Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 02 2001

As I predicted, the ride home in the pouring rain …

As I predicted, the ride home in the pouring rain after sword class Friday night was miserable. I took this when I and several other motorcycle riders pulled over to avoid a particularly nasty spell. On Saturday it rained even more, evidence of which I present in the form of a picture taken from my window yesterday. Needless to say, it was a good day to stay home and write, but for some strange reason (actually just pissing around on the Internet, which isn’t all that strange) I only wrote about a thousand words yesterday.

Yesterday was also the birthday of a friend from the newspaper, so to celebrate last night we embarked on a scavenger hunt-like episode in which we had to find the best (and only) Italian restaurant in Shulin, which is a little town out beyond Banchiao somewhere, with only a few bridge names scribbled on a scrap of paper and sporadic instructions over a cell phone. We crossed Zhongzheng Bridge into Yonghe and promptly entered a desolate no-man’s land of junkyards and abandoned lots. According to a bunch of truck drivers huddled in a cargo container on the side of the road, we were going in the right direction, but I could sense that our driver Dean, who is normally a very easygoing guy, was quietly seething that he had to go through such an ordeal just to find good Italian food. We abandoned the useless instructions coming from the cellphone and consulted a map I had fortunately happened to have with me, consulted a Betelnut girl on display inside of her glass box (I suspect Dean was interested in more than just directions at that point), crossed a succession of bridges and through more of the nondescript small-factory-wasteland that comprised most of Taipei county before arriving at the Mamma Mia Italian restaurant on Fuxing Road in Shulin.

Maurice, who was the voice on the other end of the cell phone, was already there, as were several other hungry souls, but the food was not forthcoming. Maurice went on and on about something called “Faggotino”. “They’re like little faggots,” he told us. Minutes ticked by, but no food appeared, and the Myth of the Faggotino grew in our minds into an all-consuming obsession. Finally they appeared, but to our surprise, the cheese inside, rather than being a decent Italian cheese, was actually a softly glowing American cheese, which pretty much ruined the dish. The chef, however, made up for this faux pas with his next course, which was delicious Italian crepes, followed by excellent teramisu. During the dinner I was asked the seemingly-innocent-yet-secretly-dreaded question: “So, TC, where are you from?” Fortunately, Carl stepped in and changed the subject in order to save me from having to explain my somewhat convoluted background yet another time. I really should print out my about page and make pamphlets to hand out (“So, TC, wh-” “Read the FAQ. Next!”). Or, if I were even lazier and more arrogant than I already am (difficult to imagine, I know), I could just make an “About Poagao” T-shirt.

Italian wine was served throughout the meal, and I was feeling a bit loopy (especially after seeing the bill, which was about ten times more than I am used to paying for a meal) and extremely stuffed by the time we left to find our way back to Taipei. I don’t know what it was about that meal, but for some reason I couldn’t sleep last night. I kept having strange dreams and getting up, seeing that it was still 3 a.m. and then waiting for another patch of fitful sleep. When dawn finally, grudgingly arrived, I could see that today was going to be just as rainy as yesterday. Again, fine writing weather, so after this I am going to see if I can’t get a few thousand more words written in my book.

Some people have wondered at the absence of my turtles in the tour of my room. The truth is, they were indisposed at the time. Actually, they live in a washbasin at the foot of the bookshelves, but yesterday I took a couple of pictures of them to satisfy my viewing audience’s suspicions that I was just making them up. I am beginning to think that, not only can they read, but they are also not a little vain, because they just swam over to stare at the monitor as I type this. They must get it from me. I am, of course, their god, the God who holds the power of Raffy I (“for the daily feeding of all turtles, terrapins and iguanas”).

I’d also like to design an icon for this site for the approximately 1.3 billion of you who have me in your bookmarks. Any suggestions?

posted by Poagao at 3:11 am  

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