36 Hrs into the Juice Fast and…

…I folded like a napkin.  I broke like a dry twig.  I crumpled like a dirty pair of undies, tossed onto the floor.

I completely and utterly failed and I’m pretty ok with that.  It wasn’t so much the constant discomfort combined with the thought that there would be 8 1/2 more days of nothing but lemon juice, combined with the knowledge that there was a kitchen full of food just a few feet away.

All of that played a large part of my downfall, but the straw that broke my back was how short my temper was getting with my kids.  I would notice it and remind myself that I was just hungry and if I could keep my shit together it would pass in just a couple days, but I would still find myself over-reacting over things that normally wouldn’t bother me at all.

So, there it is…my failure is not at all a result of my weak and insignificant will.  Instead, it’s the fault of my two, young and innocent children.  Yes, let’s blame it on them.  My ego feels better already.

Wife and Spawn are heading back to Taiwan in late April and maybe I’ll give it another try then, when I’m can lock myself away and not have to subject anyone to my unpleasantness.

Published in: on February 18, 2012 at 6:31 am  Comments (1)  

Juicin’ my Colon like Craaaazyyy

This how I wish I felt about juice, but actually feel about fried mushrooms dipped in Ranch Dressing. I couldn't find a picture of someone looking this happy eating the fried mushrooms, though.

About 3 years ago I was in a weight losing competition that I, and my equally tubby competitors, dubbed “The Fat Off”.  It was a two month contest to see who could lose the most weight.  The rules were: No puking, No drugs.  Everything else is ok.  At the end, the losers ALL pay the winner NT$1,000 (US$33.80) per pound of the difference lost.  So, if I lose 10 pounds and you lose five, you owe me NT$5,000 (US$169).

I lost a ridiculous amount of weight and a fairly substantial amount of money.  Through various forms of self abuse, I averaged about .8 lbs per day for the two months and I still came in 17 pounds under the winner.  As much as this made my wallet hurt, when looking at my new sexy ass in the mirror, it seemed worth it at the time.  Of course, three years later, my ass is not so sexy anymore and now I just wish I had my six hundred bucks.

I won’t go through all the stages of my extended Fat Off bliss – it’s not the point of this post, but might be a good story for a later date – but I will talk about stage #2.  After the weight loss from cutting a few calories and exercising 2 hours a day plateaued, I decided to go on The Master Cleanse.

For those of you who don’t know, The Master Cleanse is a colon cleanse that is supposed to rid your of all of the toxins that build up in your body from all the chemicals that we ingest in this industrial world of ours.   What you do, is mix up some fresh lemon juice, grade B Maple syrup, pure distilled water and cayenne pepper.   You substitute this for food, and put nothing else in your body but more distilled water and, every morning, a liter of salt water to “cleanse” your system.  And by “cleanse”, I mean “rocket through your intestinal tract and spay out your sphincter 20 minutes after forcing it down your gagging throat”.

To be honest, I really didn’t give a shit about toxins.  I saw the winner of our little Fat Off pulling away and I needed something to help me play catch-up.  This article  decided it for me.  If skinny-ass Beyoncé can drop 20lbs in 2 weeks, I was certain to dump a giant load with all my fat ass had to offer (disgusting double-entendre intended).

Well, to my relief,  I did drop a load, but more than that, I found the whole experience and interesting one.  Let me recap it for you:  (not for the fecally sensitive).

Day One:  Special bathroom time is all normal.  At the end of the day, you’re a little hungry.

Day Two:  Special bathroom time is “normal” but markedly smaller than normal, except for peeing, which is like a racehorse.  At the end of the day, you’re very hungry and kind of angry.

