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【河岸街筆記】城市生活

將整包炸麵衣(天かす)倒進裝過沙拉醬的玻璃瓶裡,麵衣自瓶口依序滑落,倏地便盛了三分之二瓶,扭上蓋子輕輕地搖,音聲清脆卻不刺耳,像會說故事的星砂,有些不真實的氣息。櫥櫃太小,廚房又濕,紙包裝易潮,塑膠袋總是貼不牢,索性收集大大小小的瓶瓶罐罐,把可以分裝的乾食材倒進玻璃容器裡,筆管麵、調味料、糖與麵粉,打開櫃門一看,倒有幾分新潮餐廳的時尚感。筆管麵裝在玻璃罐裡,搖起來的聲音像是質重的骰在筒裡滾動,命運看似操縱在手,實則全由不得自己左右,格外有種生活的真實感。煮飯時偶爾抓著幾個瓶子搖頭晃腦,敲敲打打,好似心神重新回到幼時的那個研究家,什麼都好奇,什麼聲音都試圖要弄個清。

從住處到附近的大型超市約莫十分鐘的路程,即便是沒特別要外出的日子,還是免不了要上超市採買。路口是一間終日人聲鼎沸的酒吧,這一側是安靜的小路,散著幾間咖啡店與食肆,除卻週五市集之外,白天通常是一個城市裡鬧中取靜的格局。過了酒吧便是大馬路,重要幹道串起城市北側的四個主要終端車站,車行急,喇叭急,有時探出頭來破口大罵的駕駛更急。大馬路的另一側是生活機能完備的住宅區,小小的幾條路已聚齊了世界各地的料理。半月型的公園是必經之路,彎的那一側是一整排的舊建築整裝為小型飯店,直的這一側最近打掉了舊有的建物,聽說要蓋一座更新、更大的學生宿舍,高等教育作為這座城市致力發展的一項產業,這些年來愈見蓬勃。

望敲掉之建物緊鄰的牆面看去,幾格相鄰的空間敞了開來,散落著水泥塊的空房,突然赤裸裸地坦露在陽光底下。一條樓梯向下接不到頭,忍不住引人遐想,彷彿舊時曾經玩過的電腦小遊戲,有上樓梯和下樓梯的版本。前者要一直向上逐級攀爬,不知道盡頭在哪,卻也回不了頭,一個分神踩空,便是重重地摔在地上。後者更慘,遊戲一旦開始就不能停止,只能揀選安全的階梯向下跳,上頭是步步進逼的鐵刺,下面則是萬丈深淵,務必在短暫的時間裡做出快速的求生判斷,在有限的選擇之中,顫巍巍地前行。

超市裡來了新的收銀員,三四十歲的亞裔臉孔,一邊結帳一邊哼唱著小野貓的成名作:「Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?」下一句的詞是想不起來了,頓了兩秒又唱了同一句,等不到回應,所以右肘推了推隔壁的年輕男店員,唱了句:「Don’t cha?」。畢竟收銀是件重複而無趣的事,給這份工作添點樂子,每個人的方法總是各具特色。一位年輕的打工男孩,特別專注於拚速度,隔壁櫃台的阿姨同個話題還沒聊完,他三兩下便結完一位客人,開口呼喊下一位,等待的空檔咻咻伸手抽了四五個塑膠袋攤平備用,一刻都不得閒。另一位長得高一些的年輕男孩,習慣先拿衛生紙盒之類的磚塊在兩側砌好城牆,再把東西由大至小,穩穩地在中間擺放,途中感到城池略有不安穩,還要左一些右一些地微調。頭戴編織帽的阿姨更厲害了,每一件商品都可以衍伸一個話題,從籃裡拿起一盒水果塔他說,這太漂亮了我一定要好好的幫你放好不要破壞他的美麗,提起大包裝的捲筒衛生紙他說,我們沒有這麼大的袋子耶直接手提沒問題吧,還來不及回應他又說,你知道嗎竟然有人堅持一定要包起來耶我都拿在手上搭地鐵啊這有什麼問題呢。

扭開爐火,事實上電爐雖然燒久了會發紅,卻沒有火,必須要耐心地等他逐步增溫。室友心血來潮說要來做紅燒獅子頭,索性在一旁打打下手,燒一鍋油來炸。沒有肚深的鍋,倒完半罐沙拉油才只夠浸到半顆獅子頭的高度,隨時注意著要翻面。滋地一顆一顆下鍋,圍著鍋底中心的紅圈圈像八顆行星圈起一個星系,油炸的聲音細且溫柔,像泛起的泡泡趴伏在肉丸身上歡鬧著,像安寧的日子裡周身繞著無害的小刺激,像美好的豔陽天底下混雜著蟲鳴與心事的背景音。忍不住低下頭來試圖聽個仔細,腦海驀地浮現了近日裡讀過的美麗詩句:「而我們多久未曾/側耳對著一扇抽屜/只為聽得幾枚彈珠。」

想起了一些聲音和笑容,卻覺得安心。

( featured image:Euston Road, London , 2014 )

河岸街筆記

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