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Monday, 25 July 2011

FAIL

Had resolved to read less English books... but that was a complete fail. Started on Stevenson's The Black Arrow last night. Having been away so long from that type of literature, found the intentionally and almost comically 'dated' language hard to get used to - in a good way.

Am mildly embarrassed to admit that the longer I don't read 'dialect,' the harder it is to read fluently.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Summer time at home


me (hot day, bare-feet);

and the dog ('don't talk to me. it's too hot.')

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

碰!

有時候同事下車時很用力的甩車門,車子痛的想掉眼淚,卻強迫自己忍耐。還好啦,沒事。心裡慶幸老闆開車的時候都是很溫和的,不然真的不知道還能撐多久。年紀大了就是這樣,慢慢開走時車子希望沒有人發現它老了。(其實同事們連關車門太用力都沒注意到。)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Hospital

corridor in 金門 (Kinmen), where I went to visit my grandmother. She's on the mend from septic arthritis. We sat together in her room, watching a small television. Korean soap operas where all anyone seems to do is cry, and Hollywood hip hop movies with a lot of bumping and grinding dance moves. She looked at me at one point in the film and asked 'Do you dance?' 'Not like that,' I said.

So much of what is on the island is old and frayed and perhaps for that reason alone (maybe?) beautiful to me.


These hospital chairs look like flattened jelly-beans.

Geek+

You are the better half of my rationality and the sounding board that helps me makes sense of a snake's nest of thoughts. In speaking to you I find myself and though the weight of what troubles me is not simply lifted, it becomes clear what matters and what I ought to hold on to. I'm very fortunate that you are always around.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A little quiet

The other day my friend asked after me because of some slightly worrying status updates. I do tend to leave cryptic traces here and there. I use these things to talk to myself; other people simply overhear snatches of that on going conversation. (Can't express how utterly bowled over I am with gratefulness that I matter to people who matter to me. Thank you, Lord, for populating my life with these good folk. It wouldn't be worthwhile, being here without them.)

The blog is more and more another private dialogue of sorts. Often I write, addressing someone in particular, or many people at once.

The last wee while has been drama, for me and you both. I'm looking for a little bit of peace and quiet, space to sort my head out. Not from the desire to isolate myself, but from pure exhaustion and the need to relinquish agency. If drama has to come, it'll have to find me.

As I lie in my bed tonight I will be thinking of you. Hoping you are well. Hoping that you will mend. I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

今天/Today

我想起了你的喪禮那天,台北的天空好藍,是個萬里晴空的好日子。全身穿著黑色的衣服,不停的鞠躬、起身、磕頭、認識的人和不認識的人面對著我,握著我的手。哭不停,但也無法理解這一切。你的臉像面具,跟我心中的你不同。想到了心中的你,不停的流淚。

要離開的時候我跑到禮堂外面,很驚訝天氣竟然會這麼的好。

今天無來由的因為藍空想起你,不禁想哭。

I was thinking about the day of your funeral. The sky was impossibly blue. Not a cloud in the sky. I was in black from head to toe. I kept bowing, getting down on my knees, getting up, and getting down on my knees again. So many people came, strangers and friends, wringing my hands. I couldn't stop crying, but I also couldn't comprehend the circus around me. Your face looked like a mask, not at all like the you I know. But then thinking about the you that I know made me cry all the same.

When we were about to leave I ran outside the hall, and was surprised at the weather.

Today I thought of you for no reason other than the blue sky, and wanted to cry.

Last night

just before I fell asleep I was thinking about you and hoping that you'd feel better soon. Hope today you find that you are more yourself again, and more tomorrow and the day after too.

Monday, 11 July 2011

蜥蜴的尾巴

因為不時會脫落,所以蜥蜴漸漸把尾巴當成自己身外的東西。對尾巴來說這當然是很不公平的,明明是身體的一部份,但是卻被以「很快就要不是了」的態度對待。它開始懷疑自己存在的價值。最後蜥蜴和尾巴雙方都覺得,算了,反正也沒差。

Language Barrier

Customer, to her daughter: “Pregúntale a la muchacha si hay más de esta.” (“Ask the girl if there is more of this.”)

