I’m finding it hard to focus these days, and I can’t be too sure why. It could be the heat, it could be the work, the family, the uncertain future, or the foggy past. As I walk down the steamy street a million thoughts are passing my mind at once. I’ve got this wobbly street stone beneath my feet, and everyone but me seems to be navigating them steadily. And no, it’s not because of a hangover. I’m almost over with those. Maybe it’s because I’m too aware of my own feet as I hit poorly laid out sidewalk slabs. I narrowly get hit by a passerby bicyclist, and then almost bump into a walker-by. The people are lining up for some odd reason at the intersection until I realize that they are just avoiding the sun, and lining up just to where the shade stops on the road. Half of them have umbrellas which confuses me. I’m sweating like a hairdresser in temple, and then I wonder why I’m not lining up with them. Just before the light turns green the crowd commences across the road in hasty fashion to get into the next patch of shade. And the horn blares on one of those annoying three wheeled motorcycles. I jump. I get annoyed. Then I try settle myself by saying that it’s his prerogative. After all there’s sweat dripping off my nose, and the last thing I need to feel is being annoyed at anyone. I pass by Starbucks where it’s packed. I mean it’s 9:30am and the place is just jammed with people in another line of something like twenty people in it. I shake my head in bewilderment because the café just a couple of doors down now has its doors shut due to its lack of business. I’d never been to that closed café, and I assume that nobody else had been either. Oh well, maybe they should simply extend the square footage of the coffee giant into his vanquished neighbor’s space. Which makes me wonder why they don’t sell liquor in Starbucks. I mean businesses don’t need an official liquor license around here as you might in other countries.
Maybe the CEO has something against a nice Irish Coffee at 8am. But why not? Or why not have a new Starbucks Bar inside of Starbucks Cafes? Kind of like how McDonalds has a café inside of their “restaurants”. That’s right folks I just put that in quotes. You can picture me putting my air quotes up with my hands if I were to read this piece to you out loud. Because you really can’t call McDonalds a restaurant now can you? A food distributor is more like it. I get into the taxi, where it’s still hot as Satan’s kitchen and I ask him to turn on the A/C, and he says no it’s “huai le”, so I “fangqi le” and give up. But at least there’s a light breeze through the window—something to focus on.
By Tim Hoerle