Thursday, 19 March 2009

"From the head to the expression"---> What does that mean?....vol 1

I opened my eyes and lifted my head up. I looked across the train and saw a girl asleep. Her head was resting against the plastic divider between her seat and the car's door. In front of her was shopping bag that read:

Is Marijuana really so bad for me?

this was written around the iconic image of a pot leaf. Most Taiwanese do not know what this leaf is. They like it because they see it inc American culture. It's hilarious to see grandmas wearing a shirt with a giant pot leaf and rasta colored stripes.

This morning I was able to find a seat on the bus. Quite easily too. At the next stop a girl climbed onto the bus and stood with her back towards me. On her T-shirts was written:

Bus trip (the brand of her t-shirt)

Around "bus trip" were the words:

from the head to the expression

The first and only thing I thought was, "what does that mean?". Is it a metaphor? an innuendo? Just incorrect English? what could "from the head to the expression" possibly mean?


Living abroad can be stressful. Blending in can be impossible and flowing with the grain can be difficult . If you happen to be living in Taipei, here are some tips to help you become a little more Taiwanese.

1. Never sit next to foreigners on public transportation. No matter how far you have to go, you would rather stand than sit next to a Lao Wai. When she/he gets up to get off the train or bus wait three seconds and then rush the vacant seat in a no holds bar grudge match with all the other passengers.

2. Walk with a stagger and constantly veer side to side. In other words, never walk in a straight line. Use the space around you.

3. Develop a taste for food that smells like the toilet. The stinkier the food the better. Stinky Tofu should be your favorite. Also, delight in seeing foreigners grow pale and wrinkle nosed when they try this rotten smelling dish.

4. Use idioms to disguise gross body functions . For example"Chasing the rabbit", this means to vomit. Or "playing with my gun", masturbating. I agree, that last one is obvious but I wanted to use it.

5. Oil and water shake hands. "Fashion" means taking two diametrically opposite styles and attempting to be the ambassador that bridges the two with peace talks. For example, 80's hair metal and thugged out rap are commonly wed. Hair styles that were stolen relics from tombs for the 80's, bright neon color clashes worn with new Nike's, baggy jeans with bizarre back pocket design and a "hip hop" t-shirt. Dress to impress and look like your on you way to the club. are commandment in your Bible. Look terribly self conscious by fixing your hair by in window reflections and always carry a shiny shoulder bag. If your a girl, one last word...Boots.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Dirty Eyes and One Treacherous Finger

The train car rocked back and forth as it rolled over the track towards it's various destinations. At every stop, one group of spent financial invalids were returned to their hives and exchanged for the tomb sweepers of the economy. It was the ten o'clock hour and a day of work had been exhausting. My eyes were closed and my body was in tune with the sway of the train. When the train arrived at my station I stepped off and began walking toward the escalator. Four steps before my foot would find the platform that would soon become a stair, I looked up from the ground and found the first pair of glaring eyes. They were slighting and prejudiced. Each one was an open book that was being written by the shaky hand of a pretentious fraud. The title: Confessions of the wanna-be thug. Behind this lanky, giant, glass body walked two others.

At the top of the escalator an inclination to turn around came over me. I found all three young men doing the same. They were going in the opposite direction toward the train. There was some nudging about them until one gave me the finger. My body became hot and my legs uncontrollably hurried up the remaining stairs. I took my headphones off and wrapped them around my ipod then put it in my pocket. By now I was already down the first escalator and was taking my sweater off as I descended the second toward the boys on the platform where people would be waiting for the train to take them back to their hives.

I stood behind the giant and waited. None of them looked long but all took notice of the familiar eyes standing uncomfortably close and now rabid. I noticed a co-worker in front of the line waiting for his train. "Shit, I can't just hit this guy in front of a work mate", I say to myself. " What will he think? How would I explain this at work? Wait... what am I doing? "Did I just say mate?"

This made me cooler but I was still hot, I was up, I wanted blood and I didn't know why. Where are the middle fingers now, you gutless shits? The first train arrived and neither of the three boys got on. The giant skeleton, only a year or two out of high school, moves aside and makes a more than polite gesture that signals this is not their train and for me to board in front of them.

"I'm good right here, fuck tard".

He turns around and joins his friends in silent fear. I could smell it. We could all smell it. They had watched to many movies they didn't understand and I had pent up frustration waiting for release. The second train came and I watched them board. As the doors closed the three boys all took out their cell phones and looked up find relief in my presence not on the train. I let my eyes meet theirs for one last time. No middle fingers, no nudging, no words. I went back up the escalator to hot to sleep. I walked down the street to the bar and had a beer.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sideburns and teeth

I cut my chops too short yesterday. They are a bit itchy and have a resemblance to dirt streaks running down my face. Also, My hair is short now and the sideburns look outta place. Ill keep 'em for the time being.

Two weeks ago, prior to haircuts, I was eating beef jerky after a night of drinking and wandering Taipei's seedy districts. While chewing, I started to hear a crunch. "I wonder what that is?" Swallowing the mush, my tongue made a discovery on the right side of my mouth. I stand up and walk into the bathroom to peer in the mirror. A large chunk of a tooth had broken off leaving a rotten core exposed. The broken piece resides in the bowels of my stomach. I hope I crap it out so that my stomach doesn't get a cavity.