Never winning

I sometime dread the notion of this becoming a hate blog of some kind, but that is just an effect China seems to have on people. It may be that I have just a lot of open wounds, and this country is in the business of throwing salt. Not necessarily throwing salt at my wounds, but throwing salt around with an indifference to the fact that someone may have open wounds.

China seems to be like that person you know who always seems to fuck things up. Once you have that impression, all their fuck ups seem to be highlighted while all their virtues seem to be minimized.

So here is the latest example. While some flatmates are out of town they got a Chinese guy to sublet.

Now my flatmates are not perfect people. They are loud, they make the common spaces of the house a little too ‘theirs’ and not enough ‘ours’. None of them clean as much as they should. One of them is particularly antipathetic, refusing to speak to people before his brace of 6pm post-work cocktails, and once pretended to be on the phone to ignore a request I made of him. He also parks his bike in the fucking living room, despite their being a garage.

Yea, I don’t know either.

The Chinese subleter, on the other hand, was about as good a flatmate as you could ask for. Quiet, but not antisocial, he talks when he is around but doesn’t linger around the house with other people having conversations you feel you shouldn’t be around for. He buys food, but with a consideration that there are four of us here sharing a small fridge (Ok, I’m the asshole guilty of this) and he preps his food and then cleans up after himself. He doesn’t keep odd hours, and he says good morning when he wakes up. We says goodbye when he leaves the house. He’s such a model citizen that Swedes should sandblast Alfred face off of those peace-prizes and consider putting this guy’s mug on it.

And then, he went to the bathroom.

Because this is a house in China, the bathroom was constructed for maximum awkwardness. The bathroom is right next to the kitchen and leads right to the living room. The doors to the bathroom are two thin sliding doors of barely frosted glass. To counteract what we could call sight pollution, a shower curtain was installed next to the door. For the sound however, there is no such simple solution as the doors are more geared towards amplification than muffling of sound. The main lights of the bathroom don’t work, making us resort to turning on the heat lamps if we need the bathroom after sundown. And lastly, there is a ventilator in the bathroom, but solely for irony it works with an unprecedented muted efficiency.  In short, when someone is in the bathroom, you are audience to them. It leads to a lot of quiet dignity about the situation

But the subleter had bathroom habits which simply could not be ignored! One night I was busy doing not particularly much on the couch in the living room (babysitting my flatmates bunny is often more interesting than going out) when said subleter goes to the bathroom. I couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t turn the lights on when he did. That was peculiar, certainly, but I din’t think much of it initially. I then got the impression that the gentleman had every intention of camping in there as the audio from his cell phone started to blare and I began to follow along with him the gaudy reality TV show he was watching in there. Ok, also a mild annoyance. But this as well was something that i could seemingly ignore. But as thirty minutes passed my own need to use the bathroom mounted, and I started to wonder if he could consume reality TV in his own room, or for that matter, anywhere else in the fucking house.

It was at that moment that I asked myself the question that should have dawned on me immediately; just how would this guy clean himself after using the bathroom without the lights? The consequences of what was coming did hit me yet, but those of you who enjoy dramatic irony can look at this posts featured picture to get a clue of what’s to come.

Then, the toilet flushed, and needing to use the bathroom pretty urgently at this point I rise and pace about the door. The faucet didn’t turn on. Instead, the shower door slid open, and a eat later the shower turned on, but only stayed on for about 10 seconds.

I was confused. I was very confused and a bit scared. Then it dawned on me:


I went to my bedroom, got the bottle of vinegar concentrate I use to disinfect the horrifying Chinese world as it tries to encroach into my bedroom, went into the bathroom and dumped the whole god damn thing into the shower pan. The next day I bought bleach.

In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. A friend of mine who worked and lived in Japan for a spell did a stint in a hostel there, and had mentioned to me that the Chinese tourists were constantly defecating in the shower. Considering THAT horrifying fact, I guess I got off easily.

So I don’t know. Am I wrong to be upset at this random guy, who all things considered was one of the better flatmates I have had ever. I mean, it’s almost as if he was 99% perfect, but that 1% is pretty massive.


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