Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 02 2002

Last night as I was walking back from renting some…

Last night as I was walking back from renting some DVDs at a neighborhood shop, I passed by a series of cars seriously damaged by the collapse of the brick wall they were parked next to. There were several people standing there watching as workmen erected a temporary metal fence where the wall had been, completely ignoring the large blocks of concrete lying on, and in some cases in, the parked cars.

One of the people, a middle-aged woman, came up to me as I stared at the well-kempt yard and swimming pool of the house within. “Do you know the person who lives here?” she asked. I said no, that I just lived nearby. It turned out that the people were the owners of the smashed cars, and they wanted to demand compensation from the owner of the house whose wall had collapsed. The owner doesn’t live there, apparently, and the entire house is rented out. One of the residents is French, apparently, so the unfortunate car owners thought I might know something of the whereabouts of the owner.

“Don’t you have insurance?” I asked, but the woman shook her head.

“It wouldn’t do any good if I did, because it wouldn’t be earthquake insurance.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s car insurance,” she replied, her expression adding “…you idiot.” I took the hint and walked on.

Back home I watched one of the DVDs I rented, Cast Away, with Tom Hanks. I believe it is the most moving story of the relationship between a man and a piece of sports equipment I have ever seen. Yes, I realize that it was a lot more meaningful than that, but since Zemekis didn’t do such a great job of conveying that meaning, I feel I have the right to trivialize his intentions. I’m just that evil.

Workmen have been repairing the cracks and broken lights in our office today. The AC still isn’t working, and it’s rather hot in here. We’ve got all of the windows open, though, so there’s some breeze, at least. I took off my shoes and put on some flipflops, unfortunately before recalling that little shards of glass from Office Turtle’s bowl were spread all over the place and consequently getting some glass splinters in my sole.

The Taipei Financial Center, just next door to us, is now officially spooky. Although the building came through the quake just fine, the incidents with the cranes falling off the top of it has caused all of the construction to be halted and traffic banned from surrounding roads. At night it is completely dark and silent rather than full of sparks and flashes of light from welders and other construction-related activities. Now it’s just a gigantic black slab looming over the entire area, the two remaining cranes stuck in the positions they held when the quake struck.

In other news, President Chen is calling for English to be made an official language of Taiwan, along with Taiwanese, Hakka, several Aboriginal languages, Esperanto and Corporatespeak. This sounds like an April Fool’s Day story, but it’s apparently real. It’s also sad, in that it shows how little self-esteem Taiwan has when the president can come out and make such a ludicrous proposal. What would most Britons think if Tony Blair came to Parliament and said “You know, we ought to make Chinese an official language in the UK. So many people speak it, after all. It’s the language of commerce!” All Chen is doing here is reinforcing Taiwan’s international reputation as an island full of people who have no respect for themselves or their culture, a reputation already solidified by rampant pollution and environmental chaos.

There’s a woman in our office, I may have mentioned her before, but since she wasn’t quite as annoying as Whiny Woman, I never really picked on her here. With Her Whininess gone and the flashbacks fading, this one, whom I call Ally McNoying, has come into the limelight of my limited attention. She has an extremely loud voice and inserts needless and often incorrect English words into her Mandarin, but only when she sees that I’m nearby. When I leave, she talks louder, even though I’m never part of her conversation. This is because talking with me is beneath her, while talking for me seems to be a priority. It’s strange. I would call her Ally McPsycho, but I’m still waiting on the lab results.

posted by Poagao at 7:45 am  

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