Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 09 2002

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw…

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw was an unfamiliar white book lying on the desk next to my bed. It was the instruction manual for a Canon GL2 DV camera. That’s strange, I thought, and looked around for something to justify this strange discovery. Then I saw the new black camera case on the end table, the freshly charged batteries, and I remembered.

“Hey, you want to go out for curry?” Mindcrime asked me on the phone last night. I had just seen Ghost Ship with Kirk, and still had visions of blood-soaked wire trembling in my mind.

“Uh, I don’t know,” I said, thinking of the awful moment in the movie when the people realized what had happened and things began to fall off. It was a pretty solid B-flick, not bad, but that one scene was replaying itself over and over in my mind. Kirk said he’d seen worse. I believed him; Kirk is really into horror movies, so this was nothing for him.

“It’s a Japanese restaurant, very clean, and the food will blow you away,” Mindcrime was saying. I gave in and said I’d meet him at the MRT station downstairs. The curry place was located in the section of Taipei that was originally surrounded by four walls and five gates, the old city. We met Dean in front of the Asiaworld Department Store and walked through the narrow neon-lit lanes, then descended into the basement of one of the buildings.

The place looked like a section from a 50’s Sci-Fi novel concerning Eating in The Future. It was not only spotless, it was nearly featureless as well, with blank white walls, glass partitions and excessively polite waitresses with so much makeup they could have easily been Elevator Ladies, or animatronic robots just off work. In the back was a section of semi-transparent wall where amorphous shapes appeared to be performing vaguely cooking-related activities. The food, when it came, was delicious and plentiful, erasing any bias I had about curry restaurants. This was the antithesis of all the curry shops I’d ever been to.

After dinner, we walked up the street looking for a coffee shop. The closest Starbucks was filled to the brim with yuppies, so we selected the cheaper, less popular Coffee Latte across the street, from which we could sit and mock the Starbucks people in our non-Starbucks induced jealousy (Dean actually has Issues with Starbucks, but we’ll save that for his therapy sessions). When we were seated we began, as always, talking about movies and the like, and my friends once again started in on me for my lack of a camera that actually works (I have an old VHS camera that died a good while ago, but I still can’t bring myself to get rid of it).

“Oh, and isn’t Camera Street just down the road?” Mindcrime suggested ever so innocently. It was then I began to suspect something was up.

“Great, let’s go down and b-….uh, take a look,” Dean added. “I’d like to see the one you’ve, ah, picked out. Yeah.”

Reluctantly I agreed. I knew something was up, but I was resolved not to do anything rash, although such resolution has seldom held any water for me in the past. We walked down to the handful of camera stores I frequented, each of the staff knew me by sight, and some no doubt hated me for coming in and playing with their precious cameras for long periods of time without actually buying anything. I went up to the window display and pointed out the camera I was interested in, a Canon GL2. Suddenly the entire situation felt contrived, and I spun around to face my companions, my finger held up in accusation.

Of course, that was when they made their move. “Hold his legs!” Dean cried as Mindcrime frisked me, relieving me of my credit card and ID. Before I knew it, I’d become the owner of a new camera, capture card, and several pieces of videomaking detrius.

“Oh, and I’ll be needing a tripod – Doh!” I blurted out, but Mindcrime was already inside correcting this oversight. I got a call from Citibank asking if I really, really meant to be suddenly spending all of this money, because according to their records I didn’t make nearly enough to cover it all at once as I usually do. I said yeah, I really meant to be doing this, although I’d been holding out for a long time and was having doubts, but the matter was literally out of my hands. When the dust settled, we had stored all of the equipment away in my SOGO locker and gone to the Ploughman Inn for celebratory drinks.

“My god, Bones, what have I done?” I said to Dean, who of course gave the only appropriate answer: “What you had to do, what you alway eventually do when forced by friends to do what you’ve been whining about for literally years. Literally. Years.”

Kirk chose that moment to call and invite me out to the Taiwan Bear Club. He starts next week at his new job at American Express and wanted to celebrate his new employment/mourn the loss of his carefree unemployed lifestyle, so I met him over there later, and by this time it was quite late. We sat and drank, him Taiwan Beer and me red wine, as various burly, bearded rugby-shirt wearing men sang Taiwanese love ballads under a disco ball that created the impression of several dozen multicolored rats flitting across the miniscule dance floor in time with the music.

We left at around 3 or 4 am, Kirk wanting assurance from me that I didn’t in fact want to take one of the greeters, an aborigine fellow from Hualian named Qiang, home with me. WIth heavy stubble and a crew cut, Qiang looked tough from a distance, but when he sat down to talk with us, emitted am air of foppiness exactly 180 degrees from his appearance. Even the wine wasn’t helping in this respect, so I declined to pursue any further developments that night. It was after 4am when I staggered home and fell into bed.

And now I have this camera calling out to me (as well as massive debt). Perhaps it is my chance to turn massive apathy into a fighting chance to actually do something productive.

posted by Poagao at 3:04 am  

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