Days in the East

Why would I leave here. I’m famous. The locals whisper and watch as I shop for chicken and have me pose for photos with their infants. I have Asian godchildren. My haircuts are the discussion of an entire Korean town. Who am I, Prince Harry. Endless attention. Which I say I don’t want but if that were true then I would have gone full-stop on my web browsing after Snowden.

I’m not going home. I like not being a clone of every other white guy in the city. I like not overhearing ceaseless inanity. Hashtag philosophies. One more motherfucking direwolf theory and I’m jumping out a window. This is why European men have been sailing to other lands since they realized wood could float. To get away from all the other boring white people. The Saltines of humanity. We have to go to other places. It will never stop. My grandson will be like me; teach English to a colony of Martians. Bang spaceships full of three-titted wenches behind oxygen-dome dive bars.

Why would I leave. That would be like asking: would you like to stop being Harry Potter. Go home and be a basic-model doofus or stay here, do nightlife like rappers do. The Western girls I pull here are so far out of my league it should be against the law. They don’t add me to their tally because they’re “abroad.” Why would I leave. That would be like asking me to cut my dick off. The job here can be withering but in America you can have astronaut qualifications and not even get an interview to pour coffee at RE/MAX. Call me crazy but I like having three dollars in my pocket. My crew and I are economic refugees. Here or in China it’s the same: the one thing no one ever says is “I can’t wait to go home.” Because home is a lifelong game of responsibility whack-a-mole, and I’m too dumb to have responsibilities. Home is a game that I suck at. Home is 1:30 last call and Comcast and no parking anywhere and fuck that.

So instead I’m here, taking a motorcycle taxi. The drivers cannonball through reds and every time you think that this is the last minute of your life and so all you can do is laugh. We’re in the alley arcade shooting pellet guns with beers cracked because it’s legal. There was that zany Christmas Eve that turned into a HANGOVER hunt for Paul. He’d staggered into a 트랜스 젠더 bar. Too hammered to read the characters; they mean “transgender.” Why would I go home when in Beijing I’m Gatsby. Endless shots in the VIP section because they believe I play for the Lakers. Once we were throwing a frisbee in a temple courtyard. Chinese soldiers showed up and we were about to run for it. They dropped their guns and played with us. Stay here long enough and you’ll have twenty more stories like that.

But there’s also all this Confucian ass-kissing to do. A pressure cooker of a workplace until noon every day. Pinch-faced ajummas spitfire rasping in the café and headphones can’t drown them out. On Saturdays you can’t sleep in because trucks with loudspeakers drive around the block and shout shit like it’s Muslim prayer time. Tradeoffs. I’ll take them. I run up the hill trail, stop by the pagoda on top of the ridge. Recognize what this spike on the timeline is. A sweet pinnacle. Hold on as life sprints ahead. I will come home. Someday. When all the white people flee over here to follow me, I’ll go. And when all you Americans speak Spanish and need to learn English, I’ll be your guy.

***

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13 thoughts on “Days in the East

  1. haha this is good. great writing: “Hashtag philosophies” “all this Confucian ass-kissing to do” and “Pinch-faced ajummas spitfire rasping in the café and headphones can’t drown them out”. A philosophy after my own heart sans the banging of white women way out of my league. i should write my version of this can’t-die-20-miles-from-where-i-was-born. Love the ending too. great post. Maugham though not Gatsby.

      1. I’m going to try and get my masters in creative writing. However, applications are due in January and I feel like maybe I’m rushing it. What company are you using to do it? Some leads would be helpful. I’ve been researching a bit, but there’s a lot to choose from.

      2. I went to China through Center for Teaching and Learning in China (Google that name) and Korea through a recruiting company called Korean Horizons. I can vouch for both. Any other questions, let me know.

  2. I feel like this is the ultimate evolution of wanderlust. When the desire to travel becomes more than just a desire to escape and find the existential, I think you find true satisfaction and contentment. Very well put, Sir.

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