It seems like the weather suddenly came upon us. One day I was sweating on the street corner waiting for a cab, and the next day, I woke up under the covers in mid-afternoon with a cool breeze coming in through the open balcony door. One couldn’t ask for better days than these. The only things I can really complain about are those last surviving mosquitoes that somehow make it up the lift. I had one of those last night, and it was annoying to write the least, but by mid-day when I finally got up, it was gone, and the breeze was still there. Then it was over to my favorite café for my typical double espresso, and couple of cups of ice water. That’s what’s also great about this weather. Nobody questions why I’m drinking such hot coffee on such a hot day, nor does anyone question why I’m drinking cold water on such a cold day. It’s the perfect combination of both hot and cold to justify anything I drink. But then again, that’s why I like this one café so much; they’ve gotten over asking me those initial questions long ago. As a matter of fact, I now realize why my life is sometimes so mundane. I have carved out this daily path that leads me to nothing unexpected. I’ve been carving out this life for so many years just hoping to get people to be familiar with me. And does it take a long time or what?
I remember one time I was walking down the street when some stranger yelled something to me from a fruit stand I visited often. Then the guys who were always in that fruit stand began to laugh at the guy, and proceeded to make fun of him for being there for a lot less time than I was. How good did that feel to have the local guys sticking up for me? After sitting at the aforementioned café for three cigarettes or so, I left for the office before stopping at the little shop where the guy automatically got me a fresh pack without me even asking. Now I either smoke too much, or I go to that guy’s shop so often that he doesn’t even need to bother to ask what I want. I go for the later. Even the head shaver I go to has stopped commenting on how I have this random zit or two on my head. But then again, when the randomness is needed, it’s only a heartbeat away. I go to a tourist spot and people still ask to take pictures with me as they did on the first day I got here. The only difference is that now I’m familiar with their requests and I can take it in relative stride. When the shop keeper tries to overcharge me 1RMB on a bottle of water, I gladly pay it with a wink-wink. I mean in the end it’s really only 1RMB.
By Tim Hoerle