I am writing a retrospective, kind of.

In a few days, I will officially arrive in the precarious territory that is my late 20s.  In order to mark this (not) significant transition in my life, I have decided to contribute to the canon of twenty-something writing – the insipid, self-obsessed, “Thought Catalog” style of writing in which being young, educated, and obligation-less is apparently the worst thing in the world.  Why emulate a style of writing that I detest so much?  Because there’s no better way to honor my early 20s than to be an ironic, hypocritical hipster.

27 Lessons That I learned Before 27:

  1. When a recipe calls for 4 strips of bacon, it is probably not meant for a single serving.
  2. The best way to overcome chronic lateness is to move to California where everyone is chronically late.
  3. The Trans-Siberian orchestra creates a terrifying Christmas ambiance.
  4. No matter what anyone says, Mariah Carey circa 1993 always brings the party.
  5. Travel and constant movement delays, suppresses, and distracts from personal issues, but it usually does not resolve them.  Problems travel too.
  6. Speaking of which, when you travel with a Gnome, there will be more pictures of the gnome than there will be of you and the human friends you are traveling with. 2 Spain
  7. Trust your gut.  She probably likes you too.
  8. Everyone – not just you—is busy.  There are, however, tiers of business.  Having a child is being busy.  Watching the Marla Sokoloff edition of MTV Cribs is not busy.
  9. “Conservative” politics is not synonymous with bad and “Liberal” is not synonymous with good.  There are some extremely kind, giving people who identify as conservative and there are some extremely close-minded, self-interested liberal people.
  10. Unconditional love is impossible, but your parents come pretty damn close.
  11. Just because you can buy 50 McNuggets for less than 20 dollars does not mean you should.
  12. You are capable of eating 50 McNuggets in one sitting.
  13. Eating 50 McNuggets in one sitting will make you very dehydrated.
  14. When in doubt, don’t even attempt to pronounce “ganache” and “duvet.”
  15. People who want to better the communities in which they are deeply invested are doing wonderful work.  People who want to “change the world” in its totality – change the geographies they’ve never heard of, cultures they are not familiar with, languages they cannot speak, and people they have never met – will probably do more harm than good.
  16. James Franco is not the problem.  You not writing enough is the problem.
  17. When in doubt, just ask a gay man.
  18. When your parents are Vietnamese refugees, every problem you have is always futile – i.e. “I am taking too many credits this semester.” < “I escaped war by sitting on a fishing boat for days until we landed in Hong Kong.”
  19. It is possible to live off of the last 20 dollars in your pocket until your next paycheck:  Eggs, bread, Tecate, enough quarters for one load of laundry washing and about 30 minutes of drying.
  20. When you yell “What’s the meaning of life!” at Dave Chappelle, it’s considered heckling.
  21. The more you read and the more schooling you get, the more you realize you know nothing at all.  Don’t freak out – that’s just a good education doing its work.
  22. If the first thing you hear walking into a hostel is the techno remix of “Set Fire to the Rain” from Adele blasting from a desktop computer, get the fuck out of there.
  23. The dancing cartoon monkeys adorning your pillowcase?  Not a good conversation piece.
  24. The term “assless chaps” is redundant.
  25. Screaming, “I’M A LESBIAN, DUMBASS,” is an effective way of warding off cat callers.  Except if you’re in Las Vegas.
  26. Cool feelings come when you least plan them, anticipate them, or expect them.  For instance, recall the time when your dog bit your girlfriend.  Then recall your mom chastising the dog with “Don’t bite family!”
  27. The day you learned how to take constructive criticism and revise your writing accordingly was the day your life became infinitely better on all fronts.

Bonus:  Reading everything.  Mark from Step by Step is definitely a celebrity.  And that was really fun, but don’t fucking do that again.

I am (not) taking that math class.

