China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Chinese Alarm Clock, Part 3

8:30 am: a pounding on the door again announces that we have an unexpected visitor. I jump – leap – out of bed and stuff my legs into the nearest pair of pants, and answer it. This time it is no old woman but a Chinese man wielding a coiled extension cord and a canvas bag. He is dressed like every Chinese man above the age of thirty (Let me explain. You are a middle-aged Chinese man. Your main objective is to make yourself as indistinguishable as possible. To ensure this, you observe an unspoken dress code that includes square-toed shoes, slacks, dress shirt or polo, and blazer. You find this suitable attire for any and all activities, including driving a taxi, shoveling gravel, fixing sinks, fixing computers, and playing Mahjong. Acceptable colors include blue, grayish-blue, gray, black, and brown – pinstripes are optional). So this man slips out of his pointy shoes and starts talking, pointing here and there, I shrug and shake my head to indicate that I do not understand. He gives up and tries to enter the room where Lily is still sleeping, and I reflexively bark and snap at him – no translation needed – and he backs away. Finally, he makes a phone call, and a couple of minutes later I receive a call from Xiang (Chinese John). He tells me that some workers will be in my apartment soon (knowing full well that they are already here). “They’re already here,” I tell him. He ignores me, and tells me that they will be installing some fences in our windows (See post: Totally Awesome Picture of the Week 4). He asks if that is ok. “Do I have a choice?” I ask, to which he laughs – a goofy yet unsettling laugh – says “Ok,” and hangs up. Moments later the drilling begins.

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