Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a big deal? It is just a "Lighter".

Cotton Boy loves money, loves dreaming and loves to be rich; he prefers just floating up in a clear blue sky and letting the wind blow him along with the snow white clouds restlessly. The mild breeze, the spectacular sunshine and the chirping sound from birds are the adorns and garnishes while Cotton Boy is laying on top of a vast piece of cuddly cotton clouds, lapping his cotton candy with his eye close harmoniously. In contrast, Cotton Boy hates working hard with tiny rewards and hates toiling all day for just a few dollars. 

Yet a dream is a pure dream, reality is always cruel and merciless. When you turn your piggy bank upside down, shake it crazily to trickle every single gold coin out of it. I get panic when the piggy is losing weight progressively. “I have to find a solution. Get a job, maybe two or even more whatever I can sustain,” I declared with my head held high.

After couple months of frenzied search, I obtained 3 part-time jobs. One of the jobs which I am conducting is being a cashier at a nationwide drugs and pharmacy chain store. It sells everything as if I was amidst a flea market, surrounded by hundreds of people looking for laurels. I greet customers robotically, scan the check out items and listen to all the bullshit matters from numerous insane people. Yesterday at around 7 pm, a brawny woman in her 40’s stood in front of me, demanding something with a deep coarse voice, “I need a Big lighter.” First, I thought what a weird request she had. Any sizes of lighters can ignite a cigarette, right? However, as the old proverb states “customers are always right”, I kept my mouth shut. I turned around, found and handed her the biggest lighter in the store. She was speechless first, then opened her hippopotamus mouth with a front tooth missing, “No, Big! Big! Big!” Her dark grimed second finger was pointing at the location where we displayed various kinds of lighters. I swiveled instantly and grabbed a bunch of different sizes of lighters and enabled her to choose. “No, no, no. Big! Big! Big!” she exclaimed. I was clueless and in a split second, I got it. She wanted to purchase a lighter produced by the manufacturer, called “BIC.” I scanned the item, collected the money and said, “Have a good night!”

As soon as she waddled out the door, I sighed. “Why don’t they make things a little bit easier to a foreigner by saying, “May I have a lighter which its brand name is “BIC”?” Then, all the misunderstandings can be resolved. Amen!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"World Peace" with a response of "Hell No"

Thanksgiving was last Thursday, four days ago. I was invited to a family in the farm which is about 50 miles away from where I live, Cleveland, Ohio. You may ask the question, "Hey, Cotton Boy, haven't we entered to the metric era two decades ago? Why are you still using miles instead of kilometers?" The answer is not complicated because Americans don't want to change, I believe. Let's make it simple, 1 "Mile" is equal to 1.60934 "Kilometer" (km). I will not be able to currently provide you the total km that I had maneuvered; you have to do the math on your own as I am still quite confused and dazzled by constantly converting the length, weight, area, speed and more between the metric system used in Asia and the imperial system traditionally well-adapted in the U.S In conclusion, it took me slightly more than an hour to reach the destination by driving.

While I was on the road, both sides were covered thousands acres of corn fields. The acute dwindling temperature perished the lengthy leafy corn stalks. Many of them were still attaching ears but they all looked deceased with the lifeless color of light brown. I pondered when the farmers will return to the land, cut the dry stalks, bundle them and plant new baby corns. For your reference, 37% of the United States acres are corn fields and the State of Ohio has a big share of the figure.

My friend’s family’s farm house is gigantic. The size of her property is bigger than a leisure park in Hong Kong. If I take a walk around the parameter, it will probably consume at least 45 minutes to return the point where I began. I won’t be going into details of this farm in which chicken and goats are outnumbering to the residents.

During the Thanksgiving dinner, we prayed and chatted. I, as a Chinese, in fact, have had no tradition practicing the celebration of Thanksgiving. Who do I thank? Many Chinese don’t believe in god as Communism ridded him out; or god, in fact, never exists according to our teachings. “Wait a minute, to assimilate and immerse correctly to the culture, I need to make a toast to thank God for what we have. I loudly presented, “WORLD PEACE” before the meal was served.

