Simplify Me, Please.

November 27, 2009

“Simple” seems to be the most popular adjective in describing what we want, but more often than not, that word describes only our cluelessness.

To boutique assistants: I want something simple (what, shopping bag?).

To restaurant waiter: I want something simple (what, chicken rice?).

To designer: I want something simple (what, a curved line?).

Great, whatever, as long as you know that simple and cheap are 68,017 entries apart in the Miriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

My wife-to-be and I were having coffee and cakes at Espressamente yesterday and she asked me a very conceptual question about the institution of marriage. Six hours and fourteen minutes later I was still chewing my words and the same piece of very simple macaron with pistachio and clarified cold pressed guava seed oil that we’ve ordered earlier, and so as if to help me phrase my answer she told me, very softly, holding my hand: I’m a simple person, dear.

That particular kind of “simple”, ladies and gentlemen, you have to be careful about, because it’s only as simple as a cup of espresso.

Meaning it’s complex: whether it’s Arabica or Robusta beans, the grade of the beans, the roasting style of the beans, the ratio of the mix of different beans, the grind, acidity/alkalinity of the water, temperature of the water, pressure of the steam, compactness of coffee ground, the crema, etc., etc…

Nothing is really simple, you know what I mean?

But it’s okay, I’m not a simple man. In fact, in ancient Rome my name would’ve been Complexus Maximus.

And so dinner time was approaching and we had to drive all the way to Sungai Long to eat what her mom describes as suibianzhu (随便煮) meaning “simply cooked” dinner (but if you tell her mom she has cooked simply chinchai like that she’s not going to be amused).

And so while her eighteen-year-old daughter, exhausted from shopping, sleeps in the backseat, I was trying to explain to my wife-to-be about the word “love” (becoz she complains that I don’t say the 3 little words) and that it didn’t come from Latin and that in Latin there are two different words for two different kinds of “love” called eros and agape and they have nothing whatsoever to do with the “love” we now know how it doesn’t mean what we think it means, and the “love” we now know is actually a highly compromised fusion of the two Latin loves and it doesn’t really mean anything at all, really. So when people tell you “I love you” it actually doesn’t mean jack shit. Let’s put it this way: when a girl says I love you it means you gimme agape in exchange for eros; when a boys says I love you it means you gimme eros and I’ll pretend to give you agape but 100% of the time they just want eros. Get it?

It’s all became very complex and boring but I like talking about boring complex shit like that.

And so I was talking and talking and I saw through the corner of my beady little eye that she was kinda not listening and kinda dozing off and so I stopped talking right before the Smart Tag beep goes off at Cheras Batu 11 toll.

And so then I totally shut the fuck up and played Cassandra Wilson on the stereo and held her right hand in my left hand and steered the grandmotherly car with my right hand and that is simple love to me.


5 Responses to “Simplify Me, Please.”

  1. al said

    its greek not latino …
    the ‘love’ topic is quite a good one.. at least it opens us up to talk about how we really view each other and what the other means to us (at the given time).. it really is just an opener.
    the ‘simple’ i love you means many different things at different times when we say it. and in marriage it is very important. To me, when i say it ,… it could mean any of the following.
    i love you =take care and see you later (and not in the careless way ppl usually say it, but really, bring yourself home to me safely and i’ll be missing you till you are with me again)
    i love you =you are so sweet and thoughtful
    i love you =you take my breath away
    i love you =you mean so much to me
    i love you =i am so lucky
    i love you =i really ‘see’ and hear you
    i love you =thank you
    i love you =i am yours/ not you are mine
    ….. and many more.

  2. stevie said


    i know it’s greek la, but i feel smarter if it’s latin :)

    see you in february?

  3. al said

    yup in Feb! with the man and his 2 friends,…

  4. Crankshaft said

    I always claim to be ‘simple’ but no one seems to believe me….

  5. stevie said

    Yeah, Crank, you’re as simple as a braking system in an aircraft. ;p

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