At the back of the hill

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Yesterday evening while having a bite to eat at a joint in North Beach, three attractive young ladies were speaking Mandarin at the next table. And while I considered asking them where they were from (你們三個小姐從哪裡來?'ni men san ge hsiao-chieh tsong na-li lai'), I realized that firstly this could create false impressions, and secondly that whatever conversation might ensue would be quite pointless. The age, gender, and cultural differences were major barriers.

Because, after all, I am not an attractive Mandarin speaker.

As I am sure you've already guessed.

Honestly, I wouldn't have been likely to talk with them for any length of time beyond showing off my very minor linguistic skill.
Nor they with me.
I cannot conceive of any shared interests, and I am quite sure that a boring middle-aged white dude speaking worse than mediocre Mandarin is something they have already encountered.

So I listened in for a while.
Sort of, half interested.
Yeah, okay. Pretty.

Half my age. At most. If even that.

There is almost nothing that makes one feel like a creaky old relic than nice young people with whom one has absolutely nothing at all in common.
It's happening too often nowadays.

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