Here is a bit of an update to Only One Wheel? – a post I wrote almost six months ago… before the poetry obsession.
The Smiling Chinese guy is still beaming away like a new dawn, I’m sure he was born with that smile on his face.
The name of the Other Chinese guy is Peter. He seems to run the place and he clearly loves to entertain his customers. When I mentioned that I had posted a story about him online, I could tell he was pleased.
“How many wheels on a bus?” he said. “I don’t know…” I replied, “but that’s a lot of Wagon Wheels, I’ll get fat.” He thinks six, I’m still not sure of the correct answer. We did resolve to count them next time we saw a bus but no-one has bothered yet. We frequently ruminate over the number of wheels on a vast array of vehicles and discuss such earth-shattering topics as, whether a Wagon Wheel is really just a fancy jam sandwich after Peter informed me there was an actual, living, human in the UK who has eaten nothing but jam sandwiches his whole life.
In terms of Wagon Wheels, I mixed it up for a little while and then one day I went back to the standard purchase, two x Wagon Wheels. When I got to the counter Peter looked me straight in the eye and nodded in mock seriousness, “Aah, a bicycle” he said. I paused for a second because I could feel a distinct contrariness rising up inside of me, I guess I was a wee bit bored with all this Wagon Wheel talk. I shook my head slowly and replied “Nah, two unicycles – one for each leg!” I think he might have spluttered. For a short while after that we just looked at each other and laughed whenever I walked in the shop.
Since then we have regularly traded all kinds of brilliant quips, puns and half-failed attempts at humour – the full gamut. He mentions sometimes that his young son likes some of the things that I like and I always say it’s because I never grew up. One day he asked where my reusable shopping bag was and I told him the story of how I lost it. The second visit after that he had a new bag for me to use, along with a new recurring pun and a good laugh to go with it.
This is the story that got me laughing today. Yesterday, a couple of customers came in to buy a bottle of Coke. He mentioned there was a special price available, “You can get two bottles for $6 and, since there are two of you” he told them “your friend should get one too”. So the friend dutifully went to the fridge and returned with a bottle of Fanta. Peter is trying not to laugh as he finishes off with a flourish. “The moment he came back with the Fanta, I looked at him and said ‘Now all you need is a stick and you will be fan-ta-stic!'”