A Winter House Warming

13 February 2023

“This is Kasey, and this is Carey”

“Hi I’m Enoch, nice to meet you. So Carey, this is your place then… Wait you’re both Carey?”

“Oh no, my name is Karen. You can also call me KC, those are my initials.”

“No one calls you that”

“Shut up”

“Wait so you moved here in October but you’re having the house warming party now?”

“Yeah, well, I finally got this mirror and its the last thing I’m going to get for awhile”

The room was neatly decorated in a nouveau Scandinavian style. A three piece couch of soft curves melting into tapered stilts sat around a low wooden coffee table smoother than any human touch could ever sand, edges shaped to digital perfection. Against the opposite wall stood a television nearly as wide as he was tall, the latest sound bar, in white, emanating a rising, falling, consistent click on the twenty-fourth track. All this rested above a similarly modern yet similarly artificial low oak cabinet. And in the corner, the final set piece the full length mirror, framed in black, as if it were a painting about to go up on the matte white gallery like walls.

He couldn’t help but wonder if it would all still be here in a years time, maybe two years time. He knew too many of his twenty something peers with beautifully decorated apartments, abandoned within a years time, maybe two years time. His mentality still remained in vagabond mode, only enough possessions necessary to make the next move less painful. And in that mental trench, he could not imagine calling somewhere home that was not his childhood home.

“But I don’t think I’d want to do engineering long term.”

“Oh, what would you do instead?”

“I’d go back to teaching. I don’t actually have a CS degree, I have a teaching degree.”

“Oh so you have a teaching credential, for what subject?”


“In which state?”

“It’s for New Jersey, yeah, I was a student teacher for math and computer science in college. I didn’t learn CS until college but when I did, it made so much sense to me. Like it was so similar to math.”

“So how’d you end up at *big tech company* ?”

“Well I mean, the salary kind of got me. But Software engineering is so isolating, I don’t think I could get that into architecting code. I’d rather do something that involved people.”

“Yeah, teaching is a really rewarding experience. I have a lot of respect for teachers.”

More and more, the people trickled in, like a blood infusion, giving life to the party. In response, he forced death upon himself, in the form of liquid poison, to unearth the charm buried under years of unresolved emotional trauma. In that addled state, he couldn’t fully grasp the conversation he had just had, until the next day, on the subway, that he could finally connect that conversation to the common conversations he had back home:

“I’m thinking about going to a software bootcamp.”

High paying, stable growing industry, plentiful jobs; all hallmarks of a career blessed by Asian parents. And yet, he had heard too many stories of his peers quitting the industry or planning to quit the industry or looking for a way to retire early. Because there’s something more to life than making more money than you know what to do with at a job you can barely tolerate.