At work the other day, my colleagues and I lamented about our avoidance of a (legitimate) math class in college.  I empathized — as soon as I matriculated to a liberal arts school, I made certain to fulfill the required math and science courses with classes that had as little math and science as academically possible.  This is one of my biggest academic regrets.  To this day, one of the few things I remember from my college-level science course is the day my professor decided to simulate crab sex by banging (zing!) two model crabs together.  I can’t even tell you why it was scientific, but it happened.

I will explain my aversion to math and science through, of course, a metaphor:  Say you’re a penguin raised in a nest of eagles because plausibility is not necessary for this metaphor to make sense.  One day, your Eagle friends begin to flap their wings and fly and you, the penguin, begin to flap your little wings as well.  However, instead of gliding majestically through the sky, you fall from the nest, beak first, into the ground below.  You’re all like, “Why the fuck can’t I fly, man?  I’m a fucking bird.  Birds fucking fly.”  You try and you try until one day, feeling dejected, you decide to walk thousands of miles until you find yourself in a colony of penguins.  “OMG! ”  you exclaim.  “Now I understand.  I can’t fly, but I can swim like a mother fucker.  I’m never going to fly again.  Swim, swim, swim.”

My friends, that is how it feels to grow up in a neighborhood filled with Asians — Asians going to the grocery store, Asians in their Toyotas Corollas, Asians wearing glasses in Calculus class.  Yeah, I said it.

To show you how terrible my math is, the following is a chart of how a writer solves mathematical equations:


I am starting a lemonade stand.

When you spend about 21 years of your life as a gawky, closeted lesbian, much time is passed listening to Savage Garden, watching British romantic comedies starring Hugh Grant, and voting for Kelly Clarkson on American Idol – practices that effectively delay adolescence by about fifteen years. Suddenly, you find yourself in your early 20s, thrown into the cruel cesspool that is coming of age. Here you are, at age 22, drinking klassily like a 15-year-old boy at a New Hampshire boarding school. Suddenly, you are 24 and find yourself in a scene reminiscent of the middle school dance you tried to avoid.  It has followed you to this San Francisco lesbian bar where time seems to have died at or around 1998. There is Alanis Morrisette is blaring on the Dolby surround sound. There is little to no dancing, a lot of sheepish grins and glares, and plenty of people walking around in pants that don’t fit properly – yourself included.

And one day you wake up at age 25 and you just really, really want to run a lemonade stand. It’s a beautiful temperate day in the Bay Area and you think it will be better now than it would have been at age nine in Texas – a chubby, perspiring Vietnamese kid standing alone in unbearable Houston humidity, quietly uttering “Lemonade for Sale” to an empty cul-de-sac. The thought of that pre-pubescent voice reverberating in vast nothingness is enough to launch a series of lemonade stands!

Stand 1: Lemonade named after formerly closeted 90s pop stars, sold at the San Francisco Dyke March in June of 2012

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Featuring:  The Lance Bass (Mango Lemonade), The Queen Latifah (Nectarine Basil Lemonade), The Ricky Martin (Watermelon Lemonade), and The Sporty Spice (Indeed, she is gay in all of our imaginations…Strawberry Mint).  And my partner as an extremely suave lemonade hustler.

Lemonade Stand 2: Jenny from the Block Lemonade Stand – Jennifer Lopez themed lemonade, sold at a yard sale in the Upper Haight, July 2012

Price: “Our love don’t cost a thing, thing, thing – donations accepted.”

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Featuring: “Waiting for (it) toRipe” (Basil Nectarine Lemonade) and “I’m Real (Strawberries) REEEEEEMIXXXX Featuring Mint” (Self Explanatory).

This one was inspired by my irrational love of Jennifer Lopez for introducing non-Tejano music listening ears to Selena.  As we all know, in Texas, Selena is Jesus, Jesus is God, and God is president because Barack Obama is a Muslim.*

Coming soon to Washington, DC – stand 3: Flamboyantly pink lemonades named after conservative Supreme Court Justices.

Featured flavors to be determined, but it will most definitely feature a “Clarence Thomas” lemonade with quiet, near silent tones of mint.

*Editor’s Note:  Barack Obama is not a Muslim.