Disappointment came in triplicate today.
First was my trip to the market for Christmas presents. The Ladies’ Market is usually a dependable source of presents for nephews and nieces. Not so this time. There seemed to be more fake watches and handbags than ever, but no appealing simple clothes or gadgets for children. There was a surfeit of in the inappropriate (including an elephant trunk thong, which, as I momentarily paused in front of it waiting for the crowds to let me pass, a perfect stranger assured me would be much too small for me), but a dearth of the remotely appealing. In the end I walked out with just a pair of children’s slippers. Except that they weren’t slippers: the seller assured me they were something pronounced “shoe-shees”.
Disappointment number two came as I went to buy a little table I had seen the week before. And yet getting to the inconveniently located shop, I discovered that the table wasn’t at all as I had remembered it. It wasn’t nice or even practical at all. So I slunk away, my pennies still in my pocket, but still sans table.
Never mind. By then it was late and dinner overdue. Mulling over what to cook, I realised I was only a street or two from a little restaurant I frequented for their wonderful pork “clay pots” (simple, but tasty, bowls of rice and meat). Buoyed up, I went in, sat down and scanned down the menu card, ready to tick off my favourite dish.
But where was it? In fact, where was anything? I didn’t recognise a thing on the menu. I called the man over and asked if he had given me the wrong menu or if they had changed everything. Delightedly, he explained that, yes, it was a new menu and the restaurant often changed it. So I had no choice but to pick something ghastly and eat it grimly.
As I left, the owner, perhaps by now aware that this kind of change was not what I had been looking for, asked if my dinner had been OK. I cannot remember what I mumbled. But it definitely had not been OK.