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#6: June Highs, Top Gun Thoughts, Glimpse of Huh?
Hello, hello! Welcome to this sixth instalment of Party of Three. My last letter was in March, and a lot has happened since. I caught Covid in April. I turned 32 while recovering from Covid. I left my Traveloka job last month and started a new job last week. The world still feels like it’s ending, though some days are less dreadful. Life stuff. So many things I want to remember.
This week I write about eventful moments from the past month, compile a few Top Gun thoughts, and I also spent an ungodly amount of time listening to “Glimpse of Us”, for some reason. Yes you may call me a walking red flag.
Again and always: thank you for being here!
June was the month I sold my finsta to some random guy on the internet for a decent amount of $$$. One night on the bus ride home from work, I decided there might be no harm in replying to this guy who had messaged me asking if he could buy my handle two weeks prior . My initial reaction to his message had been one of suspicion, naturally. Money and internet strangers do not go well together. But that night, between the loud dangdut blasting from the speakers and the traffic along Tol JORR, I thought maybe a short, casual reply with just a slight air of interest wouldn’t hurt.
So I texted him back: “How much are you thinking?” He replied pretty quickly, and after a bit of back and forth — involving him trying to convince me he was legit, and me researching easy ways to receive wire transfers from the US — we had a deal. In less than 24 hours, he got the handle he wanted, and I got the money. Both parties left that interaction relieved and happy. I’ve never considered myself a lucky person, but that day it felt like things may just turn around for me.
June is also the month I finally feel like my sewing is advancing, if I may say so myself. When I started this short course last May, I went in expecting to be taught how to use a sewing machine. So when we ended up spending the first month measuring, thinking of “formulas”, drawing, and cutting patterns, I’ll admit I got mildly frustrated. Working with numbers is simply not the best use of my Sunday morning. I guess you can say that I was so fixated on acquiring the ability to operate a device that I’d failed to consider the fact that the machine was only one part of the process. So I pushed through, with measurements as accurate as I had the patience for, and continued to remind myself that this wasn’t one of those classes I had to ace. I was here for the basics and nothing more. In June, we finally progressed into the actual sewing, which means I actually get to use the machine! And while my project is a mess of imperfect stitches and uneven lengths, things are finally starting to make more sense to me. I’m happy with that!
In other news… I got a piano!!! Exciting stuff. She’s a full-sized 88-key electric piano, which means I get to practice my scales at 02.00 a.m. without bothering my landlord because I have volume controls and can also opt to plug in headphones! She looks so cool (I got her in white) perched in the what might be the last floor space I have in my room before things start getting too cramped.
I’ll admit I was a bit of a mellow mess when I decided to make the purchase, the kind of mellow I always seem to find myself in whenever I’m home. Something about getting older and gaining awareness of how you fall short of your family’s expectations makes you pull the lamest attempts at preserving bits and pieces of their version of you sometimes, to compensate. Like, if I’m going to stray, I could maybe keep the part of their dream where I was semi-okay at the piano? I don’t know. Is this 32? Constantly negotiating hand-me-down ideals with the ones you’ve acquired on your own, juggling guilt and gratitude, wanting to be your best self and live your best life (because life’s too short and the world is ending!) while not wanting to disappoint the people who’ve gone through the worst to show up and root for you? Excuse the ramble. Anyway.
Was the piano an impulsive buy? Yes. Was I happy that I made the purchase? 100%. I’ve been practicing almost every day since, playing anything from scales, some songs that I apparently know, and a few pleasant tunes I unfortunately can’t seem to play a second time. I want to practice my note reading, eventually, since any note reading capabilities I had have evaporated in the five years that I didn’t play.
Top Gun thoughts
I’m not going to bore you with gushings about Top Gun, but I did see the film 4x at the theater last month, so maybe I will bore you just a little with a few Top Gun or Top Gun–adjacent thoughts:
It is apparently possible for me to like an action flick. The “action” just can’t be centered on a manhunt and the fights must preferably be as bloodless as possible. One can argue that with Top Gun there are people on the inside of those planes being shot down in the film, sure, but them being *inside* and therefore effectively invisible made all the difference. :’)
I don’t know if it was the punctuations, the corny messages, or the unfamiliar interface, but those Iceman-Maverick text exchanges are so funny to me. Here’s a movie that did their best to produce dogfighting scenes that were as close to the real thing as possible, and yet the texting couldn’t be further from believable?? Almost too sterile, too robotic to be real.
Men who don’t take themselves too seriously but are seriously competent at what they do can — as the internet likes to put it — step on my neck (but like, gently, maybe as a joke, before proceeding to rub my back thank you very much!)
That Miles Teller dancing clip is great, but the collection of clips of Miles Teller goofy-dancing off-screen is even better.
This clip of Monica Barbaro and Greg Tarzan Davis dancing is everything.
Glimpse of what
The week “Glimpse of Us” came out, TikTok was immediately obsessed, Twitter had thoughts, and lovers of all kinds, it seems, lost their minds. In a world with an overabundance of heartbreak ballads, I found it fascinating that Joji managed to strike a nerve in such a specific way. Songs go viral every day, but few end up offending listeners at scale, especially not heartbreak ballads. Aren’t songs about love not working out some of the most universally cathartic, foolproof of all lyrical concepts after all?
Why, then, this one? The more I thought about it — I honestly don’t know why I spent so much time thinking about this, but I did so bear with me 😭 — the surer I am that “Glimpse of Us” works exactly like gossip. It toys with the theme of betrayal (ahh, if that ain’t the juiciest of all gossip), it has enough physical details to paint a picture of intimacy, and, most importantly, it leaves so much of the characters’ emotional context to the listener’s imagination.
Of course the idea of thinking about an ex lover while being in what Joji claims to be a “perfect” relationship is easily red flag territory, but the song itself gives little to no information that confirms this specific storyline. What we do get, however, is a physical picture that signals romance and intimacy: lovers looking into each other’s eyes, lovers touching, lovers embracing.
'Cause sometimes I look in her eyes
And that's where I find a glimpse of us
And I try to fall for her touch
But I'm thinking of the way it was
Said I'm fine and said I moved on
I'm only here passing time in her arms
Hoping I'll find
A glimpse of us
Much like how physical anecdotes give life to gossip, the chorus manages to visualize what’s at stake so effectively that it no longer matters what we don’t know; the need for emotional context fades. I’m not going to lie that the idea that someone could be looking into my eyes and wish I were somebody else hurts like a motherf—. But humans are complex beings, humans in a relationship even more so, and I personally have so many questions! For example: What phase of the relationship are these two supposedly textbook-perfect lovers in? (Relationships can start off rocky but end up working out!) Why are they together in the first place? (Are they even in a relationship!) Why did the relationship with his ex end? (Could there have been external factors!!) — and so on… there simply aren’t enough details in the lyrics to point to a satisfactory answer. I’m convinced there’s more to this story. There must be!
“Glimpse of Us” gave us all the juicy details and left just enough blanks for us to fill with our own close brush with betrayal. “Project away!” it says. And truly nothing sets the internet on fire quite like a good incomplete story.
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