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Glass Menagerie
In the Labyrinth

Wednesday October 2, 2002

I could not sleep well last night, so I was fatigued when I arrived at the Asylum. Mary Ann came by my class just before it commenced. She was dolled up. We only chatted for about ten minutes. Roach has apparently given her a two-week deadline to complete the project involving the proposed hardware classes. Later, I dropped by her office briefly to give her more information that she could use. My motives for doing so are clear. I am trying to insure that Mary Ann has some semblance of job security. Obviously, I am only doing this so that I can continue to see her and drive myself berserk. Needless to say, I was significantly unnerved for the rest of the day. In my mind, I could still see Mary Ann standing in my class, all dolled up and looking real fine. This whole situation must be some kind of cruel joke perpetrated by the sinister kahuna.

I managed to survive my classes at the university even though I had intrusive thoughts about Mary Ann all afternoon. What I must realize is that nothing will ever happen. She merely needs my opinion on a few curriculum matters, and that's it. Nothing more, nothing less. When I returned home, I found a package waiting for me. In it were three hurdy-gurdy DVDs, donated by my virtual homey Tim. This is an omen signifying that the ol' lavahead should forget about babes. Alas, I need to relax for the rest of the evening. I have got to get a grip on reality before things get really stupid.

Thursday October 3

I have finally realized that the sinister kahuna has been toying with the oversized cranium for the last few weeks. How could I have been so stupid to not see this? Mary Ann came by my class this morning. We chatted for a few minutes, limiting the discussion to curriculum issues. She is not happy working at the Asylum. I will begin encouraging her to resign. Disassociation will also be my new policy. My resolve has returned. I am a monk, and proud of it. Shirley called last night. We talked for about an hour. I could sense that she has become comfortable again. Only time will tell whether she really slips back into the old local ways. I don't plan on disassociating from Shirley. I enjoy having her as a friend. She is an Asian (Japanese) babe, as you know. She is very quiet and seemingly shy. However, that is only a ruse. "You are very willful," I once told her, because she has a tendency to be controlling.

Life must be returning to normal because I have had the urge to divest myself of all of my worldly possessions again. I estimate that I will meet my financial goals for the year by November 15th, that is, if the economy does not collapse before then. I should have 80 AWUs saved by then. This has been a real uphill battle for me. I've been discouraged for most of the time because my so-called "investments" are earning next to nothing. I will have another full year of wage slavery to endure in order to meet the ultimate goal of my five-year plan. After that, I am not sure what I am going to do. Well, I am back to my old dull and boring routine. Back in the Labyrinth again, just the way I like it.

Friday October 4

By 10:30am I thought that I was home free. However, a few minutes later, Mary Ann came by my class. She was wearing a pair of tight jeans and a very flattering white top. There really is no way to describe what a babe she is. I apologized for always giving her unsolicited advice. No less than a few seconds later, I suggested that she resign from the Asylum. Of course, I used her own reasons to string the logic together and mixed in a good measure of tact. She seemed to have reservations about this idea, even though she has consistently told me that she doesn't plan to be at the Asylum much longer. I suggested that she resign and take a few weeks off for the vacation she yearns for. After that, make job hunting a full-time job, I said. We talked for more than two hours. At one point, I had to switch classrooms. Mary Ann brought back cups of coffee for us. We continued talking. She told me more about her family, which seems to be causing the most stress. There are two houses on her mom's property in Kalihi. There is quite an extended family situation going on. Her mother's sister (and kids) moved from the Philippines and is staying with them. The grandmother is also there. Her sister (and BoyToy), step-brother, and several other people are also living there. Her teen-aged cousin is apparently causing a lot of problems, which started just about the time that Mary Ann's father passed away. Her mom works in housekeeping at one of the hotels in Waikiki. Mostly all of the other family members make very little dough. After hearing this and more, I could sympathize with her and I knew why she was so fatigued. Remember when there were six of us living here in moms' house? Mary Ann also told me about the situation with her friends and why that has only added to her fatigue.

There was a "business council" meeting in the next classroom. After it was over, one of the staff members came in to offer some leftover cake to us. As we were eating and talking, Roach managed to look in and see us. I had my back to the door, but Mary Ann saw him. At one o' clock, I had to leave for the university. Mary Ann walked in front me for a brief moment. I couldn't help but notice how good she looked in jeans. As we walked back toward her office, Roach saw us again. He asked her to cover the front desk briefly while he went off to drain the lizard. I talked to her a little longer, but she seemed much more uncomfortable. When Roach came back, he saw that I was still there. You can bet that the "fraternization" crap will soon come up. Other faculty have already seen us together too many times as well. I actually enjoyed talking with Mary Ann today. I am coming to grips with reality. Next week, I will make it a point to tell Mary Ann that I am not up to no good. I would like her to trust me. There is no question that she is a real babe and that she drives me berserk. However, I am a monk of honor. I am just happy to be her friend. To say that I wouldn't want more is a blatant lie. But, this is not my call. I have returned to the life of a monk.

