Thursday, April 20, 2006

one-tonne nudel supe

Daniel loves to recount small scenes of upward mobility. The cars, he says, are the easiest way to tell. A venerable 1987 Chrysler is seen one week, a shiny 2002 Ford Taurus the next. SUV’s, although not popular here, frighten him and he says he can’t go down the streets that buy those ‘beemouths’.

On Tuesday, Daniel saw a small clear bag filled with cosmetics. The things a young girl would use, cherry lip gloss and sparkling eye liner. On Thursday, recycling day, he saw a dozen empty cartons. ‘Maybelline’ and ‘Covergirl.’ What makes them grow up so fast?

On the same day, three blocks down, Daniel finds a litter of beer bottles next to the bundled newspapers. He sees eight cans of Old Speckled Hen amongst the typical Coors Light. There are no strange cars in the driveway, no exotic items in the bins. No evidence to suggest a guest or foreign presence. Daniel is buoyed by the idea of Experimental Man as he loads the valuables on his back.

There is a family on a street with garbage pickups on Wednesday, and recycling pickups every second Thursday. Daniel tells me that they eat a lot of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and always in the meal-for-four format. This refuse day past the familiar chicken buckets are replaced with delicate Cantonese boxes and a handful of wooden chopsticks. The chopsticks are still joined at the base.


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