scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Get on the Bus!

[Ferret is walking down Changshu Lu (常熟路). The sidewalk is all ripped up because the city is building a new subway station beneath his feet. As a result, what sidewalk there is left is rather constricted, making eavesdropping especially easy. A group of day laborers walk next to Ferret, their academic suits and sweaters, hallmark of the Chinese ditchdigger, are all caked in dust and grime. A giant tour bus drives by packed full of elderly retirees of European descent, all of them decked out in rather academic looking sweaters as well, although their sweaters are not so threadbare and still gleam with the effects of five-star hotel laundry detergent. A Ditchdigger next to Ferret has a revelation.]

Ditchdigger

老外!老外!小伙子,看吧!他们一定有钱!老外!

Old whities! Old whities! Hey man, look! They’re definitely rich! Old whities!

[Ferret laughs hysterically. The ditchdiggers are rather bewildered that yes, another whitey is in their midst, a witness to this spectacle of geriatric revelation. Ferret turns off of Changshu Lu, and gets real introspective, soliloquy style:]

Ferret

Why did I just laugh? Because I understood what he said while he gawked? Or because it’s amusing to see the stereotype of white foreigners in China reified? Reify. Damn I love that word. Makes me feel like curling up in one of those academic sweaters myself.

But seriously, Ferret, do I really have a right to laugh? That might have been the first time that guy saw so many old whities at one time. I guess damn, you got to say something, right? I can’t say that I’d say much different.

Of course, the truth deep down is this: Half of me was happy that I understood what he said. Half of me was happy because he wasn’t saying it about me.

posted by ferret at 12:39 am  

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