BY EVA LIAO TAIPEI — Today I saw a pretty young high school girl run down by a motorcyclist as she tried to cross the street. The girl wasn’t paying much attention, but then, neither was the guy on the bike. She put her black knee-high-clad foot into the road just as the speedster turned the corner, right into her side. The girl went down, her blue pleated uniform skirt went up and her tote skidded across the asphalt, spewing an impressive load of school books. The culprit wore a surgical mask over his face — one of those designer masks that were all the rage during the time of the SARS epidemic — to shield himself from the city’s nefarious pollution. He was going too fast to stop and soon was too far ahead to be spotted. The girl, making noticeable effort not to cry, was able to walk herself to the side of the road as two old ladies scurried to help her pick up her belongings.
Then, from the congested traffic on the opposite side of the road emerged the speeding motorcycle. The leather-coated driver pulled up, took off his helmet with movie-star grace that would have made even James Dean proud and let his long, dark hair tumble out in slow motion. The girl, sitting on the curb watching, seemed to tilt her head a bit as if to assess the man’s attractiveness. Apparently approving, she let the stranger pull her up by the hand. She dried her face and climbed on the back of the motorcycle. They exchanged some inaudible words and the offender-turned-hero whisked her away into the unknown. It made me think that running over people on the street was a pretty good way for dudes in Taiwan to pick up pretty young things. It sure seemed to work for this guy.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE TAO OF EVA: Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks
ABOUT THIS COLUMN: Phawker Assistant Editor EVA LIAO is currently visiting family and friends along the Pacific Rim. TAO OF EVA is a collection of her semi-regular dispatches back to the home office.