John Tang

Hamlet Complex this Morning

Posted in Sketchbook by Jt's Item Roster on May 11, 2010

Hamlet Complex this Morning

“I am the truth unequivocal, no motive to lie,

I am the answer without even proposing the why.”

Soul Khan, “Soulstice”

Raining in the end of Spring as if it was Winter’s second wind. My lower back was still recovering from the hip-hop event Massacre of the Bay. Eight hours I stood around the octagon where the MCs battled, but it was well-worth the wait for every event. Including last night, I was suffering from the Hamlet complex: If I have this correct, the spell came when information paralyzed your movements, and ultimately, your goals. Alluding William Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, Hamlet failed to murder Claudius, at time where his guard was down, praying, because Hamlet did not want Claudius to ascend into heaven. Perhaps the complex could be developed more, as Hamlet constantly struggled to control information over the course of the play, but I wanted to end with the simple fact Hamlet did not want Claudius in heaven. Here, Hamlet allowed Christian doctrine to obstruct his goal.

Either Christian doctrine or hearsay, information has power in making sense of the present. I fell into the pit this morning. First there was last night: Arian visited to drop off a few books written by San Francisco State faculty, knowing well I transferred to SF state in September. We spoke in the foyer, as he explained each book one at a time. He had a high nasal voice, yet never had pockets of air in between remarks—a sustained tone which shifted here and there accordingly to topics and gestures. He wore skinny jeans tight at the calves, with a black and white checkered jacket, tiny, if you stood this close. There were a few books I recognized during Arain’s enrollment at the university and how he disliked the readings, called the peach-colored book specifically “creative crap,” which also failed  to call itself “creative journalism” and turning to me, said: “Why do they lie? Why don’t they call it journalism, non-fiction. And shit, it’s about the creative process.”

“I don’t know.” I said tonight.

“I don’t know if you’re going to like any of these? Maybe Borges—Orner assigns those to his students. You always strike me as a traditionalist: write every morning, on a schedule. At SFSU, they’re experimental.”

“I warm up writing the blogs before I work on a piece.” I said. “Haven’t lately. I’ve been spending too much time on the blogs. By the time I get to the piece, I finished my coffee. And as of late…I don’t know if read the blog: Did you know I saw Sasha last week at work.”

“She’s fun.”

“I think I’m going to ask her out—be straight with her.”

“You should. I’m cool with it.” He said. “I know she’s a Jap-o-phile. I know that for sure.”

“I heard.”

“She was teaching me how to write the characters, Katakana and Kanji. It’s stupid. Some aren’t drawn efficiently. For example a square, you do the sides.” With his index finger in the air, he swiped first two lines on the sides, then two lines for the top and bottom.

“I think the characters are designed so you don’t lift your hand.”

“Because they write from left to right, top, down.” He understood. “It’s inefficient.”

“What do you think?”

“She’s cool. She’ll let you be playful with her.” He said. “I could’ve sworn she liked me at one point. We were on the bleachers doing our homework, the bench between our legs, across from another. Our knees touched for a long time. Or I would stand very close to her.” In example, Arian put his face next to the wall. “I do this with Melissa. You know, how they’re short. The cool thing is Sasha did that but nothing ensued—you know, she never betrayed Chris.”

In humor, I put Arian’s books underneath my nose as if that was the girl’s head. “’You’re hair smell nice.’” I said as if I were Arian in that situation.

“Girl’s hair smells nice, yes.”

“’Oh, is that Pantene Pro-v.’” Still in character. “’Mmm, I love the Lime Green. ’”

“Melissa’s smells good.” He said. “We use the same shampoo.”

“I’ll make sure to try at work when Sasha comes over.”

“You worked with her?” He asked. “You even knew her in high school before work, right? You could have done something before Chris.”

“Yep, I was stubborn. I’d say snobbish. I was snob to her in our Health class. Because I just moved to California, and I was close-minded to everyone here. I came here Junior year, and I just wanted to graduate with everyone back home. Sasha was cool, nice to me, and I didn’t recognize it at the time. I was stupid. In Health, do you remember, Richard—rocker, worked at the commissary, gay, was in a band—anyways, it was him, me and Sasha, at the back of the class. I was so quiet, and those two would always say something to me—usually about why I was so quiet. ‘Could you shut up,’ I used to think. ‘I just want to go home. I want to see my friends, again.’ I was stubborn and missed out something nice. Now at work it feels the tables have turned: she’s quieter and I’m making an effort to get her attention. Strange. And with Chris, I had respect for him and their relationship.”

“I thought we established Chris was a douche.”

“Before, I never knew him well.” I said. “I always thought he was a solid guy: Popular, had the eyebrow pierced, drove an Infinity, worked so he can be an optometrist and now is going to school to be an optometrist. He had a good head on his shoulders, I thought. Now, I know, he is douche at the core. When the stakes are high, he won’t pull through. I don’t depend on him for anything.” While I said this, I also remembered the time when Dr. Huey moved to the new office, it was difficult asking for Chris’ help. And that was only a slice of Chris’ character.

“She’s cool.” I said.

“She’s cool.” Arian said. “During government they were playing music and her and Kiesha—is that her name? I don’t know—were dancing in class (that’s her black side). I don’t know why there was music, but I didn’t participate. The game is when you do a dance and the other one copy it and adds another move. The cool part is she started it—and that’s her black side.”

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.”

“On Facebook she has a picture with this huge Japanese guy, probably famous—I’m not sure how she keeps up with that. I know you got rid of your Facebook—but she seems to be updated with Japanese culture.”

“Nice.” I had to ask with all the shame. “Did she have a boyfriend?”

“I heard the guy was actually from Japan.” He said. “He’ll come here once a month, I guess.”

I leaned against the wall, holding my knees.

“Maybe in that case, I’ll back off.”

“You might want to.” Arian suggested. “I can imagine military wives have to go through this. I feel sorry for them: Their husbands overseas for months. I’d guess that’s what Sasha’s going through.”

“Plus, I heard she developed a prejudice against Filipino.” I laughed, “since Chris. That’s what my boss told me: ‘Why do you choose to like her now, man? Bad timing.’”

“She always liked Filipinos.”

“Remember Musico’s party.” I said. “It was refreshing seeing her. We hugged and all, caught up on work and life. The guy she came with was Filipino, but he was square—slightly tall, wore plastic frames.” I imitated the young man’s high voice, trying to use slang. “’What’s up, mayne. It’s going down tonight.” It was a poor imitation. “She left to say what’s-up to a bunch of people, and I drank with Kalay and them in the kitchen. We were trying to get a cipher going. When she came back, she said: You’re drunk. Then disappeared for the rest of the night. The worst part is this is all delusional: All these memories, I select them because of these feelings—puppy-love. I bet she doesn’t remember any of them.”

“Maybe the party. She probably remembers everything before in high school.” Arian said. “When you see drunk people, usually you remember that they were only drunk.”

–End (I spent too much time on this)

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