Version 0.41 (Meetings and Language)


A quiet Saturday for me so far. Sleeping in. Cafe. Hanoi Sandwich Shop. Coffee. Croissant. Dreary, nasty weather. Scooters, cars, pedestrians all over, like swarming ants. Really would love to be at Kafeville right now but wasn’t in the mood for a long walk or a Grab ride.

I went out yesterday evening with a beautiful Vietnamese girl I matched with on Tinder. We communicated well messaging over Instagram but she admitted to using Google Translate. Not a big deal of course—I don’t care. I mean, I can’t speak a lick of Vietnamese, so I am certainly in no position to judge. Besides, as I get older I drift further and further from passing judgment. I mean serious judgment. It’s certainly okay to have opinions and preferences as long as one doesn’t wrap himself up in them, like wrapping oneself in a heavy coat to ward off the chill of a cold wind—something unpleasant, unwanted. However, it made for disjointed conversation, and I found it necessary to pull out my phone and translate from time to time. She found no need, or perhaps just did not desire to do this, which to me seems a bit strange because it would have improved and smoothed conversation. I’m unsure how she feels about our few hours together. How does one spend an enjoyable evening with another person who he has only just met, and extract something meaningful from it when those two people are unable to communicate on a deep level (or even a very rudimentary level)? This inability to communicate leads to many long silences, so that an observer might take us for a pair of mutes or people having taken an oath of silence. It’s true of course that we share a common ancestry, that we are both humans born out of this Earth, out of this cosmos, but one can’t help but wonder, having only just met, “what is he/she thinking?” during these long pauses in talk.

She picked me up on her scooter near to my apartment and we drove to Thanh Nien Bridge for coconut sorbets, and began walking a bit around the lake. Then we went to dinner somewhere. Where that was I had no idea until I looked at a map and saw how close we were to where we parked, but with the rabbit warren of streets that is Hanoi, after taking several turns down streets fairly unpronounceable I felt as though I was lost in a maze. After dinner we had another meander through the mist, and then spent the next thirty minutes driving around looking for a cozy bar or cafe, to no avail. By then it was growing quite late, and she dropped me off at my apartment.

All in all the night was an enjoyable and interesting, if somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, experience (experiment). I was uncertain about what the point of it was, and still sort of am considering we met through Tinder, which may imply something, or nothing at all. In this case it was nothing, but I’m curious about why bother going out? For my part, I was curious about where the night would lead, how well we might communicate, and where she would recommend we eat. I suppose there was a similar reason for her. When I enquired as to why she matched with me she said it was a hard question, and not easy to answer.


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