Monday, December 6, 2010

A Woman, A Dog, A Security Guard, and A Foreigner

My morning walks are proving to be interesting if not flat out entertaining at times. By getting out with the boys early in the morning, I am able to walk through local neighborhoods with no more than a friendly nod from the security guard. This easy access allows me a small glimpse into areas I would not otherwise see.

Just the other day, I came across a most unusual sight involving a local woman, a dog, a security guard, and a foreigner. While this seems like the beginning of a bad joke, it was actually a really entertaining moment.

As I was carving out my usual path across Nanjing Xi Lu (the N.Y.C equivalent of Fifth Ave), I noticed a rather unusual scenario unfolding before me. Standing next to the entrance of a large mall was a woman entrenched in conversation with what appeared to be the mall guard. Over the course of her entire conversation (at least the 3 minutes I witnessed) - her dog was mounting her leg at a frantic and steady pace. She seemed completely at ease with this. Her conversation remained on track, even lively as she obliged the randy little animal without second thought.

Approaching the scene from the opposite direction was another foreigner. Unlike myself- grungy, dripping with sweat and looking like I had woken up 10 times on and off through the night to finally awake at 5 am; this guy was the epitome of cleanliness and fashion.  Great care had been taken to put together his outfit. From his clean shaven face and well tailored suit, to the the hat that was oh-so-carefully tipped 20 degrees to the right; one could tell that this was a man who worked hard to look good and was consequently pleased with his appearance.

As I passed the lady with the mounting dog from one direction and the well dressed foreigner passed from the other- I was amazed to note that this gentlemen tried to appear completely unaware of what was happening in front of him. I say tried, because there is no way he could have missed this scene and its absurdity (unless of course, he had a rare medical condition that rendered his peripheral vision useless).

I've lived in Shanghai for close to 4 years now and I have seen a lot of strange and unusual things. It's easy and often necessary to numb to some of them. After all, living in a city of approximately 22 million people is overwhelming on good days. It's important to block out the chaos when it threatens to swallow you. But after this scenario- I'm not sure what was more unusual- seeing the randy dog being obliged by its owner, or the foreigner working so hard not to notice...