Me: “¿De cual tela, señora?” (“Which fabric, ma’am?”)

Customer: “How dare you?”

Me: “I-I’m sorry?”

Customer: “You’re all the same. How dare you assume I don’t speak English!”

Me: “Ma’am, you asked your daughter to ask me a question in Spanish instead of asking me yourself. I assumed you were more comfortable with Spanish.”

Customer: “Well, I speak English just fine.”

Me: “I see that, yes. I was just trying to make things easier–”

Customer: “I just didn’t want to speak to YOU.”

http://notalwaysright.com/abusing-the-language-barrier/12417

I had a similar experience recently. Met someone at a bar. Registered that he doesn't look Taiwanese though didn't really think very much of it. He speaks to me in Chinese (accented), I respond in English. He says to me in Chinese 'I can speak Chinese you know,' as though it was rude of me to reply in English. I had to point out to him that I'm simply more comfortable socializing in a bar with strangers if I speak English, because my English is better than my Chinese.

Goes both ways, my friends. Just because I look Taiwanese doesn't mean that I a. speak Chinese more fluently, or b. am obligated to speak Chinese to you because you are speaking Chinese

That said, it's probably just as bad to be caucasian in Taiwan because everyone will assume you speak English. Would be rather inconvenient if your only languages of choice were Russian and Chinese...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Don't you

feel the need to confide sometimes?

我小時候

住在金門。親戚有一個開中藥店。店裡面的牆壁都是木頭做的小抽屜,也有大的木箱子。燈光暗暗的,空氣瀰漫著中藥的香味,木材的顏色很深。在店裡我坐在大木箱上,腳不著地,盪啊盪的。有人給我吃貢糖。花生味好濃,咬幾下就把牙齒都黏住,快張不開嘴了。

後來好像都不愛吃貢糖。

貢糖的外面是糯米的紙。在加拿大上小學的時候,同學看到我吃糯米紙包的糖都很驚訝,以為我在吃塑膠。我故意把糯米紙撕下來,放在舌頭上讓它融化。

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I need

second, third, fourth, fifth... nth chances.

Please bear with me as I make slow progress.

To Althea, from prison

WHEN Love with unconfinèd wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair
And fetter'd to her eye,
The birds that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty.

When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free—
Fishes that tipple in the deep
Know no such liberty.

When, like committed linnets, I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my King;
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlargèd winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

- Richard Lovelace

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

自動洗

在用過加油站的自動洗車機之前,車子對「自動洗車」充滿了憧憬。大概像是跟不停吐出泡沫的章魚打架吧 · · ·而且還會轟隆轟隆叫勒· · ·只要打著空擋· · ·軟軟的章魚劈哩啪啦的按摩,好享受喔· · · 裡面下大雨,又有吹風機,洗出來就像是新車一樣,真高貴。(不知道為什麼,在車子的幻想裡,洗車的章魚總是綁著頭巾,而且說日文。)

去加油時看到自動洗車機在運轉,車子就又羨慕又忌妒的盯著人家。誰叫老闆小氣,都不花錢去自動洗?歹命喔,車子在心裡埋怨。雖然加油的時候喝的好飽,但是心中(其實應該是引擎中)的不滿足確無法彌補。

在路上,車子很怕人家發現自己沒有「經驗」。會被以為是鄉巴佬的!想到這點,它有點緊張,故意擺出「我是老台北」的表情。自己覺得很帥,但其實沒有人注意。

(其實手洗是比較高級的,但是車子不知道,所以覺得自動洗很稀奇。)

Now that you know (marginally) better

you need to do something constructive with your rage, or it will turn into aggression.

I will. I promise.

(I'm just waiting to know better yet again, and for fears to subside)

Sunday, 3 July 2011

I spent this morning

running around the flat with puppy, arms flailing, shouting excitedly and inexplicably. You'd like my dog.

"Who, me?"