I like my landlady. However, there’s a very fine line that divides charmingly batty from batshit-insane, and she’s pushing it. Her off-handed comments about how dryers are unsanitary and how it’s better to leave your clothes out on a line until they dry are weird to me, but not that unusual for Taiwan. Her daily pieces of advice that she gives me are actually kind of sweet. What happened last night disturbs me.

Since I only have one bedroom (including a bathroom and balcony), I have to walk through an enormous living room every time I come home. I have to pass through there to get to the kitchen, too. Normally, my landlady’s hanging out on the sofa, watching TV. If I get home late, as I did last night, though, the living room is completely dark. In the interests of not being an insensitive jerk, I leave the light off and try to walk back to my room as quietly as I can in those cases.

Last night, I also had a bag full of various drinks I’d bought at 7-11 on the way home. Seeing that the lights were out, I quietly got out of my shoes, put on my slippers, and tip-toed my way towards the kitchen, staying near the wall as I went. I managed to keep my plastic 7-11 bag from crinkling as I slid past the piano. Then as I was stepping around the dining table, trying to make sure I didn’t trip across the threshold to the kitchen, there was a sudden screech behind me, “Xiaoma, you’re back! Do you have any gift prizes for me?”

“Buahaaaa!” I screamed. There was some sort of movement from the table behind me, I whipped around and saw my landlady sitting up from it. “What the heck are you doing sleeping on the dining room table?” I asked.

She looked at me like I was some silly little kid and laughed, “Hahaha. You get scared to easily. So, you went to 7-11, didn’t you? Didn’t you!!?”

“Yeah. Why are you sleeping on the table!!?”

“You have to give me all the promotional prizes you got at 7-11. You said you would, didn’t you? You said so yesterday.”

I had agreed to give her all those stupid Hello Kitty magnets and Doraemon things they give out at 7-11. “Here,” I said, “take them all.”

“Oohh, my friend’s grand-daughter will be happy now! Hee, hee, hee.”

“So, why are you sleeping on the dining room table!!? There’s a couch in here too, if you like this room, you know…”

“Humph,” she answered. “There’s nothing wrong with this table. It’s nice, big, and flat.” After that, I just didn’t know what to say. I cut the conversation short, tossed my drinks in the fridge and retreated to my room, where things are normal.

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