A chapter in which Andie-Pandie goes out with two lady colleagues for Christmas dinner and learns that it takes quite some time to make Chinese people let one in to their private lives. And, generally, talking about the self is really not Chinese people’s pigeon.
There comes the momentary silence again, the united secrecy, when I ask a direct question. So numbing, it seems all of a sudden. Oops. (Mental note to apply for membership at the of How to kill a conversation? guilt-guild). I was telling them a minute ago about my experience of being in a mixed (and occasionally also pretty mixed up) couple so why is it that I can’t have some tiny piece of info in return? Learning about Chinese relationships is my Homer-doughnut! Let me in a bit, neighbours. Not again, please, don’t return my question in the same word order, rephrase pliz so that I’d feel it more spontaneous.
Ok, one step back then. I say things briefly now, trying hard not to glance at the plate in front of me, full of duck tongues (I took this picture). Andie, guess what these are? They didn’t let go so I did have to take a proper close look. Some long shots then: fried insects with their tentacles. Scorpios. No, no! Wait, some flattened micro-squid. Ooh, have another one quickly, two pieces for each of us, come on, or I’ll eat all of them! I’m trying to imagine the cat tongue chocolate bars from my childhood my granny always had. Nobody actually bought those things. We always got granny as a loyal supplier on Sunday afternoons. Force, force, more nice memories of tongues. Then, separately, ducks. Oh, fuck, there’s Donald, too. And Howard, who, in the end, turned out to be a turkey.
Jeez, had no idea a tongue has tiny bones in the middle. And the tantacles have such a weird texture, what am I supposed to do with them, anyway? Oh, oh, I see, from the corner of my eye, but you know what, I’m just gonna put it back on the plate, yep, it’s me, (so friggin’ mini me at the mo) stealthily flipping the chunkito behind my bowl of pigeon wings. Yes yes, I’m consuming those losers now. Me, who calls them rats on wings! I used to make up some horror stories in my head, how to kill those grey bastardos who set out to destroy my balcony and window sills and wake me up every freaking morning with their shrills.
Kinda like Budapestean Pigeon Psycho. Obviously, without the sexy bits. Only frying and slaying. And now I’m humbly eating their fellow wingmen, on the other side of the planet. Well, god knows how these guys were slaughtered. They don’t taste that bad, after the tongues they come as relief – but, you know what, sweet bliss the bowl is big enough to hide all duck-and-grey-and-insects cross dressers behind. Let us switch to the garlic broccoli, shall we.
If I’d talk more I didn’t have to put so much food in my mouth. Hold you horseys, birdies, I am finally absorbing the local rhythm. From now on, I’ll only brief you with an emotionally discounted version. Bfff, my drama gets a 90 % cut. But you know, you scratch then I’ll scratch. My method’s like sesame: they seem to be ok with this and, when I start talking about the nature of Hungarito apples of my eye from the past, there you go, there emerge some analogies with their Chinese boyfriends. Eyes gradually wider, faces closer and whispers louder. Kinda like pigeons united, we coo our merciful wisdom, finely getting our men placed respectively on this make-shift verbal stage of an instant cross-cultural relationship counseling. Pobres. They have no idea about the others’ existence in some far-away lands their fate is universal, nonetheless.
All in all, I had a great night and hope I didn’t set the cat among workmates. I love my job and all the bits and pieces I learn every day about this culture. (and that men have similar attributes, no matter which corner of the planet they grow up in).