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2020/07/05 - Reply - Christina’s FiveQuestions (5Q)


Christina’s Five Questions


Christina, an esteemed doyenne in the art of correspondence, has started a lovely initiative to ask regular questions on her site. These may be answered using any of the regular protocols available for smolnet: Gemini, gopher, email, fediverse... It’s a lovely bit of community building. I’ll venture mine below.


1. “What do you value most in a friendship?”


That’s a highly intimate question, haha. I suppose I can thus say, “intimacy”.


I don’t use the word “friend” lightly. I think many of us may feel friendship has been devalued through the monetization of bad actors such as Faceborg. Just so. But the ilk I cherish was out of fashion long before then. “Bosom friendship”, of the kind Anne of Green Gables longed to partake, has always been too rare. All the moreso in these latter days. It’s made of magick, no doubt. But winsome intimacy is its fundament.


“2. What’s your favourite thing to cook? Do you have a signature thing you’re known for making?”


Oh, la, how to choose... To cook? Dry fry bread and stir fry broccoli. Oh, such a delight to eat. And ever so easy to make, with minimal muss. (That is important to me, at least for quotidian meals.)


I’m known, in a very modest circle, for a few other dishes I shall post on my recipes page “directly”, sooner or later, Shufei Standard Time: Sautéed Portobellos a la Merlot, Stuffed Punkin, Deep Dish Pizza...

Recipes by Shufei

Don’t touch that dial, stay tuned.


For the past year or so I’ve also been on a journey to discover the perfect eggcream. This is not the quintessential eggcream, mind. Not necessarily canonical. But the eggcream which most assuages the soul with its innocent delight. I dunno if that is cooking per se, but it is an analogous alchemy.


3. “What was a neat toy from your childhood?”


Lego. It’s like a thousand toys in one... /Dieter


Lego, true lego with a bagillion pieces, as far as I can tell, is almost the perfect toy. Minecraft suits the rôle too, now, and is far cheaper per block! But nothing is like a cute lego person driving an actual plastic vehicle you made. Nothing.


“4. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself being anywhere. Where are you? Tell me about the place, and why you see it.”


In mainland China, a hot, poor, and laid back city off the main highways. It’s night on the back alley, a sultry summer night. The air is improbably clean, perfumed by a flock of tropical blossoms. A kitchen’s dinner invites the nose from this window. A bright waft of sandalwood from that. Few cars are about, and the motors have gone to bed.


People take the city back with an evening stroll. Lights are dim and rare in the back streets where old homes still stand. Sometimes one cannot see even an inch as one walks. And so one bumps into neighbours in the dark, cheerfully but carefully so as to not knock over elders like old Granny Lim. People laugh. Children demand sweeties. We wander toward the lakeside park to hear the old men play erhu. The crowd is lively, but not so suffocating that an introvert would be discouraged.


A word comes to mind for the aura floating about that tableau, one only heard at holidays and now deprecated: “fellowship”.


It is the kind of night in which one feels comforted that humanity could be free and soon. For such nights, civilization was worth the sorrows. Poets wrote of such nights. On such nights the Great Peace is not far off. The night whispers that all of us under Heaven are a family, and that family is good.


I think of such nights now because I worry they may never be again.


“5. Tell me about a time when you made a distinct ( drastic?) change to your appearance. Why?”


I bleached and dyed my hair vibrant colours long before it was au courrant.


For the life of it. For the joy.


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