Toilet or Love? 厕所和爱,谁重要?

(Notes: English version is after Chinese.)

昨晚,我们五个华人,在Brooklyn一间宽而长的公寓,美美填满肠胃,又往血管灌了些酒精,听着三十年代的上海老流行歌,开始天南地北地聊天。

五个同裔的人,不能用华语交流,共同语言是鬼话英语。于是会讲中文(普通话或粤语)的人就敦促只会讲英语的Marcus学中文。我说,首先要学会一个顶重要的词:厕所。Alan Chin(陈本儒)连忙高呼:no!no!no!最重要的词是LOVE!LOVE! LOVE!

本来想反驳他说:“Thales说,‘世界万物当中,最强有力的,是基本需求,因为它主导一切。’[…Of all things,  the strongest, (is) necessity, for it masters all。]”但扯着淡,脑子不能“聚焦,”竟忘了。

今天在百老汇游移,在人潮中变成一个缓慢移动的小点儿,一个东张西望的小点儿,看着来自世界各地的人们,忽然想起昨晚关于厕所与爱的讨论,不禁问:穿梭在这个繁忙地带的人们,尤其是来自世界各地的游客们,在这个陌生的城市,他们首先想到究竟是厕所呢,还是爱?

要应急的时候,我自己是一定会想,厕所在哪儿呢?而不是“爱在哪儿?”爱这东西,太遥远了,不但不可及,有时还不可望。

After feeding our stomachs with best home cooked food and mixing our blood with wine, we started chatting in the 1930s-Shanghai style pop songs. All of us five are full blood Chinese, but our common language is English. So we urged Marcus, who only speaks English and some Spanish, to learn Chinese, either Mandarin or Cantonese or both.

I said, “the first and the most important word you need to learn  is “toilet.”

Alan Chin immediately showered his disagreement, “NO! NO! NO! It is love. Love is the most important thing. LOVE! LOVE!”

I was about to refute his romantic statement and quote Thales who asserted, “…Of all things,  the strongest, (is) necessity, for it masters all,” when my mind went out of focus and I forgot it.

Today, as I was roaming around Broadway in Manhattan and became one of the moving dots in the street, I remembered last night’s argument and wondered – all these people in this huge and busy town, what are they thinking? What would get to their mind first – toilet or love?

I guess I would think of toilet first, if I need it sometime somewhere. I might ask someone, “excuse me, where can I find a bathroom (really toilet)?” I wouldn’t ask, “Excuse me, where is love?”

Toilet is easy to access, but love is usually out of reach, and out of sight, thus out of mind.

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