Tuesday, July 23, 2013


In the past couple of days I've read articles relating to the recent upswing in crazy helicopter parents and how to not raise whiny kids.  While I am not a parent, I speak from experience as a former child who grew up in the no-Pinterest no-organic no-hippie dippy crazy shit era.

I of all people can speak from experience about caring what others think.  I was the most shy, insecure adolescent, preteen and teen you can imagine.  I wore certain things to not get made fun of, not necessarily because I thought they were awesome.  In 6th grade I couldn't have cared less about Girbaud jeans (you know you remember them), but my classmates did, so I begged my mom to get me some in an effort to simply not be the butt of jokes in class.

Then there was this magical time, I'll call it "college," when suddenly it all made sense.  I was successfully living a life giving very few fucks and not getting called out for things I had once thought would make or break my existence.  I'd go to a party thrown by people I barely knew and wasn't afraid to turn down the Natty Light offered to me and ask where the Smirnoff Ice was.  Shut up, it was 2001.  You really can't get on my case for preferring raspberry fizzy booze over beer that tastes like watered down cat piss, and if someone did, I'd tell them to enjoy their cat piss.

Now I'm 31 and can be seen at any random time wearing things that range from a panda hat to blue moccasins to heart sunglasses and a unicorn bag.  Oh you think it's stupid?  Who cares?  My life was affected 0% by your dislike of my outfit.  I love cats.  I have two.  They are my furry babies.  I'm a cat lady?  Cool, I probably am.  I don't give a fuck.  My friends haven't yet found my pets to be a source of contention in our relationship, and it's not the cats keeping eligible bachelors away (it's probably the panda hat).

I'm on Pinterest.  I find Pinterest to be an awesomely fun time-waster.  I personally use it for what I like to call "design porn," which is pictures of various houses and interiors of modern design - that board has about 600 pins on it.  Am I really going to go back to my Pinterest board and take in all of the design elements I posted years ago when I'm 50 and am actually able to afford to remodel or build my own house?  Fuck no.  It's for fun.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I pin pictures of food I'd like to eat.  Not ones I'd like to cook, but ones I'd like to have cooked FOR me.  I never read the recipes.  "That looks fucking delicious." *click* On to the next.  And yes, like most females, I have a wedding board.  I want a small wedding.  I want to spend money on booze and a decent location, and then have a big dance party to 90s rap music with my friends.  I would also like to marry an orphan so I don't have to worry about his side of the family.  That's just more money I don't want to spend.

I'm not looking at all the DIY stuff thinking about how I can save money by making my own this or that.  I don't want to make a freakin chandelier.  I also don't want to make paper flowers, or whimsical wedding favors that people will likely toss out as they leave.  People aren't going to leave my wedding saying "Wow, that was so beautiful."  They're going to leave saying "That was a fucking awesome good time.  I want to go back."  I've never left a wedding commenting on how tasteful the place cards were, or what the flowers were like (or even noticed if there WERE flowers).  "Oh, well this is just how it's done."  Nope, not how I roll.  My wedding, my rules, get your bullshit traditions and details out of my way so I can legally be married and go party.

And the children part is ridiculous.  I don't have children, nor do I plan to, but like I mentioned before, as a former child, I feel I have a decent amount of insight into the mind of one.  Guess what?  I don't remember my first birthday.  Or my second.  I don't remember tiny little Christmas decorations, but I remember the Strawberry Shortcake dream house I got.  I fucking loved my Rainbow Brite valentines and so did everyone else, dammit.  They came in a red box, just like all the other ones, and I had to tear apart each one from its perfectly perforated collection, write on it, and put it in a tiny envelope.  I'm pretty sure my mom had 0 regrets or shame about this.  I too have 0 regrets.

The first birthday I actually remember I had an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.  It was god damn delicious.  Was I angry that my mom didn't go all out and create cupcakes that looked like individual Mickey and Minnies?  Nope.  When I went to birthday parties, I cared about 2 things: whether they had a pool and what kind of cake they were having.  The pool was slightly more important.

