The late advertising guru, David Ogilvy, is well-known for saying “advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on”. Maybe true, but not quite so in the blogging world.
I often sit at five am in my birthday suit and create a blog or two and trawl through my commentaries, reply if their remarks are worthwhile, ignore them if their understanding of the freedom of speech is through the other end. By birthday suit I mean the clothes you were born in, when you were ushered forth from your mother. Your skin, if you still aren’t with me.
I nearly jumped out of that aforementioned pelt the other day at about seven am when my ayi (maid in Chinese) and the new one that was replacing her came sailing through the kitchen door of our small apartment. Eny, the previous maid, for unfathomable reasons, had decided to arrive with the new maid about an hour and a half earlier than normal, when I was still in my birthday suit. She had a key to the home.
I bellowed, scuttled across the bedroom, knowing I had about two seconds before the two ayi would have a topic to discuss with their pals for the next month. Namely, where Western and Chinese male equipment are different or similar. I just made it, hopping on one leg as I got the other leg into a pair of shorts.
I dashed out into the tiny foyer that separated the bedroom and the kitchen, which was now a hen coop a-cluck with two noisy maids, and pulled a t-shirt out of my bar-fridge size wardrobe in the foyer. (Marion, chookie, needs the entire wall to wall one in the bedroom.) The shorts nearly fell off as they required a belt to keep them up. As they slid half-way down the crack I furiously hauled them up again before my unannounced audience while I struggle into my T-shirt.
The new maid was already wearing my wife’s Mickey Mouse slippers and after a chorused zhen bu hou yse, “no meaning meant, we’re sorry”, on their grinning faces, introductions were made and Eny and the newly appointed Tang Ying made their way into our bathroom to flush the toilet. It hadn’t been working yet again and usually in the morning I reach into the cistern and flush. I could hear Eny explaining to Tang Ying the temperamental nature of our loo while the contents slowly swirled away.
Welcome to China!
In the space of five minutes the new maid got to nearly see me butt naked, got a glimpse of the Western crack and the lion’s mane, so to speak, was wearing my wife’s slippers and saw a post-mortem of what we consumed yesterday as the loo’s swisshh faded into the early morning air.
Then my camera came out to take pictures: Eny was leaving for Indonesia to take up an engineering position, something to do with gold. Now there’s a topic for another blog, she is fifty two, had to retire in China, ended up doing maid work and is now leaving China for greener, coriander-strewn pastures. She’d also love to have a picture of her with her pal Tang Ying emailed to her when she’s set up in Indonesia.
Tang Ying probably got to know more about Westerners in the space of five minutes than what she may have got out of a night course.
Marion, chookie, came shuffling through in another pair of slippers, eyed Tang Ying’s new footwear acquisition, sat at the kitchen table and opened a diet coke, as is her habit. In China the custom, on entering someone’s home, is to slip off your shoes and climb into the nearest available slippers.
Chookie listened to me recount the events of the day before the day had even begun. ‘That’s China for you,’ she yawned, lighting a smoke.