Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Everything is illuminated

One rainy HK afternoon, I decided to venture out into town. I gave the car a break, took the train and left the decision to the gods of public transport to see where they would lead me when lo and behold, I found myself at Pacific Place in Admiralty. At that exact moment my friend called and asked me to meet him outside the Lane Crawford Home store in half an hour's time as he needed help with choosing a lamp for his new apartment. While waiting for him I decided to entertain myself the best way I know how- through Lane Crawford's shoe department. Now don't worry, this isn't another story of me latte'ing a racist expat. It's a story that ends happily. Well. Kind of.

In between browsing and trying on numerous pairs of shoes, I overheard a conversation between two rich expat ladies. To give you an indication of just how rich, one of them had a matte crocodile Birkin in black ( I could be wrong but it's around GBP 38,000) and the other had a Lindy crocodile also in black ( GBP 14, 700).  And if you're not familiar with both Birkin and Lindy, they are bags made by Herm├Ęs.

The two ladies were discussing the merits (and demerits) of having more than one domestic helper.
'Oh yars, definitely. Having 3 helpers help out at home is bliss, I tell you...' said the crocodile Birkin carrier.

'Hmmm, yes but when you have 2 labradors, 3 cars and a jet-setting husband, having 3 helpers isn't enough', replied the other.

The crocodile Birkin lady, looking slightly alarmed, replied 'But it's just you, the husband, the dogs and the cars. Surely 3 is enough?!'

'No!!!! (insert husband's name here) is so fucking demanding!!!! I swear to God, every time he's at home my pubes go a shade greyer!!!!! Plus I constantly need to have my wardrobe re-arranged! And with a huge walk-in closet?! It's a big job!' said Ms. Lindy, losing her composure and looking visibly upset. 

Cue me sitting comfortably on the couch, latte in hand, enjoying every bit of the conversation. Is this classified under schadenfreude? Surely, not. 'Er, excuse me m'am, but could I have the other pair of the Balenciaga?' asked the saleslady. 'Oh shoot, here you go, I've been sitting on it, sorry.'
I was so engrossed in the conversation that I'd been inadvertently privy to, I was sitting on half of the shoes I'd been trying on, and my friend!!!! Oh shit, I'd forgotten about my friend!!!! I ran out of the shop thinking 'my god, these ladies worry about who walks who and who cleans what on a daily basis?! They've definitely got it easy...' Money and the power, power and the money, minute after minute, hour after hour...

I found my friend hovering outside Lane Crawford Home listening to his iPod and after I apologised for being late, we went inside the store and proceeded to the lamp section. The space had a nice, warm glow that was welcoming. Every corner I turned, a lamp stood quietly, illuminating the space it was occupying. It was mesmerising and like a moth to a flame, I was poking, flickering, pressing light switches and manipulating fixtures. Again, I'd forgotten about my friend who needed my help. I must stop switching off mentally. Admittedly, some of the lamps and light installations were ridiculously priced for what they were. I could make one at home with just chicken wire and an eco- friendly light-bulb and pass it off as 'installation' for not even a third of the price they were charging. Oh well, my opinion.

After a while I got bored, so I ventured to the 'bath' section. My friend, sensing that I'd had enough, followed. Don't ask me how or why this happened, but for some bizarre reason, we started arguing about Coolio. Yes, Coolio- Gangster's Paradise - Coolio. He claimed that he was dead and I said 'Na-ah, he's very much alive'.  He pulled out his iPhone to google him. I followed suit, in the off chance that he might be right, but I stood my ground 'I think you're mistaken, I think you're thinking of somebody else'.

He said, 'NO. He is DEAD' quite sternly.

I was starting to get annoyed at this point. And so I said, 'hang on a sec, are you talking figuratively here?! Is he DEAD to YOU?' He insisted that he was physically dead.

Mort. Muerto. Morti.

I thought, you know what, fuck it, I couldn't be bothered with this shit. So what if he was dead. But then I just remembered something,
'Well, ok, if he's dead then who was the Coolio performing at the Dragon- i anniversary party a few Saturdays ago????'

'OH.' Said he, standing under a huge lamp. It was a lightbulb moment. A switch had been switched on somewhere.

'Yes, exactly', cocking my head to one side, 'oh' I added, ready to pounce.

'I must have had him confused with TUPAC!'


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