Day Three:  Special bathroom time is non-existant, other than your morning cleanse, which might remind one of those times after school when had some Nestle Quick in the house, but no milk, and thought “Maybe I could use water and it’d be ok.”  By the end of the day you wish your spouse and children and coworkers and friends would all die because they obviously have no sympathy for your self-imposed tragedy (which you could stop at any time).  Your head hurts.  You’ve been having dizzy spells all day and you start reasoning with yourself that losing a thousand dollars on a ridiculous, spur-of-the-moment bet wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Day Four:  Special bathroom time is still null but your Morning cleanse might remind one of a clean mountain spring.  You feel…kinda awesome.

Day Five:  Day four all over.  You feel fine.  Energetic.  Clean.  No hunger pangs at all.

Day Six:  Special bathroom time is…different.  Your morning cleanse starts off like a clean mountain spring and then a torrent of black, industrial sludge from the factory upstream arrives.  Other than feeling fucking disgusted that the stuff you’re looking at came out of you, you feel fine.  No hunger and plenty of energy, but your tongue has turned white.  Paper white.  It looks like it’s been dusted with cocaine.  This would normally worry you, but you read on the internet that this is normal and, always trusting what strangers with no medical degrees say, you feel that things are progressing splendidly.

Day Seven: Special bathroom time isn’t the crime scene that it was on Day Six, but there is still some nasty in your nethers and you feel only a little less gross than yesterday.  Otherwise, everything is fine.  No hunger.  Lots of energy.  Tongue still white.

Day Eight: Special bathroom time is back to looking like an Ozarka commercial.  You still feel ok.  Your energy is not bouncing you off the walls, but it’s certainly at a higher level than you’d have after Thanksgiving dinner.  Your tongue is white.

Day Nine is a continuation Day eight.

Day Ten: your tongue turns to a nice, healthy pink and your body is “cleansed” of all toxins.  Dr. Internet says so, so you know it’s true.

Once I got past the third day, it was so easy that I probably would have kept going with it, had my weight-loss not plateaued again, forcing me to resort to more desperate, and less comfortable methods to keep my family out of the poor house.

However, after the whole experience, I thought I would do a cleanse once every year or two.  It was the gunk that spewed out of me on day 5 that convinced me that it might be a good idea because, whatever that shit was, it could not be healthy to have it sitting around inside of me.  Another affirmation that  I want to do this on a semi-regular basis came about a year ago when a buddy of mine told me that his father almost died because of a perforated intestine, caused from crap sitting around up in him (which is the medical term for it…sorry laymans, you’ll have to look it up to understand).

I know that there are high-fiber diets that are a lot easier and apparently just as good for scrubbing out your innards, but I do like the weight loss aspect as well.  Yes, naysayer, I know that it’ll come back quickly because my metabolism will have lowered and blah blah and my blah will blah blah.  But I tell myself it’s the beginning of a change in lifestyle and I can have a metamorphosis like Jared Leto in those pics from that link I posted above.  I know I’ve said that to myself before and it was all lies, but this time it’s different.  This time I’ve changed.  I know I’ve done some bad stuff to me, but I didn’t mean it…I just get so crazy jealous sometimes that I can’t help it.  When I think of myself with someone else and I just…..

I also just wonder if I can actually do it.  If my will was as iron-clad as I always like to imagine it to be.

So, On Monday I got together all my lemons and waters and syrups.  Actually, since China seems to hate Maple trees, this time I’m using honey as the sweetener, which some fake internet-doctors say is ok and some are staunchly against.  I’m going to take my chances with it though, since eating pollen that has been regurgitated by bees seems every bit as ‘natural’ as eating tree sap.

Anyway, Tuesday morning I filled up my liter bottle of goodness and headed to work, ready to take over the world.  By Tuesday afternoon I had come up with 57.3 reasons that this just wasn’t the right time for a lemon cleanse and I went home that evening wondering if I was going to make it through dinner.

I made it through about 2 minutes of dinner before my iron-will crumpled like a wet paper sack.  Sure, my boss had called that day and said he would be in the office the next day through Friday, and I needed to “be at my best”.  And, no, I wasn’t expecting the caffeine-withdrawal headache that I felt coming on at around 4:30, and, yes, the thought of suffering through that AND hunger pangs for 3 days seemed too much to bear.  But none of that changes the fact that I’m a giant, sniveling puss who would probably break in an interrogation before they finished strapping me down to the torture chair, whatever a ‘torture chair’ is.

