Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Woman with the Fish

Some things can only happen in China and this was one of these moments. Maybe one of my top 10 experiences in China.

Let me preface this by telling you a bit about my office building. I work on the eleventh floor in a pretty large building for this area, which is in old Guangzhou (Yuexiu). Next to my office is Levi Strauss and there are numerous other pretty big trading and fashion companies in this building. I work way at the end of the hallway and there is only one more office further away from the elevator. So all in all I would give this office building a pretty reputable ranking.

So two days ago around 4pm I was standing in the hallway outside my company’s office talking to my doctor in Switzerland on the phone about a possible Khmer inhabitant of my stomach. (Who is still surprised about me having stomach problems in Asia? Not me!) Anyway, I am in the middle of telling him about my symptoms when suddenly an elderly woman turns the corner and is quickly approaching me with her hands held right in front of her and in her hands was a huge fish. As I was trying to figure out how in the world I was supposed to simultaneously keep a serious voice while explaining to my doctor my symptoms and get out of the determined woman’s way the fish suddenly came to live. It was alive! This woman had carried a live fish into the office building, had managed to push the elevator button, took the elevator to the 11th floor and walked down the hallway, with a live fish in her BARE hands. (I have no clue why she didn’t just put the fish in a plastic bag or choose one of the million other better ways to transport a fish)
As the fish flapped it fell out of her hands directly on to the nasty carpet in the hallway. The woman picked it back up as if dropping her wallet and passed me while I was pressed against the wall mortified that I would be its next victim.
At this point I could not take it anymore and had to leave in order to conduct the conversation on my phone. I have no idea where this woman went, but that moment was simply amazing.

My only regret is that Louis C. K. wasn’t there for it, because only he could retell the story with the respect it deserves. 

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