100 Days Project

Ben: 100 Writings / 100 Opening Guitar Hooks

various, random creative expressions / writings, inspired partially by 100 popular songs (songs that somewhat begin with a leading hook of a guitar.)

Day 7:

“Dance The Night Away” (1998) by The Mavericks

“Dance The Night Away” (1998) by The Mavericks

I got paid last night and guess what song I heard while shopping at the Chinese Market down on Customs Street.

Of course, I didn’t notice it at first. Background music is supposed to be exactly that – Background music. I walked in, into the Fruit and Vege part of the shop. Oh, wait – something happened beforehand. Before I entered the store, out on the street, two Asian girls were pushing a trolley of shopping that they just got from this store. And it fell over. Around 20 cans of some red Asian drink or juice or whatever, spilled across the pathway. Two Indian guys, who were walking in front of me, helped the girls pick up their cans. By the time I walked up to the incident, there was only one can for me to pick up. “Thank You.”

Now, where was I? That’s right. Apples. I didn’t need to buy any apples. I had a lot already at work. I bought apples last week – a whole bag full. Maybe 2 kg’s worth. And had plunked them on my office desk, to bite on every day or so. You know what they say about apples! Oranges. I didn’t need oranges, got a few already at home. Always gotta have that Vitamin C – especially in winter. Okay, anything else? Oh, yeah, that’s right – what’s for dinner? Spring Onions: $1.99 a bunch; Three Onions: $2.99 a kg; Carrots: $1.99 kg. Some kind of stir fry, I think. (Why the fuck did I buy the Spring Onions then?)

I thought I might find the stir fry sauce in this shop. But aisles and aisles of Cantonese language makes me feel less confident, each metre I walk further into the store. I found the aisle of sauces. Each jar label had Mandarin characters: sharp, pointing strokes; broad, fat strokes; diagonals cutting into each other. I have no idea what the hell these mean. The pictures didn’t even give me a clear idea – was that supposed to a picture of beef? Or lamb? (Or horribly racist, dog?)

Fuck it, I’ll go to Countdown.

Waiting in the Chinese store cue, the check-out girls were talking with an old Asian man. His face was wrinkled and spotted. He was dragging around a tartan cart. They were conversing in jest: the Chinese language jumps and wavers. It crams many vowels in, but flows elegantly because of it. But they end each line with a hard consonant, as if they were popping the aural bubbles that were flying out of their mouths.

While continuing to wait (hurry up, old man!), I looked around and noticed more indecipherable products. I saw a tray of eggs. The eggs were crusty and brown. The label was in large Chinese characters … and just under it in small English font; it said “Centenary Duck Eggs.” Are those eggs truly 100 years old? They looked it. I have no idea why anyone would buy that.

“I just wanna … dance … the … night … away.”

My left leg shuffled to the beat. I didn’t even notice. It’s funny how I would never ever play such a middle-of-the-road song personally in my own life. But have been too so many stores, as you have too, that I know the lyrics of such easily-comfortable customer songs.

The two Indians guys, who were outside, leave the checkout. I plonked my groceries on the counter. “Hello”, the check-out girl said to me.