An unwanted blast from the past, language mix-ups and forgetting where I put my motorbike. A January 2021 round up.
Remember January 2020? The roaring 20s were back and we were all “new decade, new me!”.
We had no idea what was about to happen.
Within months, the world would be shut down as a pandemic ripped across continents. Words we’d never used like “lockdown”, “social distancing” and “covidiot” suddenly became part of our every day language. We watched in horror and fear as covid cases shot up and there was a feeling of disbelief that this was actually happening.
All over the world, movies stopped being made, planes were grounded, there were no more concerts, school playgrounds were empty and toilet paper became the new global currency – almost. I think the Queen best summed it up as she delivered her Christmas message to the world –
We’ve entered 2021 with vaccines rolling out and hope that life might start to return to something close to normal this year. I’m still here, teaching English in Saigon and I don’t see that changing any time soon. 2021 has got off to a good start for me, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t find myself in some ridiculous situations –
Wilting Willies With Words.
20 years ago, I met a man at a train station. 5 days ago, he found me on Facebook. This is not the beginning of a love story.
My memories of him aren’t the greatest so when he contacted me, I made it clear I didn’t want anything to do with him. It did not go down well.
“Well I will not be f***ing you in any way!” Stupidity and a foul mouth are great willy wilters”.
Sir, we’re all just on Facebook to relax here and if you could just calm down and refrain from forcing images of your limp dick into my mind, that would be great.
Robert and I met briefly at a train station in 2001 when I was 19 and he was in his early 30s. We chatted for a bit and while I wasn’t overly enthused, we exchanged email addresses (it was 2001). We emailed back and forth for a while, talking about writing and our lives but I stopped once he started to get weird. I met a boyfriend and he didn’t like that – he thought he was going to be my boyfriend! Then he sent me some pretty explicit stuff about him and another girl which I couldn’t have been less interested in, and I think that’s about where we left things.
Cut to 2004 and I was travelling through India. We had the internet, but this was long before blogs and social media were anything close to mainstream and so I sent a group email detailing my travel adventures to just about everyone in my address book, including him.
He replied within a day, confessing his true love for me.
Carly, I love you. I know it might sound crazy, but reading about your trip and the things you are doing, I have realised I am in love with you.
W. T. F?
Nobody said “WTF?” back then, but if we had, that’s what I would have said. I wrote back something to the effect that you couldn’t fall in love with someone you didn’t know and pretty much left it at that. I never wrote to him again.
Cut to a few days ago. A friend request pops up on Facebook.
Carly me old mate, remember meeting me at Ryde Station?
No, because we met at Central Station. I declined his friend request and ignored his message.
Just a side note here, I have a different email address to the one I used way back then and he still managed to find me. Privacy is now something we read about in old books
Robert ignored me obviously ignoring him and decided to send me covid conspiracy videos.
Covid. Conspiracy. Videos 🤦🏻♀️
Millions of people are dead, millions more still are grieving and countless other people are dealing with possibly permenant organ damage. We have watched people lose everything as the entire world ground to a halt. Families are separated. Nurses and doctors are at breaking point in many parts of the world as they are forced to decide who to ration care to.
Do not come at me with your conspiracy shit. Do not come at me with your disrespect my for my former healthcare colleagues with your paranoia that every doctor, nurse, pathologist, physiotherapist and public health worker globally are liars and are in on faking a pandemic.
I called him a loon and told him to leave me alone.
Robert, who must now be in his 50s, didn’t like that. An unhinged rant of a message spewed out including the devastating revelation that he now no longer wanted to shag me. Well I will not be f***ing you in any way!
He signed off with “have a nice life”, which I have no doubt I will continue to do. I wish him and his wilted willy no ill will, but I hope that is the last I ever hear from him.
Dude, where’s my bike?
Walk into our place and the first thing you’ll see is a line of motorbikes. We have more bikes than people at our house so when I walked downstairs, keys in hand, and didn’t see mine, it took a moment to process. I blinked and looked again as though it was magically going to materialse.
Dude, where’s my bike?
How can it be gone? My head was spinning – I hadn’t been anywhere, had I? A bike is a funny thing to lose. It’s not something you will find behind the couch or that can fall out of your pocket while you are on the street.
How the fuck is my bike not here? It’s impossible someone came in and took it, but, it’s not here. It’s just not here.
“Think Carly, where were you yesterday? Could you have left it at a friend’s place? Did you take it to the mechanic?” My housemates were there, encouraging me to mentally retrace my steps.
“It wasn’t there when I came home last night”, said one of them. “I just thought you were out somewhere”.
So, my bike has been gone since last night? I closed my eyes and tried to think. All I’d done yesterday was go and buy a new laptop charger and I’d ridden to the shop so I must have ridden home. Then I stopped to buy some food, then stopped at the print shop near our house to print photos….
“It’s at the print shop!” I sat bolt upright. I parked out the front and being so used to walking there, when I walked out of the shop I simply walked home like I normally do, on autopilot, completely oblivious to my bike.
My housemate Tram and I hurried to the print shop – he was going to help translate and ask if they’d seen it. When I got to the corner I started to run, hoping I’d see my little red motorbike parked where I’d left it, but it was gone.
“That’s the shop there”, I said to Tram, “but its shut”.
“Don’t worry, there is a good chance they noticed it when they were closing and moved it somewhere safe for overnight” Tram told me.
It was Sunday afternoon so all I could do was hope Tram was right and cross my fingers until Monday morning.
The next day I got up and walked back to the print shop. I asked them about my bike using Google Translate. I don’t understand much Vietnamese, but I do know xe may – ‘motorbike’. The shop staff read my message and one said to the other something about a xe may and I could tell by their tone and body language they knew exactly the bike I was asking about.
The shop lady waved at me to follow her and she walked my to the nearby police station. My eyes scanned around the bikes parked at the station and there she was, around the side. I clapped my hands and jumped for joy. The police asked for my registration then motioned for me to sit. I could hear nguoi nuoc noai – ‘foreigner’, being thrown a lot, probably in the context of, ‘why did this dopey foreigner leave her motorbike out the front of the photocopy shop in the first place?’
After checking that I was indeed the motorbike did indeed belong to this dopey foreigner we were both free to go. I wound my way through the alleyways back home feeling both joyous and completely fucking stupid.
Throwing Pepper at Annoying Aunts
I’ve had a problem with ants in my room and I was telling my Vietnamese tutor about it.
“I’m trying to get rid of these bloody ants driving me mad in my room!” He’s learnt US English where aunt/ant is basically the same word he thought I was saying “aunts”.
He heard “these aunts are driving me mad, so I’ve been throwing vinegar and pepper everywhere in the hopes they fuck off!”. Now he’s thinking I’m either crazy or he’s misheard but he’s staying polite.
He asked “are these Vietnamese aunts?” very confused. Now I was confused as to why he expected me to know whether or not the ants in my room were native to Vietnam or not.
I said “well I don’t know where the ants are from, I just want them dead”. He again, heard “aunts”. Now he’s very confused but also very polite so he just moved on with the lesson on how to pronounce “a â ă”. It wasn’t until later when i started raving on more about ants/aunts that we realised.
Here’s to a better year everyone
So, that was my January, how was yours? Wherever you are in the world, I hope your 2021 is better than last year. I love seeing who reads my blog, so leave a like or comment below, even just to say “hello”.