Wednesday, April 22, 2020


One must find inspiration in minor things, and I'll frankly admit that it gives me cheer and energy to see her marching down the street, turning around lower down each day, and marching up the hill again, to turn and repeat the process four or five times. The first time I saw her was a few weeks ago, and initially I thought she had forgotten something on the way to the store. No. Once the pattern became clear, it was obviously her form of morning exercise. In lieu of physical jerks for the elderly in the park. Staying limber when sheltering in place. Olive windbreaker, and a pistachio-hued boonie hat, baggy pants, gloves, and a shopping bag.

Tromp, tromp, tromp.

A short Canto granny, with a perky-jerky stride. Clearly some arthritis, some stiffening of the joints, but full of piss and vinegar. Events may combat perfect eventualities, but that's no reason to yield. Onward.

Several times I've seen her now. Always at roughly eight A.M. Usually I am on the front steps of my building, opposite side of the street, with bathrobe, coffee, and a cigar. Sometimes I'm already doing my first walk of the day.

The reason I'm certain she's Cantonese, beyond just the recognizable physique and type, is that we've exchanged good mornings in Cantonese. Northerners can't say the words.

Tromp, tromp, tromp.

The purple shopping bag is merely a prop. She isn't going shopping. There's probably something heavy in it and hard, so that if necessary she can clout an assailant or anarchist who might waylay her. Or maybe she does not feel properly dressed for the street without something like a handbag. And I can understand that. For me it's a pipe, and having a pen in the breast pocket of my shirt. Because without writing equipment on him, a man is naked. The hat in that pistachio ice cream colour is simply for happiness.

Se topi berwarna es pistuk, in colonial Malay.

A language that still wakes up faster than proper English. Because it's easier. And goes well with the morning coffee and a smoke, aside from letting me put up a wall between myself and the world at that hour.

I look forward to seeing her in the morning.

Tromp, tromp, tromp.


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