Yesterday I found an interesting variety of soap sourced from Pondicherry by a relatively local company. It was hand-made and designed for people with my skin type. After a quick sniff I concluded that, despite having a slightly herbal odour it would do and bought it. After opening the box I realised the gravity of my error. It was tightly wrapped. People could inhale the noxious fumes from 3 yards away! Not being one to waste, I’ve started using that soap to the most amusing reactions. It’s really a very good soap and even after a single use my skin looks healthier. The only problem with it is that I smell like an Indian Madame. I’ve changed my name to Miss Lakshmi and am now in purdah.

This does,   however, give me time to write a long delayed post. Our boy, Chinese Lad, arrived as threatened. Naturally, he arrived at 4:30 in the afternoon. Peak hour traffic in Sacramento is something to behold and is not easily forgotten no matter how many years of therapy one undergoes. For those who have never had the pleasure of driving in the Golden State I shall briefly explain the various driving styles one can expect to find. In Los Angeles speed is of the essence. Traffic permitting it is almost possible to see cars lifting off the ground. In the San Francisco region all the bottled-up rage associated with having to be perfectly PC at all times manifests itself in the most aggressive, violently confrontational way of driving imaginable. Are there 2 inches between cars? Perfect! Another 10 drivers will fit themselves in with not a thought given to the use of indicators! In the rural east drivers are far less aggressive and, perhaps due to the advanced age of many, speed is no longer a concept readily understand. But what the rural east lacks in aggression is more than compensated by idiocy. I’ve frequently wondered if many drivers found their licences in boxes of Red Rose Tea. Sacramento drivers have found a brilliant way to synthesise all three of these distinct driving styles into a vehicular monstrosity.

Chinese Lad behaved himself surprisingly well. He minded his Ps and Qs for over two weeks. We had a number of discussions concerning my hasty departure from China. I realised that his betrayal was not intended as such. He is loud, brash, malodorous and lacks all sense of decorum; but he has not an evil bone in his body or drop of malice coursing through his veins. He sincerely believed that no matter how inconvenient, the Chinese would look out for my interests and try to help me. He did not grasp how toxic things were. He’s a terrible liar. He’s childish, innocent and believes that people are essentially good. It’s endearing, if not grating when faced with the harsh realities of life and human nature. He meant well which frustrates. Hunland became unbearable. He thought that he could help me escape that hell and give me an easy, often fun, job.

After he returned to China he checked to see if my severance pay was deposited – it was not. He telephoned the local company manager who claimed that they deposited that sum into my Sparkasse Trier account despite my explicit instructions to the contrary. I am unable to access that account from North America. I cannot use my bank card as it requires prior notification for that option to be made possible. Nor am I even able to check balances online. The rudding Huns have devised a contraption to make what should be a simple process complicated. I would have to use a portable chip reader and enter my pin into that while logging in to their website. I binned that before leaving Germany having never used it successfully. I was able to transfer at least a large portion of my severance pay to my California bank account. I am not especially amused by the fact that I had to effectively exchange euros for US dollars only to have to effectively change US dollars back into euros when paying fees due in Spain prior to leaving for Denmark. Still, despite the annoyance and hassle I will be able to go to Spain as planned and will be able to visit a few great cities prior to starting work.

Author: Christopher-Dorset

A Bloody Kangaroo

8 thoughts on “Survival”

  1. Well, I’m glad you got that off your chest! The Chariot is a wondrous safety valve.

    Don’t even get me started.


  2. Try giving the soap a few short blasts of the microwave, might well get rid of some of the volatiles.

  3. Janus: all more popular than Kevin Rudd.

    Oz: I will have to pop in at supermarket tomorrow and buy a few gallons, imperial, of course, of Frizz Ease. I am presently dealing with a boss who accuses me of “cultural appropriation” for attempting to speak English correctly rather than whatever passes south of Canada. Ugh!

    CO: The volatiles have been dissipating of their own accord. People can now only notice that I smell like a Hindu brothel worker at a distance of two yards!

  4. ‘Cultural appropriation’! But, but……isn’t that what we encourage our children to achieve? Is your professor a numbskull? ,-)

  5. Re. Soap when I was a cadet in the MN ( cadet is not a posh name for apprentice, there is a technical difference. Cadets signed on voyage to voyage whilst apprentices were (are ?) bound by indentures. Cadets got overtime apprentices didn’t…which was nice ). Anyway back to the soap. We were issued one tablet of Lux per week, which wasn’t enough. I recall having at least two showers a day, so dirty did we get. The mate always had a supply of long bars of industrial soap, butterscotch in colour and twice the length of a bar of soap, with no branding that I could see. It was great stuff lathered up wonderfully and no perfume.
    In extremis we used to get soft soap or teepol from the deck store.

  6. Janus: she’s spent far too much time with post-modernist leftists and it is starting to rub off on her. My colonial mentality grates her at times. It’s not my fault that my da wasn’t born in a civilised country! Originally “cultural appropriation” referred to cultural borrowings for the sake of trends or making fashion statements, especially from “ethnic” or “indigenous” cultures. For example, in the late 1990s Gwen Stefani started a trend in which non-Hindu women wore Bindis or when clothing designers take African or indigenous Australian/North American motifs and use them in their clothing. Today, it can mean taking to heart influences from countries or cultures one was not born into. It’s bollocks, of course. In China they think people who wear hanfu, traditional Han Chinese clothing, are strange and same for certain traditional celebrations/festivals Japanese and Koreans do not wear wafuku or hanbok. The large majority of words in the English language and much of its grammar is not of Old English origin. Still, one has to feel worthy for some reason.

    Jazz: the infamous Lux soap! Not the worst, but after 4-5 uses a tablet disappears. Strangely, those old, nameless soaps were often far better than the finest France had to offer.

  7. I used to love Imperial Leather soap – I used it for years.

    I found some in a packing case a few months ago and opened a bar. It must be ten years old or so and now doesn’t really have a smell.

    Rather disappointing.

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