Like any eligible man, of significant age, stature, and posture, and some assumed status sprinkled in the mix, I get asked this question a lot. Candidly, I’ve gotten better at answering this. Zinger, saying I’m an engineer never really did that hard of a number, not even a splash, esp whence at the bars. Oh ladies love it!
Like any twitter guru, with significant impact, and esp because theyre surrounded with juggernauts denting the known universe, imposter syndrome is always there, the seed once planted, hard to eradicate, rearing its chimera-esque neck in your most intimate, weakest and dankest darkest states.
So I was surprised to hear when a stranger, never met, not strange as in never heard of, of the global interwebs, said to me, I like what you do. Or he said, Love. He believed in what I do. And thinks Im making a difference and that it holds a place in this world, and that he wanted to show his support. The man owns and operates a small business and wanted to send me his work.
So he send me a package, and so the story begins.
Pretty sure this is the vagabond curse, but I had given him my address, in trust, he’s a great guy, but I was in transit, and am, but what this means, is that this package got delivered when I was not there. No biggie. So the story begins, the trip, and the rambling, and the following vagabond tale.
I wrote the following the other day on my twitter, and telegram:
I book a one way train ticket to a city I’ve never been to. Step off, on the platform. On the second I feel it. It’s a ghost town, nothing to do. Only Asian in town. No sleep. Ask self why do this. Feel like a cowboy. Renegade. Outlaw. A smirk appears. Shades on. Like a hit man.
For a second I feel alive. This is why. Theres no reason, other than to do that. Then the feeling dissipates and you chase the vagabond high once more. Saunter all the way into the heart of town. Suns out, there’s that. Secure the package, that’s the mission, Evolian elevating.
Serious Reacher vibes. Id like to expand on the Asian Cowboy theme. I’ve been to lot of shitholes, and the second you get of on the ramp of the platform, you just think a clusterfuckton of, what am I doing here, Im the only Asian, perhaps foreigner, how do people score dates here, whats for fun here, I need a f drink, where are the bars, are there any, where are the clubs, are there any, what the f am I doing here .. usual stuff, not big business.
But the smirk dawned on my face. That old cliché bullshit, The chase is better than the catch. It’s about the journey, man! I truly hate that shit, down the core, but in this case it was true.
The package was failed to deliver at my door, not there to pick up, so they send it to a postal office nearby. Well it used to be nearby, I had to commute for hours, by train this time, to pick it up.
Man on a mission, thus, so thats why the smirk appeared. And since I was supremely sartorially sauced up, thats why the hitman vibes along. I was getting the looks, as I pounded pavement, a long stretch, from the train station, in the blazing sun, down this long, long winding, thank god one way, straight road.
It was a nice day tho, thank lord, because I’ve had long ass stretches of concrete, in the jet of night and or rain or some shite weather. Beautiful day, in fact and there were stalks of corn, the early sprouts I believe not a tradcon farmer here.
I find life. City center, very small populace, like what 10-50k people. From there, churches left and right. Nice scenery, feeds the soul and gives me a much needed repose from all the city and concrete jungle where nightmares are made pollution.
Because of the long walk, a deep flow state had awakened, rest for the eyes, phone in pocket, not talking to anyone, the earlier storm of what am I doing here had moved to the background, some what.
I found the post office, seconds before experiencing some light nervosity thinking hope to f this package is here or Im going to be livid with fury for a full f tantrum of like a microsecond. Cross the street, and enter. Room with contraptions lined against the wall, for letters and packages waiting, Im in the right spot, head left, to a glass door, this is the waiting area, I see a table to my left where you can write sh, to send letters and what not, with pens.
Tall guy notices me, he’s wearing dirty boots or those practical stuff and he’s wearing a scarlet red jumper, he must work in construction or at back for postal stuff. To my right I see glass, with people sitting behind it. Above the glass theres a monitor, with numbers. I take a few steps back and see a machine, and take a number.
I was standing, getting attention, guy in jumper says take a number, I said I did.
I hear NPCs shouting, at the people behind the glass. Basic ass sh, make a huge fuss about absolutely nothing, just to get some meaning and exhilaration and anything going on in there meaningless existence they, I hope, to call life.
Not a second after the guy had said, take a number, mine flares up on the screen, I veer left and walk to the glass with a women with glasses sitting behind.
I say, Here to pick up a package.
She says, Whats your name?
Reaching for my passport and or ID, I say its a difficult one (no it’s neither HOOA, nor Fury, nor HOOAfury). But as I reach, she says, just give me your first name. I do. It’s easy.
