I was at the gym this afternoon and not at all in the mood to be there. But like a little gay trooper worried about Father Time and his waistline, I went anyway. One of the ladies I volunteer with on Friday is also a member at my gym. Unlike most of the volunteers, she’s a local not an expat. But unlike most locals, she speaks English and is friendly in that Western way. She actually smiles.

So this afternoon she saw me at one of the machines, approached me with her smile and said, “You look miserable!”

I was speechless. She then raised a hand under her eye and continued, “Your under eyes are dark with circles.” She speaks Japanese English not American English.

I blamed the ghost. I told her I had been having trouble sleeping since our little friend appeared. Still, I kept wondering why anyone would ever flat out say to someone else, “You look miserable!” If she weren’t so sweet, I would have knocked her on her ass.