Monday, March 26, 2012

Sarcasm made in China

I love being sarcastic.  It is my favorite thing in the world.  I love it more than my family and everything else that has ever existed.  The problem with my love of sarcasm is that it doesn't go well here in China.  China is a no-fly-zone for sarcasm.  All of the sarcasm produced in China is produced by expats and is 100% for export purposes.

The best use of sarcasm is when you are angry or annoyed.  Often, in these cases, sarcasm is a great replacement for pouting, having a fit, or extending your middle finger.  I find that, as I am an adult, sarcasm is the most socially acceptable of the options I have listened.

And so it was, when I was at the local PSB office and they refused to help me get my landlord to come in to sign some sort of random form for the third time, knowing that my landlord is a stick in the mud.  After 2 hours of waiting for the form, knowing that we needed our new visas the next day, I gave up and my frustration boiled over into... sarcasm.  I got up and as I was leaving the office I announced in Chinese,

"Ok, well I guess we're going back to Canada.  Thanks." 

The women in the office looked at me.  They were all confused.  What tare you talking about?

"Since we can't get a visa we need to go home.  Thanks for your help."

This time they looked at each other.  What is he talking about?

Thus, I left feeling even more frustrated.  Not only did I have visa problems, but now I had sarcastic joke problems, which are debatably worse than visa problems.  To them, I was a bumbling idiot.

A few weeks later I hail a cab, and as I walk towards it a lady sprints past me and gets into the car.  I walk up to the car and shout over and over in Chinese,

"Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!"

I smile the whole time, waving at her.  Finally, she turns and there it was again... confusion.  Why is this guy thanking me for stealing his taxi?

If there was a sarcasm class at the University I would enroll and go back there to study this stuff in Chinese.  There has to be some form of equivalent.  As a foreigner, it is a way of life, and most of us would have a much more satisfying life if we could be sarcastic in Chinese.  Really, it's one of my dreams.

3 comments:

Lois said...

Sarcasm used to be a friend of mine ... a really really really good friend of mine ... until, one day when Sarcasm snubbed me again and didn't deliver what he promised ... "No more satisfaction or good feelings from ME anymore!" Sarcasm announced ... "You're just going to have nothing but problems if you think I can do anything for YOU!!!" I prayed, "Dear God, thank you that Sarcasm is on his way OUT!!" xoxo Mom

The Petersons said...

You handled all of these situations far better than I would have.

Anonymous said...

Sarcasm is my mother and father. I'm an orphan in China.