What I'm saying is, YOUR KIDS DON'T CARE.  THEY WON'T REMEMBER.  And deep down inside you know this, so that means you're doing it to impress other moms.  It's like a competition of who can out-Pinterest the others.  Remember me, that person who wears blue shoes and a mammal on her head and may or may not have gone to Home Depot at 9pm wearing Ugg boots, mesh shorts and a ratty tank top to buy a saw while sweating profusely?  Yeah, you used to be like me.  Or did you?  Perhaps at one time, before getting married and having kids, you didn't give a fuck.  And your life was not so bad.  Probably less stressful too.

So remember this.  I had ice cream cakes, store-bought Valentines, a tree full of awesome old Christmas lights my dad brought from his childhood, homemade Halloween costumes, and non-designer baby and child wear and guess what?  My childhood was awesome. 

And you know what?  No one's going to remember that intricate $3000 first birthday party you threw for your kid when my (imaginary) kid gets his acceptance letter from Harvard, now will they?

Monday, July 8, 2013


Starring: the citizens of Hong Kong!  Each one of these things I have actually seen IN REAL LIFE.

1) Stare at your phone without looking up even for a second, either to read or WATCH MOVIES, despite the fact that the one I saw was, in fact, the Hangover.

2) Actively play a GAME on your phone, once again, without so much as glancing forwards every now and then.

3) READ A BOOK.  This one seems obvious, but apparently I have to tell you.  READING + WALKING = NO. 

4) STOP.  Do not EVER stop spontaneously while walking.  Do you not see that you're in a sea of people?  Do you not realize that the person behind you has about 4 inches before they run smack into you with the force of 30 more people behind them?  You wouldn't stop your car abruptly in the middle of the highway, so DON'T STOP WALKING ABRUPTLY WITHOUT GETTING OUT OF THE WAY.

5) Go at any speed slower than those around you.  Once again, with the highway analogy - everyone wants to kill that guy on the 10 that's going 45, and they angrily speed by you and cut you off.  SPEED THE FUCK UP OR GET OUT THE WAY

6) Be a child.

7) Have a child.

8) Insist on walking side by side with five of your friends, giggling stupidly and walking slower than everyone, creating an angry flow that will burst through your little friendship chain at any moment.

9) Wavering slowly from side to side on the sidewalk while I try to pass you, each time getting stopped by the tiny 3-inch margin you leave between you and the wall/street/other human.

10) Eat anything with chopsticks.  I'm sorry, no matter how good you are with chopsticks, you have to actually look at your food to pick it up, slowing down traffic.  Some things are edible on the run - anything that doesn't require utensils.  And I'll give you the occasional frozen yogurt because you can pretty much wing that and come up with something on your spoon.

And sort of falling under #6, if you are a child, do not do stupid shit while walking.  Don't poke your mom, don't kick your brother, and for god's sake, don't run at full speed towards a blind corner where I happen to  be coming from another direction and run SMACK INTO ME.  And I don't know what your mom screamed at you since I don't speak Cantonese, but suffice it to say she was about as angry as I was and unlike me, you have to go home with her.  Get your shit together, son.

Monday, July 1, 2013


This is, by far, the most annoying, unpleasant and generally ridiculous part of Hong Kong, and China in general. 


Hong Kong is hot.  Painfully, humidly, stickily hot.  It's absolutely unlivable.  I can't walk more than two blocks before I start sweating, and if I walk more than five, I look like I've just worked out.  It's abhorrent.  90 degrees and 90% humidity.  It actually makes you feel heavier and harder to breathe.  You find yourself taking elevators in places you'd normally take the stairs because most elevators have AC. 

I've lived in places with weather like this before - possibly slightly less humid since it wasn't subtropical, but in 17 years in Texas I saw my fair share of heat.  But you know what we did when it was hot as balls?  STAYED INSIDE.  You went from your air conditioned house to your air conditioned car (that hopefully had stayed all night in a garage or covered place) and drove to your air conditioned work, and were outside in the horrible death heat for approximately 5 total minutes if you really tried.

Here I don't have a car.  I have a subway.  What's the problem with the subway?  It's not 10 feet from my house, that's what.  By the time I make it to the subway, I look like I've run a marathon and my nice work clothes are sticky and smelly.  I feel dirty within 2 minutes of exiting my building.  I want to take 7 showers a day.  It's fucking ridiculous.  So you'd think, having this climate of excruciatingly balls-hot days and a lot of unnecessary outdoor time, that Hong Kongers would appreciate a large, cold bottle of water.

