China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Summer in China – A Season for Leaving

Totally Awesome Picture of the Week 67

When it’s 90 plus degrees with 100% humidity and your neighbor’s coal smoke is pumping along with the encephalitis mosquitoes through your broken window screen and down on the street the men who actually wear shirts have them rolled up past their nipples, while inside your apartment the ants, spiders and cockroaches have started to out number the giant gray dust bunnies, you know it’s summer in China.

With the onset of this flighty season arrive otherwise unexplainable impulses. For some this means a constant knee bounce, anticipating an end, whether actual or imagined; others are inclined to bare-feet and daydreams; and others still, short shorts and muscle-Ts. The options are limitless. Take the butcher, for example, who, upon feeling the first drops fall from the sky, scurries away with his table leaving his meat to marinate in nature’s China Alley flavoring: a mixture of acid rain and garbage juice with a splash of baby pee.

The foreigners, another breed of noteworthy summer behavior, spend their days impersonating characters from fairy tales. Noses pressed to windows behind their burglar bars, they seem to imagine themselves locked high in an impenetrable, dragon guarded tower. They pace, sit, stand, sprawl, repeat, restlessly awaiting their modern day knight in shining armor, also known as an airplane ticket home.

When they do leave their dwellings this time of year, you can spot veteran foreigners who have been through these strange feelings before – just look for rapidly dwindling patience and excessively angry reactions to such mundane parts of daily China life as car horns, hawking spittle, ugly yapping dogs, yelling, staring, stinky tofu, and reckless drivers.

Local Chinese people – or “the masses,” as they are often referred to (not yet being fully robotic) – are also effected by these undercurrents of character malfunction. The aforementioned rolling up shirts and other fashion twitches are just the beginning in a slough of bizarre behaviors, from carrying around a petrified leashed accessory cat (red blood stains seeping through their white pajama shirt where it’s claws are sunk into their back and ribs) to the unbridled consumption of raw, uncut cucumbers and sugar cane.

It doesn’t matter where you come from. When the sky is dark, low, dripping, hot and smells like poison your body innately knows that summer has found its way to China and that it is time for you to leave. Don’t allow yourself to be shanghaied into staying. It’s not a whim. It’s self preservation. Add years to your life and depth to your sanity and perspective by getting out of China.

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