Dangerous Compassions



“You’re from California!  You have no excuse, not to know what a tortilla is!” I said to Ming.

We were in the kitchen.  He had just asked me, “Do you want the end of my burrito shell?” as he ate the last of a chile relleno burrito from Roberto’s.

“Isn’t it different?” Ming asked.

“It’s different because you Bay Area people are a buncha numb nuts?” I asked.  Hmm, it was unusual to use “numb nuts” as an insult.  Why would Bay Area people have it different?  Ming is fifth or sixth generation Bay Area Chinese-American.

“Different when it’s used to make a burrito.  Isn’t it no longer a tortilla?” Ming asked.

“No!” I said.  “A tortilla is always a tortilla.”


“Do you like how gardenia smells?” I asked Ming.

“I don’t know how gardenia smells,” he replied.

“Oh my god!  It’s the best smell.  I could live in that smell.  I smelled some at the plant nursery yesterday,” I said.  Ming stopped by Walmart to buy some water, and I strolled through the plant nursery blissfully.  No one else was around.

“It’s like heaven–its heaven’s heaven” I added.  “If you’re in heaven and you die and go to heaven….you go to that smell.”

Yes, it smells like white-yellow light flooding everything to the point that you can no longer see.  Being drowned in God.  I sniff and sniff yet survive the experience.


“You know what I would like?  If you would do way more yoga,” I told Ming.  “It strengthens muscles and bones.  So that way when you start falling…”

“Yeah,” Ming said.

“I see what you do sometimes!” I said.

“What do I do?” he asked.

“Like just now, I saw you use the wall to help you get up,” I said.  He was clinging to the wall as he got up from bed, at the airbnb cabin we visit.  “That’s unauthorized.  Unless you’re Spiderman.”

We laughed.  “But you hate spiders,” I said.  “You couldn’t be a spider because then you would hate yourself.  Oh wait–a lot of people hate themselves.  That’s a big problem.”

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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