This entry has been posted as of 11 AM Saturday, November 16, 2013. Out of the wishes of my employer, I chose not to display this publicly until after closing. You may get upset as you are just now finding out this information, but please understand that my boss asked to make no public announcement. Consider this my "goodbye" to the business.
I was hoping to have more time to write about this, but the deadline arrived earlier than expected. Let's face it, we were all hoping for some miracle to postpone such an event until the end of this year, but for what it's worth it's a little too late to be saying sorry altogether. In any case: Before I opened the arcade on Wednesday, November 13, my boss said that he wanted to have a word with me. I could tell right away that it was about to get uncomfortable. What could it possibly be? Was I finally being fired for some heinous course of action? Did something of extreme importance get lost by mistake- again? Whatever it might be, it was important enough for us to have a discussion before opening our gates.
I stood in the doorway listening to him talk about what he's gathered over the years and all of his efforts to keep everyone entertained for as long as he could. Unfortunately, our establishment was being forced to close by the end of Saturday, November 16. The primary reason being that mall management requested double our current rent; an amount that hasn't been revealed to me at this time. It doesn't take much for me to know we're barely making enough to pay everyone on-time. I could hear in his voice that he would have wanted to keep the arcade open for as long as possible, but with management asking that much more, there wouldn't be enough money to pay any other expenses; it would be unrealistic to stay open.
Initially, I felt sad to discover Southern California was about to lose another arcade in a 5 year span (next to Family Fun Arcade, The Plant, Arcade Infinity, Denjin Arcade, etc). Another part of me felt some relief, as I would no longer have to endure the stresses in this line of work. I no longer have to serve some unforgiving, sexist, judgmental patrons, nor will I have to answer pleas of the ungrateful, whining adolescents. Understand that as an employee, I have no grudges against my boss or any other arcade owner, as I know they pay a pretty penny to keep their visitors, customers and regulars entertained. I'm sad knowing most home-owned Arcades cannot hope to survive much longer in this day and age.
I've accepted the inevitable, many months ago and I knew we wouldn't survive long after the summer. I've learned lots of things from exposure to this environment for the last 2.5 years, granted I'm not proud of everything. I don't hold the best relationship with our customers, but I do my job the best I see fit. Among the people I've met, there aren't many who have reinforced my faith in humanity. I've observed plenty that act as though they are privileged and demand a pedestal in the spotlight. There are MANY who have (indirectly) shared their gripes about our place and make it that much harder to stay in good spirits about closing shop. There are only a handful of people who have showed a level of respect with me that I could reciprocate.
Admittedly, I'll miss being able to play games that were exclusive to our business, however, I feel disconnected to the community and do not wish to engage others in this scene for awhile. There are those who made me HATE being part of this "family," because of how we have been represented. If you have spoken ill-will and contributed to this negative view, be happy that the Arcade is closing because now you get exactly what you wanted. I view closing as an opportunity to share my feelings and mature from this experience. For those of us who feel so strongly about it, I'm done trying to convince everyone that this place is worth something, because it's over now. With that said: Sayonara, Japan.
- Tags:opinions, personal
- Music:Will Sessions - It Aint Hard to Tell (instrumental)
I remember being in the fifth grade and hating myself so much that I would whisper "I wanna kill myself" into the desk. One of my classmates had to have overheard me chanting this and told our teacher. So one day, she pulled me to the side, told me she knew about my dark secret and asked me to go to the office. Nobody else seemed to know why I was excused, but I could see my neighboring classmates staring at me, white with fear, because I rarely stepped out of line so much to be sent out in the middle of the school day.
When I arrived to the school office and handed the secretary the teachers note, they guided me to the principals office. I opened the door and saw my parents sitting at the desk with the principal. Mom and Dad were both nicely dressed in their office attire - I was almost certain they had left early from work to discuss this at school. I never felt so embarrassed: I was a 10 year old child standing awkwardly in front of three, well-composed adults. I was scared, because I knew then that they would see the shame in me.
