So…. Someone threw grass at my face
After having dinner, I walked home with some friends. Feeling particularly adventurous, we defied Google Maps and went through a short route that technically would work. We cut through a small neighbourhood with zinc roofs that reminded me fondly of Asia. Children’s laughter rang. It was nothing grand and beautiful, just ordinary people living ordinary lives. At that moment, it felt like the adventure paid off. We were not stupid tourists anymore. We are living the off beaten path life.
We strolled casually to the stairs that led to a park that’s near our place. We were estatic– this is turning out to be amazing day! My friends were walking in front of me when I caught the spectacular sunset from the corner of my eyes. I want a picture. I need a picture.
I stood at the top of the stairs, in awe with just how lucky I was, when that young couple that was eating each other’s face when we got there broke out laughing and giggling while pointing at me. It was a bit weird, but being the adult I am, I shot them a quick smile and paid them no mind. I wanted my photo, and no rowdy teen could stop me from getting it.
Suddenly, this younger preteen boy, 13 I reckon, who was obviously a friend of theirs, came barrelling at me. “Kina?” He asked, and then a bunch of foreign sounding gibberish I couldn’t decipher. I could only assumed he asked rudely-excitedly whether I’m Chinese or not. I shook my head. He was relentless. He kept speaking in a tongue I couldn’t understand, and getting increasingly frustrated that I can’t understand him. Like, what do you expect, kid? You’re obviously talking to be because I’m foreign, but you’re pissed that I can’t speak your language? A little double standards ain’t it?
In the middle of our confusing exchange, a few more kids showed up. I suddenly realized that I had my camera out just now. In my paranoia induced haze, I turned to make a quick escape down the stairs. This girl in a pink frilly dress barricaded me with her arms spread out like Dracula without his cape. When I turned the other way, her friend blocked the top of the stairs too! They kept coming, closer and closer to me, in a what I perceived to be a manacing smile. To be fair to me, I was surrounded by a bunch of nimble little imps that could potentially push me down the stairs and rob me off my injured, aching body. (It sounds ridiculous now that I wrote it down) I looked around for my friends, and failed to locate them. I was alone.
I turn to look at the kids. I suppose they found the fear in my eyes amusing, because they kept giggling and chanting “Cina! Cina!”. Pink Frilly dress threw a blade of grass at my face. (It was very dramatic when it happened, but now that I’ve written it down, it sounds stupid) The girls laughed harder, the first boy looked horrified, the couple was amused. I felt like a freakshow on display.
I glared at the girl, shoved her cheeky smiling ass away from the stairs, not caring if I would potentially hurt her or not, and bolted down with a tight smile on my face. In a distance, I could hear the boy yell-apologized after me. I could still hear the girls snickering and laughing. At some point of time, I heard the word “photo”. And then I heard “We want to take a selfie with you!” At which, I am very tempted to just throw up two incredibly unladylike gestures up in the air. But I didn’t, because I was a responsible adult who doesn’t do things like in front of children.
F*** you, you little shits.
On hindsight, maybe they just never seen an Asian person before and simply wanted a photo.perhaps I overreacted for a wee bit, but I kid you not, at that exact moment, all I felt was fear. I needed to get out of here before something serious happened. And thankfully, nothing happened and I suspect noe that nothing would ever happen even if I stayed there. At most, I’d get my picture taken.
For future reference though, if by any chance, you want a picture with someone but couldn’t properly communicate what you want, body language would work. Remember that clicky hand gesture where you frame your hands in a square while wiggling your right index finger? That always works. Or just say ‘photo’ in the beginning. I might be old fashion, but I definitely think these works much better than grass. Just sayin’.
Sunset by the park. Photo cr @russell_oneill1 (Instagram)