Friday, July 02, 2010

yield a step, give an inch

My aunt has a best friend "Bea" in China.  I've met Bea a few times.  She is always cheerful, with a big smile.  She talks often about how she appreciates her husband of 30+ years for his kind heart and loyalty. Three years ago, I told her during a trip to Beijing how much I wanted to eat candied gourds, because I read about them in books but never ate them.  She took me around street vendors until we found a good place that sold them.

Once, Bea told us about how much she loves the fruit market near her house.  She said that the vendors all know her and greet her by name (or call her "sister" as is the local custom).  They save her favorite fruits for her, off to the side.

My aunt was curious, so she went the next day with Bea.  Afterwards she told me, "Those vendors gave her fruit that was over-ripe!  Those fruits are going to rot in a couple days. They were basically cheating her, yet she's still so happy."

I felt sympathy that Bea was being scammed and didn't even know it.  I thought my aunt is so much more sensible for catching on to the fruit vendors' tricks. But now I think Bea is the wisest one of us all.  She is happy-go-lucky and carefree, eating her overripe fruits, surrounded by a legion of friends because she is so fun to be around. She has one of the best marriages I've seen. Her daughter and son-in-law get along perfectly with her, and visit her frequently.  She is over 60 but looks at least 10 years younger. 

Bea gave me a hand fan once, which said in calligraphy, "Cherish being oblivious". 

As she gave it to me, she said that if you calculate every penny and argue every grievance, life is exhausting.  Instead, let yourself be oblivious sometimes.  "Yield a step," she said, "Give an inch.  And you will see that life is as limitless as the ocean and the sky."


Yishan said...

That is totally true, I've learned. It really takes an effort for me to consistently adopt it though. Maybe I will succeed by the time I am old[er] - my parents definitely seem to be like that.

Besides, if she is going to eat all the fruits right away, being overripe is not a problem! You are eating perfectly ripe fruits! And if you leave them a few days and they go bad, you go back to the street vendors and they give you more fruit and adulation!

N said...

Comments on Google Buzz have also been saying that over-ripe is not that bad.

I added a photo of the fan.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she may be oblivious to the fact that her husband is not so loyal or faithful? ;-)

N said...

I've met her husband. He's pretty sincere. He's also really appreciative of his wife.

Anonymous said...

Bea is a wise woman. You have a lot to learn from her.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favourite posts on blogs. Thank you for sharing~~

Justin K said...

What if it was the other way instead? If your aunt was the one buying the fruit and Bea is the one who knows that the fruit is over-ripe. Do you think Bea would tell that to your aunt?

s said...

Niniane, that faithful husband was a serious Chekhov's Gun failure. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I got a homily instead :( In the movie adaptation of this blog post, he will have 1000 love children.

miK said...

Ignorance is bliss in so many other words. Some can live their lives after being cheated out of their life fortune, homeless, eating trash, and still be happy about it if they're ignore it. Then the society have to take care of them when they are unable. Rest of us who choose to care foot the bill for these people.

Not saying the aunt is on welfare, but whose money is she using when she's conned and being happy about it? Did she work 80 hours a week scrubbing toilets at other people's houses or was she doing housework at her home? Somehow, I get the feeling she's the type who thinks money grow on trees magically, and doesn't know how hard it is to obtain them.