The principal had discussed my behaviors with Mom and Dad, all the while I sat down staring at the floor. I remember hearing the way that the principal described me, "you're smart, talented and pretty." And all I could think about was being teased by my classmates about the clothes that I wore, or why I cut my hair the way I did; it made me hate the skin of my hands to the color of my eyes. I felt like a foreigner to everyone at school. The principal told me that there was no reason to be ashamed of who I was. Yet, I would cry every time he complimented me because I couldn't believe them.
I recall the principal suggesting we seek psychotherapy or some form of professional help, but Mom had said, "Our sons also had a difficult time getting along with children in elementary school. Treatment was also suggested, but we never pursued it." I think their reasoning was because they said my brothers would eventually grow out of it. Even at this stage in our lives, I don't know if it's entirely true for my siblings. My parents tried to comfort me, but my tears turned into a scowl. I grew angry, because I knew I was wasting everyone's time being sad for myself. I stopped crying so I would return to class and everyone could get back on their schedule. I swallowed the sadness that day and let it sit there with my inner most self.
I wonder if my parents remember that meeting with the elementary school principal? I wonder if they ever think about it, because I do. I wonder if they know how I feel when someone compliments me, or if that sort of thing matters now that I'm an adult, too. I don't take compliments well at all, I always assume the other person is playing tricks on me, or is completely delusional. Even now, I still grow teary-eyed when I hear family and friends say things like, "I care for you," or "I love you." Since I can't see what you see, I have the hardest time believing that these feelings are true.
I used to think that there might be
something completely wrong with me,
'cos people would complain constantly
about “what went wrong” via their POV.
Some hope to see me fall face first into humility,
they’ll run my patience with lots of verbal hostility.
Eventually, I realized that it’s all they wanna see:
their bickering only strengthens my negativity.
My friend always says, “Be a Bitch but don’t by Bitchy,”
Yet I act my best and people continue to walk over me.
Some wonder why I sit at that counter looking so angrily?
I can’t stand another minute, I dream of the day I’ll be free.
They come to be entertained and treated like royalty,
I care for a place who’s people don’t even care for me.
Who cares what the “socially-awkward” “Asian Dyke” has to say?
I’ll bet fifty cents you don’t, but that’s my two cents for today.
- - - - -
My friend, Lauren messaged me earlier today, telling me that she had posted new fiction and persuaded me to post poetry. I haven’t written out my feelings in a creative fashion in a very long time, so I feel really good about turning something negative into positive through writing. Have Fun.
A few nights ago I had a dream that didn't end well. At first, it was an innocent gathering among friends at an open field; maybe it was a park. That joy vanished when I had to flee to safety, because I realized I was being pursued. I don't remember who I was running from, but I was immediately separated from my friends and never saw them again. I became a mouse in someone's maze.
My friends used their celluar phones like walkie-talkies to communicate with me. Whenever they called, a small video chat was enabled. It felt as if I entered the Wichaowski's "Matrix" and my friends were giving me directions on the other side of the circuit. It was important that I stayed on my toes at all times; I couldn't stop, for fear of getting caught by this mysterious shadow. I was scared of being alone and cornered into the unknown.
During my escape, I ran into some of my coworkers from the arcade. When they had spotted me on the field, I noticed something different about them. An abnormal glow in their eyes, like their pupils were targeting my location. Then I saw an ad on a lamp post next to them: "WANTED. BIG REWARD. CASH $$$" with my mugshot clear across the paper. I couldn't see if it was for Dead or Alive, but I didn't stay to find out.
My coworkers shuffled to get their cellphones to call the ad and sell me out. These people who I thought were my allies had turned into enemies with the swipe of their smart phone. I kept moving; the faster I ran, the harder I felt my heart pounding in my chest. All I could hear was myself coming short of breath. My knees were in pain and I was scared I'd collapse before making the getaway. I was in a hurry when I received a phone call from my friends on the other side.
"Where are you right now,"
"I'm at the edge of the park, viewing a bank across the street," So I ended up back where I originally started.
"OK. To the left of you, the last train will be arriving shortly. Catch that and you'll be able to return safely."
