May 24, 2006

Big Dog Gets Barked At

Big Dog, Little DogI had an odd experience tonight. Milady had to go to the ATM across the street from our flat and I walked over there with her. As she was waiting in line to get some money out, this very elderly Chinese woman was walking along the path, speaking very loudly to no one in particular. Milady beckoned me over.

"That lady is crazy."

"No kidding." Anyone could see that.

And, of course, the inevitable happened: the old woman walked past and started talking to me.

Actually, "talking" is a bit of an understatement in this case. "Scold" is perhaps a better word. This woman ranted on for about two minutes in Chinese, which I don't understand at all ("sie sie," or "thank you" is about all I can manage). According to Milady, the old woman started talking about why I was standing where I was and then wondered why I wasn't talking back to her...duh! And while she continued her scolding, other people (mostly Chinese) walked by with smirks and twinkles in their eyes. I could only shrug my shoulders and try to ignore this woman until she moved on, which, of course, she did, continuing her monologue to no one in particular.

Milady was terribly amused by the whole affair and we've talked about it off-and-on this evening. To her, this was a case of the little dog barking at the big dog. (I am a big guy, and this woman was very small, thin and hunched over; she may have osteoporosis.) But I did try to be polite by not reacting to her behavior. Confucianism is widespread throughout Asia and it didn't hurt, in my mind, to grin and bear her "barking."

Woof! :)

Update: A few weeks ago, Milady and I were walking to the parking garage early one morning. We passed by an old Chinese woman and Milady asked, "Did you recognize her?" When I said that I hadn't, Milady said, "That's 'little dog.'" Aaah! :)

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