It was raining, but I was having a fine day. I had a few questions in my head that I had to answer, so I was mulling them over with a cup of tea on a balcony. It was a little chilly. The rain drops kept panging on the awning above my head. A friend of mine was inside banging out an executive summary for his exam at Oxford. He had an hour and a half to finish it. It’s kind of cool to think that someone can do that from over here. I was trying to think about how to verbalize face giving techniques. It wasn’t easy, but I was getting there slowly. Then my friend came out for a little break. Ha, even these well-educated guys need breaks at times. He also had a big beer mug full of tea. We’re not so different after all. Then he popped open his computer and showed me a couple of questions he had on his last exam. At most I could literally only understand half of what was written. I had never seen many of the words on the screen in front of me. Here I thought my problems were big. At least I didn’t have to memorize a hundred new words to even read the questions let alone answer them.
My questions all started because I thought I had bad feng shui in the bedroom. It’s not what you think. Don’t be rude now. I kept waking up sideways. I thought the direction of the bed had to be conflicting with my feng shui. I don’t know a thing about feng shui, but I was sure that was the reason, so I decided to change the direction of the bed one morning. I got great sleep in the evenings that followed and woke up in the same position that I’d fallen asleep in. I was really happy with myself. Then my daughter got a cold, and my wife determined that while my feng shui might be better, the new wind pattern must have been bad for our daughter. I fought. Her crib only moved a little bit. Many people around town were getting colds. I was getting such good sleep. I was not happy, and neither was my wife. I wasn’t looking out for our daughter as much as she thought I should. She left the room. I moved the bed. I didn’t say goodbye. A couple of hours later I realized that I owed her a bit of face, but I couldn’t call her to say I was sorry or send flowers. I just had to wait for an opportunity to give her face. If I was proactive and gave her something, that would give me face and that wasn’t what I needed to do. I waited. She didn’t make me sit there for that long, so I guess it wasn’t that bad. When the favor was finally asked of me, I jumped out of the tea and got it done. I wake up sideways once again, but the little nose doesn’t run. Strange.
By Tim Hoerle