One fun thing we’re all learning about me is that I hate being blown off. (Look out, this is going to be a negative one).
One time when I was a kid, my dad piled us in the car and started driving. I said, “where are we going?” and he ignored me. I asked politely several more times, got ignored several more times. So then I started yelling WHEEEERE AAAARE WEEEE GOOOOOOINNG! at the top of my lungs again and again, louder each time. Because if you’re going to ignore me, I’m going to make you suffer.
My dad was irritated and said, don’t you want a surprise? Do I want a surprise? No, goddammit, I don’t want a surprise. I want you to answer the frakking question, that’s why I’ve asked you so many times. There’s a difference between surprising someone and stringing someone out; one is fun, and the other is a blow off.
To this day, getting blown off when I just need a simple answer leads me to fly off the handle. I had to check myself early last week, and there was a carefrontation on Thursday after work. Look, I said, I’m going to quit chewing you out; for your part, I’d like you to quit blowing me off. Because every single time I’ve snapped, it’s when I’ve felt blown off when I needed a simple answer.
Recently I’ve been through a festival of flaking, and it wasn’t the apologetic, unavoidable, understandable kind. It was the blow-off kind of flaking, the unapologetic, inconsiderate kind, the kind of flaking that ruined all my plans and left me home alone, with nothing to do except think about how mad I was. It was the kind of flaking, when compounded, ends friendships. In the end we managed to get past it, but I feel like we wrecked the paint job scraping the median.
This actually is one of the more frustrating things about China, getting blown off all the time. Culturally, the mainland seems to be unnecessarily inflexible; often people lie and meiyou you rather than check or admit they don’t know. It seems to me that telling someone an obvious lie should be one of the more grievous ways of losing face, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
So anyway, if anyone’s been wondering what’s been bothering me lately, this post is it in a nutshell. I can’t wait to go back to Seattle, where people are considerate and my friends are happy to see me.
Well, at least they *act* like they’re happy to see me, and that’s the important thing, really.