Warnings in November 2014

I always wonder how people make their money. It’s easy to see that the dude on the street collecting empty water bottles has to collect around thirty bottles just to make enough money to buy a decent bag of fangbianmian. Because, to eat anything cheaper than a bag of three kuai Kang Shifu would mean you’re really poor.

But what about his rent? Does that guy still live with his parents, and if so where do they get their money from? How about that dude who doesn’t have a full-time job, yet is having a second child? Hell, the dude I’m thinking of doesn’t even have a steady part-time job. And then there’s the fly who is in the bar every night, spending what seems like tons of cash. He doesn’t answer his phone till one o’clock at the earliest. Does he have some sort of clandestine job with some government, or what?

There was once a man who was supervising a group of workers zhuanxiu-ing (because: there’s no way to translate that word) an apartment I used to live in. He said he would never be able to pay back the personal loan he once took out to start a factory that went belly-up. No matter how much money he made, he would always be in debt, according to him anyway.

There’s another youngish guy who washes his Panamera right next to our office at least four times a week during the daytime. Did that guy make a good bet on some kind of business? And if so, why isn’t he spending more time working on that, rather than spending all of his time watching other people take a sponge to his car?

There’s another person I know, who was broke many times in his life, yet seems to live the high life, and rarely puts in twenty hours a week. I know for sure that he doesn’t have some kind of trust fund or inheritance. Why does he get to fly first class, and eat caviar, when another friend I have is busier than a one-legged monkey in a banana kicking competition making barely enough to buy the peanuts for breakfast? Then I’ve got the secretive friends, you know, the ones who keep their jobs hidden. They just disappear for months at a time, and when they return, they always have big smiles on their faces, and pay for sushi at Hatsune. What do they have some sort of consulting business in Indonesia or something? What exactly are they building over there anyway? Do some people have the Midas touch, and some the opposite? 

It’s strange that we meet so many people from so many different countries, and backgrounds, with different “jobs.” I mean, really now, how does that one mate from Sweden really make enough money to support his family shipping flash-frozen asparagus? Or how does that “old” man from Texas pull in enough dough trucking fresh shrimp?

Try them one day, and you might find out.

by Tim Hoerle

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