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    You look at me with those brown eyes

    I was in kind of a funk last night. I worked yesterday, and it was a satisfying but draining day. And even though it’s officially a three-day weekend, Atsushi’s bank has his department in today, so he couldn’t come up to Tokyo. He’s been working late all the time and not getting enough sleep, and I’m powerless to do anything about it except sound devoted during our ten-minute phone conversation each night. So I went out to one of my hangouts, where the guys behind the bar have all known me for years, to mellow out a little.

    They started drawing my vodka as soon as I stepped in the door, and I reached into my bag for my coin purse. It wasn’t there. So I rummaged around a little. Then I took my Discman and CD case and handkerchief and water purifying straw and space blanket out, and it still wasn’t there. My coin purse is frequently a topic of conversation, because the big joke among the bar guys is that I always pay with exact change. (Don’t ask me why, but in this math-skill-obsessed country, paying with exact change is uncommon. Given that the smallest paper bill denomination is ¥1000, the equivalent of US $9 or so, you’d think people would do whatever possible to minimize the number of coins they carry, but they don’t.) So they were standing there expecting me to give my usual exact ¥600, and then the bar master started chortling, “Sean-chan, that’s the coin purse your honey gave you for your birthday two years ago. The one you never let out of your sight. You don’t mean to say you forgot it. We’re going to have to tell your boyfriend. We’re going to have to report you to Hermès for this one–it’s accessory abuse!” Objectively speaking, I guess it was kind of funny–when you walk into a gay bar, naturally, everyone glances over at you, and I’m sure I looked pretty weird yanking things out of my little camera bag and getting increasingly frustrated. All I had to do was get out my wallet for a ¥1000 bill and be done with it, after all.

    The thing was, the master was right: it’s hokey to say, but having my coin purse with me makes me feel as if Atsushi were close by. It was as if I’d been neglectful and forgotten to bring him along; I was even more unsociable than usual the whole night.

    I feel better now, though–not just because I’ve gotten a grip on myself, but because Atsushi and I will have ready-made in-joke material for tonight’s phone call: Instapundit was not only kind enough to give me another link but also kind enough to use it to the end of giving CNN’s Aaron Brown a good cuffing. It makes me so happy.

    I don’t think it’s possible to convey just HOW MUCH Aaron Brown annoys me. It’s possible that in private life, he’s generous and humble and easy-going; but he has to be the most oozingly self-righteous journo on the planet in his professional life. (Once he and Jane Arraf were on a split screen together, and it was like the irresistible smug force meeting the immovable smirky object. I thought they might merge into some vortex of condescension and suck in the whole universe or something.) CNN is the only English-language news source on our cable subscription–not that I miss BBC World, or anything–so I usually grit my teeth and watch to keep from feeling entirely cut off from televised news. I have my limits, though, and Atsushi knows from long experience that when Brown comes on the air, I can be expected to mutter curses at the TV until I just can’t take anymore and have to switch back to NHK. It’s part of our domestic routine by this point. Suffice it to say, I am delighted to be of modest assistance in deflating that gasbag.

    3 Responses to “You look at me with those brown eyes”

    1. Michael says:

      water purifying straw and space blanket

      Hey Sean. Can you explain these things? I have no idea what they are.

    2. Michael says:

      They sound like things hippies would carry!! :-)

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, if they’re hippies in earthquake zones, for once, they’re being rational. My straw isn’t the brand boingboing featured, but the idea’s the same. The sleeping bag is from this company. The basic idea is that if a catastrophic earthquake hits when you’re outdoors, your most immediate needs will be shelter and potable water, so those are the two things in the (very) pared-down survival kit I carry around in my camera bag with my CD player.

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