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A Year of Living Positively -Day 15

It is 8:30 a.m. and I'm feeling mentally drained already. It's not just that I awoke early at 6, or that I just completed a call to Canada. What really tired me was a chat with an acquaintance.

Now, internet friends and acquaintances may chat spontaneously, and be in different moods when they do. It is okay for someone to rant, bitch, whine a bit, I feel, but only for a bit.

This woman that I've only met in person a couple of times, and who I've come to know better through intermittent Facebook chatting, contacted me this morning. She felt like talking about her living situation, which is co-habitation in a some one-bedroom apartment. 

After chatting for something like 12 minutes, I came to the conclusion that this is someone of the mental state I described in my preamble to this year-long series of blogs. She likes her anxiety, and likes to produce it. She likes complaining. Yeah.

I haven't told her that, though. Today, the conversation came to the point where I felt myself getting mentally tired, and realized it was her anxiety manipulating me, so I closed the conversation. I told her that I do not mind being an ear to a bit of venting or being asked to five a little feedback, but that I had reached my limit this morning.

You see, every time I made a suggestion, it was unanswered, so that the dialogue was going in circles. That means she does not really want to address her problems, which is a source of some anxiety.

She knows, for example, what this guy wants in the relationship. She knows that the cohabitation is a temporary arrangement wherein she agreed to allow a person she was dating casually move in because he needed a temporary lodging. She wanted the warmth of some company and the sex. He wanted the roof and the sex. They know that, so when she said she felt like she loved and loathed him because she wanted him but wanted her "space" back, she had the answers to her own questions. She said she was confused, but she reported that he has said expressly what he wanted, which was casual sex with her and a temporary roof over his head. Why, then, the confusion? She is emotionally conflicted, no doubt, because, like most of us, she ultimately wants a steady partner with whom to share her life, but it is not the right time to be cohabitating with this partner and therefore feels crowded. In spite of herself, however, it appears she wants to cling and control, and she is reluctant to tell him to find some other place to crash.

I recognize this kind of head space. I think I was somewhere around there myself, once upon a time. Sometimes, people do not want personal responsibility. Sometimes, people like being in a sad and anxious space. Sometimes, they want to be passive and let things happen to themselves, especially women, I think, because society teaches women to be on the passive side. By contrast, when someone reaches the point where they don't want to live there anymore, they address problems. They are motivated to take steps to deal with them and feel better when they do. That is the healthy state.

It was healthy for me to reject her stance, and reject being another of her targets. I did not like her contacting me to bend my ear and involve her in her affairs, an acquaintance who lives thousands of kilometers away and who never sees her. She is not a real friend, for she never makes an effort to see me when I'm in Vancouver. She rarely listens to me, or asks about me. Like this morning, she was totally selfish and self-absorbed. Ostensibly, she was replying to my invitation to her to join a solidarity network because she does make progressive political statements and shows real concern for the state of the world. However, she said that she did not want to get involved. Yet, true to the self-indulgent middle class personna, she wanted me to get involved in her petty concerns. Jeesh! So I told her it was too much and got out of the chat.

On the topic of living space, I've been reflecting about my experience as a resident in a Korean "officetel". An officetel is meant to be a temporary residence, particularly for students or visiting employees or business people. The longest period anyone ever lives in one is about two years. 

There are some foreign faculty living here in this building who work at the same university that employs me. Foreign faculty usually don't live in the host country for more than two years because they must return to permanent jobs in their home countries. A few of us, mostly the English teachers, but sometimes others, stay for longer terms. However, I and my colleagues must change residences soon because our employer is relocating.

I'm looking forward to getting out of this student-dominated area on the edge of the entertainment district. I'd prefer to live close to the new campus. It is near the subway line so there will be a campus shuttle service and escapes and sojourns out of the area will be handy because of the proximity to the subway line. 

True this general area, beyond this entertainment district that is, is pleasant with its access to the beach and parks and city events. Because the prospect of the move gives me an opportunity to scout out a new residence and convey my preferences to the university housing management staff, I'll have to investigate the lay of the new area to find the spot with the best amenities. Of course, the new campus being on the lower slope of a big mountain park, a famous ancient temple, a forest and some hiking trails are nearby, and the air is fresher.

I'm just wondering whether I'll ask to stay in an officetel. Here are the benefits of officetels, in general. The rent can include housekeeping and other management fees, along with internet and TV cable services. When you leave, the housekeeping staff clean the room. They are partially furnished. They're generally newer and cleaner than the lower rent apartments. They are low maintenance.

The downside of officetel apartments is their size: they are small single rooms, for the most part. The cooking space is cramped. One-room lodgings are also awkward when it comes to having visitors. The one I occupy at present is also very hot in the summer, for there is only one window and the air circulation is poor.

I'd like to get a studio or loft, actually, with a similar arrangement to that of this officetel, if such an arrangement exists. We'll see. I don't have to move to a new apartment until the end of February.

As I recover from the mental oppression caused by that chat this morning, I'm thinking that today is the day to get my hair done. I hope the hairdresser is available this afternoon.


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