I saw Amy again this afternoon and we had this conversation, while reviewing adjectives:
Me: Who is terrible?
Amy: My math teacher.
Me: Who is beautiful?
Amy: Michael Jackson.
Me: Who is unhappy?
Amy: Michael Jackson. And my mother.
Me: Who is---
Amy: She’s a big, big pig!
Amy: Lady Gaga!
Don't tell Peter. Gaga is his newly-declared favorite singer. Sigh.
And of course you're all dying to know about the Blue Rocket Debacle. So I finally got a chance to ride in elevators 4 and 5 today. That was up to my apartment after work and back down to go get a soda (more on soda in a minute). There were no Rocketships in either elevator, though elevator 5 has something inside the light fixture, maybe wadded up newspaper or something like that. Apparently I haven't been taking advantage of all the storage capacity of my light fixtures. I am not super sure the wads in the elevator are new. Apparently it requires someone to put a Blue Rocketship up there to get my attention.
Elevator 4 has nothing in it, but the light fixture is cracked. The fixtures in the Rocket elevators, 1 and 2, are also cracked, but again, I can't be sure if this predates the Rocketships or not. After I got my soda I went back up in elevator 1 to see if it still had a rocket in it. So there are Blue Rocketships in elevators 1 and 2, and none in 4 and 5. I haven't had a chance to check elevator 3, the haunted one.
Also a weird thing happened when I was riding elevator 5. I live on the fourth floor, and when I got in the elevator in the lobby I happened to get in with two girls who were also going to the fourth floor. They had already pressed 4, so of course I didn't press anything. After a moment of silence one of the girls asked me (in Chinese), "What floor are you going to?" Perhaps I am overthinking things, but the web of assumptions behind that little sentence baffles me. Let's take them one by one, unlike Noah's Ark.
1) She spoke to me in Chinese. This shouldn't be surprising, but it is. After long and careful consideration I have started teaching my students to address obviously-not-Chinese people in Chinese first. After all, we are in China, so it's not unrealistic to assume a visitor might know a few words of the language. That's not what happens in reality, though. Many are the times I've entered a place of business only to hear a buzz of people asking, "Who speaks English?" "You go talk to her in English!" "My English isn't good enough, you do it!" without even attempting Chinese. They won't make eye contact with me until they sort it out, either. Everyone's so terrified of making a mistake and looking bad in front of others. Anyway, props to elevator girl for addressing me in her mother tongue.
2) The further assumptions are more confusing. If a person gets into an elevator and doesn't push a button, the only three rational conclusions, in order of likelihood, are A) she's going to a floor whose button has already been pushed, B) she's forgotten to press a button, or C) she's never used an elevator before and doesn't understand how it works. It amazes me that she blew right past A to either B or, heaven forefend, C.
3) There are plenty of foreigners who live in this building, but I think this girl assumed I was staying in the hotel, on the top floors of the building. I have less evidence for this than for the others, but I still think it's true. I think she assumed I wasn't going to the fourth floor with her because she thought I must be staying in the hotel. But, if so, why speak to me in Chinese? A visitor is far less likely to speak Chinese than a resident (by far the most common reason for going to the non-hotel floors). Maybe she didn't want to speak English so she took a shot in Chinese, because she felt like she simply had to do something to help the Foreigner in Distress.
4) Foreigner in Distress is perhaps the most irksome assumption. A lot of Chinese people assume that I am in some kind of Distress when I am not. Why? Am I exhibiting distressed behavior? Nope. Just existing in public is enough to provoke many a Chinese person into assuming you are a Foreigner in Distress. Read a bus sign? Clearly you need help getting where you're going. The thought that I might have given some thought before leaving the house to how I will get where I am going doesn't cross anyone's mind. Hail a cab? Certainly a Chinese person is better at raising their hand in the air than I am. Stand in the street hailing a taxi? Why, you could be killed! Hurry up and get on the sidewalk! Never mind that no one is ever successful at hailing a cab from the curb, and for that reason no one does. Clearly my death by smashing is imminent.
Anyway, I'm getting snippy, and, as I said earlier, overthinking things. Let's move on to my Find of the Day.
I hope you won't think that because I wrote about Craigslist today and am about to write about online shopping now that that's all I am up to. I'm not entirely consumed with pre-sepeding my paychecks from a job I don't have yet. It's just that I'd like to get started on the whole project of setting us up in the US right now, and I can't. Emailing resumes is depressing because no one answers them. It's too early to pack and I've thrown out everything that we aren't going to use in the next 46 days and aren't taking with us. So I good around online, and today I found a link for a thing that's very silly but we would totally use ALL THE TIME.
It's a Soda Stream machine that carbonates water at home. It uses exvhangeable, refillable bottles of carbonation to carbonate regular tap water. Then you add syrup or whatever flavor you want and Bazinga! soda for .25 cents a can. Less, because you know I'm going to be buying freaking koolaid and Chrystal light to flavor it instead of their syrup. Though I'll probably use that too. Their syrups have no Corn Poison (HFCS) or aspartame, supposedly, but they do have a generic Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper. They're also supposed to be lower calories than regular soda. I don't know if it tastes as good as regular soda, but also not drinking so much soda might not be the worst thing for us.
And oh yes, it's for us. I might not bother for just me, but my hubs will literally drink ANYTHING other than plan water, even---plah!---milk. And he goes through it like a madman. Part if it is that, when we're in the US, he's still a little freaked out by drinking tap water. (So why do you think he'll drink carbonated tap water?) I'm glad you asked. The Brita pitcher is our friend. BTW if you are ever in need of a Brita pitcher, do not buy retail! Go to Goodwill. They have tons of them, we got ours for $3. Anyway, he's weirded out by plain water but genuinely hearts carbonated water. He drinks it plain or puts juice in it, because most juices in the US are too sweet for him.
Anyway, does anyone have one of these? Did you like it? We will be doing some more reviewing, but it may be a completely awesome idea.
That's the thing.