NOPE.  One of the first places I went to eat, I asked for water.  I drink tea, water, and whatever's in the alcoholic beverage I'm given.  I try to stay hydrated, seeing as I've fainted twice in the past 9 months and had to get an IV.  Anyway, I ask for water.  The woman looked at me oddly.  Perhaps she didn't understand - there's sometimes a language barrier with the older generations.  "Ice water?" I ask, trying to clarify.

Still confusion.  "Bottle water?"  Finally one of my Chinese classmates was able to tell her I just wanted a glass of water, to which she STILL looked like I'd asked for a pig's blood frappucino, but walked away seeming to understand.  About three minutes later, I see her returning with a glass of water, sadly ice-free.  She sets it in front of me and I'm about to pick it up when I notice it's HOT water.  Not room temperature.  HOT ASS WATER.  She had to put EFFORT into making it hot, because things are not naturally steaming.  Why the fuck would I want a GLASS of HOT WATER?  I already have HOT TEA that's for the table, I obviously need something to, I don't know, STOP ME FROM SWEATING?  Do you not see that I'm soaking through my shirt here, lady?

It was at this time I was informed by our chaperones and my Chinese friends that cold things (drinks, food, whatever) are considered "bad" for your health.  I mean Chinese medicine is wacky enough, but to completely restrict the drinking of cold beverages in a climate that melts my makeup off in record time?  That's fucking ridiculous. 

I began to take note of things as time progressed - most people in restaurants do not order a drink.  Yeah you heard me.  No drink.  If it's a Chinese restaurant it often comes with hot tea, which is good, but I have to let it cool down to "room temperature" tea before I can even consider drinking it.  Then you stuff yourself with HOT FOOD.  If you order noodles or soup, it's inedibly hot for ten minutes, unless your mouth is a steel machine like the natives.  After the first bite I'm dying for a cold glass of SOMETHING, but instead I just have to keep eating my hot food and sweating as though I was walking around outside. 

At the places that DO have iced drinks, they COST MORE.  The food court has a combo option of a meal plus a drink - but if you want a cold drink, that's $3 more.  WHAT??  I honestly can't believe these people aren't passing out left and right, since I never see them drink water.  EVER.  They might get a small hot tea, or a small coffee, but all damn day I haven't seen a single Asian drinking water.  HOW DO THEY HYDRATE??  Even McDonald's, which has bottled water on the menu, does not understand how to substitute a BOTTLE OF WATER for the requisite soft drink in a combo order.  I asked for one once, pointed to it on the menu, and it required a conference of three employees to figure out how to charge me.

Sadly I've realized that in any vaguely non-Western restaurant the only way I'll get a cold drink is to order a soda.  I don't drink soda.  I don't even particularly enjoy it anymore, despite drinking about 10 Dr. Peppers a day when I was in high school.  But I will set aside pretty much all drink restrictions just to have something that I know came out of the refrigerator.  So here I am, living in a climate that makes me sweat out all liquid in a ten-minute period and not being able to find something to replenish said liquid at any normal place where you EAT AND DRINK. 

Since the first week, I have begun hoarding large bottles of water I buy at 7/11 downstairs in my tiny mini-fridge.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only one buying the water.  I just can't wrap my head around walking around all day, sweating my ass off and NOT finding great pleasure in the consuming coldest water (or other drink of choice) humanly possible.  Now I understand my dad's crazed ice-Nazi behavior when we went to Europe - room temperature is not ok.  And 3 ice cubes is not enough.  But that's damn well better than a glass of hot water after you've just walked 10 blocks in 90 degree heat and humidity.

I follow up with three questions:

1) How the hell am I the only person with glistening, sweaty skin at any point in the day when I'm generally wearing less clothing than say, oh, ANYONE?

2) Why the hell are you wearing JEANS and LONG SLEEVES?

3) In a place that used to be owned by Britain, how on earth have you not figured out that Westerners like a cold drink every now and then?  SERIOUSLY WTF.