Maybe if I agreed to give someone an obscene amount of money if I don’t make it to the end of the cleanse, my balls would drop and I could make it more than 14 hours.

I plan on starting again on Friday.  That way, most of my angry hunger tantrums can happen over the weekend, safely away from my workplace.  Also, if I start Friday Morning, my caffeine withdrawal headaches will be in full-swing by Saturday and starting to subside by Monday morning.

I will keep you all posted on my misery.

IN WRITING NEWS…  I received more very positive news from the agent’s office, but have yet to hear from the agent himself.  About three weeks ago, I decided to show some gumption and some range by writing another spec script and sending it in, unsolicited.  So, I picked a very different show than I wrote last time and gave it a go.  It took me about 10 days to write and revise an hour long script to one of my favorite shows.  I think it turned out awesome, but I always tend towards thinking I (and I related things) am more awesome than other people do, so who knows.  I sent it in a little more than a week ago and am already thinking about working on another spec for another show (maybe a half hour comedy) to show even more gumption and range.  I can’t decide if I would come across as a go-getter or just pushy and annoying.  After all, they already have four samples of my writing.

IN FOREIGN SERVICE NEWS:

I took the Foreign Service test last Saturday and it felt about the same as it did last time: not easy, but not hard.  I passed it last time, so maybe that’s a good sign.  Or maybe I’m just thinking I’m awesome again and I actually bombed it.  We’ll see in three to five weeks.  I’ll keep you posted on that too.

Alright.  That’s about it.  The next time you hear from me, I’ll be starving and angry.

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 9:38 am  Comments (2)  

Progenirator X (Y)

I’ve been on a brief hiatus from the blog. “Brief” being 4 months or more. I’d like to be able to tell you that I have been polishing up the great american novel, working on a screenplay or curing cancer but since there are only 3 people who read this blog, and they all know me pretty well, you probably already know that these are all lies. Lies, I tell ya.

One thing I have been doing is making babies. It seems my sperm just can’t be stopped (especially when I don’t bother taking any precautions to stop them). Since Spawn #2 popped out, Wife and I have been loosely debating whether we were going to go for #3, and now it seems the discussion is over and for the past four months I’ve been spending most of my spare moments thinking things like “Wholly shit, our house is going to be loud!”, “I guess it’s time to schedule that vasectomy.” and “I hope they’re all good in school, because there’s no way I’ll ever afford college.”

You probably know that China has a one-child policy. This doesn’t effect me at all, since both my wife and I are dirty foreigners. We can pump out as many rugrats we can fit into our double-wide, and the Central Committee wouldn’t even think of forcing my sweet bride into a glorious state-supported back room abortion. However, one thing that being in China does effect is that the doctors can’t tell us the sex of the baby.

It’s very important to a lot of Chinese to have sons and pass on the family name.  Since China has a one-child policy, a lot of families, who find out that they have a fetus of the vaginal persuasion, were, until recently, faced with the possibility of their long family line fizzling out. So, to keep the unthinkable from happening, many women would get that potentially disastrous vaga-fetus scraped right out of them in the hopes that the future might bring a more penally robust fetus into their wombs.

The result of this sound practice that China will have around 40 million more marriage-aged men than women in the next 10 years. If you’re a woman (who happened to avoid being aborted), this is a pretty sweet situation.  You’ll have plenty of choices in your search for someone to make your own fetuses with.  But the fact that there will be more than 40 million lonely, horny dudes roaming around the countryside within the next few years makes me want to get my 2 daughters out of here before they hit puberty.

