Doc Journal: China/Shaolin, August 2003
It was a hot day in Beijing, hovering around a very sweaty 40 degrees centigrade. It was early afternoon, and I was in the back of a small Chinese taxi cab, scrunched up next to two little Chinese woman that I've known as friends for about a year. OK, maybe one of them, not exactly just friends, but, that's another story. Sitting tightly next to Linda was not all that much of a hardship; she was incredibly cute, young, pure and simple (and just a friend), just simply a sweetheart if there ever was one. No, it just wasn't going to be that bad of a cab ride.
As we buffeted around in noisy traffic, Linda's small head full of luscious black hair slowly but surely crept over my shoulder to touch mine. Her right firm yet ample atypical Chinese breast touched my left arm as she leaned ever so tightly against me. Her little mouth, oh so close to my ear, whispered just a few broken English words, words that I could barely understand, in an oh so sultry yet innocent way.
"Do you eat Beijing *****?"
The inquisitive smile on her face and the twinkle in her eye only added to the shock that no doubt was written all over my sweaty face. I wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Few things throw me, but this did. Now, I'm not going to say that I've never heard anyone ask me of this before, and I'm not going to say what answer was spinning around in my head, but, no, I've never had anyone ask me that before, and, no, I'm not going to say what my first reflexive response was going to be. Fortunately, the shock of the question was enough to stop my mouth from blurting out an enthusiastic answer.
Thoughts of this relatively young girl being so forward with me started erupting, a young girl, though obvious to me, flirtatious and interested, as I was in her, was, in my impression, just a pure and simple art student from a remote farming town in China. I was actually closer friends with her roommate, and present fellow travel companion, Layla, for Layla spoke far more English in a far more comprehensible manner than Linda did. I thought about how I first met Linda, about two years ago, on a cold wintry day on WangFuJing street. Linda had basically come out of veritable nowhere, or so it seemed, and just appeared suddenly in front of me, blocking my passage. A quick question in very broken English, "I am art student, you want to look at art?", with a curious smile, and beautiful appearance, and I was stopped dead in my tracks. Normally I just ignored these Beijing art students, but, for some reason, I decided to stop and talk to Linda. I soon discovered that any discussion was going to be short lived, for Linda knew very few words of English. Layla, her constantly chatty companion, soon trounced upon me and entrapped me with long conversations, all in an effort to drag me up to their student art gallery, to sell me some relatively poorly done paintings. I went with it, and eventually, we became friends. Layla was quite the girl, but I felt like I was falling for Linda. Just something about her. Pure, simple, sweet. And, she had great breasts, but, well, you know, that's not important.
In the back of the taxi, as it roared in and out of noisy traffic, Linda was giving me that sullen look, that women seem to do so well. She slowly but surely leaned over again, and whispered into my ear, this time, a little more firmly, indicative to me that she was getting tired of waiting for an answer.
"Do you eat Beijing *****?"
"Er, I'm not sure I heard you correctly. Can you repeat the question?"
True, I wasn't sure I did hear that correctly, and, if I did, I certainly wanted to hear it again. Oh yes, it's the simple pleasures in life that make it all worth while.
"Do you eat Beijing *****? Beijing ***** are so rude."
Well, improper behavior was certainly not going to get in the way of my getting to know Beijing ***** better. Rude ***** or polite *****, hell, I could tolerate anything. I started to think of all things related, something witty and noncommittal that I could respond with, something that Linda would find highly entertaining, something that Linda would find humorous, something that would impress her with my superior intellect and comedic wit, something like, "Rude *****? I never met a ***** I didn't like", or, "A ***** savored is a ***** earned", or, "A ***** a day keeps the urologist away", or, "I like my ***** shaken, not stirred", or, my favorite, "Hell hath no fury like a ***** scorned". It's true you know, I've learned that. Never, ever, scorn a *****. Or its owner.
Well, maybe, on second thought, I'd be better off if I didn't try to impress her.
