So, Wei and I were heading into Flushing for a b-day dinner at a great Taiwanese restaurant called Red Chopsticks, when we made a detour to go pick up my b-day gift. Driving to this fellas house I had flashing visions of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and Buffalo Bill. My mind worked out a scenario where I would knock on the sellers door, he would answer with a candelabra to my noggin', drag my lifeless slab down into his basement, shove me into a deep trench, change into female underthings, apply lipstick, stick his shmeckle between his legs, turn up the Q Lazarus on his hi-fi, stare at himself in a mirror exclaiming, "I'd fuck me!", lower a basket of lotion down to me, request that I apply it liberally all over my man boobs while saying, "It rubs the lotion on it's skin or else it gets the hose again", and then holler bloody murder, "Put the fucking lotion in the basket!" After I snapped out of my personal horror with a shudder, we pulled up to the gentleman's home. I asked Wei to keep the car running and have 911 typed into her phone, ready to send.
I rang the doorbell, stepped back, palms sweaty and ass clenched a tad too tight from fear. He answered the door and was every damn bit of the 'Buffalo Bill' that I had envisioned. Tall, round body, long scraggly gray hair, baked bean looking teeth that were widely spaced out, long and curiously neat manicured yellowish fingernails, nose hairs like unkempt pubics running amok, and a lonely mans smell. The smell of Vaseline. I almost shit myself. He said hello through the screen door, turned, and waved me in. I paused, looked back at Wei for a sec, and then reluctantly entered his home. The box of laser discs were in his foyer and he lifted a few out to show me the quality. He said he had a few more upstairs that he would give me for free. I prayed he wouldn't ask me further into his home, "Please don't invite me upstairs! Please don't invite me upstairs! Please don't invite me upstairs!" And he didn't. He went to get the other discs and I took my box of goodies back into the god lovin' fresh air and sunlight. Back to Wei. Avoiding a dark trenched and lotioned man boob fate. He came back with the other discs, bent my ear for a few minutes about immaterial matters, and asked, "If I get more Chinese laser discs would you buy them? A dollar a piece?" I said I definitely would. Shook his hand with a "Thank you," and returned to Wei's car where my ass declenched and I exhaled with a sigh of relief.
Now it was on to Flushing and my b-day dinner. Did a little more HK movie shopping and took a gamble on a mainland copy of the new Shu Qi/ Aaron Kwok big budget craptioner, CITY UNDER SIEGE, for $8. Headed over to Red Chopsticks and devoured some porkchop on rice, jellyfish, oyster pancake, and stinky tofu. My post traumatizing Ebay laser disc experience dinner is pictured below. As for the CITY UNDER SIEGE disc, when I got home later that night I popped the disc in to check the quality. Wonderful quality but, alas, no English subtitles. Sometimes Chinatown is a gamble. This time I took the gamble and lost. Damn you C-town. Damn you straight to heck! A few of the laser discs that were part of my b-day swag are pictured above.
Red Chopsticks. Flushing, Queens, NY
Later in the weekend we finished celebrating my b-day with a backyard Korean BBQ that the future in laws and family threw for me. The food was delicious and the conversations throughout the yard were loud, funny, and interspersed with the sounds of English, Mandarin, and Mandarish. As the sun fell, the beautiful September air became more crisp. Layers of clothing were added and a lot of warm Green Tea was downed. Green Tea being Wei's fathers specialty. As the darkness progressed and the party crowd became thin, in the nighttime sky to the west, was a beam of light. The 9/11 tribute lights that pushed through the darkness and reached wondrous heights could be seen from Wei's backyard. It was once a melancholy day, celebrating my b-day on the same day as an international tragedy. Without minimizing the days place, reflection on that horrific day will always linger, but my birthdays are now a more joyous occasion being surrounded by a warm family and new friends who genuinely care about me. The inclusion of Hong Kong films helps as well, of course.