China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

A King and his Thing(s)


Totally Awesome Picture of the Week 15


As this image shows, sleeping midday in public is not a problem for most Chinese people. In fact, we have many pictures of people sleeping at random hours of the day in strange places and bizarre positions. What caught our attention in this photo was not the pleasantly slumbering gent but instead the carefully aligned vessels, each arranged in improbable groups of process and purpose.

First, look to the three buckets on the left. Notice how neatly they rest against the wall and each other. Relaxed in familiar company, they fade into each other and the wall without worry of misuse or abandonment, their insides comfortably full of live wiggling fish (this being a room in the corner of the fish market).

Second, fasten your eyes on the shoes of right-center. How gloriously odd! Also delicately lined up in a row of three, each heel hangs lightly over the edge with the toes holding steady. What, do you suppose, the lone larger shoe on the right is thinking? Does he (or she) despise his matching counterparts or does he relish their company? This is something we will probably never know because it is a common assumption that shoes do not worry over such trivial matters having nothing to do with instep or grip and therefore the language remains indecipherable. For now, we know that the air does wonders to expel the odors that grow within when a foot is present. I will say, it is safe to believe that although shoes love their feet owners, they too enjoy a vacation every once in a while and the kind soul who arranged them upon this ledge should know that their work is appreciated.

Lastly, look slightly to the left of the shoes. Now you should see a small white bucket containing a compost mixture of fish and chicken bones, the remains of the lunch process. Overlapping to the right, and in a little towards the man, you can glimpse a plastic bottle containing tea, an integral part of lunch, and to the right of that, well aligned with the compost bucket, you may notice a large bright thermos which of course now is empty, but for the puddle of oily leftovers at the bottom. This glorious vessel has fed the man as well as the small bucket. Oh my, the prestige! Notice how the warmth of its red surfaces serves as a focal point for the image. And, let us not forget the man himself, who has positioned his head and arms in line with both the tea bottle and the loving thermos. What a true master of his surroundings, giving life to these loyal objects by subjecting himself to their world.

What an amazing situation to capture! What a thrill! And truthfully, how strange to encounter it in China, where lines and order are as foreign as a meal without chopsticks. This picture is clearly deserving of an exceptional Totally Awesome title, perhaps it must rhyme. . . A King and his Thing(s)

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