Weird fucking day

Publié le par chrislzh

So it wasn't too bad, really, especially not to start with.

But.

So I went to a local restaurant for lunch. It's not a good restaurant, not by any stretch of the imagination or tastebuds, but it's cheap and it's close. I got my food and a beer and was quite happily sitting alone at my table.

Yesterday I went to the same place, because I'm a lazy bastard and I haven't yet gotten up the energy to go to the supermarket and buy some real food, and this guy was sitting at the next table. We were facing each other by default. I thought nothing of it, these things happen in ordinary life. Anyways, he stood out from the crowd. Super thin. Well, drawn. Well, sunken cheeks and eyes ready to start bulging. He was dressed to be outside, despite the perfectly adequate central heating. Underneath his attempt at a decent overcoat he had what at first looked like your standard, Party-issue, badly-cut suit. And running shoes. There was far more food on his table than one would normally expect a guy of his size to eat. So, he stood out. But this is Beijing, and freaks abound here.

Today I walked into the same restaurant and sat (coincidentally) in the same seat at the same table. I ordered different food, though, don't worry. I didn't realise that this guy was sitting a couple of tables in front. He had his back to me this time. I got stuck into my food, not really paying attention to anybody else. But as I got full, I noticed this guy up ahead kept turning back and looking at me. Strange, I thought. But wait, isn't that the guy from yesterday, who wound up shouting down his cellphone in some fucked-up dialect? Well, time went by, I'd pretty much eaten all I needed and was finishing my beer, and this guy finally worked up the courage to come talk to me.

The unfortunate facts about a foreigner's life in China meant that as soon as he started walking towards me, alarm bells started ringing. Not because I felt myself in any danger, but because too much about him screamed 'weirdo' and the mere possesion of white skin in the wrong place at the wrong time can mean trouble of a most unpleasant sort.

So he bowls on up to my table and says, in some ridiculous accent I've never heard before, words to the effect of "Can we be friends?"
"Why?" I ask, not to be an arsehole, but just because I've found myself in so many weird and ridiculous situations before.
He tries to explain that he's not up to no good, really, he just wants to be friends, because foreign friends are hard to find in this area and he likes foreign friends. Well, I joined him at his table 'cos I could see he wasn't going to be easy to get rid of and there were plenty of people left in the restaurant.

And we get chatting. Kind of. His really weird accent gets in the way of my comprehension, and my general lack of social skills, especially my infamous introversion (why did I have to look up 内向 in the dictionary? I truly am losing my English) got in the way of us actually having a conversation. But I was too weirded out by yet another weird-arse encounter of this nature to really want a conversation. Unfortunately, though, beer after beer was ordered, along with far more food than either of us could possibly eat, and weirdo continued to insist on trying to converse.

Well, it was clear that he'd had to get reasonably under the influence before he got up the courage to drag me over to his table. It was clear to me that he probably wanted a bit more than a chat. But what, though? His words suggested he wanted the prestige of having a foreign friend, but I find it hard to believe that in this day and age in open, developed cities like Qingdao there would still be such people floating around. He made a phonecall and I took the opportunity to get up and take a leak. Having leaked sufficiently, I opened the door to find weirdo standing there waiting for his turn. More alarm bells. Time wore on, more beers were ordered, I was starting to text friends in an effort to find an excuse to escape (as in: Oh, look at the time, and my good friend is expecting me in Baotou in just thirty minutes! And he texted me to tell me to hurry up, he's already passing through Buenos Aires. Well, I have to run! Sorry!), but weirdo wasn't done yet. He grabbed my hand and said he had something to talk about and started walking off towards the toilet.

Uh....

Yeah.

If you have anything to discuss with me, considering you've known me for all of twenty two and a half minutes, you can discuss it right here. And no good friend of mine has ever felt the need to drag me into the toilet to discuss anything, no matter how serious the issue may be. There is a plethora of more appropriate places for such things. But you've known me for such a short time you couldn't possibly have any valid issue to discuss with me in a private setting.

Needless to say, I didn't follow him into the toilet. And when he got back I finished my glass of beer and said, "Well, look at the time! I've really got to run!"

And boy did I run.

I don't want to come across as a homophobe. Most gay folks I've come across have been decent people who respect the fact that I'm straight, and I take the 'live and let live' approach as a matter of principle. But I would prefer to keep my own arse intact, and I sure as shit find it really creepy when some random drunk guy in a restaurant starts making dodgy moves in my direction just 'cos I've got white skin. Even if he wasn't gay, weirdo was setting off a whole range of alarm bells.

So I took a rather zig-zaggy way out on my way to buy some necessities, constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't being followed. Really, he creeped me out that much. Fortunately, though, China went back to its usual level of subtle, almost subliminal, surreality, and after a suitable period I was calmed down and feeling right back at home again.

On my way out, just after I'd confirmed I was free of weirdo, I bumped into two of my students. They just had their test and final lesson today, and are supposed to leave tomorrow. Trouble is, they were dragging luggage in the direction of their dorm. Shouldn't they be going the other way? Well, I stopped for a chat, and they were only taking newly-bought luggage back to the dorm to pack stuff. See? Life really is normal again.

Then just as I walked out of the gate I bumped into the husband of one of lzh's friends. A good man who I trust and who I like to have a few drinks with, but not a man I expected to see in this part of town. Well, we had a quick chat, exchanged the usual pleasantries, and off I went wondering just how he wound up here.....

So life is back to normal again.

Weird lunchtime, but that must be endured every now and then.

Publié dans chrislzh

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