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909 Grandpa Jias Rickshaw

 Ling Hong stood there silently, completely intending to ignore Wu Hai, while Wu Hai jabbered on and on about the French painter.

"O'Neill's paintings are mainly themed around the life in rural areas. They would occasionally be kind and innocent, occasionally comical and witty, and at times they would be melancholy and moody. Sadness occupied a huge part of his works, but he is a very politically inclined person, and a part that I dislike about him," Wu Hai concluded.

"After all, a painter needs to be pure in his painting. A painting that has been polluted by politics won't be as good." Wu Hai continued on before Ling Hong could say anything, "As a painter, one should be striving for freedom. Previously, on 10th January, there was a certain Chengdu painter that, for the pursuit of freedom, had participated in the bottomless festival and went riding subways without wearing anything on his lower half. Although I won't join something like that, that thirst for freedom is something I approve of."

"Haha," Ling Hong smiled at Wu Hai who was imparting him the knowledge in a completely natural manner. Inwardly, he was completely vexed. How did any of this have anything to do with what he was referring to? Bottomless festival? On the 10th of January, the highest temperature of Chengdu was 10 degrees. The cold of the south had a way to seep into one's body in ways that almost seemed magical.

Ling Hong personally would not join the bottomless festival as he had no intention of getting some diseases that would only show when he grew old just because he let his lower body go cold attending some bottomless festival.

"Why? Do you have a different opinion?" Wu Hai asked with a frown.

"Opinion my ass. Are you dumb?" Ling Hong cussed as this question made him laugh in anger.

"He was talking about the basketball celebrity, Shaquille O'Neal. Not the painter you are talking about," a voice suddenly explained just when Wu Hai was about to talk again.

The two turned and looked over at the same time. So Grandpa Jia was here again. As usual, he was dressed in black trousers and a gray shirt with long sleeves. He was standing behind two people in the queue and was staring at them.

"Grandfather Jia," Ling Hong greeted politely.

"Um," Grandpa Jia nodded with a wide smile.

As for Wu Hai, he maintained the same pensive look on his face and merely nodded as a form of greeting.

"Shaquille O'Neal, basketball celebrity? Not a painter?" Wu Hai suddenly exclaimed, as if he was hit by some realization.

"What do you think? I'm a fan of a politically inclined painter?" Ling Hong snorted coldly.

"You're the one who did not say it clearly. It's not my fault," Wu Hai said while rubbing his mustache calmly.

"I don't talk to people with below-average level of intelligence," Ling Hong said. This was how he would always console himself after he was defeated when bickering with Wu Hai.

"I heard he will be staying in a hotel in Chengdu," Grandpa Jia said.

"Yes! Grandfather Jia, you know about that as well?" Ling Hong looked at Grandpa Jia in astonishment.

"Of course, I frequently watch NBA matches. Shaquille is indeed an amazing player. But I like Yao Ming more although he already retired. Too bad I'm not tall enough. Otherwise, others won't stand a chance against me," Grandpa Jia nodded and voiced his opinion.

"Shaquille is great as well, but he has been retired for a few years now," Ling Hong lowered his head gloomily.

"I thought he will be joining the opening ceremony of some event? You will get the chance to see him personally," Grandpa Jia said with a wide smile.

"I have already seen him in person. I once watched his match live at the arena. He is indeed the one and only Shaq, with his slam dunks giving off a feeling the basket itself is going to be crushed," Ling Hong narrated in excitement.

It was quite rare to see Ling Hong so interested in something that was not food. He started chatting happily with Grandpa Jia, and the awkwardness from having to change how he addressed Grandpa Jia was gone as well.

"Of course. Watching him performing slam dunks are very comfortable. But his baby hooks are amazing as well," Grandpa Jia nodded in agreement.

"Yes! Slam dunks and baby hooks are his two killing moves! Of course they are great. But I have only gotten the chance to watch him live once. I still can't forget that," Ling Hong said.

"Unfortunately, I never got the chance to see him crush the basket and the backboard. I heard he once pulled the entire thing apart," Ling Hong said.

"He might do a slam dunk performance during the opening ceremony. I heard he loves performing and has even performed in two movies," Grandpa Jia said.

"True. It will be great if I can get his autograph," Ling Hong said. This was a wish shared by all with an idol.

"You can go line up. Your chance will definitely come," Grandpa Jia declared confidently.

"True. I can get in there anyway. I'm just feeling very excited that I'm getting to see him soon," Ling Hong said with a cheerful smile.

Next, Ling Hong started telling stories of Shaquille O'Neal again, while Grandpa Jia listened and replied occasionally.

The two no longer looked like a grandfather-grandson pair. Rather, they now looked like the members of an idol's groupie.

"Tsk tsk, this side of Ling Hong is truly a surprise," Wu Hai lamented in stupefaction.

"What I find harder to believe is Grandpa Jia being a fan of basketball as well. He is able to talk with Ling Hong about so many things regarding basketball," said Mr. Wei who was standing between Ling Hong and Grandpa Jia.

Of course, he had already stepped to the side, allowing the two to better converse.

"Mr. Wei, you know about basketball as well?" asked the other customer who was between the chatting duo.

"Not really. I'm just jealous of how Grandpa Jia can find a topic of conversation with him while I can't do the same with my daughter," Mr. Wei said with a helpless shrug.

"Haha, most girls are idol-chasing nowadays. You need to do the same," said the customer with a smile. His age was similar to Mr. Wei.

"Hard," Mr. Wei shook his head and gave a one-word reply.

Unknowingly, dinnertime arrived. The people in the queue took their numbers and started entering the restaurant.

Grandpa Jia and Ling Hong never stopped talking. From Shaquille O'Neal to the history of NBA and finally to the history of China's basketball, the two never stopped talking.

They would only stop speaking when ordering dishes. But the moment they finished ordering, they continued their conversation. It was as if they hated that they only knew each other now and they had an unending topic of conversation.

Even Yuan Zhou was looking at the two curiously. He muttered, "Since when did these two share so many topics of conversation?"

They only stopped when their food arrived. Nothing was more important than Yuan Zhou's delicacies.

That had always been how a foodie would carry himself.

As usual, Ling Hong had a sumptuous meal of one meat, one vegetable, and one soup. As for Grandpa Jia, he had a simple meal of Egg Fried Rice.

While eating, Ling Hong suddenly raised his head, "Grandfather Jia, why are you here so early today?"

"I'm going to visit your grandfather later. He was in a meeting, and I told him I'll go pick him up later," Grandpa Jia said.

"Oh, be careful on your way. Don't speed when it's dark," Ling Hong said and advised.

"Don't worry. I have always been a safe driver," Grandpa Jia declared confidently.

Then, the two focused on eating again.

Ling Hong was not surprised that Grandpa Jia was going to pick his grandfather up. After all, when his grandfather requested Grandpa Jia to change careers previously, Grandpa Jia refused. This was the only way his grandfather could help.

Previously, his grandfather had also told him off and went back on Grandpa Jia's rickshaw as well.

He had no other ways. Grandpa Jia would refuse any money he offered. Moreover, Grandpa Jia refused the veteran's pension as he was of the opinion that he was not crippled and thus did not need the country's money. And he also refused to change careers since he loved the freedom that came with being a rickshaw rider.

And thus, the only way Grandfather Ling could help was by being his customer.

In any case, with him being a frequent customer, Grandpa Jia would have a stable stream of income.

That's right. Grandfather Ling no longer used his family's driver. Rather, he would ride Grandpa Jia's rickshaw everywhere.