Secret Pop

May 24, 2003

There and Back: A Chinese Girl's Tale

A flat tire is no way to start a weekend. But luckily, it wasn't an omen per se. And it didn't end up keeping me from hitting the road. Twice. It was a fine night, with laughter and sangria and tapas and running into unexpected friends and getting embraces and kind words from boys on the sauce. My friend Andrew turned 21 today, and he apparently also recently realized that I'm a genuinely nice person and he's happy to know me. In addition, his Red Fox-elevated blood alcohol level seemed to have affected his coordination, as he nearly stuck his finger up my nose when he went to high-five me and he nearly punctured my sternum when he went to give me a hug. Ah, the impaired depth perception of youth.

I was taking pictures at Livewire, and a guy came up and asked me what speed of film I was using and asked if I wanted him to take a picture for me. I was just trying to snap a shot of a cool dog this girl had brought in with her. He assured me the pictures wouldn't come out and told me that he "takes pictures for a living." I thought, "You mean you're a photographer?" In my head, I said the word "photographer" in mockingly halted syllables. He didn't deter me. He introduced himself and I wondered why.

A few friends wandered in after last call. My parting hugs provoked comments of how nice I smelled. That's never a bad thing to hear.

The fellows across the street from my home kindly fixed my flat tire in just a handful of minutes and charged me a mere tenner. When I was getting ready to leave, the boss announced that it was lunch time, and I smiled at the mechanics as they made for their victuals. I pictured them breaking open sturdy metal lunchboxes and unwrapping lovingly-made sandwiches with a pickle on the side. I wondered if their thermoses might contain orange drink. But, in all likelihood, they probably went across the street for something fast and hot. It's invitingly gettable in my neighborhood. The next time I go running past the tire place (which will probably be in a matter of hours), I'll wave at the guys with thanks in my bosom, but they probably won't recognize me in my running attire, and I will feel offput by their quizzical stares. "You can't win them all," is, I believe, how the saying goes.

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