Thursday night, 7pm.
In mid-October in Beijing the sun has already set. I reach the 6th floor on foot. I have stalkers but I don’t know this yet. At my door, two wanna-be thugs manhandle me. I manage to slide my key in the lock. One thug, the one who spiked his hair up for the occasion forces my door open as if to invite himself in. This makes me go berserk. No Chinese looking like a QQ cartoon character is coming in my space uninvited. If I’m to get gang raped, it’s certainly not by a clown duet.
I’m shaking with outrage. I managed to close my door but not lock it my hands are shaking too much for this precise maneuver. I keep flicking the lock left-right-left-right-left. At least the space cadets (one is wearing an “inspector Gadget” trench coat) don’t try to come in. Good. Except I’ve got to go to a tango lesson at 7:30pm. The red guards at my door forbid me to leave my apartment. Nothing is worse than the idea of a clown duet gang raping me except possibly a clown duet preventing me from attending my tango class.
I open the door and vent my rage on the first clown in line. He’s made of rubber; my punches sink in his body and face. I resort to using my legs, kicking him. I do try to kick him off my floor, at least I sent his cigarette flying down the staircase. I do try to send him the same way his fag went. The son-of-a-bitch grabs on the handrail (for dear life. At this point I’m frothing at the mouth).
I realize wearing rubber flip-flops (I just had a pedicure I don’t want to ruin my purple nail polish) isn’t as efficient as wearing my tango needles. Fortunately this thought slows down my assault, giving me insight on what’s about to happen. The poor sap is about to swing in the empty, landing a few floors down on the edge of a cement stair, cracking his skull. I, the rich foreigner, will have to pay a mint for the hospital's skull-repair fee. Thus enlightened, I retreat to my den (locking the door).
I calm myself making a mental list of all the reasons why I hate Chinese people and China. I feel great knowing in my heart that they are part of a different group. The clowns. The rental agency goons, the teenage cheeseballs, the lame rapists. I am in a different group. It feels good to belong to a group because any other group is to blame for my misfortune. Wow, they themselves hate each other’s groups. I learned it from them, don’t judge me for being groupist!
And then I lose. Coming from the staircase I hear my ayi*’s voice. I open the door as surprised to see her there, as the clowns are to see her too. (She's a friend of one of the retard's mothers!)
“Ayi!? What are you doing there?” (In Chinese)
“I brought jiaozi** for Pirelli***” (In Chinese)
“Why?!” (In English I think I said it in English)
“Because he likes them.” (In Chinese. Ayi doesn’t understand English but she reads my body language. That’s how we mostly communicate. Part Chinese, part creative body language).
And then it happened. My security bubble busted. Two guys with hormones overload blocking my staircase. My Chinese ayi with a plate of steaming jiaozi. And me, late for my tango class. This is not the end of the story. But the rest isn’t as interesting. Because I can’t even blame it on China.
*ayi: (literally) aunt. In Beijing we call “ayi” the domestic helper. Ayi Li has known me and my dog for about 4 years. She’s seen my good friend’s daughter grow up from age 6 months to 9 years. Ayi takes care of my aging dog, sometimes cleans my apartment, helps me out with “things” I don’t understand. She is now family. Well, we are now part of her family.
**Jiaozi: Chinese food also called “dumplings”. Made with rice flour dough, filled with usually pork and a green veggee. Steamed trice. My dog’s favourite dish.
***Pirelli: my dog. 15 year old Italian Greyhound. Blind. Probably still alive for ayi’s caring feed and routine.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thursday night, 7pm.