Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nuts in health food shops

For a supposedly sub-tropical city, Hong Kong is really rather nippy at the moment. It's now cold enough that when I go outside, I don't get any warmer than when I'm inside my air conditioned office, which is something I can't remember ever happening before. People elsewhere may complain about floods and snow, but do they have to put up with tiled floors and no central heating? I doubt it. Truly, no life is harder than that of the middle-aged English chap, battered at every opportunity by this harsh climate, the cruel iniquities of an income tax system that claws back an eye-poppingly huge 16% of our earnings, and ludicrously expensive public transport. Two dollars to ride the tram from Kennedy Town to Shau Kai Wan? They're robbing us blind.

Still, at least we've got clean air.

Ahem. First time back to the comedy club since last year tonight, after my triumphant return from Canada on Saturday was interrupted by a disagreeable sandwich. I've written - well, constructed is a fairer term - a joke out of several hoary old chat-up lines which I want to road test, and just verify that I can speak at a comprehensible speed, rather than my usual machine-gun delivery. Then I'm going to go home very carefully, and not get stinking drunk by mistake and crawl into bed at three a.m. Oh no. It's not like that ever happens when a comedian comes to visit.

I went into a health food shop this evening to buy a nominally healthy granola bar, and got stuck behind a very angry woman who was cross because somebody hadn't entered all of her details into the shop's computer before. She moaned on and on despite the shop assistant's attempts to placate her, ending by announcing that she was moving to Australia in March, as if that made any difference to the price of eggs. Or multivitamin supplements. Or homeopathic placebos.

I approached the counter with my granola-ish bars, having carefully checked them for rogue cholesterol, and thinking the angry woman was done. But she was not. She gave me the hairy eyeball, like I was something on her shoe and she was waiting for the shoeshine boy, and then spent an age fumbling with the big box of something that she'd bought, before extracting the container within and thrusting the box back at the counter staff, not apparently bothered that she was wasting my time. I mean, I *am* a captain of industry, I have a beard and colour coordinated clothes and everything; she had the overdressed, overbleached look of an affluent cat lady: ten million dollars, twelve moggies and a gallon of peroxide1. Then off she flounced, allowing me to make my purchase and ruminate on why it is that you always run into nuts in health food shops.

Of course, I then walk up Lyndhurst Terrace and the probiotic pugilist was in front of me, giving me a continued stare so I couldn't figure out if she was cross with me for being next in the queue, cross for making eye contact, or preemptively cross because she thought I was stalking her and was about to rob her handbag. And all I wanted was a granola bar and to buy some overpriced hot chocolate from Starbucks.

Now I wonder if she was expecting me to rob her, and I've gone and let her down. You can't please everyone, I suppose.

1 Like Miss Havisham if she got a bulk discount on Whiskas, perhaps.


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