A typhoon-8 blew over Hong Kong yesterday, the day I turned 34. There are many poetic references that could be made about this but they would all be exaggerations and lies.
Thirty-four is an arbitrary number that really holds arbitrary value. The Gregorian calendar is flawed anyway, so I’m a bit older than that if you go by revolutions of the Earth around the Sun or 35 yrs, 7 months and 23 days by the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
In any case, no matter the arbitrariness of the date, birthdays have always been somewhat of a reflective time for me, and this year was no exception. I thought about the people and things that I have given up on, or have given up on me over the years and in a vain attempt to be reflective I thought of Keanu Reeves.
Keanu is known to be somewhat of a solitary individual in tabloid circles and he has been known to sit on park benches feeding breadcrumbs to pigeons on his birthday. And so I decided to find a park bench with a bag of breadcrumbs to feed pigeons so that I could really nut out the meaning of my existence, maybe plunge into despair over the meaninglessness of my life.
But I couldn’t.
Firstly, do you know how hard it is to find breadcrumbs in Hong Kong? Hong Kongers simply don’t use breadcrumbs! Secondly, do you know how hard it is to find pigeons here? One would assume that a giant metropolis like Central Hong Kong would be teeming with them, but no, you only need to look up into the sky to see that it is patrolled by large numbers of predatory birds that really don’t give a damn about urbanisation. These birds don’t circle around carrion, they circle around skyscrapers and they hunt pigeons. They devour them, live.
Seriously, check them out: Black Kites milvus migrans. Incredible to watch from inside any one of the skyscrapers here, especially so during winter.
And there it was – there are no mundane pigeons here, there are no pedestrian days in my life. I live in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, I am doing things that have come about by design or by happenstance. My poetic waxing revealed itself while I was trying to find a place to work out what I wanted to wax about.
Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans
I’ve lived a lot of life, as my friend Jensen Young once told me. I’ll correct him though, I am living a lot of life.