Day V5: Where is Justice? - Caucasian - CycleBlaze

July 5, 2024

Day V5: Where is Justice?

This trip "back home" is starting to wear me down faster than expected and now counting the days until moving to the next destination.  My expat friend colleague in Shanghai was completely correct, he told me that what I'm experiencing on this trip is typical.  That's why he told me, "Now you know why these trips have be short.  The novelty of your arrival wears off a few days after you're in town.  At that point, people don't even care you exist.  You gotta fly in, do what you need to do, and fly out"

All very correct advice.  The only thing is the first trip back after covid took nearly a month.  This current one is about 10 days.  We're getting the time shorter now which is good, and on the right trajectory.

Even so, today was going to be a dreadful day of errands and hopefully something good would come out of it.  I woke up at a decent hour and set off on a marathon bus journey.   After getting my 'breakfast' of a protein bar and coffee at a gas station, I hopped on a bus, a skytrain, and two more buses to reach the far flung suburban destination of Tsawwassen where we grew up.  The original plan was to bike this, about 45km each way, but not doable today.

As I was on one of the buses, I got a sense of dread and anxiety as this trip was proving to be too much to handle.  I hopped off the bus early and took a break at a casino to calm my nerves.  Nearby was the site of a demolished gas station that I worked evening shifts for about three years in the late 90s to help pay for my university.  Seeing all this was surreal.

Nothing left of this
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Time for a breather
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After losing some money at the casino I went back on the buses and this time met a family from the Philippines with massive amounts of luggage who were going downtown.  They asked me how to get a day pass.  I guess I must be a professional bus rider.  We chatted some more and they were all from Metro Manila.  They were surprised when I said, "Oh yeah, I've made lots of trips there."  They asked, "For how long?"  I said, "About 3-4 days each."  Then I explained it was all done from China when I used to have a girlfriend in Manila.  They asked if we were still together and I said no.

Eventually I arrived in Tsawassen after 3 hours on the buses and took care of the key piece of business first.  The bank guy I've known for years was super helpful.  He knew the entire story of all of us world traveler siblings who are scattered abroad.  Basically I wanted to cash out a cash value insurance policy and sign up for a new term policy for 20 years with a much higher face value.  The strategy was that the cashout would cover all the premiums.  He thought it was a brilliant strategy and said, "When it comes to you and your wife who know how to trade for a living, we have to be on top of our game because we're dealing with professionals."

He asked who I wanted the beneficiary to be.  I asked, "Can I split it three ways?"  He said, "You can do whatever you want, boss."  Learning from my father's mistake, I'm not going to give all my assets to one person.  The only catch is that the paperwork might not be done in time before I fuck off to Dubai in which case I'll now have to re-evaluate my budget.

Speaking of budgets, I was mad as hell about the bike theft and ended up pulling out funds from exercising some call options and selling 100 shares of a stock that had appreciated over 20%.  That gave enough profit to withdraw and cover the cost of a new Montague bike which I will pick up in San Jose later on.  I then wrote on my social media that "See if the guy who stole my bike can do this.  He can't even leave the country like I can.  May he live in poverty the rest of his life."

It was then a short walk to my stepmother's place at the old house we grew up before both my parents passed away.  I tried to keep my composure, take deep breaths, and just keep walking but the surreality of it all was was messing with my head.  Here I was walking the exact path I had done many times over 20-30 years ago and nothing had changed, yet it felt like I was walking in a parallel universe.  This kept up as I buzzed the door and walked inside then greeted my stepmother with a hug. 

The purpose of this visit was to simply pick up mail, but as you know it never works like that.  She asked, "Have you had anything to eat?" and I was too honest by saying, "I haven't" in which case she used that as the opener by starting to make pancakes, bacon and eggs and chatted up a storm while doing so.  The details of what we talked about I can't really say in this blog, but in situations like these I just wanted to be myself.  That means simply listening to what people have to say and understanding their point of view, even if it is hard to understand and my brain can't quite keep up.  But I wanted to try my best to understand.

