Monday, March 9, 2009

like a feral cat

The events of the past few days are pretty surreal. Death, I think, is always surreal, suddenly someone is there and then poof, they're gone. Death is especially difficult to deal with when it's the passing of someone young, someone with "their whole lives ahead of them". Daniel was such a great guy and it's hard to cope with the fact that he's gone when so many not great people are still here. Is there any sort of justice in the world? I don't understand what higher purpose would let something like this happen.

Daniel meant a lot to a lot of people. He was the type of guy you instantly wanted to date if you were a girl, or be friends with if you were a guy. He was kind and genuine and smart and handsome and not a single bit arrogant. Pretty much everyone from my hometown had some sort of Facebook status update mentioning him today. I left a comment on his wall, a stupid :( emoticon, but for some reason it made me feel a little better about the whole situation. A little, but not much.

Today of all days the sun finally decided to shine in Shanghai after two weeks straight of rain. Maybe there's something to be said for that, I'm not sure, but I welcomed it anyway because I was in desperate need of some semi-fresh air (by Chinese standards) and a long walk. I walked for over an hour with no particular destination in mind, and it felt nice to just wander around the city.

I just got a massage on Saturday, but I really needed another one to take my mind off things, so I stopped by my usual place and made an appointment with my usual girl, #31, for later in the afternoon, under the name "Miao Miao". A few hours later as I was relaxing in my room I got a call from one of the receptionists asking me if it was ok if I came in one hour later than I had scheduled. Sure, I answered, I had nothing better to do.

I got to the massage parlor right on time and they took me up to a room where I proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait.

It was one of those situations where you tell yourself, "In five minutes I'm leaving..." Then five minutes passes and you tell yourself, "Okay, okay, seriously, in another five minutes I. am. going. Enough is enough." Finally, after half an hour of this logic, I had given up hope on #31 and was starting to get angry. Angry is never a state of mind you want to be in pre-massage, so I figured I should just leave right then and there, even if she decided to show up.

The staff seemed really confused about what was going on when I asked for my shoes (you have to take them off and put on slippers when you enter), but gave them to me anyway mostly because none of them can really speak English so arguing is pretty much impossible. I put my Uggs on slowly, glancing at the manager from the corner of my eye half-hoping she would try to stop me. But she didn't.

I left the parlor and started walking down the street when I heard someone yelling "Wait! Wait!"

Yes! I thought. They're going to offer me some sort of incentive to come back!


"You have to pay!" The lady shouted with a heavy accent.
"For what?"
"Uh, I didn't get a massag-ay." I was making fun of her because it felt good to make fun of her, even though I knew she had no idea I was doing it.
"You have appointment, yes? For 6:30, yes?"
"Yes, I did have an appointment for 6:30, you are correct." I was talking to her like a child, very slowly and with a lot of hand gestures. Not the most mature way of dealing with the situation, but I had to blow off steam somehow. "And what time is it now?" I asked, pointing to the place on my wrist where a watch would be if I were indeed wearing a watch.

At this point there was a small crowd forming and the woman was getting embarrassed. Losing face is a huge deal in China, and this girl was losing it all over the place with about twelve random people watching.

"It is 7:00. But we busy! Come, come, only five minutes."
"No, I'm not waiting! I've already waited thirty minutes! That's absolutely ridiculous!" I waited for the impact of my words to sink in, but she just sort of stared at me with a hopeful look on her face. Clearly she had no idea what I was saying. "I'm leaving!" I shouted, turning away from her and stomping my way in the opposite direction.

I'm so glad she couldn't see my face when she shouted desperarely: "Miao Miao! WAIT! MIAO MIAO! MIAO MIAO!!"

It's impossible to look angry and upset when someone is screaming like a cat.

Now the problem is that I really can't go back there, which is unfortunate since they're the cheapest massage parlor in walking distance. I mean, technically I can go back there, but I would feel kind of silly after being so melodramatic and storming off. Maybe I'll wait a week or two and hope that they forget about me. Alas, with a name like Miao Miao, you're kind of hard to forget.

1 comment:

Andy said...

This is China. I bet you can count with the fingers of your hands the people who will see you once you come back to the US, excluding students and fellow teachers.

So, the point is, go back soon. Massages are better than dignity, right?