Friday, June 30, 2017

What Did I Do Wrong?

I love Thursdays.

My teaching schedule is Monday through Thursday, so it is the last day of my work week. Plus, on Thursday nights, I go to an English salon. It is a place where a bunch of Chinese adults get together to hang out with native English speakers and practice their English.

At the very least,
a burger has to be made of ground meat.
I don't know why it's called a salon. The Chinese sometimes have funny names for things. For example, any piece of meat served on something that even slightly resembles bread, they will call a burger.

As near as I can tell, a salon is basically an informal teaching setting. The English salon that I attend is in the front room of a school, but it's set up like a living room. It's usually me and 5 or 6 Chinese locals who all want to talk to me. And this is great for me because I love to be the center of attention. Plus, I'm pretty awesome, so it works out for everyone.

We talk about the differences between China and America. We talk about food. We talk about travel and spend a lot of time talking about American politics. Everybody always wants to know what I think about Trump. The conversation flows freely. There are no suggested topics. It is just conversation that happens naturally. Once again, the purpose of this is just to give them an opportunity to practice their English outside of a classroom setting. I love going to this every week and I even get paid to be there. It's great.

Since I don't have to work the next day, when it is over I am not usually in a rush to get home. My wife, on the other hand, has an early day on Fridays. This is why she never attends these events and is generally in bed pretty early. Since she will be in bed when I get home anyway, I often find excuses to find something to do. Sometimes I wander the streets and call one of my friends back in the States. Some weeks, I will go try out a new restaurant or explore a new part of the city I've never seen. Last night, I just decided I would walk home instead of taking the subway.

It's only 9 subway stops. No big deal. Right?
It's over 7 miles, but I didn't know that yet.


The school is right next to the subway stop and the number 10 subway runs right under the Third Ring Road. I live next to that same road. All I had to do is follow the road and I would see some parts of the city I'd never seen above ground. I popped into a convenience store to grab a Pepsi and started be-bopping up the road. I enjoy exploring big cities and this night was no different.

About 20 minutes into my walk, I started to become very aware of the 96 degree temperature, but was determined to push on and I kept walking. I walked and walked and walked and walked while the sweat poured into my eyes. It was miserable, but I began to see this as a challenge to overcome and stayed my course. I maintained my quick pace and made it back to my apartment building in just over two and a half hours.

I was so happy to step into the elevator and begin the ride up to my shower. The ride seemed to take forever due to the Chinese belief that air conditioning is unhealthy and I no longer had the benefit of the night breeze. I was roasting in that metal box. I finally hit the eleventh floor and found my way to our apartment in the dark (the Chinese also seem to have some belief about light being bad for you). I turned the handle and pulled the door only to discover that it was locked.

Red doesn't lock the door on Thursdays before going to bed because the sound of me unlocking it always wakes her up, but it appeared this week she had changed her mind. I dug out my keys and tried to turn the lock slowly to keep the noise down, but the key turned too easily.

It wasn't locked.

I tried the door again and realized she had locked the bolt on the inside. The bolt cannot be unlocked from the outside. It is a hand bolt on the inside only.

Crap! Now, I'm going to have to wake her up.

I knocked on the door while also being careful not to disturb our neighbors. After all, it was after midnight. There was no answer. I knocked again louder, waited 30 seconds and then knocked even louder. Nothing.

I pulled out my phone to call her, hoping that she had not turned the sound off. As I started to dial, I thought, "Wait. Is she mad at me? Is that why she locked me out?" I started running through the day's events in my mind to think of what I might have done.
  • I ordered food to be delivered while she was in the shower without checking to see if she wanted anything.
  • When she apologized to our Chinese teacher for distracting the lesson by talking too much, the teacher said, "Oh. It's not a problem." I was too quick to say, "Just wait."
  • I had bragged all day due to all the retweets my joke about her squishy boob was getting on Twitter.
  • When our attractive female Ukrainian friend suggested Red use some of Red's essential oils on her, I asked if I could watch.
No, it couldn't be any of that. I do that kind of stuff all the time and I'm precious.

I called her phone. No answer. I sent her a text message. I left a voice message on WeChat (Chinese social media app). I called again. Nothing.

I knocked on the door much harder. I have to wake her up (or apologize). After several more attempts, I began to realize that I was not going to be spending the night in my bed.

I started looking around for a place to lie down and quickly ruled out lying on the filthy concrete floors in our hallway. I was going to have to go outside, find a bench and ride this out until morning.

I checked my phone. It was at 40%. I figured if I stayed off my phone, then when she does wake up and realize I'm not there, she will probably call or text to find out where I am. If, and only if, I haven't drained my battery, I would get the call letting me know that she was now awake. I didn't know where I was going to go, but I knew I was tired and hot and really needed to get back out to that breeze and find a place to ride out the night.

My sweaty hands made my finger slide off the elevator button when I pressed it and I began contemplating what a miserable night this was going to be. This was going to suck. As I waited for the elevator, I thought I'd use those last few seconds trying again. I knocked one more time and then immediately again hoping to further register the sound in her sleepy mind, but still got nothing.

Defeated, I lumbered back toward the elevator. As I waited, I heard a small click behind me. She was fumbling with the lock! I ran back to the door. "It's me. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that or eaten all the food or tweeted about your boobs. Please let me in."

The door slowly swung open and she's crouched down covering her naked body with her hands and peering into the dark hallway. As I stepped inside, I could see that she wasn't really awake yet. "Why are you crouching like that?"

She said, "I'm naked and didn't know who it was."

"And you opened the door anyway. I love you. Go back to bed. I need a shower."

8 comments:

  1. Adventures come and go, this one you will remember. I'll have to find that squishy boob tweet and reprimand you. I'm another chick. We have to stick together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Squishy" is actually the name that she gave her left boob. The other one is "bloaty", but that had stayed a household secret until this week.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. She was very apologetic. I found it quite funny since I didn't actually have to sleep outside.

      Delete
  3. For the last time, you are NOT precious!
    ...except when you are 100% wrapped in blankets with only your eyes showing, and I'm barely awake.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What an adventure. My wife turns off her phone and sleeps like the dead, so I've come to realize that if I ever get locked out of the house like this, I'm just sleeping on the lawn until she slowly realizes that I'm not inside the house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was really starting to think that was going to happen. My two main concerns were that it was almost 10 degrees outside, so I knew I would be very uncomfortable. AND I was in the middle of a big city. There was no way I would be able to actually fall asleep and feel safe.

      Delete

Leave a comment. C'MON!!! You're already here. Leave a comment. Don't leave me hanging and wondering if any has ever seen these words. I'll rub your feet.