Code Blue

Fifty-two days without a sip of alcohol, and I feel about the same. My abs still fluctuate between a hastily defined six-pack and beginnings of a gut. I still have trouble remembering the directions that got me to a place for the return trip, while retaining the indispensable knowledge that Chris Webber led the league in rebounding with 13 per game during the strike-shortened 1998 season. And I still somehow find my way into awkward situations involving some degree of nudity.

The other day, my girlfriend left her phone at my apartment, so I raced out into the early-morning darkness to catch her before she got to her car. Of course out of all the days this should happen, I was at the nadir of my underwear rotation — wearing these baby-blue Hanes with a weird cut that makes the overall presentation resemble a diaper. Of course not one, but two people in my apartment complex at that convenient moment needed to be walking out of their doors dressed in business clothes. There is no reason to be leaving for work that early. Your boss will not be there. Your job will be outsourced or automated eventually anyway. Stop fighting the inevitable and go back to bed.

Frustrated but undeterred, I scurried out the front gate, crossed the road, and descended onto the wood-chip running trail still in pursuit with an iPhone 5 in my hand. I passed a jogger, probably quickening his pace, before climbing down the opposite side of the trail to peer at the street where she parked. Not spotting her car, I did see some headlights approaching in the distance. That put me in the quandary of needing to be visible to flag it down if it were her, and needing to be invisible if it were not.

Choosing to somewhat hedge my bet, I cowered by a tree with arm extended. I am sure the driver, who turned out not to be my girlfriend, still suffers hallucinations from the image of a giant Asian infant jumping out of the brush wearing only a blue diaper and adidas soccer sandals from circa 1997. Luckily, the elementary school across the street was not in session yet. Otherwise I might have been slapped with an unfair sex offender restriction when in reality, I am a lot more afraid of those freak kids than they are of me.

These are the kinds of situations I get into all the time, drinking or not. I have not felt any smarter, sharper or less oblivious during this detoxification period. Quite the opposite, my perception of my intelligence has not been this low since the teachers at Amrein’s Day Care called my parents in a panic after I shoved a pebble so deep into my nose that it appeared irretrievable. (My dad got it out with his pinkie, yet another illustration that panic only delays the solution of clear-headed execution.)

I feel dumb right now because I am taking a Python interactive programming class online from Rice University professors. Python is a programming language used by the likes of Google, YouTube, Yahoo! and NASA. I thought coding might be tailor-made for me given my affinity for logic, process, rules and limited social interaction. My ideal life would be everyone leaving me alone except for the 3 percent of the time I want to party so hard that you cannot seem to wash my aura off your body afterwards.

Alas, unless this learning curve flattens out dramatically, I don’t think I am anywhere near average at programming. How is this possible? I am Asian. There are folks in the forums who clearly do not even speak fluent English, yet somehow manage to add extra features to their projects.

Last week’s assignment was to build Pong, the classic arcade game in which players slide paddles on opposite ends to keep a ball from hitting their side. The ball is supposed to bounce off the top, bottom and paddles with increasing velocity. There is supposed to be a scoreboard.

Here’s what I turned in, 7 minutes before the deadline (click the play button in the upper left).

Your browser does not deceive you. My version of Pong indeed amounts to a green dot that moves in a straight line out of sight. The people grading this are going to wonder if I am an actual retard. I mean, where’s the game, right? I don’t have a solid response to that, but I know the answer apparently does not lie in the bottle or away from it either.