Since calling it quits, I have become free and easy. As I explained in a previous column, to “call it quits” means to stop doing something. I have stopped my TV shows and newspaper columns except for my Headline Daily columns. The expression “free and easy” means being informal and relaxed. I am enjoying my free and easy lifestyle. I no longer have to wear a suit and tie to record my TV shows or to attend formal meetings. I wear jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers (American for sports shoes) everywhere I go. I shave every few days instead of daily, like before. I would like to grow a beard but I don’t want to have a salt-and-pepper beard.
A “salt-and-pepper” beard means a beard that has a mixture of black and white or darker and lighter facial hair. This happens when people get older, causing their hair and facial hair to turn white. Famous American actor George Clooney has a salt-and-pepper beard and salt-and-pepper hair. He does not bother to colour his hair or shave his well-trimmed beard. He uses his salt-and-pepper beard and hair as a brand. The expression “well-trimmed” used this way means a beard that is neat and short. The white hair represents salt and the black hair represents pepper.
Now that I am free and easy, I spend my time hiking. I have been to Aberdeen Country Park, Duckling Hill, Wong Nai Chung Reservoir, and Tai Tam Country Park trail. Last week I went to Black's Link where I saw three civic-minded girls picking up trash (rubbish). I asked them why they were picking up trash. They replied they had volunteered to do it. Before the pandemic, not many Hong Kong people went to country parks. Many now go for fresh air and to do something different because the pandemic has made overseas travel impossible. I am glad Hong Kong people have discovered our country parks. But I wish they would not leave so much trash behind.
自從離職（calling it quits）以後，我變得自由自在（free and easy）。正如我在之前的專欄中解釋，to “call it quits”意即停止做某事、不幹了。除了我的《頭條日報》專欄，我已經停了我所有的電視節目主持工作及專欄寫作。習語“free and easy”意即不拘禮、輕鬆自在的。我現在很享受我那無拘無束的（free and easy）生活。我不需要再穿西裝打呔，去錄製我的電視節目或出席正式會議。我無論到哪裏，穿的都是牛仔褲、T恤和運動鞋（sneakers）。我現在隔幾天才剃一次鬚，不再像從前般要每天剃鬚。我喜歡留鬍鬚，但我可不想有個「鹽與胡椒粉」（salt-and-pepper）的鬍子。
A “salt-and-pepper” beard意即黑白相間，又或顏色深淺不一的鬍子。當人年紀漸長，頭髮和鬍鬚便會變得斑白。知名美國演員佐治古尼就有一把花白的（salt-and-pepper）鬍鬚跟一頭斑白的（salt-and-pepper）頭髮。他不在乎要染髮或剃掉他那修剪整齊的（well-trimmed）鬍子，反倒用他那花白的（salt-and-pepper）鬍子和頭髮作為個人標誌。習語“well-trimmed”在這裏是指修剪得企理而短的鬍子。而所謂的「鹽與胡椒粉」，白髮白鬚就是鹽，黑髮黑鬚就是黑胡椒粉。
現在我輕鬆自在（free and easy），盡可花時間行山了。我已經去過香港仔郊野公園、鴨仔山、黃泥涌水塘，以及大潭郊野公園行山徑。上星期我去了布力徑，在那裏遇見三位富有公民意識的女生在執拾垃圾（trash）。我問她們為甚麼在執垃圾（trash），她們回應說她們是自願去做的。疫情之前，不是那麼多香港人會去郊野公園，現在則有許多人去郊遊，呼吸新鮮空氣，嘗試不同的體驗，因為疫情令我們不可能再到外地旅遊。我欣喜香港人發現了我們的郊野公園，但我希望他們不會遺留下這麼多的垃圾（trash）吧。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