I was happy to return home. I need a reprieve from the mental cruelty that I have inflicted upon myself. I have unwrapped my Bose Acoustic Wave for an exciting evening of psychotic classical pieces on public radio. I must continue where I left off before this minor distraction came up. I am a monk. I know my place. I am in the Labyrinth. The journey continues.

Ships Passing in the Night: Frankl & Maslow

In the last few weeks, I made the painful confession that I had fallen from grace, at least in my mind. What had caused this lapse in judgment? Often, the Scriptural quote, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," is used as an explanation and justification for a lack of conviction. Sometimes it is difficult to discern in exact terms what path one must take in the journey of life. Given no road map or compass, we are left to blaze a trail using little more than instinctual navigation. We stray off course too many times. In my latest bout of stupidity, I gave in to the misconception that happiness could possibly result from external sources. I was captivated by a shiny object and became prey to my own desires. How could this have happened?

Frankl had discovered the meaning of life in the dismal Nazi concentration camps, where he was reduced to a non-entity. At the point when mere survival was the crux of existence, he determined that happiness was a state of mind, having nothing to do with any external factors. Maslow has always postulated that the nebulous state of "self-actualization" can only occur when one transcends the basic levels of survival and social needs. Only after all of these have been met can we, as humans, begin to understand purpose and meaning in a fulfilling way. In my own journey, including the latest transgression, I have not been able to ascertain whether the thesis of Frankl or Maslow provide the proper circumstance to determine purpose.

The result, of course, has been confusion. Are externalities even slightly necessary for fulfillment or required to derive a sense of meaning? All of us must admit that the affairs of the heart are not mere distractions or casual happenstance with little affect. Rather, we are driven to make decisions of significant consequence as a result of these apparently strong feelings which tend to override any sensibilities. The cause-and-effect can alter the course of our personal history. For the longest time, I meandered along casually, somewhat smugly complacent about my status as a monk. Yet, the latest incident reveals a chink in the armor. It was too easy to return back to the monk life-style once I realized (read: persuaded myself of) the folly of my ways. Could this simply be a case of "reaction formation"? Or, is there more than meets the eye?

Saturday October 5

I have a little less than two AWUs in mutual funds, which should dwindle down to nothing by mid-October. I believe that the predictions for a market crash and subsequent panic to be highly probable. Thus, I do not expect to meet my financial goal for the year as I previously thought. JC Penny is closing all three of its stores on O'ahu. The State has been granted an exemption from the West Coast dock lockout, averting the possibility of a hoarding frenzy. I have decided that Mike Ruppert and Al Martin are my only sources of the truth. Financially, I am placing much more credibility in the McClendon Report. With my dough disappearing before my very eyes, I have decided to continue wearing my decrepit shoes until the end of the year.

I did not sleep well last night, so I was completely fatigued this morning. Caroll called again. I have not been returning her calls, simply because I do not want to discuss her money problems. Moms was preparing all kinds of food last night, obviously for the Ninja Turds. Moms has taken a real liking to the dolt file clerk. I should continue divesting my material possessions because I know that I will have to move out soon. My mind was filled with foolish thoughts about Mary Ann once again. I continue to paint myself into a corner. I have even passed a brush to the sinister kahuna to help me. Sheesh!

I walked to the gym this afternoon. I was not in the mood to work out, but I forced myself. Later, I bought a Mocha Frappacino from Starbuck's and sat near the waterfront for a while. I wanted to take my time because I knew that the Ninja Turds would be stopping by. Well, I'm going to spend the evening with my iBook and my Bose Acoustic Wave again. There are a lot of crappy programs on public radio tonight, so I must wait until eleven o' clock before I can listen to the psychotic classical pieces.

It's easy to see that there's a lot on my mind. The journal is the obvious forum for this fodder. It's pretty easy to ascertain that Mary Ann has gotten under my skin. She probably has no idea that she has this effect every time she comes by my class to talk. Why have I become her buddy at work? What now concerns me is the probability that this kind of nonsense will happen again and again with different babes. Unless I can fully commit to the monk life-style, I will be stuck in a painful limbo. Then, I'll probably be on medication for "bipolar disorder" like Pseudo-professor Robert. Lord have mercy!

