Day 89 - Coach's Misadventures

Friday, May 6th, 2016
Smog Level: 3/3 Mountains - AMAZING REJUVENATION

Every morning after I drink, I always feel regret. Last night was tame, and none of it was regrettable, yet I’m stuck sifting through my memories looking for something.

One of the two working elevators is on the fritz again, stuck on my floor. The door continually opens and closes on an unending cycle.

On the bus, I consider whether the usual chicken-egg situation of guilt/regret is because I did something stupid, or if the regret come first, and I look for anything that might be considered stupid. I decide it’s the feeling first (this time at least) and suffer through this hollow regret.

At the swipe-in gate of the school, 4 students in construction-orange shirts say “Teacher!” and salute me. This is the second inexplicable day in a row that they’ve done this. I laugh, then walk into the (unmarked) turnstile that is exit only. Smooth.

Tad's Wisdom

Tad had said something yesterday which is rattling around in my head: "don't try to judge or resist the lifestyle, avoid saying it's wrong and critically approaching it. Just give it a shot, man. Try it out. I always drink hot water." Drinking the (hot) kool-aid might be a better approach. I reflect on whether that would mean sacrificing what I know about nutrition and fitness. I’ll have to make a compromise somewhere, but it's not likely to be there.

Street Art From Last Night
Ah, Office Politics

Sitting in an empty classroom just after I payed back the rest of my school advance, the teacher from dinner yesterday walked by the room. She came in and said that she was sorry she couldn’t sit with us and it wasn’t because she was racist. She was concerned that Jen had said something to imply racism. Nothing of the sort. 

After class, I get my usual schooling lesson of hearing culture and stories from China.

This week: Gay people, Peasants, and Coach Stories


tóngzhìmen hǎo” means “Hello, comrades!” as reported by Pool. His in-laws will sometimes greet them that way and he rolls his eyes. It’s uncommon, and hyper patriotic. I don’t think I’ve heard someone say the word yet, but definitely not that greeting. The LGBT community in China has been annoyed with how China has handled progressing into the 21st century, so they decided to commandeer the word “comrade” and make it the polite way of saying “gay person.” Hah, hilarious and amazing. I’m guessing it’s kind of like English’s “partner.”

Also Passed Last Night in the Hutong
Peasants and Farmers

Pool also talked about how some peasants will sometimes get paid ¥6000 a month to live, which is ~1k USD. He says that his wife’s family is of peasant descent, and that their word for farmer and word for peasant are essentially the same. While writing this, I asked Shimou about the words “nóngmín” and “nóngfū(farmer and peasant, respectively). She said that the word for peasant was actually cuter and less derogatory than “farmer.” Also, they prefer to call them “producers,” shēng chǎn zhě. Literally “production-er.” Apparently if someone is acting rude, uncultured, or poor, you might call them “nóngmín!(farmer).

Anyway, Pool said that if you ask his mother-in-law what she does, the answer will be a “I’m a peasant.”  Something about this strikes me as really funny, possibly because I only imagine peasants as something from the middle-ages.

Chinese-Wrestling Coach

This is the guy I mentioned at Ryan’s birthday. He’s the guy that shows up to group meals with some alcohol and refuses to pay for the food because “I brought drinks!” 

From here on out, he will be known simply as Coach.

The Director regaled me with stories of Coach’s rude behavior. He described coach as his friend, but also “a bad person.”

By the Massage Place
Coach on Restaurant Service

One time, he ordered so much food that the waitress had a hard time keeping up with the order. Halfway through giving his massive order, he stops and says “Why hasn’t my food begun to arrive yet?!” to which the waitress accurately protests that she’s been there the entire time. “That’s no excuse! You should yell out the first ones to the kitchen and it should be here by now!” he asserts.

Coach on Restaurant Food Selection

Another: Coach was at a restaurant and wanted Chuar - the street meat kabobs, usually made of lamb. Problem: the restaurant doesn’t sell chaur… buuUUuut there is a stand right around the corner that does! They reach an agreement where the stand can bring their chuar in to his table. When they do this, they expect to be paid. Remember: they’re not part of the restaurant. “I don’t know how much I’m going to eat! Why should I pay you now?!” He shouts at them, demanding them to bring him more!

Coach's Swimming Hole

This is the Summer Palace, by the way.
Coach invited The Director to go swimming with him to the Summer Palace. He knows a guy that will let him in through a hole in the fence. Coach claims that the water in the feeder pool - the pool that all the water originates at the summer palace - is the purest water. He doesn’t like actual pools because of the chlorine. The Director wasn’t sure, but he thinks that he heard Coach say that he likes to swim there naked.

Final One: Coach's Temper

The Director was riding on his bike and saw Coach sitting on his motorcycle. Director rides up and taps Coach’s bike, then starts cursing at him violently in Beijing swearwords. Coach tenses up, nearly rips his handlebars off the bike, and takes a deep breath in preparation of unleashing a torrent of hatred at the unknown accoster. Then stops when he sees who it is, and laughs. He says he likes Americans, but seems to dislike Chinese people or Europeans.

Remember: this guy is a martial arts instructor. Probably best not to mess with him.

Saving Face

I asked pool about what “saving face” means here. He said that it’s to the point that if you fart in front of an audience, there's a good chance that the audience would be all "what fart? There was no fart." because it would be too embarrassing. Jen says she thinks it's sweet that they will let it pass without embarrassing people. 

Found at the Massage Parlor
First Graders

They’re learning about mothers day and made cards. Even easier than usual for me, mostly just making sure they didn’t misbehave. We did watch a video on mother's day, and the moment the lights went out reminded me of the Dane Cook bit (which I can't find) where he talks about how kids always go crazy the second lights go off.

Gross Kids

After work, I tutored Lola again. She did a disgusting kid thing: she put her finger somewhere she shouldn’t, then tricked me into smelling a poopy finger. That’s when she got to learn the verb “wash.” So gross, but not entirely unexpected from a little kid.


Shimou shows up some hours later, I pay her back all money owed, and all my accounts have finally been settled. Celebrate with a massage. Pretty sure the masseuse was the boss of the parlor, since his picture were the ones huge in the waiting room. Damn he was thorough. One of my new favorites.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
[t-ohng jurr men]
[n-ohng-ming / n-ohng-me-ung]
shēng chǎn zhě
[shung ch-ahn je-uh]

Editing Music
Gun in my Hand

Bonus: Tonight's Dinner (Time Lapse feature)

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