My parents and particularly brother are fond of teasing me about the Chinese propensity for public urination. Normally I just deny it, or brush it off and attribute it to small children in split pants, or maybe people in rural villages. Till tonight. Block or so from my house (see previous photoblog with the intersection from which you can see the forbidden city — that one) outside the restaurant I usually go for dinner; two dudes hanging out outside of it, one of em peeing on the traffic light, the other one looking on approvingly, chatting away.

“Surely,” I think, “surely these are homeless people, are drunk off their asses, or something. This cannot, cannot be a normal happening.”

I’m a third right. I go into the restaurant and order my meal, and then the two dudes come inside and sit down with the girl at the table next to me. This girl incidentally knows exactly who I am, including where I studied this summer, and regularly says hello to me on the street. I have no recollection of ever, ever meeting her. But that’s neither here nor there –
The point is that these two guys come in and sit down and proceed to have a completely civil and normal discussion with the girl and with me. Not slurring their words (any more than beijing dialect is already slurred, anyway), not walking funny, not obviously drunk. Just you know, outside peein’ on the street for a sec, then we’ll get back to dinner.
The one salvation here was that each of the dudes had taken down a bottle of baijiu, which is a little like having a fifth or so of vodka with your dinner. Unfortunately when I asked them about it they’re like ‘yeah we drink baijiu all the time, it barely does anything.’
Just wish this had happened on January 2nd; it woulda been the best ‘welcome back’ I could have asked for. Either way I now feel somewhat initiated.

edit: It occurs to me that I should be more thankful for these sorts of ‘what-the-fuck, china’ moments. A) they’re a lot of fun, B) they give me endless stuff to write about c) it reassures me that global culture isn’t quite homogenized yet, which is nice because that’d be kinda sad

« »