Sunday October 6

While lapsing in and out of a coma in my favorite chair, I daydreamed that Mary Ann and I had somehow hooked up. We hit it off well and decided to make the arrangement permanent. Then, I was able to end the journal on a happy note. Man, am I losin' it, or what? My sanity is depleting about as quickly as my mutual funds. Sheesh! Delirium probably set in this morning at about 3am, when I woke up to a continuing wave of chills. My body temperature returned to normal at 6:30am. Sleep deprivation left me fatigued. I walked to the gym later in the afternoon. I tried to sweat out my foolishness, if you know what I mean. Moms took a whole mess of food to the Ninja Turds, so the Turds did not stop by yesterday. Shirley called and left a message while I was gone. I called her when I returned home. She wants us to go to the Todai Restaurant on my B-day. We are still supposed to go to the Outback Steakhouse one of these days. We chatted for about 40 minutes. I had to cut the call short because moms came home and wanted to call up the dolt file clerk. Nonetheless, I was happy to be able to chat with Shirley.

The sobering reality is that I must begin planning for the day that I must move out of moms' house. I am certain that the time is coming soon, perhaps even sooner than the two years that I projected. I don't want to purchase any property if I am by myself. That's too much of a burden. And, it would preclude any plans for semi-retirement. My life has always been conducted in a "seat-of-the-pants" fashion. I have no idea why, but I've been able to cut everything really close and still make it out unscathed. Does this mean that I will find a babe to hook up with within two years? If the patterns in my life continue as they have in the past, then the probability is much higher than usual. I am due for some kind of change.

And, what of the journal? I can understand why Anonder threw in the towel. Everything in the past six years has involved some level of stupidity. I have also shared a lot of my foolish thoughts (the latest, of course, concerning Mary Ann) in these pages. Some of those thoughts can be extremely embarrassing in retrospect. I have previously included pictures, so there is no anonymity. Even my pathetic finances are available for the world to see. Why exactly am I doing this? I suppose that I may have saved a few people from replicating my foolishness. I may have also provided relief to those who have perpetrated similar acts of stupidity. Yet, there is no redemption. The journal is just a journal.

Monday October 7

An uneventful day. Mary Ann did not stop by my class today, although one of my students pointed out that she had walked by while I was lecturing. Kevin said that he overheard a couple of staff members discussing that someone else is resigning. Could it be Mary Ann? I mentioned to Kevin that there is a major restructuring going on at the Asylum, that is, according to what Mary Ann had described. Roach is essentially second in command now. Kevin had a troubled look on his face. Moms had a doctor's appointment today and discovered that everything is fine. Moms called the dolt file clerk. However, I sincerely believe that the dolt was disappointed by the good news. And, I obtained a free domain name for LoserNet (www.losernet-hawaii.tk). It simply re-directs to one of the existing sites.

The big question is — did I experience another "time of reckoning"? I was momentarily caught up in a riptide of desperation, that's for sure. My guess is that these panic attacks are going to increase in frequency. In analyzing the situation, I now realize that I have taken life far less seriously than I should have. I felt as though I had an eternity to reconcile my life. Lapsing in and out of a coma in my favorite chair all weekend has now taken on a whole new meaning in terms of emptiness and a wasted life. There is nothing else that I can do. I have let fate determine my destiny, and now the latter is sealed. I actually hope that Mary Ann is resigning so that life can return to normal. Out of sight, out of mind. I did not feel like a chimp without a banana today. I was, more or less, relieved. Whenever I first see Mary Ann as she walks into my class, I am overcome by a surge of mixed emotions so strong that my senses are completely overwhelmed. Frankly, it is almost an unpleasant experience because I feel as though I have lost total control of my psyche. I have made it through this day, but I am worried about what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday October 8

Another uneventful day. This morning, I saw Mary Ann wandering into the Placement Office as I lectured in my class. She stopped by for a few minutes. Apparently, she has been given a few more projects. Later, I saw her walk by again with a couple of students. They all looked in and smiled. From what I can tell, the crisis is over. In retrospect, I believe that I was reacting to my seemingly helpless situation in what I perceive to be an alienated world. This, too, shall pass. I did my usual mediocre workout at the gym this afternoon. My favorite Asian babe was there. I am no longer affected by babes. Welcome back, monk!

I spent some time last night looking for a decent Web journal or "blog" to read. What a disappointing experience that was. I am also getting tired of reading the same bad news and the institutional lies perpetrated by the mainstream media. Everything is going to hell in a handbasket. I am discovering how truly alone I am, and that's never going to change. So, I will spend the evening relaxing with my beloved iBook.

Wednesday October 9

I only saw Mary Ann when Kevin and I were walking to the elevators to leave the Asylum. She was looking real fine. Oddly, she was conspicuously distant as we all stood and waited for the elevator. We boarded the same car. Mary Ann acted extremely uncomfortable and said hardly anything. Why the sudden change? I have not done anything to cross the line. My thoughts about her have been confined to this journal. I am not going to press the issue. Frankly, this is a blessing. However, I will still ponder the implications of all of this stupidity. I can now expedite closure. The rest of my day was uneventful. Shirley called this evening. She told me about her evening at work. She also mentioned that Erin (English instructor at the Asylum) has been a little edgy because Erin's wedding is close at hand. Shirley will be one of the bridesmaids.