I digress.  The point I was trying to make is that because so many people here seem abortion crazy if their genetic coin flip ends up tails (pun not intended, but still appreciated), China put in a policy forbidding doctors from telling parents the sex of the baby.  This makes sense to me.  It’s a horrific practice that is causing a fairly large social problem.  Keeping doctors from telling parents the sex seems a small price to pay if it solves the problem.  But as a foreigner, of course I’d like to be exempt for any local laws that I find inconvenient.  After all, I have  two wonderful daughters who I loves very much, and are long past aborting age.  Neither my wife or I are Chinese citizens.  I thought, surely, they’d tell us.  As someone who can’t see a gift with my name on it without peeking under the wrapping, I had no intention of waiting until next Summer to find out what was under the tree, so I encouraged Wife to beg, cajole and bribe the doctor, but nope.  No special treatment for us.

Just as I was about to accept that there was no way to weasel my way into my Wife’s womb to take a sonogram-enhanced peek at my kid’s privates, I remembered that we were all spending Xmas in S. Korea with some very close friends of ours.  An appointment was set up, and  one plane ride, one car ride, 35 bucks and 30 minutes in the waiting room later, I was told we are having a boy.  The doctor even drew a circle around it, drew and arrow to said circle and wrote “penis” on the sonogram print out, so either it’s a boy or she’s got a superfluous appendage.

I’m so curious about how this is going to change the atmosphere  in our house.  Right now, with two girls, it’s all squeals, giggles and drawing on each other’s faces with crayons and saying it’s “make up”.  I wonder how much chaos a boy is going to bring into the mix.

If he’s anything like I was as a boy, probably a lot.

In writing news:

There’s nothing solid to tell, but I did get a very exciting email from an agent’s assistant at one of the largest talent agencies in Los Angeles.   A buddy of mine made the intro and I sent in a spec script a few months ago.  In early Dec. she sent an extremely flattering email back.  I won’t give details because I’m sure it will jinx it, but I’ve read the thing a couple hundred times since receiving it and it still brings a smile to my face every time.

What does it actually mean?  Maybe nothing…maybe everything.  Her boss (big shot Hollywood agent) has been told about me and my spec script and it’s on his reading list.  I’ve also been asked for, and given, other examples of my work.  So, everyone keep your fingers crossed for little Hinesy.

In other news:

I’m taking the Foreign Service test again on Feb 11th.  Wish me luck.  But wish me more luck on the script.  Diplomats are cool and all, but they can’t work in their underwear like a writer can.

Published in: on January 6, 2012 at 5:38 am  Comments (2)  

Bathrooms, Computers and Spankin’ that A**

One really awesome thing about living in China is, occasionally, you’ll get a nice big healthy case of the runs.  Actually, I shouldn’t limit this to China.  I’m not admitting I’ve actually gone doodie in mine own pants, because that would be far too embarrassing, but I will say virtually everyone I know who has traveled extensively- and everyone I’ve actually asked – has sharted in their underoos at least once.  It goes with the territory.

Today is one of those special days.  No sharting (don’t go getting all excited) but I have had a couple dozen trips to the back to spend some time with myself.  Of course, this has not gone unnoticed by my coworkers, and that brings us to another perk of living in China.  People talk openly about bodily functions.  Of course, in my mind, this makes total sense.  Everybody poops (if you haven’t read the book, you should).  Everyone vomits.  Everyone farts, burps, digs boogers out of their nose and at least half the population lets the occasional queef.  We all do it – so my mind tells me – what’s the big deal with talking about it?

Well, apparently it’ s more than my Victorian upbringing can handle because when I was coming back from my 47th trip to the bathroom this morning, and my Chinese coworker says, both loudly and with sincere concern, “Oh, Hinesy, I think you really have the serious diarrhea.” I really couldn’t do anything but laugh as I kept walking to my office.

He had no way of knowing that when I’m embarrassed, uncomfortable or scared, I tend to burst into laughter (I have no idea why) and he probably thought that he’d made some sort of strange foreigner connection with me because then, every other time strolled by him – trying very hard to seem casual, like it wasn’t unbelievably urgent for me to get to a commode as soon as humanly possible – he would say,  “Ohh.  To the bathroom again!?” and then smile and laugh in a “our friendship just reached a whole new level.” kind of way.  I would then just shake my head, laugh some more, and waddle down the hall with my butt pinched-tight.

