IPA in HCH on Âu Cơ

Evening comes, and off I go to Hanoi Cider House for dinner.

I do some writing, eat some chicken, drink some IPA. I do not know what IPA stands for. A kid runs about. The floor shakes. I wonder why I bother eating carefully.

After cleaning my fingers I listen to Built to Spill, my favourite band, and fall into a peculiar post-food reverie.

The eatery is on the first floor. It is pleasantly decorated, with fairy lights hanging from the ceiling, plants where they should be, and a gigantic mural of a fiery-feathered rooster watching over us.

At the end of the room a wall-to-wall window affords a view of the traffic passing on Âu Cơ. Âu Cơ, a troubled and dangerous road, one I ride along every night on the way home from work, is named after the fairy Âu Cơ, the mother of no fewer than a hundred children, because that's how many children dragons have when they mate with fairies, the dragon in this case being Lạc Long Quân. Fairies and dragons making a poor match they soon separated, but amicably, settling custody of their children down the middle, taking fifty a-piece, carrying them off to the mountains (AC) and the sea (LLQ).

I love this story, this origin myth, this fable of impossible fire vs water love. Every night I ride home I tell myself I am riding on the back of a fairy - through the smoke of burning trash, past the shops and houses, the building works and corrugated fences, past the fathers standing on the embankment with their babies, past the mural showing solidarity with the people of Venezuela, past where I am sitting now, looking out at the road. Tomorrow, in approximately thirty minutes, I will be one of the lights moving by...

Eternalism is a peculiar way of looking at time. It is hard to believe we are not making the same mistake as those who looked up, saw the movement of the sun, and imagined it was the sun that was moving. In a flat-earth sort of way, short of the correct perspective and fooled by intuition, we are making fools of ourselves. If the future does not exist yet, then neither does this chair I am sitting on - and it is impossible to believe that this humble chair is springing into being under my bottom at every moment.

And if that is so... then...

But my brain gives up. It's too tired. I just want to look at the traffic and think about the fairy and the dragon while Doug Martsch sings about tomorrow.


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