I spent considerable time with my iCal application for my iBook this evening. Well, since I don't have to worry about babes, I have plenty of time on my hands. The pathetic life of a chimp is now available on-line. Take note of the sheer redundancy of my days, somewhat like the proverbial water torture. Sheesh!

Thursday October 10

"I can't believe I did that," I kept saying to myself. Even at the gym with my favorite Asian babe traipsing about, I was quite preoccupied with this thought. Let me start at the beginning. This morning, Kevin and I discussed the odd encounter with Mary Ann yesterday. I hypothesized that she had given in to the "dark side." Kevin concurred. An hour later, Mary Ann came by my class. We talked for about 30 minutes. During the course of the conversation, I asked her out. Not exactly a date — just to go somewhere for lunch. Apparently, she was already going to lunch with Joe from the Asylum's "marketing" department. This did not surprise me since Mary Ann is an attractive babe. Because she is single, she has stirred up a feeding frenzy amongst the single guys in the staff. Naturally, I was the last to know this. I suggested next week, so we will probably be doing lunch on Tuesday. I marked it on the monk's calendar. Mary Ann asked me if I was going to the faculty mixer at Murphy's tomorrow. I told her that I could not make it because my classes run until 5pm at the university. She pointed out that the mixer was to end at 5:30pm. However, I would arrive there just about that time, so it did not make sense (even if I would be able see voluptuous Mary Ann for a few seconds). I asked her if she was going to attend that damned Asylum retreat on Monday. She believes that she has to be there. Since she is still considered temporary help, she is most likely exempt. My attendance is mandatory, I said, but I would be leaving right after lunch. Aside from random speculation, there is one thing worth noting. The other guys are constantly finding their way to Mary Ann's office, if you know what I mean. I have only dropped in twice to give her various documents. I leave it up to Mary Ann to decide if she wants to come by and chat with the ol' lavahead.

I am not exactly sure why this event transpired, but I still can't believe I did that. I could only envision Caine (as the Sorcerer) in Shock to the System. Although my intentions are honorable, I can't imagine that Mary Ann would not somehow guess that I have more than a passing interest in her. I will, of course, keep that "interest" in check. What has driven me to this point? Desperation? Perhaps it's due to those crazy discussion that I have with Shirley. Last night, she asked, "If you were to get married, who would be your best man?" I responded, "Well, I'm not sure if anyone will still be alive when that happens." Sheesh! What is even more ridiculous is that all hell will break loose once Roach finds out that I am "fraternizing" with Mary Ann. I could give a damn about Roach. And, the best part is that Mary Ann has no idea concerning the furor she's causing. I know that I have been vacillating between the monk life-style and breaking out of the ranks. Once again, this has been a sickening display of Pavlovian behavior. Yet, deep down inside, I know that I secretly want to break out of the ranks with you-know-who. It's such a long shot. That is what makes this so exciting. And, you are here with me firsthand to experience the pain and humiliation.

Friday October 11

When I returned home, I immediately unwrapped my Bose Acoustic Wave. I am listening to the psychotic classical pieces on public radio as we speak. Mary Ann came by my class at 9:30am. We ended up talking for over three hours. Today, I realized that either I have completely taken leave of my senses or I have undertaken a grand experiment while shielding the details from myself. What else can explain this stupidity? I have once again returned to the monk life-style, only seeking friendship with all people. Mary Ann expressed that she dislikes working at the Asylum. However, she now needs to keep her job. She lent money to her sister, so that the latter and her BoyToy could go on some kind of vacation. Her mom is somewhat upset because Mary Ann's sister is unable and unwilling to help with family finances. Thus, Mary Ann is expected to contribute more to the family. She also filled me in on more details of the crap going on at the Asylum. I shared some of my own interesting highlights including the stalking incident with Toad. She also told me of the method that several of the babe staff members use to thwart the guys who come around the office and hang out. They e-mail each other as the poor fool is standing there. Then, one of them phones the "victim," feigning some kind of important call. Mary Ann and I will still be going to lunch on Tuesday.

I am glad that I have returned to my senses before something moronic were to happen. I sent e-mail to Pseudo-professor Robert two days ago asking about his thoughts concerning the babe situation and why we have done nothing about it. He replied:

