Chapter 41- The Asian Conan

To recap: I was chasing a boy at KTV(karaoke). My efforts were thwarted by Mick and his friend. Mick decided to leave, but his strange friend stayed.

This is the first time I really noticed him, and I thought ‘What a weirdo!” The guy didn’t even know us! He bumped into us on the street, and just decided to go karaoke with a bunch of strangers?

Then again, this is Shanghai….everything goes here.

Nonetheless, I decided to stay away from him for rest of the night.

‘Also, I hate KTV!!!’ I bitched in my own head  ‘I only came for Jack…’

Then “Call me maybe” by Carly Ray Jepson came on…

“OMG, gimme!!!” I grabbed the microphone and started belting out”So I just met you, and this is crazy…”

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After about 2 hours of butchering the latest hits, I got tired.

I looked around for a spot to sit down. “Nope, not there!” The couple that came with us was now making out on the couch.

I moved over to the other side, and the only person sitting there was Mick’s weird friend. So I had no choice but to sit next to him.

“Hello….” I sat down and realized I still didn’t know his name “…there fellow Canadian!”

Nice save right? Ha, I know…

He was Asian-Canadian, and normally I’m automatically attracted to the type. However, he looked nothing like the typical CBC! Instead of polo shirt with a gelled up full-hawk, he had Conan O’brien hair and Harry Potter glasses. I believe he was also wearing an old man sweater with elbow patches…

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I don’t think he was fooled, but instead of calling me out on it, he said “I don’t think I’ve properly introduced myself, I’m…”

Turns out he has the most generic name, which doesn’t fit his image at all. So I’m gonna call him Johan instead…

“Hi, I’m Kathy.” I shook him hand, slightly embarrassed.

“So Toronto eh?” he tried to make conversation “I hear you have good poutine.”

“Nono, you’re thinking of Montreal!” I quickly corrected him.

“Oh…so what’s Toronto famous for then?”

“Um…Everything else?” I started to run off a list “Dim Sum…Korean…Jamaican…”

Usually people here start conversations with the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why are you in Shanghai?

But Food! I could talk about food for hours! Eventually, we got to the Whats and the Whys.

“So what made you leave all that food for Shanghai?” he asked.

“Well, I was an accountant…” This is where I pause for shock or sneer.

He didn’t react, so I continued, “It’s a boring job I know… So I switched into teaching accounting and got a job here. But turns out teaching is a lot more difficult than accounting!”

I always felt the need to defend my profession, because most expats tend to look down on teachers. Obviously because they’re ignorant fools! But also because some “English” teachers in China give everyone a bad name. So I always clarify that I’m not an “English” teacher.

Johan didn’t have the typical reaction. Instead he said thoughtfully “Everything becomes easier eventually…. But boring stays.”

I laughed, “So you’re saying I made the right choice?”

“I think you made the right choice for you.”

“That’s true!” I agreed enthusiastically “My friend Feegs loves being an accountant!!!”

I was surprised at the natural flow of the conversation. I also don’t remember the last time a guy made me laugh, and it wasn’t “laughing” to flirt with him.

*Note: Apologies to the guys I fake-laughed with. You probably thought your jokes were actually funny, and used it on some other girl… who then also had to fake it.

“What about yourself?” I asked him.

“I was in marketing, but I’m trying to get into web design/animation.” He answered “I’m actually helping my friend with the storyline of his animation project.”

“Oh cool! What’s it about?” I was intrigued.

“It’s about an old man who gets trapped in the body of a teddy bear. Then goes on a search for his long lost daughter.” He paused then said “Which is kinda how I see myself.”

“The old man/teddy bear part? Or the daughter part?”

“The old man trapped in a teddy bear part.” He smiled shyly.

“I thought you looked a bit young to be a father!” I teased, “Although…when I taught at a school for at-risk teens, there was a kid who wouldn’t eat the chocolates I gave out. When I asked him why, he said “I’m saving it for my son.” He was 16.”

“Oh! And on my last day there.” I ranted on “They said “Miss! We always skip on Fridays! But we’re all here because it’s your last day!”” I tried not to tear up as I talked.

See, this is why I avoid talking about work, because I’d never stop. Fortunately he didn’t seem to mind and let me blab on for awhile.

Then we moved on to our childhood, all the while yelling over the music.

“I went to a really academic high-school…Nobody did drugs…The cool kids were the ones in drama club!” I reminisced to my geeky days where everyone hung out in study halls.

“What!” He was shocked. “In Edmonton, everyone knew at least one drug dealer! There was a park behind our school where the kids went to get high. They called it High Park.”

“We also have a High Park in Toronto!” I jumped in excitedly “Wait… is that why…”

He shared more stories about Edmonton. It involved gang wars and shootings.

While our discussion got increasingly more animated, our time at KTV quickly ticked to an end.

“Last call for song!” Helen hollered.

“I really like “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillait, but can never find it at KTV! If it’s here, wanna do a duet with me?” he asked.

“Sure, I love Jason Mraz!”

Unfortunately, we were out of luck here as well, so everyone just sang Nicki Minaj together. Including the make-out couple.

“We should get together again and swap more stories.” He said before we left. “Maybe at place where we don’t have to scream.”

I said “Yeah! I’d like that!”

And I meant it.

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