Month: January 2014

“Could you be pissed off in Paradise?”

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By Joshua Dent

I realized the real challenge in life is not creating the life you want. But, it is maintaining the highest level of acceptance, gratitude, and motivation for the live “you have.”

Every person I have ever met that is associated with the “Dent Family Tree” wants to live on an island. This never comes more apparent than during the winter.

This ideological idea was never  more firmly implanted in my head forever roughly 10 years ago. I hadn’t  seen my older brother Ryan in probably 3 years.

He had been in San Diego, and he came out of the back room of his tiny beach-side two bedroom apartment with bleached blonde dreadlocks down to his ass practically, blasting Costa Rican reggae music.

I was quite confused to his absurd excitement of the fact that he just took a nap.

And after he popped his mouth with red vines, he proceeded to vividly detail how he is going to live in Costa Rica next year.

This was no different than any other Dent family interaction. We have always had this exact same dream of simplicity and eternal happiness.

The Dent family consists of an eclectic mix of CEO’s of SEO startups, independently wealthy businessmen, and even people that made a career as an athletic trainer in MLB, and I discovered yesterday that I had achieved what EVERY one of them would probably kill for.

I was walking into work on a Tuesday afternoon wearing a bathing suit, and flip flops on an 80 degree January afternoon on a tropical island to play sticky ball with 9 year olds, and sing songs about “stinky tofu.” It couldn’t POSSIBLY get any easier.

So, when I realized I actively had the balls to surpass what every single person in our family proclaimed to truly want and I was still having these nagging feelings of darkness and solitude.  I conceptualized that anybody can dream up a life that they feel they want.

The challenge and the fun comes once “you’re there,” by continuing to elevate yourself in every area.Image

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Taiwanese Cradle of Love

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By Joshua Dent

My hands were nestled in each pocket of my USATF Nike gray hoodie last Friday morning. This is one of the few hoodies I could find without some velvety crap, or a smorgasbord of random words, and bright ugly colors draped across it.

The weather was sunny but cold. This was the reason my hands were locked to the old gray USATF hoodie.

That was when I spotted what appeared to be just a random and disorganized Taiwanese grandma out of the corner of my left eye as I headed west on Zhongshan Road in Chungli, “The Taiwan.”

This 65 year old slightly curled hair and messy looking woman was walking with her back tilted slightly backwards. 

Although, I was kind of in what I like to call “Robot/Rainman – must get to the gym mode,” she quickly got my attention.

Some further people-watching, let me realize that her left pant leg appeared to be coming down, and her right pant leg was somehow propped up a bit. She was just a discombobulated mess. And, I was already “all in” to figure out why she was so clumsy looking.

That was when I realized this bizarre looking lady was manning the controls of  carrying a 2 year old baby down the street.

Her own disgruntled mess was coupled with the fact that she was carrying this baby in one of the most awkward holds I have ever seen.

The baby was facing foreword.

As she under-hooked her right arm under his tiny little “baby balls,” she managed to have him hoisted about 18 inches above shoulder length on her five foot two estimated frame.

An under-hook to the baby balls seemed to be the least of this little dude’s worries.  The crooked walking lady had a free left arm that she could use to manipulate this baby into even further discomfort.

She turned it up a notch in the discomfort factor by draping her free left elbow and forearm across his chest. She proceeded to smear her left hand across his face.

It looked like some sort of bizarre cross of a very strange game of grammy-inflicted hide and seek, and her using her fingers to manipulate an ugly face on him.

I was suddenly stopped dead in my tracks however as I continued my stroll along Zhongshan Road. After a quick glance, I heard a noise that sounded quite special. I actually heard this old lady singing to her baby. It sounded great to me!

In a land where most people cover their mouth with their hands when they smile.

In a land where people smile without showing their teeth.

In a land where talking above a whisper on public transportation can be seen by many as outlandish and rude behavior.

In a land dominated by collectivism versus the celebration and uniqueness of every individual.

In a land where kids can’t catch a ball if their life depended on it so they can study “The English,” and they still suck at it!