Actually, this has been a question I have been pondering lately. For me, I guess, it's a self-confidence thing. I mean, outwardly, at our ages we should have STUFF. Decent, responsible jobs commensurate with our intellectual capacity; a home or condo; self-sufficiency. In other words, we should be able to walk proudly, yes STRUT around town knowing we have achieved and accomplished something that the outside world validates. We have not achieved or accomplished these things, so it makes us feel, well, less than adequate. And I believe this seeps into the sphere (fear?) of the opposite sex. Externally, what do we have to offer women? What can we use as bait to even make a woman interested in us? If it isn't looks or sex appeal (which I believe we can work on) what's left? It's all the internal stuff that we see in ourselves and value in ourselves, but I don't think it gets us to first base. In this shallow world, we can try to change the externals. This means we can get decent jobs or become driven entrepreneurs. Save for a condo or house. Drive a European car (didn't realize that cars are important, but apparently they are to some women). Or we can try to sell the internals to women, but it may be difficult to do in our attention span challenged world. After being confronted with these choices, a viable option is not to solicit the attention of women (monkism) and get out of the game. Then the pressure is off - no more worrying about the externals. However, this competes with our biological imperative to mate and procreate. So is biological imperative stronger than finding a peace, OK, truce of mind? This doesn't answer your question; it only confirms that the question is a valid one and one we should examine in depth to see if we are really depriving ourselves what life has to offer (in the amount of life we have left, that is).

This is probably the kind of thinking that forced my hand, albeit stupidly, yesterday. Our only other alternative is to "get out of the game." It's a safe alternative that can only guarantee psychosis.

Saturday October 12

I am hardly surprised that Pseudo-professor Robert deferred the big question for further "in depth" examination. He, of all people, should know that the examination period has already extended into years with the same result — zilch! In his case, this endless debate has probably precipitated his "bipolar" disorder. Although I know that he is actively involved in many more prestigious activities than I, he must still return to his mom's house and spend the remainder of his evenings with his Sony VAIO notebook computer just as I do with my beloved iBook. Although he and I lead somewhat parallel lives, we differ in one respect. Pseudo-professor Robert places more stock on the "internals" just as I do, but he is convinced that the rest of the world is too petty and too self-absorbed to notice or value the latter. Thus, he would be willing, in theory, to strap himself financially to acquire the "externals" to use as "bait." Although I agree with him in the respect that the majority of people are petty, I cannot see giving in to materialism and certainly not for the express purpose of attracting babes.

I called Kevin this morning to ask about the dress code for the Asylum's "retreat." The theme for this year has something to do with health. So, the "break-out" activities will be small workout sessions. I had a bad attitude initially because of past retreats. I really did not want to attend. Now, I am going to make the most of it. Kevin said that he will bring a tank top and shorts, so I will, too. Say, maybe Mary Ann will be impressed with the ol' lavahead's physique. Just kidding! I wanted to see if you were still awake. Sheesh! I also asked Kevin about his marriage because I recalled that it happened fairly quickly. Turns out, he ended up marrying his wife in little over three months after first meeting her. It was quite an interesting story, and I will include it later.

At the gym this afternoon, I was overcome by the strange desire to go for broke with you-know-who. I did an extended workout to see if I could sweat the foolishness out of myself. However, I have an understanding about why this is happening. I used to discuss my financial plan with many people, but no one took me seriously because I never implemented it myself. I had to put my words into action before I gained any semblance of credibility. The same must be done with every situation. Lip service can only go so far. Pseudo-professor Robert's rationale is generic, in that it represents the feelings of most guys in this predicament. What is conspicuously missing from the dialog is the implementation. Notice that there is also another catch — nothing can be initiated without mucho dinero. Stalemate! There's no need to go any further. I used to buy into this faulty logic because it was safe —"the pressure is off." The big problem, in the end, is that I am running out of time. I despise playing games but, in this case, I must play the game. If I don't, I will forfeit everything. My guess is that there is a negligible probability for success in my current venture, but I really don't know. You never really know, eh? What if the long shot pays off?

I can sense a feeling of resignation in Pseudo-professor Robert's words. Even more so, I can sense intense fear. I know that fear. It is a debilitating anxiety over possible rejection. The incidentals (read: "externals") are really a pretext to avoidance. Many of us have never learned to face rejection. We have found ways to skirt it, even accepting mediocrity as our lot in life. We are developmentally challenged because rejection is a real part of life. Rejection is painful and embarrassing, but we cannot grow without a healthy dose of it. Sometimes the medicine just doesn't taste good.

Sunday October 13

I found the story of Kevin's marriage quite interesting, primarily because of the expedited time frame. A surfing buddy initiated the meeting, but it was not quite that simple. Kevin's future wife was in Japan and she was not interested in being set up. She was living at home with her parents in a purely patriarchal situation. Her sister is married and living here in Hawai'i. A ruse was perpetrated to persuade her to visit Hawai'i. When she arrived, the set-up was initiated. Kevin detailed their first date. They hit it off well, and subsequently were seeing each other daily. Kevin had a short window of opportunity because he knew that she would eventually have to return to Japan. So, he proposed to her. Kevin's wife has never had any boyfriend prior. She was living at home, with her father constantly getting on her case and sending her abroad to travel for no other purpose than to get her out of the house. How did Kevin know that she was the "right" one? "In the past, I've been involved with women who are very materialistic. They spend my money and then, when it's gone, they find someone else. That's my karma," he said. "I didn't want to have anything to do with local girls. They're all like that." I could certainly identify with his concerns. The rest is pretty much history. However, it has been an uphill battle with money problems, family acceptance, and so forth.