It’s been an awesome day.

Writing update!

None, Zilch, Zip, Nada.

My sweet and shiny Macbook is at the Macbook doctor’s.  Generally it’s fine, but my AppleCare runs out in February and I want to get as much stuff fixes on it as possible while it’s free.  This time it’s a new trackpad and a new screen.  Is there anything REALLY wrong with either?  Hmmm… saying “no” might make me a fraud, but I admit it was nothing that would keep me from using it.  However, I’ve paid enough for that AppleCare and I want my moolah’s worth.

It’s been there for four days now and I’ve no idea when it will be back in my loving arms.  I’ve been using other workstations, while at work, and sneaking bits of time on my wife’s computer, but nothing with enough time to do any writing or editing.  Besides, all my stuff is on my computer…an writing on someone else’s computer feels dirty, and not in a good way.  Even doing this blog on another computer feels a little like cheating.

The last part of this blog was going to be a heartfelt defense of spanking your children, but quipping about today being one, long, never ending bowel movement has taken far too long.   You’ll have to read about me beating my children next time.

No, I don’t really beat my children, sicko.

Published in: on September 8, 2011 at 8:53 am  Comments (2)  

Cross walking

I know I just wrote about China livin’ in my last blog entry, but something happened on the way to work today that I wanted to talk about.  This is something that I’ve seen happen a lot in my months here and it completely baffles my mind.

My coworkers and I were in the company car, going happily at along when this old woman stepped in front of the car, coming about a foot from getting smashed right into a slightly early grave.

Now, people stepping into traffic is, by itself, neither extraordinary nor interesting.  I probably can’t count the number of times I almost got run over as a kid because I didn’t bother looking before I leaped.  What’s interesting is that it didn’t seem careless.  It seems like an active decision on the woman’s part, although not a suicidal one.

One thing to remember is that in Ningbo, traffic is shit when you get out of the city.  In the city center it’s not great either but cars usually stop at red lights and are there are crosswalks at most major intersection.  As soon as you get out of the city, however, about half of the cars are replaced by 18-wheelers and construction trucks.  The traffic lights disappear and the few that you do see are, for the most part, ignored by the massive behemoths that are rumbling down the street.  It’s like they just assume that anything smaller is going get out of the way, and if doesn’t then they’ll know better next time.  All semblance of order just evaporates.  When you’re outside of town, people pass on the right, on the left, they’ll turn into oncoming traffic to pass a slow-moving car and veer back into their own lane just before a head-on collision; and they do it like it’s the most normal thing in the world.  From the lack of reaction from the drivers that suddenly find a car barreling towards them, I guess it is.

As a pedestrian – if your out of the city – you’ve got a small conundrum on your hands.  You’ve got no lights to help you get across the street.  There’s no way anyone is going to stop for you and just because you’re outside of town doesn’t mean there is less traffic, so if you want to get your chicken ass across the road you’ve got about fifteen seconds of taking your life in your hands.

I’ve had to cross the road in this sort of situation and my instinct is to wait for a small break in traffic and haul my fat ass across as fast as my little legs will carry me.  But I’ve never, EVER seen that same method from the citizens of my host country.  I see people crossing the street in this maelstrom every day on my way to work and it always goes something like this:

They stand on the side of the road, looking ahead; no left-right-left going on, they just stare straight ahead.  Then, for no discernable reason, no break in traffic, no kind car slowing down for them to pass, they step out.  Then, slow and dignified, they walk across the street at a steady pace.   What completely baffles me is that I’ve never seen anyone even flinch when they almost get hit.

Like this morning, this old lady was crossing and when we screeched to a halt an ass-hair’s breadth away from her, she didn’t look at us, she didn’t speed up and she didn’t even close her eyes and wait for the warm embrace of the afterlife to wrap her up and carry her away.  She just kept limping her ass across the road like we didn’t exist.

