Can you believe it? Despite how the word wonk sounds, it isn't a bad thing. If you're a wonk, you carry out your work with scrupulous attention to detail. You're hardworking, you're studious.
The negative connotation I naturally and incorrectly attached to it was probably because of my familiarity with the word wonky, which means crooked, and Wonka, the eccentric genius in Roald Dahl's 1964 children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, made iconic by Gene Wilder, may he rest in peace, and Johnny Depp in the film adaptations.
I came across the word by reading up on political analyst Rachel Maddow, who my mother has a serious crush on. If you know my mother, you know that she talks like she's paid by the word, filling every pause with an interesting, strange, or wildly inappropriate story, even if she's told it dozens of times before, adding fits of laughter in between, like she's never told it before. She's entertaining that way. But when we're watching The Rachel Maddow Show, she shuts up, she's quiet. It's as though she put herself in time out.
I'm tempted to ask, 'What happened, Mom?' But I don't want to ruin the moment.
I should mention that I, too, fancy Maddow. Her voice is strong yet unruffled, similar to other seasoned commentators, but with her, when I close my eyes, I feel like she's flirting. Like we're having dinner and she's trying to wine and dine me. Of course she's not, she's married, and that's okay, because I wasn't appropriately dressed for a date anyway. I just wanted to point out that she's very, very charming.
In other news, my aunt and uncle - brother and sister, not husband and wife - spotted an Asian woman picking at the lock at the side of our house in broad daylight. When my uncle approached her, she fled to a white car parked just a couple houses over. The driver, who we couldn't identify, then moved the car across the street.
My hazy vision proved useless in making out the plate number so I went back into the house to retrieve my phone thinking I could snap a photo but I had forgotten that I was updating the iOS software. Is that you again, bad timing? I thought we had ended our affair. By the time I got back out there, the car was gone.
That wasn't the only strange thing that happened recently.
Last night, my family gathered around my bedroom window because there was an opossum perched on the fence above the garden. We only discovered it because of Magic's incessant barking, which the marsupial seemed unfazed by. It just keep staring, its eyes glowed in the dark, and we stared right back. It looked more like taxidermy than a live animal.
I overheard one of my aunts joking that we should kill it and I protested immediately, telling them that it might have been commonplace in the Philippines but I would definitely not stand for it here. They laughed because they knew I would get upset, I usually do whenever someone crosses the line between right and wrong, especially when it comes to animals. I wasn't always like that but life's lesson brought me here, made me softer, made me want to be better.
Another one of my aunts guided it away with a flashlight. I stayed outside for a bit longer just in case.
I don't know if you can call the next thing that happened 'strange.' Unfortunately, it's normal not just for me but for other young women, I'm sure. I'm talking about when strangers approach you while you're out in public.
I often read or work at a Starbucks near my house. It's a crowded one and you never know if there's going to be an open seat but I always take my chances because it's nearby and I want to make sure I'm home in time to walk Magic.
A homeless man - I assume he's homeless because he walks around the area with a cart - approached me with a magazine in hand. I pretended not to see him, not because I don't care about homeless people but because I felt his gaze on me from a distance, it felt cold and salacious, contrary to his seemingly warm smile, not just today but yesterday too.
'I'm gonna tell you who you look like right now,' he told me. From the corner of my eye, I saw him pointing to a photo of who I assume to be Kylie Jenner. I turned my head to confirm this, it is indeed her, and nodded slightly before returning to my work.
When I got home, my mother showed me that she's cleaned the kitchen. Whenever she cleans, it's an event. She'll bend over backwards to get to the most impossible corners. I tell her it looks good, it sparkles, it shines, and remind her not to wear herself out.
Then I retired to my room and resisted the urge to eat the candy in my drawer. Crunchy shell, sweet chocolate, salty center, the perfect end, a normal end in that it would at least taste familiar, to yet another peculiar day...