She says, Ah I got it!
Electricity goes off in my system, and thank the lord the package is here. She disappears from sight, to my left, for her, she had to get off chair, and turn around and also left. She comes back in sight. I think, Is that it? Package is pretty small. I knew what it was, so no biggie, I eye the white packaging, and see two small dark objects inside. Check.
She puts the package, with all kinds of stickers and labels and writing (thing made a HEROIC journey to be thrusted in my hands), in an opening between the glass, it balances on a small card payment machine, snugly. I want to scoop it up, but she says I need to sign. She slides a piece of paper forward underneath the glass and I sign, then she says thats it, I shrug and scoop up the package and go take a sit on a sole bench, only one of the room, and hold the thing in my hands.
This is it?
What am I doing here?
As I feel, and squeeze, the package to make sure its in there, it was, a fat guy and cute girl walk in, presumably his daughter, lord I hope, guy makes a weird fuss about some letter showing in his mailbox asking for xyz, and the guy had come all the way from his house to bring it here.
This was kafka-esque ASF, I made hunderdthousand per cent sure not to listen to the garbage details, but the tldr was the guy couldve just thrown the f thing in the trash, it was not a bill, not his real name on it or not a f affidivat to come to court, nothing, nothing significant, but like a F NPC he took the time in his day, lmfaooooo does he have time oh boy to come to the postal office, hope it wasnt couple trains like me, and just a brisk walk – he came all that f way to throw some weird tantrum at the polite gent with glasses behind the glass. The glasses was polite and kept reassuring him, no sir, no Im not asking you for ID, thats the last step. Id had asked for your ID, then bla bla bla bla f bla.
Then a woman appeared to my left and she then continued to bother the woman who professionally helped me within less than, well wasnt more than five minutes tbh. This woman was saying sh like Yo No Youre rude! Woman was like, No I just said, thats not possible. Youre rude!
Again, details not absorbed, not filling my mental attic with this sh, and I took that as a sign to leave.
I look at the pretty post cards as I leave, maybe to send it to a girl again, but think nah, mb next time and I leave the door and cross the street again, take the same way back into town.
Now that I had the package I literally had nothing to do than explore the city center.
There was a huge pond, with a castle behind it. Built in the 1800s for some baron. Went to check that out, as I popped a smoke.
I took a breather and smoked and sat down on a bench, overlooking the city, if you can call it that, and the green, and some building obscured by trees and leaves and it was quiet enough. I sat, smoked. Thinking. The sun was out, I was enjoying, for a spell. Had put my bag down, which was for the package, which was secured, so I was looking at the sights. In the distance you could see the tops of the buildings and as the rays hit them it looked pretty. It was a round number of the hour as in the distance church bells was gonging, which was oddly soothing.
Got bored and smoke was out, so I headed away from the castle and down, and came upon a street which was line with some bars. I wasnt feeling like mingling amongst the crowd, and some moron might call Yo cant smoke here! (you are legally allowed to) or theyd wave their hands in the air, futilely trying to slap smoke away whilst looking at me like their cat just died or theyre picking up dog shit.
So I walked bit further and found a container. Haha, not for trash, but it was a pop up bar, which acted like a kitchen. Tied to it, was a canvas, like on ship, or camping, suspending, and then tied to some poles. Covering cozy wooden tables and chairs. Offering shade for (white or) people allergic to sun.
I was not hungry, but peckish and bored and wanted coffee so I flanked the container, saw the entry, cute little stairs in, and then came in sight and made eye contact with the waitress with dark hair, not my type, and flat (not in the very specific way I like it) and said, Are you guys open?
She, ofc, had appallling English, and I had to wait that oh so famous noticeable pause for her to switch gears before she said, Yes we are open. (Could still hear the accent..)
I sat down and she gave me a petite chalkboard with writing on it, and they didnt have coffee, fml, so I just started smoking up. The table was set nicely, and the sun was in my back, always keep the sun in your back, Musashi (60-0! Donna, what do I say, 60 and O).
I look at the cutlery, a blunt knife and a fork on a teal napkin, or azure, nah something more green. I touch the knife, pick it up, weigh it, then put it back in place, next to the fork. Touching it too.
As I smoke, she comes back and asked have I made my decision yet, it was a fancy, yet overpriced sh, but Id made my decision in a microsecond, but first I made sure, since I know the drill, if I can pay with card. She said no, or smth like, lemme check with the boss.
