Selfishness is inherited

It all makes sense now to me, it does it does. It really does.

As a middle aged laowai, I have a simple medical procedure to attend to in early January.  Something all men sooner or later in America have to go through once they reach a certain age.  Well, I’ve reached mine, and know it’s time for Doc to stick something up my ass for a look see.  No biggie (knock on wood!).  The procedure is as such:  China Wife has to stay during the 20-30 minute long process.  Than they wake me up, I get dressed, and I go home.

Now, the last time I had outpatient stuff going on, China Wife cried.  (Probably because it slammed the door on her ever getting a son.)

Though it’s only a twenty minute or so wait, China Wife no happy.  Not thrilled at all.  I ask her to just “take a half day off”.   It’s January, right?  She has all her vacation days. 

“Can’t you just use half a freakin’ half day for me?  Its medical work you know?  Or just tell your boss you’ll come in late?”

“I want to go to Italy in the Spring”, she says.

“Then I want to go to Japan for a week as well”, she summarizes.

“My vacation days are important.  I can’t waste one on you.”

Now, I want to be fair.  As fair as I can.  China Wife does a lot.  She just recently booked all my flights and hotels for my upcoming China Trip next month.   And she’s anxious about “how will the kids get to school” during my upcoming medical sojourn.

Still, I think I’m well within my rights to call China Wife out on her selfishness.
Though I shouldn’t at all be surprised.   I mean, I’ve written about whom NOT to marry, and you’ve all fucking read it.  And top on the list is who?

An only child of course!  And if she comes from China’s upper class then congratulations you get double the anxiety for the price of just ONE selfish China Girl!

But I saw the signs.  When living in Hong Kong my big 30th birthday was a week away, while my wife was in Tokyo. (post in the queue)  What was she doing in Tokyo?  Preparing to join me in Hong Kong? Of course not!   A fluent Japanese speaker, she decided to stay a few extra days and apply for her 3 year Japanese visa rather than join me for my big day.  So I’ve seen this before.   And I shouldn’t be surprised.  So I celebrated my bday alone.  And I know exactly what I did.  And I don’t regret it.

A few years ago it dawned on me why China Wife is the way she is; China Mom of course.  Mother of Tiger Mom.  All Tiger Moms have parents.  Perhaps you didn’t know that.   Her constant complaining about how sick she is and how this hurts and that hurts and if the dumbass “incompetent” China Doctors in America would listen to her all would be well.  

I simply find that “know it all” and “selfish” traits must be perfectly intertwined, somehow, someway.  But at the end of the day how can China Wife NOT take after China Mom? Immersed within a not so subtle aura like cocoon of entitlement?  How can this not rub off on China Wife?

Well I’m here to tell you it has.

But the Chinese see some things differently than we do.

How many of us in grade school would “trade” our food during lunch break?

“I don’t like my carrots; trade you my carrots for your peas?”

It is a mainstay of elementary school in America.  Every kid trades food right? (Or at least in the 70’s.)

I tried this once very early on with China Wife dinner a casual dinner at home and was knocked asunder with the immediate reply,

“Why would you give me something you dislike?”

I tried logic;

“Because something I may not like you may want more of”.

But China Wife wasn’t having it.

“It’s rude to offer things to people you yourself do not like.  If you don’t like it why would I want it?” (Sigh….see above)

It’s not right or wrong, but take it at what it is…..a simple culturally different way of looking at things.

Than China Wife called me selfish.   That is, I wanted something of hers that I liked, while giving her something in return I did not like.  Many a Chinese would call that clever.  But the inference is I had a selfish agenda.

And of course China Wife had to assume the reason for my poor “habits” was my “improper” upbringing by poor people.  Someone a Chinese would equate with uncouth peasants.  In the eyes of a Chinese, all behavior they consider improper can easily and without hesitation, logically be traced back to the fact the person being judged must be of “peasant stock”.   Even though I myself was born in a city of no historical or cultural significance, still, in China Wife’s eyes, I am a peasant.  Very much beneath her.   And my wanting to trade my food is a symptom of that.

Afterall I thought I was just offering someone something they may like.  Simple.  Instead I find what many a Chinese do is simply look for the angle behind the offer.   There has to be an angle, right?   (I realize now that other 7 year old sitting across from me really did want to get rid of his carrots at my expense!  Oh how could he!! I feel so snookered!!)

Chinese are simply not used to someone proactively asking to give them something.
Maybe my goal really is take your peas from you.  Maybe I just love peas!

Or….could it be I’d rather give someone the carrots I KNOW I’m not gonna eat?

Instead I find I cannot offer something, even to China Wife, without arousing suspicion.

Which I help along by freely admitting I hate carrots.  

Without question selfishness runs in China Wife’s family.

Christmas is around the corner.  Things are reasonably ok with the FFF Clan.  And after that is CNY, right?  And China Wife’s parents are here.

Except their not.

A week ago, on the verge of the most festive time of year in the West, with Chinese New Year soon after, China Wife’s parents decided to leave America and return to China.

Yep, you got that right.  They left their only child behind.  They’d simply rather miss watching their only grandkids opening presents on Christmas Day.  And they’d rather be back in cold, dreary China than here spending China’s biggest holiday with their only child.

And folks, if that ain’t fucking selfish, than for the love of God, nothing is.   It is by far the most selfish thing I’ve ever seen in my adulthood.  Hands down.  Ain’t nothing close.  And of course, loving laowai Husband of China Wife that I am, I couldn’t resist;

“Kind of selfish of your mom and dad to leave don’t you think?”

(I reiterate again we are all selfish, all over the world.  But this takes the cake!)

China Wife simply looks down and nods.  Make no mistake; she was ready for them to leave too.  Her mom wouldn’t stop….couldn’t stop…. complaining.   You see when it comes to Mother of China Wife, the world itself must make a choice; either continue to evolve around Mother of China Wife or simply stop spinning.   

But I think we can all agree the optics here are bad.  Pretty bad. And there’s simply no way to spin it.  And China Wife knows it.   And yet I know someday China Wife will probably end up like her mom.  And I’ve brought this up to China Wife.  And she has grudgingly admitted it.

Don’t get me wrong.  The irony of it all is we were leaving town anyway. But why leave your only child behind, and your only grandkids behind, to return to an empty apartment in winter?   Why?

It tells me lots about the priorities of some Chinese.  And in this case, China Mother in Law would simply rather be back in China, period.   Dreary winter days and all.  

I can only hope my children do not learn these traits. 


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