Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The "Dirty" Game


To counter this, my wife said she never drank out of a plastic bag. Yet many, many, many Vietnamese on the road can be seen doing just that--drinking straight out of one of those little filthy ubiquitous plastic bags. And like everyone else in Vietnam, even these bag-drinkers have this incomprehensible (for Westerners, I mean) concept of "clean" and "dirty."

It reminds me of the mean kids in the playground who would play a game called "don't touch the corroded one" (most people know this as "cooties"). They would point to one of the shy kids, mainly me, and say "don't touch him, he's corroded!!!" If I touched something, they would say "now that thing is corroded! Don't touch it!" And of course, to this shy (yet courageous, talented and incredibly handsome) boy who is not playing the game, there is no difference between the corroded object and a non-corroded object. And it logically follows that since everything the boy touches is corroded, and everyone who touches the corroded object becomes corroded, then the floor the boy touches is also corroded and everyone touches the floor :: therefore everyone is corroded. The kids playing the game are unconvinced. Same with me and my Vietnamese family.

Nothing touches the floor. The floor is corroded. That's how the game is played. Tired arms? Holding 10 million bags? Don't put them on the floor, not even to open the door--it's dirty! Double bagged, saran-wrapped, nested in two containers? Still, don't let it touch the floor!

When I moved into my Vietnamese home, my suitcase was annoyingly placed on two of those plastic stools (everyone who's been to Vietnam knows the plastic stools). Eventually, I got tired of balancing my open suitcase while I got my clothes, and I put it on the floor. Meanwhile, I'd been noticing the stream of ants coming from the shower gutter, along the wall and over the sink. I thought, wow, Vietnamese are kind to all animals--they don't do anything about the ants. I'm an amateur entomologist, I was ok with this. But soon that ant stream was a thick rope, and I was maneuvering my soap and toothbrush to get out of its way. Eventually I discovered that the stream of ants terminated under my suitcase. When I lifted it up, I unroofed an enormous colony. Thousands of ants going about their daily task of taking care of babies, feeding babies, moving babies, looked up. I still feel guilty about this, but I found the queen and committed regicide, thus eliminating the colony.

Well, the family found out and were horrified. As if they were seeing ants for the first time, they came double-fisted with cans of insect spray and doused the whole thing. Then they screamed me into a corner and pointed their fingers at me, "Dirty! Dirty qua!!!" as if I had ants coming out of my pores.

The moral of the story: I've been living life the wrong way all this time and I still don't know how it works--and I never will. When you come to another country, it's like you're a naughty three year old. And in my own country and home I'm still a three year old. But my wife loves kids, so it works out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The attention span of a...nevermind.


Clearly, not enough baby photos to be of interest.

Or, more likely, "honey, why are you over there???" because I'm supposed to be snuggling her while she's perusing baby photos on facebook--that's a full-time job.

But oh, poor wife. She has to deal with a husband who hatches a new crazy idea a week. Then I waste time on prototypes, researching, learning some new form of programming, get so far before I realize I can't do it all myself. Or I bring in crazy crap off the street for some sort of sculpture project I don't have time for. I guess that's my hobby. She always asks "for money?" No, I never even thought about how it would bring us money. "So why do it?" Who knows? The next one may be better.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cricking da Crack


There comes a time in a man's life when he must "Crick Da Crack." I have no idea what this is, but I'm going to use it all the time. "Honey, get me the...." "Sorry, I'm going down to Crick Da Crack." "Honey, why you..." "I'd hear you out honey, but I have to Crick Da Crack." Thanks to Jenny's friend for the never-ending flow of inspiration!

Oh, and "Peek-a-boo" is now "Pockypoo."