Wednesday, September 30, 2020

SENSING THE OTHER

Went over the hill to Chinatown for no reason yesterday, just to wander around. It's so quiet now. Of course it didn't used to be like that. My barber is closed, Doctor Tsang's dispensary too. On Waverly a few restaurants have outdoor seating, six feet apart. And they were relatively busy. In the past I would have gone to a particular one at least twice a month. The food is good, it's very clean, nice. The woman who works there understands my Cantonese, and is friendly-distant. Doesn't ask prying questions. I like her, and I like the fact that she accepts me on my own terms, recognizing that while I am not socially sparkling, I do have civilized qualities.
As I said, good food. And Hong Kong milk tea.
A bottle of Sriracha on every table.
Looking uphill from Clay and Grant.

This time I didn't go. It's not the same. I want to sit inside, dawdle over my beverage, fill my pipe while waiting for the food, and head out afterwards to light up. It would seem strange to have a smoke on Waverly now, with no clear division between "dining room" and the outside smoking environment. It seems "wrong', somehow.

Hurriedly downing a meal outdoors, while too far away to casually listen to other people, and too socially "distanted" to even observe the interactions between folks eating together, seems a recipe for disappointment. It decontextualizes the restaurant experience. It's not just about food. But I have no one to eat with, so it would necessarily become only about food.

Animals eat by themselves in the outdoors.
Humans need a pretense of society.



Besides, there is no point in choosing to be by oneself if it isn't really a choice.




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