Impediments to an Otherwise Delightful Life -The Toast

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Hyakuninisshu_062Inspired by The Pillow Book (枕草子) of Sei Shōnagon (清少納言), completed 1002 AD


-When I was your age…

-Have you gained weight?

-Have you lost weight?

-Are you familiar with the Gospels?

-Not to be racist, but…

-I don’t have anything against gay people, but…



-Your parents before they became parents.

-The feel of your (now deceased) cat’s head under your hand.

-The last moments of the passengers on a plane, shot down over Eastern Europe.

-That kid’s facial expression when you teased him, back in second grade, not because you had anything against him, but because everyone was doing it and you finally decided to join in.



-A seemingly ordinary health ailment that won’t go away.

-An almost-disagreement with a sensitive friend you don’t often see.

-Facebook debates.

-You can’t find an important document.

-Having to call customer service with a complaint.

-Having to call customer service for anything, really.

-Your family.



-An acquaintance has a book published.

-You hear people praising a person you’ve never found particularly interesting.

-Your friend announces she’s pregnant. (Even though you don’t want to be pregnant, yourself.)

-The way your coworker speaks so lovingly of his partner.



-Arranging affairs to a subtle degree of perfection for the benefit of one who has no subtlety.

-Staying up late to prepare for a class that gets cancelled.

-Walking very fast to catch a train that turns out to be delayed.

-Thinking up elaborate comebacks to imagined insults.

-Preparing all the ingredients for a dish, only to realize you forgot to get the main item.

-Persuading your friends to include in their party some other friends of yours, then it turns out those friends can’t come after all.



-Trying to use a pencil eraser that’s gone hard, and it only smears your marks.

-Paper cuts, and also the moment you realize you’re about to give yourself one.

-Cold damp socks.

-Disintegrating wet tissues.

-The sounds of having your teeth cleaned.

-A persistent smell of rot from somewhere in your kitchen.

-Crusty day-old wet cat food.

-The crunch of eggshell in your breakfast.

Lisa Hsia is a writist and arter. Find her online at

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