Kevin also mentioned that Roach recently yelled at Milton, another Asylum staff member. The situation is getting out of hand. However, Roach happened to do this in front of Vivian, the human resources person. A report is allegedly being filed because Roach overstepped his authority. Milton is not under his purview. On Friday, Mary Ann asked me if Milton was one of my "agents." Apparently, Milton had asked her if she was "checking up" on the ol' lavahead, no doubt thinking that her visits to my class are clandestine operations for Roach. Oddly, Milton is one of the guys whom the babe staff members use the phone trick (see Friday) to avoid him.

I spent most of the day lapsing in and out of a coma. I am returning to my old monk frame of mind, and now I am questioning why I have been wasting so much time contemplating any life-style other than that of a monk. Pseudo-professor Robert's words continue to reverberate in my head. I just don't seem to "know my place," as even The Master had told me repeatedly. You're wasting your time. You're making a fool of yourself. I can hear these lines in my mind over and over again. After all, it's true. Everything is really a vain attempt to flee from an already determined destiny. I was really in a bad way after all of that thinking.

While I was at the gym this afternoon, I reminisced about the old gym gang back in Convalescent City. I have never been with or even seen a gym gang comparable to our old rag-tag group. I remember all of our antics in the meathead room. And, I can't forget the fun we had in aerobics, step, slide, and cardio funk (street dance) classes. I remember when Scary Mike and I obtained our aerobic instructor certifications. How can I forget to mention The Bull, the Bishop, the Cardinal, and Matt, all of whom comprised the main cast in the early days of the journal. Sheesh! I haven't done any of those aerobics classes in years and I really miss them.

Well, I am going to relax this evening because I must attend the dreaded Asylum retreat tomorrow. I have a feeling that Mary Ann will be there. No doubt, I will be privy to see the feeding frenzy that she will unwittingly cause. Ho boy! My beloved iBook and my Bose Acoustic Wave will keep me company. I'm still in the Labyrinth and loving every minute! Yeah, right.

Monday October 14

Last night, the final episode of "Chapters" was played again on Gardner McKay's Stories on the Wind. I actually wanted to hear it again. Most of it was penned in the final days of Gardner's life as he struggled with cancer. I found his treatise on death and dying to be the most profound in all of "Chapters." Mortality is something we must all live with and eventually face. I was significantly moved by the passage. And now, I am more cognizant of mortality's omnipresence.

I arrived at the Asylum just in time for breakfast. Kevin and I pretty much stuck together although we did different workout sessions. I attended a Tai Chee and kickboxing class. Mary Ann was at the retreat, but she was somewhat distant to both Kevin and I again. She stopped by to visit several times as Kevin and I sat and talked with a few other faculty. She stood in the lunch line with me for a few minutes and then disappeared while I was talking with Chip. She reappeared later with her lunch and sat directly across from Kevin and I in the next row of tables. Kevin departed first. I left shortly afterward for the university. Strange, isn't it? Exactly one month ago, I saw Mary Ann standing in the office across the hall from my class. I fumbled with the keyboard on one of the computers and frantically logged on to respond to an e-mail that I previously intended to ignore. The scene was straight out of a cheesy sitcom. Now, it just doesn't matter. My take is that I just read too much between the lines.

I ran into Pseudo-professor Robert at the university. We continued the discussion that was previously left off in e-mail. I pressed the same points that I wrote in the journal, stressing the fact that we are rapidly running out of time. Ironically, I am vacillating back to my original position as a monk. I am once again seeing the vanity in these trivial pursuits. My guess is that everything will return to normal — stasis, that is. That's the equilibrium point. The comfort level. Oh, the debate will continue ad nauseum, like it always has. Then, time will just run out.

Tuesday October 15

I was not really looking forward to going to lunch with Mary Ann today. And, from what I can infer, she was not too excited about the idea as well. I gathered this from what she said about not being able to say "no" to people, although she was talking about another Asylum staff member. We ended up at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. I enjoyed my lunch but Mary Ann, from what I could tell, ordered something that she really didn't care to eat. Although I was entertained by our little chat, I can conclude that she has some real — I hate to use this term — "issues." My guess is that her constant state of stress stems from cultural and familial conflicts as well as the "ex-boyfriend." I suspect the latter to be the real source of the problems. "He made me feel really bad," she said, referring to her lack of self-esteem. This is an automatic red flag as far as I am concerned. She also told me once again that she hates working at the Asylum. "I wish they would fire me so I can collect unemployment," she added. There is something deeply wrong with Mary Ann, most likely chronic depression. "I feel really old," she told me at one point. Although we talked for well over an hour, I do not plan to repeat this event. And, I doubt that Mary Ann will reciprocate with another lunch outing. Fortunately, my interactions with her have always been of a light-hearted nature. I have been calling her "Boss" now for several weeks. My students even call her that. I will carry on the tradition, but I will avoid any extended discussions with her in the future. I also have some evidence now that Roach has been using Mary Ann as an unwitting shill in order to catch me in a compromising situation.

