Monday, December 29, 2014

good tidings and cheer

I was faced with a dilemma this week when I received a gift certificate to a local shop at my holiday party lucky draw. I detest shopping malls and have managed to avoid them entirely this year with the exception of entering them to access restaurants. I was tempted to let the gift certificate go but it was for a considerable amount of money so I decided to force SB to accompany me to Hysan Place for yum cha and shopping on Sunday morning. 

Once SB's belly was filled with delicious, dumpling goodness, I yanked him past the throngs of iPhone peddlers, around mainland shoppers who were using their hard shelled luggage as battering rams, and up the escalators into the mall.  Everything was going smoothly at the shop until a few minutes later when I felt something kick into my leg, followed by a loud exclamation. I looked up from the rack of shirts that I was inspecting to discover that a woman had managed to trip over me and was rubbing the front of her leg and glaring at me.

"Sorry," I said, though it came out as a bit of a question since I wasn't sure what had occurred. The woman continued to glare and at a loss, I turned back to the rack. Then the woman began to yell at me. SB came over to ask what was going on and I told him that the woman had tripped over me while I was stationary and somehow thought it was my fault. At this point the woman was having a fit over some invisible scratch on the toe of her fugly designer shoes (the ones that look like cheap plastic with spikes if you are in the know of really implausibly hideous, expensive shoes). SB is usually the moderate one in our relationship but something that the woman shrieked at us set him off. He wouldn't tell me what she called me but it resulted in him releasing his own stream of invective dialogue. Later he told me that he was impressed by how many insults he remembered from his days at Nanjing Normal University. I have never been to Nanjing but have noticed that many crazy tourists in the news of late hail from Nanjing, such as the hot noodle throwing, I'm gonna bomb the plane couple. I imagine that Nanjing is as good a place as any to learn the rudest, most obnoxious behavior.

Whatever SB said, coupled with the shock that some white guy was saying it, shut the woman up. Then she rushed over to her boyfriend and pointed at us in a gesture that can be recognized in any culture: I'm angry so now you must defend my honor. I responded by puffing up like a fighting bird in the equally recognizable 'bring it on' manner. SB, with his ADHD, had already moved on and was no longer paying attention. He was messaging a friend regarding creative Chinese insults. The woman's boyfriend declined to defend her honor so she flung one last insult our way (from a safe distance) and then stomped after him, her ugly, neon green, spiked Valentinos clacking away as she retreated with her luggage.

During the entire exchange, which may have lasted 45 seconds, the salesgirl managed to pretend that nothing was amiss and stood by my side like glue with her most helpful facial expression. I rewarded her single mindedness by spending all of the voucher and more. I can't imagine a more painful job.

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