Monday, November 9, 2009

What the hell am I saying, Pt.II

I have been thinking lately that I need some tenderness.
No one likes to hug. No one likes to shake hands. When I hug someone, it is like hugging a mannequin. When I shake someone's hand, it feels like squeezing a limp chicken's foot.
Instead, the people in this city have shown me genuine kindness. When I could not figure out the non-linear bus route, a girl by the bus stop offered me a ride. When I could not figure out how to order fried chicken, a young couple ordered it and paid for it. I chased them down the street with money and they ran from me, twisting their bodies to swat the air, as if I was a fly. When I did not know if I would like the taste of a bun, the bakery owner gave me one to taste, for free.
But I am craving palpable kindness. I want to feel pressure.
This, however, was not what I was talking about:

At the Taipei Fireworks Festival at the Dadaocheng Wharf this weekend, I felt the pressure of hundreds of thousands of people. (Last year's event attracted more than half a million.)
I tried to leave against the crush of sweaty bodies. We all squashed against each other and swayed together, collectively correcting our balance. There were children at my hip that I could not see. There were dogs in between my legs that I could only feel.
I have not been this squeezed since I was born.
I lost my new friend in the all of the pushing and the pressing.
My new friend, Eddy, had approached me at the wharf, hours prior to the light show when there was room to walk. He did not speak much English. I did not speak much Chinese. But we tried our best.

Later at Villa with some friends:
"What did you talk about?"
"I told him that I liked fireworks."
"Wo xihuan 'Pow! Pow! Pow!" I said and opened and closed my hands above my head, pumping them like a cheerleader.
Tina laughed. "You didn't say, 'Da pao' did you?"
"I don't remember. Why?"
"Da pao literally means big cannon. It's a slang for sex."
"I like sex, sex sex!" Tina said, imitating my cheerleading moves.
"He was probably there, looking for you all night, waiting for the big bang."
Tina explained the term to our Taiwanese friends. "The big know, finish with a bang."
"In science, the big bang was the start," David said. "English," he said, "is full of paradoxes."
I have the guy's e-mail address. I could write him to apologize for ditching him but I would not want to give him the wrong idea.
That is also not the kind of pressure that I am talking about.


  1. Don't forget I also had to explain to the Taiwanese the double entendre with the word "bang" in British slang.

  2. You be careful with all those Pow Pow Pows!