It was a busy week, and it had taken Mr. Fuzzles a lot of time to finish up the year at Cat School. From kitty report cards to marking pet exams, the way that the end of the year was organized at his Cat School was terrible. He had finished late more than once a week, finalizing everything. He had barely had any time at all to get high on some catnip or play with Tigger. He had already one end of year feast planned for the following week. Unlike this one, he knew that his other kitten school would pay for everything. It was a kind of local tradition. They weren’t dogs, they were civilized. It was what was expected.
Hello, he says. Hello I reply while shaking his gnarled hand.
He looks like my grandfather. Where are your from he asks. I’m from Canada I reply. I tell him that I’m mixed up. I was born in Germany, lived in France, spent the rest of the time in Quebec, Canada. Really, he asks. I’m mixed up too!
What are you doing here? I’m studying, writing, teaching, I reply. I sit down next to him and he asks me where my parents are from. I say that they come from Kerala.
When I heard this, I was amazed. I couldn’t understand how a 21-year old was the manager of a successful firm and that I was his employee.
The most important thing that I discovered about him was that he was a pathological liar. He couldn’t help himself. He would lie about the simplest things and not acknowledge when he was clearly wrong.
I was walking with S, Dr. G, and the wife towards a restaurant in the Shida ghetto. We came across two strange ladies who were chanting They were seated close to each other and kept repeating the same thing over and over again. I didn’t see any Buddhist prayer beads or tokens of faith, nevertheless, my mind initially thought that they were Buddhists.
I looked over at S, my eyes full of questions. Christians, she said. Christians? Yes, Christians, she said once again. They are saying the name of the saviour over and over again. Jesus? Yes, Jesus, she said. I said that I thought they were Buddhists. No, they are Christians she said and we continued our walk.
I was wondering why there was a crib there, I said. She answered that when she comes with her baby, she needs a crib. That makes sense, I said. She said that her husband was working in a bank five years ago and didn’t like the repetitve routine. That’s why they opened a bike shop. She said that the shop had a race this Saturday in Chiayi (嘉義市), that’s why the boys were prepping their bikes. I said that the bikes looked expensive. She agreed.
They were all servicing Time top of the line VRS Vibraser bikes. There was a strange intense energy in the shop that day. It contrasted with Diane, who was holding her infant daughter Mei-Mei and talking to me. She told me that I should join them for rides. I said that I would do so when I had my own road bike.
He says that he thinks that food with pesticides is way better than bio food. Why I ask. He says that we have studied the effects of pesticides, insecticides and a whole bunch of other -icides on the human body for decades and it’s been thoroughly researched. For a minute, I can’t fathom what my new roommate has told me. I look at my other roommate and he is also trying not to laugh or smirk.
We tell him that people have been eating bio foods for millenia without any ill effects. We don’t know exactly how pesticides affect us and it’s ludicrous to believe otherwise. Sure out diets have changed, but the tomato in your backyard is probably healthier than a mass produced product from Chile or Brazil.
He says that bio food will mutate us. Pesticide treated food won’t.
I got fired from my job, she says. Why I ask. Well, I kind of took off for spring break to Mexico to visit my dad, but I didn’t really tell my boss when this would happen. I had written this in on the wrong form and my boss wasn’t happy. I got fired. That’s sucks, I say. I’ve been trying to get a new job, but it hasn’t been easy. I gave my CV to a bunch of places. One creepy guy was really interested. Later, he phoned me to tell me that I could work there. I didn’t have a job and I needed the cash, but I told him that I didn’t need it. He was just too creepy. I got a bad vibe off him.
It’s been two weeks that PomPoko hasn’t really been himself. He’s a little more quiet. This week, he didn’t do his homework. He apologized, he says that due to personal reasons, he couldn’t complete it. Well, I say, at least you did the first part. Yeah, he says, I’ve barely been sleeping.
Later he tells me that he’s getting divorced. He’s been married for 14 years and last week, things just broke down. Now I remember, I think. Last week, he was talking with someone on the phone with a hushed voice. It must have been his wife. It must have been because of this.
He says that it’s hard. I know, I say. She just told you that she was leaving, I ask. No, he says, I told her that it was not going to work out. Why? She doesn’t want kids. I do. I’ve recently become an uncle, and I really want to be a dad too. My wife doesn’t really want to have any kids. She might at a certain point in the future, but I can’t wait for that. I want kids soon, he says.
A realtor is coming by tomorrow to sell the house. That fast? I ask. Yes, he says, it’s over and I need to move on. I was pretty astounded about this. PomPoko’s wife is a lawyer. They have a comfortable life. PomPoko decided that kids are more important than leaving a comfortable life. He wants kids.
I know it’s not going to be easy, he says, but I have decided to go ahead and we’ve started separating our things. That was pretty fast I say. I know…
I’m going to be an uncle for the very first time, he exlaims. PomPoko is exhuberant. He just came back from the hospital. PomPoko’s sister-in-law just had a little PomPoko of her own. He’s still at the hospital, I’m really happy. We congratulate him. PomPoko seems thrilled and he seems to really enjoy the fact that he’ll be an uncle from now on.
Half an hour later, he gets a call. This is unusual. He steps out and has to take it. Little PomPoko is in the ICU. He had trouble breathing. I’m worried, he says, but I’m sure that he’s going to do well.
The week after, PomPoko says that Little PomPoko is doing well. He’s out of the hospital and things are great. Great for my brother, PomPoko thinks, but not for me. When will I have a littel PomPoko of my own?
I never cook he says. You never cook, PomPoko? No, I always eat out with my wife. We spend about $400 a week on restaurants he says. I spend about $300 a month on food. I didn’t say that. Then again, when I was fatter and working in finance, I used to spend a lot of money on restaurants as well. I worked out of my car and didn’t eat very healthy. Home cooked meals are so much better than restaurant.
I’ve bought a new slow cooker, but I haven’t used it yet he says. I’ve never got enough ingredients to cook food. For example, I was going to make some pancakes, but I don’t have any milk or flour. I have to buy them. The eggs are no longer good, so I have to get them too. In the end, it’s just easier to go to a restaurant and pay them for pancakes.
That’s crazy PomPoko, eating at home is so much better and cheaper. You should take a class with your wife and try to make it fun. I’m sure you’d like it I say. Later he confides that he used to cook when he was younger, but over the last 15 years he’s lost the habit. His wife is a lawyer and he’s an engineer. He’s got a maid coming in to clean up their house. Things are going well.