The direct response from one of the home owners was, “World peace? Hell No, who cares about it? Let’s put the world economy as the first priority. We are not holding a beauty pageant competition.” I looked down and rubbed my fingers; all these countries were emerging gradually in my mind; “Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Congo, Somalia…” I thought I did a good job of showing my caring side during these festive seasons. I guess from now on, “World peace” should be replaced by “World economy”. Does it sound better? Please don't say “Hell No” to me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cold Sore and Herpes are not the same.

Is Cotton Boy too ignorant or, perhaps, too innocent that I don't have a clear definition between "Cold Sore" and "Herpes". I thought they were the same. If I have to specify the position whether I have it on my top or my bottom. (Of course, I never have it to appear at my down under to nurture). I address them as Type I which is on the top position; Type II is on our private part, genital that how we differentiate in Hong Kong.

However, it is not the case of how we define these two terms in America. Yesterday afternoon, I had an outbreak. A red spot started tingling and prickling under my right nostril. First, I scratched and pinched as I thought they were just a bunch of  pimples coincidentally clustering at one spot. A couple hours later, it became swollen and hurtful. I felt that particular area of my skin cells were mutating, expanding and blistering. I went directly to the mirror, and distressly gulped an enormous breath of oxygen, and sighed out with a deflated lip the words, "I have Herpes!" I rampantly fumbled to look for some ointment to put on the affected spot, stopping  them  from growing or crawling to other areas. I muttered, "Why do they choose me again? I hate having them. I am going to a party tonight ; I have to look decent and pretty. The day after tomorrow I will be starting a new job and surely don't want to scare my new co-worker away from me."

I put a layer of "Abreva", a wet creamy medicine which supposes is the best curing medcine to speed up the healing process. I waited and waited but it seemed the hateful group of blisters was ready to erupt into a brutal explosion before a few hours before the party started.

"Should I call off? Am I too self conscious? No one really care, right? I am not in my 20s anymore." These thoughts ran through my mind repeatedly. I entered the party and my first thing to conduct is to inform my good friends that I have, "Herpes". My friends stepped backward and their eyes were enlarged as twice as big as normal. "What? Cotton Boy, you have herpes? Where is it?", they furrowed their brows and asked. I pointed at my mark under my nose. "Hey, Cotton Boy, it is not "Herpes". We call it as "Cold Sores" or "Fever Blisters". Never mislead anyone that you have "Herpes". Others will think you have bubble blisters around your gential or arse area. They are lethal sexaul transmitted infection (STI). Many Americans have cold sores. No big deal and calm down."

I went home and checked the wikipedia and discovered, " Cold Sores affect 57.7% of Americans tested in a 1999-2004 study. By age 50, 80%–90% of adults have the virus.  More than 50 million adults in the U.S. develop symptomatic episodes every year. Cold sores have a rate of frequency that varies from rare episodes to 12 or more recurrences per year. Most sufferers experience one to three attacks annually." (Source from Wikipedia)

Wow...having cold sore just part of our lives. I am just one of the many Americans. Welcome to USA.

Friday, November 25, 2011

With the mindset of dancing mood, everything seems floating under my toes!

We all know that the economy is slumping in the United States. We have been discussing how to resolve this standstill since 2008; however, I don't see the U.S. Congress have found the light or is leading us to walk away from the muddy path. I read the on-line newspapers; I watch the local TV news; I listen to CNN anchors and I hear my neighbors' complaints, all they are talking about is "JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" I honestly am exhausted to hear how economy is affecting our lives and how we are affecting each other negatively.

