Today me, my wife, and my two kids were waiting in front of Sogo in Taipei, in the heart of the once-great shopping district there. As we waited by the landmark clock, the friend we were waiting for strolled up. I wandered off to find a garbage can, and an old woman walked up to my wife.
“Are these your kids?”
“Yes,” said my wife with her customary gracious smile.
“You and your husband are much too ugly to have had those kids,” the woman bluntly informed my wife.
My wife’s face froze and you could see that in her brain the infamous Blue Screen of Death had appeared. A quick internal systems diagnostic revealed nothing wrong with the Hardware: the ears were indeed working fine. Still, she stammered out a “Whaa-aat?”
“Ugly. How could you two have had such cute kids?”
The air throbbed with the sudden, violent expansion of my wife’s shit list.
“Yes, you.” The woman drove home her point by indicating with an extended finger. My wife was clearly suffering from a serious internal conflict: should she bite the finger off, or just break it in place? I stood there, trying to overcome my chubbiness, balding head, and general bedraggled Taiwan-has-worn-me-down air to look like the dashing potential father of two cute kids. I must have failed miserably, for the woman reiterated her point, in case we had missed it the first three times, and then wandered off.
Welcome to Taipei.