In a way, this was a good "test case" to show what people like Pseudo-professor Robert and I must do, if we were to become more proactive. We would have to initiate harmless dates with babes on a regular basis and be able to make an unequivocal decision after the initial meeting about pursuing matters further. Desperation cannot get in the way. If there are any red flags, then that's as far as it goes. This, to me, is a lot of work. I also have no idea where such a dating pool would come from. I suspect that none of us would be willing to execute such a plan anyway. Well, I can at least say that I that I tried to break out of the ranks once in my lifetime. A guy who is almost 50 years old, asking out a 22-year-old babe, is pretty gutsy, I would say. I'm kind of proud of that feat, although I know that my buddy Bud would be shaking his head. No one else I know would have even tried such a stunt.

Wednesday October 16 — Bosses Day

I neglected to mention that Mary Ann was dressed in a completely black outfit yesterday. I found that odd. When we were seated at the restaurant, I noticed that the people at one of the adjacent tables were staring at us for the longest time. Those with their backs toward us had also turned to stare. They were all locals. The group at the table next to us did the same thing. They were haole. It was eerie. When we were walking back to the Asylum after lunch, Mary Ann took out a pack of cigarettes from her purse and lit one up. I asked her if she was feeling stressed. She said yes. A few moments later, I looked at her but I did not see Mary Ann. I felt a chill running down my spine. For a brief moment, she acted and walked differently. Could she be another handmaiden — a different kind of handmaiden — of the sinister kahuna?

I printed a small note with the message "Happy Bosses Day," and had one of my students deliver it to "Boss" (aka Mary Ann). It was from "Uncle T & His Students." At the bottom, in smaller print, was the message, "Boss, nice talking with you yesterday. I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Take care of yourself." For me, this was closure. I walked across the hall to talk with Kevin for a few minutes because he said that he had some "good news." At that moment, Mary Ann turned the corner of the hall and walked up to us. She had a notepad in hand. She wanted to ask us about the operating systems class and whether one of us would like to facilitate it in the next term. Kevin walked back into his class, leaving me with Mary Ann. I had to get back to my class so she walked back with me. We talked about this matter for ten minutes. She wanted to know how I would facilitate the class now that Linux would be added. What was totally baffling is that I pulled out a copy of the schedule for next term and the class was already assigned to someone else. I thought that she was talking about a new class. I showed the schedule to Mary Ann. She didn't comment. This is exactly what has been going on now for a month. Mary Ann has never had anything concrete to discuss. This time, I really had to wonder. Mary Ann is not stupid. I told her yesterday that I knew how intelligent she was, regardless of the subterfuge. So, how could she not know that the class was already assigned? I made sure that I did not sit down at any point during our discussion. If we had both sat down, we would have been talking for a long time. It is my intention to minimize these discussions. I cannot even begin to tell you how hard it was to do that. I am still spellbound by her. She also appeared somewhat gung-ho about the job today. Whassup wi' dat? For the time being, I will just have to dismiss this incident as mere stupidity.

As for the "good news" that Kevin mentioned — he asked me if I wanted to be set up with an older babe from Korea. She apparently is either a friend or relative of Kevin's wife's family. The babe in question is in her early forties. I didn't know what to say. He wanted to know my decision right away so that a visa could be obtained and all the paperwork initiated. "There's one thing," he added. "She doesn't speak English. It will be just the way it was with me and my wife." I truly understand Kevin's argument concerning local babes. He wanted a wife who would appreciate the simple things in life and work together with him to achieve common goals. In my case, I am not sure whether I would be comfortable taking a similar route. Lord knows what I am going to tell him.

I am in the Labyrinth, and I can't seem to get out. My top priority is to gracefully disassociate from Mary Ann, something that I should have done weeks ago. Instead, I put myself right into the sinister kahuna's lair. I am pretty certain that Mary Ann has no interest in the ol' lavahead. However, she still obviously drives me berserk. For the sake of my sanity, I must distance myself from her. I have no idea why she continues to stop by with extremely lame reasons. Perhaps I just don't understand babes. In any case, I must put an end to this charade, and it has to be right now.