Life goes on; don't wait for any politicians to lend their helping hands and pull us out from the mess. We have ability to clean up clutters surrounding us. If everyone tries a little bit harder to blow away their blur an inch away each day, a week or a month from now, all of us will have a better vision of our future. Stop the resentment, think positively, work diligently, dance with "Cotton Boy" and float up in the sky. Let's be invincible.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Rye" & "White"

I woke up early this morning, brushed my teeth and combed my hair with my sturdy fingers. My hair still stuck up; I smeared a layer of L.A Cool gel on top of it. "It worked", I mumbled in front of a mirror and grinned. I put my shoes on, ran down to the garage and drove to the market at a quick speed.  You may probably be asking, "what is the rush?"

I was anxious that a day before Thanksgiving, the market would be flocked by hundreds of people as the sun was moving upward. I certainly didn't want to consume much time  wedging myself amid the crowd and yelled out, "how much is this and how much are those?" I completed my shopping spree within 30 minutes and felt like I won a trophy.

The time was 10 a.m. and what else is better than having a nutritious breakfast, including two eggs, some ham or bacon, coffee and bread. I love my toasted rye bread with strawberry jam on it. Very often, when a waiter asks, "What kind of bread do you like?" I always say, "RYE", but they bring me "White" bread instead. In the beginning, I kept my mouth shut because of two reasons. First, I was shy and ashamed that I couldn't pronouce the "R" sound distinctively. My complaint was only revealing my disability. Second, I didn't want to make a fuss and waste the "White" bread. 

I contemplated, "It's not the way to solve the misunderstanding. I have to make them know what I want." This particular process that we address is called "communication". If the person doesn't know what I am conveying in words, we are not communicating. Therefore, nowadays, I will try my utmost to curl my tounge back touching my upper palate slowly and spew the word "RYE" out. If I still see a blur on a waiter's face, I spell the word out, "R-Y-E". I am commanding myself that I won't settle for less anymore as Americans always want to be No. 1.

Finally here, but it seems everything is rolling out again ...

I did it; I created my personal blog, called the "Cotton Boy" after more than a year of hesitation. I was asked to write, I winced and denied my ability. I questioned myself if I was able to convey my inner feeling into words and laid my emotion flatly in the language of English. There is no doubt that I can speak Cantonese, write Chinese and read both traditional and simplified Chinese. As for writing in English, am I ripened enough that you can taste my words? I wondered this and questioned that. I, at the same time, was worried too much how others judge and comment each word I was spitting out.

"Cotton boy, you should write! Your writing is unique and funny. I like reading your posts; my sister and my mom like yours, " proclaimed by a friend. I was flattered, and spontaneously breathed out an exclamation word, "Really?" "Yes, really. You have to believe yourself and write how you feel because your perspective of seeing things in America is interesting. All you need to pay attention to is speak slowly and don't mess up the words, "clock" and "cock". They indicate two individual objects which they don't look alike at all." I grinned and pondered, "I guess it is time!"

I am now standing up in the sky, floating along with the clouds, telling the world that I have stories to share. Follow me and be my witness as I, a Chinese immigrant, am encountering countless hilarious incidents while trying so hard to mingle into the melting pot, America!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A blogger was born at the corner of a breakfast restaurant.

"You have been saying that you are going to build a personal blog for more than a year. Where is it now? How much have you completed? Or in fact, you are just laying your arse and dreaming some delicious red apples falling down from an American sky and feeding a hunger Chinese immigrant." I pouted and starred at my ten fingers entwining each others awkwardly. I retorted to my friend, "I will make it happen. You just cool off and be patient. I am still collecting ideas how to construct an attractive blog page to lure thousands of readers to enter my fantasyland." She curled one side of her lip and disdainfully chuckled a big word, "WHATEVER!"

"Am I just bragging myself? Am I lacking of confidence? What is stopping me to write?" I question myself numerous times and I never find a fulfilling answer. I loitered at an intersection and dared not moving out of my comfort zone. I even am tired of my own excuse or to be called a procrastinator. As of November 22, 2011 at 3:52 P.M., I am writing my first blog to explore and exploit how much I like to share my world to you and to see how your world is different from mine.

There are more to come and stay tuned my blog page ( Thank you for reading!

Cotton boy in America