Next to my apartment is a parking lot. A loud noise of a car engine without a muffler woke me up early in the morning today. Sick people who enjoy driving a car without an engine muffler and with a booming car stereo are increasing here.I was able to go back to sleep but then the neighbor kids’ voice disturbed my sleep again. The window of my room looks out on the front yard of a neighbor’s house. Kids and idle housewives were playing and talking loudly. Kids are my archenemies. They relentlessly attack me with their evil, high-pitched voices and shrieks.
When I first moved in here, there were few houses around. But soon, more and more houses were built, more families were moving in, and I got surrounded by kids. Every time I move somewhere quiet, the area quickly gets booming and kids are running everywhere destroying my cozy living environment. Now that I’ve decided to move, the destination should be someplace quiet, kids-free, bugs-free, and hopefully, people-free…
I had constantly troubled my parents by asking reasons for about everything in the world when I was little. “Why did that person say that?” “Why does this go this way?” Too many things in the world didn’t seem reasonable to me. Among them, the reason for people’s behavior was chiefly mysterious. My parents had been fed up with my unstoppable assault of questions and their answers had become stuck to “You’ll understand when you grow up.” Now I’m grown-up, and yet I still don’t understand anything.
Why do many shoppers choose a list-price package on the shelf right next to ones with half-price stickers? Why do they come to the supermarket without bringing their shopping bags but pay additionally for harmful plastic bags instead? Why is driving a luxury car by paying outrageously a status symbol while accidents and natural disasters caused by environmental destruction kill people? Why do people throw away clothes that are still wearable? Why do people replace appliances that are perfectly working to new ones? Why do people leave and discard food or drink that they pay for or order by themselves?
Why do I bring travel amenities like toothbrushes or combs from the hotel to my home where they have been stored in cardboard boxes to the amount of what I would never use them all up before I die? Why don’t I feel like throwing away old receipts and tattered socks? Why can’t I get up in the morning like most people do? Why do I have every night dreams that are too vivid to distinguish from reality? Why do I do everything slower than others although I do it in a great hurry each time with trembling hands? Why do I always button my shirt one hole down? Why don’t I have friends? Why have I felt an urge to wash my hands each and every time when I touch something since long before the pandemic? Why has the government kept giving so much money since the pandemic?
Why do people keep getting married while marriage doesn’t make them happy? Why do people have children who consume their money and aspirations?
Why did my mother lie to the doctor that she hurt her arm when she tried to get something heavy from the top shelf and it fell on her although in truth her injury was inflicted by a chair that my sister had thrown at her? Why did my father suddenly send me a letter in which he lashed out at me severely and at the same time, enclose some money for me? Why did my parents do so many terrible things to me who was their own child?
Why don’t I stop wondering why? It would be easy and at peace if I could swallow everything and accept it simply as the way it is.
When I was little, my mother constantly said bad things about others. She believed that, even when someone was kind to her, there must have been some plot behind the nice gesture. To sum up what she talked about every day, there are only evil people in this world.
In kindergarten, mothers would fix a lunchbox for their kids and the kids would eat lunch with their classmates and their teacher. At one lunchtime, when I was opening a lid of my lunchbox, I inadvertently dropped it to the floor without having a single bite and it overturned there. I lost my lunch. While other kids laughed at me, my teacher, who had been trying so hard to make me play with other kids because I had ignored them and had hardly talked to anyone, cleaned up the mess for me and took me to a small candy store outside the kindergarten.
She told me to pick any bread I liked. I picked one timidly, feeling afraid what kind of trap this would be, as I didn’t have any money. She suggested one more. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and shook my head. She picked one more piece of bread by herself, took out money from her own wallet, and gave all the bread to me.
I was stunned. She bought me lunch. It was the first time that someone unrelated to me was so kind to me. Since then, I had started talking to her. Even after I finished kindergarten, I had kept exchanging letters with her and I still send her a Christmas card every year.
She was the first person who destroyed my mother’s theory of the evil world and taught me that there were some good people in this world…
When my grandfather was young, his father wanted him to be a schoolteacher. He had been visiting schools to have his son hired. Behind his back, my grandfather, who didn’t want to be a teacher, secretly applied to the biggest department store in the city and got accepted for the job there without any connections.
It was a famous, long-standing department store and before he started his job there was a three-way interview, the company personnel, my grandfather and his father. Now he came to a point to tell the truth to his father. Because he knew how much his father wanted to see him as a teacher, he braced himself for a stormy opposition. Instead, his father came to the interview, suggested to eat out on their way home, and ordered unusually expensive dishes for both of them, saying, “This is the best day of my life. I’ve never been this happy.”
My grandfather was quickly regarded as an executive candidate at the department store for his earnest and diligent work. But only a few months later, his father suddenly died. He was a farmer and the family lost its breadwinner and the master of the house. My grandfather had no choice other than quitting his job to take care of the family as a successor. He gave up his dream, became a farmer and dedicated his life solely to succeed the family, which I left although I was supposed to succeed…
Next to my apartment is a parking lot. A loud noise of a car engine without a muffler woke me up early in the morning today. Sick people who enjoy driving a car without an engine muffler and with a booming car stereo are increasing here. I was able to go back to sleep but then the neighbor kids’ voice disturbed my sleep again.
The window of my room looks out on the front yard of a neighbor’s house. Kids and idle housewives were playing and talking loudly. Kids are my archenemies. They relentlessly attack me with their evil, highpitched voices and shrieks. When I first moved in here, there were few houses around. But soon, more and more houses were built, more families were moving in, and I got surrounded by kids.
Every time I move somewhere quiet, the area quickly gets booming and kids are running everywhere destroying my cozy living environment. Now that I’ve decided to move, the destination should be someplace quiet, kids-free, bugs free, and hopefully, people-free…