evening, even the fortune was a little funny. Never came across one the likes of this before, that’s for sure — my first-ever product-placement fortune cookie:
“Next time, order the shrimp.”
I’m not thinking there’s gonna be a next time at this point. At least for a while. Next time, I’ll eat better. But I’m not sure it’ll entail shrimp …
Who knew that fortune cookie fortune writers had such a sense of humor?
Tonight, I decided to try the Chinese restaurant across the street from the Starbucks where I hang down in Orange. Shanghai Gourmet is better than the usual Chinese fare, with styling and comfy decor and a lot of quality meal and appy choices. (All except, maddeningly enough, steamed vegetable dumplings. Does every higher-end Chinese place run out of these things before 6 o’clock? My favorite Chinese restaurant, House of Chao in Westville in New Haven, always seems to run out before, like, breakfast. Dammit! Well, at least the eggplant and chicken with garlic sauce was good …)
And the fortune was a beaut. Could equally apply to our present and past (and hopefully not future) lives:
“The one good thing about repeating your mistakes is that you know when to cringe.”
The only thing I’m cringing about now is how true it is. First time I ever had a fortune that made me laugh out loud.
It took long enough, but I broke down and treated myself to a Chinese buffet tonight for the first time since my move home. (When you’re on the ol’ austerity budget, 10 bucks is a splurge. Woo hoo!) But I was out at my radio station, WPKN, much of the day, and my mom wasn’t gonna be around for dinner, so I fended for myself.
Anyway, the Hibachi Grill in Orange was better — and, in a surprise — cheaper — than the Chinese buffets in Fresno. But one thing remains constant: fortune cookies that, despite their inherent vagaries, speak directly to something pertinent in my life.
And as the cookie crumbled, I pulled out the little slip of paper, and it read:
“Good writing is clear thinking made visible.”
Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to finish even the first installment of the long trip home — I’m not thinking clearly. Or maybe I’m just a shitty writer and won’t admit it to myself.
What’s clear is that things certainly aren’t clear right now. On a lot of fronts. And that fortune cookies are universal, regardless of location.
Well, I made one last sojourn for Chinese food last night at the place on which I often relied for dinner during my Fresno Bee copy desk days: Happy Star, on the southwest edge of the Tower. (Sesame chicken and broccoli combo with noodles and an order of pot stickers — not in the same class as House of Chao in Westville in New Haven, but it’ll do.)
And I came away with not one, but two fortune cookies on my final stop. And both were kinda, well, they kinda said something.
“There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead of you.”
Well, with my going-away party today and the move starting Monday, there certainly is. Or maybe the thrill happens once I get home; who knows? But there’s a double-entendre here, as Prospect happens to be the name of the town where I grew up … and where I’ll be staying with my parents for the time being.
The other one?
“You will succeed in making a small fortune by investing in a business project.”
Maybe the business project will be my eventual book. Or the lottery tickets I bought last night for a week’s worth of drawings. This could be fun. But at this point, I could use a small fortune, as if most of us can’t …
But anyway, a couple of good fortunes by which to leave Fresno …
I haven’t sworn off Chinese food; hardly. But as 2011 ground its way down in to 2012 and the frustration about my life and job and financial situations began to escalate and batter down some of my last lines of defense, I started to glance at my fortunes, then toss them in my purse, where they magically disappear forever. I had started to believe that, despite my best hopes, these fortunes, however salient they seemed, were just full of crap and that I was deluding myself. Hence, this quasi-regular feature of my blog ground to a halt as well.
Well, after a rough couple weeks near the edge of the figurative cliff leading into my birthday, things seem to be on a positive upswing again. And this past week, I had two fortunes that resonated.
Last Monday, my birthday, I worked. And I stopped at my usual Chinese takeout place on the way in. And this is what I received:
“Luck is coming your way.”
Of course, I realize that could be taken more than one way. But since it was my birthday, and I spent much of the day fielding well-wishes and talking with loved ones, I took it the best way possible.
And tonight, I stopped in there again. And here’s what I got for my troubles and my seven bucks:
“You will conquer obstacles to achieve success.”
Honey, my whole last 4 1/2 years have been a series of obstacles!. Don’t tell me there are more!Actually, I’ll just chalk it up to bad grammar and mentally change the tense:
“You will have conquered obstacles to achieve success.”
Yeah — that’s more like it!
But this Year of the Water Dragon is nearly half over; I’m getting a little antsy here … I will be a success I will be a success I will be a success I will be a success I will be a success …
They were married back in September; an hour before the ceremony, I stopped at a Walgreens I don’t usually frequent (Blackstone and Clinton, Fresno) to buy a card. And since the boy in me always trolls for Hot Wheels, in the faint hope of finding an elusive Treasure Hunt car, I did just that. And, to my shock, I saw a card on the pegs with a green stripe down the right edge. It was a Treasure Hunt, all right. A gold ’62 Studebaker Avanti. Little pleasures.
And, on this third-to-last night of a weird and trying 2011, I found myself getting together with the two of them for the first time since the wedding, for a long-threatened trip to the Chinese/sushi buffet at Tang Dynasty.
We were oblivious to the Baylor-Washington bowl game on multiple screens and oblivious to everything else, too, save for the food. Two hours of conversation. Much fun.
And, once again stemming from them, good fortune. Literally.
As I’m looking forward to a much better 2012 than ’11, this is what came out when I cracked open my fortune cookie:
“Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.”
God, I’m hoping that means something positive. After all, “suitably rewarded” is a term with a lot of wiggle room — just like “interesting times.” I’ll assume it’s a good thing until the universe tells me otherwise. I need 2012 to start wonderfully and not let up.