As he hung up, I watched the last cabin ride off from the station. All that I had worked for: my last resort, my ticket home, left me standing alone. I threw my phone to the ground and knew it was too late to help me. I woke up angry that day.
- Music:Whodini - Escape (I Need a Break)
"Look, I go to Arcades and I know that they hire you to sit back here and chill." - Excuse Me, Stranger?
I do not like being insulted and I don't think there's one person who does. I'm talking specifically about being bad-mouthed at work and the truth is, I'm belittled by customers daily. I am not the best technician (and to be honest, I don't know who among our staff is professionally trained either), but I do the best I can with the tools I have. Anything they can do, I can do it too, right? So I take great offense when customers, complete strangers walk up to me and claim they know how My job is done.
When I started working here, one of my coworkers said something along the lines of, "Welcome to the bottom of the barrel." I told myself that I needed to earn respect, and essentially prove them wrong. Two years and counting, I still feel I'm swimming in the dark by myself, but I don't let someone's words keep me grounded. I'm still viewed by some as though I'm at the bottom, but at least I've learned how customers and our games work. I always keep my mouth closed, but leave my eyes and ears open so I can learn the skills necessary to keep the arcade going.
I think that I take initiative where my coworkers might shrug it off, but I feel that the effort goes unappreciated. Customers would say things l like "Who cares about those details? Don't over do it." In turn, when I catch myself working so hard I slow down to think: I care too much about a place that nobody seems to give a shit about. Yet, I constantly feel pressured to work harder than the guys so that I might prove my worth to customers. I don't know if it's worth the effort if I'm going to be frowned upon anyway; I will never understand why helping people warrants their complaints.
If you love our establishment and you "know all about the business," why don't you understand that this is how I do my job? To you, I am stale bubble gum that gets scraped on the sidewalk. You can chew me up, spit me out and toss me to the ground, but it's my responsibility to control everything and yet you are still upset with how I operate. So you know what MY job is like, huh? Do you know what it's like to be ME: a young woman in a male dominated industry? If you spent one day in MY shoes, in MY body, with MY presence, maybe you'll reconsider how you think and what you say about this business.
As much as the thoughts anger and offend me, I'm too nice to tell anyone that this is how I see it. Remember that all of this is over Fifty Cents.
- Tags:opinions, personal
- Mood:pissed off
- Music:Bobby Brown - On Our Way (instrumental)
bkaii - Preliminary Note:
D.O.P. (Disposition Of Power) was originally going to be called "D.U.P.E.D." It was going to be an entry about Women in a Man's world, [the Fighting Game Community] as we have previously discussed. Midway to writing this entry, I said that this was something more for you than for myself really. I felt that this was kinda one-sided so I decided to scrap it. You don't have to finish it, but you could use if you intended to write about similar.puremystery - On Revision:The truth is, I have written about gender biases in the Arcade Community, a few times as a matter of fact. I didn't write much material at the time, but our combined entries can be juxtaposed in conversation with one another. This is the best way I can think of putting together D.U.P.E.D. - which I refer to as Dictated Under Persons Exuding Dominance - so here we go.Disposition Of Power: "Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman's Scorn" - tell that to the Women in a Man's world. I've always felt that there isn't anything a woman couldn't do that a man could, I still feel that way to this day. Possibilities are endless with women, but it doesn't mean that they're easily accepted as men. D.U.P.E.D. - That Game Girl: I never felt part of an arcade group because there wasn't one game that I played religiously with anyone. I never felt I belonged, because I've always been to myself; playing games alone, talking to no one. I'm bad with words and I don't want to ruin the moment, so I'll look over people's shoulders and spectate, but rarely join them. It never occurred to me that I had genuine friends because I come and go by myself.Disposition Of Power: In the video game community, there is no neutral ground when a woman invades a so-called "man's game". I personally feel that some women are easily accepted by the video game community solely because they have assets that a man doesn't have. D.U.P.E.D. - Gender Game: Challengers who come into the arcade want to befriend you but humiliate at the same time. I take neutral, sometimes nonchalant stances with those people. [We're] part of a community with a backwards mentality where respect