This kind of behavior screams against everything in me and I am completely at a loss when I try to understand it.  I don’t think these people all have a death-wish.   If that were the case, they’d just hop in front of a cement truck at the last minute and be done with it.  This morning, I asked one of my Chinese colleagues what the hell that lady could be thinking and she said, “Oh, if we hit her then we have to pay her.”

I asked, “Ok, but what if their brains are strewn all over the road?”  and after I explained what the hell “strewn” means she just shrugged and went back to talking to the other Chinese folks in the car.

This makes explanation didn’t enlighten me in the least.  Chinese people are no less intelligent than the people of any other country.  They surely know that their skull + a high speed bumper is going to = death or, at the very least, long term pain and suffering.  So there must be some other cultural view or belief that is motivating this seemingly insane behavior.

At this point in my China experience, I have no idea what that is.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Busin’ it to Suzhou

I am on the bus right now, typing this on my phone, so please forgive me if there are even more misspellings than normal.

I know I have been less than kind in my depictions of life in China. Here are a few more observations.

Lady one row up, on the right: when we got to the rest stop, instead of using a tissue, or waiting to get to the bathroom, you farmer’s blew as soon as you stepped off the bus, getting a tiny bit of your snot on the side of my shoe. Then you looked baffled when I gave you an unhappy look.

Lady two rows up, on the right: I know diapers are expensive, but you really should spring for one or two when taking the bus, or any public transportation, really. That way, you won’t have to rush your one-year-old back to the bathroom as he pisses on the floor the whole way, getting a little on my already snot-stained shoe. Then you won’t have to looked at me like I am a heartless asshole when I say “Hey!”

Lady sitting next to me: I know you like your music, and I support your right to listen to it, but next time buy some headphones so I don’t have to also.

I would ask you to turn it off, but I don’t want to be an inconsiderate foreigner 3 times on one bus trip.

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Awkward Situations Abroad

When you live outside your country, sometimes you find yourself in uncomfortable situations.  Maybe you unintentionally made some social faux pas.  Maybe you just got taken advantage of because the person dealing with you thinks you just don’t know any better and will happily pay three times the normal price for that DVD (which is probably true).  And sometimes you find yourself in a situation that reminds you just how far from home you are.

For example, in late August 2001, I was finishing up my first stint in Taiwan and my then-girlfriend (Now sweet-ass wife) decided to take a 3 week trip to Thailand.  I was sitting in a little thatched-roof cafe, about twenty meters from the most pristine beach you could ever hope to lounge on, when I heard about the attacks on 9-11.  Like all Americans I was horrified, but I was also extremely worried.  My #1 favorite Aunt worked in the world Trade Center.

So, I rushed into the village, found a phone and spent around $30.00 on a call to my parents.  Luckily, my Aunt’s office had moved down the block a few months previous and she was A-OK.  But about 5 minutes later, I was walking back to my bungalow on the beach and I stopped by a bar on the way to have a drink and try to get my heart to stop racing.  About 5 minutes and 3 sips later, someone from the end of the bar said, “Hey” to me.  I look over and see three middle aged Thai men, in cut-off shorts and open hawaiian shirts.  They are all smiling over at me.

I smile back and say “Hi”.

“You American?”

“Yeah,” I said, and smiled sadly, waiting to thank him for the condolences that are certainly on their way.

“Osama really fucked you good, huh?” he said, still smiling.

And then I notice those smiles aren’t so friendly.  I look at the bartender in front of me, whose wiping down a glass and smiling too.  I look back at the three Thai at the end of the bar.  You can tell they just can’t wait for my reply.

Now, maybe it makes me a coward, or unpatriotic or just a giant fucking asshole, but I didn’t even have even the tiniest urge to stand up and start to rant at these people about murder, terrorism, freedom and democracy.  Not one bit.  As soon as that guy’s words registered in my already frazzled brain, all I could think was “Everyone here wants you give them a reason to fuck you up.”

