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Our Toxic Relationship With Saigon Traffic: A Diagnosis

There is no way to describe Saigon traffic literally and have it understood by someone who has not experienced it.

Photo by Michael Tatarski.

Saigon traffic is a load of laundry done after mistaking powdered pectin for detergent. Saigon traffic is convincing a child that sweetbread is a dessert pastry and not mashed thymus flesh. Navigating Saigon traffic is swimming laps in a hot tub wearing full hát bội dress and makeup. It wakes late and puts its skin on inside out; walks on stage to offer a bouquet of thistles and poison ivy to the actors after the play; remixes sounds recorded in a slaughterhouse into music for wedding ceremonies. Circus ape cage-scented incense. Week-old milk poured in a termite mound. TV station broadcasting nothing but static. Saigon traffic forces you to take deep breaths through a sandpaper straw. Hot, hot, hot, Saigon traffic is a waiting room built out of bee swarms and tin-foiled laughter. It’s a tongue touching the hot wiring exposed by a diseased tooth. Saigon traffic stuffs your precious nostalgia in a burlap sack and beats it with a rusted length of rebar before tossing it in the sea.

You cannot blame being late on Saigon traffic; you knew it would be like this.

Vignette is a series of tiny essays from our writers, where we reflect, observe, and wax poetic about the tiny things in life.

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