isn't gained with mutual acts of gratitude; you have to go against the grain and prove you're worthy -- but of what? You have to annihilate and embarrass your opponent to be recognized. How logical is that? Being a girl who can play at the arcade seems to hold more weight than just being someone in the background.Disposition Of Power: Conversely, some women are declined by the Arcade Community because they're making a name for themselves as Females. The female presence in a male dominated environment evokes the Girl Power point of view.D.U.P.E.D. - That Game Girl: I don't like calling myself a Gamer Girl; I dislike the attention-seeking stereotypes associated with the ones I meet. Most of which I've met from other arcades in Southern California seem to follow this trend except for a small few. Now, these ladies are typically known for playing one genre exclusively, whether its fighting games (SF2T, SF3S, SSF4), music rhythm games (DDR, IIDX, DMX), whatever it may be. I may be completely wrong about them, but I'm sorry if that shocks and offends you. Disposition Of Power: Women have to prove themselves to the video game community, whereas Men can walk up and be automatically accepted. I'm not the type to say "stay in the kitchen" or "do girly things", but sometimes I wonder if it's worth being haggled into something that's unnecessarily biased, sexist even, more than half of the time.D.U.P.E.D. - Gender Game: I never felt that I had to do something special in video games, so my goal was to know how to play and make friends doing it. I felt threatened when people prodded at me because of my gender. I've learned to play some of them and stay out of others way, but "nobody cares if Julius Sneezer beats on tons of girls, that's nothing to brag about." Just to quote some insight from the former John Dangerous. I suppose there's a shock value when your opponents realize who [we are]; it doesn't prove very much in reality, but it tells you a lot about the type of people who are paying attention.Disposition Of Power: I wish it wasn't like that, but that's how I've been seeing it. If another person can show a case where this doesn't exist, please bring it to my attention.D.U.P.E.D. - That Game Girl: If I had to choose something to call my own, my go-to games have always been Puzzles, mazes, problem solving. You know the ones, games like Puzzle Fighter, Puzzle Bobble, Ms. Pac-Man, etc. I was never the best at them, but those games never let me down because I always played alone. If I'm learning to play a game, it's because I'm interested in the challenge and want to improve myself. I don't play to impress anyone, I don't play to show off, I play to get experience and have fun at my own expense. As much as I love games and learning new ones, I've been questioning my presence ever since I started.
excerpts from previous entries:http://puremystery.livejournal.com/119563.html "Gender Game"
- 24th-May-2012 08:00 pmhttp://puremystery.livejournal.com/130058.html "That Game Girl"
- 5th-Mar-2013 12:20 am
I've grown bitter like dry tea leaves, lacking a lively essence. Bitter like the smell of burnt toast and black coffee beans. Bitter like the brine that coats your skin at the beach. Bitter like tears that roll down your cheeks; a bitter, brittle bitch. How did I become so bitter? Maybe I've been bitter all along and being in the same place made me see who I really am, but I'm not even bitter-sweet. It is an on going struggle and Dad had recently said something that resonates with me: "[It's] easy to transport from one place to the next, but the decisions [you make] are accompanied with lots of anguish."
BITTER - I've become Bitter from working in the same place the last few years and like a plague, this feeling consumes me entirely. I have difficulty being happy and can't look at myself without thinking, "this isn't worthwhile anymore." I've grown to be very spiteful, even; I often think about another people's lifestyle and I simply hate them for it. I mean, why are fools allowed to be happy? I cringe at young naïveté and people in the same industry who are better off than me; such wishful thinking makes me grind my teeth. Negativity and self loathing has led me to be counterproductive as of late: absent of self expression, writing and illustration among other pursuits. It leaves a Bitter taste inside.
BRITTLE - I feel much older than yesterday and see myself aging faster every day. My bones haven't broken, but they feel brittle, down to the core. I want to move on, but I feel exhausted all the time; there are not enough hours in the day to rest my weary body. I've grown physically weak and lack the driving force to push through. Friends have started telling me that I'm too young to experience the aches and pains of a quote en quote, "older person". I'm losing sight of my dreams and passions much more quickly than before. At one point I was motivated to fly away and find myself, but now that I'm back in the nest where I started, I cannot soar; I must crawl. Is it too early to say I'm Brittle?
