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March 03, 2006

Drive-by Chinese

Right after the beginning of the year a bunch of new contractors started at the place where I work, including one in the next cube down from mine. I didn't see the guy, but the manager introduced him to a few other people as "Sean".

The next day I did see him, and he was no "Sean": he is "Xiang", one of the growing number of Chinese at work.

I've done the first 15 or so lessons of Pimsleur Mandarin, at least 3 or 4 times over the last year. By lesson 15 I lose interest, or some other bozo has the set requested at the library. I've never inflicted my version of Mandarin on anyone. You're welcome, world.

This afternoon I got ready to leave at 5:30 and thought I heard a noise from Xiang's cube. Sure enough, he was still there. Several times when leaving the office at 5:30 or 6 I've found him still working and every time I whisper loudly, "Go home!" He smiles and nods and I leave. It's our standard ritual.

This time I whispered loudly, "Go home!" He smiled and nodded. I whispered loudly, "It's the weekend." He smiled and nodded. I whispered loudly, "Zai jian" (good-bye in Mandarin). He smiled and nodded--then his eyes flew open, it was my turn to smile and wave, and I left.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at March 3, 2006 10:00 PM


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