Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Emotional Evidence

According to my government gig computer clock, it is 10:50 in the morning here in Taipei.

On Tuesday evenings twixt 7 and 9, I have what can be termed a "teaching" commitment, a TEFL sort of thing. This event takes place at the friendly neighborhood Global Village on Nanjing East Road near the corner of Dunhwa North. Kittycorner from said, uh, corner, one may espy the Taipei Baseball Stadium if one were to pay enough attention. This would be the northwest corner, by the bye. Any old hoo, I have had the recurring habit these past several months while attending to this aforementioned "commitment" (I am supposedly the sub . . . the permanent sub, it seems) of strolling across Nanjing after nine and then down along Dunhwa a couple of blocks to Dan Ryan's Chicago Bar and Grill, directly across the boulevard from the stadium, to quaff a few double Jameson's on the rocks and chat with whoever else happens to be hanging out there, visiting business types from wherever in the world or other so-called expats, maybe some local lads or lasses. Dan's is my favorite watering hole.

That said, it is always a battle deciding whether to go to Dan's or not on these recent Tuesday evenings, basically because a few turns into a number and sometimes I miss the last choo-choo train home, which departs Taipei Central Train Station a little after the witching hour, TCTS itself a metro subway ride away of about fifteen minutes, or maybe ten, and the metro station is another five-to-ten minutes away from Dan's by bus or by taxi, depending on, on down Dunhwa in a southerly direction, and once I reach Shulin, it's another ten-minute drunken walk home from the Shulin Railway Station, twenty minutes from Taipei City, and when missing that last post-midnight train ride to Shulin, it's a taxi ride all the way home, me struggling (somewhat) to stay awake, and of course there is the hangover the next day (like today) to contend with.

Okay, that was an eyeful, I suppose. Anyway, yesterday (Tuesday, right?), the second (okay, third, whatever) day of a new week and meant to be the beginning of a new adventure for yours truly, Iago de Otto the Intrepid Netrepreneur and my sometimes better-half, the kind-hearted Mrs Iago, 38, looks 28, acts 18, whereas I was initially totally determined NOT to go to Dan's and spend probably more than twice the bucks I had just made in my role as "TEFL facilitator" and miss the fucking train once again and spend even more money passed out in the back of a cab, waking up, passing out, kind of, again, waking up, et cetera et cetera et cetera, the taxi speeding past all the garish lights of the greater Taipei City and County metropolitan Blade Runnerish weirdness of this densely populated Asian nation, and all that, Mrs Iago waiting for her dear hubby to stumble in through the door in whatever mood his drunkenness guides him into, because, I think, she misses me, and too because Mrs Iago had earlier in the evening attended her very first ever yoga class after first visiting her elder twin sis and the twin's new hubby and their first ever new bouncing baby boy, one month or so old tomorrow (Thursday the Fourth, having been born Thursday the First, the first Thursday of last month, this month being June), this yoga thing an extension of our new adventure, all about "change" and "hope" (Go Hillary, that's my grrrl --- huh, Barack got it? --- okay, dude, take it to the bank!! Get those Bush bastards outta there!!! McSame? Hah, Bush Lite, the kinda guy you'd like to break a beer bottle on . . . but I digress . . . .) . . . .

Where was I? Don't answer that.


There I was, walking along Nanjing East Road toward my seven o'clock teaching gig, my mind brewing and stewing over the concept of getting right home after class with no Irish whiskey in my system so as to better enjoy Mrs Iago's story of her first ever, oh most wonderful yoga class and an update on my new nephew, and who should ring my cell but a fellow expat bud, this one telling me he's going to Dan's and to the Philippines, moving to Manila, and --- we lost the connection, and ten minutes later I was "teaching". So, at nine, I went to Dan's, because this friend of mine was in need of counsel (I tell myself), and I felt a need to tell him he's being an asshole fuck abandoning his true-blue most wonderful gal of the past eight years, a Chinese Filippina of moral and mental substance, a most excellent human being and a good, good friend of the Iagos as well, a woman that everybody absolutely loves and respects, just so he can drink himself to death and mess about with younger Filippinas in the isles and get paid the same he gets paid here in Taiwan for doing the same thing he does here but in a much more expensive society (Taiwan being the more expensive of the two, if you got confused there with all that, as far as daily stuff goes, like being a drunk expat), and well, he was his normal disgustingly bullying drunken self-hating self, boresome and tiresome, an occasional self-pitying crying jag, he gulping gin and tonics, me slurping Jameson's, the bartender, an angel with a cynical attitude, everyone's fab gal at Dan's, frowning at my bud's antics with the occasional glance at me which I know means "Please get him outta here.", and finally I did, we (us?) climbing into a cab, mere moments to spare before that last train from Yuma, I mean Taipei --- and it just hit noon. I'm going to get a bite, a lunchbox, be back in twenty to wrap this baby up, the point being that I haven't even gotten to the point yet, the thing that happened before all of this just keyed in brouhaha, the real bad shit that happened before I even got home at about one in the AM, this morning which just now finished. I am fucking starved. It is now twelve oh two in the PM. Okay, be right back, folks.

12:27. Lunchbox open and in front of me, monitor behind that looking at me looking at it, my fellow government functionaries milling about, eating, closing drawers, chatting, the patriotic-sounding marching music for our lunch-time enjoyment blaring from the speaker over my desk --- why it has to be over my desk, I'll never know, but oh well . . .

. . . and anyway, the saga continues amidst my lunch munch moments here.

Climbed outta the taxi, my buddy smooching my mouth, me biting his lower lip, all faggy-like, and then yours truly scurrying frantically below street level in the failing flailing hopes of catching the metro subway to Taipei Main, with the even smaller hope, a wish really, that I can/could catch the last choo-choo outta Dodge, I mean Taipei, and get home to the wonderful Mrs Iago and her yoga story while a sense of sobriety was still winning the battle over the onset of authentic inebriation.

Lo and behold, mere minutes past midnight and I had made it onto the train platform with only nano-seconds (well, about ten minutes, actually; the train was a little late, methinx, if memory serves and so forth) to spare. I call up Mrs Iago on my cell, a "report in" marriage-harmony tactic. She's on the land line with my dad on the Oregon coast, a little residential outcropping at the edge of the Pacific just three miles south of Depoe Bay, the fishing port Jack takes the crazies and the hookers out from in One Flew. The topic of their convo? His one and only brother, the elder of the two, nearing the 90 mark, has gone on to meet his maker.

And so it goes.

1:32PM. The "return-to-lunch" music has just chimed in here at the bureau offices. My fellow government functionaries return to their assorted duties, except for L_____, who continues to snore on the floor behind the desks in front of me. He'll wake up soon, as he always does, but he's sawing some really thick logs right now. Ah, those lunch-time naps.

But anyway. Yes, I made it back home. I called my dad. We talked. He talked a lot, in a manner which seemed, well, words fail me, but perhaps giddy will do. A tough thing to lose a sibling, and these guys were very, very close. I called my cousin, the eldest of three sons and ten years or so my elder, yours truly being the eldest of four sons. This has been hard on him. He's a good guy. Fucking bummersville.

Okay, enough for now. Suffice it is to say, this morning at work I have written what I would like to think of as an eulogy to my dearly departed Uncle Russ. All on company time in my role as foreign-contracted government editing and translation consultant. I'm pretty sure Russ would get a kick out of that.

So, Uncle Russ, here's to you. And be seeing you soon enough down there in the astral plane.

Requiscat in Pace

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