In a land where every single fucking person you talk to says “Taiwan has lots of delicious foods you must try,” and it all just tastes like noodles and rice to me.

In a land where all of this can drive a foreigner completely crazy. 

I think my senses  had  been starving to hear somebody willing to stick out even just the slightest bit. 

The note, the melody, nor the voice mattered one bit. Her willingness, and bravery to stand out even the slightest bit gave me a rush of peace and solitude that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

The even better part was that the baby was smiling from ear to ear, and you could tell the little dude was laughing despite his balls being cradled, and his face being smeared with pruney grammy hands. 

Is it possible at 35 this story was a male version of a state of panic about not having any offspring yet? 

I don’t honestly have that answer yet. 

But, I will still take it for an amazingly surprising and spectacular moment. 

I assure you these moments are everywhere!

Cheers to the little dude, grammy, and cheers to many more random moments of awesomeness.

 

This is about as awkward as the lady looked.

 Image

 

Taipei Taxi Cab Chronicles

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By Joshua Dent

Introduction of Key Terms/Characters

Planet Josh= my brain

Taxi  Random old driver that picked me up this morning

MRT= Taipei’s mind-blowingly easy to navigate subway system

MRT Troubles

On a warmer than average Taipei winter morning, with a line of partially gray sky above, I begrudgingly set foot in a cab with checkered stickers plastered across the windows.

I was not exactly a bucket of fucking sunshine due to the fact that I somehow had already managed to get on the wrong MRT a bewildering 4 times in a row in an effort to get to The Taipei Zoo MRT Station.

I was 10 minutes past the agreed upon meeting time for our hiking trip.

With four miscues behind me, I felt like bashing my head against the wall in disgust by this point. This is not a good 9:07 a.m. feeling.

Taipei Zoo MRT, PLEASE…

Here is a brief excerpt of the conversation I had with the taxi driver:

Taxi- “哪裡 ” – English translation= Where are you going?

Me- “想要”  – English translation=  I would like to go to…

Me (cont’d)- uh, uh, uh, uh

Planet Josh- Yep. I don’t have a clue how to say zoo in Chinese. Zoo seems like one of those words that might sound similar in Chinese. I can bullshit my way through this. Give it another try!

Me (cont’d) – “想要” quick switch to English – “the zoo”- English translation= I would like to go to the zoo.

Taxi- BLANK stare

Lions, And Tigers, And Bears

Planet Josh- I have about .2 seconds to keep this guy from going deaf mute on me. I’m certain he will know the phrase “lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my”

Me- “The zoo. You know, LIONS, and TIGERS, and BEARS!!”

Taxi-“” – English translation= “I didn’t understand one word you just said!!”

Planet Josh- I want to reach over the driver’s side seat and choke the shit out of this guy. But, I can’t!!!

Planet Josh- It looks like I am going to have to act this out!! Damn it!!

Me- (arms stretched as wide as the cab goes, center vein ready to burst out of my forehead, and bright red face)  “ You know, LIONS, ROAR,  LIONS,ROAR, ROAR!!!”

Taxi- “Ok, OK!!“

Taxi- “想要.. zoo (insert random Chinese syllable)?”- English translation- You would like to go to… some word that sounded like zoo?

Planet Josh- Bullet dodged. He understood me. I knew I could do this.

Me- – English translation= Ok or good.

Five extremely long moments of awkward silence pass when the taxi pulls into the parking lot of the anticipated stop.

Taxi- “Ok!”

Planet Josh- I hope there isn’t a camera in this cab. I’m about to slouch down in the back seat of this car, and start kicking the living shit out of the back seat with my feet.

Me- (English Only Now) Are you fucking kidding me man? This is a museum!!

Conclusion

To realize I lost my cool over cultural/language barriers, you don’t exactly have to be a world fucking diplomat.

But, I am resisting my normal urge to come up with 7000 ways to not let this happen again, (smartphone, patience, map,etc.)

And, I am just going to leave you with the only goal that is always feasible- “Live and Learn!”

Am I the only one that has ever wanted to strangle a 57 year old man just trying to make a living? Vent your frustrations in the comment section if not!