Thursday October 17

I only saw Mary Ann once today by chance because I just happened to be talking to a student in the hall when she got off the elevator. Although I have been enamored by her, I have also been looking at the possibility of espionage. Mary Ann had told me during our lunch on Tuesday that Roach had specifically suggested that she meet with me to discuss the curriculum. That's why she sent e-mail to me. I found this very odd since I am not on Roach's list of favored minions. The whole thing smelled like a setup. At first, I thought that Mary Ann was complicit in an entrapment scheme. As you know, Roach has always been aching to catch me "fraternizing" with babes. This is especially true since I am the only single guy in the faculty. Remember the last incident with Shirley (see May 14th entry in this chapter)? Oh, he thought that he really had me in the palm of his tiny hand then. What a maroon! Later, I ran into Tu, one of the part-time student help at the Asylum.

"Mary Ann, the one filling in for Phillip. You trust her?" I asked.

"No, I wouldn't trust her," he said. "She always nosing around. She acts like she doesn't know anything or doesn't know what to do."

"Oh, she's not stupid," I interjected.

"Believe me, I know she's not stupid."

At first, I thought that Mary Ann could be an "agent" for Roach. I also know that she spends time downstairs talking with a few of the guys in the main office because she said so. I found that odd since she technically works for Roach, as she admitted (I had thought that she was cryptically trying to confess that she was indeed a mole for the idiot). She really has no reason to interact with the guys downstairs. However, since she is allegedly single, the reasons become quite apparent. Thus, I have discarded the notion that she is actively involved in clandestine operations for Roach, even though I have to take Tu's comments into consideration.

On the other hand, I can believe that Mary Ann is an unwitting shill in this sordid game choreographed by Roach. I had asked Kevin about what he thought concerning the conversation with Mary Ann yesterday. He, too, believes that Mary Ann is being used. I find it extremely irregular that I have not been chastised by Roach or Bug for my extended discussions with Mary Ann during class. We had logged quite a few hours in the last month. I know that we have been spotted several times. In addition, I asked some of my own "agents" whether there have been any rumors circulating amongst the students about the ol' lavahead. Nada. Something is terribly wrong. That's why I suspected a setup. In the meantime, Kevin is being hammered for petty infractions of policy. Bug and Roach have left me alone for a while, so the Big One must be right around the corner. And, it is going to be about my alleged "fraternization" with Mary Ann.

I am still planning to maintain my distance from Mary Ann. Tomorrow, I will make sure that no chairs in my classes are available to sit in, and I will remain standing for most of the time. So, just in case she shows up, there will be little chance for anything other than a brief chat. This is to preserve my sanity. As far as whether she has any interest in the ol' lavahead, that's hard to say. I foolishly thought so when she kept dropping by for really lame reasons. With local Asian babes, it's very difficult to tell what's going on. They rarely ask any questions of a guy, opting to find out information through mutual friends or extended ohana. Likewise, they will rarely disclose anything unless they have known a guy for a long time. That's one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to break into local cliques. Most of those people have known each other since childhood or at least since high school. That's also another reason why many of the local babes end up with losers. Getting to know a local babe is next to impossible when one is not a part of her close circle. I noticed this behavior in Shirley as well. So far, I have only known haole babes. That's why I was not cognizant of this cultural oddity before. If I actually wanted to know whether Mary Ann was interested in any way, I would have to know one of her close friends or family. So, I have indirectly answered my own question. Any perceived interest on the part of Mary Ann is purely imaginary. Case closed.

I am including an excerpt from The Bull which was posted in Speak! III by LoserNet (I'll comment later):

Finally kick yourself in the pants and get a start with what you have left of your life. Do not wait till your twilight years and go through the "I should have, could have, would have" routine. If this girl likes you ask her out again, or try if you feel you might sway her, put forth some effort. If it does not work out, so what? My dad was 70 dating a 35 year old, my family did not like it, but it was their choice, do you think the Cardinal would let age get in the way? No way, he was dating that mid twenty year old for awhile. It's not taboo so go ahead, some might not agree, so what? Do what your heart leads you to do. To love is to let the heart lead and the mind to follow. It is always risky, but what is living without risk? You can always stand in the closet and shut the door and shut out the outside world, but take the chances when you get them. The older you get, the fewer that you have to take a chance on. Don't let yourself feel down if things don't work out, just keep your eye out for what comes next into your life that may make it better for you, and in some cases other people's lives. Stop standing on the fence ... jump one way or another.

It has been another long and foolish month. Alas, there is no other journal like this one. I have yet to give Kevin an answer concerning the "good news" from yesterday. I truly wonder whether the file is really closed concerning Mary Ann. Kevin and I are anticipating that Roach will become more brazen with his atrocities. We are waiting to see him get his just reward. I have not heard from Shirley in a long time. Perhaps she read a little about my misadventure with Mary Ann since I had put a few details in Existential Vacuum, the newsletter of our "Meaning of Life" Listserv. Naturally, the discussion was purely academic. Shirley is probably wondering whether I am a menace to society. This is life as I know it, in the Labyrinth.

To be continued ... Go to M.16

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