Nearly everyday I visit a little streetside food stall that serves cheap, quick, vegetarian snacks.
I've been going to this food stall for weeks now. While the snacks are delicious, it's the owner who I look forward to. I want to think he looks forward to me too.
The song and dance is always basically the same.
"Hello! Please, two jin dui (sesame balls with red bean paste), two fu pei guen (tofu skin rolls)."
"Good, good. [Getting snacks] How are you? Working?"
"Good. Yes, lots to work on." Invariably I laugh here, I don't know why. I hand him my money.
The owner laughs too. Hands me my goodies.
"Are you crazy?! Hahahahahaha!"
He always poses this question rather wildly, gleefully, like a man who has just discovered "jokes." (For the record, I've gone over his question thousands of times in my head, I'm positive I have the translation right.)
"Oh... a little!" I say.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA! We both laugh like Big Brother is watching.
"Good! Good!" He says as I walk away.
I don't get this man, but I think he's pretty darn great. It's no small feat to appear genuinely cheery day in and day out, but Mr. HAHAHA Food Stall Man's positivity is infectious. He never fails to brighten my day.
Maybe "are you crazy?" is his thing. I haven't heard him ask his other customers this question, but his other customers usually speak better Cantonese than me. Perhaps, knowing that my Cantonese is lacking, he just defaults to this tried-and-true exchange because he knows it works, and keeps me coming back. Or maybe he has a fondness for me, maybe I'm his favorite.
Yes, that must be it. I'M HIS FAVORITE!
Whatever it is, Mr. HAHAHA Food Stall Man is an important part of my life. No matter how dismal my day may be, I never leave his food stall without a smile.
Who are the unique, "wonderful weirdos" that make your daily life better? Who are the near-strangers who help you to take life a little less seriously?
May the Great Kitten in the Sky bless you Mr. HAHAHA Food Stall Man.