I sit down. Smoke. Couple beats later guy comes out, very chill guy, crew cut dark hair, apron on. He has one of those physiognomies that you just know he wouldnt hurt a fly. He has kind eyes, too. Id seen way worse.
He explains. I say, F it lets just try and if not there some cash machine somewhere?
He nods and waves to the back of the blueish green container, to a corner of a street, indicating that way.
I order, It was lamb on toast with aioli and zucchini. Fancy sh. Yuh. Overpriced. And some kombucha.
Everything homemade, from scratch tho. That counts.
People start coming along. One girl with a scarlet top and a dark skirt, and nerd glasses with the thick frame, cute face but not rlly my type. She made eyecontact with me once, could tell she was not interested, so I didnt bother for the rest. She was waiting on a date, or a chill “guhy” just meeting at their local hip pop up bar. She was on the phone, No not there, walk down the street, yeah there. She waved and a “guyh” comes into sight and he’s tall and blonde, with hair just a bit longer and wavy and he had a handsome face ngl. Stupid pubish grooming tho, some faux Van Dycke Goatee nonsense, trying to go on there, and he had some tattoo on his right elbow. He was the typical assertive guy, tad to loud, thinks he owns the place but he was polite and social enough and I just ignored him for the rest, let him have his date, whilst I smoke and I enjoy food.
Food came, after the appetizer, for a f second I thought that was gonna be the meal, thatd be a f hoot, was just bracing to ask, Yo is this all? But then the guy came, and the presentation was up there.
Nice plate, a toast, with the lamb, and the zucchini. With flowers sprinkled on top. The guy stood there, after he had put the plate down. And like in a fancy resto he gave the run down. Homemade sourdough bread, with infused tarragon, he had let sit for minimum of four months, then the aioli, also bit soury, then yellow zucchini, sliced thinly, after marination, and then garlic edible flowers. He was rambling off more but I hadnt slept at all to catch the train so I was warping and forgetting sh he was saying and having a hard time listening. Not that I didnt care, he could tell, my visage, my eyecontact with him, my listening, uh-hm, uh-hm, I was just spacing off, trynna stay awake, clutch sh.
I take my knife and fork and crack the bread, tbh the second my knife cracked it I knew this was some good sh. You can just notice that when you’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants on the planet (yes, 33+ countries, idk whos keeping COUNT! not MEEE!). I taste it. Its good. Not full on in your mouth. But balanced, with lots of texture, and the sour was the main event, but the balance, and the layering, and then the different dosage of flavor hits.
I became good at this because of cigar smoking, notorious boozer, single malt whiskies and cocktails – you have to keep up the charade with competence or theyll just say and think youre a degen douche. And girl I dated was a sommelier and heroic at cuisine and fed me this sh.
I finish off and guy comes back and I want to pay and Im f, this thingy on his phone was not working and he said to go down the street and walk the, ATM is close.
Like Colombo with his one last thing, I said, Yo are you a chef?
And that opens him up WIDE. He starts giving me his whole f curriculum vitae. Which tbf was quite interesting, he could tell I was interested. And I said, Yeah gf was sommelier and hot chef and we ate this sh a lot. And he smiled and he took it all in, and his eye contact, still kind, locked with mine. Almost some form of admiration, couldnt place it.
I got up, and walking away, said, Yo can you take care of my bag (thinking: that package is in there, make sure to keep that sh safe yo). He said sure, and that he’d put it inside the container.
I walked away and down the street.
It was not close.
Ten to fifteen minutes later, I come back with cash and back the same way as when I had first laid eyes on the container. The back. The stairs. The entry. I stand there. The guy sees me, makes eyecontact. Girl comes out. He says the price. I give him a bill, keep the change, tip em, the guy was cool, make em remember.
He gives my bag back, I hold it. I go to shake his hand, he says his hands are wet, we shake.
He asks, What you doing here?
I say, Had to pick up a package.
You live here.
Nah, live somewhere else, just passing by. You?
Yeah I live [inaudible or forgot]. Its close.
He says, So if you’re ever back in town make sure to visit, man. That twinkle in his eyes again, with a kind smile, and something in his voice. Upbeat. Joyful. Thankful.
I said, Sure thing, man.
Greet the girl and walk off into the distance to the busstop, smoking. Couple on the way give me the look and smile and make a comment about the cigarillo (technically not, since its thicker, vitola: senorita). I miss the bus, darting right in front of my nose. I check my phone whilst smoking, for another way out of this town. I find another busstop. Hop on and take a long ass busride out of town, to the train station. Package secured. Nothing much to do here. On to the next thing.