Saturday, 13 November 2010

Something comes of nothing

Apparently it is Fun Day at the beach. I must attend. Shark assures me fun is to be had there. It said so on the poster. Anyway, she is going, so see you later.

After an hour of wondering whether I should throw myself into the sea or go and have fun, I follow a dog and let him decide.

He takes me past the ball court. Here, the Chinese are having fun. They are singing operatic ballads, clapping in group accord, and making noises through a microphone.

Don't ask me what they are doing. Good works in Cantonese, probably.

There doesn't seem to be much else for it, because the dog has wandered off and the sea is busy with boats and ferries, but to make my way over to the fun day at the beach. On the journey, I can contemplate island life and feel worse, because I am indeed a self-absorbed miserable and ungrateful bastard.

At the beach the expats are having fun by drinking beer, singing Pink Floyd songs, selling each other old shoes, and telling the kids to shove off. Well, this mother is. One hundred Hong Kong dollars buys me two hours. Go and have fun. I must now sit at the beach and contemplate solitude and death with an old Scrabble set that someone has flogged Squirrel for ten dollars.

Periodically, my reveries on mortality and how many words I know that actually contain the letter Q are interrupted by the offspring. They discover my mournful body piled up among the stones and attempt to cheer it up by waving cake at it. Unable even to be roused by cake, I say, go and have fun because I am enjoying being alone and thinking how many words I know that contain the letter Z. Here is another thirty dollars.

At some point they return to say they have now spent so much money at the cake stall they have induced guilt in the expat who is giving them free cake and this is Tiger's fourth helping.

I do not think I have anything more to add without sinking into undignified and disagreeable introspection, so I will depart today with the picture of eco art displayed at the fun day.

In response to which, Squirrel fills my handbag with old plastic bottles, hacked and splintered wood, inscrutable items containing tubes and pipes, frayed ropes, a selection of worn away glass, and bits of indigestible, malformed plastic junk the sea had spewed out.

Strangely, carting that lot home in my clanking handbag was the moment in the day when my spirits lifted.

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