Sunday, July 25, 2004

"When an Old House Catches Fire..."
Kitty changed her name. Her Chinese name, that is. According to a fortune consultant she has been seeing, the total number of lines in her name is a unlucky one, responsible for her string of bad luck. A new number would bring about more fortunate events. Not only that, but she removed all mirrors from her house since mirrors represent water and her name already had too much water in it.

I fail to see how living in a nice house, with an absent husband, and an unlimited spending budget make up a bad life. But I learned she has her heartbreaks too, albeit 24 karat gold-gilded ones.

I was cooking in her kitchen the other day, in the late afternoon, when she wandered in with her Burberry slippers on, and languidly peeling the remnants of an eye mask off her face.

"If you learn anything from me, get your man while he's poor." She grumbled. "Do not try to hold on if he's already loaded."

I took it to mean her husband has been traveling a lot lately, both for business and pleasure.

"If you could bail him out of jail, he'll remember you for life. "

I nodded dutifully, adding some more five spice powder into the tofu knots and pork stew that simmered on the stove.  Kitty's kitchen didn't have a fan that most Chinese kitchens had, I couldn't fry without greasing up her house. So, stew it is.

"He's 45 already! Does he think those young foxes want him for anything other than money?"

I had to grin to myself, "foxes" were such old fashioned insults, deriving from ancient myths that there were these temptresses out to acquire men in a mercenary way. Such stories always ended with the women being revealed as some 4000-year-old foxes/spirits who could morph into women whenever they wanted. The moral was that if a woman was too beautiful, then the men better watch out.  

"There is an old Beijing saying, 'if an old house catches fire, then there is no saving it.'" I said as if I was some sage advisor.

Kitty looked stunned at my comment.

If her husband was in love at this late stage, then there is no saving it. She better get him arrested and she can then go in as the loyal wife, bail money at the ready. New luck-inducing name notwithstanding.