It’s a typical night in the Meg Autonomous Region. We’ve just had dinner, which was a rocking version of Mama Hoffmann’s stuffed mushrooms, only with every ingredient replaced with something I can find in Fengtai. We watched a disc of House and popped mushrooms in our mouths with the joy of people who are now grownup enough to eat appetizers for dinner whenever we want.
Now, Stick is getting buckets of hot water from the bathroom, carrying them through the living room, out onto the balcony, and into the kitchen, so he can do the dishes.
“Your end of the deal completely sucks,” I told Stick. When we moved in together, I promised to cook for him and he promised to clean up after me. Sort of like love, honor and cherish on a more practical level. It works out well, I’ve washed dishes a couple since we’ve been together, and for each time, I expect a medal but usually have my clean dishes subjected to the kind of scrutiny that reminds me why I don’t do dishes more often. Stick cooked me tacos once but it was the day I crashed his car so what with the vicodin and shock, I don’t really remember how they tasted. “You took on the dishwashing chores, and then I conned you into moving to China.”
“The cooking part is harder here too,” Stick says. This is completely false because Stick is very easy to please. All I have to do is NOT add spring onions, soy sauce, peanut oil and those red Szechuan peppers to our dinner, and he’s happy. “Plus you have to do the shopping for the food, and that means bargaining and talking the China talk.”
“I still win because if we have kids, I can tell them to load the dishwasher while I play WarCraft, but you’ll still have to cook.”
“You won’t just tell them to load the dishwasher. You’ll tell them how easy they have it, what with the dishwasher and the hot water and the complete lack of buckets,”
“And I’ll tell them how we had to go all the way across town for a cup of coffee, and it was uphill both ways!”
We’re clearly well on the way to telling teenagers to cut their hair, spit out their gum, pull up their pants, turn that music down, and (if we end up with not only a dishwasher, but also a lawn) get offa my grass.