Blast from the Past, part I
I’m up in Fishkill, N.Y. right now visiting, so while he’s at work I’m just killing time. I figured I could post another blast from the past, to give people a better idea of why I even thought to start this blog in the first place.
Last summer, before I went off to France for the academic year and before I even left for my summer job in Minnesota, I think, we took a trip to Chinatown. I had been to China to visit my brother during spring break my sophomore year of college, and at one point (probably a million, but I only noticed this time) I saw a cart selling little pendants. My brother explained some of them to me and their different meanings, and I got a phoenix, because it looked cool and I like my interpretation of the symbolism, even if it doesn’t really go with the Chinese ideas behind it. “Whatever,” my brother said. “You don’t have to believe what they believe. If you like it, get it.”The Chinese symbolism, very briefly, is that the dragon is the emperor, or the man, and the phoenix is the empress, or the wife, so couples get “his and her” sets of things, which are fairly easy to find online. I didn’t really care, figuring I’d worry about the other one when there was a person to worry about.
Fast forward to that summer, when I thought it would be a sweet gift for us. I was getting ready to leave for my summer job (as a counselor at a French immersion camp) and wanted to get them ASAP.
Having decided the internet would take too long, I dragged him into Philadelphia’s Chinatown, which I know pretty well from being a dork in middle school, and sent him to wander around the shop while I asked the clerk at our first and best bet, which I know by location but not by name. The clerk only had jade ones, which were $25 per pendant, and stored in a warehouse a few miles away. Since I didn’t want to pay that much, didn’t need jade, and didn’t want to go through all the trouble, I thanked him and headed out.
The next gift/random everything store, of which there are so many in any Chinatown, looked at us and instantly said they didn’t have any. And so did the next. And the next.
At one fancier store, the woman looked at me and asked if I meant the thingies “for marriage.” I said yeah, those. She looked at my guy and kept on saying, “for marriage,” and I kept saying yes. Finally she looked at him again and said they didn’t have any. I have to wonder how she knew we weren’t just two straight guys buying a wedding present for our friends, since I don’t think we were being very couple-y.
Oh, and I can’t leave out the random crazy guy in the street who went off on us as we walked buy. I don’t really remember what he said (these people all blend together in my memory), and I’m not really sure if that was even the same Chinatown trip, but I think it was. He was one of the crazy people who just talks to themselves about us as opposed to getting up in our faces, and so definitely the kind we prefer. But it still sucks.
I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane! Hopefully we’ll do something this weekend that will merit a more uplifting post.