So, I took another swig of my beer and just said, “Yep.  He sure did.” then paid the bartender and with a “Ya’ll have a nice day.” I calmly got my ass out of there.

I hadn’t thought of that in a long time, but something that happened to me today reminded me of it.  Now it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable or potentially dangerous but it the discomfort it did bring was also a direct result of 9-11.

So, I spend 6 out of the 8 years of the Bush presidency overseas.  Sometimes Mr. G.W. Bush made it uncomfortable as an American living abroad.  Whether you like the man or not, I think we all can agree that his foreign relations skills were lacking.

I think invading Afghanistan was just.  Someone in their county killed 1300 Americans and they helped hide the bastard.  We were justified in going in.  Most people in most countries would agree…maybe not so much in Afghanistan, but still 95% of countries out there would have to say, “Yeah, go get ‘em, tiger.”

However, most of the…let’s call it automatic disapproval…that I received from some people I met over the last few years stemmed from the Iraq War.  A war that I completely opposed from the get-go.  It was not justifiable for us to go in there.  Every reason we gave along the way was proven to be baseless and then replaced by another, equally baseless justification for going in and blowing shit up.  No, they weren’t harboring or training terrorists.  No there were no weapons of mass destruction.  Sure, it was a real shitty regime who did terrible things to it’s people, but what does that have to do with us attacking them?  If that was a reason to go to war, there would be a lot of other countries that we’d be hitting long before Iraq.

That’s not to take away from the soldiers in Iraq.  I respect the incredible sacrifice they make for our country.  It’s something that I haven’t done, and without an actual invasion on US soil, I can’t imagine a situation where I would rush off to sign up.  I have tremendous gratitude for US soldiers.  Not for them being in Iraq, specifically, but for them doing their job anywhere.  It’s the decision makers I have the problems with.  The mother fuckers who saw ever increasing evidence mount against their cause and said “Fuck it, lets go in anyway.”

Living overseas and having to listen to drunken-rant after snide remark after sarcastic joke that almost ANY non-American would, almost invariably make after finding out that I was from the US, did not make me love those decision makers in the Bush administration any more.  There were times when I was tempted to just tell people I was Canadian.  Canadian, for christ’s sake.  I mean, who would ever want to own up to that?

So, to the point (finally).  This morning I was walking out of the lobby of my hotel and I look over and there’s this tall, chubby, friendly-looking Western guy trying to talk to the woman behind the counter.  It’s not going very well.  My Chinese is pretty good, so I go over and ask if I can help and try to help him explain to this lady that he wants to go to another town and would like to know where they nearest bus station is.

We start chatting a bit and instantly get along.  Some people you feel affection for, right off and his man was one of them.  He had light, reddish/blonde hair, a scraggly goat-tee, light blue eyes and a gut that said he probably liked to have a beer or three in the evenings.  We sit down and are talking about this or that.  He sells fasteners.  Oh, I used to do that too.  Now?  Different kinds of widgets, it’s all the same, really.

“So, where you from then, my friend?”

“Oh, I’m American.”

“Oh.  Ok.”

“How about you?”

“Iraq.”

“Oh…”

So, we move quickly on to other subjects and it remained very amicable, but still the dynamic had decidedly changed.  Him and I had no beef, but what about his family?  Did anyone he know die because my fellow Americans invaded his country?  When we parted ways, he gave me his card and I see his office is in Baghdad, so I guess there’s a chance.   Shit, there would be a chance no matter where he was from in Iraq.

And the whole rest of the conversation, even though I personally had never done anything to this man, his family or his country, I had the strangest urge to apologize to him.  To tell him that I’m sorry that my leaders made up fairy tales in order to send troops into his country.  That I’m sorry people from my side of life might have blown up people from his.

Of course, I didn’t say a word.  I didn’t want to make things any more uncomfortable than they already were.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm  Comments (2)