She even said "You're the only one I feel comfortable sharing this with".  It's not that I agree with her position and there are elements of gaslighting but one code of behavior I always believe in is to let people say what they need to say and just listen. 

In a dispute, if Party A and Party B constantly blame each other and accuse one another of distorting the facts, then I want to arrive at some understanding by listening attentively to all the details from both sides.  Obviously I can't be neutral in this conflict with my Dad's estate.  I am part of Party B and have a stake in the matter.  We are essentially dealing with a conflict of who gets what in my Dad's estate, and my stepmother is party A.  She even told me "I know you want your fair share"  Lawyers are involved on both sides.  I saw an independent lawyer myself who actually said what I didn't want to hear, so I was feeling a bit defeated already.  The way it is now, she is basically set to take everything.  We are trying to fight for justice, but it isn't looking very optimistic if the judge were to rule on historical precedents as they basically do in North America.  For obvious reasons, of course she can stay in the house, but she has other motives here that we can't get into.

In the middle of our chat, she had to make a phone call or something.  I politely stayed where I was and kept assuming my role as a guest in my own house while looking around the room and observing all the places I had grown up as a teenager.  Overlooking all this was a large portrait of my late father hung up on the wall with his classic smile and intelligent demeanor.  Then I began to ask myself, "Is it really true that my father right here would disown us and we get none of his wealth?  If so, what did we do to deserve this?"

My so-called best friend from high school even said yesterday, "Well maybe your Dad was trying to send you a message.  You guys all fucked off to places abroad and left him here all by himself with his wife and you didn't even support him or keep in touch."

So I guess he was saying it's a punishment and we deserve to be disowned.  Some friend he is.  This was a real wakeup call that when people talk shit to you this way and show such disrespect, they really aren't your friends.  I tried to explain and educate him as best as possible what the facts were and how I reach out and talk to people including my stepmother to understand all points of view.

But still, I couldn't think that maybe this was true.  Those 10-15 years of epic bike adventures in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and many other places, not to mention all the time spent working abroad in China and making sick cash was perhaps done because I couldn't function back home and my Dad thought I had abandoned him.  The same for my brothers and sisters who did likewise.  Even I went back most summers (like this one) and had many conversations with him and my stepmother I guess it wasn't enough.       

Eventually I found an exit from the conversation by telling her that my bus ticket was about to expire.  Then I literally ran for the bus, or more truthfully hightailed it out of there.  For some reason I got super lucky in that the first bus driver gave me a ticket that lasted 8 hours when it was supposed to only last 90 minutes so I was able to use it the entire day.

There was plenty of time to think about all this on the bus ride back but I absolutely had to do a fitness class to keep my mental health in good order.  During the class I realized something:  I am strong as fuck.  I am strong enough to keep my composure in a situation like what just happened and still treat my stepmother with respect even though there is considerable injustice here.  

Found this nearby, as I told my roommate there are plenty of places to eat for $15-20, and really good food too
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I'll still try to fight where I can, but ultimately life goes on you know.  Despite how difficult this initial part of the trip is turning out, it won't be long until I'm in Dubai for the first time and exploring a whole new part of the world.  Even we don't get our fair share of the estate, I have more than enough assets of my own that I'm not going to lose sleep over all this.

Besides all this drama however, the real takeaway from all this is I'm learning who my real friends are.  It's no surprise that sigma males like myself have very few friends.  We are essentially on the same level as alpha males and right at the very top.  The difference is we are the lone wolves, we don't play stupid political games like the alphas do, nor do we follow social expectations.

On that note, the bank guy sees eye to eye with me on this one.  He even said, "I completely agree with you man - no kids.  We're the same age, I don't have them either.  If we have kids now we'll be in our late 60s by the time they hit university."

I said, "It's not viable" and he agreed.

The friends we do have are the ones who have our backs, and we take respect very seriously.  We are also huge on justice.  The fact we are very good at listening is another distinctive trait.  Overall, knowing all these things about myself has made for a far more bearable trip than otherwise.   In some ways, it's like a crazy adventure but I still can't wait to move on the next destination.

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