Sunday, January 27, 2008

No Rain On My Parade

It has been raining all week. I'm one of the people who doesn't mind the rain, as long as it doesn't happen on the weekend. I was stuck inside my studio on Saturday after doing my usual errands- doing my laundry and grocery shopping. I usually reserve Saturday afternoon to have lunch with my mom. However, she was visiting my grandmother who was recovering from ovarian cancer surgery in the hospital. I took the extra time I had to clean up the remnants of the party I had this past Monday- empty beer bottles, left over drinks bathed in melted ice-water in the cooler, and piles of dishes left drying in the kitchen sink.

When you're stuck inside the house, there are only so many things you can do to keep your mind occupied. You can read a book, watch television, play some music, surf the Internet, talk on the phone with a friend, and such. I really appreciate the freedom I have as a bachelor. I can come and go as I please. I'm not accountable to anyone but myself. If I make a mess, there is no one to tell me to pick up my things. If I don't feel like talking, I can just lock myself in my room and shut the world out. However, there are also times like today when you're rained in that you wish there is someone in your life that you can have company with. It would be nice to be able to lay in bed together, pop in a DVD, brew up some hot cocoa, top it off with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, and just chat about nothingness while the movie plays in the background.

Instead of being cooped up in my studio for another day, I decided to head to Chinatown. I needed to get out and get some fresh air, even if it meant getting wet while doing so. I took my point-and-shoot camera with me knowing that I might capture some interesting images in the rain. I first stopped by my favorite noodle house in the plaza. I ordered a hot bowl of beef brisket and tendon noodle soup with a side order of won ton dumpling. It really hit the spot, especially on a chilly day like this. Chinese restaurants are not known for the quality of their customer service. I had to ask three times before I got my cup of ice water. I thought about not leaving a tip at first, but I try to give the workers the benefit of the doubt. They're overworked and underpaid. To me, I won't miss a dollar or two, but to them, their tips are their livelihood.

After lunch I wanted to get some pastries at the bakery to satisfy my sweet tooth. But first, I stopped by a Chinese supermarket to purchase some ingredients for the curry chicken dish I had planned to make for dinner. I needed to pick up an onion and some mushrooms. I thought it would taste better if I used fresh mushrooms, so I went to the vegetable aisle. While heading there, I accidentally bumped into an attractive woman holding a shopping basket. I immediately apologized to her, and I noticed that when we made eye-contact, she held her gaze for a while. Just so happened that when I went to the check-out to pay for my food, she was the customer right ahead of me. When she realized who I was, she tried to start a conversation with me. As that was a happening, an old man in front of her came back in line with another item he had gone back to get. She muttered her disapproval under her breath. Instead of letting it go, she admonished him to get to the back of the line. I would understand it if the old man held up the line, but the cashier hadn't even gotten to him. Before the incident, I thought about the great opportunity I had to talk with her, but after what happened I had lost interest. I just couldn't see myself being with someone so impatient and inconsiderate.

As I left Wonder Bakery with my Chinese donut and soy milk in hand, the beads of rain covering the outside tables caught my eyes as did the abandoned Chinese chess pieces. Before I took the photo, I could imagine the players running for cover when the rain first fell, leaving the match in suspension. The plaza is usually bustling with tourists during the day, but on a damp afternoon like this, the only evidence of life were the merchants who made their living in the plaza, such as the fortune teller who sells not of souvenirs but he sells you on a bill of good just the same.

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