BITCH - My friend always advises, "be a bitch, but don't be bitchy." I bitch to myself and you because in some strange way, it relieves pain. At this point in my career, I know exactly where I am: I'm the "bitch" they all take for granted. I can't stand being around these people, but I can't abandon this place because there's nowhere to go right now. I care too much to let it go. I've applied elsewhere, none of which have been successful; maybe other jobs aren't accepting me because it's not my time to leave, but it also tells me I'm not pushing hard enough to move on. This Bitch wants to Break Free.
The air tasted dry and the night was busy being born, but the earth beneath my feet felt as warm as an oven. I experienced a kind of comfort out there that felt like home - you know the type, when you wrap yourself into bedsheets fresh out the dryer. I sat at the top with my friend and the click of his camera broke the silence.
"Alright. Please stand," Kai said, switching out lenses. He juggled the camera and his backpack of equipment. Without hesitation I came to his aid.
"Here, let me hold that." I cradled the base as if it were his baby.
While swapping lenses, one of the covers slipped from his fingers and landed a few feet away. I gasped in fear that the Rocks would claim it, as cracks at that height are far more dangerous than street level sidewalks. He handed me his backpack and hopped rocks like a daring game of leap frog. He retrieved the lens cap safely and the world was at peace again.
"Imagine if it fell through? That would've been your ass!" I laughed jokingly. Kai invested so much time and money into photography, I wouldn't want him to risk losing his child. The rhythmic shutter snapped me back to reality, a photo session at the top of the Canyon.
I stood in place just like he asked, watching the world transform. Above, creamsicle colored clouds melted into purples and blues as neon lights breathed life into Sin City below. All was calm; even the wind felt like whispers on my skin. A flash came from his direction, but it wasn't his camera this time around. The distant sky revealed gray clouds hanging heavily over the mountains.
"We should start heading back down now," Aaron said, standing a few yards below.
"Can we stay a little longer?" Kai replied, shooting photos casually.
"I don't think we should, I just saw lightning behind you." I pointed.
He turned to the clouds with eyes as wide as light bulbs and braced the camera like a teddy bear. He gathered his equipment and scurried to catch up with our guide, Aaron. I tied my shoes and took one last look at the view from the top. The vibrant skies started fading and our hike downhill was about to become a race against darkness.
Aaron lead the trail while Kai and I followed cautiously behind. With the sun behind us, I was not quick nor nimble and took my time down the path. We zig-zagged most of our way down, hugging the ground as much as possible. The small rocks were not as smooth as those at the top; the coarse surface scratched my palms as I crab-crawled out of tight spaces. I looked behind only to find that Kai held the camera close to his chest, capturing every step the lens could see. I worried that he would slip and fall if he didn't hold the ground, but Kai insisted we carry on.
We came to a point in the trail wherein the absence of moonlight, boulders and bushes blended into one another. Aaron narrowly dodged gaps by stretching one leg across at a time and continued making his way down. I saw the same rocks and put faith in the shadows, but the gap between them was bigger than I had anticipated. The plummet came quickly: my foot slipped through branches as thorns bit into my shin and debris trickled down my knee. The space between the rocks swallowed my right leg, nearly half way up the thigh.
"Ahhh ... damn it," Kai sighed. He knelt down to lift me back on the trail.
"Are you alright?" Aaron called out.
"I'm okay, must have bruised my knee though," I said climbing out of the hole. Leaning against the bed of stones, my muscles trembled from the impact. The pressure on my toes grew more painful the further down we went. "Just a little more," I told myself.
A navy blanket unraveled stars across the sky, but still no moon in sight; without it we were three blind mice. Kai activated his flashlight so we could see the path ahead.
"It'll be harder for you to focus on the atmosphere and trail if that's on." Aaron advised.
"But she just fell--"
"Turn it off,"
"Okay." Kai shrugged.