But I still didn't know quite what to say. I started to think of my options here. A negative answer would no doubt instill all sorts of doubts in her mind as to the manliness of the big bald guy sitting next to her. And, no doubt, would probably be a deterrent to some future "improvement" in our relationship, something which I certainly didn't encourage, but, which I certainly didn't discourage. Well, I tried to encourage it, maybe, a little. An affirmative answer might bring a smile to her face, which, subsequently, no doubt, would have brought a smile to mine, but then I started to think of the complications that would erupt in my relationship with Linda, and my relationship with Layla, and Linda's relationship with Layla, and everybody's relationship with everybody else. What a ****ing headache this was going to be. And then I thought of the last time I had Chinese food, and how the MSG gave me one hell of a damn headache. And a hypertensive crisis. No, didn't want to go through that again. Did Beijing ***** have MSG? Who knew? Oh, all those years of medical school, all to waste. I wondered. And I wondered. What to do...
"Do you? Eat Beijing *****? I don't like. Beijing ***** are rude."
Oh. Well thanks for that tidbit of information. That really helped me here. I looked at Linda, and then I looked at Layla, and then I looked at Linda again. I wondered. But something was becoming very clear to me. Beijing ***** was rude. I thought about that for a while, and decided, that regardless of what becomes of Linda and I, or Layla and I, or, Linda and Layla, that I was just going to have to do some more research on this "rude *****" phenomenon of Beijing.
"I eat Beijing *****. Eat, eat, eat. Eat Beijing *****. Rude. Very rude."
Her voice was starting to get a little louder, as she started to be slightly more emphatic about this issue. I wondered if the taxi driver understood English. I wondered if he ate rude Beijing *****. Linda started to look at me, with those little warm inquiring brown eyes, eyes which spurt out a demand for a response to her initial question. I was dumbfounded. Just didn't know what to say. There were a few rare moments in my life when I was absolutely speechless, and this was one of them. So many thoughts running around my mind, so many pictures. Images of Linda, images of Layla, images of Linda and Layla, images of some rude Chinese ***** running around Beijing. I looked out the window of the taxi to see if any were following us. And that's when it got worse. As I looked around, I noticed Layla looking inquisitively at me also. She wanted to know what my answer was. She had been listening all along.
I was doomed. I certainly didn't want Layla to know that I was interested in Linda's you know what, regardless of how rude it was, even though I was, well, you know what I mean, interested. For the last thing I wanted to do was to get into some sort of sexual love lust competition with another girl. It's bad enough when you fight with a guy for a girl, but, hell, fighting with a girl for a girl was just not a good thing for a guy to get involved in. You know, when girls like girls, sometimes they like girls because they don't like guys, or, they don't like guys as much as they like girls, or, they used to like guys a lot, but guys hurt them as guys always do so they start to like girls, but they still have some sort of like for guys, maybe not as much as they like girls, or, maybe just a little more than they like girls, but they still feel comfortable with girls, more so than guys, so they hang out with girls more than they hang out with guys, though, they still hang out with guys, because they like to hang out with guys, but, not as much as they like to hang out with girls. Besides, girls know how to please girls better than guys know how to please girls, or, at least, that's what some girls who like girls, and, who like guys, but like girls better, have told me.
I know these things.
Guys don't do well in these situations, yes, I understood that completely, it was all so very clear, all so very simple. And I didn't want Linda to know that I wasn't interested in Linda's you know what, because I was interested in Linda's you know what, even though the damn thing was rude; hell, Linda was purely a babe, I would have educated the ****ing thing and made it more respectful, just like the fat nuns in my Catholic grammar school, who by the way, also liked girls, did to me. Yes, I would have beat and punished that thing until it smiled and shined, constantly, just like I did in the sixth grade. Hey, I was going to be the rude ***** teacher, the professor of the uncouth cooty, the tutor of the bad-mannered booty, the coach of the discourteous dumpster, the trainer of the vulgar vagina. I assured myself, if anybody could do it, it was I. I'm not known as the great bald one for nothing you know. OK, well, maybe you didn't know.
What was I thinking. I was speechless. Just had no idea what to say. I was doomed.
Speechless. Yes, utterly speechless. Linda was getting annoyed at my lack of response to her poorly emoted questions. . Layla, ever the verbose one, with the far better command of the English language, decided to push me. For an answer. She had to know.
"Why don't you answer Linda? What is your answer? Do you like Beijing people? Linda hates Beijing people, they are so rude..."
Oh. Yes, of course.
I'm back. In Beijing. Again.
Nothing has changed. And everything changes....