I was only kidding, he said

As we walked toward the brightly lit pho restaurant, two Asian guys outside said, “It’s closed.”

“Oh ok,” I said.

My sister and I looked toward each other. Pausing and thinking of where we would go. We started to retreat back to the car.

Then one of the guys said, “Oh, it’s not.”

My sister and I stopped, confused.

The other guy chimed in, “We were only joking. You know, just kidding!”

“Oh,” we said and went inside the restaurant. It turned out later they were our servers.

Of the things to lose

To lose whether by damage, an accidental gift, misplacement, falling out…which of the following are replaceable?

Several years ago, I lost my Canon S30 digital camera. Fortunately I had just copied all my pictures right before. And I remember someone telling me to put the camera into my bag because I might forget it. And I did. At that point, I had despised the camera since I had it for 3 years and it was bulky by the day’s standards.

In some way, I was looking for an excuse to get a new camera, but when I lost it. It was at first painful to lose. It took me about 3 months to replace.

Perhaps it’s to always prepare for the loss. A backup. An acceptance of the price. Creating an everpresent value. Or simply…insurance?

So for these simple superficial items…
1. cell phone
2. the high scores on a game that took forever to reach
3. data on the hard drive
4. digital camera
5. keys
6. sunglasses
7. shoes

City and Suburb

A few days ago, I uttered words that I shouldn’t have been caught saying.

I am tired of living in the city.

And with holidays approaching, I happily retreated to my parents’ abode in the suburbs of San Francisco. As days passed, I stared in blankness at the television, yearning for something to really be good on On Demand.

“Go out,” they said, tired of the sudden appearance of a couch potato.

But to where? I thought. Bed, Bath and Beyond? Costco? Safeway? The starbucks? To waste gas and pollute the earth?

And instead, I sat trying to finish a stack of DVDs and watching romantic comedies that Chris normally would never let me watch (Prime, Just Like Heaven, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Poseidon, Imagine Me and You)…and the entire second season of Entourage.

And there it was. I missed living in the city where I could go downtown without guilt of environmental pollution and still happily window shopped…to entertain myself. Or I could walk down Mission fingering the cheap plastic cups and the faux jewelery proudly displayed on matching tables. And even then, I could hold Valencia oranges and sometimes even Meyer lemons and think about how organic I wanted to be that day.

But in Lafayette, I was 2 miles away from things. And those things were simply nearly like strip malls. So instead, I played Yoshi Touch N Go, my current DS game of choice.

Warning: Real Users

A (unnamed) friend has relayed me this warning about doing interviews in people’s homes. Sometimes after all, you’ll see what is normal to others, but not normal to you. Or moreso, you’ll see something that perhaps will scar you for life.

Because real people (unlike you and me) are dangerous and unpredictable beings.

The coworker was conducting an in-house interview of a product that had been deployed in homes. This particular interview took place in a household of a brother and sister with the sister as the primary participant.

Because the product was setup in the brother’s room, the interview was conducted in that room. Unfortunately in the middle of the interview, the brother returned home from a date. With the date of course. And demanded to have the room to himself. Kicked out, the researcher and the sister went to another room to finish the interview.

Unfortunately, the researcher realized he left some tapes in the brother’s bedroom and convinced the sister to (politely) ask for them. The sister knocked on the door. The brother walked out of the door. Naked. Full frontal. Without any discretion or embarrassment. Or hesistation. In the room, the date was asleep in the bed.

Parking for free or not?

When finding a parking spot (in the city), will you pay for parking? Will you valet? Will go into the garage? Even when you have passed many perfectly parking spots on the street?

Quite often, I am appalled when people do such things because of “safety” issues (for the car mind you, not the people) and the impatience.

I remember when I was in Seattle, we almost gave into the $25 plus tip valet at the hotel. But my Chinese upbringing came back. And we found metered parking that was only $1.50/hr. A steal since the meters stopped metering by 6 pm and the following day was Sunday.

If I worked in valet, I probably wouldn’t park that well. Do they do thorough interviews for the valet when they’re probably not paid that much?

A dollar experience

At Curry-For-A-Dollar restaurant (which I don’t recommend for its food) near Berkeley, we ordered and found a table in the enclosed room. As we sat down, Chris went to find a restroom. As I waited, I started looking around the restaurant, noting the decor, the 8 person table of people who came for a bday? a night after a huge project? friends?, the staff who were friendly and seemed to have fun, the chairs…

“Do you live in Berkeley?” A man at the bar turned and asked me.

He was slightly balding. Caucasian. I pegged him as early to mid forties. Possibly even late thirties.

“No,” I carefully started. I couldn’t help but try to guess at his intentions. There’s no such thing as friendly conversation anymore.

“Oakland?” he asked.

“No…” I considered just forcing him to guess and play a game. Instead, I continued, “San Francisco. I just wanted to visit since I went here for college.”

He started talking about how he went to school in the south and how he came out to Oakland. I asked if he came to this restaurant often — highlighting the concept of curry for a dollar. At that moment, Chris came back, meandering to the table.

Immediately, the guy cut me off, “Oh, I am sorry. You have company! Have a good evening.”

In embarrassment, he quickly left.

Chris looked at me, “What was that all about?”

“I don’t know. I guess he wanted company.”