Things I’d Bring Back from China

Published 2007-03-22
  • Post-lunch naps
  • Palm-sized rice bowls held inches from your mouth
  • Industrial-grade hot water dispensers (for copious quantities of loose green tea), in lieu of office water coolers
  • The metric system
  • A3/4/etc. paper sizes
  • The world’s simplest right-of-way rule (if it’s in front of your windshield, it has right-of-way)
  • Black-magic supply stores masquerading as “pharmacies,” complete with scientific packaging and “pharmacists” in white smocks, who will tell you with a straight face that the best thing for that cough is dried centipede bile
  • Schoolkids set loose in the neighborhood on bicycles and skateboards, who are totally not wearing helmets or kneepads or in some lame organized “fun” activity like soccer or playdates
  • Lifetime employment
  • Deep shame cast on the ancestors and descendents of beggars
  • Three solid weeks of national holidays
  • 50¢ beer in 620ml bottles
  • $1 taxi rides
  • The faces of smug zillionaire assholes whose entire demeanor collapses into a fetal ball of terror when faced with an 80 pound dog
  • The faces of tiny frail old ladies from the Imperial days who are utterly nonplussed by 80 pound dogs because believe me, honey, they saw way scarier shit than that on the Long March