First off, let me state that an incontinent server has swiped all of my morning’s comments to my readers. I apologize. I will respond in due time. However, before I forget all of today’s events, I must gush forth, spewing random thoughts on civil liberties, humiliation, and the continuing saga of household repair.
This afternoon I went for my health check, presumably to make sure I am a viable human being. It was all very orderly. Most Americans would balk at handing over DNA, having someone peer down their underpants, and ultrasound their organs to make sure all were a) in residence and therefore available for sale or transplant and b) in working order. Most would, except those chosing to live in foreign countries. It makes sense, if you stop to think about it, to control the spread of disease before it hits your borders. Right thinking people might even say that this is a country’s absolute right, to monitor the ingress and egress of persons planning on staying longer than 30 – 90 days. A little something having to do with sovereignty.
I am such a right thinking person. This, however, does not mean I delighted in the process. After filling out a form, I was given a short kimono and told to take off my clothes and upper underwear, but not my lower underwear. The kimono dealie, a cotton pique fresh out of a dryer, barely covered my bum.
“No no no!” I was told, upon exiting, “put your lower clothes back on!”
Chagrined, I returned to my little changing closet and slipped my skirt back on.
After a chest x-ray (they do not stop to study the x-ray to make sure it is clear), I proceeded down a hall. I did an eye exam, reminiscent of elementary school eye exams held in roving trailers. As I laid my head down on a little blue pad on a pillow, I had my organs scanned and thought of KT, who during her health assessment several years ago in Tsingtao, kept her head lifted the entire time. Foolishly, it is just occuring to me now, I did not check to see if they actually changed that little pad between guests…
When I got to the surgery check, the 50+ year old attendant was mystified by my long abdominal scar as she peered into my underpants. I had failed to list all my surgeries on the form. As I wrote I tried to explain. She particularly enjoyed my pantomime rendition of “1 natural baby, 2 c-sections.” The hysterectomy stymied my acting skills, however. The young male attendant at the computer asked for my help with selecting the right label for my scars as Nurse Yang Li mimicked a tummy tuck. To say that she was fascinated is an understatement – she was not nearly so interested in the fractured ankle. Smiling, she sent me on my way leaving me wondering if it is possible to get kicked out of a country for a pre-existing tummy tuck. Ah, but my humiliation was not yet complete. Hooked up to an EKG from the 1950s, the nurse proceeded to manhandle my female appendages as she placed the suction cups around my chest. Then it was on to the donation of my red and white blood cells. The nurse missed on the first location and apologized. I am a hard stick, so although I understood, I was apprehensive about the size of the needle that would be entering the back of my hand. Nurse Wang Li went to a separate cabinet and retrieved, thanks be to God, a pediatric needle and rather reverently inserted it; I could tell that she was miffed at herself for missing the first time around and so thanked her profusely so she could save face. On the way out, I told the Brit chick in the dressing room to get undressed in the cabinet and to keep her skirt on. She was appreciative as she’d been about to peel off to her knickers in the unisex locker room.
Afterwards, I went to the little import shop on the way home as I had been fasting since 8 a.m. and was in dire need of comfort food. Exiting the car, I told the driver and Mr. U’s “English-speaking” assistant that I would be “fast” and to “wait”. Ten minutes later, after speed shopping for ice cream, emergency laundry products, and frozen waffles, I ran to the curb, looking for my coach and driver. I really do not need to write the ending because, like Cinderella, you know I’d been ditched, my $10 ice cream melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the West. Or was it the East? One of them had a house fall on them, is all I know, just like me.
There is no time left to detail the multitude of kinks needing to be worked out in my manse at the moment. My children are clamoring for love and attention, currently in short supply, and this princess is still on duty. The compare/contrast fairy tale princess versus expat princess essay will have to wait until I can get the (new) dryer to work again, the (new) drain unclogged, and the (new) keys to turn.