The Prodigal Card & Cultural Exposure

Today’s post is for mature audiences only.

I am beginning to think I am cursed. Tuesday afternoon I left my ATM card (you remember, the only one we have) in the bank machine. I have never done this before. Ever. I was distracted, this is true. I realized this on day Wednesday morning in the van, routing through my purse, ready for a day of power souvenir shopping for my trip to the US on Friday. Quelling my panic, I informed Mr. U and proceeded on my way since I was flush with Maos; the card, I reasoned, was either at the bank or on my dining room table. Loaded with tchotchkes, I returned home to find the card not on the table. I proceeded to the bank.

Dragging Voldemort, He Who Cannot Tell Time, in for translation (huh?), a questionable move in the first place, we told the teller the problem. She pulled out an envelope. Inside were four cards. One of them was ours. I could see Mr. Understanding’s signature on the back of the card through the glass panel. Voldemort could not effectively tell me why we could not get it back, stuttering as he tried valiantly to get the words out, so we called Box of Rocks who spoke with the teller, the cell phone diving into the little bin and going out the other side.

The teller, who I am going to call Bureau Betty, informed us, via Box of Rocks, that we would have to show a passport to compare signatures (normal) and get a letter from the issuing bank advising that the card was reported as lost, complete with company chop (seal), in order to retrieve the card (abnormal). It would take a week for the issuing bank to deliver a new card. I told Box of Rocks that my friend’s stolen Bank of America card was delivered to her transcontinentally within 72 hours. “But this is XXX (insert country),” Box of Rocks explained, drawing the painful ordeal to a close. Really, it could be any of the countries I have lived in but it was pointless to wheedle further, especially when faced with a great wall of bricks.

What once was lost is now found – but must be declared lost. Maybe it is just semantics. Lost, found, does it really make a difference? Why would anyone waste their time retrieving a found card that has been declared lost?

Mr. Understanding lived up to his name and was calm, collected, and gracious during our frequent phone calls thereby earning himself the title of Global Husband of the Day Award. I promised him a box of Good & Plenty, his favorite candy, from the US as a reward for being so sweet.

I pondered these things riding my bike home from the gym this morning; a thigh chastening half hour on this dealie called an Arctrainer headed off a full blown anxiety attack over my impending voyage. The sky was blue, the air was clean, and there was a light breeze. On the ride I spotted a beautiful butterfly with turquoise coloring on its wings. Lovely. Positively serene as I pedaled back to Glama Villa, a short, filthy man on a bicycle nearly swerved into me on a rather isolated street corner. This is really not that unusual but he kept coming at me. It took me nearly 5 seconds to register what was happening. What was that deformity of his he seemed intent on showing me?

Banana Jo, a recent British émigré to gay Paris, was recently taken aside by a French woman and given a lesson in local behavior. Parisian pervs, it seems, delight in flashing foreign women and propositioning for them for William Jefferson Clinton Oral Office Specials. Banana Jo was treated to a language lesson by her French friend usually reserved for the third year of in-country living. I laughed when I read her email and thought smugly to myself, “Ha! That won’t happen here!” Well, for sure I can’t say that in Mandarin.

Hence the delayed reaction when Mr. Wang Bang came crashing into view. “Bu hao!” I finally shrieked, my idyll and ego shattered faster than Britney can self-destruct or Angelina can adopt a new baby. “BU BU HAO!” I was grateful Mr. Wang Bang kept his DNA to himself and grudgingly admired his exceptional sense of balance. Unlike a former US president who lost his license to practice law in his home state and who recently penned a book entitled, Giving – How Each of Us Can Change the World. Talk about your global gifts. Thanks, but no.

Living in foreign countries is supposed to broaden horizons and expose one to new cultural experiences. Be it at the bank or on the street, I am not sure my nerves can take any more “firsts”. It’s enough to drive a girl into the arms of Glen Fiddich. The kids, for sure, won’t be riding their bikes outside the Glama Compound!

Future postings to follow from the birthplace of the National Anthem, home to derelict deceased poet and author Edgar Allan Poe and the Mighty O’s, with many a rendezvous on which to report.

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12 Comments

Filed under Life, Mature

12 responses to “The Prodigal Card & Cultural Exposure

  1. Mood Ring Mama

    NO WAY!!! Your first Chinese peter! You are not making my foreign 40th sound enticing at all; pretty sure if I just have a 425 disco party the worst I’ll see is some gnarly chest hair. This gives me pause.

  2. MCV

    NOTE: This is where the comment really belongs.
    Fellow Blog Admirers, the pervs are EVERYWHERE unfortunately. I was once chased down on 680 in the SF East Bay Area. I thought it was road rage, until I saw an enormous unit in the passing car. I pulled out my cell phone (at that time about the size of small novel) and he fled down the freeway. Another time, I was followed while taking a solo walk past a castle in Sicily. I was more freaked out that time as I was on foot and the perv was in a car. Oh and I almost forgot–there was the time I was running in Sicily and some men stopped their car just to watch me. I’m not sure if it was exercise in general, or the fact that it was a woman, that was so foreign to them.

  3. Looking forward to you in the US of A. With me along, you will have none of these problems.

  4. SmartAlecAngela

    OMG!! A chinese perv on a bike, it doesn’t get any more absurd than that!

  5. 425Heidi

    MCV:
    Don’t you wonder why you have had so many of these experiences? I do.

    Expat:
    Hilarious! I was always told you are supposed to point and laugh. What does “Bu Hao” mean? You seem to say it a lot.

  6. expat princess

    Bu hao = BAD! We are in the US = good!

  7. Tom

    I was thinking of flashing you to welcome you home to the good old US of A. But I’m in Florida and hampered by the curvature of the earth. HA HA.

    Welcome back!

  8. Where are you? Tell me that you are here.

  9. Flaky Friend

    Ok – so what did it look like?

  10. Laura

    Did you ever consider flashing him back?

  11. Winnie

    Hopefully, there is only one perv in all of China and you happened to meet up with him, but just in case…. perhaps you could try a very puzzled expression, (i.e. what IS that???), and then, as your comprehension dawns, the age-old, universally understood hand signal of fingers behaving like scissors … or, better yet, stick the umbrella that you always carry in the spokes of his bike!

  12. Readers: good suggestions, all. I will save them for the next time! In response to FF’s impertinent question, I will just say that the image is seared into my brain and will remain there.

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