We were all anxious to finish the hike, but came across another trouble section of shrubbery and loose stones to evade. In the darkness, Aaron slid down the rubble and landed on what sounded like bushes. The crackling of branches and leaves were convincing, but much to our surprise he stepped in something far more severe.
"Watch where you land," he cringed. "There's a baby cactus under my feet."
"What the hell!" Kai shouted. I turned to him, activating his flashlight to see the path.
The hum of cellphone screens added to the irritants of fruit flies, stray twigs and cacti patches. We were nearly finished, but only light could set us free. The moon was nowhere in sight, so we followed our shadows the rest of the way down.
My footsteps grew clumsier knowing the end of the path was near. I hurried to touch base, but I couldn't give up until we hit rock bottom. Sliding across boulders felt more jagged and painful on the feet, but at least I knew that we were only so many steps closer to going home in one piece.
The path began to broaden and the rocks leveled out. We looked toward the mountains towering behind us and Kai said, "I like the atmosphere up there, it's pure silence." I nodded in agreement. The moon never showed up for us this time around, but we conquered Red Rock Canyon once more. After all was said and done, all I could think was: let me rest, wake up the moon.
I tried turning our life experience into a creative nonfiction. I am tired of this already, haha. =_=
I always felt like the people in my immediate social circle were the individuals who would persuade me one way or another. If I wanted to pursue something I would look to them for input, so their advice secured my decision. As a result, I've grown overly cautious and doubted my potential for success. When my educational goals seemed unrealistic to my parents, I gave up that ambition and lost sense of direction. My lack of confidence and compliance has proven difficult to decision making. It makes me think I was plagued by nightmares because I couldn't fulfill my own dreams.
The moment that I moved away from the mountain, I felt I began breaking away from the passive-aggressive behavior by doing something extremely impulsive; I made decisions solely for myself. Albeit some of my actions have been naive, reckless and selfish even, but I learned about what I can and cannot do for myself at this point in time. I aimed to be independent and experienced some of the responsibilities that come with it. Despite I couldn't rely on myself financially, I still grew as an individual. I know that have the capacity to succeed, but I need stability above all things; this is why I want to move back and live with my Mom and Dad.
I don't expect things to go back to the way they were, but I feel that those closest to me will look over my shoulder and keep telling me to follow their words and example. I'm cautious to step forward, because I can hear their voices over my shoulders. I know friends and family want me to succeed, but I find it stressful to move toward these goals when everyone gives me directions. I'm not looking for validation or approval, I'm looking for my long lost dream; I want to be happy and successful in my work, art and writing. I don't know if it means a damn to you, but that's life in a nutshell for me.
Living inside of a box isn't as bad as it may seem. Sure, it's cramped from the outside looking in, but only having so much forces you to make the most out of what you have. I treasure my time spent here, because I've learned about what I need to do for myself. Unfortunately, the box is shrinking more quickly than I had anticipated and I'm running out of space to breathe. I'm at a point now where I must eliminate all unnecessary possessions (physical manifestations, personal concerns) and really think about what means most to myself. I may have gotten too comfortable too quickly, but it looks like I have to pack up and leave again.
As much as I want to stay, my current employment isn't providing a consistent income to survive. I and my coworkers
spend too much time at that establishment waiting on a tomorrow that hasn't come, so I don't want to rely on that anymore. I'm not going to put faith into next week,
because I'm forced to tell our own patrons the same thing - it's discouraging. I've sent out applications, resumes across the board and none have been completely successful, meaning I feel sense of accomplishment, but little recognition. I successfully landed some interviews during my stay, but none have replied. If my current job cannot support me, there's no point in staying boxed in the same place.
I'll most likely be forced to move back within the next month due to financial reasons, but I'm not giving up on what I want. I need to know that I can come home to some kind of security, because I don't want to move only to be boxed in again. I refuse to revert to an old way of living, because I've gotten used to venturing out for myself. I like knowing that I have other options and I can do things on my own time. The major problem with living here is not being able to support myself. My goal was to become financially independent and find peace of mind. I find satisfaction taking care of this house, but the actual work I've put into this hasn't rewarded me yet. I can't hope to stay if I can't make ends meet. I'm forced to live and work outside the box.