CHINESEã��VAï¼ÂPIRE I don’t rant much. I leave that stuff to the Talk Talk China’s of this blogsphere. But, today, still feverish and mad that my vacation will be spent under the covers, I have to ventilate. First, I learned the term psychic vampire from a lecture I attended at Trinity University in 1974 given by the high priestess of the satanic movement. The content of that will be another post one day…. But, she described a type of personality that I had been unable to ID before that time. She spoke about those individuals who can exhaust you within moments of engaging you in a conversation because the energy only flows in one direction. We have a couple of clueless folks on our staff who are budding vampires: they only listen to words you say to cue them into long diatribes about things they are sure you need to learn in order to survive. If it were not for them the world would stop spinning on its axis. My roomie is a nice man, but exhaustively Chinese. Today, I was showering to relieve the aches and pains of fever. In the middle of my reverie the water turned so cold, so quickly, that you could hear my pores snap shut in Chicago. My roomie hates to spend money and thought I could do with a less expensive clean-up: He turned off the water heater. Because my vocal cords had locked like the wheels on a incoming carrier jet I could only shriek out what must have sounded a lot like a cave bat who had flown his genitals into a sharp rock. Despite the mixed metaphor, the hot water quickly returned. The other day he treated me (sigh) to a buffet at a local restaurant. He insisted that I arrange my plate like his: He had a very attractive snail like configuration of food laid out in the exact order he intended to eat it. He said he had studied what foods would be less filling so he could maximize the amount he could eat at the buffet. It is all about getting your money’s worth. He keeps moving my passport from table to table with a note telling me to protect it. I keep writing back that he is the only one that touches it besides me and did he know any Chinese cat burglars who could climb 27 floors just to get it? My favorite is his propensity to join me for television as he did last night. He, of course, turned off the A/C as “a fan will do just a well” (it is 40 damn degrees!), and lectured me that my fever was the result of my pampered American nature and was caused by the A/C and how should we split this month’s bill, and…. Then he asks about random words or phrases he sees appear on the screen. EPO was last night’s quiz word. I tried to tell him that it was not an important word for his English vocabulary unless he intended to be discredited as a cyclist or marathoner. He did not get it. And, as every conversation does, we ended up somehow discussing the cultural revolution. It is like a Star Trek thing: I inevitably get beamed into he middle of a discourse on post-Maoist China and cannot find a way out of the worm hole. All of this while he makes his way every 5 minutes to the bathroom to hack up real or imagined phlegm that he never flushes away. I am buying, mirrors, holy water, garlic and wooden stakes and secretly writing the Canadian Embassy to tell them that my roomie, who owns a Canuck passport, was abducted by aliens and replaced by a psychic vampire. How else could you explain his complete lack of acculturation? And while I am weaving baskets at the local sanitarium, he will be telling his new renter about the type of rope used to hang Mao’s widow.


By Lonnie Hodge


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