Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Study of Scarlett (Chapter 1)

HK Livin'

It didn’t dawn on me until the day was underfoot but March the second had a bit of extra meaning to it, in more ways than one.  Ah, but what am I getting at?  The day in question was the same calendar day eight years ago that I first made contact with… my future wife.  I don’t know why such a detail stuck in my Swiss cheese memory but it did and it’s become a pleasant miniscule personal holiday for us.  We don’t celebrate, shoot off fireworks, get too drunk to walk, have a luxurious dinner or even do more than acknowledge with kind words how long its been but I suppose it’s one of life’s little bonuses for us now.  Now I’m not deterring from my main point but rather setting it up.

        This day has another significant attachment to it, although it may only have special attention this year.  It’s my daughter, Scarlett’s, first month of life to the day.  (Holding for applause)  Up until now she has been newborn in behavior, as any parent would know so I’ll not bother with such tedious detail.  She did have her first doctor visit which was quite a neat experience so that I’d like to make my case study for Scarlett.

        The appointment time was 8:45am which at any time in my post high school and pre-baby era of existence would be asking more than I could ever give, proved moot now.  Awake by seven and waiting to leave was more like it.  I was slowly moving about but nonetheless on my feet.  The journey out wasn’t to be a fantasy epic in getting there although meeting a talking tree trunk would have added quite the spunk or funk to my rather bland story.  My wife and I hoofed it there in no time through the streets of Hong Kong, that’s right for those who don’t yet know.  Scarlett fussed a bit until we arrived outside and a brand new world, outside of the apartment she’s been forcefully held captive in thus far, appeared before her eyes.  Wide binocular vision and, a hushed silence overtook her.

        We arrived first which couldn’t have been better, when I saw how many seats were available it could have been quite a timely stay.  We don’t see the doctor until 9:15, so much for being punctual.  The wait area gains a few fresh rears in some chairs but mostly vacant, spacious even.  Now we know there’s plenty of open seats and I’d chance at a most obvious guess that people would naturally space themselves throughout the room before cluttering up, no, NO, not in Hong Kong my friends.  Another couple, the first to arrive after us in fact, decides to sit directly at our backs, as the seats have a musical chair formation to them, back to back.  I’m still trying to gain full awareness and the dude behind us uses me as a backrest of sorts.  I’m tall already and this Chinese guy happened to be as well, the seats had low backs, come on man.  Sit up straight and conform to your spatial surroundings!  I look around.  Empty seats everywhere why sit at my back?  Possibly I’m playing this too much but it seemed socially a bad move, I believe Jerry Seinfeld and his crew would dub this couple, “close sitters” or something of the like.

        At last we take our little squirt in to get weighed.  I had a sweet feeling she was on pace with her size, hey I don’t want an enormous monster baby on my hands.  She scaled in at ten pounds, well a shade over ten but otherwise just a scratch above average.  Of course the doctor said that was actually better so there it is.  A bit further on, after bouncing around from room to room she needs a diaper change.  No, slow your roll, no nightmarish poop turd-flinging scene takes place although along with a talking tree trunk I’d be onto a swell kids story eh?  One day little Danny was walking to school when a talking tree trunk flung a giant turd at him!  We head into a room with a few other babes and parents, etc. Scarlett fusses a bit a first, probably wondering why she’s being exposed in public, when she hears the other babies cry she abruptly quits.  It’s amazing she doesn’t want to be another mere face in the crowd.  To skip ahead but for a moment my wife asked me just before we leave what I did with the dirty diaper from earlier.  Well I tossed it in the trash, no headline story here.  I told her I stuffed it into a nearby closet, she only looked at me with those eyes which spoke all, that I was as full of what the diaper was – love it.

        Let’s jump to the vaccination, the first shot I see Scarlett get.  OK so I was interested to see how tough she was.  We enter into a small damp room with flickering lights, a broken window with a spider web as patchwork and a constant drip, drip, drip from somewhere we can hear but not see.  That’s creepy isn’t it?  Too bad none of it is real – would go well with a talking tree trunk and diaper bomb of poop.  My wife holds her down properly then the needle gets the classic syringe squeeze by the harbinger of pain, eh nurse, to show the drop of fluid peak at the needlepoint.  This woman actually sneers then laughs at us then shifts her eyes to Scarlett, no she doesn’t.  Waiting, watching, not a peep from baby… the needle withdraws, Scarlett turns red, and her face contorts, the wail of horror shatters my eyeglasses.  Bandaged up quick we turn to the exit and no more enter the hall, the screaming stops.  So I’d say I’m pleased with her response.  Took the hit, cried but recovered in no time.  We walk down the hall, going by the people who are next in this assembly line of torture to the seating area, which again is rather empty…

        No more than we sit and sigh, maybe even fart, then a couple plops down right next to us.  Twice now, what do you do in this case?  My wife gets up first and we move elsewhere undisturbed for the remainder of our time there.  A lesson I learned, Chinese people have a different social structure when it comes to area seating arrangements or I’m totally trying to make a big deal out of it just so you’ll keep reading.  Either way it was an interesting enough couple of hours and hopefully you made it through to the end of this silly but mostly true study of Scarlett.