At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Yesterday, while wandering around after a small refreshment in Chinatown, I noticed how many stores and restaurants were closed for the Holiday. Several had signs in the door indicating that they had taken the day off, others had shuttered early so as to be home for their own feast.

Just below Grant, near the park, I ran into an old acquaintance. His blond beard is a little greyer now, but he still has that pink and fresh look he had years ago. Just looks a little bit older than then.

I shall reproduce the conversation.

"Hi, how are you?"

'Fine, thanks. You?'

"Doing well. Have you had your Thanksgiving dinner yet?"

'No. I don't do Thanksgiving. It's too much effort.'

"Oh, I understand, all that cooking. Man I'm looking forward to getting home!"

'Nah, it's not the cooking. Even if I did that, it would be kinda pointless, as I live by myself.'

[No need to explain the complicated domestic situation.]

"Hey, what's that you're smoking?"

'Orlik Golden Sliced; it's a pressed Virginia, mostly blond, only a little bit of dark.'

"I smelled someone else's pipe the other day.... it was like Vanilla."

'Yeah, those aromatic additives are usually to cover up the fact that the base tobacco is fairly mediocre.'

"Say, where are you from? I can't figure out the accent."

'Well, I spent some time in Europe when I was younger.'

"That's right, you foreigners don't do Thanksgiving. Probably just as well."

With the cheeriest of multiple meanings, I wished him to get stuffed.


A while later, on the bus, I listened in on some other passengers. Other than myself, they were the only people on the conveyance at that time.
I had got on at Clay and Drumm, where the bus had been waiting.

[Nei yau fo-kai me? "Do you have a turkey?"]

我屋企有 。
[Ngo ok-kei yau. "Got one at home."]

[Cheui me song ah? "What else are you making?"]

我諗中國菜最好嘅 。
[Ngo lam jung-kwok choi cheui hou. "I think some Chinese food.]

Got that? Roast turkey and several Chinese side-dishes. Probably some dau miu with garlic, yau choi, or gai lan with oyster sauce, and steamed fish, plus a casserole, soup, and rice.
Sounds delightful.

The bus was more crowded by the time we crossed Montgomery Street, and at Kearny about a dozen people got on, including a lovely little girl and her kinfolk.
While admiring the child's little pink hands, I listened in on her auntie speaking on her cell-phone. The gist of that conversation was that the individual on the other end of the line should talk to the fat woman.
Above all, you really must talk to the fat woman.
Listen, you have to talk to the fat woman.
Yes, speak to the fat woman.
That fat woman, her.
Fat woman.

I've always admired the supreme sense of complete privacy that some people have when yakking on the phone. Everybody else on the bus except me was Chinese, so I expect that by now all of Toishan will know that so-and-so should have a discussion with a fat woman.
Whom they probably also know.


What we learn from this is that everyone, absolutely everyone EXCEPT mature pipe-smoking bachelors, does Thanksgiving.
And no matter what, talk to the fat woman.
Just don't let her hear your accent.

Really, what other lessons do you think I should draw from this?

You think there's a moral?

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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